TODAY -

Historic Third Northeast India Indigenous Women Peace Congregation
Date : 19th November 2020



Date : Thursday, 19 November 2020
Time : 4.30 pm-5.30 pm Indian Standard Time
Venue : Via Zoom Link here
https://harvard.zoom.us/j/93393979904?pwd=c3NCNzBsU2dtUzdTb3BHZGxjaEIwdz09
Theme of Meeting : Working Towards Our Collective Peace, Justice & Rights

Organized by
Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network,
Northeast India Women Initiative for Peace &
The Global Alliance for Indigenous Peoples, Gender Justice & Peace

Northeast India is a region of immense geo-strategic importance that borders five countries namely Myanmar, Bangladesh, China, Nepal and Bhutan. This region comprises eight uniquely beautiful states — Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura. Home to 45 million indigenous peoples that belong to 272 ethnic groups speaking around 400 languages, the region blessed with lush greenery, magnificent mountains and hills also saw border tension with China. This beautiful region is also home to one of the world’s longest running conflicts, which is yet to see the resolution till today. The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) 1958 is still imposed in the indigenous areas of the region since 1958 and the region is yet to see peace and development.

The issue of racism is also a reality faced by many indigenous peoples of Northeast India. During corona virus pandemic, many from Northeast India were called “Corona Carriers” and asked to “Go back to China”. According to Binalakshmi Nepram, Founder-Director of Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network, “Till today the history of the region is excluded in the history text books of India and social exclusion and discrimination are faced on an everyday level by the Indigenous peoples in metropolitan cities of India. This needs to change”.

Besides, there is also environmental and natural resources exploitation happening in Northeast India. A hundred dams are being planned to be built all across the indigenous territories in Northeast India and environmental violence continues non-stop in the name of development. Linkages of arms, narco-trafficking and criminalization of democracy is happening which has huge repercussions on indigenous youth and the region’s future.

Under these circumstances, rape and murder of indigenous women have become common practice since decades with no punishment for the perpetrators. According to Lourembam Nganbi, Meira Paibi woman leader from Manipur, “Till today, the perpetrators of Thangjam Manorama’s killers have not been punished and furthermore crimes against women, particularly domestic violence within the region are also on the rise”. Assam has recorded the highest numbers of women and child trafficking cases in the Northeast in the past two years. Many of these trafficked indigenous women are also sexually assaulted and murdered in metropolitan cities of India such as Delhi, Bangalore, Gurgaon etc. Moreover due to conflict, many children have been particularly affected.

Inspite of the challenges, Northeast India is also home to one of the world’s most extraordinary indigenous women’s movements. Manipur’s first and second Women’s War of 1904 and 1939 is an important point in history and the work of Naga Mothers Association for peace is well documented. Women have informally been working for peace in the region but unfortunately, they are yet to be recognized as key stakeholders and to be included in formal peace processes. There are 17 peace talks in India’s Northeast Region and not a single woman in included in the peace talks. Women in the region are excluded of decision making structures and are discriminated due to cultural, ethnical reasons, patriarchal structure and customary laws.

Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network and the Northeast India Women Initiative for Peace along with various women leaders from across the region started work to plug this gap since the year 2007. In 2010, we launched the Northeast India Women Initiative for Peace and on 25 March 2015, we brought together indigenous women from Northeast India for the First Historic Northeast Women Peace Congregation held in Manipur. This was followed by “Second Northeast India Women Peace Congregation held on 24 August 2016 in Guwahati, Assam. And we are hosting the third one on 21 November 2020 via zoom. The theme of the congregation is “Working Towards Our Collective Peace, Justice and Our Rights’. The historic convening seeks to discuss the following :

o Set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission for Northeast India to investigation into all forms of death, disappearances and genocide and ethnic cleansing of Indigenous People from Northeast India since 1949 till date. This is important to acknowledge our past, to understand our present and take positive steps for future peace in region.

o Recognize racial, gender and environmental violence, population engineering, distortion of our histories, cultures, languages, rituals and indigenous ways of life in our region and find ways to protect this.

o Acknowledge violence against indigenous women and girls, arms and narco-trafficking in our areas as this has greatly impacted our security and our democracy.

o Discuss ways to bring peaceful resolution of political settlement to the conflicts in region and ensure that women are included in all peace talks, negotiations and decision making. No peace without women of Northeast India. No to peace talks without women.

o Call for the setting up of an anti-racial law to stop racial violence against indigenous peoples of Northeast India and call for repeal the Discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act passed in Dec 2019 as this Act also impacts Indigenous Peoples.

o Strengthen survivors assistance and ensure economic empowerment programs to help support women and children survivors of violence and all forms of violent conflict and work to call on to stop threats and attacks against Indigenous women human rights defenders in the region.

Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network (MWGSN) was founded on December 24, 2004 in an attempt to help women in Manipur and other armed violence affected areas, whose lives have been affected because of the gun killings of a family member whether be it by state, non-state actors or unidentified gunmen. For more details log on to www.womensurvivorsnetwork.org.

Northeast India Women Initiative for Peace (NEIWIP) is a network of women-individuals, groups and organizations that are working for peace in the northeast region of India. NEIWIP brings together women from all over Northeast states to strategize an action plan for building peace, providing justice and political rights in the region ruptured by years of conflict.

Global Alliance of Indigenous Peoples, Gender Justice and Peace (GAIGAP) is a global alliance led by indigenous peoples and those committed to the issue of indigeneity from all the seven global indigenous zones of the world and whose aim is to work towards an strengthening ties of indigenous peoples, especially Indigenous Women and work collectively for Indigenous Peace, Disarmament and Conflict Resolution, Inclusion of Indigenous Histories and Cultures in Nations and in Global Narrative of History and Story Telling and for Racial & Environmental Justice and a Gender Just Equal World.


* This information is sent to e-pao.net by Arambam Nongdren (Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network) who can be contacted at nongdren(DOT)cafi@gmail(DOT)com
This Post was webcasted on 19 November 2020

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