On 1 July, the National Socialist Council of Nagalim, led by Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah (NSCN-IM), signed Geneva Call’s Deed of Commitment prohibiting sexual violence and against gender discrimination, thereby formalizing its own long-standing policy on these issues.
The NSCN-IM is the fifth armed non-State actor (ANSA) in the region to sign this Deed of Commitment, sending a clear signal to other armed actors that sexual violence should not be tolerated. As Cabinet Minister Sema Kihoyi noted, “Ending sexual violence is good for all of us, not just the Naga people.” Cabinet Secretary Raikham Ninghor further stated, “It is not just a document; it has to be strictly implemented.”
In 2012, the level of sexual violence in India drew international attention following the gang rape of a young woman on a New Delhi city bus. Since then, other cases have drawn the international spotlight. And yet sexual violence in areas of conflict also occurs in India, although very little attention has been focused on this issue. By signing the Deed of Commitment, ANSAs in India have added their voices to the country’s other actors calling for an end to sexual violence and the discrimination based on gender than leads to it.
Since 2002, Geneva Call has been engaging with ANSAs in northeast India, encouraging them to adhere to international humanitarian norms in order to protect civilians in conflict-affected areas. In 2003, the NSCN-IM was the first ANSA in India to sign Geneva Call’s Deed of Commitment banning anti-personnel mines.