Consultation programme on IHL and AFSPA held

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IMPHAL, June 11: A discussion program on International Humanitarian Law and Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 was held today at Diocesan Social Service Society (DSSS), Mantripukhri.

The program was jointly organised by North East Dialogue Forum (NEDF), People’s Action for Development NH-53 (PAD-53), Senapati district, United Community Development Platform, Village Women Coordinating Committee, People’s Platform Secretariat and Conflict Widows’ Forum, Manipur.

Kimboi, member of NEDF said in her key note address that AFSPA, 1958 was imposed in the Northeast by India so as to suppress the insurgency movement. The act gives enormous powers to the armed forces of central government such as power to kill, destroy properties, search and arrest without warrant.

She also said that based on the reports of Ministry of Home, Government of India and Home Department, Government of Manipur, during 1980 to 2010, 2106 numbers of insurgent cadres were killed by security forces, 1218 security personnel were killed by insurgent groups and 2405 civilians were killed by the insurgent groups in Manipur.

A case in Supreme Court is also on for the alleged extrajudicial killings of 1528 persons by the security forces in Manipur. She further stated that in the ensuing armed conflict, women and children have been the most vulnerable and have suffered the most. During 1980 to 2012, 36 women and 98 children have been reportedly killed in Manipur, she added.

The common article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, 1949 should be at least respected and implemented by all parties related with the conflict in the region urged Ms. Kimboi.

Life in Manipur and other parts of the Northeast region is under constant threat and insecurity though ‘Right to Life and Personal Liberty’ is guaranteed under Article 21 of Indian Constitution.

The International Humanitarian Law or Law of Armed Conflict applicable in the armed conflict situation in Manipur and other parts of the Northeast region therefore, should be implemented and respected by all conflicting parties.

W Basanta, Advocate 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.

It prohibits also the passing of sentences and carrying out of executions without judgment being pronounced by a regular constituted court providing all judicial guarantees recognised as indispensable. It imposes an obligation on the parties to collect the wounded and sick and to care for them stated Mr. Basanta.

Resource person, Kh Rebati Raman Member North East Dialogue Forum said that Indian Constitution which came into force on January 26, 1950 guaranteed the Right to Life. And equality before Law to the people of India along with social, economic and political justice, freedom of thought and expression on which Indian democracy thrives.

He said that sweeping powers and immunity enjoyed by the Indian Armed Forces under the AFSPA nullifies the Right to Life (Article 21) and Equality before Law (Article 14).

AFSPA has failed to serve the very purpose for which it was devised stated Rebati. Therefore, he called for the repeal of AFSPA immediately.

The consultation adopted some recommendation against the government of India and to the armed opposition group that Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 should be repealed, Respect and implement the common article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, 1949. Establish Truth Commission and deliver justice to the victims of all forms of human rights violations committed by the government’s security forces. Provide assistance to the victims for complete rehabilitation and reintegration.

 

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