The Imphal Free Press, kanglaonline.com
KOHIMA, Aug 26: A 3 days workshop on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in India`s Northeast organized by Mahanirban Calcutta Research Group (MCRG) in collaboration with the Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) held at Hotel Japfu, Kohima from 24-26 August 2006 concluded today.
The participants (altogether 35) consisting of eminent personalities from myriad sectors such as socio-economic, cultural, political and women rights, policy experts on legal and international instititutions and mechanism, media analyst, research scholars from various Universities in East and Northeast India including social and human rights activists congregated to discuss and deliberate on Internally Displaced Persons induced by political and linguistic-cultural identities conflicts besides the state centric development programs and security policies.
Among the participants were Imphal Free Press senior sub-editor Inaotomba Thongbam and reporter Akoijam Sunita.
The dialogue, the fourth of its kind, was planned aiming to initiate and continue conversation among peace and human rights activists of the region and to evolve a functioning network of cooperation on the problems. Against this backdrop, the dialogue focussed on issues such as cause of displacement, arrangement of humanitarian relief for IDPs particularly women and children, international/regional and national policies on IDPs, and on building a humanitarian network on IDPs.
On the opening day Dr. Monirul Hussian, Professor of Political Science, Gauhati University presented the keynote address, a (a draft) status report of IDPs in India`snortheast which was discussed.
The meeting was participated by President Naga Hoho, NSF representatives, independent observers apart from the members of Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights. The dialogue concentrated on various sessions dealing on the IDP situation such as in the Bodo Territorial Council, Karbi Anglong, North Manipur Hills, situation in Nagaland, problem of statelessness, dams and the appropriateness of the UN Guiding principles in Northeast India.
The workshop adopted a statement encouraging all state and non state actors to appreciate and acknowledge the role of civil societies in ushering dialogue, accommodation understanding in conflict situations, peace building and efforts towards raising humanitarian initiatives.
The Kohima Statement expressed deep concern at the plight of IDPs in India`s northeast, induced by such factors as conflict, development, environmental degradation and government policies relating to land, development, economy,etc.
It was also felt that the problems should be seen in a larger perspective and that Government of India must seriously and sincerely
express their will to resolve it.
It was also felt that there is no other way than to reactivate civil society initiatives to develop the spirit of understanding, tolerance and accommodation between peoples and organize peoples to peoples dialogue.
The participants of the dialogue urge on the state and non state actors to recognize due importance of the civil society groups and initiatives.
It also calls upon the Government to formulate a new peoples oriented right based resettlement and rehabilitation laws and policies in order to address the humanitarian crisis generated by displacement.
The MCRG has organized four civil society dialogues in 2001 (Kolkata), 2002 (Shantiniketan), 2003 (Shillong) and 2004 (Darjeeling) the first three on Human Rights and Peace� and the fourth one on Conflict, Autonomy and Peace. In all these dialogues, there was a special emphasis on the situation in India`s East and Northeast.