TODAY -

Binalakshmi Nepram and Svetlana Alexievich : winners of 2018 RAW in WAR Anna Politkovskaya Award
- 4th October 2018 -

*

  Binalakshmi Nepram
Binalakshmi Nepram :: Pix - Office of Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network



Binalakshmi Nepram (INDIA)
AND
Svetlana Alexievich (BELARUS)

ARE THE WINNERS OF THE 2018 RAW in WAR ANNA POLITKOVSKAYA AWARD
for women human rights defenders from war and conflict

RAW IN WAR WISHES TO PAY SPECIAL TRIBUTE TO THE COURAGE OF THE 400 ROHINGYA WOMEN SURVIVORS FROM
Shanti Mohila [Peace Women]
(MYANMAR/BANGLADESH)

AS BRAVE VOICES REFUSING TO BE SILENCED

Today, Thursday 4th October 2018, RAW in WAR (Reach All Women in WAR) celebrates the courage of Binalakshmi Nepram, a courageous indigenous human rights defender and author from the state of Manipur, on the Indo-Myanmar border area, and Svetlana Alexievich, a brave writer and investigative journalist from Belarus.

Ahead of the 12th anniversary of Anna Politkovskaya’s murder on Sunday 7th October, RAW in WAR honours Binalakshmi Nepram and Svetlana Alexievich with the 2018 Anna Politkovskaya Award for their bravery in speaking out and in defying injustice, violence and extremism in the context of ‘forgotten’ armed conflict in their regions, for which they have suffered death threats and as a result of which Binalakshmi had to go into exile to save her life. She believes that, if she goes back to India, she could suffer the same fate as Gauri Lankesh, the Indian journalist and co-winner of the 2017 Anna Politkovskaya Award, who was assassinated to silence her voice.

The RAW in WAR Nominations Committee for the 2018 Anna Politkovskaya Award is deeply humbled by the quiet but effective acts of bravery undertaken by Binalakshmi Nepram and Svetlana Alexievich in order to raise and support the voices of women from conflict zones in their regions. Binalakshmi co-founded India's first civil society organisation to work on disarmament and to oppose growing militarisation, the Control Arms Foundation of India (CAFI). In 2007, she launched the Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network, which has helped more than 20,000 women survivors of gun violence in the 70-year-long armed conflict in Manipur to rebuild their lives and obtain justice.

Svetlana Alexievich who, in 2015, received the Nobel Prize in Literature, has been, for many years, bravely speaking out about injustices in the post-Soviet space and giving voice to those trapped in conflict, past and present. She has repeatedly criticised the Russian annexation of Crimea and the human rights violations in the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, as well as the growing nationalism and the oligarchy in Ukraine, which brought threats against her from both Russian and Ukrainian nationalists.

On Binalakshmi Nepram and Svetlana Alexievich receiving the 2018 Anna Politkovskaya Award, as well as the special tribute to “Shanti Mohila”, Lord Frank Judd, a member of the 2018 Award Nominations Committee, said:

Anna Politkovskaya will forever remain a lodestar and inspiration for all who are struggling for the cause of the highest standards in journalism and freedom. Binalakshmi and Svetlana are outstanding examples of the courage and bravery of so many like them standing firmly in the frontline against the forces of oppression, the abuse of human rights and tyranny. I am glad that we are celebrating their determination. We should take this opportunity of remembering all the others who are fighting as well.

Today, RAW in WAR honours Binalakshmi Nepram, a courageous human rights defender from the war-torn Indian state of Manipur. Binalakshmi grew up in Manipur, where day-to-day life is fragile with crossfire and violence on a daily basis, and lost her very young niece and nearly her parents. This became a turning point for her to mobilize women for the first ever ‘Women Gun Survivors Network’ in the country and to advocate for arms control. Binalakshmi is currently outside India, following threats against her by the Indian government. From there, and despite the danger she faces, Binalakshmi continues to campaign publicly for arms and gun control, the victims of the armed conflict in Manipur, and the rights of indigenous women.

