ORAL STATEMENTOF THE WORKING GROUP ON HUMAN RIGHTS BEFORE THE UPR III, GENEVA
The Working Group of Human Rights (WGHR), welcomes the Indian government’s decision to accept 152 of the 250 recommendations made by 112 states at this 3rd UPR.(27)
This includes several important commitments to the realisation of social and economic rights, environment, and sustainable development, poverty eradication and realizing the SDGs. We point out however that domestically the government’s stance that continues to perpetuate criminalizing the poor through laws that penalize begging goes against its commitment here. (75)
However, we remain deeply apprehensive at the pattern of ambivalence that emerges from unwillingness to accept recommendations that firmly secure the future of our people’s civil and political rights. (29)
In light of the prevalence of torture and impunity in India we are deeply disturbed that out of 17 recommendations made to ratify CAT only one has been accepted. In earlier UPRs India had accepted several recommendations to ratify this vital Convention but has throughout failed to act on it.(49)
As well, despite strong evidence of deliberate killings and excess use of force with impunity by security forces, for the third consecutive time India has only noted recommendations on revising AFSPA. (31)
In light of increasing hate speech, targeted lynching of minorities and assassinations of journalists and dissenters, and a growing atmosphere of unchecked intolerance, it is surprising and regrettable that India has chosen not to accept 9 of 16 recommendations on hate speech, repeal of discriminatory laws and rights of religious minorities that would strengthen the rule of law and safety and security for all. (64)
We regret also the absence of India’s unequivocal commitment to strengthening the justice delivery system and guaranteeing the independence of the judiciary. This is vital to effectuating our constitutional rights and is also a commitment India must fulfill under the SDGs.(41)
Particularly in light of the frailties of the justice delivery system we regret that Sixteen recommendations relating to ending the death penalty that have been made in UPR III, have not been accepted.(33)
6 We welcome India’s commitment to end the practice of Child Marriage. However, we are disheartened that several recommendations on violence against women including ending honor crimes, dowry death, marital rape have not been accepted. (54). IF YOU ARE PUTTING ANYTHING ABOUT SAME SEX PUT IT RIGHT AFTER THIS BUT LINK IT TO A ‘NOTED’ RECOMMENDATION.
Finally, like all of us here, we would like to join our government in commending the democracy affirming UPR process.This statement is a culmination of the process.
In keeping with its inclusive spirit the Working Group of Human Rights has since 2009 anchored a nation wide process of consultation in which thousands of peoplenow take part. Over 1000 people from every walk of life endorsed the civil society submission to UPR III. India’s May 17th statement before the Human Rights Council was telecast live to more than 50 locations. Over 5000 people viewed it. Even as I speak people, in the capital Delhi to small towns of Tamil Nadu and Kerala and from grassroots movements in Himalayas and in Kashmir are listening eagerly to their government’s acceptance of your human rights recommendations. Civil societylooks forward to working in close partnership with GOI and the international community to making the international community’s wise recommendations a reality at home. (150)