Monday, November 28, 2022

5 countries recommend AFSPA repeal, claim 12 NE-based CSOs


Twelve North East-based civil society organisations (CSOs) claimed on Tuesday that five countries have recommended India to repeal the controversial Armed Forces (Special) Powers Act (AFSPA) during the recent meeting of the United Nation Human Rights Council (UNHCR) held in Geneva under the 4th Cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on November 10, 2022.
In a joint statement the 12 CSOs of the north east claimed that the following countries made the recommendation- Estonia, Canada, Croatia, Czechia, Costa Rica, Brazil, Belgium, Lithuania, Italy and Greece, recommended India to respect freedom of expression.
The 12 CSOs claimed that the five countries raised the issue while reviewing India’s human rights record.
The issue of AFSPA was raised by five countries – Germany and US in the advance question prior to the session and Norway, Belgium and Pakistan during the session itself.
Germany, in the advanced question prior to the session, raised the issue of AFSPA as the first issue.
The country asked whether the Indian government should consider revising the AFSPA with a view to bringing it into compliance with obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and fighting impunity.
USA also raised the issue in its advanced question saying that “We note the government of India’s rollback of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act to promote accountability and justice.”
“We continue to have concerns about section 197 of the Indian Code of Criminal Procedure, which does not fully address accountability for security forces and prevents victims from accessing justice,” the country added.
Norway, in its 4th recommendation, urged India to revise the AFSPA to ensure compliance with obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and consider reducing the Act’s geographic scope.
Pakistan also demanded repeal of the AFSPA, Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, National Security Act, Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019, and the National Register of Citizens.
Belgium, its recommendation urged to withdraw the AFSPA 1958 and 1990 from the districts where it remains fully or partially in jurisdiction.
The joint statement was issued by the 12 CSOs- Apunba Manipur Kanba Ima Lup AMKIL), Arunachal Citizen Rights (ACR), Borok People’s Human Rights Organisation (BPHRO), International Peace and Social Advancement (IPSA), Extrajudicial Execution Victim Families Association, Manipur (EEVFAM), Human Rights Alert (HRA), Human Rights Defender, Manipur (HRDM), Human Rights Initiative (HRI), Indigenous Perspective (IP), Manipur Alliance for Child Rights (MACR), Youth Collective Manipur (YCM) and Zo Indigenous Forum (ZIF). CSOs said that the 130-member states made 339 recommendations highlighting some of the most urgent human rights concerns in the country.
From the side of the civil society groups of the North East, Babloo Loitongbam of Human Rights Alert (HRA), Khuraijam Athouba, of the International Peace and Social Advancement (IPSA) and C Lalremruata of the Zo Indigenous Forum participated in the review meeting.
In its national report submitted to the UN ahead of its UPR review, the Indian government claimed “it is firmly committed to the promotion and protection of human rights.”
The CSO, in the joint release, hoped that the Indian government would accept these recommendations and not simply “take note” of the recommendations.
“What actually matters to the citizens is the implementation of human rights on the ground,” the release added.

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