Women Leaders of Northeast India Converged at a Historic Peace Congregation in Guwahati

awerGuwahati, August 24 : After several years of hard work on the issue, women from 8 states congregated on Wednesdayt at Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakashetrain in Guwahati, Assam.

The event was convened by Control Arms Foundation of India in collaboration with Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network, NERSWN, CARDS, Jindal School of International Affairs,O. P. Jindal Global University, FLO NE, Eclectic NEand Doctors for You.

awer1The Convenor of this historic women peace congregation, Binalakshmi Nepram said that Northeast India Women Peace Congregation is a historic event which for the first time brings together women leaders from all across Northeast India in Guwahati.

“These remarkable women with help through their words, deeds and action will bring the much needed peace in the Northeast Region. We salute each & every woman leader who is a part of this congregation,” Nepram said.

Speaking at the historic event, Roshmi Goswami Chairperson of FST said that the energy of peace buildersacross nation and states need to be given due positive weightage. There exist exclusions and these are main reasons for conflicts taking place. One of chief reason for displacement is conflict.

awer2“Women confront subjugation at home, in society, local, National, International levels. All is need to transform the status quo. Another area which requires immediate intervention is on patriarchal powers. Women need to empower at local levels and henceforth. In this 21st century Market forces enjoys an important space in the society. But why market forces are controllingMilitarization. National Action Plan only works if there is a commitment of resources, if there is Government need to give budgetary allocation. The Government need to value women as peace builders and support the cause is necessary for it to work well,” Roshmi Goswami said.

Rose Mangshi, President, Kuki Women Union spoke on the role played by women of Manipur in bringing peace in Manipur in times of ethnic clashes in Manipur; the Kuki Naga Clash, the Meitei and Meitei Muslim clash. In such darkest times, women in Manipur came in solidarity for discussions dialogues and reconciliation to bring peace in Manipur.

She highlighted the recent hard work undergone by women leaders of Manipur lead by women leaders of different communities Kuki, Naga, Meitei and Meitei pangal, working day and night to calm down the warring devide between the hills and valleys of Manipur due to misrepresentation of the ILP bills and how they could calm down the situation in Manipur.

So it is very important to include women in decision making process. Only then we can have peace.

NeidonuoAngami, Naga Mothers Founders shared personal stories of the inception of Naga Mothers.

She said throughout their journey they have received immense support from to society. She shared they have tried to personally tried to catch the trafficking kingpin and some of their members physically tried to stop him then only the police intervened.

She later shared that the fellow villagers organized a community football match. She towards the and also shared the story of shred the blood initiative of her organization.

The draft National Action Plan on women peace and security drafted but women of northeast was also released at the event.

Dr.Samrat Sinha, Associate Professor, Jindal School of International Affairs, O.P.Jindal Global University through his holistic empirical Research on Impact of Conflict on women & Children with the need for National Action Plan on Women Peace and Security the speaker brought through his presentation Issues from J&K, Naxal Zone affected states & NE.

Around 1 million people have experienced displacement due to various episodes of conflict.

He stressed on the challenges for central welfare schemes for women &children directly affected by conflict are outreach & identification of beneficiaries and suggested that civil society & government agencies can work together to improve delivery of the schemes.

Last year, in consultation with 8 states’ women leaders we developed a Draft National Action Plan and it was submitted to Union Minister of State for Home Affairs MrKirenRijiju and he assured that the women in India will be included in important positions.

The implementation of a NAP in Northeast India on issues concerning Women Peace and Security in the region will help in the increase of absolute participation of women in decision making forums and space, the inclusion of women as peace agents and socio-economic empowerment of women of the region which will help in consolidating peace in the conflict affected region.

The issue of violence against women, lack of women in decision making bodies, reasons to why women are underrepresented in Northeastern states and central legislative assemblies will also fall under this attempt to understanding and finding ways of building peace. Besides, many of the internationally renowned United Nations Resolutions on women and peace building remains just on paper such as United Nations Resolution 1325 and 1820. Hence time is ripe for us to look at empower women in India’s Northeast in a concrete and constructive way.

Others speakers of the event include TanushreeHazarika, Eclectic Northeast, Pratibha Brahma, Member of North East Research & Social Work Networking (NERSWN), Bodoland,  Assam,  Sitara Begum, Muslim Women Leader, Manipur, Rinyui Chon, Credit Manager, Ukhrul District Women’s Institute of Microfinance, Manipur,MsRebinaSubba, Member State Women Commission Meghalaya, Meghalaya, Prof. Lalneihzovi, HoD, Public Administration, Mizoram University, DeyangDolkarGyatso, President, Bikstang Heritage, Sikkim, Kanchan Sinha, Drugs Control Organization, Government of Tripura,  JarjumIte, Chairperson, State Women Commission, Arunachal Pradesh.

For the past many years, according to Control Arms Foundation of India and Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network, efforts have been made for women to bring together to seek a peaceful solution to the complex problem which exist in Northeast India.

Northeast India has been part of seventeen peace talks for the past seventeen years but a cursory glance will reveal that the number of women in all talks and negotiations have been two, out of which one is alive now.

(Reporting by Hemanta Kumar Nath)

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Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.