Invitation to Festival of Freedom

June 30, 2010

Bangalore is celebrating the first anniversary of the historic Naz Foundation decision that decriminalised homosexuality in India with 2 public events that will be organised on July 1st (Thursday) and July 2nd (Friday), 2010.

The first of these events is “Freedom Song”,  an evening of (singing) performances featuring Philadelphia based singer Fatimah Loren, along with Bangalore based singers Sumathy Murthy and Akkai, and the Lesbit troupe.

This event is being co-organised by Good As You, We’re Here and Queer (WHAQ), Swabhava and Lesbit.

Date: July 1st, (Thursday)

Time: 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm.

Venue: Mother Tekla Auditorium , No.10, Casa Brigitta, Old Passport Office Road,  Brunton Road, Bangalore – 560025

On July 2nd, 2010, the Campaign for Sexual Minorities Rights (CSMR)  is celebrating the “Festival of Freedom”, an event that we are celebrating to mark the First Anniversary of the historic Naz Foundation judgement, which decriminalised homosexuality in India.

Date: Friday, July 2nd

Time: 4pm – 7pm.

Venue: Senate Hall (Central College Campus, near Mysore Bank Circle)

Please come in solidarity.

Protest against the BJP Anti Cow Slaughter Bill

June 28, 2010

Here are some photos from the protest against the BJP Bill, which is a direct attack on miority groups who rely on beef as a source of income. Many farmers groups, dalit groups, muslims, christians and civil society campaigners (including SICHREM) joined forces today to challenge the Bill.  

Roundtable discussion: Reconciling the Sacred and Secular

June 28, 2010

The CIEDS collective will be holding their 2nd roundtable discussion concerning the conflict between the sacred and secular. This discussion will be held in the context of the Anti Cow Slaughter Bill and the Baba Budangiri Shrine.

Prof. Asghar Ali Engineer, Director, CSSS, Mumbai, Sudha Sitharaman, Lecturer at Smt. VHD College of Home Science, Bangalore and Shiva Sundar activist-journalist, Lankesh Patrike will all be initiating the discussions. It should prove to be a fascinating event. We look forward to seeing you all there.

Date and Time: July 1 at 4.30pm.

 Venue: CIEDS Collective/ Vimochana Premises
33-1/9, Thyagaraj Layout
Jai Bharat nagar
Maruthi Seva nagar post,
Bangalore-560 033.

8th Monthly Discourse on Human Rights

June 28, 2010

SICHREM in conjunction with the Indian Social Institute held the 8th monthly human rights discourse. The topic for discussion was  “The Psychology of Torture: Democratization for Constructing Cultures of Peace”.

The speaker Nananda Reddy, challenged the audience to reflect inwards and question their own capacity for compassion and selflessness.

Using the film Schindler’s List as the paradigm by which to judge our won morality she asked us to question whether we are the compassionate Oscar Schindler or the masochistic SS guard.

It was a thought provoking talk, which motivated all present to spend some time of introspection and reflection in the hours that followed. We thank the speaker and all those who came. We look forward to seeing you all next month.

Nananda Reddy addresses the audience

Rally and candlelight vigil in support of victims of torture

June 28, 2010

SICHREM marked the UN day in support of victims of torture by walking from St Josephs College to the Town Hall. SICHREM staff and volunteers were joined by civil society campaigners and students and staff from St Josephs College.

As we walked handbooks were handed out to interested members of the public. These handbooks provided more information about torture. At the Town Hall a candlelight vigil was held as a mark of solidarity for victims of torture.

The day was a tremendous success and managed to garner the attention of the press:

Protestors march toward the Town Hall

Outside Town Hall

March in support of victims of torture

June 26, 2010

Today is the UN day in support for victims of torure.

SICHREM as a show of solidarity will walk to highlight the issue of torture and its effects on the victims. The walk will start outside St Josephs Arts and Science College at 5.00pm. The walk will pass via Lalbagh Road passing in front Kanteerva stadium, Corporation Offices J.C Road and will conclude at  the steps of the Town Hall.

There will then be a candlelight vigil at 6.00pm outside the Town Hall. Please come in solidarity.

Protest against the fascist move of the BJP governmnet

June 26, 2010

The BJP government of Karnataka are pursuing a divisive policy that will lead to the suffering of many farmers who choose to eat non-vegetarian food. This bill is a direct assault on the Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims and Christians.  The BJP government should represent all the people of Karnataka, not just the people whose diets they approve of.

Cattle provide a valuable source of income to many impoverished farmers and this bill will seriously undermine this. This bill is not inspired by any theological objection, but rather it is an attempt to attack and subjugate already marginalized groups.

