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Nuns from the Drukpa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, better known as the "Kung Fu Nuns," have been named as finalists for the prestigious Václav Havel Human Rights Prize. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which established the award in 2013, cited not only the nuns work promoting gender equality, environmental sustainability and intercultural tolerance but their teaching self defense to women across the Himalayas region as reasons for their nomination.
The order, which primarily lives and trains at Druk Amitabha Mountain Nunnery in Nepal, began practicing kung fu a decade ago as a means of empowerment and have since been active in the fight against human trafficking and in bringing pandemic relief aid to remote villages over the past year. The other two finalists for this year's prize, Loujain al-Hathloul of Saudi Arabia and Julienne Lusenge of the Democratic Republic of Congo, are also noted for their work promoting women's rights.