The participants of the Manipur State Convention on “Protection of Human Rights Defenders of Manipur” organized[i] at Manipur Press Club, Imphal, Manipur on 19 October 2013 hereby:
Recalls the role and importance of human rights defenders in an armed conflict afflicted Manipur to end all forms of human rights violations and to seek justice, and further, in fostering respect of democratic values, of culture of rights and in seeking social, economic, environmental, gender, civil and political justice and their contribution in building sustainable peace.
Expresses concern with the persisting and increasing threats, ill treatment and harassment of human rights defenders of Manipur by State actors and others for their human rights activism, for promotion of right to life, right to land and natural resources, for women’s and children’s rights etc, in the context of increasing economic liberalization and related development aggressions. Reiterate that targetting human rights defenders are serious human rights violations, under India’s national laws, Int’l Human Rights standards and International Humanitarian Laws.
Further, expresses concern with the summon of Mr. Jiten Yumnam, a human rights defender on 2 October 2013 by Police commandoes at Commando complex, Minuthong, without any legal order and giving any reason and setting premise for further monitoring of his human rights activism.
Recall the obligations and directions of National Human Rights Commission of India to uphold the rights, safety and protection of all human rights defenders of Manipur and across India. Further, recall the 1996 DK Basu Judgement against arbitrary summon, illegal arrest and torture of innocent people.
Recall the recommendations of Mr. Margaret Saggakya, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, in her report submitted to the UN Human Rights Council following her visit to India in January 2011 to protect the human rights of all Human Rights Defenders in Manipur and across India.
Expressing concern with the wide misuse of emergency legislations in armed conflict afflicted Manipur, such as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967, National Security Act, 1980 which are used to target Human Rights Defenders to rights violations.
Expressing solidarity with the struggle of human rights defender, Ms. Irom Sharmila, who’s been on fast for the last 13 years for the repeal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958
Expressing concern with the non functioning of the Manipur Human Rights Commission, due to non appointment of its members, which hinders in seeking protection and justice for human rights defenders
Recall the UN Declaration on the rights of Human Rights Defenders 1998 and express our concern with the absence of specific policy to protect the human rights of all human rights defenders
The participants of the State Convention on protection of Human Rights Defenders unanimously adopted the following resolutions:
That the Government of Manipur and Government of India should:
– Recognize the importance and legitimacy of the works of human rights defenders i.e anyone who “individually and in association with others, ….. promotes and ….. strives for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at all levels (Article 1 of UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, 1998).
– Ensure the protection of all human rights defenders of Manipur and allow them to continue heir legitimate human rights work without fear of harassment, torture and deprivation of their right to life.
– Stop targetting all human rights defenders of Manipur to ill treatment, harassment and degrading treatment, and torture including to Mr. Jiten Yumnam, a distinguished human rights defender of Manipur, Mandir Laishram etc and to ensure their safety and protection.
– Repeal all emergency laws, which impacts on the security of innocent people and human rights defenders of Manipur, especially, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967 and the National Security Act, 1980
– To drop all charges against Internationally renowned human rights defender, Ms. Irom Sharmila, who is on hunger strike demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958
– Ensure the full functioning of the Manipur Human Rights Commission, Manipur Information Commission and all ombudsman of welfare schemes, with due appointment of competent and committed members through a transparent process
– Ensure right to information, free exchange of human rights information, freedom of expression for all human rights defenders of Manipur
– Fully implement the recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, Ms. Margaret Saggakya in February 2011 during her visit to country visit to India.
– Establish a policy for the protection of human rights defenders of Manipur with their due consultation in accordance with the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, 1998.
– Formulate policies to end all practice of torture, ill treatment, intimidation, reprisal, harassment, degrading treatment, clamping false criminal charges of all human rights defenders and other members of the community in accordance with the UN Convention against Torture
The participants further resolved to:
– Apprise all concerned officials of the Government of Manipur and Government of India to protect the human rights of all human rights defenders of Manipur
– Apprise the National Human Rights Commission of India, visiting and holding sessions in Manipur from 23rd till 25th October 2013 of the difficulties faced by the human rights defenders of Manipur. Urge the NHRC to allocate adequate time to discuss the matter with human rights defenders during its maiden visit to Manipur. And further urge the focal point on Human Rights Defenders in National Human Rights Commission to accord special attention to the situation of human rights defenders of Manipur.
[i] The resolution of this Convention on Protection of Human Rights Defenders of Manipur, organized by the Committee on the Protection of Natural Resource in Manipur, the North East Dialogue Forum, the All Tribal Students Union Manipur, the All Zeliangrong Students Union, Citizens Concern for Dams and Development, Human Rights Initiative, Naga Women’s Union, Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur, Sinlung Indigenous Peoples Human Rights Organization is endorsed by the following organizations.
- All Loktak Lake Areas Fishermen’s Union
- North East Dialogue Forum
- Centre for Social Development
- Human Rights Law Network
- Manipur Alliance for Child Rights
- Centre for Organization, Research and Education
- United Peoples Front
- North East Identity Protection Organization
- All Manipur Women’s Voluntary Association
- Poirei Leimarol Meira Paibi Apunba Lup Manipur
- Committee on Human Rights
- Human Rights Alert
- All Manipur United Clubs Organization
- United NGO’s Mission
- Rongmei Lu Phaum
- Naga Women’s Union
- JAC Against Eviction of Lamphel Yaipha Leikai
- Mapithel Dam Affected Villagers Organization
- Manipur Legal Services Centre
- Citizens Concern for Dams and Development
- Committee on the Protection of Natural Resources in Manipur
- All Zeliangrong Students Union
- All Tribal Students Union Manipur
- Sinlung Indigenous Peoples Human Rights Organization
- Human Rights Initiative
- CADO Heirok
- Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur
- Tammi Chingmi Apunba Nupi Lup
- All Manipur Nupi Samaj
- International Rivers
source: Imphal Manipur