AFP honoured at Asia human rights media awards

Agence France-Presse received three honours at the Human Rights Press Awards held in Hong Kong Sunday for articles and photography covering South Asia that judges praised for their depth of quality and ambition.

The 18th annual edition of the pan-Asian awards was held jointly by the Hong Kong Journalists Association and Foreign Correspondents' Club, and the Hong Kong chapter of Amnesty International.

Ammu Kannampilly, AFP's bureau chief in Nepal who was formerly a reporter in the New Delhi office, received first prize in the English-language online category for her story "The Children Who Work in India's Rat-Hole Coal Mines".

"Ammu's work in telling the story of child labour behind the boom in commodities and renascent economies of Asia was thorough, compelling and powerful," commented journalist Douglas Wong, a member of the judging panel.

"At a time when news organisations struggle to allocate resources to the human -- let alone human rights -- stories that matter, the judges were delighted to see work of this calibre," he said.

Charlotte Turner of the New Delhi bureau won a merit prize for a story about the rape and abuse of war widows in the former Tamil battlefields of Sri Lanka's north.

Dhaka photographer Munir uz Zaman was commended in the feature photography category for a heart-rending series of images taken after the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in April 2013, which killed more than 1,100 people.

"These three commendations pay tribute to AFP's commitment to high-quality, original reporting, informing the world of the stories that lie beneath the surface at a time of breakneck change in Asia," said AFP's Asia-Pacific regional director, Gilles Campion.

Read AFP's story on India's rat-hole coal mines