TODAY -

Memorandum for drafting an Anti Racial Law, to develop a National Diversity Policy

Delhi, 20 January 2018:

Conference on addressing racial and gender based violence
Conference on addressing racial and gender based violence



MEMORANDUM

19-20 January 2018

To
His Excellency
The President of India
Rashtrapathi Bhavan
New Delhi - 110 001

Subject: Submission of memorandum for drafting an Anti Racial Law, to develop a National Diversity Policy and to adopt a National Action Plan on Women Peace and Security

Honourable President,

Warm Greetings from Control Arms Foundation of India (CAFI), Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network (MWGSN) and Multiple Action Research Group (MARG).

This is to bring to your kind notice that Control Arms Foundation of India and Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network was founded on Dec 24, 2004 in an attempt to help vulnerable and marginalized sections of minority communities, whose lives have been affected by violence in Northeast India and Delhi NCR. We also work for empowerment of these sections of the society in overcoming Racial Discrimination and all forms of Gender Based Violence.

Whereas, Multiple Action Research Group (MARG), Since 1985 MARG has been engaged in the legal empowerment of disadvantaged and marginalized groups through legal awareness, socio-legal research, advocacy initiatives and legal aid. MARG has extensive experience in conducting legal literacy workshops on laws relating to constitutional rights, livelihood, protection of women from violence, personal laws, political participation through panchayats and discrimination.

On 19 and 20 January, 2018 at the iconic India International Centre, New Delhi, a first of its kind international conference on Deepening Diversity, Women's Rights and Democracy was convened. The congregation was an amalgamation of global experts, research academicians, policy makers, lawyers and advocates in the field of gender studies, human rights and social inclusion.

We are a country of 1.3 billion and the world’s largest democracy. A significant element of our democracy is the protection of human rights of all citizens, which is clearly enshrined in our own Constitution. The principles of human rights, federalism and equality are all core components of our Constitution. Unity in Diversity is a common expression that is often used to highlight India's diverse cultures. With about 2000 ethnic minority groups and over 200 languages spoken across the country, and 7 major religions practiced by the people it perfectly sums up our country's varied ethnographic background. However, in light of the recent violence and hate crimes committed against people of Northeast India and people from other countries especially the African Nationals, there is much concern about the safety of both our own citizens and foreigners in India.

The alarming trend in rise of blatant hate crimes and racism in the country in the past few years, it is high time for the government to take serious action against such incidents. 78 percent of the Northeast population is subject to several kinds of humiliation because of their appearance in New Delhi. 54 percent of people living and working in capital felt that New Delhi is the most “unsafe place” in terms of ethnic intolerance while 67 percent feel that they were victims of racial discrimination. Crimes against people from Northeast India have increased by 232 percent in the last two years.

On another note, the situation of women and girls is deteriorating each passing day. The country stands at 108 position out of 145 countries in the Global Gender Gap Index in 2017. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report points out that the crime against women has been on the rise from 2011 onwards. In 2016, the number was as high as 3,38,954. The rate of crime against women is highest in the capital city of Delhi with an average of 184.3. In 2017 alone there were 1,968 rape cases.

Furthermore, incidences of crimes against women are also on the rise in Northeast India. Assam has been ranked second by the NCRB in terms of rate of violent crimes in the country in 2016. In the same report, it shows that the overall crimes against women have risen by 3%, and specific incidents of rape have gone up by 12%. The issue of rape and sexual-violence in conflict zones is a topic which hardly finds discussion in India.

In Northeast India or Kashmir, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) restrains the rule of law; numerous cases of sexual violence and rape remain unpunished. Despite the Parliament passing the landmark Criminal Law Amendment Act of 2013, it still misses a recognizing sexual violence in conflict area as a war crime. Women are often the primary target of sexual violence and rape which are often committed in orchestrated campaigns of ethnic cleansing that seek to undermine familial structures.

Moreover, the trickledown effect of social inequality of women is clearly visible in the political sphere wherein; in the Indian Parliament in 2017, a mere 11. 8 percent of legislators are women. The herculean task still remains to pass the Women Reservation Bill in the Lok Sabha which guarantees 33% reservation of women in legislative assemblies. Any proposal to make gender just policies in the government requires a strong presence of women in decision making processes.

Keeping the above mentioned views in mind, we would like the Government of India, to take immediate steps for drafting an Anti Racial Law, to develop a National Diversity Policy and to adopt a National Action Plan on Women Peace and Security. A National Coalition for ensuring the same has been formed at the aforementioned conference.

OUR APPEAL

1. After 70 years of independence and of women’s rights being enshrined in the democratic fabric of India, we are yet to fully honor our constitutional commitments. Indian women, in general, do not have equal rights as men in either political, social or economic spheres; they are discriminated against in jobs and in education; they are not equally represented in public institutions; they do not enjoy equal pay for equal work; and violence against women in both public and the private spheres is increasing, with impunity for the perpetrators and little justice for women. National Crimes Record Bureau (NCRB), crime against women has been on the rise with 167 cases in 2011 to 258 in 2014 and 192 cases in 2015. Delhi reported the highest crime rate against women at 184.3% against the national average rate of 55.2%.

2. 4-5 lakh people from Northeast India travel to metropolitan cities such as Delhi in search of better educational opportunities and job prospects. However, 86 per cent of these have reportedly faced racial discrimination.Cases of racial discrimination against people from Northeast has increased by 232 per cent. Bezbaruah Committee was formed on this matter in February of 2014. 4 years since its inception the committee’s recommendations, though in true respect of the concerns of people of Northeast lacks the level of implementation required.

