Two leading Kashmiri human rights defenders Pareena Ahangar and Parvez Imroz Advocate have received second most prestigious award on human rights in a graceful ceremony in the western city of Bergen, Norway.
A large participations of human rights defenders, social activists, intellectuals, researchers and academic personalities attended the gathering held in national theatre of the city.
Earlier, Mr Jostein Hole Kobbeltvedt, the Rafto Foundation, Executive Director introduced the prize laureates and their work for human rights in Indian Held Kashmir.
After receiving the RAFTO Prize 2017, both the award laureates have urged the civilized world to help the oppressed people of Jammu and Kashmir who are suffering due to the brutalities for a long time.
The laureates said, the international community should use their influence in order to stop the violation of human rights in the Indian Held Kashmir (IHK).
The award ceremony was followed by a light torch rally headed by both the Kashmiri human rights defenders Parveena Ahangar and Parvez Imroz in centre of the Bergen city. It is important to mention that the reward is second most important prize on human rights after Nobel Peace Prize in Norway.
Some of the volunteers of the RAFTO Foundation holding a white banner with the slogans “Human Rights in Kashmir Now” addressed the rally. They highlighted the struggle of Perveena Ahangar and Imroz Parvez in occupied Kashmir and expressed solidarity with the oppressed people of Jammu and Kashmir.
They said, this award is given to both of the human rights defenders due to their long struggle for protection of human rights in Jammu and Kashmir and this event will give more favourable results in the context of human rights in Kashmir.
On the occasion, many of the human rights activists from Norway and other countries expressed hope that this award would give more recognition to human rights in IHK as the award is of the most important medals for human rights at international level.
On the occasion, Chairman Kashmir Council EU Ali Raza Syed who was also among the participants of event said, this prestigious award is international recognition of the work of the people who are defending human rights of innocent people of Jammu and Kashmir. Both RAFTO Prize laureates are struggling against the violation of human rights in IHK for a long time. Importance of the RAFTO award should be understood as it has given more courage to people of occupied Kashmir who are deprived of their basic rights.
Executive Director Kashmir Scandinavian Council based in Norway Mr Ali Shahnawaz Khan who was also present on the occasion said, this was an historical event on human rights of Kashmiris and it will help in further highlighting the issue at the globe. He added, this award is recognition of all the people who are working for the legal rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Expressing her views on the occasion, the Pakistan’s Ambassador to Norway Riffat Masood said, this will create more awareness on issue of Kashmir specially human rights of the innocent people of Kashmir.
Parveena Ahangar is the founder and leader of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), which organises peaceful protests and provides practical assistance to survivors of violence. She started her struggle to raise her voice for the protection of the civilian population after abduction of her 17-year-old son by Indian security forces in 1991.
Forced abductions and violence against men, women, and youth are rampant in IHK. A large number of people have been killed and thousands have disappeared so far.
Thousands of women are waiting for their children, husbands and brothers, who are missing or abducted by the security forces in recent decades.
Parvez Imroz is a lawyer and a leading intellectual voice, who uses legal means to ensure citizens of IHK are provided with basic human rights. He is the founding president of the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society working for human rights and non-violent solutions.