Linked with human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples – one, with Indigenous Webs for Information, with Mouvements indigènes, entre néolibéralisme et gouvernements de gauche, with human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples – two, with Promoting the Rights, Voices and Visions of Indigenous Peoples, and with Texts about Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights.
Mr. Leitanthem Umakanta Meitei is an indigenous representative who regularly participates at UN sessions. In 2004, he sent a 140 pages report about the human rights organisations situation in his region to the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights (OHCHR-UNOG). A few days later, he was arrested and heavily tortured. On August 25 at 3:25 a.m., I received a phone call from Mrs. Meitei, informing me about Mr. Meitei´s arrest. The situation is very critical, because he is being tortured a lot. Please do everything you can to attain his immediate release. Dr. Arnold Groh, Structural Analysis of Cultural Systems, Technical University of Berlin, Sekr. FR 6-3. (I received this information by mail from this address).
Leitanthem Umakanta Meitei – India.
Please find below a message from Mrs. Meitei about the arrest of her husband. At the beginning of the mail-chain the message was like this (From: binita chongtham): Hello! My husband was arrested on 24th of Aug. by combined force of Manipur and he will be in the police custody for 5 days. They have started interrogation by that time they tortured a lot. So please send some appeal to the Govt. of Manipur for his safe release. They charged him related with one underground org. in Manipur. And one of his org. member was also arrested. As soon as possible please send the appeal from other International org. which you have contact. You please visit this websites: e-pao and click on ‘write to us’. Through this you can send your protest.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in English or your own language:
- - expressing concern at reports that human rights defenders Leitangthem Umakanta Meitei and Yengkokpam Langamba Meitei have been tortured in police custody;
- - calling on the authorities to ensure that their place of detention is revealed immediately, and to give both men immediate access to their families, lawyers, and any medical attention they may require;
- - urging the authorities to carry out an independent and impartial investigation into allegations that Leitangthem Umakanta Meitei and Yengkokpam Langamba Meitei are being subjected to torture while in police custody, including an examination by independent medical experts, with the findings made public and anyone found responsible for torture brought to justice;
- - asking the authorities for details of the charges faced by the two men, and urging them to release Yengkokpam Langamba Meitei immediately unless he is to be charged with a recognizably criminal offence;
- - calling for guarantees that the men are being treated humanely in detention, and reminding the authorities of Indias commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, quoting Article 5:No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”
- Mr. Okram Ibobi Singh, Chief Minister, Manipur, Government Secretariat, Imphal 795 001, Manipur, India.
Fax: + 91 11 2611 1803, Email.
- COPIES TO: Shivraj Patil, Minister of Home Affairs, 104 – 107 North Block, New Delhi 110 001, India. Fax: + 91 11 2309 2979.
- And to diplomatic representatives of India accredited to your country.
Govt face letter deluge over TIPs arrests By A Staff Reporter, The Imphal Free Press – IMPHAL, Aug 28: In what has all the hallmarks of a well-orchestrated campaign, human rights defenders, NGOs, lawyers and intellectuals from all over the world have bombarded the state and Central governments with letters and e-mails expressing concern over the arrest of TIPS general secretary Leitanthem Umakanta and publicity secretary Yengkokpam Langamba, and reports of their torture in police custody. Among others, several dozen human rights defenders and lawyers from all over Asia currently gathered in Dhaka for the Asia Regional Meeting organised by the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims, Denmark, and Bangladesh Rehabilitation Centre for Trauma Victims (BRCT), Dhaka expressing their concern over procedural irregularities in the arrest of the TIPS leaders, and reports of their being subjected to custodial violence. Langamba, it may be mentioned, was picked up from his home in the early hours of August 23, while Umakanta Meitei was picked up from his home at 4 am the following day.
