Monday, November 24, 2008

A Look at the Uganda Situation: Conflict, Displacement and Return

Geetisha Dasgupta

Northern Uganda has for long suffered from internal conflicts resulting in huge number of displacements. The conflict stems from reasons long drawn: under the British, the north was the labour reserve for the plantations in the south. However, following independence, power in government was progressively consolidated among politicians of northern origin. This was due, partially, to the fact that most Ugandans have come to identify themselves with their ethnic group rather than with citizenship of the Ugandan nation state. Though most of Uganda has been pacified with the passage of time, places like Acholiland continue to remain outside the peace bubble. There have been displacements in Acholiland, Lango and Teso regions, especially in the Lira district.

Karamoja is one of the principal problem areas, where there is no one single identifiable reason for the skirmishes. The Karimojong have had long, intermittent, unpredictable conflicts amongst themselves. The principal cause however continues to be underdevelopment, perpetual poverty and insecurities. All these factors re-inforce each other. Lawlessness and human rights violation, food deficits, poor governance, break with traditional governance and inadequate consolidation with modern governing practices, unbridled arms sale, depletion of productivity, recurrent drought and famine, together with cultural, economic and social factors trigger the violence.

Until a few days ago, out-migration of Karimojong to neighbouring districts, specifically Pader, was reportedly on the increase, with substantial presences of Karimojong from Kotido District reported in the border sub-counties of Paimol, Lapono and Adilang of Pader District. Population movements now occurred even outside the habitual migration season, in December or January, when people move for work reasons. The primary reason cited for the increased out-migration at this unusual hour was hunger and the lack of food, or employment to earn money to buy food, within Karamoja. Authorities in Kacheri sub-county estimated that 2,000 people have left the sub-county for Pader, while estimates from Rengen sub-county suggest that over 1,000 people have left in a span of three months.

However, of late, improvements in the security situation in northern Uganda have allowed about half of the more than 1.8 million people who had been internally displaced by the conflict to return to their villages, while another quarter have moved to transit sites nearer to their homes. While the peace process has stalled due to the repeated failure by the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, Joseph Kony, to sign a Final Peace Agreement, the security situation in northern Uganda has much improved since the signing of a Cessation of Hostilities Agreement between the government of Uganda and the LRA in August 2006. Large numbers of internally displaced people (IDPs) have already returned to their villages, while others are in the process of doing so.

For the detailed speech please click on the link:

Women Building Peace Between India and Pakistan. Edited by Shree Mulay and Jackie Kirk. Delhi :Anthem Critical Studies, 2007

Ishita Dey

This book weaves together some of the attempts that the women’s movements have worked towards building peace between one of the most sensitive borders in South Asia. Through a compilation of essays, the editors have attempted to situate and understand how women negotiate, challenge and questions the role women perform in war , as “mothers” both in India and Pakistan. In a nutshell it questions the stereotypes and dogmas that perpetuate “peace” as a “ temporal” concept and tries to link peace with justice, security of the people, position of women not in terms of role-performance but also in terms of their position in relation to nationalistic, religious and other dominant discourses. What is significant and departs from the existing writings on “peace” is the aspect of self –reflexivity and the rich ethnographic roots of the articles. It questions the traditional protests evoking the patriarchal kinship relations of mother, sister and brother specially in times of torture.

There is a need to move beyond victimization and as one of the articles in this volume on Kashmir conflict, Anuradha Bhasin Jamwal suggests that it is important to understand that activities like stripping, mutilating, amputing breasts, molesting and raping is about “male construction of sexuality , it is symbolic representation of “manhood” . Hence “rape” is one of the worst ways to “victimize” women ; to create “shame” leave them marginalized within and outside the group almost on the threshold and is “suffering” the will generate more meaningful dialogues across borders in the recent times.

Any discussion on peace building between India and Pakistan is left answered without addressing the concept of ‘Kasmiriyat’ ; a secular ethnic concept expounded by the Muslim ruler Zain-ul-Abdeen and popularized by a mystic Hindu woman Lal Ded, defining the relationship between the Hindu and the Muslim communities of the valley by this model. Reeta Chowdhari Tremblay in the essay on “Identity and Nationalism : Where are Women in Kashmiri Politics?” argues that though the concept of Kashmiriyat was popularized by a woman the state discourse of nationalism is devoid of any gendered understanding to define “Kasmiri nation”; thus concepts of community, region and religion has taken predominance over nationalist debate.

One constant thread that weaves the essays is the how the building of nation-state in South Asia is based on what Himani Banerjee calls masculinisation of demography; whereby constant attempts to cleanse ethnic and religious minority groups to create political spaces where demography overrides democracy is evident. This results in citizenship based not on rights but on various culturally constructed forms of belonging. According to Himani Banerjee, “the question of demography involving actualities of human reproduction entails the issue of women’s bodies as reproductive sites- and in relation to the Hindu right’s agenda in India, that of Muslim women’s bodies, especially of their reproductive parts”. It is against this background and context she locates the genocide of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002.

Some essays reflect on the peace initiatives by women’s groups in Pakistan . Beena Sarwar and Shahid Fiaz in their respective essays discuss in detail about the various peace initiatives namely by Woman’s action Forum and other cross border civil society groups to address demilitarization, intolerance, globalization and Kashmir. Post Kargil there were various initiatives from both ends to continue civil society dialogue through “women’s peace bus” spearheaded by Gandhian Nirmala Despande which was received by Asma Jehangir. While on one hand these cultural exchanges uphold attempts to uphold the unity of the people most of these events as Beena Sarwar says go unreported and unnoticed.

It is significant in this context to understand the role of the media in both India and Pakistan. What do the popular media images portray, symbolize, represent about India – Pakistan relationship in Indian and Pakistan media? While Suhasini Mulay lays down the Indian perspective; through a overview of the popular media discourses on Pakistan in radio, TV and our cinema; Shireen Pasha argues for people to have correct access to information we need stringent media laws.

What follows from these essays is how are these steps significant in the context of peacebuilding efforts and understanding violence in South Asia. The essays by Chris Corin, Daya R Varma, Jackie Kirk and Shree Mulay provides a backdrop and context to the understanding of peace, “securitization” of peace efforts and legal interpretations of the same in their attempts to address the linkages between women, peace and security provided by the brilliant introductory essay on Canada and United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, peace and security which foregrounds the human security approach from a gendered perspective to understand the root causes of conflict. UNSCR 1325 is path breaking and a model for advocacy groups who are working on peace and security agenda.

On the Margins of Citizenship: Cooper’s Camp in Nadia

Ishita Dey

In this essay, we will try to understand one of the unique refugee experience of the Indian Subcontinent; partition refugees through the lens of the transition of one of the largest transit camps “Cooper’s camp” in Nadia District. This essay will reflect on “ the processes and practices by which specific images, meanings, and identities of the refugee have been historically produced, differentiated from other subjectivities, institutionalized, and deployed as effective resources of and for practices of statecraft”.

On 11 March 1950 Cooper’s Camp was established by the West Bengal Government. It was one of the largest transit camps in West Bengal. The camp offered a basic medical facility in the form of Cooper’s general hospital and it functioned till 1977.Acording to Tushar Sinha ( 1999), despite being one of the largest transit camps, which once functioned as a military base had the basic infrastructural facilities of housing people. The lighting facility of the camp was limited to 18 petromax and 1000 hurricane. For every 750 people there were 40 tubewells. The camp was full of open latrines and open drainage system which was hazaradous and was responsible for the decline in health among camp residents. From 21 March 1950 the camp was supported by the central Government. By this time 126 people died after suffering from cholera. On 3 April, 1950, J P Narayan visited the camp.

Gouranga Das’s family was of the 22 families who arrived in Coopers in 1950. Cooper’s Camp was divided into several blocks and huts for administrative purposes. Each resident was registered in the relief office and was registered in the “Ranaghat transit centre records” according to his Ration Card No, Date of admission and Name and family details. After this classification, the displaced was allocated a Hut which had to be shared and Block number.

“We had read in the newspaper about Cooper’s Camp. I was among the first twenty two refugee families to reach the camp. The camp started functioning on 11 March 1950. There were some tents, shops along the railwayline and langarkhana. We were served rice, dal, wheat, clothes and financial assistance of Rs 1.

My family was forced to migrate to West Bengal in 1949. I was eighteen years old. In 1948 Communist Party of India (undivided) was banned. I belong to Sheyalguni village of the Barishal District. We first took a boat from our village to Barishal and then we boarded a steamer and there were 2000-3000 families who migrated with us. We are issued a border slip at Benapole border.

The air of Benapole was filled with dirt and death. But at every step we felt that we will go back. Shree Guru Sangha had set up a camp near the border and various places for refugee. There were various welfare organizations who were organizing relief camps. From Bongaon we reached Sealdah station and stayed there for nearly fifteen days. Almost Lakhs of people were stranded there. We were served free food (rice, dal and vegetable curry) in make shift langarkhana( adjacent to platform No. 8 ) by Marwari Relief Society. We thought it’s a temporary phase. Specially our forefathers believed that we will return to our “desh”/ “homeland”.

There were communal outbreaks at various points of time but the worst of the riots took place in late 1948. Every year we used to celebrate Durga Puja and we had huge brass cooking vessels which were used to cook food during festivals. When the riots broke, we used these brass cooking vessels filled with water for defense purposes. We adopted various tactics to save ourselves from the onslaught of the rioters. When the rioters attacked we often splashed water all over the house to save our lives. When the rioters attacked our house and burned down our puja mandap; we had managed to run away. We were not attacked by anybody. We left our house in the night.

