Bearing Witness: A Report on the Impact of Conflict on Women in Nagaland and Assam

Bearing Witness: A Report on the Impact of Conflict on Women in Nagaland and Assam

Sanjoy Hazarika and Preeti Gill
C-Nes & HBF
Place of Publication: New Delhi
Date of Publication: 2011
Number of Pages: 94
The stories of women and their families who have suffered silently in the decades of conflict between insurgents and Indian security forces - and between the idea of India and those who sought political and cultural spaces outside of it – come alive in ‘Bearing Witness: A Report on the Impact of Conflict on Women in Nagaland and Assam’. Researched and written by the Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research (C-nes), and supported by the Heinrich Böll Foundation, the Report places these issues in the larger context of the challenges of nation-building, the enduring issues of human rights and their violations, enshrined in ‘national security’ laws which have been opposed for over 50 years. Regional growth and the failure of stakeholders and non-State groups to address these concerns are also reviewed.

The year-long project has looked at not just who was affected or how they were affected but also the broader issues of just laws, the use of State power and the rights of individuals, especially women, in conflict zones. Violence against women during times of armed conflict has been a persistent and widespread practice over centuries. Until recently, violence against women in such situations has been couched in terms of protection and honour. This has been particularly devastating for women for it perpetuates their subordination in an insidiously deep-rooted manner.

Hazarika says, ‘To bear witness has been a challenging and disturbing experience; listening to and reading the testimonies of the victims has been particularly painful and saddening – especially as we are deeply aware that virtually none of the victims have had access either to compensation or justice by getting the legal system or even the administrative system to take care of the harm they have suffered. For some, the nightmare persists because they remained unhealed and unreached; for others the nightmare is renewed when they see the alleged killers of relatives or friends walking around free. We have been privileged to have been included in some of the most personal and difficult situations which these women and other individuals have faced.’

You can download the publication as a pdf-file (pdf, 94 pages,7.50 MB).

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