[Assam] Sharmila Irome of Manipur awarded an International Human Rights prize.

Bartta Bistar barttabistar at googlemail.com
Wed May 2 04:03:37 PDT 2007

*2 Indians chosen for Korean human rights award *


*Posted :* Wed, 02 May 2007 10:28:00GMT

*Author :* Indo Asian News Service

 Seoul, May 2 Two Indians have been chosen for a prestigious South Korean
human rights prize in recognition for their work towards improving human
rights in India.

Lenin Raghuvanshi from Uttar Pradesh and Irom Sharmila from Manipur are the
co-recipients of this year's Gwangju Prize for Human Rights.

Raghuvanshi and his Varanasi-based People's Vigilance Committee On Human
Rights (PVCHR) have fought the Indian caste system through various social
activities. His group has lent support to torture victims in different
Indian states.

PVCHR has also opened education centres in 45 villages for children spread
across the country. Raghuvanshi's organization has developed into a
nationwide and worldwide network comprising legal experts, journalists and
human rights advocacy groups.

Irom Sharmila of Manipur has been on a fast-unto-death since November 2000
demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which
is in force in her state. She has been force-fed for six years now even as
she continues her protest against the indiscriminate use of what many call a
draconian act.

Last year, she went to New Delhi to carry on her six-year long protest but
was immediately arrested and sent to a hospital. She returned to Manipur
this year.

'Regardless of the difference in the methods respectively employed, they
both have fought for the same noble cause of the advancement of human rights
and social justice, yet they still have a long way to go. The Gwangju Prize
for Human Rights will provide boost in their further struggles,' a press
release from the Gwangju Prize Committee stated.

The Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Award was established to mark the spirit
of the Gwangju Uprising May 18, 1980. Over 200 people were killed - going by
official figures - when the people in that South Korean city rebelled
against military rule and demanded establishment of democracy. The rebellion
was violently suppressed by the then South Korean president Chun Doo-hwan,
who was also the country's army general.

After Chun Doo-hwan's reign ended in 1988, the incident was officially
recognized as an effort to restore democracy after military rule.

Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar is among past winners of this
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