Names of North East Nobel Peace Prize Nominees announced

The official nomination was handed in to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee in Oslo in January 2005. The names and profiles of the 1000 women can be found under www.1000peacewomen.org. The number 1000 is symbolic, as the 1000 nominated women represent innumerable women worldwide who are engaged in the cause of peace and human dignity. On the 29th of June, the names of these 1000 women were publicized in press conferences around the world.

Out of the 1000, 157 women are from South Asia. This is the largest number from any region. There are 16 nominees from Bangladesh, 9 from Nepal, 29 from Pakistan, 12 from Sri Lanka and 91 from India. The number of nominees from India is the highest from any one country.

The northeast nominees are:

Biro Bala Rava,India
The story of Biro Bala Rava (born 1959) reads like an inspirational, if medieval, battle between good and evil: Biro lives in a remote, backward village in Assam where she has been fighting to save women condemned to death as witches. She then moved on to other equally-vitiating issues that affect the lives of those around her, showing exceptional courage in the face of personal danger and isolation by family and community, and perseverance in fighting against the a custom that demonizes women. And she is winning.

Affiliation to organization: Borjhara Tobarani Mahila Samata Sangha, Assam
Key words: Education for girls and women Women\\'s rights

In Biro Bala Rava\\'s world, hunting those branded as \\"witches\\" had an economic aspect. So, she used the modern weaponry of women\\'s education to counter a heinous practice.

Sister Elizabeth Edattukaran
Sister Elizabeth Edattukaran (born 1938) has worked fearlessly and relentlessly under the most trying circumstances, and at considerable personal risk, to provide healthcare and relief to people affected by conflict and violence in Northeast India. She has also been instrumental in setting into motion several conflict resolution initiatives, and in providing livelihood options to women affected by ethnic violence. Her deep faith in god and her humane touch have helped dispel much of the fear and distrust that result from endemic conflicts.

Affiliation to organization: Salesian Sisters
Key words: Access to health care Peace Education

In many, many ways, Sister Elizabeth personifies the words “in the service of God”, bringing together two neighborly communities separated by ethnic distrust.

Irom Sharmila Chanu
Irom Sharmila Chanu (born 1972) is the face of the Manipuri protests against the savage Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in force in the state, and military excesses and atrocities. On 2 November 2002, Sharmila went on a fast-unto-death protesting against the killing of 11 civilians in Malom. The government promptly arrested her for attempted suicide. Since that day, she has been in the security ward of a government hospital, force-fed through her nose. Although greatly weakened, Sharmila refuses to break her fast.

Key words: Access to justice Armed violence Sexual violence

With armed conflict against a more powerful State an option of diminishing returns, Sharmila\\'s Gandhian strategy seems to provide the only ray of hope - if she lives through it.

Keepu Tsering Lepcha
Keepu Tsering Lepcha (born 1942) has devoted her life to the uplift of her Lepcha community, indigenous to the Himalayan region of Sikkim. A teacher and retired civil servant, she helps educate members, especially the girls, of this diminishing tribe, whose members number around 30,000 today. With the help of European donors, she has founded an NGO, the Human Development Foundation of Sikkim, which has been working since 1997 with underprivileged families.

Affiliation to organization:Human Development Foundation of Sikkim - HDFS
Key words: Children\\'s rights Education for girls and women Empowerment to independence
Keepu Tsering Lepcha, teacher and retired civil servant, has devoted herself to the survival of her rapidly-diminishing Lepcha community, particularly educating the girls of this tiny tribe.

Maya John Ingty
Maya John Ingty (born 1932) plays a unique role in the Northeast, bringing together powerful Christian and secular organizations to work for peace. She is strongly driven by her conviction that working for social justice issues should not be determined by caste, creed, or religious persuasions. She also mobilizes the youth and women - through group discussions, skill-building, and alternative ideas for sustainable development for women - towards education and employment as a means of drawing people away from the pervasive culture of the gun.

Affiliation to organization: Diocesan Board for Participatory development, Interdenominational Christian Women\\'s Forum, Northeast Christian Council Women\\'s Assembly
Key words: Access to health care Alternative Income Generation Women\\'s rights
Being a respected member of the Church does not constrain Maya from critiquing its regressive positions and pushing for its greater involvement with social, often secular, issues.

Neidonuo Angami
Neidonuo Angami (born 1950), one of the founding members, and former president, of the Naga Mothers Association, has never known a peaceful life. She realized that the fierce fighting between the Naga underground army and the Indian security forces directly impacts the lives of mothers who lose their children to violence, or the substance abuse they resort to in reaction to the conflict. So, she and other Naga mothers launched the \\"Shed No More Blood\\" campaign, which has proved to be a crucial link in the Naga peace process.

Affiliation to organization: Naga Mothers Association
Key words: Armed violence Education for girls and women Women\\'s rights

Starting with resolving the issues of conflict-driven drug addiction and alcoholism, the NMA has inserted itself into the State-Naga peace process, with women finally having a say.

For the names and profiles of all 1000 women, please visit www.1000peacewomen.org
Contributed by North East Network