137 DEATH PENALTY IN 2010:
- India urged to pledge for the abolition of the death
penalty before the United Nations -
New Delhi: Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) today while making its submission urged the Government of India (GoI) to pledge for the abolition of the death penalty before the UN Human Rights Council when it comes for examination under the Universal Periodic Review in May 2012. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has drafted the National Report (http://www.mea.gov.in/mystart.php?id=5212) for submission to the UN Human Rights Council and invited comments from the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) by 20th January 2012. In its submission, “India’s Draft Universal Periodic Report-II: A Case of Forced Marriage?” (http://www.achrweb.org/UN/HRC/UPRIndia2.pdf), ACHR stated that inviting comments from the CSOs through email or fax is highly inadequate and the GoI must organise a national consultation with the CSOs, the National Human Rights Institutions and parliamentarians before it submits the National Report to the UN Human Rights Council.
“In 2010 alone, death penalty was given to 137 convicts which exposes the hollowness of India’s claim for application of the “rarest of the rare” as the justification for retention of the death penalty. The assurance given by the Government of India to the Government of Portugal for not imposing death penalty to gangster Abu Salem under the 'Rule of Speciality' underlines that death penalty is no longer acceptable as punishment by any civilized society.” - stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights.
In its submission, ACHR stated that human rights situations in India have deteriorated since 2008 when India’s human rights record was examined by the UN Human Rights Council under its Universal Periodic Review in April 2008. A total of 4,034 custodial deaths and 1,836 cases of torture in police custody during 2008-09 to 2010-11 were recorded by the National Human Rights Commission while a total of 740 civilians were killed in disproportionate use of fire-arms by the police from 2008 to 2010 according to the National Crime Records Bureau. A total of 309 cases of extrajudicial killings were recorded by the NHRC during 2007 to 2009.
“These figures do not reflect the actual number as both the National Human rights Commission and National Crime Records Bureau exclude human rights violations committed by the armed forces and the army. The Assam Police in its website claimed that they have killed 129 persons in encounters during January – July 2010.” - further stated Mr Chakma.
On denial of personal liberty, ACHR stated that 2,232 persons were detained under preventive detention laws in 2009 including 835 in Tamil Nadu, 356 in Gujarat, 294 in Uttar Pradesh, 182 in J&K and 143 in Manipur. These figures are miniscule of the actual detention under the preventive detention laws. The Uttar Pradesh Government recently claimed that 1,797 notorious criminals were detained under the National Security Act in the state.
India’s National Report provides only generic information about the legal framework and not the human rights situations and challenges. It fails to state that Jammu and Kashmir does not even a single home for juvenile girls who are detained in the police lock ups and prisons in clear
violations of national and international human rights standards. The UN Human Rights Council in its session in April 2008 made 18 recommendations
(http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G08/161/58/PDF/G0816158.pdf?OpenElement) to the Government of India (GoI). The only recommendation that has been implemented is extending standing invitation to the UN Special Rapporteurs in September 2011 which binds India to allow the Rapporteurs to visit India. While the GoI has recently extended invitations to a number of Special Rapporteurs to visit India prior to the UPR examination in May 2012, it excluded the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture whose request to visit India has been pending since 1993.
The government of India has failed to ratify the UN Convention Against Torture – a commitment made in 2008. Though the Parliamentary Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha adopted the Prevention of Torture Bill on 6 December 2010, the GoI failed to introduce the Bill in the last winter session of parliament.
India further failed to adopt the National Action Plan for Human Rights despite starting the process in 10 July 1998.
Questioning the lack of seriousness of the Government of India, ACHR stated, “The entire exercise of the Government of India submitting its report under the UPR and seeking comments from the CSOs appears to be a case of forced marriage”. [Ends]