Towards Ending Armed Violence, Sustainable Peace & Reconciliation

Assessing the Call to Repeal the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958
Date: Wednesday, 8 September 2010 Venue: Conference Room I, India International Centre Time: 9 am to 5 pm Organised by Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network, Control Arms Foundation of India in collaboration with People’s Union for Civil Liberty, Indian Social Action Forum and KRITI
Supported by Heinrich Boell Foundation Timing 9: 00 am Programme Schedule Registration

Timing 9.30 am 9. 45 am

Inaugural Session I Chair: Lt Gen (retd.) Dr B S Malik, President, Control Arms Foundation of India Welcome & Introduction by Ms Binalakshmi Nepram, Founder, Manipur Women Gun Survivor Network; Secretary-General, Control Arms Foundation of India Lighting of a lamp by Ima Sinam Chandragini from Malom Village, Manipur who lost two sons in Malom Massacre of November 2000 Address by Dr Michael Koeberlein, Director, Heinrich Boell Foundation Chief Guest Address by Dr Thockchom Meinya, Member of Parliament Inaugural Address by Mr Yambem Laba, Former Member Manipur Human Rights Commission Tea Break

9.55 am

10.15 am 10.30 am 10.45 am

11.00 am

Timing 11.30 am 11.45 am

Session II: Background and Assessing the Impact of 52 years of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958 Chair: Shri EN Rammohan, Former Director General of the Border Security Force “Origins of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958 and Impunity of Human Rights Violation under AFSPA” by Ms. Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia Director, Human Rights Watch “AFSPA: Is the review necessary?” by Dr. N Manoharan, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Land Warfare Studies “The Armed Forces Special Powers Act contravenes both Indian and International law standards” by Ms Anjuman Ara Begum, Research Scholar, Guwahati University ICRC’s Statement by Mr. Christopher Harland, Legal Advisor, ICRC Regional

12.00 am

12.15 am

12.30 pm

Delegation for South Asia 12.45 pm Statement by Lt General (retd) Dr BS Malik, President, Control Arms Foundation of India Questions from the floor Lunch Break

01.00pm 01.10 pm

Timing 2. 00pm 2. 15 pm

Session III – AFSPA : What is the way out ? A Holy Book or National Security Tyranny? Chair: Mr Pushkar Raj, General Secretary, People’s Union for Civil Liberties Testimony: 10 Years of Fasting by Irom Sharmila, killing of Thangjam Manorama and Impact of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958 on Women of Manipur ” by Mrs Lourembam Nganbi, President, Apunba Nupi Lup (ANUL), Vice President Apunba Manipur Kanba Ima Lup (AMKIL) “AFSPA: A Soldier’s Perspective” by Colonel (retd) Utkarsh Rathore, Business Head, Silver Lake Technology “Human Rights Violations in Tripura under Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act by Ms Kavita Jamatia, President, All Twipra Indigenous & Minority Association (ATIMA) "Restoring governance and stability or limiting military’s impunity in counterinsurgency operations: a dialogue of the deaf" by Mr Ravinder Pal Singh, Defence Analyst “20 Years of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in Jammu & Kashmir” by Mr. Iftikar Gilani, Editor, Kashmir Times Questions from floor

2. 30 pm

2. 45 pm

3. 00 pm

3. 15 pm

3.30 pm

Timing 3. 45 pm 3. 55 pm 4. 05 pm

Concluding Session: Suggestions and way forward Chair: Mr.Wilfried D Souza, Alliance Convenor, Indian Social Action Forum Address by Shri Sharifuddin Shariq, Member of Parliament from Jammu and Kashmir Valedictory Address by Mr Siddharth Varadarajan, Chief of National Bureau, The Hindu Passing of New Delhi Resolution on Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 Thank you note by Ms. Mary Khuvung, Programme Coordinator, Control Arms Foundation of India Tea

