Binalakshmi Nepram, a rights activist from Manipur who has been supporting the women survivors of violence in northeast India, is now going to be one of the prestigious award winners which are being conferred to female human rights workers. Binalakshmi is named to as a winner of the Reach All Women in WAR (RAW in WAR) ) Anna Politkovskaya Award which is also being jointly offered to Nobel literature laureate Svetlana Alexievich. Svetlana is an investigative journalist and writer from Belarus.
Binalakshmi had once worked for Oxfam and the co-founder of the Control Arms Foundation of India (CAFI) in 2004 which is a civil society organisation working on disarmament and opposing militarization.
Notably, this prestigious award is being offered to recognize female bravery across the world and this certainly is a matter of pride not only for the people of North-east but of the entire nation. Women who show bravery in speaking out and defying “injustice, violence and extremism … in ‘forgotten’ armed conflict in their regions” are particularly honoured through his award. The organization that provides this award, RAW in WAR, is a UK-based charity that has come forward to support women human rights defenders and war victims.
Remarkably, both women awardees have suffered death threats or persecution and are in exile from their home countries. Binalakshmi left India about a year ago for her own security and lives in the United States now. Stating her condition, she said, “I do not want to be a statistic in a body bag.”
Binalakshmi was the founder of the Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network in which she extended a hand of help to more than 20,000 women who have a history of dealing with decades of armed conflicts and ethnic violence. She was a witness of the killing of a 27-year-old man in a village in southern Manipur and later it was she who helped out his young wife Rebika Akham by buying her a sewing machine to earn for a living.