BERGEN, NORWAY (NNI): Two leading Kashmiri human rights defenders Pareena Ahangar and Parvez Imroz Advocate have urged the civilized world to help the oppressed people of Jammu and Kashmir who are suffering due to the brutalities from a long time.
They were speaking at an international conference in Norwegian City of Bergen on Saturday, a day before the award ceremony of RAFTO Foundation in the city. The conference was arranged by the foundation and a number of the intellectuals, professors, diplomats, researchers and human rights activists from different countries of the world were present on the occasion. They said, the international community should use their influence in order to stop the violation of human rights in the Indian Held Kashmir (IHK). The RAFTO Foundation of Norway would give its annual award to these two leading human rights figures from Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK) in Bergen on 5th November (Sunday). According to the foundation, Perveena Ahangar and Imroz Parvez will get this award due to their long struggle for human rights in Jammu and Kashmir. The award is second most important after Nobel Peace Prize in Norway.
During her speech, Parveena Ahangar who is founder chairperson of Association of Parent of Disappeared Persons in Indian Held Kashmir could not stopped her emotional feelings and cries. Her tears also forced almost of participants to express their concerns on human rights violation in IHK. She said, we are crying for our rights for a long time but now our voices are being listened. It is for the first time an international organization invited us to give an award at an international forum. We are grateful to RAFTO Foundation for giving us this global recognition. She demanded that crimes against humanity in Kashmir should be stopped and rights of the Kashmiris should be given to them. Disappeared people should be recovered and personnel involved in the brutalities should be punished. Addressing the conference the second Laureate of RAFTO Prize Mr Parvez Imroz who is President of Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) said, 8000 people in IHK are disappeared and their relatives are still waiting for them because they don’t know their whereabout. They raise question about them but nobody answers them. Imroz said, Indian had deployed 700,000 forces in IHK to oppress the people of Jammu and Kashmir. India should withdraw its forces and end brutalities in Kashmir. During the question answer session, Imroz said, India attitude is harmful with us and it means India does not want non-violent solution of Kashmir issue. He added, because of awful behavior of India, we don’t expect peaceful earlier resolution of Kashmir issue.
The conference was moderated by Eirik Bergesen and welcome speech was given by Jostein Hole Kobbeltvedt, the Executive Director of Rafto Foundation. Associate Professor of Anthropology at DePauw University, Indiana Mona Bhan, Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the Department of Health and Social Sciences, UWE, Bristol Emma Brännlund, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for Law, Justice & Culture at Ohio University Haley Duschinski and Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology, University of Warwick Goldie Osuri also spoke on the occasion. The speakers highlighted historical, cultural, geographical and social aspects of Kashmir and pointed out that Kashmir is a highly ignored issue which needs special attention of the world community. The said, award for two leading defenders of human rights from IHK would help once again in raising the issue at international level. World would understand the sensitivity of the issue and such trend would create ground for a peaceful resolution of the problem. A prominent human rights activist from Holland Ms Marjan Lucas who attended the conference expressed hope that this award would give more recognition to value of human rights in IHK as recognition at international level is very important.
On the occasion, Chairman Kashmir Council EU Ali Raza Syed who traveled from Brussels, Belgium to Bergen Norway for participation in the event said, both RAFTO Prize laureates are struggling against the violation of human rights in IHK for a long time. We have to understand importance of the RAFTO award which can cause to effectively raise the issue at international level. This is a great opportunity to further highlight the Kashmir issue at the globe. Executive Director Kashmir Scandinavian Council based in Norway Mr Ali Shahnawaz Khan said, this is second most important achievement in the context of Kashmir issue after the UN resolution on the topic. It will help in further highlighting the issue at international level. Pakistan’s Ambassador to Norway Riffat Masood said, the voice of the oppressed people of Kashmir has been listened and it will create more awareness on issue. 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 her 17-year-old son was abducted 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 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.