Book Launch – “Five Years of Saffron Rule in Karnataka”

April 30, 2013

Final Invite


Justice homes or juvenile hell holes?

April 29, 2013

Homes for juvenile offenders in the state may be the first resort for many boys and girls in conflict with the law and children in need of care and protection, but some of these shelters built to reorient these children have proved to be ‘hell holes.’

A report released by the Asian Center for Human Rights (ACHR) recently  states that an overwhelming majority of cases of child rape and sexual assault are taking place within the confines of Juvenile Justice Homes set up under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000.

While a few of these homes are being run by the Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD), many unregistered homes are being run by private groups. Of the 39 cases analysed from childrens’ homes across the country, 11 were reported from juvenile justice homes run or aided by the government. There was a case from Bangalore in which the offender was a member of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC).

According to statistics, 1,089 children aged below 14 years belonging to the 34 children homes for boys and girls in Karnataka have gone missing since 2006. “These children go missing to escape ill treatment and abuse or become victims of trafficking,” states the report titled ‘India’s Hell Holes: Child Sexual Assault in Juvenile Justice Homes,’ which was recently submitted to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Rashida Manjoo.

Statistics available with the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) states that 719 children were raped in Karnataka between 2006 and 2011.

“Many of these rapes took place in juvenile homes, observation homes, special homes, or shelter homes set up under the JJ Act 2000,” said Suhas Chakma, Director, ACHR.

Most offenders lurk within these homes, the ACHR report further states that in case of the government-run juvenile justice homes, the offenders turned out to be caretakers, peons, cooks, class IV employees, security guards, wardens and other sub staff.

“The homes run by NGOs and other private charitable trusts had managers, owners, founders and their friends and in some cases, the abuse happens in collusion with the staff,” revealed the report.

Ashok Mathew Philip, Executive Director, South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM), said that juvenile homes in the state need drastic reforms in recruiting its staff members.

“Observation homes are unprofessionally run in the state. There is no measure to check if the children are safe from the hands of anti-social elements,” he said.

Philip added that even if irregularities and complaints surface, no disciplinary action is taken. He felt that NGOs should be given access to these homes so that they can monitor them.

“But the moment advocacy groups raise an issue they are prohibited from entering. There is no civil society participation in monitoring these homes,” he said.

Where’s the System?

Meanwhile, the DWCD which is in charge of running and maintaining the homes for juvenile offenders, is suffering severe staff crunch.

Gurneet Tej, Director, DWCD, said that inspection committees were constituted in every district under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) over a year ago to check the functioning of these homes.

“The committee meetings happen every two months where inspectors take individual feedback from the children in these homes. However, systems in place continue to be minimal,” she said.

Source: Indian Express; Dated: April 29, 2013


WHY IS IT DIFFICULT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AGENCIES TO RAISE FUNDS ?

April 27, 2013
India has faced many human rights problems as sati, untouchability, crimes against the backward classes, crimes against women, children in the past. Though India has been able to counter some problems effectively, however we still live in an array of human rights violations. According to the National Human Rights Commission, the numbers of complaints received in the commission were 7538, with around 25430 cases under consideration with the commission. Excluding this there are other cases which are unable to be mainstreamed due to threats from the oppressor, unawareness etc. That is where human rights agencies like SICHREM work to churn out these cases through their networks and ground presence. They facilitate action against violations and also provide to raise awareness among the schools, professionals.
This raises a question that with this amount of substantial work, why they are facing difficulties to raise funds. Is it because of their very nature of their work?
SICHREM or South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring has been active in Bangalore from 1995 and able to provide justice on an extensive scale. The funds raised in the previous World 10k were able to help 400 schools participate in their ‘Human rights education programmes’. These programmes also reached 3000 professionals, including teachers, police, and doctors. They were also able to organize legal clinics and support their legal helpline.
The Legal helpline is solely supported by SICHREM and works as a mediator to provide oppressed person to provide space to tell their grievances. 75% of the funds were used for the helpline which helped to support almost 200 cases in the year.
Are we ready to support Human right agencies to continue their work or let them perish even with credentials of immense value?
Support SICHREM: 
http://bangalorecares.in/ngo-detail/?ng_id=43&ref=refer&slug=tcs-world-10k-bangalore-2013 
http://blog.bangalorecares.com/search/label/WHy%20suport%20Human%20Rights%20Organizations

Urgent Action Appeal on the case of attack on Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi

April 27, 2013
 
Mrs. Margaret Sekaggya 
Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, 
c/o Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights – Palais Wilson 
United Nations Office at Geneva 
CH 1211 Geneva 10 

Dear Ma’am,

Sub: Urgent Appeal for Action – India/Uttar Pradesh – Case of attempt on life by miscreants and police in-action against a Human Rights Defender Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi of Varanasi-Reg

Greetings from SICHREM!

