IMPHAL, June 27: A one day convention on Human Rights of the Human Rights Defenders of Manipur was held today at the Manipur Press Club.
The day was jointly organised by the Human Rights Law Networks, Human Rights Initiative, United NGOs Mission and Centre for Research and Advocacy Manipur.
The convention was organised in connection with an attack on advocate Laimayum Shivananda on June 13, late evening by suspected unknown armed security personnel and in the backdrop of the increase in human rights violation of human rights defenders of the State.
Various human rights defenders were present during the convention including HRA executive director Babloo Loitongbam, chairperson Committee on Human Rights Phulindro Konsam, secretary United NGO’s Mission, Manipur U Nobokishore and a victim of the Lamphelpat Yaipha Lekai Eviction Maibam Nganbileima as presidium members.
Apart from condemning the assault on Human Rights Defender advocate Laimayum Sevananda by suspected security forces in plains cloth, the convention called upon the government to investigate and identify those involved in the attack within a reasonable period of time.
Other resolutions taken during the convention include recognition of human rights and fundamental freedoms of the people at all levels, checking threats and physical attacks targeted on human rights defenders, punishment of security personnel involved in the attack on IFP senior reporter Paojel Chaoba in the early period of 2014, full implementation of recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, Margaret Sagakya.
The convention had also resolved to demand investigation and punishment for all involved in the torture, arbitrary detention and killing of human rights defenders, demand repeal of all emergency laws, Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967 and the National Security Act, 1980 and other legislations that facilitate violations of human rights in Manipur.
It has also called for the unconditional release of Irom Sharmila and to concede her legitimate demand to repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958, review Indian Police Act, 1860 for its compliance with human rights principles and ensure full functioning of the Manipur Human Rights Commission by appointment of competent and committed members through a transparent process.
The convention had also demanded that all security forces in Manipur strictly adhere to recommendations of Supreme Court judgement of 1997 in hearing of AFSPA, 1958 especially to identify themselves in their operations.
The convention has also adopted to form an adhoc Ccommittee to constitute a platform for the protection of the safety and security of human rights defenders of Manipur.
Speaking as a resource persons, HRLN director, Rakesh Meihoubam said it is time for the government and its agencies to change their behaviour towards people and respect their human rights.
IFP senior reporter, Paojel Chaoba shared his experience of harassment at the hands of some IRB personnel and condemned how the State forces violate the rights of even the media persons in the State.
Babloo Loitongbam said proper legal action can be taken up against any rights violation with proper legal aid and further stressed on the need for specific mechanisms through which all victims of rights violations could raise their voice.
He further mulled the need for a focal point committee to monitor all violations in the State.