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
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2018 : Download
  • Lamyanba Irabot- Floral Tribute #2: Gallery
  • A scientific view to uniqueness of Kangla
  • Citizenship Bill 2016: An unjust Bill
  • Developing a database on bio-resource #1
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Flight at the land of clouds :: Poem
  • Stop occupation at Moreh Chikim village
  • Contribution of Rani Gaidinliu
  • Police Day Marathon #2: Gallery
  • Kayada Ningthijaba Eseino :: Review
  • Stop religious encroachment of Kangla
  • Cry of a Dying River - 50 :: Poem
  • Money- laundering and juveniles
  • To drive or to be driven
  • The barricade cordoning CMO
  • October 31 rally : Manipur is a reality !
  • Mera Chaorel Houba #2 : Gallery
  • Anglo-Kuki War 1917-19 : Gallery
  • Tribes, Castes & Development :: Book
  • Durga Puja celebration in Manipur
  • Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis
  • Life did put me into darkness :: Poem
  • Matrimonial sites: Dangerous proposals
  • Absentee in history
  • Of KTC and demand of UMLA
  • Pari Imom (Film Scenes) #1 :: eRang
  • Chunglenyanba, Awa Leima :: eMing
  • Manipur State Constitution Act, 1947 #1
  • 7th anniversary of PCRM
  • Funding TB response is smart investment
  • The Broken Stone:: Poem
  • 15 Ceremonial Horses handed to Myanmar
  • Needs for realizing the truth
  • Time to put education on track
  • Bor khoiramba @Hiyangthang #1 : Gallery
  • Kuki Black Day: desperation to Nagas #2
  • Finance knowledge to make better decision
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Bunglawn Remembers Dr Kalam's Visit
  • No baab tree :: Poem
  • Official website of Sangai Photo Festival
  • Beauty care with natural ingredients
  • Deportation of Rohingya against intl law
  • Noting efforts to put MU on track
  • MU: Teachers/students released : Gallery
  • Death Anniv - Bhagyachandra #3 : Gallery
  • Ithai Barrage Impact on Environment
  • Rural development as career option
  • Put the kibosh on ochlocracy
  • Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) in women
  • India International Cherry Blossom Festival
  • Marketing Assistant @ PiCiDi, Canchipur
  • 'Ram Madhav is wrongly briefed' : NPF
  • Uniforms for school teacher: What purpose?
  • Marangwon at @Mt Khorung #3 : Gallery
  • Police Day Marathon #1: Gallery
  • I call it life :: Poem
  • International day for Disaster reduction
  • Contested territorial demands in Manipur
  • WhatsApp & mobile usage study results
  • Physics Programme in Nowgong College
  • Rejoinder to NDPP [15 October]
  • Stop bluffing Nagas
  • The state of the states
  • Gearing up for Oct 31 rally
  • Historical Evaluation of Puya Meithaba #4
  • MU: Student/police clash -10 Oct #2: Gallery
  • X-Jam -Extreme Sports & Music festival
  • Urban Local Govt in Mizoram :: Book
  • 3 perspectives in context of present Manipur
  • Figures in the Shadows :: Poem
  • To UNC, Zomi Council, Hmar Inpui on ST
  • HC acted in good faith for MU
  • Jarnail Singh @ MU : Gallery
  • Heikru Hidongba #3 : Gallery
  • The undeniable subtlety of Atingkok
  • Kuki Black Day: desperation to Nagas #1
  • Let me shower moonlight :: Poem
  • On allegations issued by NPF : NDPP
  • Challenges to the digital dreams
  • Eyes now on K Yugindro
  • Lamyanba Irabot- March Past #3: Gallery
  • Death Anniv - Bhagyachandra #2 : Gallery
  • Meetei Tribe wont grab land of Hill Tribes
  • Making a tangible difference
  • Contradicted journey of IPC Section 377
  • Free open defecation & open pee
  • Act East & Importance of Myanmar & NE
  • Vacancies at Multimind Software
  • Waiting for "Sorry"
  • Out Yugindro in Jarnail Singh
  • Mera Chaorel Houba #1 : Gallery
  • AMAND Pune: Cultural evening : Gallery
  • Management Convergence at Mizoram Univ
  • Observation of World Mental Health Day
  • Cry of a Dying River - 49 :: Poem
  • Buddhism is free from compulsion...
  • 7th AGM / Cultural evening of AMAND, Pune
  • Forsaken farmers - food for thought
  • Second police raid at MU
  • NESO opposes Indo-Nepal Treaty in NE
  • British Council, NEC sign MoU
  • MU: Student/police clash -10 Oct #1: Gallery
  • Death Anniv - Bhagyachandra #1 : Gallery
  • Anglo-Kuki War 1917-1919
  • University :: Poem
  • Remembering class boycott 2009-2010
  • Hair stylist as career option #2
  • Training of Trainers on Gender Justice
  • Manipur University fresh violence by police
  • MU Crisis- admissions and omissions
  • Issues besetting State before LS polls
  • Langban Heitha Leithaba #2 : Gallery
  • Sizo Festival @Saikot : Gallery
  • Opening of Moreh-Tamu Border Gate
  • Forest Cover of Nagaland :: Book Review
  • Ingocha Chingtham: Cycling from Mumbai ..
