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Nobel Peace laureates join citizens' initiative to establish peace in conflict-hit Manipur

Amid efforts by the Centre to convince the Meitei and Kuki groups in Manipur to stop violence, two Nobel Peace laureates have joined a citizens' initiative to restore peace in the conflict-hit state.
Last Updated : 21 August 2023, 15:58 IST

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Amid efforts by the Centre to convince the Meitei and Kuki groups in Manipur to stop violence, two Nobel Peace laureates have joined a citizens' initiative to restore peace in the conflict-hit state.

The Nobel Peace awardees, Shirin Ebadi and Jody Williams joined the International Tribunal for Peace in Manipur (ITPM), which was formed on Saturday by several citizens' organisations in Manipur and outside.

Human rights activist from Manipur, Binalakshmi Nepram, who took the lead in the initiative, said that the ITPM would look at conflict-resolution processes involving "third-party non-partisan groups" trusted by all sides of conflicts in the past and at present in order to help resolve conflicts. The tribunal members will also strive to work towards working with women, youth, community and indigenous leaders on all sides of the conflict as well as with indigenous leaders from around the world who have worked in conflict settings.

“The tribunal’s efforts are meant for bringing peace, healing, reconciliation and solace to the 3.3 million people of Manipur and we will be working closely with all members across ethnic groups to ensure that the people of Manipur deserve the peace and justice much needed. The tribunal is like a ray of light in the darkest time in the history of Manipur and proof that not just the people of India but the world stands with the people of Manipur at this difficult time," Nepram said in a statement to DH.

Ebadi, a human rights lawyer and a former judge from Iran was bestowed with the Nobel Peace in 2003, mainly for her efforts to promote democracy and defend women's, children and refugees' rights. Jody Williams is an American political activist, who was awarded the Nobel Peace in 1997, for her pioneering work in banning anti-personnel landmines.

Over 160 people have been killed and more than 60,000 others have been left displaced due to clashes between the Meitei and Kuki communities in Manipur since May 3. The government's efforts to restore peace have not yielded much result even today as the groups representing the two communities have remained firm on their demands. Manipur violence has invited condemnation from across the world.

Along with Jody and Ibadi, the International Peace Bureau, which is historically recognised as the world’s oldest peace organisation and recipient of the 1910 Nobel Peace Prize has also joined the tribunal for peace in Manipur. “The aim of the tribunal is to help in charting a pathway for much-needed peace in Manipur which is one of the least known and most forgotten war zones of the world. The tribunal is comprised of concerned and committed individuals and organizations from Manipur and around the world,” said Nepram.

Manipur has been in a state of conflict since the 1950s and is one of the most militarised and weaponised zones in the world. Over 60 armed groups operate in the state and over 20,000 women have been widowed due to armed conflict. People have been caught between the guns of the state and non-state armed groups with serious impacts on the lives of women, children and youth. The violence has had a devastating impact on the lives of the people for decades, Nepram further said.

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Published 21 August 2023, 15:58 IST

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