In particular, the joint statement expressed concern over reports that the arrested persons are not access to their legal counsels. We are very disturbed to learn that several attempts made by lawyers representing them to seek a physical interview to assess their health, mental well-being, etc., have been refused by the police, the statement said. Expressing deep concerned of the safety of the arrested men as they have reportedly been tortured by the Manipur police and charged under extremely flimsy grounds, the statement urged the state and Central authorities to ensure that the arrested human defenders are not tortured during police custody, that they have immediate access to competent medical attention to assess their physical and mental health, and that they are appropriately and effectively treated for any injuries or harm caused at the time of arrest or during their custody with the police. The statement further sought an independent and impartial enquiry to investigate and ascertain the allegations that the arrested men have been and/or are being subjected to torture whilst in police custody, and called for ensuring that they have full access to legal counsel including access to physical visits by their legal counsels. The statement was signed by altogether 38 advocates and human rights workers hailing from Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, the Philippines and Hong Kong, as well as Denmark and the United Kingdom. Land is Life, a New York based NGO working to protest indigenous peoples rights, has also issued a statement condemning the arrest of Umakanta and Langamba. The statement quotes Brian Keane, executive director of the NGO, as saying that this is not the first time Umakanta has suffered for his human rights work. Keane pointed out that Umakanta was arrested, beaten and tortured in September 2004 before being released without charges. Keane also strongly opposed the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, noting that it blatantly tramples the universal declaration of human rights. It is time fo for the government of India to repeal the Act and restore democracy in Manipur, he said. Dr Arnold Groh, of the Technical University of Berlin, and Renato Corsetti, of the Project Indigenous People of the World Esperanto Association have also written to Indian authorities expressing concern over reports of torture of Umakanta and Thabi, and called for their humane treatment in detention. (Read this on Kangla Online).
Gen Secy L Umakanta arrested, Source: The Sangai Express, Imphal, Aug 24 – The General Secretary of Threatened Indigenous People’s Society, Leitanthem Umakanta was picked up by a team of Imphal West police from his residence at Porompat Thawanthaba Leikai today morning, sparking a series of protests. The police personnel were led by the SDPO of Imphal West, Akoijam Jhalajit Singh. … Significantly, Umakanta’s arrest came one day after the arrest of the publicity secretary of TIPS, Thabi who was picked up by a combined team of police and Assam Rifles yesterday from his residence. Reacting strongly against the arrests of its two functionaries, TIPS in a statement today said that it has become customary for the security forces and the police to arrest anyone and later frame charges against the arrested persons. Stating that gross human rights violation have been committed by the security personnel under the immunity granted by the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, TIPS said that to counter the excesses of the security forces, numerous human rights organisations have sprung up all over the State. TIPS is also one such human rights organisation. Farming charges against L Umakanta and Thabi after arresting them is not justified in any manner, it asserted. Moreover the police is also trying to arrest the organisation secretary of TIPS, Waikhom Anand. The arrest of the functionaries of TIPS is nothing but a gross violation of human rights, asserted the statement and added that it amounts to challenging all the human rights organisations in the State. If the Government does not release the TIPS members in good time, then stringent form of agitation will be launched, warned the statement. Meanwhile to condemn the arrests, commercial establishments in Khurai Lamlong Bazar areas downed shutters and a sit-in-protest was staged by women vendors of the market place against the arrests of general secretary L Umakanta and publicity secretary Y Langamba alias Thabi Meitei. According to RK Bimola, general secretary of Lamlong Keithel Apunba Nupi Lup – under whom the protest was held, arrests of prominent members of the human rights association has created an atmosphere of uncertainty and anxiety among the masses besides leading to strong suspicion on conduct of the security forces. Demanding that the arrested persons be released without any conditions at the earliest, she also warned of more intense agitations in case State authorities do not reciprocate positively to the demand. Top Awang Leikai Mahila Mandal, Top Awang Leikai Lamjing Lup, Top Moirang Kampu Nupi Thoudang Lup, Top Awang Khunou Women Welfare Assn, Moirang Kampu Sajeb Women Welfare Assn and Ningthoubung Khunou Chaokhat Thourang Nupi Marup also staged dharnas to protest the arrests. (Read this on e-pao).
Leitanthem Umakant Meitei, human rights activist, spokesperson for Apunba Lup (a coalition of 34 human rights organizations) and General Secretary of the Manipur Threatened Indigenous Peoples Society was arrested yesterday morning in Manipur, India. (Read the whole article on daily kos).