Media report- KSHRC ORDER- On Custodial death-dated 27/06/2019.

June 27, 2019

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MEDIA REPORT IN The Hindu dated 27-06-2019, page 5. The same article also published in Deccan Herald pg 3A and Deccan Chronicle pg. 3. Dear Friends, Karnataka State Commission has ordered CID investigation into the death (alleged torture by Jail wardens) of Syed Fairoz (21) who was an under trial prisoner in Parappanna Agrahara Central Jail, Bangalore. Commission also ordered a compensation of Ten Lakhs to the victim’s family. Commission has also ordered strict action against the errant officials. Syed Fairoz S/o Syed Munna who was a resident of DJ halli in Bangalore and was an under trial prisoner died at Victoria hospital on 23- January, 2019. The postmortem report said the death is due to septicemia consequent upon injuries sustained on his body. South Indian Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM) is one of the complainants to Karnataka State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC) in this case.

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Training On Human Rights Education, by Margaret Sampath

October 29, 2018

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Training On Human Rights Education for Davangere Government school teachers by Margaret Sampath.


26th June UN international Day in support of victims of Torture

October 29, 2018

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26th June UN international Day in support of victims of Torture-Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, Degrading Treatment or Punishment (“CAT”)

26th June marks the UN International Day in Support of the Victims of Torture. It provides us with an opportunity to honour the victims and survivors of torture, and for us all, survivors of torture and their allies, to stand in solidarity. The Convention against Torture (CAT) adopted in 1984, came into effect on June 26th,1987,

Despite its prohibition, torture continues: both physical and psychological and is prevalent in over half the world’s countries. Instances of torture are not confined to police custody and interrogation situations. In a variety of other settings, particularly in the private sphere, the emotional and physical ordeal endured by women, harassed for dowry, subjected to sexual harassment and discrimination; young children forced into labor, subjected to verbal, physical and sexual abuse; the suffering of marginalized groups, the severe inhumane forms of atrocities on Dalits are some instances. This is a disgrace in the twenty-first century.

The aim of torture is to exert power, to punish, create fear, to destroy trust, to break down the victim’s personality and resilience. It is first and foremost a means of instilling fear in society at large. Torture is not only destructive at the individual and family level, but also a crucial obstacle to economic and social development.

The effects of torture continue long after the actual act. And rehabilitation is crucial – for the individual, their family and society. The purpose of rehabilitation is to empower the survivor to resume as full a life as possible. Rebuilding the life of someone whose dignity has been destroyed takes time and as a result long-term material, medical, psychological and social support is needed. It is important to stress that rehabilitation is possible. And it works. Rehabilitation is also a right.

As of 22nd June 2012, there are 150 State Parties, who have ratified CAT and 74 states are yet to ratify CAT – the Government of India has still not ratified (signed in October 1997).


State Level Consultation on Human Rights Manifesto by Civil Society at Indian Social Institute -B on 8 February, 2018 organised by SICHREM and Indian Social Institute.

February 8, 2018

http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/bengaluru/2018/feb/11/now-a-human-rights-manifesto-for-political-parties-1771540.html


Giving them their due – Facilitation centre for domestic workers inaugurated.

August 26, 2013

 

Want to make sure that your domestic help gets the benefits she or he is entitled to from the government and is aware of her rights from her employer?

The job has now been made simpler as the Stree Jagruti Samiti inaugurated a worker facilitation centre for domestic workers on Friday, which would maintain a database of the workers. After registering the workers, the centre would help the workers avail themselves of benefits from the government.

Speaking about the need for the centre, Geeta Menon, secretary of Stree Jagruti Samiti, said domestic workers had always been an invisible silent majority and there was a need for them to get recognition. “There is a need to identify them as workers and give them their identity. Maintaining a database will help us give them information on government schemes and benefits that they are entitled to.”

At the inauguration of the centre, the domestic workers were also given a booklet consisting of the number of various helplines, including those of police stations, Labour Department, Childline, Ambulance and Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

Mathew Philip, executive director of South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM), urged the workers not to hesitate to call the helplines for assistance.

Anushree, a domestic worker from Jakkasandra, said, “In times of emergency or need our employers turn a blind eye towards us. Although I have been working in three houses for 18 years, my employers refused to help me when I had a medical crisis. We hope that we can get some assistance from the helpline.”

Domestic workers could also approach the centre for assistance if they have any problems related to discrepancies in salary, false robbery cases and physical or domestic abuse.

The centre is located at 2643, 36 A cross, 28th Main Road, Jayanagar, 9th Block, Bangalore- 560069. For details, contact 080 – 22734956.

 

Source: The Hindu, Bangalore, 24th August 2013.


Human rights? All left out

August 8, 2013

If safeguarding the rights of people, especially minorities and women, makes for good governance, then the plight of state’s watchdogs paints a sorry picture.

The government bodies set up to look after human rights, and rights of women and minorities are lying headless, and therefore toothless and defanged, for quite some time.