On accepting the award, Binalakshmi Nepram said:

I thank the organisation, Reach All Women in War (RAW in WAR) and the distinguished jury for choosing to give us/me this honour, along with the noted writer and journalist, Svetlana Alexievich, from Belarus, who was also the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize winner in Literature. I receive this honour wholeheartedly, on behalf of the Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network, Control Arms Foundation of India and the Northeast India Women Initiative for Peace.

Manipur is in the Northeast Region of India, home to 45 million people, belonging to 272 indigenous communities and home also to South Asia's longest-running armed conflict, where over 50,000 lives have been lost, 400,000 people displaced and where - since 1958 - many have been living under martial law, called the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), sanctioned by the Indian Parliament. For many of us, our world of seven decades of war was something India and its policy makers hid from the rest of the world as an entrenched conflict.

This isn't fair in the world's largest democracy and we want the immediate repeal of AFSPA, and an end to the weaponisation, militarization, racial-sexual-environmental violence, trafficking, distortion of our indigenous histories and cultures, population engineering and corporatization of our lives.

Our efforts are humanitarian, in order to deepen democracy and to ensure the rule of law. This award is a recognition that we will not be silenced anymore by what we stand for. I dedicate the Anna Politkovskaya Award 2018 to all women survivors of Manipur, Northeast and the world, to my family and to all whose resilience, strength and belief in our work and courage made us rise, speak up, advocate and take action to bring the change we wish to see in this world.”

We also celebrate today Svetlana Alexievich and her fearless journalism. For her first book War's Unwomanly Face Svetlana Alexievich began to seek out female war veterans of the Second World War across the Soviet Union. A million Soviet women served at the front, but they were almost absent from the official war narrative. The book touches on topics that were taboo during the Soviet period, including the executions of deserters and the psychological effects of war. In October 2015, Svetlana Alexievich won the Nobel Prize in Literature for works that the prize judges called "a monument to suffering and courage in our time.
"

On nominating Binalakshmi Nepram and Svetlana Alexievich to receive the 2018 Anna Politkovskaya Award, Ella Polyakova, chair of the “Organization of Soldiers’ Mothers of St Petersburg”, a member of the 2018 Award Nominations Committee, said:
I think that the nomination of human rights activist Binalakshmi Nepram, her outspoken opposition to the conflict/war in Manipuri is important for all of us. We will be taking another step towards the realization that any war is a crime against humanity.

I am especially glad about Svetlana Alexievich's nomination, who showed us the truth about the war in Afghanistan back in Soviet times. In my opinion, her books, especially "Zinc Boys", helped turn public opinion in favour of peace. For example, we in the human rights organization “Soldiers' Mothers of St. Petersburg” consider Svetlana Alexievich to be our inspirational forebear. At the current time, when the human rights movement in Russia finds itself in such a hard place with murders, "political prisoners", "prisoners of conscience", "foreign agents" and against a background of wars in Ukraine and Syria, Svetlana Alexievich’s nomination is very important to us. For us, she is a voice for morality, peace and love.
"

Svetlana Alexievich did not stop speaking truth to power, despite the threats and intimidation, just like Anna Politkovskaya did. She returned to her native Belarus in 2011, after 11 years in exile, following threats and persecution under the regime of President Lukashenko and for the publication of her book about the war in Afghanistan. Svetlana Alexievich remains under a government “ban” - her books have not been published in Belarus, and she is de facto banned from making public appearances.

On accepting the award, Svetlana Alexievich said:

"Thank you for your letter and for awarding me this prize, it is so important to me today. My friends and I, we are all trying to resist the all-consuming grey gloom that surrounds us today, but our efforts are not visible!! But in order to remain true to ourselves, we continue to do our little bit all the same. Thank you for your support. We are strong for one another by the very fact we exist.

