INDIA: Akhand becomes Public Peace-Laureate

By Chinmaya Dash,India

Well-known Odisha-based rights activist Akhand became 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 at 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 became deeply involved in campaigning where human rights are grossly violated by the state. 

He has been constantly on the move, fighting for justice and the protection of human rights in the greater interests of society. 

He is a rural activist who lives a simple life and has a strong desire to work with and for the benefit of common people.

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.

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, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Pakistan. Akhand is among three Indian recipients. The others 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”.

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