On March 28, (from 15:00), Stichting The London Story will be holding a dialogue with Indian Human Rights Defender, Ashoka Life Fellow, and former Fullbright Scholad Babloo Loitongbam at The Hague Humanity Hub. Sign-up is open now for this unique opportunity to engage in dialogue with Loitongbam, the Director of Human Rights Alert, who has spent 30 years campaigning to defend human rights in the North-East of India.
The context for Loitongbam’s work has been India’s use of the ‘Armed Forces Special Powers Act’, which grants the Indian army wide-ranging powers intended to quash terrorism and maintain order. Since being brought into law in 1958, the act has applied to a large number of Indian States and has, according to multiple human rights organisations, given the Indian Army impunity in the way that it operates. The Act has also been condemned by the UN.
Loitongbam’s work focuses on the Indian State of Manipur, which has had a long-running insurgency campaign led by several groups since Indian independence. The conflict is multi-faceted, with various groups representing nationalist and ethnic causes and expressions of independence.
Part of Loitingbam’s work through Human Rights Alert has been to document extrajudicial killings carried out by the Army- with 1528 cases so far identified and documented. A recent success has included advocating for the Supreme Court of India to appoint a fact-finding committee to look into several of these cases. Human Rights Alert has also worked to help widows of the victims access compensation.
Defeating Hardness with Softness
Babloo Loitingbam is led by an ideology that integrates the thinking of Mahatma Gandhi into the various conflict situations he and his team work. He advocates for defeating ‘Hardness’ (violence carried out by the military) with ‘Softness’ (using legal, protest, and non-violent means) to highlight human rights abuses and show the world the situation in Manipur.
At his dialogue event at The Hague Humanity Hub, Babloo Loitingbam will speak about his long campaign against impunity, and how the Indian Army has worked to profile civilians and CSO’s as terrorists to be fought against. For more information about Loitingbam, check out the web presence of Human Rights Alert. Stichting The London Story is a member of The Hague Humanity Hub: for more information about their work, check out their website.