Archive | September, 2017

Rohingya refugee crisis a ‘human rights nightmare,’ UN chief tells Security Council

Posted on 29 September 2017 by admin

AIHRA News Friday 29th September 2017

28 September 2017 – Noting that the humanitarian crisis that has resulted in displacement of hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas from Myanmar not only provides a “breeding ground” for radicalization, but also puts vulnerable people – including young children – at grave risk, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called for “swift action” to prevent further instability and find a durable solution.

“The situation has spiralled into the world’s fastest developing refugee emergency and a humanitarian and human rights nightmare,” the Secretary-General said today at a Security Council meeting on the situation in Myanmar.

At least 500,000 civilians have fled their homes in the country’s northern Rakhine state since late August and sought refuge in Bangladesh. According to estimates, some 94 per cent among them are members of the minority Muslim Rohingya community.

There have also been reports of burning of Muslim villages, as well as looting and acts of intimidation. Authorities in Myanmar have indicated that at least 176 of 471 Muslim villages in northern Rakhine have been totally abandoned.

“We have received bone-chilling accounts from those who fled – mainly women, children and the elderly,” added the UN chief, noting that testimonies pointed to serious violations of human rights, including indiscriminate firing of weapons, the presence of landmines and sexual violence.

“This is unacceptable and must end immediately.”

Failure to address the violence could result in a spill-over into central Rakhine – where an additional 250,000 Muslims could potentially face displacement – Mr. Guterres warned, stressing that Government must ensure the safety and security of all communities and uphold rule of law without discrimination.

In his briefing, the Secretary-General also underscored that UN agencies and their non-governmental partners must be granted immediate and safe access to all affected communities.

Speaking also on the need to ensure safe, voluntary, dignified and sustainable return of the refugees to their areas of origin, Mr. Guterres noted that the 1993 Joint Statement of the Foreign Ministers of Bangladesh and Myanmar could be a useful starting point, but it is not sufficient in the present circumstances, in particular as it does not refer to resolving the root cause of displacement as well as because it requires documents that the refugee Rohingya may not be able to provide.

“Ensuring the safe, voluntary and dignified return of refugees to Rakhine – in line with international refugee law – will require the restoration of mutual trust among the communities,” he said, noting that improved inter-communal relations forms a critical part of a sustainable solution to the crisis.

Mt. Guterres further noted that the issue of protracted statelessness must be resolved.

“The Muslims of Rakhine state should be granted nationality,” he stated, adding that while the present Myanmar citizenship legislation only allows it partially, an effective verification exercise should be conducted in the interim to allow those entitled be granted citizenship based on the present laws.

“All others must be able to obtain a legal status that allows them to lead a normal life, including freedom of movement and access to labour markets, education and health services,” he added.

In his remarks, the UN chief also spoke of a donor conference to be convened by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) as well as noted efforts by regional actors to help address the crisis.

“I look forward to effective and credible follow-up to the authorities’ stated commitment to greater access, including for the international community, the media and humanitarian actors,” he said, noting: “The regional cooperation with Myanmar will also be essential, and the United Nations fully stands behind this.”
Source : UN.ORG.

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‘Time to stamp out human trafficking,’ says Guterres; UN pledges action to eradicate ‘heinous crime’

Posted on 28 September 2017 by admin

AIHRA News Thursday 28th September 2017

27 September 2017 – With tens of millions of human trafficking victims worldwide, “now is the time to stand together and stamp out this abominable practice,” Secretary-GeneralAntónio Guterres today told a high-level meeting at which Member States adopted a political Declaration reaffirming their commitment to implement a United Nations action plan to end the scourge.

“Human trafficking is all around us, in all regions of the world,” said Mr. Guterres, referring to such practices as forced labour, sexual servitude, recruitment of child soldiers and other forms of exploitation and abuse.

The Assembly’s high-level meeting, convened to examine progress achieved and challenges remaining in the implementation of the seven-year-old Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, opened today and closes tomorrow.

In the Declaration, adopted without a vote, UN Member States demonstrated their strong political will to take decisive concerted action to end the heinous crime.

As millions of children, women and men spill out of their countries towards safety, they find themselves at the mercy of merciless people

In recent years, rising conflict, insecurity and economic uncertainty have brought new tests.

“As millions of children, women and men spill out of their countries towards safety, they find themselves at the mercy of merciless people,” Mr. Guterres said.

These criminal networks are global, well-organized, technologically savvy, and highly proficient in taking advantage of gaps in governance and weaknesses in institutions, he added.

Fighting human trafficking requires greater use of relevant instruments, including the UN conventions against transnational organized crime and against corruption, and next year’s expected adoption by the General Assembly of a global compact on safe, orderly and regular migration is a further potential milestone, he said.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by Member States in 2015, also addresses some of the root causes that make people vulnerable to trafficking. Often, trafficking is abetted by poverty and inequality.

