Para-legal Training for Women

July 22, 2011

Para-legal training program was organised by SICHREM in collaboration with Child Development Project (CDC), World Vision- India at Peenya I stage, Bangalore on 21st July 2011. 50 women participated in the program. Topics covered in the training are, Introduction to Human Rights, Women’s Rights, Domestic Violence Act  and Rights and duties of children

Resource Persons were Ms. Margret Sampath, Deputy Director, HRE, SICHREM and Adv. Manohar Hosea, SICHREM. The program was co-ordinated by Ms. Chitra, Associate Coordinator-RTE.

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SICHREM writes to Kerala Chief Minister

July 22, 2011


Sri. Oomen Chandy
Chief Minister
Kerala State

Sub: Request for immediate constitution of Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights

Dear Sir,

South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM) is a non governmental non profit organization working in Karnataka and Kerala in the fields of Human Rights Education and Human rights monitoring and protection.

SICHREM here by appreciate your government’s initiative, as mentioned in the Governor’s speech in the legislature, to form the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

SICHREM’s monitoring cell has documented a considerable number of child right violation cases in Kerala and finds the number is on an increase. Kerala is currently ranked 3rd in sexual assault towards children in the whole country. We have number of violation cases against children in the media daily.

This calls for the constitution for an institution in the country which works for the protection and promotion of child rights. Hence we request you to initiate appropriate actions for the immediate constitution of the commission and ensure its transparent and active involvement for the protection and promotion of child rights in the state

Hoping in anticipation.

Ashok Mathew Philip
Executive Director, SICHREM   
Rahul S
State coordinator
Human Rights Education Program

Training in “Using International Mechanism for Human Rights- Scope and Limitations for Indian NGOs”

July 21, 2011

17-18 September 2011: Bangalore

| Trainer: Dr. Rajkumar |

The protection and promotion of human rights is a core task of the UN. Over the past half century the UN has been active in drafting and adopting human rights standards and norms, and a considerable number of institutions, procedures and mechanisms have been (and continue to be) created in the field of human rights. This training program is an introduction to the United Nations (UN) human rights system and specifically on the use of international mechanisms.

This course will provide an overview and introduction to the UN human rights system. It will introduce the core UN human rights standards and discuss their universality. It will present the UN treaty bodies which monitor compliance with human rights treaties, the Human Rights Council and its mandate, and the subsidiary bodies. It will highlight the role of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and discuss the place of specific group’s rights in the UN system, the mainstreaming of human rights in UN specialized agencies, programmes and the role of civil society in the UN Human rights framework.

The course is intended to provide participants with the necessary skills to understand the UN human rights system and the standards and institutions, procedures and mechanisms, the role of human rights in the wider UN system, and on the potential and limits of the United Nations in protecting and promoting human rights. Participants will learn how law, policy and diplomacy come together and have shaped the UN human rights system, and how the system can be explained in theory and the functions in practice. Most importantly the limitation for Indian NGO’s will be considered.

Who should apply:

The course is aimed at university students of international relations, international law, politics and other areas, as well as NGO staff members, staff of national and international organizations and any others who want to gain an in-depth knowledge of the UN human rights systems. Participants should have a good command of English. The number of participants is limited to 30. SICHREM aims to ensure equal gender and geographical distribution among the participants and also reserves the right to invite some participants to the program. 

Course content:

  • Brief Historical Note on Origins
  • Overview of International Human Rights Instruments – What are they? (Round-up)
  • Promotion and Protection of Human Rights – International Mechanisms

The UN Human Rights Architecture

Focus on the Human Rights Council (HRC) and its mechanisms – Applications

Mechanisms derived from specific treaties

  • Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Other International mechanisms – overview
  • Specific groups and mechanisms
  • Linkages to Domestic mechanisms

 Methodology: The trainer instructor will provide information in the form of presentations and with material and “mini-lectures” and will guide participants through the required skills. During the course the staff from SICHREM will be available to participants in Q&A sessions for sharing experiences. All participants will receive a Certificate of Participation.

Costs: The course fee is Rs. 3000/- for resident participants and Rs. 1600/- for non-resident participants. Unfortunately, there are no scholarships available for this course. The accommodation is available only from 17th Morning to the Evening of 18th September 2011.

Venue: Karnataka Regional Organisation For Social Service (KROSS), No 58/6, 2nd Cross, Da Costa Layout, Wheeler Road Extension, Bangalore: 560 084. Phone: 91 80 25496812 /13, Directions: (Map will be sent later)

How to apply: Please complete the application form and send it to R.MANOHAR, Head of Programs, with a valid signature and a stamp from your organization, in support of your application and the Demand Draft / Cheque drawn in favour of “SICHREM” payable at Bangalore. Application deadline: 30 August 2011

 About the Trainer: Dr. Rajkumar is the former Secretary-General of Pax Romana (INGO), and has been a Visiting Staff to the Mahidol University, Thailand for teaching MA (Human Rights). He served as an Independent Expert to the UN. He has served as the Advisor and Consultant to Forum Asia, Pax Romana and People’s Watch. He was a member of the Working Group on Human Rights in India and the UN and presently associated with People’s Tribunal on Torture as Juror. He is  Involved with a number of programmes of People’s Watch and the Institute of Human Rights Education(IHRE) as a Facilitator, especially on Human Rights Education, Human Rights Defenders, Fisherfolk, etc. He provides assistance to organisations such as NCDHR, IDSN, etc. on Dalit rights, etc.

