Truth Commission in Manipur needed for securing justice for victims: HRA
IMPHAL| Apr 15
Heads of State Human Rights Institutions, senior academics, human rights activists, victims and other stakeholders has strongly emphasized the need for a transitional justice process in Manipur to address the pressing needs of widows, children and other family members affected by the extra-judicial killings and other serious human rights violations in Manipur over the past several decades.
A press release from Human Rights Alert (HRA) stated that towards this end, the above mentioned heads, academicians, activists, victims and stakeholders have stressed the immediate need for the establishment of a truth commission, payment of compensation to victims, strengthening of justice institutions including the State Human Rights institutions, expediting criminal cases lodged against the perpetrators and ensure accountability and uphold rule of law amongst other measures.
“These unanimous recommendations emerged at the end of a one-day consultation on Application of Transitional Justice Framework for the Families of Victims of Extrajudicial Execution in Manipur which was organised by the Centre for Studies of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy (CSSEIP) of Manipur University, Human Rights Alert (HRA), Extrajudicial Execution Victim Families Association, Manipur (EEVFAM) and Centre for Human Rights Studies of O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) at Manipur University Court Room on April 13 2018,” it said.
The release stated that the acting chairperson of Manipur Human Rights Commission (MHRC), chairperson of Manipur State Commission for Women (MSCW) and chairperson of Manipur State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MSCPCR) had assured the support of their respective institutions in seeking justice for the victims during the Consultation programme.
Executive director of HRA, Babloo Loitongbam, in his keynote address, pointed out the limitations of the on-going investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators to address the pressing justice needs of the families of more than 1528 victims. In the spirit of Transitional Justice (TJ) framework which is defined by the UN as the full range of processes and mechanisms associated with a society’s attempt to come to terms with a legacy of large-scale past abuses, in order to ensure accountability, serve justice and achieve reconciliation needs to be invoked in Manipur today, Babloo Loitongbam called upon the meeting to deliberate if it is time for Manipur to establish a Truth Commission as was done elsewhere, it added.
While presenting a report of a similar consultation on the same issue conducted by his university involving national and international experts in December 2018 at New Delhi, executive director of the Centre for Human Rights Studies of JGU, professor YSR Murthy had pointed out that the Constitution of India puts the ‘dignity of individual’ in the same pedestal as ‘National Security’. He also emphasised on the close relationship between Peace, Justice and Human Rights and stressed the crying need to initiate TJ processes in Manipur while adding that the country can become great only when human rights of all persons are protected including widows and children affected by extrajudicial executions, the release said.
It also mentioned that reader, CSSEIP, Manipur University, Dr. Th. Bharat Singh made a PowerPoint presentation of the preliminary findings of the socio-economic survey of the families of the victims of extra-judicial executions in Manipur conducted by CSSEIP and pointed out the 54.8 % of the families are expecting justice in their case.
Professor, Amar Yumnam, during his presidential address, said, “No examination of economics is complete without addressing the issue of justice; and justice in economics is understood in terms of welfare and wellbeing,” while acting chairperson of MHRC, Khaidem Mani encouraged the families of victims left out from the CBI/SIT investigation to petition the State under section 357A of Criminal Procedure Code for compensation and to approach MHRC if they failed to get the remedy. Khaidem Mani also expressed his Commission’s willingness to function as the Truth Commission if such a mandate is granted by the Supreme Court or the State government, it said.
The release also mentioned that both chairperson of MSCW, Dr. Meinam Binota and chairperson of MSCPCR, Sumatibala Ningthoujam assured to extend all possible help for the protection of the rights of children of the victim families.
Other speakers at the one-day consultation on ‘Application of Transitional Justice Framework for the Families of Victims of Extrajudicial Execution in Manipur’ included professor N. Pramod of the LMS Law College who pointed out the need for infusing the restorative justice elements in the process and Keisham Pradip of the Manipur Alliance for Child Rights (MACR) pointed out the need to widening the scope of the proposed Truth Commission to include all the children affected by armed conflict, the release said.
The panel discussion on ‘Truth, Justice and Restitution of Families of Victims of Extrajudicial Executions’ which was moderated by professor, Arambam Lokendro also witnessed the participation of Deben Bachaspatimayum of the North East Institute of Social Science and Research; Vijayalakshmi Brara of the Centre for Manipur Studies MU and of North East Hill University.
While Malem Mangal pointed out the need to include all victims of the ongoing armed conflict in Manipur and addressing the underlying root causes rather than confining the scope to only the victims of extrajudicial execution, professor Lokendra saw the proposed Truth Commission as a one-time clinching of the rot though it is a difficult exercise, the release added.
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