Working Group on Human Rights
in India and the UN
e-Newsletter on Human Rights
November - December 2014
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 organised a National Colloquium for State Human Rights Institutions (SHRIs) on UN Guidelines on NHRIs (Paris Principles) in collaboration with National Law University Delhi – 30.11.2014

WGHR organised a National Colloquium for State Human Rights Institutions [SHRIs] on UN Guidelines on NHRIs (Paris Principles) in collaboration with National Law University Delhi on 28 – 29 November 2014 in New Delhi. This event witnessed participation of 35 participants from SHRIs like the State Human Rights Commissions [SHRC], the State Commission for Women [SCW] , the State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights [SCPCR] , State Information Commission[SIC], the State Commission for Minorities [SCM] , State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities [SC-PWDs] from Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Manipur, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Tripura, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu,  Assam, Orissa, Delhi, Bihar and Haryana.

Participants shared their experiences, challenges and other issues with assurances of their commitment to carry on the work they have been doing with the enhanced understanding of Paris Principles – the first effort of this kind in the country. Demands were made for such efforts being undertaken at the regional level with all SHRIs together.

WGHR hosted the meeting of National Core Committee of the Indian Consultation on RISAHRM – 27.11.2014

WGHR Secretariat hosted the meeting of National Core Committee of the Indian Consultation on Regional Initiative on South Asian Human Rights Mechanisms (RISAHRM) on 26th November 2014.

The meeting was attended by Mr. Satyabrata Pal, Former NHRC Member, Dr. Sayeeda Hameed, Former Member of the Planning Commission of India, Ms.Teesta Setalvad, Member, Mr. John Samuel, Member, Dr. Harsh Dobhal, Member, Mr. Raju Sail, Member, Dr. Lenin, Member, Mr. Henri Tiphagne, Focal Point of NCC –IC-RISAHRM along with Shivani Lal, Sunil and Dr. Krishnamoorthy from the WGHR Secretariat.

During the discussion, the need for politicization of human rights was agreed upon. Conflict issues in Manipur and Kashmir were discussed at length. Strategies to build pressure on the state stakeholders and need for organising frequent capacity building activities were also discussed during the meeting. It was felt that it may be too early to undertake any strategic planning by the National Core Committee in India and raising resources after formalising a national support group from different states in which the participants of the national consultation will also participate and make it broad based.  The meeting proposed the following actions;

- To initially organise five state level consultations and a few regional level consultations without     financial resources being provided for the same by RISAHRM from any budget;

- Dissemination of the Delhi Declaration on RISAHRM in English and regional languages;

-  Broad basing our membership within India and

- Creating a wider public opinion on RISAHRM.

 

WGHR’s participation in Meeting of the Task Force of Regional Initiative on South Asian Human Rights Mechanism (RISAHRM), Kathmandu, Nepal – 22.11.21014

WGHR being the secretariat of the Task Force of RISAHRM participated in the meeting of the Task Force of RISAHRM in Kathmandu, Nepal on 21st November 2014. The meeting was attended by Mr. Subodh Pyakurel from Nepal, Dr. Rinchen Chopel, Co-convener of the Task Force from Bhutan, Dr. Ibrahim Ismail from Maldives, Mr. Henri Tiphagne, representing Forum Asia as its Chair, Mr. Bijaya Raj Gautam from Nepal as an observer, Mr. Mukunda Kattel and Ms. Cecile Gaa from FORUM-ASIA, Thailand.

The meeting was called for discussing matters relating to structure, expansion and functions of the Task Force such as requirement of a representative from Sri Lanka in the Task Force and active presence of the task force in Kathmandu etc.

The meeting concluded with following decisions: next task force meeting to take place in Delhi on 18th December 2014; a TOR for the Task force to be finalised electronically, members will be asked to give inputs over a stipulated amount of time before finalizing; and the Convenor or Co-Convenor will initiate first communication about organising either a regional or a National programme by RISAHRM.

