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  • 11 January, 2023

  • 5 Min Read

Human Rights Watch’s World Report 2023

Human Rights Watch’s World Report 2023

  • Human Rights Watch's recently issued World Report 2023 stated that Indian authorities had "intensified and extended" their crackdown on social activist groups and the media.
  • The report examines human rights practices in nearly a hundred nations.
  • It further stated that the present Central government party repressed minorities through abusive and discriminatory measures.

The following are the report's key points on India:

  • Authorities arrested activists, journalists, and other government critics on false and "politically motivated" criminal charges, including terrorism.
  • Authorities encourage discrimination and, in some cases, violence against religious minorities.
  • Many states have demolished the houses and properties of religious minorities without legal authorization or due process.
  • Authorities also "misused" legislation in the name of forced religious conversions "to target Christians, particularly from Dalit and Adivasi communities," according to the report.
  • The release and celebration of the 11 men convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the gang rape of Bilkis Bano and the murder of 14 members of her family.
  • According to the research, the Central Government promotes Hindu majoritarian ideology, prompting officials and followers to engage in discriminatory and, at times, violent activities against religious minorities.
  • In situations of violence against women, it emphasised the government's discriminating attitude toward minority communities.
  • Even three years after Article 370 was repealed, the administration in Jammu and Kashmir continued to limit free expression, peaceful assembly, and other essential rights.
  • The J&K Public Safety Act and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), 1967 were also used by authorities to "arbitrarily" jail journalists and activists.
  • It also alluded to alleged insurgent attacks on minority Hindu and Sikh communities in Kashmir.
  • The report praised the Supreme Court of India for its liberal actions, notably its decision to prohibit the use of the Sedition Act, which has been abused to jail critics of the government and its policies.
  • The Supreme Court's decision to grant abortion rights to all women, regardless of marital status.
  • To safeguard survivors of sexual assault, the court banned the two-finger tests.
  • The report also chastised the Supreme Court of India for its decision on whether Muslim female students in Karnataka can wear a hijab, or headscarf.
  • According to the report, it is the obligation of every government to preserve and promote human rights, to include a human rights framework into their policies, and to work continuously to defend and promote human rights.

What exactly are human rights?

  • Human Rights are rights that all people have, regardless of race, gender, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or other status.
  • These rights include the right to life and liberty, the freedom from slavery and torture, the freedom of thought and speech, the right to labour and education, and many others.
  • The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India defines Human Rights as rights to life, liberty, equality, and dignity guaranteed by the Constitution or enshrined in International Covenants and enforceable by Indian courts.

About National Human Rights Commission:

  • The National Human Rights Commission is a statutory agency established in 1993 under the Human Rights Protection Act.
  • It was revised in 2006.
  • The commission serves as the country's human rights monitor.
  • The commission is a five-member body led by a chairman and four members.
  • The chairperson shall be a retired Chief Justice of India, and the members should be serving or retired Supreme Court judges, a serving or retired high court chief justice, and two people with knowledge or practical experience in human rights.

Functions of the Commission:

  • Investigate any infringement of human rights or negligence in preventing such a breach by a public official, either on its own initiative or in response to a petition presented to it or an order of a court.
  • Examine human rights treaties and other international instruments and provide recommendations for their effective implementation.
  • Encourage non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that operate in the field of human rights.
  • The commission presents annual or special reports to the Central Government and the relevant state government.

The Commission's Restrictions:

  • The commission's functions are primarily advisory.
  • No authority to prosecute human rights violations or to grant any redress, including monetary relief, to victims.
  • Recommendations are not legally binding on the government or authority in question.
  • The commission's role, powers, and jurisdiction against violations of human rights by members of the armed forces are restricted.

What exactly is Human Rights Watch?

  • Human Rights Watch (HRW) is an international non-governmental organisation that was created in 1978 as "Helsinki Watch" to investigate human rights violations in nations that signed the Helsinki Accords.
  • Its reach has now grown to over 100 nations globally.
  • Its headquarters are located in New York City.
  • The Helsinki Accords (1975) were a key diplomatic agreement made at the conclusion of the inaugural Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe in Helsinki, Finland (now Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe).
  • They were signed by all European, American, and Canadian governments, primarily to alleviate tensions between the Soviet and Western blocs.
  • The accord obligated the 35 member countries to uphold human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Source: The Hindu

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