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Irom Sharmila’s 15-Year Long Hunger Strike: FORUM-ASIA Joining and Supporting Solidarity and Advocacy Activities

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On Irom Sharmila’s 15th year of unparalleled protest, FORUM-ASIA will be attending and supporting a series of solidarity events and advocacy activities from 1 to 6 November 2015.

Irom Sharmila, a 43 year old poet and human rights defender from Manipur, India, has been on hunger strike since 2 November 2000, protesting the killing of 10 people by a paramilitary unit of the Indian Government and demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, (AFSPA).

The AFSPA grants extensive powers on the armed forces deployed across parts of northeast India. In particular, the AFSPA provides the armed forces a high degree of de facto immunity as any legal proceeding requires the prior permission of the federal government which is seldom granted. This has enabled all types of human rights violations.

On 6 November 2000, days after she started her protest, Sharmila was arrested and charged with attempted suicide, an offence under the Indian Penal Code. Since she began her hunger strike, Sharmila has been facing a cycle of arrests and re-arrest without conviction and has been subjected to force feeding.

The first event will be the “Convention on Repeal the AFSPA” on 1 November 2015, in New Delhi, India. The Convention will discuss strategies to repeal the AFSPA and is co-organised by the Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign (SSSC), Bonded Labour Liberation Front, Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR), Students Islamic Organisation (SIO) and Justice Peace Foundation (JPF).