SHILLONG, May 13 - The North East Forum for Indigenous People (NEFIP), firm in its belief that there is a need for collective efforts to address the problem of illegal influx into the Northeastern region, has decided to demand for the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) in the States of NE.
This is one of the resolutions adopted at its meeting hosted by the Confederation of Meghalaya Social Organisations (CoMSO) at the North Eastern Hill University (NEHU), here recently.
The meeting was attended by 90 delegates belonging to different organisations of NE region which include the Manipur People against CAB (MANPAC) and Joint Committee on Prevention of Illegal Immigrants (JCPI) from Nagaland.
�We will discuss and accordingly approach the Government of India as implementation of the UNDRIP will further safeguard the interest of the indigenous peoples,� NEFIP convenor, Ningthouja Lancha informed here.
The UNDRIP delineates and defines the individual and collective rights of indigenous peoples including their ownership rights to cultural and ceremonial expression, identity, language, employment, health, education and other issues, according to Lancha. It also emphasises the rights of indigenous people to maintain and strengthen their own institutions, cultures and traditions and to pursue their development in keeping with their own needs and aspirations, he added.
Lancha also said that the total population of the indigenous peoples is only 1.8 crore of 5.2 crore in the NE region while adding that there are over 2 crore illegal immigrants in Assam and around 50 lakh in Tripura. �We have become a minority in our own homeland,� he lamented.
Asserting the need to collectively address the issue of illegal immigrants in the NE region, the Forum has also resolved to support all organisations demanding the implementation of the Inner Line Permit (ILP), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and other similar influx related regulations and laws in their respective States.
Meanwhile, State coordinator of Nagaland, Theja Therieh informed that the NEFIP will continue to oppose the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) till the Government of India decides to stop pursuing for its implementation.
�In case the Government of India implements the Bill against our wishes, then we will be compelled to determine our own future collectively,� he said.
With regard to the BJP�s decision to bring back the CAB if voted back to power, Therieh said the resolutions adopted by the Forum would be submitted after the formation of the new government at the Centre.