Deepening Diversity and Democracy in India
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Deepening Diversity and Democracy in India: Working Towards Addressing Racial Discrimination & Call for an Anti-Racial Law
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Control Arms Foundation of India in partnership with Multiple Action Research Group (MARG), Northeast India Women Initiative for Peace and NEIFAR commemorated the International day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination under the theme of Deepening Diversity and Democracy in India: Working Towards Addressing Racial Discrimination & Call for an Anti-Racial Law on 21st March at IIC, New Delhi.
Speaking during the conference, Binalakshmi Nepram, Founder, Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network, noted that commemoration is not about recalling the day but also to discuss this critical issue and seek a solution. She emphasized that not just a law, we should have a national action plan for it.
It is not about just racism on streets of Lajpatnagar but racism in boardroom, racism in appointment or any form of racism. We are looking for solution in a holistic way. We just have to understand that the issue of racism is not just when Indians are attacked within the country. Article 15 equally protects other nationals too who are living in India, she said.
During inaugural session, Ms Anju Talukdar, Director, Multiple Action Research Group, recalled that article 14 and 21 protect all people from any kind of Racial Discrimination. She further stated that when we are fighting racial discrimination, letís look at diversity and fight in a diverse way.
Speaking at the conference, Suhas Chakma, Director, Asian Centre for Human Rights, recommended that we should try to push the government of India to place the amendment which has already been adopted by the Ministry of Home Affairs before the Parliament. Letís have a debate on that and create legal provisions. Once we create legal provisions, of course, it is all on mechanism of creating awareness about the issue. If it is not done, then we would not be able to eliminate racial discrimination.
David Boyes, NEIFAR, said that the Bezbaruah committee has recognized that racial discrimination issue is pan India not only for Northeastern people. So I would recommend that if we want to eliminate racial discrimination it should not end with Northeast.
The main objective of this conference was to address the issue of Deepening Diversity, Understanding Racial Discrimination and ways to address this in India. People from different walks of life, region, country, and religion participated in this conference and discussed on the issue.
Jamal Kidwai, Director, Aman Trust, said that I feel that deeply divided and such a diverse society like India, participation of marginalized group is the essential way in which we can end racial discrimination. Unless there is a participation in civil society of groups which are marginalized, their voices will not be heard. And their interest will not be articulated in manner. Similarly I believe that political participation in different state institutions is essential.
21st March is observed globally as International Day to End Racial Discrimination. Racial discrimination cases occur on daily basis in India. Of the various incidents, the violence against Northeast people in the city, as per data provided by Union Home Ministry, has risen around 226 percent in the year 2014. As per the Bezbaruah Committee Report submitted in 2014, 86 percent of migrated Northeasters have faced discrimination or harassment with immense psychological and physical impact. This and other forms of racial discrimination that exists in country must be addressed.
India as a country had shown its commitment to address the issue by signing the "United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination" in 1967.The Convention on the Elimination of All Racial Discrimination was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1965. With rising racial discrimination and attack and xenophobia, it is time that we as a nation make it into a law and make possible an anti-racial law.