“Fighting trafficking and advancing sustainable, inclusive development go hand in hand,” Mr. Guterres said.

Also addressing the meeting, Yuri Fedotov, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said “this appraisal and the adoption of the political Declaration can help us take this commitment forward and sharpen responses to an odious crime that continues to exploit and victimize the most vulnerable, in all parts of the world.”

To build a robust evidence base, UNODC is currently working with the academic community to develop innovative methodologies to measure the size and scope of the trafficking problem, he added.

General Assembly President Miroslav Lajčák also addressed the meeting, as did Ms. Mira Sorvino, UNODC Goodwill Ambassador for the global fight against human trafficking and Grizelda Grootboom, a civil society representative and victim of human trafficking.

Source : UN.ORG

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Children’s Rights

Posted on 25 September 2017 by admin

AIHRA News Monday 25th September 2017

Millions of children have no access to education, work long hours under hazardous conditions and are forced to serve as soldiers in armed conflict. They suffer targeted attacks on their schools and teachers or languish in institutions or detention centers, where they endure inhumane conditions and assaults on their dignity. Young and immature, they are often easily exploited. In many cases, they are abused by the very individuals responsible for their care. We are working to help protect children around the world, so they can grow into adults.

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Decide on facilities for kids staying with women inmates: HC

Posted on 25 September 2017 by admin

AIHRA News Sunday 24th September 2017

Mumbai, Sep 24 (PTI) The Bombay High Court has directed the Maharashtra government to take a decision on making arrangements for proper upkeep of children staying in prisons across the state with their mothers who are either undertrials or convicts.

In a hearing held earlier this week, a special bench comprising Justices Mridula Bhatkar and Revati Mohite-Dere also asked the state to convene a meeting of all departments concerned and stakeholders by October 5 “to discuss the issue and propose steps” to the effect.

The bench has been constituted by the High Court to preside over all cases pertaining to prison reforms, and also matters that deal with facilities for the children found in conflict with law, or those needing care and protection under the Juvenile Justice Act.

The state’s counsel, Hiten Venegaonkar, informed the court that following directions of the High Court in 2014, the government had already constituted a five-member committee to look into jail reforms.

The panel, headed by retired HC judge S Radhakrishnan, has been assigned the task of looking into issues such as modernisation of prisons, the problem of overcrowding and implementing all provisions of the state’s 2016 prison manual.

“This committee is slated to hold its next meeting on October 7,” Venegaonkar said. “As per the manual, cr ches, or special rooms are to be provided mandatorily in all prisons for the children of women inmates who either stay in the prison with them, or those who come to meet them,” he said.

The bench, however, suggested that besides the steps taken or proposed by the committee, the departments concerned, too, must inquire into the existing facilities in prisons, “especially the facilities extended to women inmates and their minor children”.

“There remain some unsettled issues that require consideration and resolution. The women undertrials must be permitted to meet their family members periodically. They must be allowed to make physical contact with their minor children who do not stay with them in the prison.

“The regulations or provisions made for convicted women prisoners, too, must be implemented. Arrangements for for establishing cr che, nursery schools etc. must be made,” the bench said.

“Therefore, all stakeholders must hold a meeting on or before October 5 this year, and submit a report to us on such meeting by October 12,” the bench said.

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AIHRA PRESIDENT IN AIHRA W.B. ROAD RALLY FOR COMMUNAL HARMONY AND PRESS MEET

Posted on 23 September 2017 by admin

AIHRA News Saturday 23rd September 2017

West Bengal committee 0365 had organised a road rally (padyatra ) on 21st of September  starts from Hazinagar chai gada maidan  which ends at k Halisahar Assam Bangia Saraswath Math.The Moto of the rally (padyatra) was Communal Harmony . Our rally was inaugurated jointly  by our International president Dr.M.U.Dua and the Patron of West Bengal Committee – 0365 Dr.Swami Jnanananda Saraswati Maharaj.

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India: Key UN Rights Recommendations Ignored

Posted on 22 September 2017 by admin

AIHRA News Friday 22nd September 2017

Act on Concerns Raised at Universal Periodic Review

(Geneva, September 22, 2017) – The Indian government did not accept a number of key human rights recommendations on September 21, 2017, at its United Nations review in Geneva, Human Rights Watch said today. The government should promptly act on the recommendations raised by UN member countries during the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process.

India’s government responded on September 21 to the recommendations made by other UN member countries on May 4 during India’s third periodic review. The Indian government was unwilling to accept important recommendations for greater accountability of its security forces, ensuring freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, repealing the law criminalizing consensual adult same-sex relations, and abolishing the death penalty.

“In the face of countless attacks on free speech and threats to marginalized communities, the Indian government has chosen to be in denial,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “India should show leadership on the world stage by taking the human rights concerns of other countries seriously and adopting concrete steps to address them.”