“Time was in ancient India when nobody could be a Brahmin without being a beef eater. The Vedas tell you that you have honoured your guests when you serve them beef” VIVEKANANDA

Please come in solidarity and oppose the BJP’s fascist bill.

Date: 28 June

Time: 10am

Venue: Shivajinagar Grounds

Training Course on “Using International Mechanisms for Human Rights – Scope and limitations for Indian NGO’s”.

June 25, 2010

A training course on “Using International Mechanisms for Human Rights-Scope and Limitation for Indian NGO’s” will be held in Bangalore on August 6 and 7.

The course will provide an overview and introduction to the UN human rights system. It will introduce the core human rights standards and discuss their universality.

The course is designed to provide participants with the necessary skills to understand the UN human rights system and its standards, institutions and  mechanisms. We will also explore its limitations and in particular its limitations with regards to Indian NGO’s.

This will provide an invaluable opportunity for those with an interest in human rights and the UN to learn more.

To apply fill in the for attached:Application form[1]

Private security guards in Bangalore prison

June 25, 2010

We have serious concerns regarding the impending privatisation of Bangalore prisons security guards from August 15.

We have concerns that these security personnel will be on short-term contracts and therefore will be vulnerable to redundancy and will not be eligible to the same benefits as state employees.

Secondly, it is a fear that the Government will give these contracts to the highest bidder. This means that the quality and integrity of the service provider will not be accounted for.

Thirdly, we wonder to whom these security personnel are accountable?

Prisons are state entities and should be focussed on the rehabilitation of the offenders. The creeping privatisation of these services suggests that profit will now become the main focus.

Diploma awarding ceremony: the event

June 24, 2010

The awards ceremony was held on the 18th of June 2010. A slight drizzle failed to dampen the spirits of the excited graduating students. The diploma course in Human Rights jointly organized by St Joseph’s Evening College and South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM).

The program began with an invocation by the 2009-2010 graduating students, who melodiously sang ‘The Name of the Lord’. Mr. R. Manohar, Head of Programs- SICHREM, very graciously welcomed the special guests who were each presented with a bouquet of flowers by the students. Mr. Manohar went on to acknowledge the presence of Mr. Hassan Manzoor, a prominent human rights activist, and his wife. Finally, Mr Manohar read a letter by a Bangladeshi graduating student, Sidney, who was unfortunately unable to attend the function, thanking Mr Manohar for imparting his knowledge and experience on human rights as Sidney, now a teacher, was able to use in his own career.

Dr Christopher Hoskins, head of the Political Science Department, gave a brief but informative introduction about the course. He stressed the importance of human rights saying that they are universal rights and not a gift of any government therefore cannot be removed. He also stated that “India is a land of contrasts – aware & ignorant, rich & poor, harassed & harasser.”

Honorable Justice A.J Sadashiva (former judge of High Court, Karnataka) awarded the diplomas to each of the successful students, appreciating each of the 27 students with a firm handshake and a word of encouragement.

The lamp was lighted by all the special guests present and a new student in the 2010-2011 course.

Justice A.J Sadashiva then addressed the gathering, highlighting the importance of studying human rights as it is a increasingly complex situation not only around the world but also in India, due to the citizens and law enforcement agencies. He forcefully stated that “human rights are not to be subjected to the whims and fancies of any government”. There is no right without a duty; though there was no declaration of human rights prior to 1948 does not mean that that human rights did not exist. Human rights are natural rights acquired by all on account of birth. Justice A.J Sadashiva also stated that “people must be made aware of their rights and responsibilities , only then when performing our duties while enforcing our rights are we rendering a great service to society”. He mentioned that it was due to these reasons that such a diploma is “very material and relevant at a time like this.”

Mr. Matthews Philip, Director of SICHREM, gave the felicitation. He spoke about the need to inculcate the qualities of forgiveness and tolerance. He went on to narrate a very moving incident of an 18 year old who was shot and whose parents said that they would love the guilty man as much as they had loved their own son.

Prof Graclet Stanley, Principal S.T Joseph’s Evening College, said that “all legal rights are not moral rights, but moral rights cannot be based solely on legal rights. If every law was based on moral rights, then there would not be violations of human rights.

Rev Fr Sunith Prabhu S.J, Administrator S.T Joseph’s Evening College, said that the “day when everyone follows these rights, that day will be a heavenly day. We must work for the enlistment of these rights and work towards the protection of these rights and that everyone receives these rights. Hope that all students leave today imbued with this zeal for human rights.”

The grand function was brought to a close by a vote of thanks by Mr. Albert Joseph Smith, Lecturer department of Political Science.

The audience listen attentively to the message delivered

The students and speakers