COCOMI spokesperson addresses UN Human Rights Council on NE border issues

In a significant development at the 55th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 22, Khuraijam Athouba, the spokesperson for the Coordination Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) and Vice-President of the Indigenous Perspectives and Sustainable Alternatives (IPSA), made his third personal intervention.

The focus of Athouba’s intervention was on General Debate Agenda Item-5, which delves into Human Rights Bodies and Mechanisms. Athouba underscored the pressing concerns regarding the Northeast region of India, particularly highlighting the disruption of inter-ethnic harmony due to illegal influx from Myanmar, destabilisation caused by cross-border movements, and the environmental threat posed by opium poppy cultivation.

Emphasising the severity of the situation, Athouba pointed out the involvement of foreign terror networks in perpetuating violence in Manipur. He urged the council to take necessary measures to safeguard human rights and the security of indigenous peoples in the region. Athouba revealed that billions of dollars worth of drugs and arms have been seized from the region in recent years, with a substantial portion originating from Myanmar. He also raised concerns about extensive opium poppy cultivation, leading to massive deforestation and environmental degradation.

In his statement, Athouba outlined the appeals made by COCOMI to the UN, including strengthening cross-border cooperation to combat illicit drug and arms trafficking, supporting sustainable alternative livelihoods to discourage poppy cultivation, and facilitating international cooperation to address the involvement of foreign terror networks in regional violence.

As the sessions progress, Athouba is expected to continue representing COCOMI and IPSA, advocating for the rights and well-being of the indigenous communities in India’s Northeast region.

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