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India should accept UN Rights Body Recommendations, demands HRW  

Monday June 09, 2014

HUMAN RIGHTS, INDIA, ATROCITY, AFSPA  

However, “on other crucial human rights issues, the response of Indian government was misleading”, said Human Rights Watch supplementing with an example such as, “the Indian government, in responding to concerns that an anti-torture bill was still awaiting parliamentary approval, suggested that existing laws have sufficient prohibitions against torture!”

 

HNF Correspondent

 
 

Citing at the existing Indian legislations and policies as grossly insufficient in regard to protecting human rights in the country, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged that India should make serious efforts to carry out the recommendations made by United Nations Rights body.

“India should accept the recommendations by United Nations member states at the UN’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) to address the country’s most serious human rights problems”, said a HRW report.

It’s to be noted that India will submit its responses to the 169 recommendations made at its second review on May 24, 2012 during the September 2012 session of the UN Human Rights Council.

 

‘The wide-ranging recommendations call upon India to ratify multinational treaties against torture and enforced disappearances, repeal the much-abused Armed Forces Special Powers Act, impose a moratorium on the death penalty, introduce an anti-discrimination law, and protect the rights of women, children, Dalits, tribal groups, religious minorities, and other groups at risk. The Indian government has promised a “comprehensive response” to these recommendations’, said the HRW report.

“The Indian government should make a serious effort to carry out these recommendations instead of simply pointing to existing legislation or policies,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch adding, “What’s needed is a strong commitment to transparency and accountability to protect human rights.”

The Periodic Review (UPR) is the mechanism set to examine the human rights records of all 192 UN member states. The mechanism provides an opportunity for each state, every four years, to present its actions in direction of improving respect for human rights in its own country. Each country’s UPR has a final document with conclusions and recommendations. India’s first review was in 2008 and only a few of the recommendations were properly carried out by the government.

Mentioning about the recent positive human rights development, the Indian government set out the fundamental rights provided by the constitution, judicial pronouncements, the Right to Information Act, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, the Right to Education Act of 2009, and the National Food Security Bill, during the 2012 review, to demonstrate its commitment to protect human rights.

“The Indian government said that child labour had declined by 45 percent over the last five years though the statistic needs serious verification since many children work undetected in homes and shops. The government also made a commitment to strengthen enforcement of laws to prevent domestic violence. Supporting to the 2009 Delhi High Court judgment decriminalizing consensual sex between adults of the same sex, the government explained that transgender people in India are now being listed as “other” rather than “male” or “female” on electoral rolls and voter identity cards,” HRW report mentioned.

However, “on other crucial human rights issues, the response of Indian government was misleading”, said Human Rights Watch supplementing with an example such as, “the Indian government, in responding to concerns that an anti-torture bill was still awaiting parliamentary approval, suggested that existing laws have sufficient prohibitions against torture!”

“The Indian government is well aware of the rampant beatings, sexual assault, and other torture in Indian police stations and should be working hard to pass the anti-torture law,” Ganguly said highlighting that “the urgent need for police reform and accountability simply isn’t being addressed under existing laws.”

Condemning the enforcement of AFSPA as felicitation of abuses, HRW report said, “The Indian government downplayed abuses by the security forces asserting that most complaints of army and paramilitary abuses were found to be false and, further, said that the act had been upheld by the Supreme Court. But the government failed to note that it has ignored measures to prevent abuses outlined in the Supreme Court ruling.”

“The AFSPA, even though rarely grants any right to arrest people without warrant and detain them without time limits, and forbids prosecution of soldiers without approval from the central government, it provide effective immunity to the members of the Armed Forces for torture and other crimes by, even, restricting the National Human Rights Commission to investigate allegations of torture and other crimes by Armed Forces” pointed HRW.

Human Rights Watch, in its submission before the UPR, called upon India to engage substantially on issues relating to rights of women and to announce comprehensive steps to address concerns about child labour, child sexual abuse, and trafficking.

Mentioning the view of India on the death penalty that said, “it only applied in rarest of rare cases,” HRW appealed, India should join the growing community of nations that have endorsed the UN General Assembly resolution calling for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.

 
 

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