Where does India stand by Human Rights standards?

Narendra Ch, 13 December 2007, Thursday

THE YEAR 2007 has been full of incidents of human rights violations and struggles within India and in neighbouring countries as well. December 10, the International Human Rights day gives us the opportunity to judge the accountability to human rights standards worldwide on the basis of stock of human rights violations as well as struggles.

The present political environment shows the steep erosion in the standards of fundamental human rights along with greater impunity, greater torture both by state and non-state actors.

In Burma, monks and other people rose in protest against the military junta. In Pakistan, journalists, lawyers and other activists were arrested and detained for their battle against military dictatorship and emergency imposed by President Musharraf. In India, a new momentum of the anti-displacement struggles is on the rise in different parts of the country, particularly in Kalinga Nagar, Singur and Nandigram. The report said that the state machinery even used repression and torture tactics against the people in these areas.

However, discrimination, humiliation and torture of people of any particular region, caste, religion, socio-economic, gender discrimination, the plight of refugees, migrants and the internally displaced continued to be core areas of human rights concern.

According to Amnesty International India (AII) director Mukul Sharma, several areas have been emerged to express activism and to show the concern. He also recalled that India has not signed the United Nation’s Resolution on moratorium against death penalty that was passed at the 62nd Assembly of the UNGA.

According to him, India has also not ratified the convention against torture, nor allowed the UN Special Rapporteur on this issue permission. Governments, police and armed forces continued to enjoy impunity in spite of various acts of displacement, torture, custodial and military violence, and people’s action against the same.

India has not repealed the security legislations in force in the northeast region, Kashmir and other areas. Amnesty International and various other human rights organizations on several occasions have demanded to scrap the security legislation in these areas.

Human rights standards have not been set up for corporations, the perpetrators of the Bhopal gas tragedy till the date. They are still unpunished and the survivors are yet to be compensated and rehabilitated properly. Women continue to be unsafe, be at home, the street, the school, the work place or their community.

Communal violence bill is yet to take recognizance of gender-based violence during communal violence; the issue of state organized fear and violence. The Forest Rights Bill has been passed but is not allowed to be implemented. India has not taken diplomatic step against the repression by military junta in Burma.

Mukul Sharma said that four sets of rights, crucial for the protection of economic, social, political and civil rights of people anywhere, are such as right to life with dignity, right to protest and dissent, right to freedom from fear and right to justice.

On the International Human Rights Day, AII demanded from the government of India to ratify the UN Convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment and to allow the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture to visit India to report about the cases of torture noticed in India.

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