WGHR organised a National Training of Trainers (TOT) on UPR and National/State Human Rights Mechanisms, Madurai, Tamil Nadu – 19.11.2014

WGHR organised a National Training of Trainers (TOT) on UN and National / State Human Rights Mechanisms with a Special Focus on UPR and Special Procedures, on 14 – 18 November 2014 at Madurai, Tamil Nadu. The TOT witnessed participation of 45 participants from Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakahnd, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, New Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

The objective of the training was to train local level trainers specifically on issues of National/International Human Rights Mechanisms and Universal Periodic Review (UPR); and National and State Human Rights Institutions, who will further provide training to state level activists working on these subjects. It was conducted keeping in mind that these capacity building activities were essential for knowledge about UPR and Special Procedures to reach local level civil society groups and individuals.

At the successful conclusion of the training, participants nominated a sub-committee to work with the WGHR Secretariat and came up with strategies to conduct the state level UPR trainings in as many states as possible.

WGHR’s participation in Kathmandu Call for Action to End Child Marriage in South Asia – 8.11.2014

WGHR participated in a consultation, “ The Regional Convening on Using Law to promote Accountability to end child marriage” organized by SAIEVAC ‘Regional Secretariat and Center for Reproductive Rights’ in Kathmandu, Nepal, on November 6 -7, 2014. Representatives of the SAARC Members States, members of national, regional and international partner organizations participated in the programme. The regional convening had discussed among other issues the importance of using the law and legal strategies to promote accountability for ending child marriage that may be implemented, nationally and regionally, in support of the strategic actions outlined in the Implementation Framework for the Regional Action Plan to End Child Marriage in South Asia, developed and endorsed by the 5th SAIEVAC Governing Board in August 2014. As an outcome of the deliberations, the Kathmandu call for action was endorsed in this meeting on November 7.

The Kathmandu call for action has recognized that child marriage is a discriminatory practice and manifestation of women’s and girls’ unequal status in society which reinforces their socially constructed roles as mothers and caregivers and undermines their enjoyment of fundamental rights guaranteed under national constitutions, violating a broad range of human rights guaranteed under international instruments, particularly their sexual and reproductive rights and the right to when and whom to marry.

WGHR organised Regional Training of Trainers (TOT) on Human Rights Defenders in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu – 22.12.2014

WGHR in collaboration with Human Rights Defenders Alert- India [HRDA] and Forum Asia’s Human Rights Defender’s Desk organised two Training of Trainers (TOT) Workshops for Human Rights Defenders cum trainers for the north and the south regions of India which covered National/ UN Human Rights Mechanisms, Legal resources and Strategic Advocacy Actions and Remedies as well as for the first time dedicated sessions on ‘digital security’.  A four-day programme for the northern region TOT was held in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh between 13-16 December 2014 followed by the programme for the southern region in Madurai, Tamil Nadu between 18-21 December, 2014.

The Lucknow programme had participants from various north Indian states such as Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Uttarkhand, Haryana, Orissa, Himachal, Jammu, Delhi, Manipur, Punjab, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh. From Southern India the training witnessed participation from Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Goa, Maharashtra, Pondicherry and Tamil Nadu.  Together from both the trainings, there were totally 80 participants.

These trainings were organised with the objectives of providing capacity building opportunities for Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) for constructive engagement with the UN Human Rights Mechanisms, to equip them to prepare Urgent Appeals, HRD Alerts to scale up the violations to the national and international mechanisms- NHRIs, formal court of law, UN HRC SRs and Treaty Bodies. Participants have also agreed to assist as trainers at the state level that were to follow.

WGHR’s participation in Dialogue to Explore Convergence between SAIEVAC (South Asia Initiative to End Violence against Children) and RISAHRM (Regional Initiative for a South Asia Human Rights Mechanism), New Delhi, India – 18.12.2014

The South Asia Initiative to End Violence against Children (SAIEVAC) hosted a Dialogue with the Regional Initiative for a South Asia Human Rights Mechanism (RISAHRM) on 18 December 2014 in New Delhi, India. Present in the Dialogue, were RISAHRM Task Force Convener Dr Sima Samar, Co-Convener Mr. Subodh Pyakurel and Member Dr. Ibrahim Ismail; SAIEVAC General Secretary Dr Rinchen Chopel, SAIEVAC Campaign Coordinator Mr. Rajan Burlakoti, MCA Coordinator Ms. Sulakshana Rana; WGHR Secretariat Secretary Dr P Krishnamoorthy and FORUM-ASIA Director Mr. Mukunda Kattel.

The objectives of holding the dialogue were to explore options to link the issues of children to the agenda and work of RISAHRM, and to finalise the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the Task Force on RISAHRM.

