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Op-Ed

The Importance of Human Rights Education in Nagaland – Part-I

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By EMN Updated: Apr 30, 2017 10:58 pm
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The recent official visit of the National Human Rights Commission to the state capital of Nagaland had recommended to incorporate ‘Human Rights Education’ into NBSE syllabus and asked the NGOs to create more awareness on Human Rights education particularly to the students. The Hon’ble Governor of Nagaland asked the State Government to set up State Human Rights Commission in Nagaland at the earliest. A human rights activist Kezhokhoto Savi as resource person in one of the human right seminars conducted at Arunachal Pradesh asked the North-Eastern State delegates – “Are the people of North East literate enough on human rights and are they able to stand for their own rights and give due respect to the rights of others? The answer was ‘NO’ and the serious concern was that there was an urgent need to programme a vigorous defence and promotion of human rights. The educational institutions, colleges and churches are to play an active role in promoting peace, justice and social transformation. Most of the North-East Indian states including Nagaland are yet to set up ‘State Human Rights Commission’.

As far as the general ‘Human Rights’ scenario in Nagaland is concern, within a span of two weeks, several atrocities and barbaric killing took place in Nagaland, such as the murder of nine persons whose bodies were recovered by Nagaland Police at Pachaspura near Chumukedima on 3rd Jan, 2014, the barbaric attempt to murder on Akivito A. Sumi on 28th Dec 2013 who later succumbed to his injuries, the 21st Dec 2013 incident where the passengers of a Zunheboto bound taxi were assaulted and injured, several rape cases including minor took place, the atrocities meted to the Rengma Nagas of Karbi Anglong from 25th Dec 2013 evening onwards where several women and children were mercilessly killed, thousands were displaced and kept in several relief camps, villages burnt, properties such as agricultural products and crops were destroyed. The 5th March incident where a young man was lynch to dead by a mob and the dead body was tied to the railing in Dimapur, Nagaland on 5th March 2015. In a police firing on 31st January 2017 two youth were killed in Dimapur and several of them were injured in Longleng while protesting against ULB election in Nagaland.

As per the definition given by section 2(1) (d) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, right to life is guaranteed by the Constitution of India. ‘Life’ here means human life” and not mere animal existence. Right to life is guaranteed by Article 21 read with Article 14, 25, 27 and 28 of the Constitution of India. Right to food is universal human rights, which is acknowledged at the regional, national and international levels. The citizen’s right to be free from hunger enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution of India, is to be ensued by the fulfilment of the obligations of the State set out in Article 39(a) and 47. The right to food is about freedom from hunger. Therefore, it is very important for the state of Nagaland to effectively implement the National Food Security Act, 2013 without any involvement of wrong diversion and corruption. Many poor people around the world are going to die because they do no not get enough food to eat. Food is basic to human existence and that is why it receives the foremost attention of mankind. Poverty is the main reason for families to send their children to work. Due to child labour is large scale exploitation and deprived of human rights. Children’s rights are human rights. Children are no doubt supreme assets of the country. “Child is the father of man”. The Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, was a great human rights activist who strongly believed and practiced non-violence. One of the great American Presidents, Abraham Lincoln, was a man who had sacrificed his life for the abolition of slavery. Nelson Mandela was one of the great symbols of human rights of our time whose life was committed to human dignity, equality, freedom & justice.

Besides the rest of the country, Nagaland is an example of being a slaughter house of human rights. Atrocities on women at home and workplace, insurgency, problems of drugs, rape, alcoholism among youths and adults, child abuse and flesh trade, extortion, anti-Indian mentality, delay in receiving justice and growth of non-humanitarian values are dear indication of violation of human rights, which have seriously disturbed the peace and tranquillity of the State. One of the main problems faced by the citizens of this state is the existence of several insurgent groups and the Central Government imposing the Armed Forces(Special Power) Act, 1958, amended in 1972. There are two contradictory views on it. While one group feels that it is necessary to empower the armed forces with special powers in order to combat insurgency movements, the other asserts this extra power given in Act is being misused by the armed forces and has caused too much harm to the civilians. A major theme of the human rights discourse is the Armed Forces(Special Power) Act of 1958 widely seen in the North-East as ‘draconian’. Rights and duties are one of the primary concerns of the human civilization. These are closely connected with liberty, growth, development, dignity, responsibility and welfare of the general community. However, knowledge about human rights is not popular among the citizens of Nagaland. As a result, violation of human rights is so common in Nagaland that the purpose of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is defeated considerable number of times. The techno-hyped societies are progressing fast but the human rights, not only among the illiterate sections but also among the literate and educated ones.(PART – II to be continued in the next issue……)

Adv. Kezhokhoto Savi, National Award Recipient
Asst. Professor Kohima Law College
Former President, International Human Rights Organisation, Kohima

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By EMN Updated: Apr 30, 2017 10:58:04 pm