By 1951, one lakh people poured in refugee camp. The refugee movement began as protest against bad quality of food grains that used to be served. Often stale wheat, rice and dal were served. Alorani Dutta died due to lack of medical help. Dijen Dutta organized the movement with the support 70000-80,000 people in Coopers Camp, 25000 in Rupashree pally , 30000 from women’s camp.

The first martyr of refugee movement of 1950 was Paresh Das, resident of 7 No. Godown. From 1950-52 refugee movement subsided after his killing. People were scared.

On 18 Oct, 1952,144 No. House , Jatin Saha and Ratish Mullick spearheaded the refugee movement. Jatin Saha opened up a tea shop and in his tea shop the communist newspaper “Swadhinata” was available for public reading. The tea shop was the base that Jatin Saha used to initiate a communist movement in Coopers Camp. Jatin Saha also distributed leaflets in the night among the refugee households.

In 1952, we planned our communist struggle in 174 No House, G Block currently Ward No. 11. We had twenty one party members. We initiated the refugee movement in the Cooper’s Camp. One of the main demands of the refugee movement was to recognize Cooper’s as industrial colony and B.C. Ray did recognize Cooper’s under the urban scheme. Other demands were to improve the quality and increase the quantity of food grain “doles”. One of the mistakes of the refugee movement I feel was our decision regarding rehabilitation in Dandakaranya and Nainital. People who settled in Nainital are better off. Their land is of much worth than ours. Our slogan was “Lathi khabo, guli kahbo kintu banglar Baire Jabo Naa”. We never wanted to be rehabilitated outside West Bengal. We could never think of being settled anywhere else.

After 1954 when passports were introduced, there was huge influx of refugee population. In 1971 with the formation of Bangladesh, Central Government offered relief to the refugees”.

From his narrative we can deduce some common refugee experiences and their transit points. People came with the hope that this is a temporary phase and once things settle down they are going to return. The bordering Nadia District of West Bengal mainly, Benapole and Darshana were the entry points. What is also evident that before the refugees shifted to Government camps they stayed primarily at Sealdah station . There are several accounts relating to the refugee situation in Sealdah station. In one of the newspaper reports in Amrita Bazaar Patrika also quoted in Prafulla K. Chakrabarti’s work, the station is described as dumping ground of people from the eastern border.

As soon as they arrive, they are given inoculation against cholera and such other diseases. Then they are assigned a shelter camp by an officer of the Relief and Rehabilitation Department. An area of 39/ 39 square feet has been designated for the refugees to use before they are transferred to refugee camps. The report mentions that a group of five to six thousand men, women and children had access to three taps for drinking water. Apart from drinking water, there were two latrines for women and about 12 latrines for men.

So what we see here is that the “refugee” is uprooted from his state and is forced to live life in make shift arrangements under most inhuman circumstances. It is at this critical juncture we are left to ponder whether or not “Right to life” is an individual question or a political question? Political responses to the mass displacement has always tried to “negotiate” with the “refugee” who is a stateless, and immediate efforts to classify, regiment this stateless figure by the newly adopted state one hand is embedded in the notion of “care” and on the other is trying to make space for the refugee through statecraft. The earlier one is regimented the better.

These circumstances led to a very active refugee movement within cooper’s camp which initially began with protesting against bad quality of food grains specially rice, dal and wheat flour which was often stale. The refugee movement within Cooper’s was organized by the people who were devoted Communist party activist even when the party was banned in 1948. Gouranga Das proudly informs that he used to work as a messenger to communicate to other workers about meetings. Another cooper’s camp resident informed even in late 1970s the communist party activity was secret in nature and orientation.

On 6 July 1956, Central Government Minister Mr. Arunchandra Guha visited the camp and the camp residents were prevented from presenting their deputation before him. There was police lathi charge and in protest of that there was a public demonstration organized by Nadia District chapter of Bastuhara Parishaad. Police firing was a frequent feature in Cooper’s Camp. On 16 July 1956, police organized a combing operation in Cooper’s and arrested 44 protesters of which 7 were women. Various noted left refugee actvists were arrested. On 11 August, 1956 under the leadership of Amritendu Mukhopadhyay, a protest meeting was organized to release 44 activists which was attended by 5000 people. From 1957, a separate demand was placed before the Government- to recognize and carry out reform activities to convert Coopers into an industrial township. The police declared this meeting as illegal. By early 60’s there was a change in the demands of the refugee movement in itself and one of the prime reasons was the winding up process of various camps.

The West Bengal government Relief and Rehabilitation Directorate initiated a study on the relief and rehabilitation of displaced persons in West Bengal and the report was published in 1957. According to this report, the findings suggested that there were certain camps like coopers which have a large number of refugees and an attempt is being made to convert them into townships”. Various rehabilitation alternatives and schemes were laid down. The Government decided to shut down the transit camps by 1951.After the disbursal to rehabilitation centres in 1949, there was a sudden wave of migration in 1950-51 which swelled the number to 360769. At this time there was a decision to close down all the camps by March 1951 as a result of which camp families were dispersed to rehabilitation sites and the camp population came down to 80000 by the end of 1951.
The next phase of Refugee movement within Cooper’s Camp is to be understood against the following backdrop of the findings of the reports on rehabilitation and economic opportunities. Cooper’s Camp of Nadia district is treated as one of the ex-camp sites. In 1961, The Government asked the refugees in all relief camps either to move to Dandakaranya for rehabilitation or to leave camps on receiving 6 months cash doles. In September 1961 about 10000 families were left in campsites. The Government had already closed the camps. Not only the camp benefits such as doles, medical and educational facilities were withdrawn but even tubewells for drinking water was withdrawn by the Indian nation-state. This marked another phase in the refugee discourse and statecraft. The emphasis of refugee discourse changed from refugee care to economic rehabilitation as the perfect solution to the refugee problem. The Committee of Review of Rehabilitation work in West Bengal appointed by Government of India in 1981 report revealed that 45,000 displaced persons are living at 74 ex-camp sites. Around this time in Cooper’s Camp there were 1068 families awaiting rehabilitation of which 387 were ex-camp site families.

Since 1956 there was a growing concern among the displaced population for the available economic livelihoods and resources in Cooper’s Camp. The then Chief Minister of West Bengal Dr. Bidhan Chandra Ray in a written statement had promised to develop Coopers into an industrial township. This promise was a ray of hope for most of the families who stopped receiving financial assistance or doles from Government after 1961. The camp residents lived with the hope that they will receive proper economic rehabilitation through the development of small cottage industry and spinning industry in RIC scheme. Most of the refugees were waiting for almost 20-22 years in Coopers Camp for economic rehabilitation. Community Party of India Activist Ashok Chakraborty observed 10 days hunger strike in 10 June, 1978 and again in 19 October, 1981 to appeal for economic rehabilitation and securitisation of livelihood.

The hunger strike was called to declare Coopers Camp as a notified area and to appeal to the government for industrial development as most of the persons had no source of income after the Government ceased to support any refugee apart from those in Permanent Liability camps. There was also an appeal to recognize the marketplace and to renovate the Cooper’s Hospital. The Cooper’s hospital the protesters claimed was suffering from adequate doctors, nurse and medicine and thus the people from Coopers had to travel some miles to reach the general hospital.

The demands of the Communist Party of India according to party pamphlet were: -

1. Government should restart the scheme of doles for the 385 families who refused to rehabilitate in Dandakaranya and encourage small cottage industry, which will help in economic rehabiliation. Increase in loan assistance for the rehabilitable families from Rs 10000-Rs 15000 and single unit family should receive Rs 10000. Coopers Rupashreepally Women’s Camp residents should be rehabilitated after proper planning.
2. The government should immediately live up to its promise of declaring Kirtinagar Colony, Coopers Urban (RIC), Colony, Rupashree, Women’s Camp and Coopers should be given the recognition of Cooper’s Camp notified Area. The Government should also initiate a spinning mill in RIC industrial area, it should take steps to re-open the ceramic industry as it will meet the demands of increasing unemployment figures among the youth and old in camps.
3. The cooper’s camp hospital should be renovated. It should introduce specialized departments. 100 beds should be introduced in the hospital. A new Secondary Girls School should be established and the Coopers Junior School should be upgraded to Senior Secondary School and appeal to establish 5-6 primary schools in RIC colony, Rupashree Colony and Coopers.

According to Gouranga Das, “Cooper’s Camp never saw the light of industrial development. In the name of RIC, land was traded between the central and state Government and leased out to private players. This did not survive for along time”. The struggle from Cooper’s Camp to Cooper’s camp Notified area was marked with violence, killing, Panchayat vote boycott. Finally after several years of vote boycott under the Nagarik Committee, which was comprised of all party leadership Cooper’s camp was declared as a Coopers camp Notified Area in 1997. Coopers Camp Notified Area has a separate municipality and people who dreamt of an “industrial township” are yet to see any industries in Coopers even after its fight for autonomy.

Infact residents across ex-camp sites are the “most distressed refugee population in West Bengal”.