About SICHREM: SICHREM has a track record of offering quality and pioneering training programmes for the past 15 years. From 2005, realizing the need for spreading knowledge of human rights and on feeling the need for monitoring all human rights related to civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights and the engagement with the State, SICHREM began to partner with qualified and experienced institutions, and expert resource persons, to offer training programs in human rights. The training programs organised by SICHREM attract demand from various organisations and institutions. The participants in their feedback state that the trainings helped them in upscaling their knowledge and skills on human rights and also transforming their attitudes. Encouraged by this positive experience, SICHREM continues in its efforts to facilitate short-term training courses in human rights. SICHREM is also involved in monitoring the status of human rights, advocacy, campaign, legal aid for victims and human rights education.

India’s clout ensures UN status for NHRC

July 20, 2011

Manoj Mitta, TNN | Jul 20, 2011, 01.44am IST

NEW DELHI: The NHRC’s announcement that it has managed to retain its A status in the UN system has turned out to be a selective disclosure.

For, the NHRC suppressed the fact that the accreditation recommended last month had been accompanied by stringent conditions echoing the concerns raised by civil society. It was also silent on the appeal it filed this month against the unfavorable remarks made by the accreditation panel in Geneva.

The five-page letter from the office of the UN high commissioner for human rights, accessed by TOI, faulted the law and functioning of the NHRC on several counts for violating the mandated standards called the Paris Principles. Even if the A status permitting it to participate in UN activities is confirmed shortly, it will not be so much due to the merits of the NHRC’s plea as due to India’s growing diplomatic clout.

The issues raised by the accreditation panel are:

The lack of pluralism in its composition: The accreditation panel disapproved the dominance of the judiciary in the composition of the NHRC. “The requirement for the appointment of the chair to be a former chief justice of the Supreme Court severely restricts the potential pool of candidates. Similarly, the requirement that the majority of members are recruited from the senior judiciary further restricts diversity and plurality.”

The UN panel rejected the suggestion that such restrictions were justified because of the quasi judicial functions performed by the NHRC. Pointing out that this is “but one of the 10 functions” enumerated in the NHRC law, the panel said that the compromise in diversity “limits the capacity of the NHRC to fulfill effectively all its mandated activities”.

Though the principle of diversity is sought to be achieved by inducting “deemed members” from the commissions relating to minorities, women and scheduled castes and tribes, the accreditation panel said that “they are not adequately involved in discussions on the focus, priorities and core business of the NHRC’s non-judicial functions”.

The secretary general and director general of investigations lack independence: The accreditation panel expressed serious reservations about the stipulation that the two key posts in the NHRC — secretary general and director general of investigations — would have to be filled by those who come on deputation from within the government. It said that the NHRC should seek an amendment to remove the requirement that those two officials be “seconded” from the government and to provide for an open, merit-based selection process.

Little engagement with human rights defenders: The UN panel questioned the NHRC’s claim to have complied with the Paris Principles requirement of engaging with civil society and human rights defenders. It said that the expert groups constituted by the NHRC were “not functioning effectively as a means of engagement and cooperation” with civil society.

The mechanism to handle complaints against human rights violations lacks credibility: According to a UN special rapporteur who visited India in January, the main grievance of human rights defenders was that the complaints given to the NHRC were entrusted to the police, which in most cases were the perpetrators of the alleged violations. As a result, the complaints were either not taken up or the investigation, after much delay, concluded that no violations occurred. The accreditation panel said that the NHRC should take due note of the negative perception of its complaints mechanism.

The NHRC’s annual reports held up due to the government’s laxity: The UN body was surprised that the latest available annual report of the NHRC was of 2007-08. This is partly because of the stipulation that its annual reports cannot be made public till the government is ready with its action taken reports (ATRs). The accreditation panel therefore urged the NHRC to seek reforms that would allow it to report on a more timely

The accreditation recommended last month was accompanied by stringent conditions echoing the concerns raised by civil society.