  • Blood Transfusion service- future in Manipur
  • IT Enabled Employment Generating Course
  • NDPP condemns statement of NPF
  • Beyond the reality
  • Need for MUTA to approach Court
  • Kang Tournament @Kongba #2: Gallery
  • Elangbam Sonamani : Sahityaratna 2017
  • Celebrating the rights of wildlife- Are we
  • The sky's gone wonderful :: Poem
  • Communal Harmony and Integration
  • Opportunity for India in Indo-Pacific Region
  • To be a good man
  • Education : Why no private players here ?
  • Tarpon Sonba : Gallery
  • mtM :: Seireng
  • MN Singh promoted as IG of CBI felicitated
  • Loktak from different perspectives #2
  • The Journey of Happiness :: Poem
  • A personal discourse of Manipuri people
  • Improper use of loud speakers in Manipur
  • Art Exhibition @Art College #3: Gallery
  • Sudip Kongbrailatpam -recording engineer
  • Dismantled 9th times & safer in 10th times
  • Remembering Irawat: Are we following ..
  • State Level Archery Championship 2018
  • Stop religious encroachment at Kangla
  • Navratri (festival) make up
  • khongjang changsinnaba sem sarey : ST
  • MU crisis: Emerging questions
  • Lining up five days blockade
  • Dhol Chollom @Sangai Fest: Gallery
  • A Road Trip to Myanmar #2
  • Maroi napakpi in Manipuri dishes
  • National Integration Tour Team
  • Cry of a Dying River - 48 :: Poem
  • Ending antimicobial resistance to #endTB
  • Condoles death of Pu Kaikhokam Kipgen
  • Rejoinder to NDPP (5th Oct) : NPF
  • Responsibility required - not restriction
  • After Thuingaleng Muivah who ?
  • Paddy dry up due to deficit rainfall
  • Lamyanba Irabot- March Past #2: Gallery
  • Binalakshmi Nepram : RAW in WAR Award
  • Agribusiness & Carbon Management : Book
  • Is Gandhi (ian) relevant today ?
  • Guidelines for Hostels for Children
  • ATM based frauds : Router compromise
  • 'Rio's announcement as just mockery'
  • Training Program on Mushroom Cultivation
  • 'Chadong' - the victim of development
  • Poles apart : Pandey and Singh
  • Manipuri Diaspora in Myanmar #2
  • Why has Egg become Danger for Manipur?
  • Speech by Atif Anik on Irabot Day 2018
  • Wounded tree :: Poem
  • Hair stylist as career option
  • Synopsis of Sizo Festival 2018
  • Traffic regulation still a Flop show
  • In the evening of his life : Th Muivah
  • Langban Heitha Leithaba : Gallery
  • World Bamboo Day #2: Gallery
  • Where have all the lights gone ?
  • Mahatma and non-violence
  • Detention of students/professors of MU
  • Gandhi Jayenti at Itanagar
  • IBSD cleans Imphal City
  • MU: Abide by wisdom of Sr citizens
  • Power of humility
  • Ghost of Pandey : Four teachers suspended
  • Lamyanba Irabot- March Past #1: Gallery
  • October Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • Looking at Loktak from perspectives #1
  • Morning - a Haiku :: Poem
  • R&V Art House curates 'Land of Polo'
  • Show for football fans at NEUFC Fan Park
  • Indigenous People: Stand against Fascist
  • Clarification on Tamei Residential School
  • Organic Farming Tour to Sikkim
  • System error- or is this real democracy
  • Autonomy for Naga- Stakeholders on board
  • Th. Muivah hospitalized
  • Choidev Chongba @Kang Fest : Gallery
  • A Road Trip to Myanmar #1
  • The day after Sahnit-Ni
  • ..but Irabot may still shed tears in heaven
  • Heikru Hidongba #2 : Gallery
  • Lamyanba Hijam Irabot :: Read all about
  • Tingmila Doungel : Manipuri Boxer
  • Tarpon: Annual offerings to dead by living
  • Historical Evaluation of Puya Meithaba #3
  • MU: General Srtike [27 Sep] #2 :: Gallery
  • Irabot's letter to Assembly :: 18 Oct 1948
  • Ringui Village, Ukhrul :: Gallery: Gallery
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #4: Gallery
  • Tuilha Kol waterfall #2: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Sit-In: Naga Peace Talk #2 : Gallery
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Jangou Rah : eRang Classic
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS