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January 11, 2012
206.866.5642

Joint Submission to UN Challenges India

(Fremont, CA) In November 2011, Ensaaf partnered with international human rights organization REDRESS, to make a joint submission to the Universal Periodic Review on mass 
cremations, 
enforced 
disappearances 
and 
extrajudicial
 killings
 carried
 out
 in
 Punjab, India
 during
 the
 1980s
 and
 1990s.

To read the joint Ensaaf/REDRESS submission, click here.

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a process, under the auspices of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council, which involves a review of the human rights records of all 192 UN Member States once every four years. India's first review was conducted in 2008. During that review, States encouraged India to ratify the UN Convention
 on
 Enforced
 or
 Involuntary
 Disappearances
 and
 the
 UN Convention
 against
 Torture
 and
 Other
 Cruel,
 Inhuman
 or
 Degrading
 Treatment
 or
 Punishment.

The Ensaaf/REDRESS joint submission discusses
 the
 failure
 of
 the
 Government
 of 
India 
to 
hold 
the 
individuals 
responsible 
for
 these 
violations 
to 
account 
and
 to provide
 victims 
with 
effective 
remedies 
and 
full
 reparation. It focuses on the mass cremations case:

In
 1995,
 human
 rights
 activists
 used
 government
 records
 to
 reveal
 that
 security
 forces
 had
 secretly
 and
 illegally
 cremated
 over
 6,000
 individuals
 in
 three
 crematoria
 in
 Amritsar
 district—then
 one
 of
 thirteen
 districts
 in
 Punjab.
 In
 1997
 India’s
 National
 Human
 Rights
 Commission
 (NHRC)
 was
 empowered
 by
 the
 Supreme
 Court
 to
 examine
 the
 role
 of
 state
 actors 
in 
the 
perpetration
 of 
these
 human
 rights 
violations 
and 
to 
provide 
redress 
to
 victims
 and
 their
 beneficiaries.
 However,
 despite
 its
 powers
 to
 do
 so,
 and
 despite
 substantial
 evidence 
of 
systematic
 human
 rights
 violations 
presented 
to 
it 
by
 victims,
 the 
NHRC
 failed 
to
 establish
 the
 extent
 of
 human
 rights
 violations
 and
 to
 provide
 victims with an adequate remedy and reparation.

The submission ends with a list of recommendations to India that include, among others: establishing an independent monitoring mechanism to ensure accountability of the NHRC in this case; prosecuting the individuals responsible for these violations; repealing legal provisions that provide immunity to security forces for human rights violations; and ensuring access for survivors to effective remedies and full reparation.

To read the joint Ensaaf/REDRESS submission, click here.

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