Suman Guha Mozumder in New York , Rediff.COM May 09, 2006
A 28-year-old peace activist from Jammu and Kashmir, who has made personal sacrifices to encourage peaceful solutions to conflict in the trouble-torn state, is among the recipients of the 2006 Reebok Human Rights award.
Khurram Parvez, who co-founded the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society and works with Kashmiri Lawyers for Human Rights, will be awarded the prestigious honour next week at a gala ceremony in New York.
Besides Parvez, the award that recognises young activists who have made significant contributions to human rights causes through nonviolent means, will be given to Li Dan, leading Chinese AIDS activist, Rachel Lloyd, crusader and advocate of girls in the sex trade in New York City and Otto Saki, a lawyer dedicated to protecting human rights defenders in Zimbabwe.
Each of the honorees will receive a $50,000 grant from the Reebok Human Rights Foundation to further their work.
Two years ago Vanita Gupta, a young lawyer for the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People who spearheaded a battle for the release of 35 falsely imprisoned African Americans, the victims of racial injustice, was among the recipients of the 2004 Reebok Human Rights Award. India Abroad, a rediff publication, later honoured her with the India Abroad Person of the Year award.
Parvez found his calling while a university student in Kashmir when he witnessed the distress and hostility of students used to a lifetime of violence.
"When the fate of ten million souls is in question, it seems worth sacrificing anything and everything," he says.