At the May 4 session, 112 countries made a total of 250 recommendations. On September 21, the government accepted 152, including commitments made toward sustainable development goals aimed at alleviating poverty, improving access to safe drinking water and sanitation, and strengthening protections for children and women.

In the face of countless attacks on free speech and threats to marginalized communities, the Indian government has chosen to be in denial.

Meenakshi Ganguly

South Asia Director

Thirty countries called on India to ratify the UN Convention Against Torture, a treaty it signed two decades ago but never ratified. Even as the Indian government denied the existence of torture at the May meeting, saying “the concept of torture is completely alien to our culture and it has no place in the governance of the nation,” it said it remained committed to ratifying the treaty. However, India made a similar commitment at the last UPR cycle in 2012 when the recommendation was made by 17 countries, and yet failed to take any steps to fulfill it. In a recent report on deaths in police custody, Human Rights Watch found that torture is frequently used to gather information or coerce confessions.

At the UPR outcome meeting, India’s National Human Rights Commission pointed to the country’s failure to implement several recommendations adopted in the previous UPR cycle.

Regarding several pressing human rights concerns, the government’s outcome report merely “noted” the recommendations, drawing criticism from several countries and domestic and international rights groups. In the past, the Indian government has consistently ignored recommendations that it only noted. For instance, concerns over the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), a law that provides soldiers who commit abuses effective immunity from prosecution, was also “noted” in previous UPR sessions. But the government has refused to repeal the law despite recommendations from numerous independent commissions in India.

Similarly, at the 2012 review, the government said it noted the concerns raised over the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), a law regulating foreign funding to nongovernmental organizations, but failed to take any action to address it. Instead, since 2014, the Indian government has increasingly used the law to harass, intimidate, and shut down foreign funding for nongovernmental organizations that criticize the government, its actions, or policies. During this UPR, at least 10 countries raised concerns over restrictions to freedom of assembly and association, including the FCRA, but the Indian government merely “noted” the recommendations.

Mob attacks by extremist Hindu groups affiliated with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) against minority communities, especially Muslims and Dalits, have become a serious threat. In the first seven months of 2017, there were 26 attacks, and seven people were killed over rumors that they sold, bought, or killed cows for beef. The government has failed to prosecute those responsible for such attacks, and at the same time several BJP leaders have made incendiary remarks against minorities, and in support of Hindu nationalism. Fifteen countries raised concerns over such increasing violence, recommending that India should better protect these vulnerable populations and freedom of religion, and prosecute attacks against them. However, the Indian government was unwilling to make any commitments.

More than 30 countries raised concerns over violence and discrimination against women, and 10 asked India to criminalize marital rape. The Indian government accepted recommendations to protect women from violence, but did not accept recommendations regarding marital rape.

Several countries also called on India to repeal section 377 of the penal code, which criminalizes consensual same-sex relations, and to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, a recommendation made and only noted in 2012 and again during the 2017 review. This is despite an Indian Supreme Court ruling in August saying the law had a chilling effect on “the unhindered fulfilment of one’s sexual orientation, as an element of privacy and dignity.”

“The Indian government’s claims of respect for the UPR process mean nothing if it simply brushes aside important recommendations at a time when the country’s long cherished freedoms and its poor and vulnerable are at great risk,” Ganguly said.

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AIHRA BENGAL UTSAV BEGINS

Posted on 21 September 2017 by admin

AIHRA News Thursday 21st September 2017

AIHRA PRESIDENT M.U. DUA REACHED AT KOLKATA IN AIHRA BENGAL UTSAV.

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Treaty banning nuclear weapons opens for signature at UN

Posted on 21 September 2017 by admin

AIHRA News Thursday 21st September 2017

20 September 2017 – The world’s first legally-binding treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons opened for signature today at United Nations Headquarters in New York at a ceremony at which speakers from international organizations, governments and civil society hailed this milestone in achieving a world free of such arsenals as well as the work that remains to be done.

“The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is the product of increasing concerns over the risk posed by the continued existence of nuclear weapons, including the catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences of their use,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said at the ceremony, held on the margins of the General Assembly’s high-level debate.

“The Treaty is an important step towards the universally-held goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. It is my hope that it will reinvigorate global efforts to achieve it,” he added, acknowledging the contributions made by civil society and the hibakusha – the atomic bomb survivors.

At the same time, Mr. Guterres, highlighted the difficult road ahead by recalling that there remain some 15,000 nuclear weapons in existence. “We cannot allow these doomsday weapons to endanger our world and our children’s future,” he said.

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2 Pakistani intruders shot dead by BSF

Posted on 21 September 2017 by admin

AIHRA News Wednesday 20th September 2017

Amritsar, Sep 20 (PTI) The Border Security Force shot dead two Pakistani intruders along the Indo-Pak border today when they refused to surrender while crossing over to Indian territory.

