IMPHAL, April 6: While welcoming the recent UN response to prolonged application of the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the North east and Jammu & Kashmir, civil society organizations in Manipur have reiterated their stance for repeal of the Act.
The recent response of the UN through its Special Rapporteurs was discussed threadbare in a state level convention organized today at the Manipur Press Club by the Civil Society Coalition Human Rights in Manipur (CSCHR).
The convention was attended by a host of human rights organizations, civil society groups and Meira Paibis, besides individual activists.
After detail deliberations, the convention welcomed the general comments, conclusions and preliminary recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on Extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions Christof Heyns and the final report of the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders Margaret Sekaggya.
The delegates present at the convention also took note of the remarks made by the Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on the comments of Christof Heyns.
In response to the comments of Christof Heyns HM Chidambaram had said, the MHA had sought amendments in the controversial Armed Forced Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and the proposal is pending before the Cabinet Committee on Security.
UN Special Rapporteur Christof Heyns had commented that AFSPA should be repealed as it was ‘a symbol of excessive state power’ and ‘has no role to play in a democracy’.
Union Home Minister Chidambaram further said, ‘The view of the MHA is after considering the Justice Jeevan Reddy report and all other reports, the view of the Ministry of Home Affairs is that three amendments should be made to the AFSPA.’
While applauding Irom Chanu Sharmila’s 11-year old struggle against AFSPA, the convention resolved to further the Peoples’ Campaign for repeal of AFSPA by fully supporting the organization of a Manipur National Convention to consider the present scenario of armed conflict and international human rights, and humanitarian law violations in Manipur.
It also resolved to take up necessary steps and actions for repeal of AFSPA and advance the agenda for a peaceful political solution to the situation.
The convention concluded that the situation in Manipur arises from the Manipur people’s struggle for their right to self-determination as endorsed by the UN Human Rights Committee in 1997 and also by the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders.
It further concluded that, a situation of armed conflict exist in Manipur since the 50s and that international humanitarian law is applicable to this situation as supported by the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial summary or arbitrary executions.
The convention recognized that the Manipur people’s movement for self-determination and human rights continues to this day with the inclusion of all the people and this movement needs to be further strengthened.
The convention further resolved to urgently compile and publish the relevant recent documents relating to the UN officials visit to the North east region of India to further the People’s campaign.