NSO Myanmar calls for collective action against abuses

DIMAPUR, JUNE 25 (MExN): Amid the ongoing civil war in Myanmar, the Naga community faces severe hardships, including economic collapse, food insecurity, and disrupted transportation routes. In response, the Naga Students' Organization (NSO) Myanmar held an emergency meeting at Naga Cultural Hall, Lahe, to address these issues and reaffirm their commitment to the unity and welfare of the Naga people.

The NSO highlighted the dire situation in the Naga Hills, where waterways and roadways have been blocked by various armed groups for over a year, severing crucial lifelines. "Our people are plunged into severe economic distress," the NSO stated, emphasizing the compounded effects of natural disasters that have devastated homes, infrastructure, and essential services. The organization also pointed out the Indian government's restrictions on Naga movement.

The NSO also condemned the actions of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), which it said has been kidnapping and forcibly recruiting Naga youths since February 2023. "The number of Naga youths forcibly arrested and recruited is estimated to exceed 300, with many feared killed or missing," the NSO revealed, decrying the exploitation of their community in the conflict.

In the emergency meeting, the NSO, along with federating units, tribal leaders, and the Naga Cultural Committee, adopted several resolutions to address these challenges. They condemned the heavy taxation and harassment imposed on villagers by multiple factions, declaring such actions "intolerable and fundamentally unjust." The NSO insisted that assistance to Naga national workers must be voluntary, rejecting compulsory support through intimidation.

To ensure effective governance and protect the rights of the Naga people, the NSO called for urgent dialogue with NSCN/GPRN authorities. "This meeting is a call for accountability and collaborative leadership," the NSO asserted. Despite a recent unsuccessful meeting with KIA representatives, the NSO said that it plans to send a memorandum demanding an end to the random arrests and forced recruitment of Naga youths. "If these appeals are ignored, we will not remain silent," they stated.
Additionally, the NSO entrusted tribal leaders to recall Naga youths working in unsafe areas in Kachin State, prohibiting further travel until a positive response is received from KIA authorities. 

"The fight for democratic aspirations through coercion and at gunpoint is not only counterproductive but utterly defeats the purpose of our struggle," the NSO stated, emphasizing the moral and ethical wrongs of exploiting the vulnerable Naga community. They urged all Naga leaders and organizations to stand united and resist coercive measures, reaffirming their commitment to a just, democratic, and peaceful future for the Naga people.

"History will not forgive those who stand on the wrong side of morality, ethics, and justice," the NSO concluded, issuing a call to action for solidarity and resilience in these challenging times.