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Once again, India promises to ratify Torture convention in Geneva

September 22, 2017

Of interest was the statement by the NHRC. It was a vastly improved statement than the one made in May. Though the NHRC claims it differs from the Home Ministry on the proposed deportation of Rohingya refugees, it is yet to intervene in the Supreme Court on this matter

The adoption of India’s report to the Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva last evening, by consensus, hid more than it revealed to the public eye. India blunted the criticism of member states by stating it had accepted 152 out of the 250 recommendations made to it in May, when India’s third periodic report was reviewed. As for the remaining 98 recommendations, India merely took “note” of them.

Human rights worthies like China, the Ivory Coast, Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Iran, Iraq, Kyrghyzstan, Peoples Democratic Republic of Laos and Libya lauded India’s efforts. It was difficult not to notice the raised eyebrows in many parts of the room when the very democratic Lao People’s Democratic Republic lauded freedom of religion in India!

Estonia, the little Baltic state which is currently President of the European Council, was honest. It welcomed India’s decision to ratify the UN Convention against Torture (CAT), which India had signed in 1997. India had made a similar commitment during the earlier second periodic review process in 2012. Only to forget it before the ink was dry.

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The Poverty of Imagination- Indian Foreign Policy in Myanmar

September 09,2017

NEW DELHI: Unlike the Hindu Brahminical oral tradition where one does not know where myth ends and history begins, thanks to the Buddhist Pali tradition of reducing everything to writing, the Burmese have a more realistic appreciation of themselves on the difficult terrain of being where Indian and Chinese aspirations meet.

The Qing invasions of Burma while not forgotten are behind them. Modern China has found that power flows through cheque book diplomacy.

The Burmese have a better measure of New Delhi. They are aware that they almost made Assam part of Burma in 1819. If it was not for British intervention, the Indian map of the Northeast would have looked very different.

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India adrift on its Myanmar Policy

September 7, 2017

It is clear that the Chinese have a better appreciation of what the ground situation is in Myanmar. The difference is in long term policy formulated by sagacious mandarins in Beijing and the establishment in New Delhi

The Ministry of External Affairs statement of August 26, titled ‘Situation in Rakhine State of Myanmar’ gave the plot away prior to the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Myanmar from September 5-7, 2017. “India is seriously concerned by reports of renewed violence and attacks by terrorists in northern Rakhine State Myanmar. We are deeply saddened at the loss of lives among members of the Myanmar security forces…..” the statement said.

In the joint statement issued by India and Myanmar on September 6, the previous formulation is repeated. “India condemned the recent terrorist attacks in northern Rakhine State, wherein several members of the Myanmar security forces lost their lives.”

Nothing about the enormity of the humanitarian crisis, nothing about the continuing refugee flow into Bangladesh and the miniscule earlier spillover into India.

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Historian who got it wrong

Historian who got it wrong
The right course would have been for Army HQ to have reprimanded Major Gogoi, and his superiors who lauded his offence. Section 46 of the Army Act, 1950, penalises “disgraceful conduct of a cruel, indecent or unnatural kind”.

June 17, 2017

Arjun Subramaniam is an accomplished military historian. His defence of Major Nitin Leetul Gogoi and General Bipin Rawat’s comments does his scholarship little credit (‘What they don’t get’, IE, June 15). Credible accounts state that Farooq Ahmad Dar was paraded over several kilometres, strapped to a jeep with a placard identifying him as a stone-pelter, accompanied by a warning against stone-pelters, over a loudspeaker.

It is nobody’s case that the Indian army is not a disciplined army, with a rigorous chain of command and an esprit de corps. However, there is evidence of aberrations. The right course would have been for Army HQ to have reprimanded Major Gogoi, and his superiors who lauded his offence. Section 46 of the Army Act, 1950, penalises “disgraceful conduct of a cruel, indecent or unnatural kind”.

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Smoke and Mirrors: India’s Human Rights report at the UN

Smoke and Mirrors: India’s Human Rights report at the UN

he final conclusions of UPR on India, like all such reviews, need to be read not in cold print, but between the lines
May 24, 2017

The career Indian diplomat is a grandmaster in the art of obfuscation. However, the mendacity of the submissions by the Indian delegation during the examination of India’s record during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of its human rights record convinced only the naïve back home – and some duplicitous governments in the United Nations.

The final conclusions of UPR on India, like all such reviews, need to be read not in cold print, but between the lines. At the outset, it must be remembered that when it comes to the implementation of universal rights and norms on human rights, the “United Nations” must in fact be read in reverse – it is “Nations United”, countries against their peoples. Most would rather ignore their populations’ clamour for accountability and rights. This, in spite of the valiant efforts of the present UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the under-resourced but intrepid UN Human Rights machinery. Most governments do the human rights tango only when it suits their expedient geo-political realities.

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Striking An Own Goal: The NHRC Submission to the United Nations

Striking An Own Goal: The NHRC Submission to the United Nations
Saturday, May 27,2017

NEW DELHI: The submission of the National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC) to the recently concluded Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the United Nations is a classic.

Written in a format that would do little credit to a high school student, it symbolizes the deep rot in the NHRC. Bad English, faulty sentence construction, a profusion of unexplained, un-elaborated acronyms, and worst of all, bereft of substance - the quality the submission is a matter of shame, an indication of how seriously the NHRC took its duty of setting out the picture of human rights in this country.

On to the NHRC’s submission to the UPR. Recommendation 4 is as follows: “The legal system continues to be dysfunctional with slow disposal of cases and inordinate delay in giving finality to both criminal and civil litigation.”

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Pellet Guns in Kashmir: The Lethal Use of “Non-Lethal” Weapons

Pellet Guns in Kashmir:

The Lethal Use of “Non-Lethal” Weapons

21/07/2016

The use of pellet guns in Kashmir is a clear violation of human rights and humanitarian law – and needs to be banned immediately.

The government of India and the state government of Kashmir must immediately order their police forces to immediately stop using pellet guns and the lethal cartridges that they use. Any further usage of such weapons, which have caused extensive, arbitrary deaths and grievous wounds, would be not just callous, but a criminal act.

Since July 9, 2016, in the aftermath of the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen leader Burhan Wani, large scale protests and funeral gatherings have been taking place across the Kashmir Valley. The apparently indiscriminate use of allegedly “non-lethal” weapons like pellet guns to control crowds has resulted in 43 civilians having lost their lives so far. Hundreds have been blinded and a few thousand injured.

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Communal Conflict and the Plight of Religious Minorities in India

HRF / 234 / July 2015

Communal Conflict and the Plight of Religious Minorities in India

Its status as a secular democratic state notwithstanding, India has been experiencing increasing incidents of communal violence since the electoral victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2014 in which religious minorities, such as Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, are being targeted by Hindu ultra-nationalist organisations that have the tacit support from some in the central government in India. According to an interim report by a human rights activist, Dr. John Dayal, the first 300 days of the Modi’s government have been marked by 43 deaths among 600 documented cases of violence against Christians and Muslims. The threat that religious minorities face in India is not just a fear of violence against their physical bodies and religious institutions, but the fear that their very existence is at risk in a country dominated by a Hindu majority that is increasingly taking on a fundamentalist hue.

HRF/234/15 [PDF]