United Nations Advocacy
Ensaaf alerts the United Nations to critical human rights issues and the situation of impunity in Punjab, as well as to specific cases of disappearances and unlawful killings.
The video above gives a brief introduction to human rights defender Jaswant Singh Khalra's discovery of mass secret cremations of bodies of victims of disappearances and unlawful killings. The latest report by the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances discusses this issue further.
Universal Periodic Review (UPR)
In November 2007, Ensaaf submitted information for consideration by the UN Human Rights Council in its UPR of India in April 2008. Under the UPR mechanism, the Human Rights Council is required to assess the fulfillment of human rights obligations and commitments by all UN member states. Ensaaf submitted its recent joint report with Human Rights Watch, as well as a letter (pdf) summarizing gross human rights violations perpetrated in Punjab and the government's failure to provide effective remedies for these violations.
In November 2011, Ensaaf partnered with international human rights organization REDRESS, to make a joint submission to the UN Human Rights Council for its 2012 UPR of India. The joint submission focused on mass cremations, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings carried out in Punjab, India during the 1980s and 1990s. It also discussed 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.
Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID)
On November 21, 2007, Ensaaf met with the WGEID in Geneva, Switzerland, to present general allegations against India for its role in perpetrating enforced disappearances. This visit followed a submission (pdf) of general allegations as well as 32 individual cases that Ensaaf jointly made with two other prominent human rights groups – REDRESS and the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at New York University School of Law (CHRGJ). The WGEID's 2009 report incorporated many of the allegations presented by Ensaaf.
On May 12, 2006, the 12th anniversary of the disappearance of Punjab human rights attorney Sukhwinder Singh Bhatti, Ensaaf submitted communications to the UN Special Representative on Human Rights Defenders and the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, providing a detailed summary of Bhatti’s case, identifying key perpetrators, and describing the operation of an unofficial interrogation center. Both mechanisms acted on Ensaaf’s submissions, sending separate communications to the Indian government urging a thorough investigation into the disappearance.
In November 2005, Ensaaf submitted an application for relief from extradition on behalf of Kulvir Singh Barapind to the US Secretary of State, under the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT). In addition to securing support from international human rights groups and a US Congressman, Ensaaf also submitted a communication to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Question of Torture regarding Barapind's case, securing the Rapporteur's intervention. Barapind was not tortured and was acquitted of all charges in April 2008.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In April 2004, Ensaaf attended the UN Commission on Human Rights, focusing its advocacy on issues of forced disappearances, extrajudicial executions, and the Punjab mass cremations case proceeding before the National Human Rights Commission.