OSLO: Two residents from Occupied Kashmir on Thursday won Norway´s Rafto Prize for human rights for their long-term struggle against violence in the disputed territory, the jury announced.
Parveena Ahanger, nicknamed "The Iron Lady of Kashmir ", founded and leads the Association of Parents of Missing Persons after her 17-year-old son was kidnapped by security forces in 1990. She hasn´t heard anything from or of him since.
Her co-laureate, lawyer Imroz Parvez, founded the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) which promotes human rights and non-violence. It has documented the Indian authorities´ use of torture in Jammu and Kashmir .
Rafto Foundation said Parveena Ahangar and Imroz Parvez have long been at the forefront of the struggle against arbitrary abuses of power in Occupied Kashmir that has borne the brunt of escalating violence, militarisation and international tension.
"Their long campaign to expose human rights violations, promote dialogue and seek peaceful solutions to the intractable conflict in Kashmir has inspired new generations across communities," it added.
The prize of $20,000 (17,750 euros) will formally be presented on November 5 in the western Norwegian town of Bergen.
Between 8,000 and 10,000 people have gone missing since the beginning of the escalation in the 1980s, according to the Rafto Foundation.
Named after the late Norwegian human rights activist Thorolf Rafto, four past winners of the prize (Aung San Suu Kyi, Jose Ramos-Horta, Kim Dae-Jung and Shirin Ebadi) went on to win to Nobel Peace Prize, whose laureate for 2017 will be announced on October 6.