Come, run with us for the World 10k Marathon 2011!

April 25, 2011

The World 10k Marathon is back! Your are most welcome to support us in which ever way possible. However, here are a few suggestions that would help you decide.

Also, do visit our facebook page and facebook group for more details and communication.

More information will follow.


PROTEST IN BANGALORE ON CHERNOBYL DAY

April 25, 2011

PROTEST IN BANGALORE ON CHERNOBYL DAY

April 26, 2011. 5 pm. Venue: Town Hall

Dear friends,

25 years have passed after Chernobyl nuclear accident. During this period, most of the western countries have stopped building new nuclear plants. India however, is pursuing this dangerous technology in an aggressive manner.

Chernobyl: An estimated 65,000 to 105,000 people were killed due to Chernobyl nuclear accident. Chernobyl released a thousand times more radiation than the Hiroshima bomb into the atmosphere. The wind carried particles of radiation up to Europe. In Holland, thousands of cattle where dumped as radiation waste. People are still dying and will continue to die for generations due to this accident. There have been at least 22 major and thousands of minor nuclear accidents before and after Chernobyl!

Fukushima: The response of the nuclear advocates after Chernobyl was that it was due to poor Soviet technology and bureaucratic nature of the system. They conveniently forgot the Three Mile Island accident in the United States. And now, Japan, a country which excelled in technology has become a victim of its own creation. Unlike India, the Japanese have imposed strict standards for plant construction. But still, the accident took place. Water, food, air and even essential commodities in Japan today carry the potential of a catastrophe of cancer and genetic disorders for generations. Radiation from the nuclear explosion has already reached up to California. Given the context of connections through water, wind, trade, animal, birds and insect population, common sense would tell us that radiation has already reached India. However, with the past legacy of silence and lies of the nuclear establishment, it would be very difficult for the people of this country to discover the truth, about the real impact of Fukushima on India.

Nuclear India: As far as India is concerned, disaster is a continuing phenomenon. Most of the nuclear set ups here are producing cancer and genetic disorders regularly. Indian Rare Earths, Kota, Jadhuguda, Kalpakkam, Kaiga and other bodies of Department of Atomic Energy have produced cancer, down syndrome, skin disorders and reproductive problems for both men and women. The extent of damage so far is still to be studied properly by independent researchers.

Kaiga:  As per reports, Yellapur panchayat, which is 20 km away from Kaiga has recorded a ten fold increase of cancer cases.  Many abortion cases are also noticed.  The officials have always denied any leak from Kaiga. Normal functioning of the plant will release radiation through the regular water release as well as through air. A nuclear plant generates  20 to 30 tonnes of nuclear waste every year. No Science has so far found any safe mechanism for disposing nuclear waste. Eminent scientists have warned us about the alarming quantities of nuclear waste being generated and absolutely inadequate mechanisms and practices to handle it in India. But these warnings have gone on deaf ears of the authorities. Given the connections of water, wild life, air and agriculture,Radiation from Kaiga can reach Bangalore without much effort. The question therefore is: Do we have a right to safe living? At the time of Chernobyl disaster, 200,000 pregnant mothers were asked to abort their children. If a similar accident takes place in Kaiga, what would be the implication for the women and children of Karnataka?

People’s Right:It has come to a stage that if we need a safe life, we need to come out on streets and demand it. Our safety will not be given as a charity. It is time that all citizen’s groups come together and demand for a nuclear free world. If we leave our fate to nuclear scientists and politicians, the next Chernobyl may be right here. With this realization, in order to remember 25 years of Chernobyl, many groups in Bangalore have come together under the banner of Peoples’ Solidarity Concerns, to strongly assert and demand an end to this nuclear madness. We request all those  who care for humanity to support this protest.  Better to Be Active than to Be Radioactive!

We condemn:

1. The absolute secrecy of the nuclear establishment and the total undemocratic functioning of the Department of Atomic Energy. We are shocked that in this democratic country, the Department of Atomic Energy is not even accountable to the Indian Parliament!

2. The illegal detention  and harassment of 134 activists protesting peacefully against the Jaitapur power plant including  Arti Chokshi, Secretary, PUCL, Karnataka and colleague of Peoples’ Solidarity Concerns. This clearly explains the undemocratic functioning of the nuclear establishment, which tolerates no criticism.

