HRW chides GOI on AFSPA
‘PM’s Call For Zero Tolerance Of Abuses Undercut By Zero Progress In Holding Abusers Responsible’
GK NEWS NETWORK
Srinagar, Jan 23: The Government of India has failed to hold rights violators accountable or to carry out effective policies to protect vulnerable communities during 2011, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2012.
The exhaustive report by the international body highlights that Government of India has failed to repeal the widely discredited Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in different states including Jammu and Kashmir, disregarding the recommendations of political leaders and advisers.
Regarding disclosures of unmarked mass graves in different parts of Jammu and Kashmir, Human Rights Watch said although the government has promised a thorough inquiry, a credible investigation is impossible without the cooperation of the army and federal paramilitary forces, which “hide behind the immunity provisions of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and other laws.”
“The Indian government took few steps to prosecute abusive soldiers, undertake needed police reforms, or bring an end to torture,” said Brad Adams, Asia Director at Human Rights Watch. “Internationally, India missed opportunities to be a leader at the United Nations Security Council and Human Rights Council in protecting the rights of vulnerable people abroad,” the report said.
The report said violence in Jammu and Kashmir dropped “significantly” during 2011. The State Human Rights Commission’s investigation of 38 sites in north Kashmir and the discovery of 2,730 unmarked graves was a good first step for providing justice to the victims, it said.
While government of India maintains that most of the bodies are those of unidentified Pakistani militants, many Kashmiris believe that victims of fake “encounter killings” or enforced disappearances may also have been buried in those graves, the report said.
“The government should no longer allow the army to hide behind claims about troop morale or operational needs as an excuse for impunity,” it said.
The report said: “Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s call for ‘zero tolerance’ of abuses by the armed forces has been undercut by the near zero progress in holding the abusers responsible,” Adams said.
“The government ignored the urgent need for police reforms despite widespread complaints of torture and unlawful killings as well as deplorable working conditions for police personnel.”
Government of India, the report said belatedly addressed the epidemic of killings on the Indo-Bangladesh border by the Border Security Force (BSF). Although the government ordered restraint and provided rubber bullets to reduce casualties, there were continued reports of torture leading to deaths and other abuses by BSF soldiers. “No BSF soldiers have been prosecuted for the unlawful killings of over 900 Indians and Bangladeshis over the past decade,” the report reveals.
“While the government agrees that the Maoist movement is rooted in failed government policies and speaks of winning hearts and minds, it allows the security forces to commit abuses with impunity,” Adams said. “At the same time, the Maoists claim to speak for the marginalized yet punish anyone who might disagree with their violent methods.”
The government adopted long overdue measures to compensate rape victims and revised its medico-legal protocols to exclude the humiliating “finger” test to investigate rape cases, Human Rights Watch said. Yet the government did little to address the widespread problems of “honor killings,” dowry deaths, and sexual violence.
“Internationally, although India served on both the UN Security Council and Human Rights Council, it let opportunities pass to support independent, international investigations into conflict-related abuses in Sri Lanka and Burma. Instead of using these memberships to show leadership to protect human rights abroad, India remained silent on even the gravest abuses. While expressing concern about the increased violence in Syria, for example, New Delhi failed to support policies that would ease the suffering of the Syrian people,” the report said.
“India is now watched closely for signs of responsible global leadership,” Adams said. “Its silence on human rights violations by abusive regimes because of its reluctance to interfere in the so-called ‘internal affairs’ of other countries sits uncomfortably alongside its international human rights commitments and its self image as a rights-respecting nation.”
In its World Report 2012, Human Rights Watch assessed progress on human rights during the past year in more than 90 countries, including popular uprisings in the Arab world that few would have imagined. Given the violent forces resisting the “Arab Spring,” the international community has an important role to play in assisting the birth of rights-respecting democracies in the region, Human Rights Watch said in the report.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 23 Jan 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 23 Jan 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 24 Jan 2012 00:00:00 IST
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