Guwahati, Thursday, September 15, 2011
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Call for special laws to protect women
Spl Correspondent
 NEW DELHI, Sept 14 – State Government must enact special laws to protect women from human rights abuses and women committees must be formed in conflict affected villages to check violence against women and human trafficking issues. The State Women’s Commission must be proactive for woman victims of conflict.

This was part of a series of recommendations made in a report ‘Bearing Witness: the impact of conflict on women in Nagaland and Assam,’ which was released by former Home Secretary, GK Pillai, last week. The report was brought out by Centre for North East Studies (C-nes) and based on research by its teams in the two states.

The report suggests that knowledge and remedies against violations under laws such as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) must be available to the people and especially to women. Draconian legislations like the Assam Maintenance of Public Order, the Assam Disturbed Areas Act, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the Nagaland Security Regulation Act were mostly unknown to the people at large.

But those who knew about them felt they were anti-people and had no place in a democratic society and such laws should be repealed. Woman victims had stated how harsh and brutal the Indian security forces had been in their dealings with the people, the report said.

The report has recommended that all villages must be provided with adequate counselling facilities for woman victims of conflict, and specialised mental health facilities to identify and tackle cases of Post Trauma Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The woman victims must be given adequate earning opportunities for their future life and better health and education facilities for their children as absence of this leads to trauma. Faster relief and rehabilitation measures must be taken, so that the victim population especially women and children do not have to stay in relief camps for a long period of time, as it has been seen that camps further produce their own set of victims and induce trauma.

Compensation packages must be delivered on time. In many cases it is too little and too late, with victims (especially women) having to run around to gain their rightful compensation.

There were still very few counselling services and little awareness on the part of the people. In an entrenched conflict situation like Nagaland, there was not a single specialised centre or institution to deal with victims of armed conflict. This was both tragic and shameful.

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