We Demand:

  1. An immediate halt to all existing and future nuclear power projects.
  2. An independent enquiry into the already existing health effects created by the nuclear power projects.
  3. Proper relief, medical care and compensation for those affected with cancer, down syndrome and other health problems due to the functioning of the nuclear power plants.
  4. A complete review of the Indian official secrets act under which the Nuclear insanity is perpetuated.

No More Chernobyl, No More Three Mile Island, No more Fukushima!

 It is Better to Be Active now than to Being Radioactive tomorrow!

PEOPLES’ SOLIDARITY CONCERNS, Bangalore

Contact: Jagadish G Chandra: 09448394365


Press Confrerence on the “Alternative Report”

April 19, 2011

All India Network of NGOs and Individuals working with National Human Rights Institutions (AiNNI)

Press Release

18th April 2011

The National Human Rights Commission of India is to appear before the Sub Committee on Accreditation (SCA) of the International Co-ordinating Committee (ICC) of NHRIs in Geneva on 23rd of May 2011 for re- accreditation as an ‘A’ Grade NHRI. An ‘A’ Grade NHRI is eligible for full membership of the ICC, including the right to vote and hold governance positions, while NHRIs accredited with ‘B’ status may participate in ICC meetings but are unable to vote or hold governance positions.

It is our respect for the NHRC in India that has been in existence since 1993 and the great personalities who have led this institution all these years that has largely been responsible for us civil society organizations under the banner of the All India Network of NGOs and Individuals working with NHRIs [AiNNI] that has given us the impetus and courage to prepare this report only to echo the national and global call for the urgent need for an efficient and effective NHRI in India.

The NHRC was established in India in the year 1993 when there was already a National Commission for Women, A National Commission for Minorities and a National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes existing. It is after the establishment of the NHRC that we have seen the growth of other NHRIs in India such as the National Commission on Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), the Central Information Commission, the Central Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities and the bifurcation of the National Commission for SCs and STs. In addition therefore, today when this report is being released, we have almost over 175 statutory institutions both at the national and state levels in this country. This is the largest for any country on earth. Therefore there is an urgent need for the NHRC to perform at its best for more than one reason -because it is the best staffed, the best trained, the best exposed to international standards and the functioning of other NHRIs globally and the best funded. The NHRC has therefore not only a duty to perform but to be a model for the other N/SHRIs in the country to follow.

The times have changed since 1993 when the Protection of Human Rights Act established the NHRC. 2011 calls for the urgent need to take a re-look at the mandates of NHRIs across the globe that has been emphasised by the Former UN Commission on Human Rights and the present UN Human Rights Council in all their resolutions.

The Asia Pacific Forum of NHRIs has also increased its recommendations to its member NHRIs – one of which is the Indian NHRC. However the present NHRC is basking under the past glory of the institution. The NHRC of 2011 requires a completely different type of institution with different type of leadership to stir the country from the serious human rights concerns that it faces – no longer confined to J&K, Gujarat and the North East but extended to almost over 300 districts of the total 620 districts of the country. If the belief of the people in the rule of law has to continue, the role of the NHRC in this regard is a large one. The purpose of this report is to emphasise this and not to state that we do not need such an institution.

This report is therefore meant to be a clarion call for arousing the national conscience which has wanted to speak but remains silent for many reasons. The call is to the SCA of the ICC to assist us in this national task to wake our Government, our Parliament as well as other institutions and Indian civil society up to take this task seriously. It is only this challenge to the existing NHRC in its present ‘A’ grade status that can fulfil this and hence this report.

 

Extracts from the report

The NHRC’s failures stem not only from a failure to act, but also from a relentless refusal to sincerely plan. Although India participated more than a decade ago in the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna, mandating countries to set up National Human Rights Plans of Action (NHRAP), India has still not released its NHRAP.

The Government of India tightly controls the finances of the NHRC. The NHRC is currently required to report to the Ministry of Home Affairs (“MHA”), the same governmental department responsible for immigration, communal harmony, the Armed Special Forces Act, assistance to victims of terrorist violence, border management, and, most notably, internal security- including police and other law and order officials. Placing India’s overarching human rights institution, responsible for holding accountable violators of human rights, in the same department overseeing police and law enforcement officers, against whom a large number of complaints are made, unsurprisingly weakens the Commission’s independence and its ability to be effective.

