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House route for women ‘rights’

Imphal, Dec. 13: After hitting the streets for the past many years seeking help, survivors of armed conflict and victims of HIV in Manipur, supported by women NGOs, are preparing to take their fight to the floor of the state Assembly for their “right” to protection and livelihood.

Women Action for Development (WAD), an NGO working for the welfare of women and children, will spearhead the campaign to force the legislators to raise the issue of rising crimes against women and children and extension of welfare programmes to the victims of HIV.

Manipur Assembly will begin its winter session on December 19 and the women activists are determined to make the Assembly consider their demands seriously.

We will submit one representation each to all the 60 MLAs. The representation will have a charter of demands. We will be pressing them to take up issues of widows of the armed conflict and women victims of HIV. We will not rest till our voices are listened to and the state Assembly responds,” Sobita Mangsatabam, secretary of the NGO, said.

The announcement of the campaign came on the concluding day of International Fortnight Observation Pro-testing Violence Against Women here today. The NGO, in association with public organisations, carried out various campaigns highlighting rising crimes against women in Manipur during the campaign which began on November 25.

Sobita expressed concern over the murder of a woman during the fortnight.

NGO activists claimed that though no official statistics were available, the number of women becoming widows as a result of the armed conflict and those suffering from HIV is increasing in Manipur and they are struggling to eke out a living without any support either from the government or their husbands’ relatives.

“Though the social welfare department has many sche-mes for women, the victims of the armed conflict and HIV do not benefit much from the schemes,” Odita Salam, general secretary of Manipur Network of Positive People, said.

The charter of demands will include framing of gender policy, setting up of special courts for dealing with crimes against women and children, setting up of working group of the Assembly on violence against women, framing of a policy for women and children who are victims of violence, specific gender budget, 30-50 per cent reservation of seats for women in elected bodies and so on.


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