Human Rights Watch on Thursday announced that prominent activist Ratnaboli Ray is the recipient of its Alison Des Forges Award for 2016. Ray works for the rights of people with mental health conditions, for which runs an NGO called Anjali that provides training to people living with such ailments in government facilities. The award honours those who work to protect the rights and dignity of others, the organisation said on its website.
In 1997, she had faced discrimination for her own mental health condition when her employer forced her out of her job after she experienced a breakdown. Born into a family of social activists, the incident propelled her into fighting for others with such ailments. Her NGO, which was formed in 2000, has received praise for its ideas, such as challenging the use of solitary confinement and electroshock therapy without consent in treating people with mental conditions in West Bengal.
The activist was instrumental in forming a national alliance that helped people with mental health conditions secure access to justice. Her organisation has partnered with Human Rights Watch in its projects that fight for the rights of women and girls with disabilities in India.