Consultation on the performance of KSHRC and Book Release.

August 27, 2013

Consultation on the performance of KSHRC and Release of the book “Rugged Road to Justice: A Social Audit of Human Rights Commissions in India” by HRLN – Human Rights Law Network and SICHREM – South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring on 24th August 2013.

Displayed below are some photos taken at the event.

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{L to R – Ms. Shakun(Vimochana), Dr. Ramadas Rao(PUCL), Mr. Mathew Jacob(HRLN), Mr. Harsh Dobhal (HRLN).}

ModifiedMr.Mathews Philip, Executive Director – SICHREM addressing the gathering.

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{L to R – Adv. Narasimha Murthy, Mr. Mathews Philip(SICHREM), Mr. Mani Shankar (Youth for Human Rights – Karnataka) , Mr. Siddalinga Gowda (World Human Rights Seva Kendra – Tumkur), Mr. Mallikarjun Raju (Youth for Human Rights – Karnataka), Ms. Feba Peter(SICHREM), Mr. R. Manohar (SICHREM).}

Also present at the Consultation were Ms Swagata Raha (Center for Child and Law) and Ms. Elizabeth Thomas (SICHREM).


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.


MCC – Human Rights Course Inaugural – 17th August 2013 – Photos

August 21, 2013

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Executive Director, SICHREM – Mr. Mathews Philip lighting the lamp at the program. (L to R: Chief Guest: Sri.C.G.Hungund (Retired Judge) and Member of Karnataka State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC), Mount Carmel College(MCC) – Principal: Sr. Juanita, ED, SICHREM – Mr. Mathews Philip, Vice Principal, MCC – Sr. Arpana)

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The Guests on the dais.

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Mathews Philip sharing a laugh with the animated audience.


Protest against proposed Amendment to RTI Act to exempt political parties from its purview.

August 16, 2013

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Seminar on Status and Rights of Minorities

August 13, 2013

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Request for action: Urgent Appeal regarding the arrest of human rights defender in Dhaka, Bangladesh – Reg

August 12, 2013

12 August 2013

 

Ms. 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  Switzerland  

Email: urgent-action@ohchr.org

Dear Ma’am,

Sub: Request for action: Urgent Appeal regarding the arrest of human rights defender in Dhaka, Bangladesh – Reg

Greetings from SICHREM!

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

SICHREM is now writing to express our grave concern regarding the arbitrary arrest of    Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan, Secretary of Odhikar, Executive Committee Member of Forum Asia and a member of OMCT General Assembly, at his Gulshan residence, in Dhaka.

According to the information received, on August 10, 2013, at 10.20 pm, Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan was arrested by eight or nine detectives of the Detective Branch of Police (DB) as he was returning home with his family. The detectives, who brought a white microbus apparently belonging to the United Commercial Bank and a blue and silver coloured mitsubishi pajero, asked Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan to follow them. Reportedly, Mr. Rahman Khan was brought to the headquarters of the police DB in Dhaka.

The Dhaka Metropolitan Police subsequently confirmed the arrest to the media, adding that Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan has been arrested under the Information and Communication Technology Act. The arrest was allegedly made on the basis of a general diary filed by the police with Gulshan Police Station, in relation to news and photos uploaded on Odhikar website about the killing of 61 people during the May 5 police drive against Hifazat-e Islam activists at the Dhaka’s downtown Motijheel area.

Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan is a Human Rights Defender among others and is protected under International law on human rights defenders to which India a signatory since 1998. We feel that it is the bounden duty of the State to see that this harassment is stopped and he be released at the earliest.

We understand that harassment, intimidation, and threats on human rights defenders, and of Mr.  Adilur Rahman Khan are acts aimed to target and obstruct the work of his and the organisation.

SICHREM is gravely concerned about the intimidation tactics employed by the 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.

SICHREM expresses its deepest concern about Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan’s arbitrary arrest, which seems to merely aim at sanctioning his peaceful human rights activities, and calls upon the authorities in Bangladesh to guarantee in all circumstances his physical and psychological integrity as well as to release him immediately and unconditionally.

SICHREM urgently requests you to :

i. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan and of all human rights defenders in Bangladesh;

ii. Release Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan who has also been a former Deputy Attorney General of the Country immediately and unconditionally as his detention is arbitrary since it only aims at sanctioning his human rights activities;

iii. Put an end to any kind of harassment – including at the judicial level – against Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan and all human rights defenders in Bangladesh;

iv. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations 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 realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, as well as

– its Article 12.2, which provides 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 his or her rights”;

v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Bangladesh.

Looking forward to your immediate action in this regard,

Thanking you,

Yours Sincerely,

MATHEWS PHILIP

Executive Director

 

Note : Similar Urgent Appeal regarding the arrest and detention of Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan has been sent to the following:-

i) H.E. Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister, Dhaka-1215, Bangladesh

ii) H.E. Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir, Minister for Home Affairs, Bangladesh.

iii)H.E. Dr. Dipu Moni, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh

iv) H.E Shafique Ahmed, Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Bangladesh.

v) Mr. Hasan Mahmud Khandaker, Inspector General of Police, Bangladesh

vi) Dr. Mizanur Rahman, Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission Banglade

vii) H.E. Mr. Abdul Hannan, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh to the United Nations in Geneva.

viii) Embassy of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in Brussels, Belgium.

ix) High Commission of Bangladesh in New Delhi, India.


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.