Working Group on Human Rights
in India and the UN
e-Newsletter on Human Rights
June 2013
Human Rights in India – Status Report 2012: Updated and RevisedWGHR Monitoring Tool for Recommendations from the United Nations' Universal Periodic Review for India
Human Rights in India – Status Report 2012: Updated and RevisedHuman Rights in India – Status Report 2012: Updated and Revised
WGHR Documents for
India’s Second UPR
Human Rights
in India
Status Report
2012
Stakeholders'
Report for
India's 2nd UPR
UN documents for India's
2nd UPR
National report submitted
by the Government of India
Annexes to the National
Report – 1, 2, 3
Summary of 51
Stakeholders' Submissions
by OHCHR
Compilation of UN
Information
Report on 2nd UPR:
Recommendations made
to India (May 2012)
India's 2nd UPR:
Recommendations
accepted by the Govt. of
India (Sep 2012)
 

“Senior WGHR members participated in Vienna+20 CSO Conference in Vienna on June 25 and 26, 2013 and in adopting the declaration that followed” - 26/06/2013

Senior WGHR members Miloon Kothari, Henri Tiphagne and Shivani Choudhry participated in independently organised Vienna+20 SCO Conference celebrating 20 years of Vienna Declaration in spirit of section I, Paragraph 38 of the Vienna Declaration recognizing “the important role of non-governmental organizations in the promotion of all human rights and in humanitarian activities at national, regional and international levels”.

The conference addressed issues such as austerity measures in governments’ economic policies and the ever growing economic and political influence of transnational corporation. It also witnessed participation of around 140 participants from all over the world adopting a Vienna+20 CSO Declaration. The declaration called for the United Nation to organize a 2018 World Conference on Human Rights. Read more

 

WGHR Members' News and Activities

ACHR Press Release: “ACHR censures the attacks on a passenger train and considers them an act of terrorism” – 13/06/2013

The Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR), a WGHR member, in a press release asserts that the attacks on civilian passenger train are an act of terrorism according to the Additional Protocol II to the Geneva Convention. “The attack on the civilian passenger train is an act of terrorism as provided under Article 4(2)(d) of the Additional Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions Relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts. Under no circumstances, civilians can be made military target and the Maoists leaders must bear the responsibility for the blatant and willful violation of international humanitarian laws through attacks on the civilians irrespective of whether the Communist Party of India (Maoists) has ratified  the Additional Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions or not.”- stated Mr. Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights. Read more

 

“ActionAid organises protests pressing for the AP Slum-Dwellers (Property Rights) Act” – 13/06/2013

WGHR member ActionAid along with an NGO Campaigning for Housing and Tenurial Rights is organising protests in four cities – Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada and Warangal which began with a two day sit – in protest in Visakhapatnam. The protesters are urging to pass the bill for AP Slum-Dwellers (Property Rights) Act before the implementation of Rajiv Awas Yojna which is a slum free housing programme and centrally sponsored. Slum dwellers from about 40 slums are participating in the protests. Read more

 

ACHR Press Release: “ACHR urges NHRC to call back the pending cases from Manipur Human Rights Commission (MHRC)” – 11/06/2013

On receiving a letter from Mr. Nungshitombi Athokpam, Deputy Secretary, Manipur Human Rights Commission which requests ACHR to move NHRC for the office of the Chairperson and members of the MHRC are vacant since 2010 and MHRC is not in a position to function, ACHR has urged the NHRC that it calls back the cases pending in MHRC. “The non-appointment of the Chairperson and the members of the MHRC by the State Government of Manipur is scandalous and shows that the State Government has no interest to protect human rights. At the same time, forwarding complaints to the defunct MHRC is meaningless as the victims are effectively denied justice and made to live in false hope.”- stated Mr. Suhas Chakma, Director of the Asian Centre for Human Rights. Read more

 

“ActionAid holds a meet following a discussion with indigenous farmers in Odisha” – 05/06/2013

ActionAid held a meet following a discussion with farmers in the Sambalpur District of Western Odisha. The meet engaged various small and marginal farmers and discussed on how private companies are making their way into agriculture and making it corporate farming, drawing farmers to cultivate chemically produced commercial crops in contract farming mode. The framers are not able to practice traditional farming, are being forced into buying patented seeds and make use of huge amount of pesticide and fertilizer. The consequences of this are being cogitated to be about 400 million people losing their livelihood. Read more

 

“ActionAid’s Beti Utsav, a significant step towards gender equality” – 05/06/2013

Beti Utsav has been initiated by ActionAid, a WGHR member in Delhi. The objective is to celebrate the birth of a girl child where it is not celebrated, places like Dwarka, Delhi and to challenge patriarchal mindset. Young girls and boys in numbers walked in the alleys of Dwarka with posters in hands, shouting slogans, singing songs and spreading sweets, visiting every household where a girl child is born. The skewed sex ratio and infant mortality rate in India are also being targeted to be done away with. Read more

 

UN Human Rights News


“Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights commented on the status of human rights post Vienna Declaration” – 27/06/2013

On 20th anniversary of Vienna Declaration, Navi Pillay asserted that even though the Vienna Declaration has played a significant role in strengthening the principles of human rights and protecting human rights, some issues still remain unresolved and need urgent attention. She added that is has “crystallised the principle that human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated, and firmly entrenched the notion of universality by committing States to the promotion and protection of all human rights for all people regardless of their political, economic, and cultural systems.”

