Geneva Council, a respected independent news organization dedicated to promoting human rights and shedding light on global issues, is deeply troubled by the alarming reports of severe human rights violations in India’s northeastern state of Manipur. These violations have disproportionately affected the Christian community and have raised serious concerns about the protection of religious minorities in the region.
Recent reports from United Nations experts, including special rapporteurs within the UN Human Rights Council, have detailed egregious acts of human rights abuses in Manipur. These violations encompass a wide range of atrocities, including sexual violence, extrajudicial killings, the destruction of homes, forced displacement, torture, and ill-treatment. Of particular concern is the brutal targeting of the Christian Kuki ethnic minority, who have been subjected to horrifying acts of violence.
In a press release issued by the UN experts, they decried the inadequate humanitarian response to the dire humanitarian crisis unfolding in Manipur. The experts highlighted incidents such as the public sexual assault of two Kuki women, expressing their shock at reports and images of gender-based violence that have affected hundreds of women and girls, predominantly from the Kuki ethnic minority. These reports include deeply disturbing acts, such as gang rape, public humiliation, fatal beatings, and the burning of victims, whether alive or deceased.
The UN experts also drew attention to the fact that this violence appears to be incited and preceded by inflammatory rhetoric, which has spread both online and offline. Such rhetoric seeks to justify the atrocities committed against the Kuki ethnic minority, particularly targeting women, based on their ethnicity and religious beliefs.
Geneva Council shares the concern expressed by the UN experts that the recent events in Manipur represent a troubling escalation in the already deteriorating situation faced by ethnic and religious minorities in India. While we commend the efforts of fact-finding missions conducted by lawyers and human rights activists in Manipur, we are deeply troubled by reports of harassment targeting these initiatives.
One such fact-finding mission, led by the Editors’ Guild of India (EGI), faced legal action by Manipur police after submitting its findings. EGI’s report criticized the internet shutdown imposed by the BJP-led Manipur government and raised concerns about the transformation of Imphal-based media into “Meitei media.” This marked the second instance of legal action against a fact-finding team reporting on Manipur. In July, a case was filed against Annie Raja, Nisha Siddhu, and Deeksha Dwivedi, who were part of the National Federation of Indian Women’s team in Manipur and had documented state-sponsored violence.
Geneva Council is also deeply concerned about the Indian government’s response to the ongoing violence, which has persisted for over four months. We echo the serious concerns expressed by the UN experts regarding the apparent slow and insufficient actions taken by the Government of India, including law enforcement, to curb the physical and sexual violence and hate speech in Manipur.
In conclusion, Geneva Council calls upon the international community to pay close attention to the deteriorating human rights situation in Manipur and urges all parties involved to take immediate and effective measures to protect the rights and safety of religious minorities, particularly the Christian community. We hope that public officials who may have contributed to the escalation of tensions in Manipur will be held accountable for their actions.