New Organization Enforces Human Rights and Fights Impunity in India
(California) Ensaaf—a new U.S.-based organization launched to enforce human rights and fight impunity in India— works with survivors to engage in advocacy and outreach, documents violations, and educates the public about human rights abuses in India. Ensaaf has five programs: United Nations, Media and Human Rights, Human Rights Education, Legal Advocacy and Community Advocacy. Ensaaf, which means Justice in many South Asian languages, acts to implement the international rights to knowledge, justice and reparation. The board of directors comprises human rights lawyers Sukhman Dhami and Jaskaran Kaur, as well as Professor Peter Rosenblum of Columbia Law School.
In June 2004, Ensaaf will release an in depth 100-page report on the November 1984 pogroms against Sikhs in India. With a preface by retired New York Times reporter Barbara Crossette, the report analyzes the affidavits, government papers and arguments filed with the Misra Commission, established to examine the massacres of Sikhs. The report also discusses the 1984 evidence in the framework of international law regarding crimes against humanity and genocide. After twenty years, the public must understand the depth of abuses committed, as well as the impunity that has prevailed for perpetrators of the carnage.
Ensaaf believes that a human rights movement driven by survivors can challenge impunity at every level. Thus, through the Community Advocacy Program, Ensaaf will also work to build an association of families in North America, who have survived human rights violations in Punjab. “Individuals and families who have been victims of state repression must be informed about the human rights efforts in Punjab and play an active role in the struggle for truth and justice,” said Ensaaf Executive Director Jaskaran Kaur.
Ensaaf’s staff has already engaged in advocacy at the 2004 UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva; participated in workshops at Harvard, Yale, University of Toronto, University of California at Berkeley and the World Social Forum (Bombay); and worked on legal advocacy with Human Rights Watch and Harvard Law Student Advocates for Human Rights.
Ensaaf has also released the first issue of its quarterly newsletter, available here. Its website www.ensaaf.org provides detailed information on the organization and its programs, as well as an extensive library of documents relating to human rights in Punjab and India. Ensaaf currently focuses on human rights issues in Punjab; however, Ensaaf has begun outreach to activists working in other regions of India.
Support Ensaaf (www.ensaaf.org), a U.S.-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, as it works to end impunity and achieve justice for mass state crimes in Punjab, India by documenting and exposing human rights violations, bringing perpetrators to justice, and organizing survivors to advocate for their rights to truth, justice, and reparations.