Respect International Humanitarian Law: Consultation urges govt, armed groups

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IMPHAL, May 8: A one-day Christian leaders’ consultation on International Humanitarian Law and AFSPA was held today at Kotlenphai Village Community Hall, Chandel, jointly organised by District Woman Committee, Chandel, UNM-M and Thadou Students Association Chandel District.

Babloo Loitongbam, director, Human Rights Alert, Dr S Chongloi, general secretary, Kuki Movement for Human Rights, Sobita Mangsatabam, co-convener Women Action for Development and A Mobi, president of the Editors’ Guild attended the function as resource persons and guest speakers respectively.

The consultation was organised mainly on the political commitment of the political armed opposition groups and Government of India to respect the International Humanitarian Law most specifically common article 3 of Geneva Conventions, 1949 and Additional Protocol 2 of 1977.

Dr S Chongloi spoke on the role of civil society organisations and church leaders.

He said Christianity came from the west, and they have the concept of individualism which is not appropriate in “our society.”

He further added that time has come for the people to use the power of truth and say no to the wrong and evil things, and bring the much needed changed to the society.

Babloo Loitongbam consulted on leadership qualities, ethics of war, Geneva convention1949 common article 3 principles. He questioned why the Indian government has imposed the AFSPA only in the north-east and not in other states where killings are more frequent?

Or is the government racially discriminating the people of the region because of the different physical features, he said before adding the government has totally denied the people of the region their rights and dignity.

Resource persons Sobita Mangsatabam spoke on rape as a weapon of war and A Mobi consulted on the importance of media in modern society.

The consultation recommended the government of India to repeal AFSPA from the state immediately without any condition, as it violates the right to life and other civilian rights; to follow the norms of international humanitarian law in the armed conflict zone; investigate into all cases of rape, torture on women and children and deliver justice as being a largest democracy of the world, use of anti-land mine by Indian security forces in Chandel and to stop the security forces from torturing civilians.

The consultation also recommended the armed groups to stop inter factional fights and to reconcile the differences; to respect and implement the Geneva Convention, 1949 common article 3 and additional protocol 2 of 1977.

The community leaders were also appealed to create unity and not difference among the people to create a peaceful society and bring the people under one platform, common vision and a common goal.

The consultation also urged the community leaders against signing any paperwork with having proper knowledge, and its possible impact to the community and, to protect and promote human rights.

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