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Nagaland

NHRC ‘irrelevant’ unless AFSPA impunity removed

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By EMN Updated: Oct 25, 2013 12:04 am
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EMN
DIMAPUR, OCTOBER 24

THE Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) said National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in the north east region is ‘irrelevant’ unless it addresses the military impunity.
A NPMHR press release on Thursday said the NHRC needs to address the issue or its visit to the north east would meaningless. “Unless a radical change in the laws, particularly bringing the acts of the army and paramilitary within the scope of NHRC, and also to limit the impunity enjoyed under AFSPA is changed as has been recommended by various non-state and state agencies including the Jeevan Reddy Committee, the visit of the NHRC would remain a meaningless exercise for the people of Northeast India, including Manipur,” the NPMHR said.
Subsequent to the constitution of the NHRC in 1993 by the government of India in the backdrop of the then United Nations Commission for Human Rights criticism against India’s “Human Rights violation records,” it was made mandatory that every state government set up a state Human Rights commission to monitor human rights violation.
“The Government of India however kept the atrocities committed by the army and paramilitary forces outside the purview of the NHRC’s mandate. Further, when Manipur State Human Rights Commission was being constituted, the Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights was also asked to send a representatives to the commission,” the NPMHR said.
After deliberations, the Naga organization decided not to participate “on the principle that human rights issues in North East India mostly emanated from violations perpetrated by the army and paramilitary forces, and whose acts were shielded by the infamous Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958.” The AFSPA is an act that directly contravenes and violates the right to life, the NPMHR said.
“To be a part of a commission that cannot deal with serious human rights issues was not only meaningless but painful too. We recall the 1997 ruling of NPMHR v. Union of India in which the NHRC was also a party, and where the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the AFSPA.”
The court also provided a list of Dos and Don’ts to check on the exercise of such power of impunity but the rules have been largely ignored, the NPMHR said. The NHRC has pleaded its helplessness under Section 19 of the Human Rights Act even in cases where the army and paramilitary has contravened it, the organization asserted in its press release.
All these suggest that there is a need for a radical change in the laws, particularly bringing the acts of the army and paramilitary within the scope of the NHRC, and also to limit the impunity enjoyed under AFSPA, the NPMHR said.

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By EMN Updated: Oct 25, 2013 12:04:41 am