COCOMI seeks UNHRC intervention Threats to indigenes, drug menace pointed out


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By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Mar 23 : The Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) has sought intervention of the United Nations Human Rights Council to safeguard the fundamental human rights and ensure the security of indigenous peoples of North East India.
Addressing the ongoing regular session of the 55th Session of the UN Human Rights Council at Geneva for the third time on March 22, 2024, COCOMI spokesman and IPSA vice- pres- ident Khuraijam Athouba appealed to the UNHRC to convene relevant human rights forums and implement necessary mechanisms to safeguard the fundamental human rights and ensure the security of indigenous peoples by strengthening cross- border cooperation to combat illicit drugs and arms trafficking, by supporting sustainable alternative livelihoods to discourage poppy cultivation and mitigate environmental degradation and by facilitating international cooperation to address the involvement of foreign terror networks in regional violence.
India’s North East region’s fragile geopolitical position, compounded by an unaccounted illegal influx from Myanmar due to the ongoing unrest has severely disrupted inter-ethnic harmony, he said.
It has led to a significant deterioration of human rights and peaceful co-existence between ethnic communities, Athouba said.
He said that the surge in cross-border movements has further destabilized the region, with a majority of refugees seeking sanctuary in India’s North East region and indulging in all forms of illicit activities including encroaching on reserved forest areas.
Seizure of unlimited drugs and arms from the region in the recent year is alarming. Drugs worth 18 billion dollars were seized in Manipur, 16.88 billion dollars in Assam, 1.6 billion dollars in Mizoram and all these drugs came from Myanmar, Athouba said at the UNHRC session.
Moreover, extensive opium poppy cultivation in Manipur, particularly by immigrant groups has reached unprecedented levels. Till date, 18,000 acres have been destroyed, leading to massive deforestation, degrading the environment and threatening the survival of indige- nous populations, he said.
Acknowledgement of the involvement of foreign terror networks in the ongoing Manipur violence in the Indian Parliament underscored the gravity of the situation, the COCOMI spokesman asserted.
The Home Minister of India has attributed the ongoing violence to illegal immigration and narcotics from across the border, he added.
Khuraijam Athouba shall be attending a few more sessions of the ongoing 55th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, according to a press release issued by  COCOMI media coordinator Yumkhaibam Surjitkumar Khuman.