Executive member of Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) Athili Anthony Sapriina said the political conflict of the Nagas with India was among the oldest in the region spanning six decades and has cost many lives – Indians, Myanmarese and the Nagas.
Addressing the delegates of States, UN agencies, support groups and indigenous members at 9th Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues which was held in New York from April 19 to 30 on Human Rights (Agenda Item 4), the executive member said India had reduced the Naga political issue as a law and order problem and convinced the rest of the world that “underdevelopment” was the chief cause of unrest and that “Development coupled with a deliberate and sustained assimilation” programme into the mainstream will bring lasting Peace.
It outlined that ‘ceasefire’ agreement between the two parties reduced violent confrontations, however, vilification and hate campaigns among communities still posed a huge threat for the people. Questioning India’s support for Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People saying that very little has been done to realize and accept that indigenous tribal people deserved a ‘better deal’, the statement proposed for India to honour Article 3 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) and initiate steps to reach a negotiated settlement with indigenous tribals, particularly the Nagas.
It also recommended that a physical and political integration of Nagas from the four neighboring states of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Assam and Nagaland would be a sustainable and justified peace and also reiterated NPMHR proposal which was put up during the 7th session of UNPFII that India’s multi-dollar counter insurgency operations using propaganda and the military in Naga areas should be stopped further urged India not to interfere in reconciliation efforts being initiated among Naga people.
Observing that India and Myanmar should halt the joint military exercises against the Nagas and ensure that Article 36 of the UNDRIP was adhered, suggestion was also made for World Bank, ADB, IFAD, UNDP and other agencies operating in Naga areas to ensure and safeguard policies on indigenous. Further, it expressed hoped for India’s participation in constructive dialogue with tribal and indigenous people in India at the UNPFII and other related international forums to ensure peaceful co-existence and mutual benefit.