Human Rights Day: 'People in WESEA unable to experience minimum standard of human rights'

Corcom sends greetings to people on 72nd Human Rights Day


(Read IFP)

On the 72nd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which falls on Thursday, the proscribed umbrella organisation CORCOM has extended its greetings to the people of the state and rest of the world.

A release issued by media coordinator M Sak-hen stated that the theme of this year’s Human Rights Day is ‘Recover better: Stand Up for Human Rights’ as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic and focuses on the need to build back better, by ensuring that Human Rights are central to recovery efforts.

Although the seeds of international human rights legal system have been sown by UDHR, the people of ‘Western South East Asia (WESEA)’ have been unable to experience a minimum standard of human rights, it stated. The political, economical, social and cultural rights of this region, which has become an occupied territory of India, have been closely tied with the creation of India by the British, it added. Following the independence of India, all the princely states became independent. They were given the option to have relations with India or Pakistan or remain independent, it stated.

As for Kangleipak (Manipur), the Manipur Constitution Act, 1947 was created under the special arrangement, Para 5 of “Memorandum on States, Treaties and Paramountcy (Cabinet Mission’s Memorandum, May 12, 1946),” the release stated. The general election of Manipur National Assembly, having 53 seats was held in 1948 and a sovereign republic nation was established. It was a new Manipur created by representatives of Naga, Kuki and Meetei Pangal communities, it added.

It stated that India forcefully merged all the princely states, including Manipur, Tripura, Hyderabad, Travancore, Junagadh, Kashmir etc. and their right to self-determination was taken away. Manipur lost its independence to India in 1949 and became an occupied territory ever since, it added. The sovereign nation which had become a republic was reduced to a Part C state and granted statehood in 1972. Though it became the 19th state of India, Manipur still exists as an Indian occupied territory, it added. It was a forceful annexation and not recognised by any international law, it added.  

It further stated that in 1979, the Indian government ratified UDHR’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) with the assurance that these laws will be respected. But the ‘Declaration-Reservation’ maintained by India against Article 1, considering the right of people to self-determination is a total disregard of democracy and rule of law, and goes against the system of UN, it added. France, Netherlands, Germany and Pakistan have been voicing against this, it stated. Meanwhile, India continues to oppress the people of ‘WESEA’ and their right to self determination, it added.

However, issues concerning self-determination still remain a major concern to the United Nations, it stated.

In 2015, former secretary general of UN Ban-Ki-Moon said, “colonisation has not been completely abolished yet” during the Caribbean Regional Seminar on Decolonisation held in Nicaragua, it stated.

At present, the United Nations is being made aware of the ongoing movement for self-determination in Manipur through various organisations. The matter has been discussed in UNO meetings and the rest of the world is becoming aware of the situation, it added.

It stated that India is busy looting the natural resources, medicinal plants, hydro-power projects and mineral resources such as natural gas, petroleum, coal, chromite, uranium, limestone etc. from ‘WESEA’.  Despite objections from the indigenous people, several multi-purpose projects, dams, have been constructed and exploration of natural gas and petroleum have been continued using the army and police force, it added. Manipur’s own passport/visa system was abolished in 1950 and the influx of outsiders has increased excessively. The number of migrant labourers has been increasing exponentially, it added.

Many outsiders are given Indian citizenship on the basis of religion, it stated. This has allowed illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in Manipur and other states to become Indian citizens, it added. As per Citizenship Amendment Act, new citizens can migrate and settle in the northeast region, it added. Though ILP has been implemented in the state, there are several loopholes in the system.

Although outsiders are forbidden from purchasing lands under ILP and Sixth Schedule, they still can buy lands from the consent of the village chiefs and the government. Multinational companies can still purchase lands in the state. In this regard, why Manipur and the rest of the states in Northeast India are not allowed to partake concerning the creation of CAA? the release questioned. It further asked, “Why the people of this region have to take the burden of the Partition, which happened before they were even colonised?” The act itself has been declared unlawful by the Human Rights Body of UN through the Supreme Court as it discriminates Muslims, it added.

It further stated that the people of Manipur and rest of the region are living in fear of the influx of migrants, and the subsequent deterioration of its own culture, tradition and identities. The indigenous people of Tripura are being threatened by extinction, Assam has been already flooded by Bangladeshis and Bengalis, it added.

The rest of the NE states may face a similar fate soon.  What India has been doing is termed as “Transplantation of civilian population of the Occupying Power into the Occupied Territories” which has been banned by international humanitarian law, it added.  

It stated that the movement for right to self determination has been continually oppressed through the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 (AFSPA). Meanwhile, security forces have been practicing illegal drugs smuggling in the area. The drug menace has ruined many lives in the state. Many VIPs and high ranking officials of Assam Rifles, Manipur police have been arrested, it added.

On the other hand, the people of this state have been affected by COVID-19, the release further stated adding the shortages and loopholes in the public health care system have been exposed. Not more than 1,000 people could be tested on a daily basis and there are shortages of ventilators, the release mentioned. Except for RIMS and JNIMS, there are no other well equipped health facilities, it added.

The release stated that freedom of speech and expression, established by UDHR and ICCPR is not being recognised by India which claims to be the world’s biggest democracy, and many who have expressed voice of dissent have been thrown to prison. Many intellectuals have been silenced and subjugated, it added. With the arrival of UDHR’s 72nd anniversary, the organisation appeals to all to come together and fight for universal rights, it added.

First Published:Dec. 10, 2020, 9:22 a.m.

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