The South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM) requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Uttar Pradesh, India.

We are now writing to express our grave concern regarding the attempt on the life of Lenin Raghuvanshi is the Secretary General and Executive Director of the Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR). He is also the Core Team Member of the Core Group of NGO’s in the NHRC. His human rights work focuses on advocating for the basic rights of marginalized groups in Indian society.

Incident

According to the information received, On April 24, 2013 at around 8 pm three unidentified assailants knocked at the house of Dr Lenin and entered the house forcibly, and fired upon him and gave life threats. Dr Lenin fortunately bent down and the bullet missed him but then suddenly the other assailant took out a knife and attacked him on his foot. After this all three assailants ran away taking advantage of the darkness in the lane outside the house. Dr Lenin has tried to resist the assailants and to catch them and even chased them on his scooty but could not since there was construction on the main road and a JCB was parked in the middle of the road. The driver of the JCB came down attacked Dr Lenin and then fled. The Cops from Paharia police-out-post also came but no FIR was registered neither any step was taken for security.

Harassment of activists on flimsy pretexts and on grounds that they exercised their constitutionally guaranteed democratic rights is a dangerous trend and will be resisted robustly by human rights activists everywhere.

SICHREM is gravely concerned about the intimidation tactics employed by the state and non state forces, and the alleged afore mentioned facts and recalls that the authorities have to fulfill their obligations under international human rights law to protect the right to life and to protect the rights of a human rights defender to perform his duties without any hindrance. The State authorities must ensure that the forces comply with international human rights standards on law enforcement, in particular those relating to the defenders rights.

SICHREM, deeply concerned by the developments, Accordingly, calls on the competent authorities to ensure that the investigation is carried out promptly, effectively, thoroughly, independently and impartially, the result of which must be made public, in order to bring those responsible for the act, before a competent, independent and impartial tribunal and apply penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law.

Appeal

We, therefore, urge you to immediately take necessary steps to

1. Ensure an immediate intervention of the police administration and that necessary legal action is taken and all the perpetrators are brought to book;

2. Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the incident with a view to bring those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;

3. Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological security and integrity to the victims’ in order to carry out their legitimate human rights work peacefully;

4. Protection and security be provided to the Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi and his family members.

5. Guarantee in all circumstances that all Human right defenders in India are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.

6. Conform to the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, especially:

– Its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”;

– its Article 6(a), which provides that “everyone has the right, individually and in associations with others, to know, seek, obtain, receive and hold information about all human rights and fundamental freedoms”;

– and its Article 12.2, which states that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”.

Looking forward to your immediate action in this regard,

Yours sincerely,

Mathews Philip
Executive Director

Political parties debate their manifestoes

April 25, 2013

It is the season of promises and assurances. No political party is an exception. Framing their manifesto, they promise the moon. Mohammed Shafiq, representative of Socialist Democratic Party of India, wonders “what’s the use of  a manifestoes, when it cannot be implemented. Parties should concentrate on how to implement their agendas than promising the unachievable.”

On Muslim voters, he says even a blind man votes for the Congress as people feel they are secular.

Addressing an interaction with representatives of political parties and release of their manifestoes, organised by Civil Society Forum of Karnataka on Assembly Election Manifesto 2013, on Tuesday, Shafiq said common people do not understand manifesto, least its implementation.

Price rise, a major issue

Prakash, a representative of Communist Party of India (Marxist), pointed out that the BJP government’s top agenda in their previous manifesto was to distribute one kg of rice at Rs 2, but they did not implement it.  Despite inflation and price rise of basic commodities, none of the political parties mention price rise in their manifesto this year.  

“The previous government made a huge blunder in the transfer of land use and allowed corporates and the rich to acquire land, including agriculture fields.  There are no clear policies about land acquisition in the State,” he added.

Not much for welfare

JD(S) spokesperson Ramesh Babu said they could not include many welfare aspects in their manifesto as they need to look at resources to fulfil them. “Although the revenue is increasing, previous government’s floating funds reduced as they could not allocate much to schemes,” he said.  

Any political party needs will power to fulfil its promises as per budgetary allocations.  JD(S) has focused on providing drinking water, road connectivity, rural development, farmers’ welfare and improving quality of education, Babu added.

Loksatta Party contestant from Malleswaram Dr Meenakshi Bharath, stressing the need to decentralise the system, said, “We need to concentrate on education and employment of girls who can earn working from home.  There is need to provide healthcare for mothers and children, and empower the youth.”  