Another achievement pointed out by her is that Vienna Declaration has encouraged human rights defenders and civil society organisations and supported them in widening their horizons. Read more

Read the full speech here

 
“Draft resolution on access to medicines to be proposed at the ongoing session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)” – Lawyers Collective, 18/06/2013

India may join hands with other BRICS members to propose a draft resolution on access to medicines based on the report by Special Rapporteur on the right to health, Mr. Anand Grover in the ongoing session of the UN Human Rights Council. The resolution will urge member states of the UN and intergovernmental organisations to take into account the existing challenges regarding access to medicines in the context of the right to health. The focus will be on key human rights framework on access to medicines, i.e. availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality. Read more

 

“UN High Commissioner presents strong arguments in favour of Dalit women and points out the causes of inequity and oppression” – 07/06/2013

Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner presented strong arguments in favour of Dalit women in South Asia including India and pointed out reasons for inequity and oppression at the 23rd session of the UN Human Rights council. She asserted that “Due to pervasive sexism combined with their caste status, women from discriminated caste groups have limited access to land, inheritance and other economic resource and their usually higher illiteracy rates further exacerbates their economic vulnerabilities”. She has further called upon member states to take measures to curb discrimination, untouchability and impunity. Read more

News on Human Rights Issues

“The right to justice, a challenge for Indian democracy. – Asian Human Rights Commission”, 28/06/2013

A very well laid Constitution of India defines the fundamental rights to life, dignity, equality etc. but the right to justice is proving to be a challenge for Indian democracy. There have been various instances where the promise of justice has not been fulfilled, e.g. the right of human rights defenders, rights of the forcefully displaced etc. It is yet to be seen as to how the world’s largest democracy takes the challenge of fulfills its promises of providing justice to its citizens. Read more

 

“Migrated brick kiln labourers work in extremely trying conditions in and around Hyderabad” - The Hindu, 19/06/2013

Agriculture alone does not sufficiently provide a healthy livelihood for many tenants, landless workers or cultivators who mostly belong to Scheduled Castes and Dalit communities and hence they migrate to big cities like Hyderabad to seek work. The brick kilns in and around Hyderabad employ such labourers where they are exploited physically, economically, mentally, the women are raped and harassed and are paid insufficient wages. Read more

 

“A Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India bill has been passed in the parliament which criminalises the opposition or awareness campaigns against GM food crops” – Inter Press Service, 14/06/2013

Civil society in India has in the past launched a serious campaign against the introduction of GM technology in Indian agricultural practices which also has been involved in creating awareness regarding the same. In April a Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India bill has been introduced in the parliament which says that penalties and fines will be imposed against such campaigns and movements. “The new bill is not about regulation, but the promotion of the interests of food giants trying to introduce risky technologies into India, ignoring the rights of farmers and consumers," Sahai, who leads ‘Gene Campaign', an organisation dedicated to the conservation of genetic resources and indigenous knowledge said. "It is alarming because it gives administrators the power to quell opposition to GM technology and criminalise those who speak up against it.” Read more

 

“New information reveals the use of faulty material and defected parts in the construction of Kundankulam Nuclear Power Project” – Inter Press Service, 14/06/2013

A report by Dr. V.T. Padmanabhan, a member of the European Commission on Radiation Risk reveals that defected vital parts and faulty material has been used in KKNPP along with stressing upon the issue of corruption charges against Sergei Shutov, procurement director of the Russian company that supplied equipments to KKNPP. Meanwhile, activists, lawyers, NGOs and thousands of villagers continue to protest against the Kunkankulam Nuclear Power Project peacefully. Read more

 

“Women human rights defenders arrested arbitrarily in Kolkata” – World Organisation Against Torture, 17/06/2013

Twelve women human rights defenders were peacefully protesting outside the residence of Chief Minister of West Bengal, Ms Mamta Bannerjee regarding a recent gang rape and murders of a female student and a school girl when arrested arbitrarily, denied access to their lawyers and faced judicial harassment. The women belong to a Kolkata based women’s network, Maitree. Read more

 

 

The Working Group on Human Rights in India and the UN (WGHR) is a national coalition of fourteen human rights organizations and independent experts from India. WGHR works towards the realization of all civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights in India and aims at holding the Indian government accountable for its national and international human rights obligations. For more information, visit: www.wghr.org

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