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India's economic growth at the cost of human rights: Amnesty
The Amnesty International felt that the UN meeting to agree an Arms Trade Treaty in July will be an acid test for politicians to place rights over self-interest and profit. Without a strong treaty, the Report said that the UN Security Council's guardianship of global peace and security seems doomed to failure; its permanent members wielding an absolute veto on any resolution despite being the world's largest arms suppliers.

THE AMNESTY International Annual Report 2012 observed that the Government of India maintained its focus on economic growth, at the cost of protecting and promoting human rights within the country and abroad. The 400 page Amnesty International Report -2012, the 50th Annual Report was released by Andhra Pradesh State Human Rights Commission Acting Chairman Sri K Peda Peri Reddy in Hyderabad on Wednesday, May 23.


Speaking on this occasion, Peda Peri Reddy said that national governments should take cognizance of the human rights violations mentioned in the annual reports of Amnesty International. Amnesty International Report 2012 documents specific restrictions on free speech in at least 91 countries as well as cases of people tortured or otherwise ill-treated in at least 101 countries – in many cases for taking part in demonstrations.

Peri Reddy said that the Report provided authentic documentation of various human rights violations in over 155 countries, he said that the United Nations should evolve appropriate mechanisms so that to make national governments are accountable for the violations identified by organisations like Amnesty International. “Such reports should not be limited to media glare, but should be followed by concerted efforts by national governments to ensure protection and promotion of human rights,” he added.

Amnesty International local coordinator Ch. Narendra said that this is the 50th annual report of the organisation. The report said that the courage shown by protesters during 2011 has been matched by a failure of international leadership that makes the UN Security Council seem tired, out of step and increasingly unfit for purpose. The report documented specific restrictions of free speech in at least 91 countries as well as cases of people tortured or otherwise ill-treated in at least 101 countries, in many cases for taking part in demonstrations.

The report felt that the UN meeting to agree an Arms Trade Treaty in July will be an acid test for politicians to place rights over self-interest and profit. Without a strong treaty, the Report said that the UN Security Council’s guardianship of global peace and security seems doomed to failure; its permanent members wielding an absolute veto on any resolution despite being the world’s largest arms suppliers. Amnesty International asked India and China should use their influence on the international stage to protect and promote human rights, by voting for an Arms Trade Treaty in July 2012.

Amnesty appreciated that India showed its potential as a human rights leader by voting in favour of the UN Security Council resolution on Syria which was vetoed by China. However, it expressed concern that around 250 people were killed in ongoing clashes between armed Maoists and security forces in several central and eastern states of India. In Chhattisgarh alone, more than 3000 people, including combatants had been killed in the classes since 2005, while 25,000 people remained displaced and 5,000 people remained in camps, besides 30,000 more dispersed in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and Odissa.

The report mentioned that Adivasi (indigenous) communities intensified their protests against corporate-led moves to acquire  and mine their lands without free, prior and informer consent, resulting in suspension of some industrial projects. It states, protests by Advasi and other marginalised communities blocked ongoing and proposed extractive, irrigation and other corporate projects affecting their rights over their traditional lands.

In response, authorities proposed to reform outdated legal frameworks and ad hoc practices for land acquisition and mining, offering monitored rehabilitation and benefit sharing arrangements to the communities  Nevertheless, the protests continued with the communities complaining that the recent legislation guaranteeing their rights over forest lands was not being properly implemented and alleging that the new laws did not address the issue of their free, prior and informed consent for the projects.

Amnesty International welcomed the fact that the Indian authorities extended a standing invitation to all the UN Special Procedures to visit the country. However, it deplored that torture and other ill-treatment, extrajudicial executions, deaths in custody and administrative detentions remained rife in a number of states. New legal initiative to outlaw torture had yet to yield results.

The report documented that people defending the rights of Adivasis and other marginalised communities and those using recent legislation to obtain information to protect their rights were targeted by the State and non-state agencies. Many of them were threatened, harassed and intimidated, and at least four activists were killed.

The report felt that the institutional mechanisms meant to protect human rights remained weak and the judiciary processes were slow in ensuring justice to victims. It recorded that the courts sentenced at least 110 people to death during the year 2011, but, for the seventh successive y ear, no execution took place.


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