Karnataka State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC), Karnataka State Commission for Women (KSCW) and Karnataka Minorities Development Corporation (KMDC) do not have anybody at the helm. It means these bodies cannot either look into the complaints of rights violation or make recommendations to the government to punish the culprit.

Sorry state of KSHRC

The KSHRC comprises a chairperson and two members.

The body cannot investigate complaints of human rights violation or take any action without the nod of its chairperson. Its previous chairperson, Justice (Retd) SR Nayak, retired on July 25 past year.

One of the two members, RH Raddi, retired two days after Justice Nayak and the other, B Parthasarathy, retired on March 2 past year. The government replaced the two members (appointing Justice Hunagunda and Meera Saxena) only on November 21. The post of the chairperson is still vacant. It has reduced the KSHRC to just a complaint-receiving body.

In 2012, the KSHRC referred 67 cases of human rights violation to the state government. The government, however, decided to act only in 20 cases. As on June 30 this year, the human rights body had a backlog of 14,410 complaints.

Reportedly, one of the two new members of the commission, Saxena, is not well versed in Kannada. R Manohar, director (project), South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (Sichrem), said people have intimated him about Saxena’s language issue. He said the government should appoint only those people to the KSHRC who have thorough knowledge about human rights.

He rued that the commission does not have a chairperson for a year now. He said many cases of human rights violation have taken place in the state in this period. He gave the example of Lakshmi Devi, a housemaid who died recently after setting herself afire, blaming the city police for torturing her to confess to stealing from her employer’s house.

Women’s woes

While the human rights commission is lying headless for a year, the women’s commission is without someone at the helm for six months now. Previous chairperson of the KSWC, C Manjula, quit on February 1 this year. The post is lying vacant since then. In this situation, the body can only counsel the victims who approach them.

The secretary of the KSWC, Kavitha S Mannikeri, said she is with the women’s commission on deputation for the past three months. She said that they are referring complaints to the department concerned for action as, without a chairperson, they do not have the mandate to take a decision.

She said that she herself has been juggling the two official roles she has—one at the KSWC and one as the joint director of child welfare department—on an everyday basis.

Minority report

The KMDC too has gone quiet ever since its previous chairman, Anwar Manippady, stepped down owing to political compulsions. During his tenure, he had exposed people who had encroached wakf properties worth crores of rupees.

Shaik Latheef, KMDC secretary, said that as the organisation is without a chairperson, it cannot take up any survey to tell if the government’s schemes for minorities’ welfare are being implemented. Also, the body cannot make recommendations to the government if it notices some anomaly.

Manippady told dna that the government should appoint a chairperson to the corporation at the earliest. He alleged that some people were working against the KMDC. He said many politicians had encroached wakf properties worth crores of rupees.

 

Source : DNA, Bangalore – 8th August 2013.


Press Release

July 31, 2013

SICHREM condemns the move by the Central Government to launch The Central Monitoring System and demands its withdrawal

 

The South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM) strongly condemns, the New Central Monitoring System (CMS), a see–all surveillance programme launched by the Central Government. It is a blatant attack on the right to life which is enshrined as a fundamental right in the Constitution and right to privacy is an integral part of right to life.

The right to privacy is guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which the United Nations adopted in the year 1948 10 December and to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which India is a state party in the year 1975. Article 17 of the ICCPR provides that, “(1) no one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home, or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation; (2) everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”

The term “correspondence” has been broadly recognized to cover all forms of communication, including via the Internet. The right to private correspondence thus gives rise to a comprehensive obligation on the part of the government to ensure that text messages, emails, and other forms of electronic communication are actually delivered to the desired recipient without arbitrary or unlawful interference or inspection by the government or by third parties.

The proposed manner of “snooping” by the Central Government is a direct attack on the constitutional rights of the citizens. In order to uphold its democratic principles and to prevent the formation of an authoritarian image, India needs to be transparent about who will be authorised to collect data, what data will be collected, how it will be used and such details.

The new proposed CMS system will be a violation of article 19(1) of the constitution which guarantees the freedom of speech and expression. There is also a threat that in the name of “society welfare”, this new system might actually be misused by public authorities.

While SICHREM firmly condemns any sort of violence by non-state actors as well as state actors, but in the name of curbing and preventing attacks and violence there are other measures that the government needs to take and SICHREM acknowledges the constitutional duty and responsibility cast on the Governments to protect the life of all people it equally stresses that whatever be the situation, the state must act within the confines of constitution.

SICHREM asserts that any counter strategies devised by the Government should adhere strictly to the rule of law, constitution and specific standards and obligations of international human rights law. 

SICHREM demands from the government that they need to keep all the above constitutional, fundamental human rights and principles of international law in mind while laws are being brought, which if not followed will be a blatant violation of all basic democratic principles.

The CMS is created without the parliament’s approval too, SICHREM demands that the government convene a full public debate about the intended use of the system before proceeding.

SICHREM joins in appeal with all other democratic and rights loving citizens for the immediate withdrawal of The Central Monitoring System.

 

Mathews Philip

Executive Director