Women, Conflict andHuman Rights Violations: Experiences from Northeast India Elizabeth Devi Kh Prateeti Barman
• Millions of women throughout the world live in abject deprivation of their basic human rights for no other reason than that they are women.• Lack of education, access to health care, housing and sanitation, equal wage and opportunity to work some of the basic rights of every individual and women are deprived of it.• In fact the discriminatory attitude towards woman starts from the womb itself where she gets killed being a ‘Female’.
Definition of Human Rights• Human Rights are the fundamental natural rights which are the most precious possession of mankind and a world without them will have to face a perpetual risk of moral depredation.• Broadly Human Rights can fall into i) Civil and Political rights ii) Economic, Social and Cultural rights• These natural rights can not be taken away by any legislative measure anywhere.
Forms of Human Rights Violations against women• Domestic Violence• Female Genital Mutilation• Son Preference• Dowry related Violence and Early Marriage
Human Rights Violations in the Community• Rape• Prostitution and Trafficking• Violence against women migrant workers• Pornography
Human Rights Violations perpetrated by the State• Custodial violence against women• Violence against women in situations of armed conflict
Women in Conflict situations and Human Rights• Conflicts of value and interest are inherent in all forms of society. In northeast context conflict has got forms as separatist movements, clashes between different ethnic groups, demands by fundamentalist groups etc.• The United Nations (UN) Dept. for Disarmament Affairs records over 150 armed conflicts in developing countries since 1945.• Former Secretary-General Boutros Ghali said that more women today were suffering from the effects of war & conflict than ever before.• Available data suggests that women constitute a major portion of the reported 85 per cent civilian victims of present day conflicts.
• During conflict situation the gender roles changes but not the gender relation.• Women are pushed to a situation to fend for their family during conflict situation but at same time abide by the gender relation to maintain the equilibrium.• Conflicts have also led women to refugee camps (where basic facilities are missing), prostitution, loss of lives of their dear ones and livelihoods.
• In fact, rape is used as a weapon of war, a strategy to subjugate and terrify communities.• In conflict situation often women have been the targets of violence by both state and non state actors in different forms ranging from sexual, mental or physical abuse to killings, detention or arrest without cause.• The non state actors use threats, intimidation and some times killings for not complying with its dictates to control and use the services of women.
Human Rights violations against women Some Cases from Northeast India…………….!
Assam: • A) June 10, 1998, fifteen (15) year old Roshmi Bora from Pachali (Rai Dingia village, Nagaon district, was abducted from her house, by a group of unknown men.
• B) In February 2000, eleven (11) year old Rupa Nath, of Gogamukh Sonapur Gaon in Dehemaji district employed as domestic help in the house of Rudra Gogoi of Dhapalial gaon in Lakhimpur district was accused of stealing gold ornaments. She and her sister Oirabati Nath were taken to Ghilamara police station for interrogation. There they were severely beaten and manhandled. Again, Rupa was handed over to Rudra Gogoi’s elder brother who beat her ‘to get her to confess’. Unable to extract a ‘confession’ by the police and Rudra Gogoi’s family, Rupa and her sister were taken to Gogamukh police station for the second time where they were repeatedly raped. In the incident Rupa lost consciousness and was left to die near a culvert while her sister was dropped off near her house.
• C) Women victims of Bodo and Adivasi conflict surviving in various Adivasi camps in Bodo Land Territorial Autonomous District Council (BTAD) are still living there for last 12 years (since 1996) where there is no sanitation, proper dwelling, health care and education for the children. 109 girls lured from the relief camps of Srirampur gate under Kokrajar District of BTAD, for domestic work in many parts of the country and outside of the country such as Bhutan and Nepal .
Women Victims of Ethnic clashes in Karbi Anglong:
Manipur: • A) On April 5, 1998, a 27 year old pregnant woman, wife of N.Basanta, chowkidar at the Kheirenphabi Government Junior School was raped by an army jawan, barely three or four hours after the then Defence Minister George Fernandez left Imphal, promising to check the army’s excesses in the region.
• B) on October 10, 1992- the maternal grandparents organized a blessing ceremony for two year-old Tingneng, D/O Doukhosei. While the family members and friends were returning from the ceremony late in the afternoon, they were attacked by an ethnic militant group. The men were killed. The baby was tied to a tree and the breast of the mother was cut and fed to the child. The women were gang-raped and killed. The attackers left after inserting long sticks into the vaginas of the victims.
Mizoram:• A) In between 1967-72 K Lalthakimi, a fifty- seven year-old nurse was arrested five times on the suspicion that she is a Chinese spy. She was threatened at gun- point, and forced to render medical services to the army because of her nursing background. She was not given any access to justice even though she tried to appeal to the authorities.
Nagaland:• A) On December 27, 1994 following an exchange of fire between some militants and a section of the army, a major of the army was killed in Mokokchung town. The members of the Task Force of the 16 Maratha Light Infantry went totally berserk after this incident, venting their wrath on the innocent civilian population of the town. Many women were raped, sexually assaulted, stripped naked and their clothes dipped into petrol to burn their homes.• Dr. Yangerla Ao, a doctor and president of the United Women’s Forum, examined and treated at least fifteen or sixteen cases of rape and molestation. However, in this incident, only four women were willing to come forward. Others did not want to testify, partly due to fear of reprisal by the army and partly due to the stigma attached to rape
Tripura:• On July 28, 2007 Pardarung Reang ( 11 and ½ year old) d/o Gopal Chetri, a daily labourer of Upper Dasda under Kanchanpur p/s of North Tripura district while returning home from Dasda Bazaar along with an 8 year old relative after dropping pineapples to her mother was attacked by a youth named C.Sukesh Das (20) while they were crossing over an isolated area. He was carrying a knife along with him. He caught hold of Pardarung Reang and rape her.