Organisations affirm to defend resources, rights on WIP Day


    Imphal: On World’s Indigenous Peoples Day, different organisations in Manipur have come forward affirming that indigenous peoples have the right to self determination over land, water, forest and all natural resources of Manipur as inherent for the physical and spiritual survival, rights and future.

    A statement from Centre for Research and Advocacy Manipur, Citizens Concern for Dams and Development, Citizen’s Action for Social Empowerment, Awang Sekmai New Market Development Association received here stated. The organizations celebrated WIP Day on the theme “Defending our land, water, forest, our rights and future.”

    The organizations expressed concern with the continued application of emergency laws, such as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 (AFSPA, 1958) to subdue the right to self determination of indigenous peoples of Manipur, which derogates “right to life” and “right to justice remedy”. “The AFSPA, 1958, responsible for serious human rights violations, continues to be enforced in Manipur despite peoples’ and the United Nation’s call for its repeal,” it stated.

    The organizations also expressed concern that vast tract of prime agriculture land and forest are acquired to sustain militarization process in Manipur, in subduing indigenous peoples’ political rights and to advance corporate interest of Multinational corporations. “We condemn all efforts to expand the Leimakhong Army base and to further conscript more than 1000 acres of prime agriculture land in and around Sekmai area,” the statement vented.

    The organizations also took serious note of development and infrastructure projects Manipur and the introduction of new land acts saying it would further impoverish indigenous peoples and increase land alienation, and add to the violation of peoples’ rights.

    It also expressed solidarity with the ongoing movement in Manipur to stop state sponsored infusion of non indigenous populations in indigenous territories of Manipur and to formulate appropriate legislation towards protection of indigenous peoples’ right and land, their livelihood sources and future.

    It further called on the Government of India to address their concerns.