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UN Spl Rapportuer Rashida Manjoo weeps with Manorama's mother
Imphal witnesses largest ever UNSRVAW meeting

Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, April 28 2013: United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, its Causes and Consequences (UNSRVAW) Rashida Manjoo, who is currently on an official mission to assess the different manifestations of violence against women in India, held a consultative meeting with representatives of civil society organizations, women human rights defenders, victims and other advocates working on violence against women at Classic Hotel, North AOC here today.

As many as forty separate depositions were made during the meeting, unarguably the largest one ever convened by UNSRVAW during her current 10-day long official mission to India from April 22 to May 1 .

After hearing all the depositions, Rashida observed that it was not her mandate to comment on the depositions made before her, but assured that her report and recommendations would be based on facts and they would be placed on the table of the forthcoming session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, which is scheduled to take place June this year at Geneva for necessary actions.



Executive Director of HRA Babloo Loitongbam delivering the vote of thanks of the meeting
Executive Director of HRA Babloo Loitongbam delivering the vote of thanks of the meeting


Furthermore, she said that her opinions and conclusions as an independent expert were hers alone that these would not be changed or shaped by any influence whether from government or any others.

It may be noted Rashida landed at Imphal yesterday on a two-day visit following an invitation sent from the side of Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights in Manipur and the UN (CSCHR) on March 13 for covering Manipur and the North East region during her mission to India.

Before wrapping up her official mission to India, the visiting UNSRVAW is expected to hold a national press conference at New Delhi on May 1 .

Today's consultative meeting at the Royale Conference Hall of Hotel Classic was attended by over 200 delegates and family members of women victims of violence from all over the North East region and West Bengal.

Representatives of International organizations and National NGOs such as International Committee on the Red Cross (ICRC) and Child Rights and You (CRY) were also present during the consultative meeting moderated by Jarjum Ete, Secretary of National Alliance of Women (NAWO) and former Chairperson of Arunachal Pradesh State Women Commission.

The consultative meeting began with welcome address by convenor of CSCHR Dr Laifungbam Debabrata Roy, who said, "We place our highest confidence and trust in you today, as you convene this historic meeting in Imphal" .

"Yesterday, our people remembered the day, 123 years ago when the independent state of Manipur lost her sovereignty and the Union Jack was unfurled in the holy citadel and fortress of Kangla Pungmayol in Imphal on April 27, 1891.The sovereignty has never been regained till today.

In this context, your historic visit is most significant for us in Manipur," Dr Roy added.

Among the deponents was the mother of the late Thangjam Monorama.

Breaking into tears during her testimony, she appealed for justice for her daughter, who was brutally tortured and raped by personnel of the Indian paramilitary force, Assam Rifles before she was killed and her dead body abandoned in a field.

Hearing the heart breaking testimony, the UN Special Rapporteur openly wept with Thangjam Monorama's mother.

Irom Chanu Sharmila also submitted a hand-written letter to the UNSRVAW.

According to reliable sources, the UNSRVAW made continuous attempts to meet Irom Sharmila during her visit to Imphal, but the permission to meet her did not materialise.

CSCHR submitted a comprehensive memorandum to the UNSRVAW.

Titled, "Manipur: Perils of War and Womanhood", the memorandum gives detailed information on various forms of violence against women in Manipur, the genesis of its swift escalation since the 50s and included several recommendations.

Executive Director of Human Rights Alert (HRA) Babloo Loitongbam, who delivered the vote of thanks, emphasized the significance of Rashida's visit and highlighted the cause of Irom Chanu Sharmila, who has been on a fast unto death stir for 13 years demanding repeal of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 from Manipur.

The draconian law, which confers wide impunity to personnel armed forces, should have no place in a democracy and its prolonged imposition has been widely condemned, Babloo stated.

He also apprised Rashida and all other present in the consultative meeting that many UN treaty body mechanisms and other Special Rapporteurs including Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions Christof Heyns have recommended repeal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act and Justice Verma Commission had also recently called for its repeal and accountability of the Indian armed forces personnel involved in rape and other forms of sexual assault.

But these recommendations have been ignored by the Government of India when it introduced the Criminal law (Amendment) Bill, 2012 in Parliament.


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