GNF seeks UN’s intervention on Indo-Naga issue
Dimapur, July 14 (EMN): Advocating that peaceful resolution of the Indo-Naga political issue would usher in an era of ‘new relationship with enduring peace with India’ as well as Myanmar, the Global Naga Forum (GNF) has appealed to the United Nations and the international community to respond to the call of Naga people for justice and peaceful co-existence.
GNF submitted this statement during the 14th session/ regional meetings of the expert mechanism on the rights of indigenous people (Asia) held on July 13. The statement jointly appended by GNF convenor, Chuba Ozukum, and the secretary, Prof. Paul Pimomo, appealed to the United Nations EMRIP mandate to call upon India and Myanmar to resolve the Nagas’ case in the spirit of justice and lasting peace. It also sought that Naga people that are scattered in four India states and Myanmar be allowed to live together as one people with one destiny.
The forum also appealed the United Nations EMRIP mandate in collaboration with UNHRC, UNSRIP and other mandate holders to put pressure on the government of India by demanding the immediate repeal of the Armed Forces (Special) Powers Act of 1958 and the Nagaland Disturbed Areas Act, which it described as “draconian anti-democratic legislation that violates all human decency and dignity.”
The statement pointed out that the Naga people are transnational indigenous people with a population of over 4 million comprising about 60 tribes, whose land and territories are located in India (Northeast) and North-West Myanmar. It explained that Nagas were arbitrarily divided between India and Myanmar during the colonial transfer of power from Britain in the late 1940s.
“We were divided and placed under different administrative units as minorities in post-colonial India and Myanmar and continue to be except in India’s imposed state of Nagaland where Nagas are the majority,” the statement read.
It added that the imposed separations have not only gravely affected their ties and ability to maintain relationship among themselves as an indigenous nation, but also contravene Article 36 of the United Nations declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples, which says, “Indigenous peoples, in particular those divided by international borders, have the right to maintain and develop contacts, relations and cooperation, including activities for spiritual, cultural, political, economic and social purposes with their own members as well as other peoples across borders.”
It went on to state that Naga peoples’ struggle for self-determination has continued for more than seven decades, longer than India and Myanmar have been independent nation-states. It further added that the expressed will of the Nagas for freedom and self-rule goes back to 1929, when the Naga Club submitted a memorandum to the Simon Commission asking the colonial government “to leave us alone to determine for ourselves as in ancient times.”