4. 20 pm 4. 50 pm

5.00 pm

For any questions and participation, please contact the following Ms Binalakshmi Nepram & Ms Mary Khuvung Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network & Control Arms Foundation of India B 5 / 146, First Floor, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi - 110 029 Email:, Phone: +91-11-46018541 Mobile: 98682333734, 9891513551

CONCEPT NOTE Armed Forces Special Powers Act
Northeast India Women Initiatives for Peace A framework for action for democracy, human rights, economic justice and conflict prevention in India‟s Northeast region Date: Wednesday, 8 September 2010 Venue: Conference Room 1, India International Centre 40 Max Mueller Marg, Lodhi Estate, New Delhi - 110 003 Time: 9 am to 5 pm The Armed Forces Special Powers Bill was passed by both the Houses of Parliament and it received the assent of the President on 11th September, 1958. It came on the Statute Book as „The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958. Enacted as a short-term measure to allow deployment of the army against an armed separatist movement in India‟s northeastern Naga Hills, the AFSPA has been invoked for five decades. It has since been used throughout the northeast, particularly in Assam, Nagaland, Tripura and Manipur. A variant of the law was also used in Punjab during a separatist movement in the 1980s and 90s, and has been in force in Jammu and Kashmir since 1990. Indian officials have long sought to justify use of the law by citing the need for the armed forces to have extraordinary powers to combat armed insurgents. The abuses facilitated by the AFSPA, especially extrajudicial killings, torture, rape and disappearances, have fed public anger and disillusionment with the Indian state. This has permitted militant groups to flourish in the northeast and Jammu and Kashmir. The AFSPA has not only led to human rights violations, but it has allowed members of the armed forces to perpetrate abuses with impunity. They have been shielded by clauses in the AFSPA that prohibit prosecutions from being initiated without permission from the central government. Such permission is rarely granted. Indians have long protested against the AFSPA. The Supreme Court has issued guidelines to prevent human rights violations, but these are routinely ignored. Since 2000, Irom Sharmila, an activist in Manipur, has been on hunger strike demanding repeal of the act. The government has responded by keeping her in judicial custody, force-fed through a nasal tube, and has ignored numerous appeals for repeal from activists in Jammu and Kashmir. Following widespread protests after the 2004 murder in custody of an alleged militant called Manorama Devi in Manipur, the Indian government set up a five-member committee to review the AFSPA. The review committee submitted its report on June 6, 2005, recommending repeal of the act. In April 2007, a working group on Jammu and Kashmir appointed by the prime minister also recommended that the act be revoked. However, the cabinet has not acted on these recommendations because of opposition from the armed forces. There has long been international criticism of the AFSPA. Over 10 years ago, in 1997, the United Nations Human Rights Committee expressed concern over the “climate of impunity” provided by the act. Since then, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (2006), the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (2007) and the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (2007) have all called for an end to the AFSPA.

We believe that women from the northeast can play a pivotal role in bringing about peace in the region with collective voices from all sections of the society if we sincerely work together. The North East Women Initiative for Peace (NEWIFP) is a project proposed by Control Arms Foundation of India, New Delhi are now directly engaging into debates and dialogue with the Armed Forces on the highly controversial and sensitive topic on the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). This proposed conference will have guests and resource persons ranging from women‟s organization, civil society organisations, the armed forces and men and women from the north east as well as other parts of India working on peace and conflict issues. Each guest will have an inspiring story to share or incidents that we can relate to and also to suggest new methods and innovative ideas for capacity building to work towards greater peace and stability in the Northeast. Through NEWIFP, CAFI will be organizing similar seminars and workshops in the northeast so that we can make greater impact and share ideas and visions to work towards peace building. We believe that the state and non state armed groups alone cannot be put solely responsible to bring about peace, but women‟s organizations and sensitive and committed men and women can play a vital role to bring the change that we wish to see. Please join in our efforts. For more information, please contact: Ms Binalakshmi Nepram Founder, Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network C/o Control Arms Foundation of India B 5 / 146, First Floor, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi - 110 029 Phone: +91-11-46018541 Fax: +91-11-26166234 Mobile: 9868233373 Email: Website: .

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