Sunday 29 June 2014

Convention on Human Rights of Human Rights Defenders held

The Hueiyen Lanpao, 29 June 2014
Imphal, June 28 2014 : A one-day Convention on 'Human Rights of Human Rights Defenders of Manipur' was held at Manipur Press Club here Friday.  Jointly organized by Human Rights Law Networks (Manipur Unit), Human Rights Initiative, United NGOs Mission and Centre for Research and Advocacy Manipur, the convention also strongly condemned the assault on Laimayum Sevananda of Human Rights Law Network, Manipur Unit by suspected security forces in plain clothes and called upon the state Government to investigate and identify those involved in the attack within a reasonable period of time.

It also condemned the verification campaign unleashed by the Intelligence Bureau on activist d and NGOs in the name of deterring development by using foreign funds.

In his keynote address, Jiten Yumnam elaborated the need for protection of human rights defenders of Manipur who are working in an environment of armed conflict situation and also in the context of recommendations of Ms.Margeret Sagakya, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders to protect human rights defenders across India.

Director of Human Rights Law Network, Manipur Unit Rakesh Meihoubam pointed out that government should change their behavior and respect the human rights of all peoples of Manipur.

Sharing the recent incident of harassment on him by the personnel of IRB, Journalist Paojel Chaoba condemned the actions of the state security forces violating the rights and freedom of media persons of Manipur. Stressing the need for a system where all violations can be addressed with proper legal aid, Executive Director of Human Rights Alert Babloo Loitongbam stressed on the crucial need for specific mechanisms in which all victims can raise their voice and mooted idea of a focal point committee which can monitor all violations.

Director of WAD Sobita, while expressing concern over the recent incident of physical attack on Advocate Shivananda by team of security personal, said that attacking an Advocate like Shivananda represents an attack on all advocates of Manipur. Phulindro Konsam, Chairperson of COHR raised concern how the Government of India still relies on colonial laws of the British imposed during the Indian freedom movement.

He put up the proposal to demand the government to implement provisions of UN declaration on Human Rights Defenders, 1998 to end violations against human rights defenders. Saying said that the law enforcing agencies, instead of protecting people, are targeting innocent people and human rights defenders, UNMM Secretary U.Nobokishwor stressed the need for review of the Indian Police Act, 1860 for its inconsistency with human rights advances.

Among others, the Convention resolved that Centre and the Government of Manipur should recognize the human rights and ensure protection of all human rights defenders who are striving for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at all levels. It also appealed to the government to investigate and punish those involved in the torture, arbitrary detention and killing of all human rights defenders of Manipur specifically those involved in the attack on Journalist Paojel Chaoba.

Implementation of the recommendations made by UN Special Rapporteur Margaret Sagakya during her visit to India in February 2011; repeal of all emergency laws, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1958, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967 and the National Security Act, 1980; unconditional release of Irom Sharmila conceding her legitimate demand for repeal of AFSPA; review of Indian Police Act, 1860 etc. were among the resolutions taken in the Convention.  The Convention also demanded full functioning of the Manipur Human Rights Commission by appointment of competent and committed members through a transparent process, and setting up of special cell for protection of human rights defenders.

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