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

SICHREM releases its research study on the Karnataka State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC)

June 24, 2010

As part of SICHREM’s monitoring remit, we have conducted a research study into the KSHRC. This study was released to the press today at the Bangalore Press Club.

We feel that monitoring and scrutinising of such institutions will help advance human rights in Karnataka. These institutions are essential in the fight against human rights violations and therefore it must be ensured that they are operating effectively.

While there has been an improvement in the situation of victims of human rights violations in the 3 years after the implementation of the KSHRC, we have some serious concerns about its performance.

Firstly, there is no role for civil society in the commission. Furthermore, the appointment procedure does not ensure the principles of pluralism and independence, as set by the Paris Principles, are met.

Secondly, there seems to be a growing backlog in the complaints received by the KSHRC. A lack of resources has severely affected the commission’s ability to investigate.

Thirdly, the value of human rights education has been widely acknowledged by human rights organisations. However, the KSHRC has done very little to promote human rights awareness and the safeguards available to people to protect their rights.

Finally, the study reviews the KSHRC’s relationship with other bodies, namely the NHRC, non-governmental organisations and its relationship with State Government.

It was concluded that much of the good work done by the KSHRC was a consequence of the integrity and independence of the Chairperson and its members. However, for the commission to function effectively it must receive sufficient support from State Government. SICHREM calls for Central Government to amend the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993 to strengthen the NHRC and KSHRC and provide safeguards to prevent interference by the administration.

To read the full press statement: Press Release – KSHRC report dt 24 June 2010[1]

Mathews Philip, Executive Director SICHREM, hands out the report to the media

Custodial death: SICHREM files complaint to SHRC

June 23, 2010

SIHREM have filed a complaint with the SHRC concerning an alleged custodial death in Bangalore. P. Lokesh of of A. Narayanapur near K.R. Puram died in police custody, after he was arrested by Hennur police.

There have been various accounts of the incident and we hope that after SICHREM’ s complaint the truth can be revealed.

SICHREM’s complaint to the SHRC has been noted in The Hindu:

To read the complaint:comp of lokesh Custodial dth BLR June 21[1]

SHRC take action after SICHREM complaint

June 23, 2010

Following our complaint concerning the apparent starvation death in Hunsur, the SHRC has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary and DC of Mysore. A report into the incident must now be produced within a month.

To read the notice from the SHRC:

SICHREM signs press statement on Asian Presidency of the UN Human Rights Council

June 22, 2010

SICHREM has signed a press statement, which urges the newly elected President of the HRC and the Thai government to take decisive steps in halting the human rights aberrations in the region.

The statement urges the President to take creative and proactive steps by utilising underused tools of the Council. It calls for the Thai government to lift the Emergency Decree and ensure full transparency and accountability for the human rights violations committed.

It is felt that the public image and credibility of the Council will be seriously undermined if it is chaired by a representative of the State that continues to impose unduly prolonged state of emergency in the country.