The main emphasis on refugee rehabilitation in Cooper’s is issue of Free Hold Title Deed; under which the land allotted to a family cannot be sold for ten years and under certain circumstances like marriage of a girl child, diseases like cancer, AIDS and any unforeseen nature of financial hardship the family has to seek permission from RR& R directorate to sell the land. The status report on refugee rehabilitation in Ranaghat subdivision till 25.2.2008 reveals:-

Total land involved 3280.3 acres
Total no. of deeds (large) to be distributed 16001+(8)
Total no. of deeds already distributed as on 31.03.06 14,205+(8)
Target Fixed for 2007-2008 200
Number of deeds already for registration 100
(Source: Sub divisional OfficeRecords of Ranaghat Subdivision)

Coopers Camp Notified Area Municipality was formed in 1997. For administrative purposes it has been divided into 12 wards. According to 2001 census, there are 17,555 people of which 51% males and 49% females live in Coopers. Almost 70-75% of the camp residents belong to the scheduled castes. According to census data of 2001, 13,533 people belong to SC and 18 people to ST. There is a higher secondary school in Cooper’s camp and there are several primary schools in a number of Wards. The primary school in Ward No 6 houses is one of the largest primary schools. Most of the boys stay away from the school to lend a helping hand in teashops.

These measures demonstrate the changing attitude of the Indian state towards the refugees. The refugee experience of economic development and economic rehabilitation at Cooper’s Camp of West Bengal is an illustration of the state responsibility towards refugees- who were seen as a problem. The constant emphasis to wind up homes and camps across the state speak about the fact that “ refugee problem” is a thing of the past whereas the rehabilitation schemes merely encouraged a shelter and self-employment. In places such as Cooper’s where most of the people are unemployed and women have taken to bidi making and men in adhoc jobs like carpentry it remains a far-fetched dream of Coopers to transform into an “ industrial township”.

Friday, October 17, 2008

A New Report to Understand Urban Displacement

To complement the Guidance on Profiling Internally Displaced Persons, in 2006 IDMC commissioned a study from the Feinstein International Center at Tufts University to develop research tools to estimate the number and distribution of IDPs living in urban settings, and to gather information about their assistance and protection needs. Case studies conducted in Khartoum (Sudan), Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire) and Santa Marta (Colombia) between 2006 and 2008 compared the experience of IDPs and other living in the same city.

Please click on the link given on the right column for detailed report

Appeal for $ 17 Million to Help Pakistani Government

UNHCR has appealed for $17 million to help the Pakistani government bring aid to more than 300,000 people displaced by fighting and floods near the Afghan border. Pakistan’s government estimates that 90,000 people who had fled recent fighting remain in North West Frontier Province along the Afghan border, with a similar number displaced due to conflict in the northern part of the province around Swat. In addition, floods have displaced some 84,000 people in August.

(For the detailed news pl. click on the link in the right hand column

On 21 September 2008, Thousands of Tamil Sri Lankans were Ordered to Register

Thousands of mostly Tamil Sri Lankans who had fled from the country’s war zones to Colombo and its suburbs were ordered to register by Sri Lankan authorities on 21 September. The order applies to all those who fled five war-affected districts in the last five years and comes as the army intensifies an offensive against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels in the north. People arriving from the north have long had to register with police when they move to Colombo, but last week the police said that they needed to update their records to ensure security in the capital and that all the people who have made the move in the last five years must register again. The police said earlier that the order would affect more than 100,000 people.

For the detailed news pl. click on the link in the right hand column

Women and Migration in Asia: Volume IV ; Migrant Women and Work edited by Anuja Agrawal;Series Editor: Meenakshi Thapan

Geetisha Dasgupta

Familial gender based division of labour has been produced and reproduced even after women migrated out of the private spaces and tried joining the mainstream workforce. While states have benefited from the remittances sent by women migrant workers from across the globe, they also continued blaming the “absent mothers”, and never actually acknowledging the economic benefits effected by women on the same scale of regard as that sent by men. A woman’s dilemma continues to be one of earning a good livelihood for her family and her children and that of being present there for taking care of them personally by remaining with the family.

In the series introduction, Meenakshi Thapan begins by familiarizing us with the theme of the Conference, from where this book series comes up. She comments, it is time that we go beyond characterizing women as a part of the baggage when men move and reckon the fact that women can, and all over the world, do move from one place to another as independent migrants. Even when women move in tandem with the principal or male migratory in the family, they have a completely independent set of experiences to share and their coping mechanism is also unique to their gender identity. They are individuals with characteristic subscriptions and judgments, and that is evident from their adjusting processes.

Movement opens up a plethora of choices. With the challenges of settling and setting up in a new land, there definitely comes chances to explore, there come encounters that could make life better or worse. Therefore, migration, though generally conceived of as a misfortune, is often taken with the hopes of a better life in an unseen world altogether. Thapan quotes from Jolly Bell and Narayanswamy to remind us that Asia sends out the maximum number of international migrants and every year the number of women migrants have been on a rise. Despite that, women have not been given equal status as migrants; let apart the recognition of their individual agency. Visa policies and work permit rules bear this contention out.

Women migrate both associationally, i.e., for marriage or with the family; as well as independent agents, i.e., for work etc. In the volume introduction, Anuja Agrawal picks up from that point by commenting that when studying in terms of destination and work options, the individual mode of migration sets off interesting patterns of societal displacement in course of the transition from the parent to the host community. For example, one of the papers shows, the global increase in demand for domestic labour is a major factor in the feminization of migration. Sexual division of labour, hitherto restricted more or less within the private quarters, is thereby carried forward to the public space. It becomes paid work, but only when the requisite amount of displacement in terms of work station has occurred. Agrawal quotes Ehrenreich and Hochschild and says that there comes about a revival of domestic work for women, but is responsive only to a ‘care deficit’ in the developed countries, which in turn gives birth to a similar kind of deficit in the parent communities. Back home, these women might hire domestic workers for themselves. In the process, ethnic and class divisions merge as certain occupations become the mark of some ethnic identities.

There are interesting viewpoints, especially about cases of countries like Philippines, Japan, Singapore, the Middle East or Bangladesh that prefer sending or receiving for particular purposes. For example, Japan had a steady demand of women entertainers, specifically for filling up as prostitutes or courtesans. Philippines offered its women for these professions, which later drew much criticism from both the sending and the receiving countries. Filipino women went to Japan under tourist visa to provide such services. Gulati, in her chapter explains, this kind of demand sprung from a decay in the Japanese tradition of ‘geisha’s and Japanese men’s age old habit of seeking release from work pressure by indulging in sexual entertainment; so much so that, Japanese embassy in Philippines came up with the idea of introducing a special short term entertainer’s visa. Gulati further pints out that certain states take exporting workers as an industry altogether. For example, the Governments of Philippines, Indonesia and Sri Lanka encourage migration of women workers for the same reason for which they encourage male migration, viz., source of foreign remittances and maintaining a pressure valve internationally.

Parvati Raghuram, in her chapter called “Gendering Medical Migration: Asian Women Doctors In The UK”, says, while most Asian women labour migrants move to take up jobs as domestic workers, sex workers and nurses, professions that are defined by notions of feminity, there are many who move to take part in the less feminized sectors of the labour market, such as Information Technology, where gender exclusivity and male domination are the standard norms. Such highly skilled migration has received much less attention than its other counterparts. Collating and analyzing secondary data available from the Department of Health, The Medical Workforce Standing Advisory Committee and the General Medical Council, the British Medical Association and several other individual sources, health consultants and international recruitment consultants, she reveals that in spite of increasing feminization of labour force and women forming sizeable section of UK’s medical force, women never came up to be a recognized as such in the current literature, for it falls between the interstices between the debates on female migration, women and medicine and medical migration.

In a very interesting chapter, Anuja Agrawal discusses the case of the Bedia community in north India. She explains how prostitution is one of the pivotal preconceptions of women’s migration for work. Women engaged in flesh trade have had to move away from their families. While the family would not acknowledge the kinship relation with the prostitute, economic benefits are accepted, often in a camouflaged manner. Agrawal discusses familial factors in the Bedia community that facilitate the women to go for prostitution. This community is largely dependent on the earning of the female members who make a living out of prostitution. Commercial prostitution is an accepted way of survival and even the entire family is seen to migrate to urban areas temporarily for that purpose. The Bedia community that Agrawal studies, show a classic case where the family members reside in situ of prostitution is carried out by the female members and therefore bears evidences of critical conditions of familial adjustments.

The book provokes interesting thought bubbles for both first time encounterers with the theme of women’s migration as well as those who would like to have an overview studies into women’s migration for work. However, there is an over focus on some countries like Philippines or Thailand while some others also needed to be discussed in more detail, like Bangladesh or Pakistan. The book is a pleasure to read for its quality of propelling the reader to study in greater detail about women in migration.

Fate of the Bakassi Returnees

Brenda Ofunne Ogosi

The resource rich Bakassi Peninsula on the Cameroun-Nigeria border, at the SE end of the Gulf of Guinea. The swampy peninsula and associated small islands controlling access to the Nigerian port of Calabar, the surrounding waters are rich in fish and submarine oil deposits. The traditional inhabitants are mainly Efik fishermen with ties to Nigeria

Among the many border disputes that Cameroun and Nigeria have had in the years since independence, the Bakassi Peninsula stands out as the most serious dispute of all because the peninsular is very rich in oil and gas. In 1961, the south British Cameroun [a former German colony] became part of Cameroun while the northern potion joined Nigeria, the control of the peninsula has been in dispute and this culminated in mounting hostilities and sporadic military clashes in the region.

