Twelve Indians die every day due to gun violence. Today, India is the second most heavily armed country in the world. The presence and possession of an estimated 40 million firearms in the country has proved dangerous for the citizens hurting hundreds of men, women and children every day. Many of them are traumatized, intimidated, enslaved, robbed and even raped at gun point. Adding to this is the easy availability of arms which further fuel ongoing conflicts in different parts of India. From encounters between state and non-state actors to school shooting incidents, innocent victims pay a high price. In the northeast state of Manipur alone, over 20, 000 women have been widowed owing to gun violence. Concerned by the suffering and the rising armed violence as well as weaponization in India, a group of determined citizens founded the Control Arms Foundation of India (CAFI) on the 10th of September 2004 in New Delhi.
Of late, CAFI has been focussing on the issue of Gender Based Violence (GBV) and ensuring diversity along with its commitment to peace and disarmament. The organization aims to address the widespread violence across the country be it armed, gender or racial and find solutions to ending it.
The aim of Control Arms Foundation of India is centred on three broad areas -
- Addressing Gender Based Violence - Leading work for women, peace and development issues in Northeast India, CAFI focuses on socio economic development and peace building processes. CAFI is also committed to dealing with the issue of sexual violence in conflict areas along with its sister organization Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network (MWGSN). #WarOnRape is a campaign that has been launched to end the continuous rate at which women are raped all across the country. The Northeast India Women Initiative for Peace (NEIWIP) was also set up under its guidance in 2009. Together it works on providing legal support and assistance as well as economic empowerment to women below poverty line all across the most vulnerable regions in the Northeast.
- Ensuring Diversity - Due to increase in growing intolerance and racial violence in India, CAFI has been active in it work to deepen diversity and ending racial discrimination in the country. Working with committed stakeholders, the foundation aims to develop a National Diversity Policy and an Anti-Racial Law for the country. It also seeks to intensify the #DiversityNow campaign and create an environment where diversity is not only accepted or tolerated but appreciated.
- Peace and Disarmament - The damaging impact of armed conflicts is of huge concern as they affect civil society particularly women, children and the elderly. CAFI strives to create a movement where peace and security issues are debated though informed conferences, discussion and dialogues on conventional disarmament.
Operative Methods of CAFI
The Control Arms Foundation of India's approach is women led peace & conflict resolution, disarmament and empowering community through knowledge transformation on rights and entitlements, strengthening grassroots governance through people's participation, civil society action for ensuring a sustainable life and livelihood. In doing so, the foundation draws inspiration from the fundamental rights enshrined in the Indian constitution, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), The United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325, UNSCR 1820 and the guidelines of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
On the issue of Gender Justice -
On the issue of Diversity and Racial Discrimination -
- To implement the National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.
- To intensify the #WarOnRape campaign.
- To ensure protection of women's rights and prevention of violation of these rights especially in disturbed areas.
- To empower women and ensure their active and meaningful participation in areas of peacebuilding, prevention, resolution and reconstruction in violent and disturbed situations.
- To promote gender perspective in all aspects of prevention, resolution of violent areas and peacebuilding.
- To institutionalize a system to monitor, evaluate and report women rights abuses to enhance accountability.
On the issue of Peace and Disarmament-
- To create a National Diversity Policy to address Racial Discrimination.
- To develop an Anti Racial Law that addresses the various socio-cultural and economic types of discrimination.
- To encourage research to define the parameters of race and racial discrimination in India.
- To raise awareness through campaigns to comprehend discrimination in institutions and in everyday life.
- To promote intensification of public education by incorporating tolerance and promotion of respect for other ethnicities.
- To support increased political participation of the marginalized societies
- To set up law enforcing agencies and develop mechanisms to increase reporting, investigation, documentation and monitoring of cases of racial discrimination.
- To start training programmes for public officials.
- To fill the void existing in Indian civil society through informed debates and discussion on conventional disarmament to bring about lasting peace in the country and region.
- To mainstream a gender perspective on disarmament.
- To adopt and promote a comprehensive approach built on gender and age sensitivity, so that the targeted measures take into account the different situations, needs and resources of men, women, boys and girls.
- To strengthen institutional cooperation between all stakeholders like international organizations and development agencies on development strategies and armed violence.
- To conduct impact assessment, monitoring and evaluation of integrated armed violence reduction and development initiatives in collaboration with communities, and to support the mainstreaming of lessons learned from local/ pilot initiatives within national, regional and international frameworks for development.