3. In a span of 10 years crimes against women in Northeast have doubled from 1. 5 million cases to 3.5 million cases. In New Delhi crimes against women have been increased by 566 per cent. It is only in 2014 that human trafficking has started to be taken into account by the NCRB. In 2016, 50 percent of the cases of human trafficking are related to minors out of which a staggering 90 per cent are girl child.

4. Thus this letter is an urgent reminder to the government of the deplorable condition of its people from Northeast especially its women. The Bezbaruah Committee Report recommended on a series of short term, mid- term and long term goals for the safety and security of people from Northeast. However, barring a few the recommendations has not been implemented.

Thus we urge that the following demands are stringently taken into consideration and be implemented at the earliest.

a) Rape crises Centers to be established in each of the 104 districts of Northeast India

b) A National Diversity Policy to ensure safety and security of all citizens of the country

c) A National Anti- Racial Law as given in Bezbaruah Committee Recommendations

d) Fast track courts for speedy trail of cases concerning people from Northeast

e) Adequate compensation for survivors and their families of such heinous crimes

f) Inclusion of history of Northeast in school textbooks to be done by 2018

g) Proper implementation of free legal services for people of Northeast India

h) Nodal officers to be appointed to protect people of Northeast travelling in Indian railways

i) Urgent and strong steps to be taken to prevent sexual violence and trafficking of women of Northeast in rest of India and abroad

j) Allocation of sufficient Union budget for Women and Child welfare

k) India must adopt a National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security to ensure safety and security of women and girls

With this, we the concerned citizens of India would be highly obliged if you could would look into the matter to help us envision a safe and secure environment for our women, children and all the citizens of the country.

Thanking you,

With Warm Regards,

Submitted by:
Control Arms Foundation of India (CAFI)
Office Address for correspondence: B 5/146, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi-110029, India.
Phone - +91-11-46018541, Fax: +91-11-26166234.
Email - binalakshmi@gmail.com
Website / Blog: www.cafi-online.org , www.womensurvivorsnetwork.org / www.neiwip.blogspot.com
And
Multiple Action Research Group (MARG)
Office Address - 2nd Floor Shahpur Jat New Delhi – 110049
Phone - +91- 11-26497483
Email – marg@ngo-marg.org
Website – www.ngo-marg.org

- Participants at the Conference –

Dr. Anuradha Chenoy, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU),
Dr. Krishna Menon, Professor, School of Human Studies, Ambedkar University,
Ms. Cecilia Costa, Team Leader, EU Delegation to India,
Her Excellency, Cruz Mariela Alvarez, Ambassador, Embassy of the Republic of Costa Rica to India,
Dr. Martha Saxton, Professor, Emeritus of History and Women's and Gender Studies at Amherst College, Massachusetts, USA,
Ms. Anubha Bhonsle, Journalist and Author,
Dr. Shweta Singh, Assistant Professor, South Asia University, New Delhi,
Sangeeta Barooah Pisharoty, Deputy Editor, The Wire,
Mr. Ravinder Pal Singh, Ms. Rebina Subba, Lawyer and Founder of “Shamakhami”, Shillong, Dr. Farida Shah, Member, Women Commission, Manipur,
Mr. Bharat Dogra, Freelance Senior Journalist,
Ms. Ellora Puri, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Jammu,
Dr. Umakant, Independent Scholar,
Dr. Rashmi Jaipal, American Psychological Association at the UN,
Dr. Govind Singh, Assistant Professor, Indraprastha University,
Ms Janice Birch, Independent Consultant on Human Rights and International Development Issues,
Dr. Lianboi Vaiphei, Assistant Professor, Political Science Department, Indraprastha College, Delhi University,
Ms. Kanika Kaul, Specialist, Gender Responsive Budgeting at Centre for Budget and Government Accountability (CGBA),
Ms. Smita Sharma, Independent Photojournalist,
Dr. Nafees Ahmed, Professor, South Asian University, New Delhi,
Ms. Kiren Singh, Member, Delhi Legal Service Authority,
Ms. Lalngaihsaki Fanai, Advocate, Pantibonliu Gonmei, President Rongmei Luh Phuam,
Mr. Cung Dawt, Coordinator, Chin Human Rights Organization,
Ms. Shaheen Hussain Nongbri, President, Char and Rural Development Society (CARDS),
Ms. Hannah Johns, Doctoral Scholar in Sociology, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

CC to:-
Shri Narendra Modi, Honourable Prime Minister of India
Shri Kiren Rijiju, Minisite of State for Home of Affairs
Shri Rajnath Singh, Union Home Minister of India
Smt. Najma Heptulla, Governor of Manipur
Shri Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister of Delhi
Smt. Maneka Gandhi, Ministry of Women and Child Development
Shri Jagat Prakash Nadda Honourable Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare
Shri Jual Oram, Minister of Tribal Affairs
Shri Jitendra Singh, Minister of the Development of Northeastern Region (DONER)
Shri Dipak Misra, Chief Justice of India
Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister for Law and Justice
General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Army Staff
All Members of Parliament of Northeast India
Editors of all Leading Newspapers


* This Press Release was sent to e-pao.net by Yuri Luikham of Control Arms Foundation of India & Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network who can be contacted at yuri(DOT)luikham(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This Press Release was posted on January 23 2018

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