DIG BSF J S Oberio said the BSF shot dead two Pakistani intruders when they ignored warnings and kept marching towards BSF troops aggressively.

The incident took place along the Indo-Pak border in Ajnala sector of Amritsar at BOP Shahpur where BSF troops spotted two Pakistani nationals who crossed over to India and refused to surrender.

The border guarding force said it has recovered the bodies of the two. An AK-47 assault rifle, a pistol and over two dozen bullet rounds were recovered from them.

A Border Security Force (BSF) spokesperson said that a Pakistani SIM card, four kgs of heroin and Pakistani currency worth Rs 20,000 were recovered from the two.

“When challenged by BSF troops, infiltrators fired on ambush line with automatic weapons. Taking cover, the fire was appropriately retaliated and infiltrators were neutralised near the border fence,” the spokesperson said.

The force foiled the infiltration bid, he added.

“The area has been cordoned off and the search is on at the IB,” the spokesperson added.

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Aung San Suu Kyi condemns ‘all human rights violations’

Posted on 19 September 2017 by admin

AIHRA News Tuesday 19th September 2017

In her first comments on Rohingya crisis, Myanmar’s leader says she is ‘concerned’ over Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh.

Aung San Suu Kyi said she “feels deeply” for the suffering of “all people” caught up in conflict scorching Rakhine state in her first comments on the crisis since the latest violence began last month.  “We are concerned to hear the number of Muslims fleeing areas to Bangladesh,” she said in a televised address on Tuesday, adding that Myanmar condemns any “human rights violations” that may have exacerbated the crisis. Suu Kyi also said she was “concerned” over Muslims and others who have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate has come under increased criticism over the past month as more than 410,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar to Bangladesh, escaping what the UN has described as “ethnic cleansing”.

Those who have fled have told stories of indiscriminate killings, rape, torture and arson by Myanmar security forces in Rakhine State, where the majority of Rohingya live.On Monday, leaders from the UK,

US, France, Canada and Australia had urged Aung San Suu Kyi to push for an end to violence against the Rohingya.In her address, Aung San Suu Kyi said “it is not the intention of the Myanmar government to apportion blame or to abnegate responsibility”, adding that Myanmar does not fear “international scrutiny” over the Rohingya crisis.She invited outside observers to visit Rakhine and see the problems in person.”The security forces have been instructed to adhere strictly to the code of conduct in carrying out security operations, to exercise all due restraint and to full measures to avoid collateral damages and the harming of innocent civilians,” she said.

While Aung San Suu Kyi does not have control over the military, she had been criticised over her silence about the violence in Rakhine.

“Human rights violations and all other acts that impair stability and harmony and undermine the rule of law will be addressed with strict norms of justice,” she said.

Verification process

Aung San Suu Kyi said that her country stood ready “at any time” to verify the status of the Rohingya who have fled violence in the last month to aid the return of those eligible for resettlement.

“We are prepared to start the verification process at any time,” she said referring to those who have fled in the unprecedented exodus to Bangladesh, without guaranteeing a return for all of the refugees.

It is not immediately clear how many of the estimated 410,000 Rohingya who have fled Myanmar would qualify to return.

Al Jazeera’s Scott Heidler, who attended the speech at Naypyidaw, said Suu Kyi “expressed good faith” in vowing to repatriate citizens of Myanmar from Bangladesh.

But he added that “the majority of the Rohingya are not treated as citizens in Myanmar and lack the proper documentation to begin with”.

“To prove they were from a certain village is going to be a monumental task.”

Al Jazeera’s Tanvir Chowdury, reporting from Cox’s Bazar, said Bangladesh has started a biometric registration process for Rohingya refugees.

But the repatriation process will be based on “trust and confidence in what Bangladesh’s government says”.

‘Shielding the military’

Speaking to Al Jazeera from Bangkok, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s regional director for Southeast Asia, condemned what he called Aung San Suu Kyi’s “silence on the suffering and plight of the Rohingya”.

“It almost came across that she was shielding the military,” Gomez said, adding: “What is the role of the military if she says there have been no attacks since September 5 in Rakhine state; then why is the burning going on?

“The issues of landmines on the border, incidences of disappearances of boys and men. Can we hold the military accountable? Is there going to be impunity?”

Gomez, however, said Aung San Suu Kyi’s invitation to diplomats and observers to enter Myanmar was a positive step, and called on her government to provide “unfettered and independent” access to UN investigators and others.

The latest round of violence in Myanmar began on August 25 after Rohingya fighters attacked more than 30 police and army posts, prompting a security crackdown on the Rohingya.

The mostly Muslim minority is not recognised as an ethnic group in Myanmar, despite having lived there for generations. Rohingya have been denied citizenship, which has effectively rendered them stateless.

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