I knew Anna. I remember meeting her once in Oslo. We only had a little time and she and I went for a coffee, we sat in that cafe for two hours in all and she talked about Chechnya, it was a raw nerve. I told her I was terrified for her, how could a person withstand such an ordeal? And she said: "I couldn't live any other way. A friend once told me that I even talk about it in my sleep." To live a peaceful life seemed to her a betrayal of those who remained in Chechnya, she was always dying to get back there. Her soul was always there.

Anna loved life but was fearless. She said that there are many more people on the side of Good than we think. Not everyone has the courage to admit it, but it was they who helped her in Chechnya. And they often paid for it with their lives. Here, it was her belief in people that made the strongest impression.
"

Last year, RAW paid special tribute to Jamalida Begum, a brave Rohingya survivor of rape by Myanmar security forces, currently a refugee in Bangladesh, who, in 2016, spoke out about her own rape and that of three other women in her village and continued to denounce their treatment publicly, at severe personal risk. In so doing, Jamalida Begum played a significant role in drawing the world's attention to the grave human rights violations being inflicted on the Rohingya population, including sexual violence committed against Rohingya women and girls, in Myanmar. She is a Brave Voice Refusing To Be Silenced and joined a growing RAW community of women survivors and activists who speak out against atrocities and violations against civilians in conflict zones around the world.

By mid-2018, 400 Rohingya women survivors had joined the voice of Jamalida Begum, organizing themselves in the camps of Bangladesh to form the organization, Shanti Mohila [Peace Women], and to demand justice for themselves and for all survivors of violence from Myanmar. On 30 May 2018, the Shanti Mohila submitted a formal request to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for an investigation into genocide and persecution. They are Brave Voices Refusing To Be Silenced and we are moved by their courage and their determination to awake the international community and to see justice done.

On announcing the winners of the 2018 Anna Politkovskaya Award, Leila Alikarami, 2009 Award winner from Iran and a member of the 2018 Award Nominations Committee, said:
"I am honoured to welcome Binalakshmi and Svetlana to RAW’s family. Despite grave challenges they have faced in their lives as activists, they have refused to be silenced and worked hard to spotlight concerns of women in their communities and around the world. We are living in a world filled with injustice and atrocities and the international community has failed to fully address the suffering of our fellow human beings.

Listening to the stories of Rohingya women, I became ashamed of humanity. In 2018, a woman told me how soldiers grabbed her baby by the leg and threw her onto the fire and how soldiers had executed the men and boys in her village, had made a bonfire of their bodies, had set their homes and villages on fire and then had taken the women to rape them. Unfortunately, it is not only the Rohingya women who are suffering militarism and violence.

Many women from conflict zones, from countries that are in war like Syria, Yemen and Palestine are fighting for peace, human rights and justice. They put their lives at risk. They have lost their loved ones. We cannot even imagine the gravity of their pain. But what we can do for them is to help raise their voice, is to support them by making their stories known, by sharing their pain and by contributing to their cause. We are here, far away from conflict zones, but it is our duty to stand by our sisters in those areas and help them keep their hope. I strongly believe that human rights cannot exist without humanity.
"

On receiving the Anna Politkovskaya Award, Binalakshmi Nepram and Svetlana Alexievich will join a group of remarkable women human rights defenders who received the Anna Politkovskaya Award in the past, including Gulalai Ismail (2017) and Gauri Lankesh (2017), Jineth Bedoya Lima (2016), Valentina Cherevatenko (2016), Kholoud Waleed (2015), Vian Dakhil (2014), Malala Yousafzai (2013), Marie Colvin (2012), Razan Zaitouneh (2011), Dr. Halima Bashir (2010), Leila Alikarami on behalf of the One Million Signatures Campaign for Equality in Iran (2009), Malalai Joya (2008) and Natalia Estemirova (2007).

The awards will be presented to the winners in March 2019 in London at RAW in WAR’s ‘Refusing to be Silenced’ event, part of the 2019 Women of the World (WOW) Festival at the London’s Southbank Centre.

