January 31, 2017
‘The full and complete development of a country the welfare of the world and the cause of peace required the maximum participation of women on equal terms with men in all fields.’- Preamble, United Nations adopted the historic Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), 1975
Northeast India Women Initiative for Peace (NEIWIP), Northeast Women Forum for Peace and Mediation (NEWFPM) formed in 2016 at the historic second Northeast India Women Peace Congregation of women leaders, survivors of violence of Northeast are working together collectively to the much deserved peace and gender just society in Northeast India share the following:
We are deeply concerned by the current development in Nagaland following the decision by the State government’s move to reserve 33 per cent of the seats for women. We have got reports as per Indian Express, 5th January 2017 that, ‘certain communities have also warned the state government that it should not be later held responsible for any ‘adverse effect’ in the future.’5th January, First Post, communities have warned the State Government that those opposing the ban of elections will be meted with ‘questioning and appropriate punishment’ Hindustan Times, 28 January 2017 that, ‘In the face of opposition, intimidation and threat of exile, candidates in only 26 of the state’s 32 civic bodies filed nominations.’ Indian Express, 21st January 2017, 17 candidates have been ‘excommunicated’ by their organizations ‘for 30 years for defying its diktat by not withdrawing nominations.’ Eastern Mirror, 22 January 2017, certain communities want to ‘ban’ election work.
We would like to humbly share that in other parts of Northeast India such as Assam there have been talks of increasing the reservation for women in local body election from 33 per to 50 per cent. Manipur, a minimum of 33 per cent members of the panchayat and a 30 per cent reservation in the urban local body election is for women. However, despite this, of the total of 466 seats in the assemblies of eight northeastern states, only 24 (5.15 percent) are women. Of the 60-member assembly in Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, there are 2 and 3 female legislators respectively. Assam has 8 women MLAs among 126 elected representatives while Tripura has five women lawmakers in the 60-member house. Mizoram has only 1 women MLA out of the 40 elected representatives.
At the global level in 1975, United Nations adopted the historic Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which provides the basis for realizing equality between women and men through ensuring women’s equal access to, and equal opportunities in, political and public life — including the right to vote and to stand for election — as well as education, health and employment. Also, the landmark United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 adopted in 2000, states that women have the right to participate in decision making processes especially in peace negotiations. Northeast India currently has 17 peace talks but no women in these peace talks. We, the undersigned affirm by the values of this and several other international and national conventions that safeguard the rights of its women.
Hence, we would like to appeal to all the right minded people to work collectively for ensuring inclusion and participation of women in decision making forums and spaces.
Lastly, the world has joined hands to achieve, by 2030, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for achieving the goal of equal participation of women and men in decision-making for strengthening the composition of society, democracy and promote its proper functioning among others. Without the active participation of women and the incorporation of women’s perspective at all levels of decision-making, the goals of equality, development and peace cannot be achieved.
We therefore, request all to kindly look into the concerns of women in Nagaland and to empower them in their effort for peace and justice.
In support and solidarity:
Ms. Binalakshmi Nepram, Founder, Manipur Women Gun Survivor Network, and Secretary General, Control Arms Foundation of India (CAFI)
Ms Jarjum Ite, Former Chairperson, State Women Commission, Arunachal Pradesh
Ms Lourembam Nganbi, Meira Paibi Leader, Manipur
Professor Lalneihzovi, Head of Department, Public Administration, Mizoram University, Mizoram
Ms Felicita Songvah, Chairperson, D.P. Chamroy Foundation, Ukhrul, Manipur
Ms. Pratibha Brahma, Member of the North East Research & Social Work Networking (NERSWN), Bodoland, Assam
Ms Hasina Kharbhih, Chair of Board Impulse NGO Network, Meghalaya
Ms Agnes Kharshing, President, Civil Society Women’s Organisation, Meghalaya
Ms Pratima Enghipi, General Secretary, Karbi Nimso Chingthur Asong (KNCA), Karbi Anglong, Assam
Ms Kanchan Sinha, Tripura
Ms Deyang Dolkar Gyatso, President, Bikstang Heritage, Sikkim
Ms Jaynie Sangma, Social Activist, Garo Hills, Meghalaya
Ms Valley Rose, Editor, Aza Daily, Manipur
Ms Momon Leima, President, All Manipur Reformation Development Samaj, Manipur
Ms. Sitara Begum, Muslim Women leader, Manipur
Ms. Mina Chothe, Bishnupur, Manipur
Ms Vahchin Haokip Thadou, President, Thadou Women’s Association, Manipur
Ms Tara Manchin Hangzo, Chairperson, Women Affairs, Kuki Inpi, Manipur
Ms Nenem Misao, Researcher and Freelance Writer, Manipur
Ms Shaheen Hussain, President, CARDS, Assam
Dr Aparajita Sharma, Researcher, Assam
Ms Lancy Zodinpuii Chawhte, Researcher, Mizoram
Ms Satrupa Bhattacharjee, Advocate, Legal Rights Forum, Shillong, Meghalaya
Ms Hatlam Haokip, Chairperson, Chun Ngai Kiloikhom Women Group, Chandel, Manipur
Ms Ningthoujam Sumila Devi, President, Leimaram Nupi Chaokhat Thoudang Lup, Women Group, Bishnupur, Manipur
Ms Thingbaijam Jamuna Devi, Ward Member and President, Irengbam Women Development Organisation, Bishnupur, Manipur
Ms Lata Devi, President, Chanura Women Group, Manipur
Thauna Fabi Nupi Lup, Langthabal Mantrikhong, Imphal East, Manipur
Ms Sinam Debala, Anouba Ashagi Mangal, Malom, Imphal West, Manipur
Ima Sinam Chandrajini, Survivor, Malom Massacre, Manipur
Dr Ravikant Singh, President, Doctors for You-India (DFY-India)
- Martha Farrell Foundation, New Delhi
- Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA), New Delhi
- Ms Reena Devi Mutum, Northeast India Women Initiative for Peace (NEIWIP)
- RK Sujata, Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network
And many more