The dispute between the two countries was brought in 1994 by Cameroun to International Court of Justice [ICJ] also known as the world court to settle the dispute over its boundary with Nigeria, especially the question of sovereignty over the Bakassi peninsula and over island in Lake Chad, to specify the course of the land and maritime boundary between the two countries. On 10 October 2002, the ICJ awarded the disputed area to Cameroun, the judgment was largely based on the 1913 Anglo-German Agreement that defined the borders of those nations colonies.

On June 12, 2006 in New York, Nigeria and Cameroun signed the ‘Green Tree Agreement’ under which Nigeria agreed to cede the peninsula to Cameroun in compliance with the verdict of the International Court of Justice at the Hague which held that the territory belonged to Cameroun and that Cameroun was to assume full sovereignty over the peninsula.

In Article 3 of the Green Tree Agreement, both countries agreed that Cameroun after the transfer of authority to it by Nigeria guarantees Nigerian Nationals living in the Bakassi Peninsula the exercise of their fundamental rights and freedom enshrined in international human rights law and in other relevant provision of international law, in particular Cameroun shall

a.Not force Nigerian Nationals living in the Bakassi Peninsula to leave the zone or to change their identity.
b.Respect their culture, language and beliefs
c.Respect their rights to continue their agricultural and fishing activitie
d.Protect their property and customary land rights
e.Not levy in any discriminatory manner any taxes and other dues on Nigerian nationals living in the zone
f.Take every necessary measure to protect Nigerians living in the zone from any harassment or harm

Against this background the rights of the Bakassi people ought to be paramount in the territorial dispute between the two countries because the characteristics of a state in political science includes the people or population and not limited to possession of a mapped out territory.

Due to the hostilities and killing of some Nigerians by the Camerounian Gendarmes, no fewer than 37,000 Nigerians have been displaced from the disputed Bakassi Peninsula and are being resettled in Ibaka in akwa Ibom state. In makeshift camps, very poor sanitary conditions, no proper resettlement centre, poor health care and no basic needs for these displaced persons.

Finally On August 14, 2008, Bakassi peninsula went to Cameroun bearing in mind that the Bakassi people do not share anything in common with the people of Cameroun, that they have been forcefully merged with, like language, educational system, culture etc. this could tend toward wiping out the entire Bakassi race because obviously the Camerounian government prefers the Bakassi oil to the people and has tried on several occasion to quiet the people from that area through their gendarmes , on the other hand the Director General of the Nigerian Boundary Commission Mr. Sadiq Marafa Diggi, said that Cameroun was not happy with what they got as the area did not cover our oil reserves. Sincerely, ‘Oil is all that matters’ to the two countries in the disputed Bakassi Peninsula.

What we legally owe to the displaced persons is captured under Article 15 of the universal declaration of Human rights which states that:

Everyone has the right to a nationality

No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality and also in Article 12:2 of the African Charter on Human and peoples right which guarantees the right to Nationality, it states that “ every individual shall have the right to leave any country including his own, and to return to his country” because the Bakassi people have been forcefully lumped with Cameroun it has created untold hardship for the displaced persons who are going through the trauma of losing their loved ones and properties and to compound their problems they are yet to be resettled in Nigeria

The Situation of the Iraqi Refugees

Arij Bou Reslan [Terre des hommes ]

The displacement of Iraqis has been identified as the fastest-growing refugee crisis in the world . The UN estimates that over 4 million Iraqis have been displaced by violence in their country, the vast majority of which have fled since the 2003 war in Iraq and its ensuing insurrection. Over 2.3 million have vacated their homes for safer areas within Iraq while some 2 million have sought refuge abroad. The figures regarding the exact number of Iraqis living in the neighbouring countries are disputed among the different stakeholders. This issue sheds light on the numerous gaps regarding many aspects of the refugees’ life in these countries. Of this 2 million, an estimated 450’000-500’000 are in Jordan and 50’000 are in Lebanon ; mainly concentrated in the capital cities. In Syria, estimations of the total number of Iraqi refugees are disputed and vary from 300’000 to 1’5 million with the vast majority residing in Greater Damascus. However, as these three countries are not signatories to the UN convention on Status of Refugees, Iraqis have few rights and face difficulties in accessing adequate assistance and services, many are in critical situations.

This massive arrival of Iraqi refugees in Syria is mainly due to its geographical proximity and because the Syrian Government was considered as tolerant among other countries in the region. But Iraqis arriving in Syria are now required to have a visa issued from the Syrian Embassy in Bagdad. Many, who arrived earlier, are now residing in Syria with expired visas and are fearful of deportation. In 2008, to obtain a visa for Syria, an Iraqi needs to be a doctor, engineer or a merchant with a commercial license. Iraqis without visas are no longer permitted to enter Syria . Those who need medical treatment can also be eligible to seek a visa. Iraqi families that register their children in Syrian school automatically obtain one year’s residency renewed on a monthly basis.

With regard to Jordan, the country has hosted an influx of Iraqi refugees since the early 90’s, some of whom conform to the local perception that Iraqis in Jordan are of prosperous backgrounds. A less-affluent flow, however, began after the 2003 US led invasion, whose peak took place during 2004 – 2005. Since this period, Jordan experienced a notable increase in the movement of the Sunni minority often fleeing sectarian violence, such as the bombing of the Samara Mosque in 2006. From the 1st of May, the Iraqis willing to travel to Jordan must request their visa in Bagdad through a private agency (TNT) responsible for the forwarding of applications to the Jordanian government.

Compared to Syria and Jordan, Lebanon hosts a relatively small number of Iraqi refugees. But the Lebanese population already hosts 250’000 Palestinian refugees while being confronted by a plethora of internal conflict and political instability. As the Human Rights Watch report states: “Lebanese are wary of hosting another refugee population whose prospects of returning to their home country in the short term are remote. The situation is further complicated because many Lebanese perceive that the sectarian tensions that plague Iraqi society might feed into, and amplify, the sectarian tensions that are ever present in Lebanon itself.”

The Iraqis who have left Iraq come primarily from urban areas and represent diverse sectarian backgrounds, including Sunni, Shi’a and Kurds as well as minority groups of Christians (who are over represented as refugees in Syria and Jordan compared to their numbers in Iraq), Sabean- Madeans and Palestinians. In Jordan, 77% arrived after 2003 and among them, 68% of the Iraqi refugees are Sunni Muslims; in Lebanon 50% are Shi’a Muslims. In Syria, 52% of the Iraqi refugees are Sunni Muslims.

Iraqis reported numerous reasons for leaving their country. Many left as a direct result of conflict and violence, mostly from the rising sectarian unrests but also from fighting between the insurgents and the Multinational Forces (MNF) allied with the Iraqi military. Many made the personal and family protection decision to leave due to the real and perceived risks present. Some of the reasons for this decision were based on: their employment with the former regime or for the MNF, their ethnicity or religious grouping and/or the lack of financial stability because they could no longer make a living in Iraq or their homes and assets had been taken.
The current situation and the profile of the Iraqi refugees are not heterogeneous and have evolved with time. While some arrived early after the beginning of the war, some have just arrived a few months ago. Some arrived with good personal savings allowing them to set up and live in relatively good conditions, some arrived without money and assets and have immediately faced particularly precarious conditions. However, progressively, with the long lasting situation and work restrictions, many people with medium savings have seen them quickly evaporated, and they are now in need of basic material, financial, social and medical assistance.

A key factor for many male Iraqi refugees is related to their previous status in Iraq. Iraqis who were involved in the Iraqi Army or connected to the previous government are afraid of being identified and targeted and are often reluctant to register for assistance delivery.

The majority of refugees interviewed described themselves as “existing between two situations or two worlds.” They are “standing by:” fleeing from the horrors and destruction of war and consider their residence in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon as ‘transitional’ before being assisted to immigrate to a western country. The reality is that many western countries are not accepting the numbers of Iraqis rumoured within the Iraqi refugee community. This reality, once realised, generates understandable stress and anxiety when families and individuals face the hard question of: What now? Compounding this lost and unwelcome positioning is that most people and families do not plan to return to Iraq, the UNHCR/IPSOS report states 89.5% of those interviewed held this view.

Because of non-recognition by host governments, most Iraqis are illegal or have/had only a tourist visa; therefore they are ineligible for employment in Jordan, Syria or Lebanon and have few or even no sources of income. For many of those who had savings, the situation is deteriorating or has deteriorated through these resources drying up. Some families receive money from relatives abroad or in Iraq, but this rarely allows for a comfortable life and is often sporadic and unreliable.

The basic cost of living is increasing in all three countries. Prices for basic items such as rice, bread, cooking oil and vegetables have been increasing and apartments are clearly highlighted to be expensive; many families are struggling to meet the rent payments. Household visits confirm the signs of urban poverty where Iraqis are more reliant on the informal economy and the underground ‘black’ market. They are moving from one area to another in search of cheaper accommodation. Families live in very small and crowded accommodation, often shared with relatives or other Iraqi families. In some cases, it was reported that housing difficulties caused some children and adolescents to avoid contact with their family and to remain on the streets late into the night. All of these factors compound and heighten the risk for children to be exploited and made vulnerable to exploitation, violence and/or abuse.

Precarious housing and difficult access to basic services and care contribute to increase most of the Iraqis’ emotional burdens, such as: stress, lack of hope for a better situation and a loss of dignity. All of these factors add layers of tension within the family unit and heavily contribute to deteriorating family relations and jeopardize the coping process, for both children and adults.

