In a plea to the Union Home Ministry, the NGO Co-ordination Committee, representing a coalition of five prominent NGOs in Mizoram, submitted a memorandum urging the reconsideration of the decision to abolish the Free Movement Regime (FMR) and the construction of a border fence along the Indo-Myanmar border.
The memorandum, handed over to the Secretary to the Governor at Raj Bhavan, voiced deep concerns over the implications of the Centre’s actions on the ethnic and cultural ties between the people of Mizoram residing on both sides of the border.
Expressing astonishment at the decision to scrap the FMR, the Committee underscored its significance in maintaining the ethnic and cultural linkages between the Mizo communities on either side of the border. They highlighted Mizoram’s status as a signatory to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, emphasizing the need for measures to uphold the rights of indigenous peoples, especially those divided by international borders.
“The Free Movement Regime has been a vital mechanism in preserving the rich ethnic and cultural heritage of the Mizo people,” the memorandum stated. “Its abolition, coupled with the implementation of border fencing, would disrupt the harmonious coexistence and cultural exchange integral to our lives.”
The NGO Co-ordination Committee comprises five major organizations in Mizoram: the Central Young Mizo Association, The Mizo Zirlai Pawl (Students body), Mizo Students Union, Mizo Upa Pawl (Mizoram Elders Association), and the Mizo Hmeichhe Insuihkhawm Pawl (Association of Mizo Women).