On the anniversary of Anna’s killing, RAW in WAR once again repeats its calls on the Russian authorities to protect human rights defenders from attacks and violence and bring all those responsible for Anna Politkovskaya’s murder to justice. Today RAW in WAR calls on the government of India to put an end to the persecution, killings and intimidation of women human rights defenders, like Binalakshmi Nepram, and to investigate Gauri Lankesh's murder fully and impartially and bring her murderers and those who ordered her murder to justice. RAW in WAR also urges the government in Myanmar to end the killing of the Muslim population and the sexual violence against women and girls in Rakhine state immediately. RAW in WAR calls on the government of Bangladesh and the international community to provide the necessary protection to refugees from Myanmar in Bangladesh, including to Jamalida Begum and her sons and father and all 400 women survivors from “Shanti Mohila”.

RAW in WAR wishes to dedicate this years’ Anna Politkovskaya Award to the memory of our dear friend and RAW colleague, Joy Watkins, who passed away in August 2018 from cancer. At RAW, Joy's devotion and selfless service in supporting the women human rights defenders from war zones, winners of the Anna Politkovskaya Award, was unprecedented. Joy's creativity and leadership, her ability for empathy and compassion, helped nurture a score of RAW supporters, staff and volunteers. She continues to inspire us and will always be part of RAW.

More information available at: www.rawinwar.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RAWinWAR
Twitter: @RawinWar (https://twitter.com/RawinWar)
@Refuse2beSilent (https://twitter.com/Refuse2beSilent)


* This information was sent to e-pao.net by RAW in WAR who can be contacted at media(AT)rawinwar(DOT)org
This Press Release was posted on October 05 2018

* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • A Soldier speaks over Timeline of Kashmir
  • International Day of Indigenous People
  • Saving future Manipur- need of the hour
  • Chayom Thupki (Meetei Philosophy) #9
  • Independence Day : Gallery
  • Suicide: how it looks like & what is
  • Manipur's 1st photojournalist, Santosh Ph
  • Mutum Ramo : President's Police Medal
  • A Letter to my Mother
  • Candle Light at Delhi for Babysana
  • In search of the elusive unity
  • Naga solution anytime soon, says Ravi
  • Landscape Dzukou Valley #1 : Gallery
  • Indigeneity: Expression & Experience : Book
  • Cry of a Dying River - 89 :: Poem
  • Career in youth development
  • The Wind Will Carry Us : Film screening
  • Communication Course for Development
  • Impact of Christianity among Vaiphei #1
  • Dolaithabi Barrage: An emerging failed Dam
  • Chamba, Ayung, Paomilal :: eMing
  • New India in Konung Lampak
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • High Court & Workers on Sand Quarrying
  • Niranjoy attempt to break Guinness Record
  • Scripting Congress Mukt slogan
  • Bharat Mata has no place on August 13
  • Heikat-Leikat [13 Aug] #1 : Gallery
  • 13 August: Day to remember the heroes #1
  • Jallianwala: Manglen Onkhraba Lamjao
  • Lets us preserve indigenous languages
  • Hepatitis and pregnancy
  • On statement by Hoho & Naga Mother
  • Thangmeiband : Distasteful politics
  • Remembering patriots
  • UN Human Rights: Manipur Experience #5
  • Patriots' Day @ Pune : Gallery
  • Historical War fought by Manipur :: Articles
  • Police adapting to challenge by trafficking
  • Preventing TB is rooted in medical ethics
  • In the name of Love :: Poem
  • Expensive motor laws on the way
  • 13th August observed at Pune
  • Youth conclave with a difference
  • Alarming State of Students Life in Manipur
  • Babysana: Student - Aug 10 #1: Gallery
  • On Manipur Handlooms: A Clarion Call
  • Dzuko - A piece of heaven on earth #2
  • Of Colours and Sunset
  • A Beautiful Mind :: Poem
  • An apple a day keeps wrinkles at bay
  • From hostels to the school
  • Renaissance of Meitei Hinduism
  • Babysana: State bandh - Aug 9 #2: Gallery
  • Id-Ul-Azha - Id Festival :: Book
  • Would any journalist dare to stand up #2
  • Artic Haobam won 1st ArP championship
  • Invitation : RIST Talk - 40 @ MU
  • Condole demise of Phanjoubam Santosh
  • Making a New India & fate of Manipur
  • Babysana: State bandh - Aug 9 #1: Gallery
  • Some basics that many people ignored
  • House building of the Zeliangrong #2
  • Condolence : Photo Jounalist Ph Santosh
  • World Indigenous Peoples at Khumulwng
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Zo Forum celebrates Indigenous day
  • Lukanand Ksh wins at Mister North East
  • Post mortem reports fail to cut ice
  • Babysana: Student protest- Aug 8: Gallery
  • Counterpoints: Transgender Rights Bill #2
  • Manipur topped rankings in Breastfeeding
  • Cry of a Dying River - 88 :: Poem
  • World Indigenous Peoples Day
  • Criticizes scrapping of Article 370
  • Naga leader compromise Naga future
  • Free Children Heart Surgery Camp
  • Another bandh after 12 hours bandh over
  • Babysana death: What ails this society
  • Folklore of Hao communities #3
  • Programm @Sangai Fest #4 : Gallery
  • 'Tamenglong & Manipur' Amur Falcons #2
  • Haris Adhikari: Finest Whiskey in Writing
  • Manipur bag 6 medals at National Fencing
  • Agriculture and skill training
  • Resolutions on Naga Political Issue
  • Need for Imphal to reach out to hill CSO
  • ..should be justice for 1000s babysanas
  • Ibudhou Pakhangba Haraoba #2: Gallery
  • Mob Culture in Manipur
  • Dzuko - A piece of heaven on earth #1
  • Abrogation of Article 370
  • Issue of illegal mining of minor minerals
  • Annual Legal Awareness Program at Pune
  • Power, Works back to Biswajit
  • Redefining India
  • Gandhari (Dance Drama) #1 : Gallery
  • Would any journalist dare to stand up #1
  • The Truth Lie :: Poem
  • An opportunity to end AIDS & TB
  • Soft skills?? What are soft skills
  • Community - Road to healthy environment
  • Scrapping Articles 370, 35A
  • Matsyanyaya: Law of the Fish
  • Babysana: protest @Khuyathong : Gallery
  • Road from Haochong to Noney : Gallery
  • House building of the Zeliangrong #1
  • The World We Want
  • My Lil' Hamlet :: Poem
  • CM meet with CSO: Naga solution at hand?
  • Aliyah #2 (Film Scenes) :: eRang
  • Old Age Home Kumbi : Gallery
  • Counterpoints: Transgender Rights Bill #1
  • 'Tamenglong & Manipur' Amur Falcons #1
  • Vocationalisation of education in Manipur
  • Tourism Festivals & Tourists in Manipur