With respect to “Children and Youth”

Children, like adults, have been affected with the events in Iraq. In many cases, they witnessed or were direct victims of particularly dreadful events. They feel and share the distress of their parents. They recognize and suffer from the loss of their previous life and from their current living conditions. Some can not go back to school and have to work to increase family income. Many are in classic ‘child labour’ situations and are open to or are experiencing exploitation.

Children, like adults, have the feeling of living in a “stand-by” or “in-between” situation and do not invest their time in the host country. Manly citing they wish or feel this situation will remain temporary and unstable. The difficulty to integration within the host community contributes to make things more difficult.

Children and youth cited incidents of violence, prejudice, discrimination and aggression directed towards them by their host communities . The most vulnerable Iraqi refugees are often in lower-socioeconomic areas due the affordability of the rent. These host community members have a low understanding of the plight and experiences of Iraqi refugees and are also facing issues of political and ethnic/religious violence, unemployment, low education and difficult living conditions themselves. All of these factors assist in the easy labelling and targeting of Iraqi children and community members to be ‘the’ problem. Understandably the Iraqi children, youth and family members are selective in their movements outside of the home and who they socialise and communicate with.

Parents who themselves are in difficulty find it challenging to adequately care for their children and to have appropriate responses to meet their needs, especially psychological needs, because they are in distressed as well. Some parents expressed feelings of guilt and stress. They shared their difficulty in understanding and dealing with their children’s reactions and needs, but did recognise these needs are high. Sometimes they complained about the bad behaviour of their children and worried about losing influence and/or control over them. This is particularly complex and impacting for women headed households, given the traditional patriarchal role of men and boys in Iraqi and Arabic culture. Often this is leading to frustrated and/or angry parenting of children and youth, such as: negative discipline, over protection, verbal and/or physical violence.

Many children have not attended school for a number of years. When children have missed school for over three years they cannot be re-enrolled in the formal education system . Also, through not wanting to be identified, some families fear sending their children to school and to disclose their children’s and family identity. School remains expensive despite the support provided by some organisations and UN agencies. In some cases, because of the financial situation, families decide to send only some of their children to school. Some families prefer, or are compelled, to enrol children in private schools but cannot afford them . Moreover, differences in curricula and language of education in Iraq and the countries of relocation are additional impediments. Some children refuse to go to school through fear of failure because the curriculum is different, or they fear being teased by children or teachers. Some children are also a victim of their parent’s resettlement dreams and are not enrolled in school because their parents believe it will only be for a temporary period.

Youth are especially at risk. They are at a vulnerable stage of their development, but also since many of them have missed school for extended periods, they cannot be enrolled again unless they accept to be in classrooms with younger children. They have no possibility to enrol in Universities and vocational training opportunities are limited. Many have lost contact with their friends in Iraq and spend most of their time at home. This makes it quite challenging for parents to deal with them, especially for mothers alone. In addition adolescent boys are not really considered as “children” by their families and are often sent to work in order to support the household financially.

1.UNHCR/IOM 2007: Refugees International
2.UNHCR/IOM 2007: Refugees International
3.Fafo November 2007: International Herald Tribune
4.Danish Refugee Council (Beirut), Iraqi Population in Lebanon: A Report, November 2007
5.ICMC report, Iraqi Refugees in Syria, February 2008
6.Fafo November 2007: International Herald Tribune
7.Human Right Watch, Rot Here or Die There, bleak choice for Iraqi refugees in Lebanon, November 2007
8.Fafo November 2007: International Herald Tribune
9.Danish Refugee Council (Beirut), Iraqi Population in Lebanon: A Report, November 2007
10.UNHCR/IPSOS report, Assessment on Returns to Iraq Amongst the Iraqi Refugee Population in Syria, April 2008
11.UNHCR/IPSOS report, Assessment on Returns to Iraq Amongst the Iraqi Refugee Population in Syria, April 2008
12.In Lebanon one particular case involved the situation where an Iraqi boy was becoming friendly with a Lebanese girl. The Lebanese family severely beat the boy and threw rocks at him and his house. The result is the boy now is afraid to go out of the house too often and fears his host community. This is a common story and is faced by children in schools and while they move about their host communities. Youth also state they have been vilified for community problems and made to feel excluded and are exploited because of their ‘illegal’ status.
13.Current policy in practice in Jordan and Syria
14.It is the case for Christian families in Jordan for example, because they are not comfortable with the local schools.

Reflections on Anti – Trafficking Interventions

Pascale McLean

At the end of 2000, the UN Convention against Transnational Organised crimes and two of its supplementary Protocols; the Protocol against the smuggling of Migrants by land, air and sea (which refers to the practice of helping people cross the border illegally in exchange of remuneration) and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, Punish trafficking in Persons, especially in women and children (hereafter the UN trafficking Protocol) were signed. The article 3 of this Protocol defines trafficking in persons which refers to three distinct elements:
1. Some actions that involve “recruitment, transportation, transfer,” etc.;
2. The means of those actions more precisely “the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power”;
3. And a purpose, that is forms of exploitation for which people are recruited or moved including “the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs”.

The focus of the UN trafficking Protocol is based on bringing to justice those responsible for this crime. It refers to anti-trafficking measures that can be taken by the States:
1. Law enforcement measures to detect, prosecute and punish traffickers.
2. Preventive measures to reduce the likelihood that trafficking occurs in the first place.
3. Protection measures, along with various forms of assistance, for individuals who have been trafficked.

The influence of this approach is present throughout most, if not all, the national plans that were concluded since 2000 (Flynn, 2008) and the anti-trafficking measures have grown up in number at the international level.

A few years later, the Global Alliance Against Trafficking of Women (hereinafter referred as GAATW) wanted to study the impact of anti-trafficking interventions. Therefore, in 2007, a report called Collateral Damage: The impact of Anti-Trafficking Measures on Human Rights around the World was published. It provides us an overview of the experience of eight countries: Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, India, Nigeria, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States. More specifically, it attempts to assess the impact of anti-trafficking measures for people living and working there, or migrating into or out of these countries. On August 6-9, 2008, the GAATW organised a forum to that effect.

In the Collateral Damage report, GAATW mentions that there are laws and policies that have negative consequences on the people they want to protect and there are three groups who are affected. Firstly, when the assistance for trafficked persons is made conditional on cooperation with law enforcement officials. Secondly, the anti-trafficking measures affect the migrants specially labourers and workers, and thirdly the concept of ‘trafficking’ has been appropriated to further the political agendas of governments, which refers also to the impact of a prevention campaign, conducted since 2001 in countries throughout the world by the United States government.

The Collateral Damage report also points out that trafficking is a multi-dimensional phenomenon including issues such as social, economical and criminological ones linked with issues like gender, health, migration, development and economic, more specifically in the informal sector.

Concerning India, the anti-trafficking measures came mostly around the debates on the question of legality or illegality of prostitution. In fact, two years after the adoption of the UN trafficking protocol, a regional convention was adopted by the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), the Convention on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Women and Children for Prostitution which restricted the application of trafficking to the purposes of prostitution. The SAARC Convention, to which India is a signatory, defines trafficking as “the moving, selling or buying of women and children for prostitution within and outside a country for monetary or other considerations with or without the consent of the person subjected to trafficking” (Article 1(3)).

Ratna Kapur wrote an article concerning the anti-trafficking framework in the country and reviews the legal aspects of trafficking which focuses more on the method of rescue and rehabilitation of women and girls who have been trafficked for the purpose of prostitution (GAATW, 2007). She mentions that the primary response to victims of trafficking is detention, whether in a protective home or a corrective institution which would drive those women and girls back into sex work. Concerning the brothel raids, she affirms that they could be politically motivated by anti-migrant groups since most sex workers are from lower casts, tribal groups or neighbouring countries. The laws and policies do not address the issues of trafficking within the framework of migration. She mentions that under the name of protection for women, particularly unskilled women, India has imposed some restrictions on their emigration, which have pushed the ones who are really seeking to migrate to do so through clandestine forms. Ratna Kapur points out the issues of inter-state migration in India and refers to the Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act (ISMWA) that is there to protect the rights and safeguard the interests of the migrant workers inside the country. The National Commission for Women suggested some changes in the interest of women including that a women recruited in another state could be accompanied by a family member to their place of work at the employer’s expenses.

As a strategy for anti-trafficking prevention, Kapur suggests to address the underlying causes of trafficking and to make a distinction between facilitating the migration for more wealthy people and those who are less well off, for whom a migration policy is needed to ensure safe and legal passage. She states (GAATW, 2007:137):

The anti-trafficking laws in India display a profound misunderstanding of the phenomenon of human trafficking. Failing to make a distinction between human smuggling, irregular movement, illegal migration and trafficking, denies the agency of those who choose to migrate for better life opportunities and undermines the gravity of the abuses suffered by trafficked persons. Criminalising various aspects of prostitution in order to prevent trafficking, as is the case with the existing law or criminalising the purchase of sexual services, as is being proposed by the government penalises those trafficked for sexual exploitation rather than their traffickers. It renders persons trafficked for sexual exploitation more vulnerable to their traffickers, their clients and the police. Finally, failing to expand the application of anti-trafficking legislation beyond cases of trafficking for sexual exploitation has the effect of denying the harm done to persons who experience similar abuses but who are trafficked for other purposes.

