December 24, 2003 | Comments Off
The newest addition to our website, www.punjabjustice.org, is an article by Ram Narayan Kumar titled: “The UN Human Rights Mechanisms and Issues of Accountability in Punjab.” Kumar describes the actions taken by different human rights mechanisms at the UN in response to human rights abuses occurring in Punjab, and how the Indian Government has responded. When the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances tried to intervene:
The representatives of the Indian government told the working group that “given the fact that the allegations of disappearances have drastically fallen in the last three years, coupled with the government of India’s commitment to investigate the old cases”, the suggestion of the Working Group regarding a visit to India is “inappropriate and unnecessary.” The government also stated that the matter of illegal cremations was now before the Supreme Court, which had instituted an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
The rest is history—see the post on the NHRC case for what has happened to this Supreme Court case. The Special Rapporteur on Torture requested the Indian Government to allow him to visit in order to investigate allegations of widespread torture in Punjab:
And what was the government of India’s response? Mrs. Arundhati Ghose, then India’s Permanent Representative at the United Nations Office in Geneva, told the Human Rights Commission that it should adopt a cooperative rather an adversarial and “spotlighting” approach. Ms. Ghose said that instead of undertaking direct investigations, the Commission should work only in consultation with the government. She declared: India had a broad range of guarantees built within its constitutional system to safeguard human rights, and did not require foreign intervention: India’s respect for human rights was rooted in its ancient philosophy and culture and, even in the modern context, predated its accession to the United Nations. The tough stand taken by Ms. Ghose received praise in the Indian press, some of them greeting her as the “Iron Lady” for her capacity to “look the western bullies in the eye.”