  • The World Turned Upside Down :: Poem
  • Think about the future
  • Nachom : used traditionally by Meitei
  • Kanglen Kang Chingba #2 : Gallery
  • Trend of private drug rehabilitation centre
  • Saffronites unhappy with power politics
  • IABP (Balloon Pump) saved life
  • Mega Mister & Miss North East
  • Anti-terror laws & victimization of innocent
  • The state today: blame the representative
  • Will remain true to Framework : IM
  • Laonii Fest @Phuba #1 : Gallery
  • No #endAIDS without #endTB
  • Cry of a Dying River - 87 :: Poem
  • Green your skills for green jobs
  • Ji Ingobi Chingtham: Bicycle tour
  • Will surrogacy law be really effective?
  • Vacancies at Hadron Techs, Imphal
  • 14 hours out of 24 hours
  • When people turn violent against HC order
  • Babysana's last rites performed: Gallery
  • August Calendar for Year 2019 :: Tools
  • Parade @ Manipur Police, Pangei: Gallery
  • War with Climate
  • Matric, UG & PG days of an aerobiologist
  • Invitation : Workshop on Mathematica
  • Job vacancies at Makok Technologies
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Arrested but not on murder charge
  • Threatened future and the way out
  • Downside of Khuga Multipurpose Project
  • Manipur State Drug Policy #2
  • Scope of career in legal field
  • Demising the Adolescent Miss :: Poem
  • Threats against Rights defender Sobita
  • Demands action against scribe-assailants
  • Back home after Delhi's suggestion
  • Babysana's death and its questions
  • Licypriya: Abdul Kalam Children Award 2019
  • Two positives attracting each other
  • Kakching World War-II Memorial Run
  • Assessment your Tax for ITR
  • Who is responsible ?
  • Rejoinder to branding me as Fortune Teller
  • From Dec 8, 2016 to July 29, 2019
  • Of faith and failed justice
  • Neli Chachea: Doll Maker : Gallery
  • Traditional Practices of the Kukis: Book
  • Zero HIV transmission is must to #endAIDS
  • North-East students of Aryans Group shine
  • Th Tababi: gold at Asian-Oceania Judo
  • Mary Kom: Gold at President Cup, Indonesia
  • Rio on contribution of Himalayan States
  • Stand off to Babysana's death
  • Ibudhou Thangjing Haraoba #4: Gallery
  • CMHT cards to journalists : Gallery
  • Understanding land for peace
  • Politics & farmers waiting for a downpour
  • An Endless Summer :: Poem
  • Tobacco harm reduction - A realistic option
  • NDPP reacts to statement of NPF President
  • The fools think we can be fooled easily
  • Twinkle Twinkle Scientists Star
  • Rohan Philem Reception @Pune : Gallery
  • Keisham Geenita : tops AIEEA-PG-2019
  • Are we putting efforts on grassroot football
  • Condemns insensitive attitude of police
  • Skin problems that arise during monsoon
  • Countdown to Year 10 of Weekender
  • Light at the end of peace process
  • Of human rights and open world
  • General strike on Babysana : Gallery
  • Manipur State Drug Policy #1
  • Kindness - A Virtue
  • L Sarita nominated at AIBA commission
  • We don't lack talents :: Hidam Rajeev
  • Cry of a Dying River - 86 :: Poem
  • Courses on Information Technology
  • Three decisions vis-a-vis Babysana's death
  • Corporal punishment - violation of RTE
  • Trekking to Dzukou Valley #2: Gallery
  • Haj pilgrims send-off : Gallery
  • Is Lack of rain a problem for Paddy ..
  • Mission 'School Phagat Hanshi'
  • Labour Codes threaten Press Freedom
  • Program for IHGF Delhi Fair at Kakching
  • Heart Camp at Health Centre, MU
  • Questions on safety of school hostels
  • Babysana's case, safety of our children
  • Nupi Pali @ Kang festival: Gallery
  • Some Chase Goal, Some Hunt Goal
  • Himalayas: Where India Meets China..
  • Preventing TB is critical to #endAIDS
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Career option in Anthropology
  • Deafening silence of Govt
  • BJP's image in serious trouble
  • Gandhari (Dance Drama) : A synopsis
  • Social service @Ibudhou Thangjing: Gallery
  • Sanamahi Cheng Hongba #2: Gallery
  • Weaving at Nongpok Sanjenbam : Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2019 #3: Gallery
  • Social service @ Moirang : Gallery
  • World Music Day @Yaiskul #3: Gallery
  • 3rd Singcha Wuyawon Festival 2019
  • seL tiHZakaNdta nuHZa_Iba :: Seireng
  • Choidev Chongba @Kang Fest: Gallery
  • Cracks at Thong Nambonbi : Gallery
  • Yumnam Shamu : Natbhusan (Duhar)
  • The Great June Uprising #5: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • BAMCHAS Convention @ Sylhet : Gallery
  • Tolloi, Ukhrul :: 360 Panorama View
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2019 : Download
  • SPONSORED ADS