TODAY -

E-Pao! Governance Opinion - Welcome Treaty

Welcome Treaty


Geoffery *



"Where there is no common power, there is no Law, where there is no Law, there is no Justice"
'Thomas Hobbes'

International Campaign to Ban Land Mines (ICBL) is doing a Yeoman's service to mankind. By now 155 nations (approx 81 %) have joined the Mine Ban Treaty; only 40 countries(less than 20%) are balance. Not only the states but armed groups (non state actors) can also join the elite band of human savior treaty by signing a Deed of Commitment (DoC).

Recent news of NSCN (K)'s willingness to join the 'No Mine User Group' is very heartening and welcome step. Other faction NSCN (IM) had already signed DoC in 2003. The outfit earned international acclaim for the noble act. KNO (Kuki National Org) has signed the DoC in Aug 06. NDFB is also progressing positively towards accepting the treaty.

Interestingly, the outfits that have either entered into ceasefire agreement with GoI or SoO( suspension of operations) agreement are making progress towards banning land mines. Probably they have realized the senselessness of these silent killers. Hopefully UNLF, an ally of NSCN (K), ULFA and other outfits take in a lesson from this and make this region a Mine Free Region.

The treaty is a comprehensive treaty that deals with mine use, production and trades, to victim assistance, mine clearance and stock pile destruction. In Southern districts of Manipur UNLF has laid large number of land mines and villagers are afraid to go to their fields due to fear of being maimed/ killed etc. In essence families lose their livelihood/ wage earners/kins for no reason.

To add to the misery necessary medical aid is available at far off places like Kolkata etc. which are unaffordable and there are no NGO's to help out. Not to forget the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that affects every one irrespective of age in varying degrees.

The FEAR is 24x7. To quote Lalrammawi a local of Kaimunthang (Manipur) "I could not believe when I was told my brother has died and 6 month later I was told my dad was hit. I went into a depression. I would not speak to people normally".

Village council member of Khaitinthang Thanlon says "since a long time we the residents of this village have not been able to go into the forests to collect our necessities because of fear of bombs planted by the undergrounds groups. So our daily process of deriving livelihood into forests has been affected. If one goes out to the forest one is sure to step into a bomb".

Now the questions that come to mind are.
Against whom are these mines planted?
Who is the final victim?
What is the long term effect?
How does it affect the planters and victims?
Can these mines distinguish a friend and a foe?
Is the treaty comprehensive?

Intra tribal, Inter tribal rivalries and Intra factional, Inter factional clashes make the news frequently e.g. UNLF and its breakaway factions/ splinter groups, various Kuki groups, NSCN (IM) and NSCN(K) etc. Have these outfits migrated from insurgent aims to mere criminalization?

Are these outfits not trying to act colonial against their own tribe and also other tribes who have been staying in this land from times immemorial? Are these outfits not trying to oppress their own tribe and other tribes who have been sharing this land from times immemorial? Answer to all this is affirmative.

Think of the wage earner who has been maimed due to mine and become dependent on the family he is to support. The problem becomes more critical when these victims turn into alcoholics and drug addicts due loss of self esteem.

I am sure, some of the members of outfits, responsible to plant mines, too must have been staved and maimed by mine blasts. May I ask these friends of mine? How does it feel? Must be burdensome both for the victim and caretaker, I suppose! Same is the case with other victims.

The treaty has made considerable progress in its aim by generating awareness and effort to ban mines. It needs to be more comprehensive to include improvised explosive devices or any other bombs designed & planted on earth . The definition of mine should read "a device designed to explode by the presence, proximity/contact of a person and remote control that will incapacitate, injure or kill one or more persons and cause damage to property".

There is need to come out of the narrow confines of our thought process and dedicate ourselves for a happy , healthy and mine free society that we so well deserve.

"Narrowness of mind is often the cause of obstinacy: we do not easily believe beyond what we see"
- 'Le Rachefoucauld'


* Geoffery contributes regularly to e-pao.net The writer can be contacted at jaey_geoffery(at)yahoo(dot)co(dot)in . This article was webcasted on 22nd October 2007.



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