Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Indo-Bhutan joint committee to combat human trafficking

KOKRAJHAR, Jan 28: The Nedan Foundation, Kokrajhar, which organized a two-day joint consultation between the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) and the Bhutan Government to combat the transborder human trafficking and cases of HIV/AIDS along the border areas came to an end today. The joint consultation included representatives from Bhutan, BTC, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Manipur and a member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Dr Rinchen Chopel stressed on transborder collaboration in countering human trafficking and HIV in the porous border districts near Bhutan and BTC and drafted the Standard Operational Procedure (SOP) in terms of rescue and rehabilitation of victims of trafficking and HIV/AIDS.
The draft of the Standard Operational Procedure (SOP) between Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) and Bhutan to combat transborder trafficking, HIV/AIDS was finalized at the two-day joint consultative workshop which concluded today at Kokrajhar.
Kokrajhar Deputy Commissioner Jatin Gogoi lit the ceremonial lamp while Kokrajhar SP Arobinda Kalita inaugurated the consultation programme. Nedan Foundation president Digambar Narzary delivered the introductory address.
Talking to The Sentinel, SAARC Dr Rinchen Chopel, who presented a paper on Need of strategic regional cooperation in combating transborder trafficking and HIV with recommendation said the consultation programme has larger implications towards the society in terms of work they have done today. “It is important that both sides of the border do something to end the trafficking menace”, Chopel said, adding that most of the time they did not consider trafficking, HIV/AIDS as an issue, for which the Governments have to sit together. But, the experience of the last two years has shown that the transborder trafficking has caused grave concern both at the political level and at the social level is likely to turn worse if not dealt with properly.
Chopel said: “We need relations between the two countries to combat the issue”. He said they are now trying to convince both the countries to work together in partnership to address the problems on trafficking as well as border-related issues.
Considering the consultation meeting as very important to bring out the issue, Chopel said the feeling of isolation will not bring a solution in future. He also hoped that the transborder trafficking, HIV/AIDS would be controlled.In his speech, Narzary said that the Datgiri, Daranga, Sarpang and Phuentsholing areas bordering Bhutan were the core areas where incidents of human trafficking and HIV/AIDS have been occurring. He said that a lot of youths coming from remote villages bordering Bhutan have been found missing in the recent times. Narzary said that they were looking forward to combat the incidents of trafficking through a joint effort with the Bhutan India Border Coordination Committee.
Narzary said the trafficking was larger in South Asian countries and the same has been threatening the North-east region. He also said there was need to work together for confrontation with the issues. The Nedan Foundation has been emphasizing on peace building, emergency issues, learning about each other and working for development in border areas.
The representatives from Bhutan who participated in the two-day consultation were Dr Rinchen Chopel, SAARC member, Dr Kuenzang Wangdi, district medical officer, Sonpang, immigration officers and NGO activists. As many as 75 representatives from North-east, BTC and Bhutan took part in the meet.

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