Kashmiri activists received Rafto Foundation Prize for human rights

The award ceremony was held in City theatre Bergen “Den Nationale Scene” with a fully packed hall.
 

After the ceremony all participant took part in a torch light procession and walked through the city centre.

 

On Sunday 5 November 2017, Norway’s prestigious Rafto Prize for human rights (considered to be equivalent to the Nobel Peace Prize) för 2017 was awarded to two prominent human rights activists, Parvez Imroz and Parveena Ahangar, from the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir. The award ceremony took place in the city of Bergen. Kashmiri film maker Talat Bhat represented Nordic South Asia Network at the event.
The Rafto committee acknowledged that both the laureates – Parveena Ahangar and Imroz Parvez – have long been on the forefront of the struggle against arbitrary abuses of power in the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir that has borne the brunt of escalating violence, militarisation and south Asia regional tension. The prize of 20,000 Euros will be divided in both human rights activist.
The Rafto Foundation for Human Rights was established in 1987 in memory of Professor Thorolf Rafto (1922-1986), an iconic lecturer in economics at the Norwegian School of Economics in Bergen, Norway.

Parveena Ahanger and Imroz Parvez.

Parvez Imroz is the co-founder of the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), which promotes human rights and non-violence. The JKCCS has documented the Indian authorities´ use of torture in Jammu and Kashmir and published several reports, being used as reference document worldwide. Parvez is a veteran lawyer and has survived an assassination attempt.
Parveena Ahangar is the other recipient who is founded president of the Association of Parents of Missing Persons. Indian security forces picked Ahanger’s 17-year-old son from their home in Srinagar’s Batamallo area in 1990. She hasn’t heard anything from or of him since. Nicknamed ‘The Iron Lady of Kashmir’, Ahangar has stood against the high-handedness of the Indian military and security forces in disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir region.
Rofto Foundation organised two days activities on 4-5th of November as the aim for the event was to not just award the prize but to focus on Kashmir issue for next whole year in Norway and Nordic countries. Rafto Foundation had invited academics (working on Kashmir), human rights organisations, and Kashmiri organisations working in the Nordic countries for the occasion. On 4th of November, an open conference entitled “Voices of Kashmir - Defending Civilians in a Heavily Militarized Zone” was organised. Parveena Ahangar and Parvez Imroz spoke in keynote speeches and later the following academics presented the Kashmir past and current history:
- Mona Bhan, Associate Professor of Anthropology at De Pauw University, Indiana, USA
- Emma Brännlund, Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the Department of Health and Social Sciences, UWE, Bristol, UK
- Haley Duschinski, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Centre for Law, Justice  & Culture at Ohio University, USA
- Goldie Osuri,  Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology, University of Warwick, UK
on the 5th November a first internal session was held to plan next one year’s activities. Talat Bhat and Susanne Fallqvist from Nordic Kashmir organisation (Sweden based Kashmiri advocacy group) participated in the workshop.