The preliminary research findings of Lyons and Ford (2008) presented at the Forum of 6-8 August 2008 on the impact of the anti-trafficking measures on policy making and civil society organisation activism concerned with labour in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore they argue that most States have responded to the trafficking Protocol by establishing a legal framework that restrict immigration and prosecute illegal entries when they have to deal with unskilled or semi-skilled labour migrants because it is difficult to make a clear distinction between smuggling, trafficking and temporary labour migration. The authors also point out that trafficking and smuggling are linked with measures to combat terrorism. Governments are then encouraged to be tough on irregular migration through tighter border controls. On the other hand, many NGOs in this region are attracted to the anti-trafficking framework because of the positive outcomes for the migrant workers in the absence of effective national labour laws. In fact, the migrant women working mostly in domestic services sector or sex industry, face problems in relation to labour laws and citizenship rights. This includes low wages, high debts repayments to employment brokers, difficult working conditions which are worse if the migrant’s status is not regular. Lyons and Ford come to the conclusion that what is needed is an approach that focuses on addressing the human rights violations and abuses perpetrated amongst all migrants, without equating all forms of exploitation with trafficking.

In a briefing paper presented at the forum of August 2008, Rebecca Napier-Moore from GAATW states that if you combine labour and migrants rights you can see globalized structures. She refers to the fact that when an economy has a large need for labour, usually cheap labour, and does not have enough national capacity to fulfill that, the market needs the migrant’s labour. The findings show that there is a large mismatch between immigration laws and economic and migrant realities. The industrialised countries develop with attracting permanent or temporary migrants whom are divided into several categories to establish some control over their number and their characteristics. It follows that the official demand criteria for labour migrants for instance, do not always fully reflect the real demand of national economic agents (Tyuryukanova 2008). Less people are then able to migrate by official, legal and safe channels. Therefore, the migrants unwanted by the official immigration system, but attracted by the real demand for their work and skill, try to enter in the receiving country without the chance to be legalised. The more restrictive immigration control renders more migrants to stay in a vulnerable position where they are subject to exploitation, human rights violations and what can lead to trafficking.

One of the ways to respond to the trafficking issues is to move to the migration framework. It would put emphasis on the fact that people have the right to migrate. It would move away from a crime focus and show stronger empowerment for women. But in the Asian context, the legal migration does not guaranty safe working and living conditions for migrants. Also, to put the focus on transborder movements might overshadow internal movements.

It is also suggested that if we move to the labour rights framework it would improve labour conditions and proceed towards labour rights for all migrant workers. This argument locates trafficking through a labour framework situates the migrant as the victim of labour rights violations. The problem with this framework could be that unions might be reluctant to engage with migrant labour, women are less likely to be involved in unions and there are problems around the informal sector in which many migrants are employed. Also some sectors into which people are trafficked are not called “work” by society.

For all the above reasons, the link between gender, migration, labour and trafficking needs to be established. We have to ask ourselves if the anti-trafficking framework meets the needs of trafficked women and to wonder on the impact on human rights on other groups. From the GAATW interventions, it seems that the UN Protocol respond to trafficking by criminalizing traffickers rather than by ensuring migrant’s rights.

GAATW suggests that gender, migration, labour and trafficking should not be separated because migrant women are not seeing all their rights met by the state; and restrictions on their movement, on the sector they can work, as well as obstacles to their access to justice are not making it easy for migrant women to fully realise their rights. It should not be forgotten that many migrants initiated this movement with the hope to find better living conditions and to find solutions to problems.

Under these circumstances, GAATW is looking for a new combination of women’s rights, rights for trafficked people, migrant’s rights and labour rights and also legal, cultural and social assistance structures to support them.


FLYNN, D. (2008) “Managing (ir)regularity: trafficked persons and undocumented migrants on the spectrum of global migration”. Discussion paper prepared for the GAATW Roundtable on Gender-Migration-Labour-Trafficking Linkages, Bangkok, 6-8 August 2008, unpublished.
GAATW, (2007). Collateral Damage: The impact of Anti-Trafficking Measures on Human Rights around the World.
LYONS, L., FORD, M. (2008). “Anti-trafficking Programs and their gendered implications for Temporary Labour Migrants”. Paper prepared for the GAATW Roundtable on Gender-Migration-Labour-Trafficking Linkages, Bangkok, 6-8 August 2008, unpublished.
NAPIER-MOORE, R. (2008). “Briefing paper: GAATW Roundtable Linking Gender-Migration-Labour-Trafficking”. Bangkok, 6-8 August 2008, unpublished.
TYURYUKANOVA, E. (2008). “Faces and interfaces of Migration, Labour and Trafficking in Human Beings (THB)”. Paper prepared for the GAATW Roundtable on Gender-Migration-Labour-Trafficking Linkages, Bangkok, 6-8 August 2008, unpublished.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Climate Change and the Future Ahead of Us

Ishita Dey

Walter Kälin, Representative of the Secretary-General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons and Co-Director, Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement has introduced a new dimension in the discussion on climate change. He strongly feels that the debate needs to move beyond what terms we propose to use for the affected. Do we term them as “ environmental migrants”, “climate change refugees: Instead he feels that we need to identify specific scenarios which will trigger displacement and migration. He has proposed five specific scenarios which is likely to create migration and displacement. He feels that the international protection mechanisms should be abe address to the following problems. Excerpts from his speech are provided below:-

1.The increase of hydro-meteorological disasters (flooding, hurricanes/typhoons /cyclones, mudslides etc) is going to affect the African and Asian mega deltas. Though the displaced should receive protection under the existing 1998 Guiding Principles on Internal displacement some people might be forced to cross “borders” and according to the present international protection mechanisms they will not qualify as economic migrants or as refugees.

2.Disasters will increase the need for governments to designate areas as high-risk zones too dangerous for human habitation. This means that people may have to be (forcibly) evacuated and displaced from their lands and prohibited from returning to them, and relocated to safe areas. This will occur, for example, because of an increased risk of mudslides in mountain regions, andalong rivers and on coastal plains prone to flooding. The difference between this situation and other forms of disaster-induced displacement is that return usually will not be possible.

3.Environmental degradation and slow onset disasters (e.g. reduction of water availability, desertification, recurrent flooding, salination of costal zones etc.).

4.The case of “sinking” small island states caused by rising sea levels constitutes a particular challenge.

5.A decrease in essential resources (water; food production) due to climate change may well trigger armed conflict and violence: This is most likely to affect regions that have reduced water availability and that cannot easily adapt (e.g. by switching to economic activities requiring less water) due to poverty.

For the detailed speech please click on the link given in the right hand column

Displaced Lives

Debdatta Chowdhury

‘Once a displaced, always a displaced’. Instances are abounding as if to hold the phrase true. Lebanon is just another story in the already full plate of displacement and re-displacement stories. The report on 23 July 2008 by Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) put the figure of displaced Palestinians and Lebanese to 24,000 from Nahr el-Bared camp in Lebanon following three months of fighting in 2007 between Fatah al-Islam and the Lebanese army. The camps having been hard-hit by the fighting is not being able to accommodate its dwellers. The displaced lot is living a life of perpetual displacement. For those who have returned to the camps, life is all the more miserable due to the lack or rather absence of the minimum living facilities or livelihoods. Twenty-five years of instability and occupation have destroyed the basic socio-economic fabric needed for return of the refugees.. Most of the displaced Palestinians still have to rely on the humanitarian agencies for the supply of food and shelter. With increasing security measures in Lebanon since June 2008, the refugees are concerned about their own safety. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East and the Government of Lebanon launched a comprehensive three-year plan to rebuild the camp and the surrounding areas.

But these humanitarian actions are not able to raise hopes. And not without reasons. Though the Taif Agreement of 1989 declared the return of the displaced necessary for reconciliation and sustainable peace, most of the displaced people after the hostilities between Hizbullah and Israel in 2006 were unable to return to the camps due to continuing instances of sporadic attacks, cluster bombs and lost livelihoods. Unresolved cases of property disputes also make the process of returning of the refugees complicated. Life threats coupled with inflation in building materials make the process of return difficult by delaying the process of compensation payments and rebuilding. Most of the cluster munitions are planfully dropped around 72 hours before the ceasefire to create a prolonged atmosphere of threat and inhibit the process of return. Thus, surveillance measures and humanitarian efforts are no signal that the displaced are soon to return to their camps. With bombings and attacks being a constant fear-factor around the camps, the refugees continue to live a displaced and thus, uncertain life.

To read the full article please click on the link given on the right column:-

Gender, Conflict and Migration. Vol. 3, Ed. Navnita Chadha Behera, Series Editor, Meenakshi Thapan

Tarangini Sriraman

Navnita Chadha Behera in her introduction argues that feminist knowledge is transformative knowledge and this point illustrated in an admirably layered manner through their conceptual, empirical, first-hand and sometimes personal narratives by the contributors to this volume. This volume amply substantiates Behera’s claim that foregrounding the structural nature as well as the individual instances of gender discrimination is necessary to the analysis of gendered experiences of women in the face of conflict and conflict-driven migration. This book is the third in a series of five volumes. The other volumes explore aspects of gendered migration in relation to the politics of identity, poverty, work and marriage. Meenakshi Thapan in her series introduction describes the commitment of the contributors to unravel the migration of women as prompted by independent and self-sustaining reasons. As a whole, the book critiques migration as a universal process that men and women participate in for similar reasons. The various essays are rounded in their perception of the ‘vulnerability’ of women before, during, and after conflict, citing different sources of vulnerability of women to state power, institutional frameworks and social norms. But refreshingly different, is their treatment of the possibilities of the empowerment of women, however ambivalent, in situations of forced migration.

