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The Department of Politics and International Relations, in collaboration with Rafto Foundation for Human Rights, University of Warwick, and University of Westminster's Kashmir Solidarity Society is organising a conference to cover various struggles and issues connected to righting the human wrongs committed in the name of the nation-state with a specific focus on India in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Centre for the Study of Democracy (CSD) within the University of Westminster’s Department of Politics and International Relations has a research theme on 'Post-Colonial Politics, Development and Emerging Powers'. that in addition to other issues, investigates how religion, history, territoriality, political economy, militarization, democratisation and resistance have contributed to a volatile politics that disconnects states and people. There is an explicit focus on engagement with communities and impacting upon public debates around these contentious subjects. Kashmir is one such subject. While academic discussions around Kashmir remain wedded to approaches that treat it as primarily a territorial conflict between India and Pakistan thus ignoring the experiences of people of Jammu and Kashmir, at the CSD we adopt a critical approach to understand Kashmir as a site of pain and suffering due to state-imposed indignities as well as a site of hope and struggle for human rights including the right to self-determination.

Parveena Ahangar and Parvez Imroz have long been at the forefront of the struggle against arbitrary abuses of power in Indian-administered Kashmir that has borne the brunt of escalating violence, militarisation and international tension. Their long campaign to expose human rights violations, promote dialogue and seek peaceful solutions to the intractable conflict in Kashmir has inspired new generations across communities. They are the recipients of Rafto Foundation’s Prize for Human Rights 2017.

The organiser of this event is Professor Dibyesh Anand, the Head of Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Westminster.

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Keynote Speakers

  • Parveena Ahangar is the chairperson of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP). She co-founded the organisation in 1994, four years after her son Javed Ahmad Ahangar was arrested by the Indian Army and was ‘disappeared’. Since then, she has mobilized hundreds of families to protest, hunger strike, demonstrate sit-ins and demand the whereabouts of their vanished loved ones. She was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. In 2008, she petitioned the United Nations Working Group on Involuntary and Enforced Disappearances, (WGIED) to impress upon India the need to repeal laws that enable impunity in Jammu and Kashmir. She is known as the ‘Iron Lady’ of Kashmir for her dedicated and quest for justice. She is a recipient of Rafto Prize for Human Rights 2017.
  • Parvez Imroz is a human rights lawyer and defender. He is the President of Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCSS), an amalgam of various non-funded, non-profit, campaign, research and advocacy organizations based in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir. Imroz was the eleventh recipient of the Ludovic-Trarieux International Human Rights Prize by Human Rights Institute of The Bar of Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France and the European Bar Human Rights Institute. In November 2017, Imroz was awarded the Rafto Prize.

View list of other participants.