Friday, April 11, 2014


Delhi, 3 April 2014: The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the principal global policy-making body dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women. Every year, representatives of Member States gather at United Nations Headquarters in New York to evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide. The Commission met from 9-21March 2014 in New York this year. Team of Control Arms Foundation of India and Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network were present there and hosted a parallel event under the theme “Engaging Women for Resolving Conflicts, Usher in Peace, Disarmament, & Development in South Asia”.

It was supported by an ongoing project “Empowering Women for Peace and Development in South Asia, including Myanmar”in collaboration with Deutsch Welthungerhilfe (WHH) and supported by European Commission.

Women’s role remains weak and insecure in all social, political and economic activities in South Asia. In India, 22 girls get kidnapped every day. Out of the number of children who were kidnapped, 66% (10,938) are girls. Child mortality and maternal mortality levels in South Asia are among the highest globally. 46% of women aged 20-24 in South Asia married before the age of 18; 3.3% of women in South Asia (India and Bangladesh) face non-partner sexual violence.

The session commenced with an introductory speech by Ms. Binalakshmi Nepram, Founder, Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network, and Secretary General, Control Arms Foundation of India welcoming all the panelists at the event.  She gave an overview of the disturbing situation and status of women in South Asia, against the background of the region’s prolonged inter and intra-state conflicts and patriarchal nature. She described how in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Nepal, women are the victims of rape, abduction, child marriages, female infanticide, acid attacks, dowry-related murders, honor killing and enslavement. She furthermore criticized that many South Asian conflicts, such as that in Northeast India, Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh, are left unreported by mass media. She also mentioned the ongoing armed violence caused by small arms, light weapons within the Northeast India region. More than 50,000 lives have been lost in the violence.   The conflict in Manipur turns 300 women into widows annually. She called on international communities for the help to combat the problem and ensure countries that India implement UNSCR 1325. 

Ms. Sarah Boyd, Founder, The Gender Agency, Australia, underlined the importance of women’s voices going from the private to the public sphere, merging private and public spheres to raise women’s consciousness, collective investment in ensuring that CSW nor the post-2015 agenda remain silent on critical issues of gender equality, peace (keeping), development, disarmament and their intersections, and the importance of CSO’s as the ties that bind the foregoing elements.

Ms. Fiona McAlpine, Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network/Young WILPF Network, Australia, addressed the issues of murder and forced disappearance of women and girls in India and the lack of access to justice, forged evidence and post-mortem reports, and impunity (as a consequence of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act) in that context. She accentuated that without including disarmament and demilitarization, the CSW is moot, as there can be no development without disarmament, which is also a prerequisite for access to justice.  

Also a short film titled, “We Shall Find Our Peace” was screened at the event that depicts the hardships and sufferings happening due to the ongoing conflict situation in the state of Manipur, India and eagerness of the population to promote peaceful environment in the region. The film showed the strength and hope among the Manipuri Women to overcome the hardships and violence in their state.

There were valuable discussions among the panelists and other participants across India, USA, Brazil, Australia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and many others on Women, Peace and Security, types of violence and discrimination they are facing across the globe. Further discussions were on the possible steps that could be taken for the empowerment of women, their role in conflict transformation, disarmament, and decision-making processes. The event was ended successfully with valuable inputs and suggestions from esteemed Panelists

Monday, January 6, 2014

Young Leaders Connect - branding Northeast

Young Leader Connect 2013
With a theme of "Branding Northeast: Speaking for ourselves", the third chapter of the Young Leaders Connect was organized at the Gauhati Medical College Auditorium in Guwahati on November 22, 2013. North-East India’s premier magazine 'Eclectic NorthEast' along with 'YouthNet' organized the event in Assam. The conclave witnessed some of the dynamic young leaders from the region as well as other parts of the country and they shared space to discuss different issues of the Northeast.

Gaurav Gogoi, Co-Chair of Young Leaders Connect-3 and the Co-founder of Youth Forum on Foreign Poilicy, stated in his opening address the need of removing the stereotyped negativity and focusing on the importance of branding northeast. He also discussed ways to project a real, collective face of this fast-transforming region. 

Mary Kom at Young Leader Connect 2013Chair of Young Leaders Connect and internationally acclaimed footballer Baichung Bhutia highlighted the need of platforms where young leaders of northeast can come together and discuss issues to carve a roadmap for the future. Co-Chair Young Leaders Connect-3, Merentoshi Jamir, Hon’ble Minister, Youth Resources and Sports, Govt of Nagaland, in his concluding remarks stressed that polices of the Govt.of India need to be more sensitive to the local needs of the Northeastern region. Binalakshmi Nepram, founder of the Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network and Dr. Ampareen Lyngdoh, Urban development, Housing and Labour Minister, Meghalaya graced the inaugural session. 

The event also witnessed sessions on entrepreneurship eco-system in the Northeast with Bhairavi Jani, Director, SCA Group, Larsing Ming, MD Centre Point Group enterprise, Tanushree Hazarika, MD of Eclectic Publications, and Naresh Subba, Director, Royal Plaza, Sikkim in the panel with Rajeev Agarwal, Director, SM Group and CEO of Bitchem Asphalt Technologies, Assam.

Mary Kom, the five time world champion and Olympic medal winner talked about sporting scene in the NE. The session was chaired by Hasina Kharbih, MD, Impulse. Mary Kom entertained the crowd by speaking about her inspiring challenging journey as a sportsperson. 
People witnessed Assamese classical dancer Maneka PP Bora's striking performance just before an interactive session by the Indian film producer-director-screenwriter Prakash Jha and regional film director Rajni Basumatary. The duo analyzed the role of films in the country and its affects in North-East. 

Prakash Jha at Young Leader Connect 2013Karma Paljor, Business Editor of CNN IBN, Assamese film director Bidyut Kotoky, Ghukhato Sema, Director of Nagaland Music Task Force, Bjorn Denise, Director Mayfair Group, Sikkim, and Teresa Rahman, senior journalist conducted the next session which focused on the need of rebranding the NE region. 

The session on ‘One Northeast’ was chaired by Jarpum Gamlin, CEO, Eastern Sentinel and had featured Mmhonlumo Kikon, member Nagaland Legislative Assembly, Armstrong Pame, IAS, Manipur, Lalnghinglova Hmar, Secy, Mizoram Football Association and musician Rudy Wallang.

Borkung Hrangkhawl the freestyle rapper from Tripura thrilled the audience with an on-the-spot composition with Victor Vanlalhruia, Musician and CEO of Scavenger Management, Mizoram. Ms Hekani Jakhalu, Director of YouthNet closed the event thanking the huge gathering. 

The conclave ended with high-voltage performances by the popular Shillong based band Soulmate and Alobo Naga and the band.