Working Group on Human Rights
in India and the UN
e-Newsletter on Human Rights
April 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
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
Compilation of UN
Report on 2nd UPR:
Recommendations made
to India (May 2012)
India's 2nd UPR:
accepted by the Govt. of
India (Sep 2012)

WGHR Press Release: "WGHR welcomes the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns, on his mission to India" - 6/05/2013

The Working Group on Human Rights in India and the UN (WGHR) welcomed the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (SR EJE), Christof Heyns, on the main findings from his official visit to India in March 2012, which will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council (UN HRC) in Geneva on May 29, 2013. In his report Mr. Heyns highlights that the level of extrajudicial executions in India still raises serious concerns. In line with the SR EJE's recommendations, WGHR strongly recommends the GoI that it initiates the necessary legal reforms and policy measures in order to fight impunity and diminish the level of unlawful killings in the country. 
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For the full version of the SR EJE's report click here

WGHR Press Release:
 "India must eliminate root causes of violence and address its consequences holistically, law and order approaches alone are inadequate: WGHR affirms the UN SRVAW’s statement"- 03/05/13

The Working Group on Human Rights in India and the UN (WGHR), welcomed the statement of the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences (SR VAW) Ms. Rashida Manjoo at the end of her official country mission to India. The SR VAW highlighted the multiple and intersecting inequalities and discrimination that render women more vulnerable to violence in India, while exacerbating the impact of violence on their lives. She urged the government to address structural discrimination, strengthen prevention initiatives, and establish a holistic remedial framework that is transformatory in nature. 
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"Large Coalition of NGOs, Human Rights Activists, Academics and Independent Experts Protest the Selection of New Members to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)" - 08/04/13

The Working Group on Human Rights in India and the UN (WGHR) As member of a coalition of human rights organisations, women’s rights groups, lawyers, academics and activists, who are engaged with a range of human rights issues, expressed strong opposition and disagreement with the recent selections of new members to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). The coalition asserted that the guiding principles for appointing members to the NHRC are: that they must be persons with a proven track record and experience in the field ofhuman rights; the composition must reflect the plurality and diversity of peoples, particularly the vulnerable and marginalised communities in the country; and the process must be transparent and the appointments credible and must inspire confidence. 
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For the list with names of members who have been appointed in the category, under Sec. 3(2)(d) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, “from amongst persons having knowledge of, or practical experience in, matters relating to human rights”, click here.

WGHR Members' News and Activities

ACHR Press Release: "Prachanda should be asked to ensure violence free-elections and accountability for past abuses" - 29/04/2013

Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) urged Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to raise the issue of accountability for past human rights abuses, and the indispensability of holding free and fair elections for durable peace in Nepal with the Nepalese Maoists’ leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias Prachanda in view of his visit to India from 28 to 30 April 2013. “Unless accountability is addressed and cadres of the political parties especially the Youth Communists League of the Maoists (UCPN) refrain from using violence as the means to win the forthcoming Constituent Assembly elections, the chances of Nepal falling into further conflict are real", warned Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of ACHR. 
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"5-year-old didn’t get a support person: NGOs" - The Times of India, 27/04/2013

A child rights group of NGOs, alleged that amid the din raised over the rape of a five-year-old, the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) forgot to provide her a 'support person'— mandatory under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012. The NGOs also claimed that instead of making more "deterrent" laws, the government needs to work on implementation of the existing ones. "There are numerous guidelines issued by HC and the Supreme Court for dealing with victims of sexual assault, for instance in terms of medical examination, but these are never followed," said Bharti Ali, co-director of HAQ:Centre for Child RightsRead more

"Justice Verma: A judge who fought for women’s rights" - Feminists India, 24/04/2013

With the sad demise of Justice Verma, the Indian women’s movement has lost one of its most noble defenders. Justice J S Verma, the much respected jurist who died of multiple organ failure on 22 April at the age of 80, was cremated with state honour in New Delhi. He was the former Chief Justice of India and ex-Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). On behalf of the women’s movement, Vrinda Grover (lawyer), Suneeta Dhar, Madhu Mehra (PLD) and others attended the funeral at the Lodhi Road crematorium and paid tribute to the great human rights defender. Read more

ACHR Press Release: "48,338 child rape cases from 2001 to 2011 with 336% increase of child rape cases from 2001 to 2011" - 20/04/2013

Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) in its report, “India’s Hell Holes: Child Sexual Assault in Juvenile Justice Homes” stated that sexual offences against children in India have reached an epidemic proportion and a large number of them are being committed in the juvenile justice homes run and aided by the Government of India. The report has been submitted in advance to the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Ms Rashida Manjoo who conducted an official visit to India from 22 April to 1 May 2013. For the full version of the report, click here.

