Working Group on Human Rights
in India and the UN
e-Newsletter on Human Rights
Nov - Dec 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)
 

WGHR News

“WGHR Workshops: Three regional workshops on UN Human Rights Mechanisms with a Special Focus on Universal Periodical Review (UPR), UN Special Procedures and working with National/State Human Rights Institutions”. – 11.12.2013

A series of three regional workshops in Bangalore, Ranchi and Jaipur were successfully conducted by WGHR during November and December 2013. The main objective was to impart training on various UN Human Rights mechanisms such as UPR, Special Procedures etc to the grass roots organisations as well as National and State Human Rights Institutions (N/SHRIs) in order to establish and strengthen solidarity, support and coordination among them. The exercise was also aimed at creating awareness about the UPR processes so as to ensure the maximum and meaningful participation of these organizations and institutions in the next UPR cycle. The purpose was also to enable or facilitate the role of the grass roots organisations in monitoring UPR recommendations on the ground and come up with collective monitoring reports to exert pressures and demand accountability from the Government of India.

Almost 150 participants working on various areas and issues of human rights such as child rights, women’ rights, sexual minority rights, environmental rights, dalit rights, labour rights etc actively took part in the exercises from fifteen different states. Various group activities were carried out during the sessions of workshops to make it an engaging process for the participants. As many as hundred recommendations, commitments and suggestions have come out of those group activities.

“WGHR delegation along with UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) delegation met with NHRC member Satyabrata Pal, discussed pressing human rights issues in the country” – 29.11.2013

WGHR delegation; Mr Henri Tiphagne, Convenor WGHR; Mr Krishnamoorthy, Secretary WGHR, Mr Vikash Kumar, Senior Research Officer and Shivani Choudhry, Director HLRN (Housing and Land Rights Network) and a UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) delegation; Warren Leigh, Assistant Desk Officer, South Asia Department; Giles Cutler, Programme Manager, Human Rights and Democracy Department and James Evans, Second Secretary Political, Bilateral Affairs and Human Rights, Political Department met with NHRC member Mr Satyabrata Pal to discuss the current human rights situation in India and important issues like abolition of death penalty. The FCO team asserted their continued efforts and future engagement in the process of promotion and protection of human rights in the country consistently.

WGHR Member News and Activities

“Independent People’s Tribunal (IPT) jointly organised by CSOs on 20 years of Protection of Human Rights Act (1993)” – TwoCircles.net, 19.12.2013

On the occasion of the 20 years of Paris Principles (1993), 20 years of the Protection of Human Rights Act (1993) and 20 years of the Vienna Conference (1993), an Independent People’s Tribunal was jointly organised by Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), All India Network of NGOs and Individuals working with National / State Human Rights Institutions (AINNI), Human Rights Alert (HRA), Vanvasi Chetna Ashram, Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights, Human Rights Advocacy and Research Foundation and Asian NGO Network on National Human Rights Institutions (ANNI) on the functioning of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on December 14, 15 & 16, 2013 in New Delhi.

It was strongly recommended by the jury that Paris Principles 1993 should strictly be adhered to. The jury was chaired by Justice (Retd.) Hosbet Suresh, [Former Judge of the Mumbai High Court] and comprised Justice (Retd.) Surendra Bhargav, (Former Chief Justice of Sikkim High Court), Justice (Retd.) W A Shishak, (Former Chief Justice of Chattisghar High Court), Justice (Retd.) K Sukumaran, (Former Judge of the Mumbai and Kerala High Court), Mr. Yambem Laba, (Former Member of Manipur SHRC), Prof. Babu Mathews, (Professor, National Law University, New Delhi), Prof. Kamal Chenoy, (Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi), Prof. Anuradha Chenoy, [Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi], Prof. Vimal Thorat, (Professor and Social Activist).

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“Citizens for Human Rights Movement (CHRM) organised Human Rights conference on 22.12.2013”

Citizens for Human Rights Movement (CHRM) held a day long Human Rights Conference in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. The Convener of WGHR Mr. Henri Tiphagne is the honorary state adviser of the CHRM. Fourteen resolutions were passed at the end of the conference. Some of the important resolutions adopted during the conference were urgent ratification of UN protocol against death penalty, introduction of human rights education in all schools, application of Paris Principles 1993 and safety and protection of human rights defenders.

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UN Human Rights News

“A UN study asserts that some of the Indian laws reinforce gender inequality in India”- Reuters.com, 14.11.2013

A UN study, The Law and Son Preference in India: A Reality Check conducted by UNFPA says that some Indian laws reinforce gender inequality along with confirming the fact of skewed sex ratio in the country. According to the latest U.N. Gender Equality Index, India has one of the worst gender differentials in child mortality of any country, ranking 132 out of 148 nations, worse than Pakistan and Bangladesh.

"This study is significant because it holds up a mirror to the laws that overtly or covertly fail to address discrimination or promote it," Lise Grande, U.N. Resident Coordinator in India said.

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“UN report says India has improved in scrutinising other countries’ human rights situation” – the New Indian Express, 17.11.2013

A recent UN report asserts that India’s performance in scrutinising human rights situations of other countries has increased. A review done by Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR), a WGHR member, India’s participation in UPR has improved leading to improvement in scrutinising process of other countries. “Its geographical focus during the second cycle is improving and it is a step in the right direction,” said ACHR’s Executive Director Suhas Chakma.

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“UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay calls the Supreme Court judgment on section 377 a ‘significant step backwards’”- UN News Centre, 12.12.2013

Calling it a “significant step backwards”, The United Nations human rights chief expressed her disappointment over the Supreme Court judgment of re-criminalising homosexuality in India overturning the 2009 High Court decision.

“Criminalising private, consensual same-sex sexual conduct violates the rights to privacy and to non-discrimination enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which India has ratified,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.

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Human Rights News

“NHRC visits Irom Sharmila for the first time in thirteen years” - Tehelka, 09.11.2013

Ever since Irom Sharmila started her fight to repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in 2000 by fasting, this was the first time that NHRC official delegation met her in the Manipur state capital, Imphal on 23 October 2013. The delegation was led by Justice (retd) KG Balakrishnan. The Supreme Court had directed the NHRC to send a delegation to Manipur hearing a petition filed by NGOs in December 2012.

Human rights lawyers and activists, though happy with the development don’t seem to be celebrating it. “It is unlikely that the government will act on the NHRC’s recommendations,” says Babloo Loitongbam, Executive Director of Human Rights Alert (HRA), a WGHR member.

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“The Law against sexual harassment of women at workplace comes into effect”- The Times of India, 13.12.2013

The law against sexual harassment at workplace has finally come into effect. The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 had received Presidential assent on April 22, 2013.

The law specifies the punishment and penalties that can be imposed on an accused and also the same penalties will be imposed on the complainant if the complaint after investigation is found to be false. In addition to that it talks about the composition of the redressal committee in every organisation of more than ten employees, and if the employer violates the act, they can be fined with Rs 50,000.

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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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