SAGAING, JANUARY 23 (MExN): Women’s voices are required to create lasting peace. Whether it is conflict prevention and conflict resolution or reconciliation, women’s meaningful participation in peace processes is definite. Naga Women have always played a role in upholding peace in the community.

Taking the mission of unity and solidarity across the border, Naga Women Union (NWU), the apex body of Naga women organization in Manipur, reached out to fellow Naga women of Myanmar on the significant Naga New Year celebration held from January 14 to 16 at Layshi Township, Naga-Self Administered Zone in Sagaing region, Myanmar.

Traveling close to ten hours by road crossing rough terrains, mountains and cliffs, 25 representatives of NWU risked their lives armed with the mission to connect and strengthen the ties among Nagas across borders.

Led by president Asha Wungnam, the team met women of the region to urged them to create a collective Naga women association in Myanmar. The mission, Asha said, is to bring cohesion and strengthen the pan-Naga indigenous community.

Affirming to the proposal by NWU, a woman representative from Myanmar welcomed the idea of forming the organization but at the same time confided that the community lacked leadership and strength to uphold a stable organization and seek continued support and prayer from the apex body. The Nagas from Myanmar also expressed their happiness over the visit and instilling strength, vigor and solidarity.

The team encouraged the women by sharing challenging journeys of the Naga women movement, how they stood against atrocities and inhumanity from outside forces, especially Indian army. The team strongly emphasized on the criticality of women empowerment in bringing development to the society.

Representative of Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR), Dr. Solem Ramsan observed that the problem between Nagas in India and Myanmar are similar, in that they both struggled against poverty, oppression and suppression. And that women can play big role in mitigating the situation and bring balanced to the society. She also stressed on the need to share more stories from their side in order for them to help in bringing justice in events of atrocities and violation of human rights.

All Naga Student Association Manipur (ANSAM) also supported the mission of the women organization and appealed the Naga community of Myanmar to stand united as one seamless community. Hao Folklore Society (HFS), a cultural research team, enthusiastically documented the historic trip. With deep concern for safeguarding the Naga indigenous culture, HFS team strongly encouraged the community to preserve both tangible and intangible culture.

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