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Naga women take on customary law
Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, JAN 29 (NPN)
Published on 30 Jan. 2010 1:11 AM IST
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: The need to review customary laws in the context of Naga women and to do away with norms and conditions no more relevant in today’s society was deliberated at length during the start of the two-day seminar on “Women, law and social change” at Circuit House Dimapur, Friday. The seminar was organized by Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), Nagaland unit in collaboration with Naga Women Hoho Dimapur, Prodigal’s Home and Nagaland Voluntary Consumer Organization (NVCO). Women representatives from various tribes, NGOs, public leaders and citizens expressed the need for women’s participation in decision making bodies to bring about social changes and transformation in the society Delivering the key note address in the seminar, Nagaland State Women Commission chairperson, Sano Vamuzo lamented the “sad reality” of violence and discrimination against women folk in the state. She said Naga women have traveled long as victims of violence since the Naga customary laws failed to provide protection and deliver justice to them. She felt that awareness on the issue of women, law and social change was relevant, as Naga women were at a stage where they have been deprived of various rights. In regard to 33% reservation for women, Sano affirmed that women’s participation in decision making bodies could widen the debate in decision making and contribute towards social change. Speaking on the topic ‘women and customary law,’ Anungla Aier said respect for women in patriarchal set-up like Naga society did not necessarily provide any fundamental provision. She felt that old laws should be replaced by new laws giving space to women not only in decision making but inheritance of property. She described the customary laws as “women unfriendly” as it failed to deliver justice to victims of violence. According to Anungla, a crime tried under customary laws was one of the factors contributing to increase of crime rate in the state and expressed the need to try crimes under codified laws. ‘Women land rights,’ ‘Violence against women,’ ‘Justice: A far cry’, ‘Reservation for women’ ‘Women and consumer’ etc were some of the topics deliberated upon by the participants.

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