Darini Rajasingham-Senanayake describes the opportunities and the relative freedoms that present themselves to internally displaced, especially younger generation, Tamil and Muslim women in post-conflict zones in north-east Sri Lanka in the form of a distance from caste and gender hierarchies, newfound responsibilities for engaging with authorities and discovering new “spaces of economic agency” (p.178) Senanayake allows both civilian and armed women the experience of such agency, though there is no mistaking her scepticism of the form that such agency enjoyed by women in combatant roles takes, given that they are often co-opted by ethnic, national aspirations. These possibilities are somewhat diluted though by such women’s encounters with violence at the hands of emasculated husbands and their constant fear of regression to a pre-war gender status quo in situations of peace. Mary O’ Kane too invokes the term ‘empowerment’ in her descriptions of the women’s movement in Burma’s borderlands with Thailand among other countries. In an astonishing narrative, she describes the bold efforts of some women activists who take advantage of their statelessness to lobby for international recognition of the Burmese opposition movement. Mary Kane is however keen to emphasize the determination of these women to challenge subservient notions of women’s participation and to make their movement one for women’s rights as much as for democracy. Especially novel is her treatment of borders as implying transversal, porous, non-static boundaries marked by forms of political expression and interactions between local and global.

If Senanayake and Mary Kane challenge traditional perceptions of displacement, so does Nayanika Mookherjee. Apart from outlining the new skills and capabilities that women in East Pakistan discovered during the war that resulted in the creation of Bangladesh, she complicates the tale of migration as something that can entail adventure, romance and discovery without obscuring the well-known persecution and slaughter that the period saw. She employs the narrative of the Bengali film ‘Muktir Gaan’ to insert heterogeneous, compositely gendered, middle class receptions of the war, reminding us that a wide section of the middle class along with villagers and workers were affected by the war. In capturing such varied class experiences of the war, Mookherjee also attempts to challenge settled notions of the ‘subaltern’ and the discounting of experiences other than the subaltern ones in the context of migration and Bangladesh, a country which immediately evokes images of squalor and fleeing refugees.

Another theme that the contributors approach from different directions is the theme of citizenship. Contemplating citizenship as something that is within the reach of the conflict-stricken people of East Pakistan, Mookherjee raises the question of citizenship as “the conjuring of citizenship rights” rather than “forfeiting citizenship rights” (p.88). Urvashi Butalia links citizenship with troubled questions of choice in the face of nation, family and community and in the context of abducted women who are conferred citizenship through their mediating relationship with their husbands. Consequently, in the tug of forcible recovery between India and Pakistan, and between East and West Pakistan, not only were women forced to be citizens of this or that country against their choice, but their children, because they were fathered by kafirs or infidels, were denied citizenship and given away for adoption. Rita Manchanda too writes on such mediated citizenship, but she exposes the predicament of Bhutanese refugee women in Nepal who have to cower under the protection of their male relatives for their access to daily rations as household cards are usually issued to male heads of the family (except in the rare instance of divorce). Both Butalia and Manchanda argue against fraught conceptual distinctions between forced and voluntary migration, refugee and migrant, migration and dislocation, with Manchanda outlining the various instances of different countries in South Asia infantilising their migrant women.

The essays in this volume are particularly sensitive to the aesthetics, politics and memories of various spaces, the most predominant of these being the space of ‘home’. In her recounting of the experiences of displacement of Afghan women to Pakistan, Saba Gul Khattak deconstructs conflict , focusing attention on the attack that such conflict entails on the ‘homes’ of these women, breaking a silence that many feminists keep on this space, owing to their aversion to this space that they associate with domestic violence. But Khattak revives this space as laden with identities, their creativity, nurturing memories of warmth and plenty, relationships that Afghan refugee women cherished. They often likened their home with their ‘watan’ or nation, though many of them appreciated the deceptive protection that home held out and reconciled themselves to never being able to return home. Anasua Basu Raychaudhury captures similar moods of nostalgia for home among refugees from present-day Bangladesh in the bleak surroundings of the Cooper’s camp in West Bengal immediately after the partition of Pakistan. Others like Butalia are more suspicious of women’s homes as a space which weighs heavily on Indian and Pakistani women as they are forced to return home to satisfy community and state expectations.

Most of the authors are conscious of memory as a complex tool that guides personal narratives but also leads them to blur different periods of time. Raychaudhury for instance remarks that the past, present and future ceased to have their separate character for an East Bengal-based refugee woman in Cooper’s Camp, largely due to the uninterrupted suffering that she underwent. Others like Khattak comment on the abiding comfort that memory provides to refugee women far away from home, though it became tainted a little with the painful unfolding of events. Furrukh A.Khan however makes a crucial link between memory and certain kinds of narratives: state narratives or meta-narratives invariably delineate memory of a nation’s history as a coherent, chronologically unfolding, almost inevitable account of events while individual stories are often punctuated with breaks of forgetfulness, pain and confused recreation of events. According to Khan, state narratives fall back on community-specific images of violence, seldom capturing the abrupt moment of dislocation or the disruptions in livelihood caused by conflict and migration and focusing instead on grief on a grand scale. Many others like Nayanika Mookherjee, Urvashi Butalia and Rita Manchanda also critique state narratives as they entail not only incomplete histories but also dangerous policy implications as in the construction of a certain movement of people in history as voluntary migration.

The last two essays discuss the limitations of implementing the international refugee and asylum law in South Asia and the restrictive application of the refugee asylum law in judgements concerning South Asian applicants in UK respectively. Oishik Sircar identifies the various banes of the international refugee law as it is implemented in South Asia, its constricting definitions of what constitutes persecution against women, who the perpetrators of violence can be---private actors are often discounted, and which kinds of conflict yield to legitimate persecution. Sircar makes a strong case for evolving clear national and refugee asylum laws in South Asia. Anthony Good narrates a bewildering story of case law in determining asylum eligibility of South Asian applicants, especially women, in the UK. In excluding many applicants from asylum protection, courts mostly found that their membership in a ‘social group’ or the invocation of ‘political opinion’ did not conform to the Courts’ interpretations of the Convention reasons. They therefore denied women asylum if they were persecuted by private armed groups, state-employed soldiers acting in an individual capacity, or if they were persecuted for expressing what the courts construed as personal opinion (as against political opinions).

Immensely satisfactory in the range of subjects it intends to cover, this volume must however be faulted with being crowded in its eagerness to bring together the dynamic themes of gender, conflict and migration. Faced with the task of making links between them, the authors sometimes cramp ideas that interfere with their mostly well-reasoned arguments. But this may be inevitable in a volume that is determined to uncover and reframe in an as comprehensive way as possible the gendered nature of conflict and conflict-driven migration.

Resistance to Displacement through Forest Rights Act

Priyanca Mathur Velath

Displacement and resistance have co-existed in India’s history since even before its independence. However, the past few years have particularly witnessed violent upsurges to industrial units being set up on fertile lands, where people have been farming for generations, and on forest land, that has traditionally been the home of indigenous and rural communities. Even though Schedule Five of India's Constitution prohibits the alienation of tribal land to non-tribal private companies, people continue to be uprooted from their lands and livelihoods by developmental projects.

The harsh reality is that the biggest foreign direct investment project in India since independence actually intends to displace hundreds of tribals from their original habitat in their ‘sacred’ hills in the state of Orissa. But the affected people of those areas in Orissa have been far from silent. They have not just been most vigilant is voicing their protest against this ‘development without a face’ but have also done so through novel methods.

Resistance to development-induced displacement in India has come a long way from the first satyagraha led by Senapati Bapat against the Tata Dam on the confluence of the Nila and Mula rivers at Mulshi Peta near Pune in 1918 to the violent agitations against the Tata car factory at Singur, Nandigram today. The protesting Mulshi Malwas used to have boiling water thrown at them by the British officers while the farmers in West Bengal have faced bullets. However, the tribals of Orissa have decided to arm themselves with the newly enacted Forest Rights Act (FRA)

In August 2008, the so-called "Green" bench of the Supreme Court delivered a double blow to the Orissa tribals facing displacement by giving its go-ahead to Sterlite Industries to divert forest land for bauxite mining in the Niyamgiri Hills and to the South Korean steel-giant POSCO's proposed steel plant in Jagatsinghpur. The Court simply asked Sterlite industries to pay Rs.55 crore towards a 'wildlife management plan for conservation and management of wildlife around the mine' and Rs. 12.2 crore towards 'tribal development'. The miniscule amount that has been attributed as accountability cost is undoubtedly shocking when the entire project is worth a whopping $12 billion. But what is indeed unfortunate is that these pronouncements seem to have pulled the spanner off this huge project.

POSCO-India had signed an MOU (Memorandum of understanding) with the Orissa government to set up a 12 million tonne steel project at Paradip, in Orissa's Jagatsinghpur district for which it needs 4,004 acres of land there. As nearly 3000 acres of the required land requires forest diversion approval, the project hinges on this approval that the government is seeking from the Ministry of Forest and Environment and the Supreme Court. The preparatory work that it was supposed to start on the land given by the government to the project was stalled as the land was found to be recorded as forest land. But now the Supreme Court's approval shall allow work to progress.

The protesting tribals have this time found a new ally to once again stall the go-ahead granted by the Court. It’s the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act. In Jagatsinghpur, the residents of Dhinkia village have passed a resolution declaring that their forests are ‘protected’ community forests, as categorised under the FRA, and under the FRA consent from the gram sabha or village council is necessary prior to the acquisition of such declared forest land. This move has been thought of as a well-timed strategy to block the Court’s go-ahead. Realising the implications of such a resolution the local administration had actually refused to accept Dhinkia village’s notice under the FRA. However the gram sabha was resolute and it sent its resolution through registered post to ensure that it reached!