"End the Witch-Hunt" - Sangik Dutta, Frontline, 19/04/2013

A recent report by Partners for Law in Development (PLD) on the targeting of women as witches highlights the salient aspects of this practice across the country, which is a form of gender-based violence against women. The report focuses on the prevalence of this practice in the eastern, north-eastern, northern and western regions and is based on three regional consultations organised by PLD in collaboration with groups in Raipur, Guwahati and Ajmer. The report highlights the stories of women marginalised by this practice which is widely prevalent in Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Assam. Madhu Mehra, executive director of PLD, said: “It can be seen as an attempt to put in place a woman who defies caste and gender hierarchies and tries to transcend her economic status". Read more

SAM:BKS Press Release: "While Delhi government turns a blind eye, SAM:BKS (Shahri Adhikar Manch: Begharon Ke Saath) scales up fight to restore dignified living for CityMakers" - 09/04/2013

While the nation remains oblivious to the pressing needs of its homeless residents, SAM:BKS remained resolute in its continued fight for better living conditions and more permanent shelters in Delhi. Mr Miloon Kothari, former UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing stated that, “The High Court has passed numerous interim orders directing the government, at different levels, in Delhi to respect the human rights of the homeless...In spite of these clear directions from the High Court, the authorities continue to treat the homeless with hostility and the primary agency responsible for the homeless (DUSIB) lurches from crisis to crisis". Ms Shivani Chaudhry, Associate Director, Housing and Land Rights Network and member of SAM:BKS, drew attention to the paucity of shelters for women in Delhi and stated that "Shelters for the homeless are but the first step in the continuum of housing rights, with the ultimate aim of realising the right to adequate housing for all, which is a legal obligation of the Government of India". Read more

"Rights body condemns Prez rejection of mercy pleas" - Satya Prakash, Hindustan Times, 07/04/2013

As President Pranab Mukherjee rejects five more mercy pleas of death-row convicts, Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) has criticised the Rashtrapati Bhawan for allegedly using clemency power in an arbitrary manner at the behest of the home ministry. As advised by the home ministry, the President had on April 4 rejected mercy pleas of five convicts on death row while commuting death sentence of two others. "A case of life and death must not be decided without objective criteria… the criteria for considering mercy pleas (under Article 72 of the Constitution i.e. President's clemency power) must be evolved to avoid arbitrariness in such cases," ACHR director Suhas Chakma said. He called upon the Government of India to abolish death penalty in India. Read more

ACHR Press Release: "Delhi University’s action is against national integration - NHRC urged to intervene against “Hindi-sation” for exclusion of the North Easterners" - 02/04/2013

Asian Centre for Human Rights has filed a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) against Hindi-sation of Delhi University for effective exclusion of the students from the North East India in clear violation of the Article 14 of the Constitution of India relating to the right to equality and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Minorities. Read more

UN Human Rights News

"Special Rapporteur on Violence against women, its causes and consequences finalises country mission to India" - UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) - 01/05/2013

Upon the completion of her official country mission to India, the the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Ms. Rashida Manjoo, stated in her concluding remarks "I would like to encourage the government of India to ensure specificity in addressing the multiple and intersecting inequalities and discrimination that women face. My mandate has consistently voiced the view that the failure in response and prevention measures stems from Government’s inability and/or unwillingness to acknowledge and address the core structural causes of violence against women...A legislative and policy approach will not bring about substantive change if it is not implemented within a holistic approach that simultaneously targets the empowerment of women, social transformation, and the provision of remedies that ultimately address the continuum of discrimination and violence, and also the pervasive culture of impunity.  My comprehensive findings will be discussed in the report that I will present to the United Nations Human Rights Council in June 2014.” 

For the full press statement of the SR VAW, click here.

"UN adopts treaty to regulate global arms trade, India abstains" - Zee News, 02/04/2013

The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly approved the first ever arms treaty regulating the USD 70 billion global arms trade, even as India abstained saying that the draft was "weak" on terrorism and non-state actors. Read more

News on Human Rights Issues

Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) Press Release: "APDP seeks the immediate release of Showkat Ahmed Pal to his family members"

The Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) strongly refutes the recent claim of the police that Showkat Ahmad Paul, of Lawaypora, is part of a fidayeen squad of a militant group planning to carry out a strike in the civil lines area of Srinagar City. APDP states that the claim floated through a section of the media quoting police sources is utterly baseless and false. After having abducted and disappeared Showkat Ahmed Paul in 2003, this is a fabricated attempt by the security forces and state intelligence agencies to obfuscate and deny responsibility in the case of his disappearance. APDP seeks the immediate release of Showkat Ahmed Pal to his family members, and demands an end to the culture of impunity and the crime of enforced disappearances in Kashmir. Read more

"NCERT survey paints grim enrolment picture for disabled" - The Times of India, 03/04/2013

A nationwide study conducted by the NCERT to assess enrolment, access and retention of students with disabilities found that states like Bihar, Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, West Bengal among others had all shown a decline in enrolment of girls as opposed to boys. As many as 13 states and Union Territories showed a decline in girls' enrolment, while about 10 displayed a dip in overall students' admission painting a dismal picture of inclusive education for children with disabilities. Read more

"Investment issues of the physically challenged" - Business Standard, 02/04/2013

The Securities and Exchange Board of India and the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority allow for purchase of insurance and investment products by the visually impaired or disabled persons. But companies are yet to tune themselves accordingly. For instance, even the basic requirement -- forms or documents that are Braille-supported -- are not available either for insurance or mutual fund-related products. According to the Delhi Ophthalmological Society, India has about 7.8 million visually challenged people. That is a good 20 per cent of the 39 million visually challenged population across the globe. But the road to both insurance and investment for them is blocked. 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:

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