The Dialogue concluded that central to the priorities and plan of action of the Task Force should be, how to establish and maintain effective and independent image of the Task Force, raise funds and find people to engage with the state, other relevant institutions and SAARC. 

WGHR’s participation in the workshop on maternal health organised by National Alliance for Maternal Health and Human Rights (NAMHHR) – 6.12.2014

WGHR participated in a two day workshop ‘Applying Human Rights-based Approaches for improving Maternal Health in India’, on 4-5 December 2014 in New Delhi organised by National Alliance for Maternal Health and Human Rights (NAMHHR). NAMHHR is committed to working with the international mechanisms for Maternal Health and Human Right and working on the Universal Periodic Review. The workshop was organised with the objectives of enhancing the information about India’s obligations under various UN mechanisms for strengthening the application of human rights based approach for maternal health, engaging with CEDAW and UN Special Rapporteur on Right to Health in collaboration with CSOs and other stakeholders.

The workshop was attended by a total of 32 participants representing 9 states of India, including civil society activists and a service provider association. At the successful conclusion of the two day workshop, many crucial issues such as lack of availability of blood, poor accountability of government, health services and procedures to engage with the UN Special Rapportuer were discussed. A roadmap for future operations was also drafted based on suggestions and recommendations given by the participants.

 

WGHR Members Activities and News

FIAN (Food First Information Network) organised a consultation on Right to Food: Sustainability and Concerns – 6.12.2014

FIAN (Food First Information Network), a WGHR member organised a half day consultation on ‘Right to Food: Sustainability and Concerns’ in New Delhi on 5th December 2014. The consultation had around 40 participants from civil society groups and individual grass root activists. The objective of this consultation was to discuss issues beyond food rights like right to water, technology, land, nutrition, and to come up with Action Plan focusing on region specific issues. It also provided an opportunity for the participants to connect and interact with like-minded groups from different sections of the society in order to develop a more sustainable approach to achieve right to food for all.

Read the full report here

UN Human Rights News

India joins UN body to strengthen early warning system for natural disasters – 26.12.2014

The Asia-Pacific region has remained highly vulnerable to coastal hazards such as tsunamis, tropical storms and storm surges. In December 2014, India in association with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP) announced a contribution of US$ 1 million to the Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Tsunami, disaster and climate preparedness in Indian Ocean and Southeast Asian Countries. The Fund was created in 2005 to support activities that build resilience through strengthened early warning systems for coastal hazards.

India is a 'Regional Service Provider' for the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (IOTWS), which became operational in 2011, and also an active member of the ESCAP/World Meteorological Organization Panel on Tropical Cyclones.  "India joins the international community in its efforts to prepare for any such natural calamity in the future by establishing effective early warning systems," said India's external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj. "The ESCAP is extremely pleased to partner with the government of India to further strengthen regional early warning systems and build resilience to natural disasters," said Shamshad Akhtar, UN under-secretary-general and executive secretary of ESCAP.

Read more

Human Rights in India

Women with disabilities are being abused and harassed, says Human Rights Watch report – 3.12.2014

A new report released by Human Rights Watch, an international organization working on human rights on December 3, 2014 claims that women and girls with disabilities in India are forced into mental hospitals and institutions, where they face mental and physical abuses.

The 106-page report, “‘Treated Worse than Animals: Abuses against Women and Girls with Psychosocial or Intellectual Disabilities in Institutions in India,” documents involuntary admission and arbitrary detention of women and girls with psychosocial or intellectual disabilities in mental hospitals and residential care institutions across India. The report is based on research in six cities—New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Mysore—and more than 200 interviews with disabled women and girls, their families, mental health professionals, government officials and police. According to HRW report ‘physical and verbal abuse was an everyday occurrence in every state-run institution or mental hospital its researchers visited’.

According to the report, “at least 70 million Indians live with psychosocial disabilities like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder and more than 1.5 million have intellectual disabilities such as Downs Syndrome. Yet only 0.06% of the country’s health budget is spent on mental health”. The report future said there are only 43 state-run mental hospitals and three psychiatrists and 0.47 psychologists per million people in India, a country of around 1.2 billion people. Human Rights Watch has urged that the Indian government should immediately order inspections and regular monitoring of all residential facilities – private and government-run – for women and girls with psychosocial or intellectual disabilities.

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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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