Mathews Philip,Executive Director of SICHREM, is one of the convenors of AiNNI, who filed a shadow report on NHRC to the UN-ICC






Registrations open for the Human Rights Diploma Studies course

July 19, 2011

Teachers Training Workshop on Aflatoun Child Social & Financial Education

July 19, 2011

A two days Teachers Training Workshop was conducted on Aflatoun Child Social & Financial Education on the 8th & 9th July 2011 at United Mission High School, Bangalore. The workshop was jointly organised by SICHREM, Meljol, HSBC and Department of Public Instruction – Government of Karnataka.  29 teachers from different government schools in Bangalore urban district participated in the training. The training started with a brief introduction about SICHREM and Meljol followed by a session on Child Rights & responsibilities.

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The training focused on the implementation of Aflatoun program which includes, Aflatoun Moto, election, club formation, savings, planning & budgeting, spending and bank account. Ms. Sumithra – Director, Meljol, Ms. Reena – Coordinator, Meljol, and Ms. Margaret – Deputy Director, HRE, SICHREM was the resource persons. The program was inaugurated by Mr. Mathews Philip – Executive Director, SICHREM and coordinated by Mr. Prakash – Program Officer, SICHREM.

Denial of admission to a school dropout – Admission after SICHREM’s intervention

July 6, 2011

Thirupathaiah, son of Mr. Srinivas resident of Koramangala, Bangalore, studied 10th standard in the Corporation High School in Austin Town, Bangalore. Due to shortage of attendance he was not allowed to write his exams. The Headmaster (HM) of the school advised Thirupathaiah to continue in the same class for another year and appear for exam. Never keeping up the promise, the HM refused to admit Thirupathaiah in 10th standard in the next year and forced him to appear as a private candidate. The parents of the child worrying about the admission of their child approached SICHREM requesting SICHREM to help for the child’s readmission in the same school and in the same class.

A fact finding committee was constituted, which visited the school and approached the HM. The committee mediated between the parents and the school administration. The committee made the HM aware about the provisions in the Right to Education (RTE) Act and other provisions in the UNCRC relating to child’s education. On the intervention of the committee, the HM agreed for admitting Thirupathaiah in 10th standard. The HM also asked Thirupathaiah’s parents to pay the admission fee.

After the intervention of SICHREM, Thirupathaiah is now continuing his studies.

Under RTE, dropouts should be mainstream based on “age in appropriate class” and he/she must be treated as a regular student. The UNCRC which was ratified by Government of India in 1992 says denial of the same is a violation of Right to Development.

Letter to support 25% reservation for poor children in private schools

July 5, 2011

As part of its continuing support for the right to free and compulsory education for all children SICHREM has written to the Supreme Court of India. This is in support of the 25% reservation at private schools for children of poorer families. This cornerstone of the Right to Education Act 2009 is being challenged in the courts, by private schools.

A key part of the fundamental right to education must be to allow state-funded poorer students to attend private schools which would otherwise be closed to them. This reservation therfore must remain. SICHREM has sent this letter in support of retaining the reservation in order that our concerns can be noted by the Supreme Court of India.

Download the letter here: Letter to support reservation

Students visit SICHREM for an orientation

July 5, 2011

On July 1, 2011 SICHREM conducted an orientation with regards to its structure and work for the students of MSW (Master of Social Work), St. Josephs College. Twenty one students from the college visited the SICHREM office, as well as two students from Bangalore University.

The orientation led by SICHREM’s Program Head Mr. R. Manohar, served to introduce the students to SICHREM’s work; in order to give them an inside view of how a Human Rights organisation operates, the challenges it faces and the impact it can bring. In doing so they learnt about SICHREM’s mission, programs, objectives and organisational approach towards protecting Human Rights.

Topics of discussions included police corruption and torture, as well as the rights of women, children, dalits and tribal minorities.

International Day in Support of Torture Victims

July 5, 2011

On Saturday June 25, 2011 over 100 students and human rights activists in Bangalore raised their voice against torture and pledged solidarity with torture victims all over the world, to highlight the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture (26th June).

With the words “Stamp out torture, kick out torture!” Mr. Mathews Philip, Executive Director of SICHREM started the walk against torture. In the march from St. Josephs Arts and Science College to the Town Hall, the demonstrators stressed that torture can never be justified. To show that there is hope for torture victims, all the participants assembled for a candle light vigil at the end of the march and pledged solidarity.

Motivating more people to stand up against torture, students of St Josephs College showed what torture is, the effects and the forms it can take through a mime show and a film screening at the Campus the day before the march (June 24, 2011). We have the power to make a difference”, said JS Gladson, President of NSS.

The programs were jointly organised by SICHREM, NATT (National Alliance for Testimonial Therapy) and St. Josephs College (NSS, CSA, CSC)

All over Karnataka SICHREMs Human Rights Centers in the Districts of Mysore, Hassan, Haveri, Kolar and Kodagu organized rallies, protest marches and candle light vigils to call attention to torture victims.

SICHREM thanks all the participants for coming together to show solidarity with torture victims in India and worldwide.

Her you can download the pledge: Pledge against torture

For more information on the Mime show click here: