IMPHAL, January 9: A discussion on United Nations’ Law of Armed Conflict and Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 was held today at Puangringlong village, Senapati.
The programme was jointly organised by the North East Dialogue Forum; People’s Action for Development NH-53, Senapati District; Puangringlong (Charoi Pandongba) Village’s Authority, Women Society, Youth Club and Farmers’ Club.
The consultation concluded by adopting several recommendations for both the government of India and the political armed opposition organisations.
The recommendations addressed to the government are immediate investigation into the cases of rape, torture, disappearances etc. committed by the government’s Security Forces in Manipur; urging the government to respect and implement the common article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, 1949 and Additional Protocol-II of 1977; urging the government to repeal AFSPA, 1958 and to provide compensation and assistance to the victims of rape, torture, trafficking and families of those civilians killed by the Indian Security Forces.
While, the recommendations addressed to the political armed opposition groups are to respect and implement the common article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, 1949 and Additional Protocol-II of 1977; to reconcile and stop factional fights in the interest of the civilians and to sign and respect the Deed of Agreement of Geneva Call.
Sobita Mangsatabam speaking on the topic, “Justice Verma Committee’s report and Rape as an Instrument of War” stated that United Nations Security Council Resolution 1820 of June 19, 2008 defined rape as an instrument of war.
She further said that Verma Committee’s Report also reflected the same observation and recommended for trial of rape cases in the civil court even while AFSPA is in use. Citing some incidents of rapes as examples including cases of Th Manorama (Bamonkampu), Ningthoujam (o) Ahanjaobi (Takyenthongbal), Rose (Ngaprum Khullen Ukhrul) and Operation Bluebird by the Indian military, she said that rape and other sexual violence had been used as an instrument of war by different actors in the ongoing armed conflict.
She called upon all the likeminded civil organizations and individuals to come together and build a collective struggle to end the heinous crimes committed against women.
Giving the key note address, P Ashen president, PAD-53, stated that the people of Manipur and other north eastern states have been reeling under violent armed conflict for the last more than 5 decades.
Extra-judicial execution, torture, enforced disappearances, rape, illegal detention, committed against the indigenous Manipuris people with intention to destroy, a national or ethnic or racial or religious group in the pretext of counter insurgency is nothing but genocide said Ashen.
He also described AFSPA as “dated and colonial-era law that breach contemporary international human rights standards.”
Speaking as a resource person, U Nobokishore secretary United NGOs Mission-Manipu, said that the International Humanitarian Law or simply Law of War is a set of rules which seek, for humanitarian reasons, to limit the effects of armed conflict. He added that International Humanitarian Law classifies armed conflicts as international armed conflict (IAC) or non-international armed conflict (NIAC).
He said that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 specifically applies in the case of conflicts “not of an international character”. Common Article 3, stipulates the minimum protection that must be afforded to all those who are not, or who are no longer, taking an active part in hostilities
Like common Article 3, Additional Protocol II provides the humane and non-discriminatory treatment of all those who are not, or who are no longer, taking part in hostilities. Most of provisions of Protocol II are now considered as a part of customary IHL and, thus, binding on all parties to NIACs added Nobokishore.