The Zo Re-unification Organization (ZORO), an international non-governmental organization working for the re-unification of Zo people, has raised concerns over the violation of human rights faced by the Zo ethnic tribes in Manipur. In a memorandum addressed to the United Nations, ZORO condemned the ethnic violence and genocide perpetrated against the Zo people by the Government of Manipur and the majority Meitei/Meetei non-tribal community.
The Zo ethnic tribes, consisting of Chin, Kuki, and Mizo communities, have historically inhabited the hill areas of Manipur for generations. These ancestral lands, which include forests vital to their livelihood and culture, have come under threat due to encroachment and violence.
The memorandum highlights several key issues:
Encroachment on Tribal Lands: The Manipur government, in collaboration with non-tribal communities, has been encroaching on tribal lands. This encroachment not only undermines the traditional rights and way of life of the Zo tribes but also disrupts their sustainable means of livelihood.
Ethnic Violence and Genocide: The Zo ethnic tribes have faced targeted violence and acts of genocide by the Meitei/Meetei non-tribal community. These acts have resulted in displacement, loss of lives, and the destruction of villages, further exacerbating the already dire situation faced by the tribes.
Undermining of Constitutional Protections: Despite the constitutional provisions in place to safeguard the rights and interests of the hill people, including the Zo tribes, the Meitei-dominated Government of Manipur has continuously undermined Article 371C, which mandates the creation of the Hill Areas Committee (HAC) to protect the rights of the hill communities.
ZORO urges the United Nations and the international community to intervene and address these human rights violations in Manipur. The organization calls for immediate action to ensure the protection of the Zo ethnic tribes' rights, their ancestral lands, and their cultural heritage.
The Zo ethnic tribes, comprising various subgroups such as the Mizo, Hmar, and Paite, have been residing in Manipur for generations, contributing to the state's cultural diversity. However, recent years have witnessed a rise in tensions and incidents of violence against the Zo communities, leading to a grave violation of their fundamental human rights.
The international organization, known for its advocacy and promotion of human rights globally, called upon the Indian government and relevant authorities to take immediate action to protect the Zo ethnic tribes from further harm. It urged the government to ensure the safety and security of the Zo communities and hold accountable those responsible for the violence and discrimination.
Multiple reports have documented cases of targeted attacks, arbitrary arrests, and intimidation against Zo individuals and communities. It is alleged that these acts are often motivated by ethnic tensions and disputes over land and resources. The organization emphasized the importance of a thorough and impartial investigation into these incidents, with the perpetrators being brought to justice.
Furthermore, the organization stressed the need for a comprehensive dialogue between the government, local communities, and representatives of the Zo tribes to address the underlying issues contributing to the ongoing conflict. It called for a peaceful resolution that respects the rights, dignity, and cultural heritage of all parties involved.
The international community has also been urged to closely monitor the situation and provide support to ensure the protection and well-being of the Zo ethnic tribes. Human rights activists and organizations worldwide have echoed these concerns, emphasizing the universal principle that every individual, regardless of their ethnicity or background, deserves to live in safety and dignity.
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