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Indian Catholic activist honored for work with Dalits

Arokiasamy has demonstrated “enormous courage and taken grave risks” in his work as he rescued about 25,000 victims in 3,000 incidents

A Catholic social activist from southern India’s Tamil Nadu state is this year’s recipient of the Raoul Wallenberg Prize from the Council of Europe for his work with the Dalit community in the country.

Vincent Raj Arokiasamy, founder of the organization “Evidence,” is given the recognition for his outstanding determination and persistence in bringing meaningful change to the lives of the Dalits, historically known as the “untouchables.”

“Arokiasamy (better known as “Evidence” Kathir) has risked his life to help an exceptionally disadvantaged part of the Indian population whose plight is often ignored by national and international communities,” said Marija Pejčinović Burić, secretary general of the Council of Europe, in a statement.

“In defending human rights with incredible commitment and resilience, his courageous actions for the so-called ‘untouchables’ fully reflect the spirit and values of the Raoul Wallenberg prize,” she added.

The award-giving body noted how Arokiasamy demonstrated enormous courage and taken grave risks in his work as he rescued about 25,000 victims in 3,000 incidents of human rights violations.

The award is named after Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg who was arrested in Budapest on January 17, 1945, for saving tens of thousands of Jews from the Holocaust.

Starting in 2014, at the initiative of the Swedish Government and the Hungarian Parliament, the Council of Europe has created the Raoul Wallenberg Prize to keep the memory of his achievements alive.

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The Prize, worth €10,000, is awarded every two years in recognition of extraordinary humanitarian achievements by a single individual, a group of individuals or an organization.

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