Humanitarian norms, gender and child rights

Humanitarian norms, gender and child rights
The NPMHR alongside other Naga Civil Society organized a seminar on ‘Partnering in action towards International campaign for humanitarian norms, gender and child rights protection-Part II’ in Kohima on October 11. (Morung Photo)


Naga Civil Society holds follow up seminar to partner in action


Morung Express News
Kohima | October 11

Despite strides in gender equality, women in many societies, as also in Nagaland, still face challenges when it comes to socio-economic power.


Rev. Dr. Ellen Konyak Jamir, Associate Professor, Pastoral Counseling & Psychotherapy at Oriental Theological Seminary, extrapolated on this while speaking on ‘Gender Prerogative- Respecting women’ as part of a seminar on ‘Partnering in action towards International campaign for humanitarian norms, gender and child rights protection-Part II.’ It was held on October 11 at Capital convention centre, Kohima.


Organised by the Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) in collaboration with other civil society groups in Nagaland, the seminar was an outcome of a training program attended by the representatives of several Naga civil society groups in 2016 on anti-personnel mines, prohibition of sexual violence and elimination of gender discrimination and protection of children.


Everyday action to end discrimination

“Women are an integral part of today’s society. For a society to function well and to make progress, treating women well is vital in homes as well as in the society,” said Rev. Ellen while stressing on the need to address what women go through and what makes them suffer.


Discoursing on the impact of the current scenario of psychological and mental health in Nagaland, specifically of women, Rev. Ellen noted that the feeling of powerlessness, poverty, family upbringing are all systemic factors that contribute directly to the mental and spiritual health of women. Women’s health, especially mental well being, needs attention, according to Rev. Ellen. She reminded that often culture, albeit an important essence of a community, can be discriminatory towards women.


“The culture of silence and compromise while pursuing justice when social evil prevails is dictated by our societal standards and needs to be addressed,” she pointed out, calling for “everyday action” to end the discrimination against women. In the context of Nagas, these everyday actions can begin with appreciating the work of stay-at-home mothers, validating their roles and functions, treating women vendors with respect, rehabilitation of victims etc.


While culture is a strategy to disseminate wisdom that helps groups to survive, Rev. Dr. Ellen reminded that cultural norms that exist to guide us also need to adapt and change according to the needs of our changing times. Culture is never a dogma but it is in constant flux.


“Empowering women means acknowledging and affirming their roles, providing them opportunities to be educated, to live and work with dignity to be equal partners in the homes and beyond,” she remarked.


Other resource persons for the seminar were Dr. Balkrishna Kurvey, President, Indian Institute for Peace, Disarmament and Environmental Protection (IIPDEP) who spoke on ‘International Humanitarian Norms’ and Limasenla Longkumer who spoke on ‘Child Rights Protection’.


Church should protect a child

While speaking on Child Rights protection, Advocate Limasenla Longkumer lamented that it is futile to talk about child protection when the system and its provisions are not in place. Further, when the basic requirements are not provided to the child such as basic nutrition and care, child protection is challenging.


“While a lot of schemes are provided, the rightful beneficiaries are never benefitted. Implementation becomes very vague when the facilities are not in place. All this amounts to delay in justice,” said Longkumer. Stressing on the complexities of child labour in Nagaland, Longkumer noted that Nagas must find alternatives for caregivers and helpers at home.


With the growing middle class and hectic schedules of the working class, the need for helpers and housekeeping at home has increased giving way to increase in employment of children as domestic labour.


Longkumer urged for the involvement of the church in child protection, pointing out the irony wherein crimes and injustice are compromised in the name of God.


Dr. P Ngully also spoke on post traumatic stress disorder in conflict regions and for victims of abuse of any form.


The seminar concluded with the launching of a poster campaign by Dr. Balkrishna Kurvey. 10,000 posters have been printed to be dispatched to all the districts in Nagaland to increase awareness on humanitarian norms, gender and child rights protection.