UN, human rights groups examine India’s “democratic” claims and oppressive reality

UN to scrutinize Indian progress on rights

Groups say government must make significant improvements

Rita Joseph, ucanews.com, New Delhi, India
May 23, 2012
Homeless people share a makeshift shelter with their cattle

[Photo:  Homeless people share a makeshift shelter with their cattle]

Rights groups have said that India is to face “enormous human rights challenges” ahead of a UN review in Geneva tomorrow.

With the Human Rights Council set to conduct its second periodic review, Miloon Kothari, convener of the Working Group on Human Rights in India, said yesterday that the world’s second most populous country must improve on everything from poverty and housing to abuse against women and child trafficking.

“Given the enormous human rights challenges faced by India, the second Universal Periodic Review offers India an opportunity to admit its shortcomings and offer to work with the UN, civil society and independent institutions in India toward implementation of national and international human rights commitments,” Kothari, who is also a former UN special rapporteur on adequate housing in India, said at a Commonwealth Human Rights meeting in New Delhi.

More than 40 percent of children under five are under weight, he said, while India still has the highest number of malnourished people in the world at 21 percent of the population.

“While the average growth rate [in India] between 2007 and 2011 was 8.2 percent, poverty declined by only 0.8 percent,” said Kothari, adding that if India applied globally accepted standards of measurement the nationwide poverty rate would be close to 55 percent. Continue reading

Nagaland rights activist exposes India’s Armed Forces Special Powers Act

[At the end of this article, we are running a news report from May 2010 on the brutal suppression of a demonstration of Naga people by Manipur’s police commandos (see picture at left), who coordinate their actions with the Indian army. Nagaland and Manipur are two of the seven small states in northeast India that are occupied, as is Kashmir, by the Indian army and are fighting for self-determination.–Frontlines ed]

Sanhati, November 15, 2010

Misguided or Deliberate Policy: Armed Rebellion and Political Conflict

By Neingulo Krome

[This paper was presented in a Seminar on “Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act” during the Festival of Hope, Justice and Peace held at Imphal from November 2 – 6, 2010. The author is a former Secretary General of NPMHR]

At the outset I want to thank the Just Peace Foundation for giving us this opportunity of deliberating issues of common concern in a most befitting and elaborate manner, commemorating it with the completion of 10 years of Irom Sharmila’s Fast unto Death against one of the most draconian and anti-democratic law in India. In this aspect, I also want to salute Ms Irom Sharmila for her courage and ability to demonstrate the highest humanly possible sacrifice for the cause of not only the “ten slaughtered civilians at Malom Village” by personnel of the Indian Security Forces, but for humanity as a whole.

Am sure, when she decided to protest to demand the removal of the AFSPA, she did not do it for fame or glory but just took out the best of the “humanity in her” for the sake of millions of defenceless civilians and even for those people who are devoid of humanity and perpetrates inhuman acts against fellow human beings.

Having said that, going by the analysis of various international monitoring agencies, including those of the United Nations, it is clear that the Government of India made an “over-zealous effort to integrate the people of the North East into their so-called national mainstream by using the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act”. Therefore, this is a deliberate policy of the Government of India against the people of North East starting with the Naga Movement as one of the first group of people who asserted their identities as – Nagas and “not Indians” and launched a political movement which turned into an armed resistance movement under military compulsion. Continue reading