This one simple act of resistance is bound to complicate matters and inhibit the smooth flow of the project. The frustration of the protestors is understandable. The project authorities have not shown much interest in ensuring the rights of those affected. There seem to be not much meeting grounds between the Dongaria Kondhs, the original inhabitants and custodians of the Niyamgiri Hills and the mighty Vedanta company intending to displace them. Many mistakenly thought that Anil Agarwal, Vedanta's Executive Chairman had recognised the rights of the Dongaria Kondhs to withhold from the project, when in reality at the company's Annual General Meeting in London on 31 July he referred to the necessity of permission from the Supreme Court and the Government. With this permission being granted, it was thus left to the Kondhs to devise their own strategies. In fact, what the Dhinkia villagers have done is now being viewed by many other tribal groups and villages as a model to be replicated.

Far away from India, in Norway, the Norwegian Government Global Pension Fund dropped Vedanta from its investments, citing in its Council of Ethics' report to the Ministry of Finance of Norway that Vedanta's "planned mining project in the Niyamgiri Hills may entail considerable negative and irreversible effects on the whole ecosystem of that area" and that "this indicates a pattern of behaviour where such violations are accepted and have become an integral part of corporate practise. This pattern represents an unacceptable risk that the company's unethical practise will continue in the future." It is indeed unfortunate that a company is condemned for its un-environmental friendly actions on Indian soil by another nation but still it continues to enjoy the patronage of the Indian state. Such circumstances can only expect unprecedented reactions – like that from the Dhinkia village.

Women Migrants and their Sexual Health in Jammu and Kashmir

Anju Munshi

Displacement for women provides a fertile ground for the worst kind of social economic and viral epidemics and this is proved true when we turn our attention towards the migrant camps in Jammu.

These are women who are going through financial crisis, mental trauma, flesh trade and social stigma, in that order. Sex scams are religiously reported but not many want to know what leads to all this. It is the family's needs that put them under compulsion. Health, education, marriages mean money and how much do the rehabilitation packages offer. Jobs are very hard to come by. In the absence of an organised health awareness campaigns or the non governmental organisations making an effort , the threat of HIV/AIDS is looming large in the camps of the valley and the inmates of the camps have no clue about AIDS, so much so that one young sex worker belonging to a camp in muthi asked rather innocently if AIDS was contagious and if she could take antibiotics .In the meantime HIV is stealthily marching into the valley using two important carrier modes, that of ignorance and government apathy .

In February of last year, Jammu &Kashmir has reported six times increase in the number of AIDS cases compared to previous year. According to figures provided by the state government to New Delhi, 211cases of AIDS were reported in the region in 2007compared to 34 cases in 2006. The government also reported 42 AIDS deaths in 2007. ---The figures forthe previous years were not available. The data from the migrant's camps isn't available for no one visits the people that side; no counselling and no dissemination of information of any kind exists.

Women in camps with special reference to Jammu and Kashmir have just been dumped with no thought for their well-being, their physical and mental health.. It is an accepted fact that vulnerability in displaced people is high and one doesn't have to wait for things and epidemics to go out of hand and then sound an alert. It is also known that 'HIV/AIDS spreads among displaced migrants due to increased contact with outsiders and dramatic social change', says Survival International, a human rights organization formed in 1969 .The fact of the matter is that HIV/AIDS threat looms large in the camps that accommodate almost 5000 families with women numbering to at least two thousand. . Jammu and Kashmir might well be face to face with the ominous portents of the killer disease for more than one reason

The National AIDS Control Organization (NACO),further confirms and says that the state of J&K has 14,589 [2006]HIV patients with a sizeable number being in Kashmir and a large number has unfortunately gone unreported due to the social stigma attached to this disease.

Says Dr. K.L.Chowdhury doctor and a social activist of the Shiriya Bhatt Mission hospital in Jammu, "in the last eighteen years no NGO has bothered to come and sensitize the inmates on various health issues."

Dr. M A Wani, project director of JKAPCS [Jammu and Kashmir Aids Preventive Control Society ]said that "mass awareness must be generated about the disease and its preventive measures, which is the best strategy to tackle the menace of the disease".

How does one do that in the absence of any kind of an awareness campaigns, related to women's health and HIV /AID information?

Ms.Neerja Mattoo and Dr. Shakti Bhan, both associated with Daughters Of Vitasta ,female wing of Panun Kashmir say that 'these camps are unsafe for women there have been raped and killed and many girls have committed suicides .'

We see huge amount of funds released worldwide to bring in an awareness but surprisingly nothing gets it close to the valley. lack of committed NGOs and voluntary organizations in the State that would have otherwise augmented the awareness drive and helped the State government in implementing the AIDS awareness programme is compounding the problem . In West Bengal Aids prevention has a new ambassador Bula Di "di" is a Bengali suffix (short form of "didi") which means elder sister. You can see her in billboards around the city teaching about AIDS in no uncertain terms. She informs through simulated dialogs how drug abuse , unsafe sex or blood transfusion could lead to AIDS.

In Mumbai Ashley Judd, who is Global Ambassador for Youth AIDS, has been doing her bit to promote AIDS awareness along with other stars of bollywood.Similarly in Chennai the red ribbon express is going into villages and spreading the awareness. As against all this, there has never been any data collection in the migrant camps ,no one visits the people that side; no counselling and no dissemination of information of any kind exists... Add to this the fact that several languages and dialects are spoken in the state - Kashmiri, Urdu, Dogri, Punjabi, Ladakhi, Pahari and Gujjari – "it's even more challenging to accomplish minor tasks like developing video films, songs and posters,' say experts in this field.. Consequently disseminating information and spreading awareness about the disease have not been an easy task.

An independent study conducted by Jammu-based clinical immunologist Anil Mahajan notes that HIV/AIDS in the state is no longer a low prevalence disease.

False Promises

At the national level a number of studies have been conducted to bring in awareness about HIV/AIDS, but hardly any in Jammu camps..

'Existing NACO (National AIDS Control Organisation) guidelines do not provide costing and implementation of the Targeted Intervention (TI) programme for migrant labourers in a systematic manner, which for example is the second highest risk group in Jammu and Kashmir,' confirms Wani.

Albina du Boisrouvray closely associated with FXB an NGO ,came to India as part of French President Nicolas Sarkozy's delegation and announced that five villages would be set up to look after the HIV orphans, start income-generating activities, education healthcare support etc, publicly announcing to adopt West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Mizoram and Manipur. Kashmir was not mentioned. Lack of money should not be a deterrent, especially when FXB's India budget for the 2008 calendar year is $1.3 million.

On January 17th 2008, the union cabinet approved the creation of a joint secretary post to oversee the multi-billion rupee National AIDS Control Programme (Phase-III). Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi was categoric in saying that things would move on not only on national but international level.

Even though India's Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare, Panabaaka Lakshmi said Phase III of the National AIDS Control Programme has been formulated to control the spread of HIV by up scaling targeted interventions among the high risk groups, not much can be seen even though the camps fit the high risk group for many reasons.

Common people in the valley still don't know the exact causes of this disease nor do they know the difference between HIV and AIDS. The health dept in Kashmir needs to do more than just put burden on the religious scholars and Imams who can only have a limited impact in this regard. Dr. KL Chowdhury, , a doctor social activist, and human rights crusader , the man behind Shriya Bhatt Mission Hospital and Research Center at Jammu , that addresses the problems of Health Trauma of Kashmiris displaced from the valley of Kashmir in the wake of terrorism, says that he did not know of anyone with HIV symptoms in the migrant camps for they dont get tested for lack of testing facilities , even if there are , they don't get reported for fear of being discriminated and shunned , but that doesn't mean that they don't need awareness." He did agree that promiscuity is prevalent in the camps. He strongly recommends counselling and increased ways of communication for improved awareness, expanding testing services in the state. "Counseling ,discussions ,open forums and also sociologists visiting the camps could stir up things and set the stage for a new start. It is time for serious negotiations ,for the state of women inmates of the migrant camps need serious attention and thought, for education is always an intelligent investment."

Fact File

1. There is a strong social stigma and a large number of these cases has unfortunately gone unreported.

2. Facilities to get blood tested for Aids is limited to a few centers. Facilities for testing blood for HIV before transfusion are available only at main hospitals in both J&K but this isn't extended to places like Rajouri-Poonch, Kupwara and Baramulla.

3 Discreet enquiries revealed that the foreign terrorists have an access in exploiting the girls who are border migrants, in camps close to the borders There were an even larger number of young boys with this dreaded infection..

Reasons to Worry

1.The State has huge concentration of military and paramilitary forces, who are another high risk groups.

2. The ongoing militancy has also increased the number of people needing blood transfusion. .

3. A study conducted in Kashmir has shown the social change and new social order has been responsible to some extent for the problem of aging brides.-a risk for indulging in risky sexual behaviors.

4. Lack of committed NGOs and voluntary organizations in the State that would have otherwise augmented the awareness drive and helped the State government in implementing the AIDS awareness programme is compounding the problem.

5 In addition, difficult terrain, socio cultural diversity and low literacy pose tough challenges to disseminate information and spreading awareness about the disease in the State. .

It would be hazardous to shy away from the harsh realities that stare into our face.

The problem is now beginning to acquire such disturbing proportions that there is an urgent need to sound an AIDS alert in this state.