Families of AFSPA victims speak of helplessness

IMPHAL August 27 (IFP): The North East Dialogue Forum held a one day consultation programme on Armed Forces Special Power Act 1958 and International Humanitarian Law at Classic hotel today.

Family members of victims of AFSPA narrated several testimonies of rights violation under the Act including death of minor in a landmine blast, kidnapping by militants, torture of minors by both State and non-State actors, shot death for un-established suspicions.

During their narratives, the families talk about the helplessness of a common man during times of conflict situation when a person’s life is reduced to collateral damage.

The narratives of the families that were mainly from the very poor sections of the society were full of helplessness, injustice and trauma which have lingered on for even years after the incidents.

The families also highlighted their sadness against the apathy of the State government towards them and their desperation in seeking justice.

The speakers also highlighted several cases of high handedness of the Army under the guise of the AFSPA and the police who people wrongly conceive to be under the Act.

Advocates Nando Elangbam and Laimayum Serananda deliberated on the background context of the AFSPA.

They also cited several reports and observations which points to the illegal imposition and extension of the Act and how it contradicts the International Human Rights frameworks.

The advocates also lucidly explained how the AFSPA 1958 devalues the International Bill of Human Rights.

The International Bill of Human Rights includes the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Optional Protocols to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights- which are all legally binding for the member States under the United Nations even in conflict situations, said Serananda.

NEDF convenor U Nobokishore explained the relation between AFSPA and the IHL.

He observed both the State and the non-State actors are violating the provisions of the IHL in Manipur.

He further cited several incidents in support of his observation.

He also talked about the attitudes of the Army exercising excess power within the protection of AFSPA 1958.

All such experiences amounts to not merely violation of our rights but also absence of any humanitarian safeguard in our conflict situation, he remarked.

During the convention some well-known personalities like Priyadarsni Gangte, Radhepriya, W Jamini and Sitaram Begum also spoke.


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