Posts Tagged ‘Dalit’

 India: attacks on human rights defenders abound under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act

October 7, 2018

I recently wrote about India’s shameful place in the list of countries that practice reprisals [https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/09/22/attack-on-human-rights-defenders-in-india-are-an-attack-on-the-very-idea-of-india/]. On 5 October 2018 this was followed by a joint statement by a large number of UN experts (Mr. Michel Forst, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; Ms. Fionnuala D. Ní Aoláin, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism; Mr. Fernand de Varennes, Special Rapporteur on minority issues; Mr. David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; Ms. Ivana Radacic (Chair), Ms. Meskerem Geset Techane (Vice Chair), Ms. Elisabeth Broderick, Ms. Alda Facio, Ms. Melissa Upreti, Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice; Ms. E. Tendayi Achiume, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance; Mr. Seong-Phil Hong (Chair), Ms. Leigh Toomy (Vice-Chair), Ms. Elina Steinerte (Vice-Chair), Mr. José Guevara, Mr. Setondji Adjovi, Working group on arbitrary detention) saying that India uses terrorism charges as a pretext to silence human rights defenders

The UN human rights experts did so in the context of terrorism charges – under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) – laid against 10 human rights defenders working with India’s poorest and most marginalised communities, including the Dalits, and urged authorities to ensure their cases are promptly heard in line with international law. All were arrested in June in connection with investigations into a public meeting organised a day before the 200th anniversary of the commemoration of a battle at Bhima-Koregaon, an important cultural event and a symbol of Dalit empowerment. Police subsequently claimed that the human rights defenders had links with ‘unlawful organisations’. “We are concerned that terrorism charges brought in connection with the commemoration of Bhima-Koregaon are being used to silence human rights defenders who promote and protect the rights of India’s Dalit, indigenous, and tribal communities,” the UN experts said. “We are very concerned about the charges against the human rights defenders and the continuing detention of nine of them,” the UN experts said. “All have been active in peacefully defending human rights, including those of marginalised and minority communities, political prisoners, and women, and their arrests appear to be directly related to their human rights work.

 

In June2018 Front Line Defenders listed as some of these:

 

 

Surendra Gadling <https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/surendra-gadling> a human rights lawyer and General Secretary of the Indian Association of Peoples’ Lawyers (IAPL).

Rona Wilson <https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/rona-wilson&gt;  is a member of the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP), which has campaigned against the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and other repressive laws.

Sudhir Dhawale <https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/sudhir-dhawale&gt;  is a Dalit rights activist and the editor of the Marathi magazine ‘Vidrohi’.

Shoma Sen <https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/shoma-sen&gt;  is a professor at Nagpur University and a long time Dalit and women’s rights activist.

Mahesh Raut  <https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/mahesh-raut&gt; is a land rights activist working with Gram Sabhas in the mining areas of Gadhchiroli.

On 5 July 2018, Front Line reported that human rights lawyer Advocate Sudha Bhardwaj released a statement refuting the false allegations and defamatory statements levelled against her by Arnab Goswami, news anchor and managing director of Republic TV. In a program that aired on 4 July 2018, Arnab Goswami alleged that the human rights defender was linked to Maoists. (https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/sudha-bhardwaj). Sudha Bhardwaj firmly denied that the letter was written by her, and refuted the false allegations as defamatory and hurtful. She also expressed incredulity at the fact that the source of the letter had not been revealed, and that the letter had surfaced at the studio. She believes that the malicious and fabricated attack on her is a result of a press conference she had addressed in Delhi on 6 June 2018, condemning the arrest of Advocate Surendra Gadling. Front Line adds that This smear campaign comes as a part of an ongoing crackdown against human rights lawyers in India, especially those who work with Adivasi people and Dalits. Front Line Defenders condemns the smear campaign against human rights defender Sudha Bhardwaj, which it considers to be in retaliation to her legitimate and peaceful human rights work. Front Line Defenders expresses its concern for the security of Sudha Bhardwaj, particularly as the inflammatory allegations may motivate judicial harassment or other forms of retaliation.  

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https://www.jurist.org/news/2018/10/un-experts-decry-india-terrorism-charges-against-human-rights-defenders/

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=23686&LangID=E

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org

 

 

Indian human rights defender Madhuri Ramakrishnasway arrested on fabricated charges

May 21, 2013

On 16 May 2013, human rights defender and maternal health activist Ms Madhuri Ramakrishnasway was arrested outside the court in Barwani in Madhya Pradesh, in a case brought against her after a protest. Madhuri Ramakrishnasway is a leader of Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan (JADS), a tribal and Dalit Rights Collective which has been working for fourteen years in Madhya Pradesh. Advocacy organisations often come together under the banner of JADS to hold peaceful protests in order to raise awareness of the extremely poor health care for women in pregnancy and labour. Sit-in protests are now taking place outside police stations in the district in solidarity with the human rights defender.  Read the rest of this entry »

Assassination of Dalit human rights defender in India and insufficient protection by the State

February 15, 2013

The recent killing of Dalit human rights defender Mr Chandra Kant Gaikwad shows that a democratic system is not enough to guarantee a peaceful progressive development. If the leaders of the victims are not protected and the powerful feel free to kill with impunity, this is what happens according to a  report by Front LineFrontline NEWlogo-2 full version - cropped…….

Read the rest of this entry »

Short video with summary portraits of the winners of the Tulip award

January 11, 2013

A short documentary about the five winners of the Human Rights Tulip Award, the award of the Dutch government for human rights defenders. The winners are from Honduras, Congo, Iran, China and India. The films were done by the True Heroes Foundation (THF).

 

Tulip human rights award given in absentia to Dalit leader

January 10, 2013

Dutch newspapers and human rights groups concerned with the Dalits (untouchables) report that the winner of the Dutch Human Rights Tulip of 2012 has been barred from traveling to the Netherlands to receive his award in person on  Wednesday 9 January. Marimuthu Bharathan, a Dalit human rights defender from Tamil Nadu, was refused a passport by the Indian authorities, according to a press release by International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN).This is the second year in a row that the recipient of the Dutch Human Rights award will not be present at the ceremony in The Hague [Last year, Chinese activist Ni Yulan was in custody awaiting trial during the award ceremony.]The  jury of the Tulip has recognised Marimuthu Bharathan as a “tireless champion of better living and working conditions for his country’s Dalits”. Himself a Dalit, he works against caste discrimination by supporting Dalits who as manual scavengers are condemned to clean dry latrines with their bare hands. He also sets up Dalit organisations, campaigns for reforms of the corrupt police system, and fights for compensation and rehabilitation of Dalits who suffer human rights violations. Mr Bharathan’s work as director of the Human Rights Education and Protection Council in Tamil Nadu has put him on a collision course with the state’s authorities who consistently prohibit demonstrations for Dalit rights organised by him and disrupt his work.

According to Indian human rights organisations, this refusal appears to be connected with a false murder charge. “The passport refusal is yet another example of the disenfranchised position of the 200 million Dalits and the defenders of their rights in India. The Indian authorities clearly fail in combating discrimination and exclusion of Dalits and are themselves often the perpetrator of crimes against them. The systemic abuse and torture in police stations is an example of that,” said Gerard Oonk, director of the India Committee of the Netherlands and co-ordinator of the Dalit Network Netherlands.