Thursday, November 26, 2009

Churches for action on violence in NE

SHILLONG, Nov 26: The National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) has suggested a pro-active action plan to repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

The recommendation was arrived at during a three-day regional consultation on ‘Violence and Violation of Human Rights: Patterns and Perspectives for Peace’ which concluded in Shillong today. Observing that the North-east is reeling under violence and violation of human rights the 35 delegates drawn from various churches and States of the region dwelt on the seriousness of the problems connected with the continuance of the AFSPA in the region.

“There is a pattern in the denial of justice as visible in human-rights violation cases by security forces or in the failure of the government to protect women, children and other marginalised groups,” the delegates observed, while also referring to the impact of development projects such as uranium mining in Meghalaya, and construction of mega dams in Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur and the failure of the Central and State governments to implement laws such as the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989, etc.

While suggesting that the people of the North-east should be assertive of their respective identity claims, they also should see to it that they do non impinge on the identity rights of others. The churches need to carefully study the intrinsic relationship between development and the rights of the local people in different parts of the region, they further said.

Recommendations for action plans for the NCCI was also placed wherein it would advocate abolition of all so-called “religious freedom” laws enacted by various State governments, initiate steps for bringing churches together at various levels to form joint fronts for tackling issues of violence and violations of human rights, racial profiling of all people, particularly those of the region residing in other parts of the country, proactive action for implementation of various laws enacted to protect tribal and minority rights and interest, and to have a manual on human rights education which should be translated into different languages and dialects.
The consultation was organized by the NCCI in partnership with South Asia Ecumenical Partnership Programme and the Presbyterian Church of India. THE SENTINEL

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