More often than not, appointments to the NHRC are made as rewards for political favours owed by those in power. Since the NHRC’s enabling law ensures that the majority of its members should come from the judiciary, it is ironic that present Chairperson Justice Balakrishnan has publicly stated that “encounters are unavoidable sometimes…the law and order problem is increasing. Criminals are taking the law into their hands, attacking even the police. Police have to take control of the situation.” In another public statement, he endorsed the death penalty. These statements of Justice Balakrishnan manifest not only a lack of knowledge of the very standards that the NHRC had previously worked hard to instill in the region, but a blatant disregard for upholding the Constitution of India.

Although, the NHRC has had prior approval from the Central Government to establish offices in other parts of the vast country of India since 1993, the NHRC has failed to do so. To function effectively and reach the over 1 billion Indians who require access to the NHRC, a minimum of four to five regional offices must be established throughout India. If resources are not available to establish satellite offices of the NHRC, then the NHRC must work creatively to either collaborate with civil society to act as ‘eyes and ears’ of the NHRC or maximize visits outside Delhi to communicate that the NHRC is, indeed, on the side of victims, not the perpetrators.

Overwhelming evidence indicates that the NHRC carelessly disposes of cases at random, without issuing reasoned orders based on case law and analytical reasoning. Orders issued by the NHRC dispose of the majority of cases with extremely general, uninformative reasoning. The majority of cases are dismissed in limine or rejected. The orders offer a mere one line generally rejecting or dismissing the case in limine

The NHRC’s relationship with civil society is very limited and deprives the NHRC of the opportunity to engage with a powerful, passionate, and knowledgeable partner in promoting and protecting human rights.

Mr Mathews addresses the press conference.

Rtd Justice Saldhana releasing the report.

Rtd Justice Saldhana sharing his thoughts.

Rtd Justice Saldhana sharing his thoughts.

Rtd Justice Saldhana refering to a book of similar nature.

Journalists interacting with Rtd Justice Saldhana and Mr Mathews after the press conference.


Daksh: (KSHRC) lacks the power to provide a concrete solution and has inadequate powers to ensure compliance with its recommendations.

April 18, 2011

A report by Daksh, a voluntary research group suggested that KSHRC needs to be given adequate powers to make its functioning more efficient. It also applauded the KSHRC saying, “The chairperson and members of the KSHRC have not shied away from confronting the Government, and their conduct has inspired reasonable confidence in the efficacy and independence of the commission.”

Mr Mathews Philip, Director of SICHREM was also asked to give his opinion on the same. Here is the report carried out by ‘The Hindu’.

You can also visit the news section in our website to read related stories.


Film Screening on Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar at SCM House on 13th April 2011, 2.30pm

April 5, 2011
Film: Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar (Duration: 175 mins)
Director: Jabbar Patel
Music: Amar Haldipur

Synopsis: A portrait of the one of our greatest social reformer of our times – Ambedkar. The film documents the period between 1901 and 1956. The film delves more into Ambedkar’s life as a reformer, while his personal life is sort of skimmed over. Ambedkar who is the first graduate of his community, the untouchables, is an unassuming young man. All he is concerned about, even when he goes to New York for further studies is that he’s here to study, not get involved in political issues and rallies. His exchanges with Afro-Americans, his teachers who support Human Rights and the inclusion of the 14th Amendment in the US Constitution granting rights to African-Americans however rouse the reformer in him. While India is fighting against the British rule on the political level spear-headed by Mahatma Gandhi, Ambedkar wages a social battle against the Upper Caste Hindus. Ambedkar and Gandhi clash in their ideologies. Yet Gandhi admires Ambedkar and it is on his insistence that Ambedkar is made the first Law Minister in Prime Minister, Nehru’s rule. The film ends on the note of salvation – where Ambedkar gives millions of untouchables an alternate religion where they find dignity, compassion and equality. He publicly renounces Hinduism and adopts Buddhism. Written by Sujit R. Varma.

Venue:  SCM Program Centre

29, 2nd Cross, CSI Compound,

Mission Road, Bangalore – 27

Near Corporation Circle

Date: 13th April 2011 Afternoon 2.30

Entry Rs.10/- only

Organized By,

Student Christian Movement of India, Samvada, SICHREM, NCCI – Commission on Dalit, Tribals & Adivasis, St. Joseph’s College (Autonomous)– Social Work Department, Dalit Bahujan Movement and Dr.Ambedkar Philosophy Propagation Foundation.