Odisha-based rights activist Akhand has become one of the nine recipients of the International Public Peace Prize.
On the occasion of the International Day of Peace, the Public Peace Prize team in Canada announced the winners of the 2020-21 edition on Tuesday.
This award is the only distinction in the world focused on the recognition of people and initiatives working for peace that are proposed, nominated and validated by the public.
Akhand hailing from a rural background has received appreciation from several quarters in the past for campaigns where human rights are grossly violated by the state.
Akhand has been providing direct free legal assistance to victims or their family members in cases of human rights violations through direct intervention.
He approaches the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) on behalf of victims or their families. He fights against human rights violations where the public is directly or indirectly affected.
He has filed more than 1000 cases before NHRC or SHRC for individual victims or for the public. More than 10,000 people have benefited directly from interventions made by Akhand, according to a release.
This year, in spite of the uncertainties of the pandemic, nine nominations proposed and supported by local teams met the requirements to be nominated as a finalist.
They come from five countries including Canada, Colombia, India, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Pakistan.
Akhand is among three Indian recipients. The other two are Shruti Nagvanshi, a Varanasi based women‘s and children‘s rights activist, and Dr Arjumand Zaidi, who runs a global campaign called “Peace and Tolerance through Human Rights”.