Source: Deccan Herald; Dated: April 24, 2013


Community monitoring groups for better governance a must

April 25, 2013
(From left): Sumith Negi of Aam Aadmi Party, Meenakshi Bharath of Lok Satta Party, Jeevan Kumar, professor of political science, Bangalore University, Ramesh Babu of Janata Dal (Secular), Mohamed Saquid of SDPI and Prakash of CPI(M) at the release of manifesto by Civil Society Forum in Bangalore on Tuesday. Photo: V.Sreenivasa Murthy

(From left): Sumith Negi of Aam Aadmi Party, Meenakshi Bharath of Lok Satta Party, Jeevan Kumar, professor of political science, Bangalore University, Ramesh Babu of Janata Dal (Secular), Mohamed Saquid of SDPI and Prakash of CPI(M) at the release of manifesto by Civil Society Forum in Bangalore on Tuesday. Photo: V.Sreenivasa Murthy

There is a need to set up community monitoring groups for various entitlements such as vigilance committee for ration shops, arogya raksha samitis for hospitals, school development and management committee for schools, said R. Manohar of South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring here on Tuesday.

He was speaking during the release of an election manifesto by the Civil Society Forum compiled by a collective of various non-governmental organisations.

Mr. Manohar stressed the need to set up community monitoring groups for better governance.

“In places where they exist, there is a need to strengthen them. Civil society members want to work with the State and its agencies in shaping government schemes,” he added.

The manifesto has a list of demands from various sectors — ranging from food security, housing, children’s rights, nutrition and health.

Stating that the economy was growing and so were socio-economic disparities, Mr. Manohar said, “Basic rights and entitlements such as food, water, education and health should be universalised. Budgets for universalising this should be estimated realistically and earmarked and implemented through a law.”

Some of the other demands include implementation of the A.J. Sadashiva Commission report on internal reservation for members of the Scheduled Castes, enforcement against sex-selective abortion and infanticide and strengthening the ICDS system so that it benefits malnourished children, and pregnant and lactating mothers.

Meanwhile, CPI(M) K. Prakash, secretary of the Bangalore district party unit, pointed out that there was a need to bring in a rule for land use policy. Apart from that, there was a need to stop contract labour.

Meenakshi Bharath of Lok Satta Party, Janata Dal(S) spokesperson Ramesh Babu and Sumit Negi of Aam Aadmi Party were present.

Source: The Hindu; Dated: April 24, 2013


SICHREM’s response to SHRC on the order of Cancellation of Consultative Core Committee of NGOs

April 24, 2013

To

 The Secretary,(I/c),
Karnataka State Human Rights Commission,
4th Floor, 5th Phase, Multi Storyed Building,
Bangalore – 560001

Sir,

Sub: Cancellation of Consultative Core Committee of NGOs

Ref: Your letter No: HRC/184/Adm/2010 dated 15th April 2013

We are in receipt of the above mentioned letter. Kindly note that SICHREM has neither applied nor lobbied for membership of the Consultative Committee of NGOs. However, we appreciated the setting up of this Committee because it is a mandate given to the Hon Commission by Section 12(i) of the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993. The Section provides for encouraging the efforts of non – governmental organizations and institutions working in the field of Human Rights. Consultative Committee of NGOs is one of the mechanisms that can promote participation by Civil Society. Since SICHREM was nominated into this Committee, we were happy to participate in the functioning of the same.

One of the reasons stated in the above mentioned letter for cancellation is that none of the members of the Committee has come forward to discuss the violations of Human Rights matters before the Hon Commission. This reason has no justification because though the Core Committee was constituted, the Hon Commission has never called a meeting of the Core Committee till date. It is to be noted that the NHRC also has a NGO Core Team and it is the NHRC who calls the meeting of this team periodically (The undersigned is a member of the National Core Team of NGOs of the NHRC). The other reason states that some of the members of the Committee are misusing the name of the KSHRC and taking undue advantage of the special status given to them. First of all it is not understood what special status is attached to the members of this Committee. If anybody is found to be misusing the name of KSHRC and taking undue advantage, nothing prevents the Hon Commission to remove that member from the Committee and take other appropriate action. Killing the Committee itself is not the answer.

It is unfair to make a general remark that some members have misused the name of KSHRC because it is putting all members under suspicion. The Hon Commission may kindly make it clear who has indulged in such inappropriate actions.

We would like to state that this action by the Hon Commission is discouraging and unfriendly to Human Rights NGOs who can actually support the Hon Commission in its effective performance. SICHREM urges the Hon Commission to revert this decision immediately and call a meeting of the Core Committee so that the Committee is given a platform to serve its purpose for which it was constituted.

 Mathews Philip
Executive Director