South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

The UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, who was on an official visit to India from March 19 to 30 last year, has presented his findings in a report and proposed recommendations to ensure better protection of the right to life in India.

The Special Rapporteur, Christof Heyns, has expressed serious concern over the alarming level of extrajudicial executions in India.
The report specially mentions the excessive use of force against peaceful demonstrators in Indian-control Kashmir, fake encounters by government forces, unmarked mass graves, and unbridled powers given to security forces in the region.

The report recommends that the government of India should repeal, or at least radically amend, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), a legislation that gives excessive and unbridled powers to government forces leading to a culture of impunity.
Human rights groups in Kashmir and outside have termed AFSPA as a “draconian law” that allows security forces to shoot, arrest or search on mere suspicion. They believe that laws like the AFSPA and Public Safety Act (PSA) are only making matters worse in the region. The Public Safety Act allows detention of a person without trial for two years.
India, known as the largest democracy, has earned a dubious distinction for its human rights record especially when it comes to summary killings, custodial deaths and extrajudicial executions. Political observers in Kashmir have welcomed the Special Rapporteur’s report, but they say it is unlikely to change the situation on the ground.
The report says that compensation in cases of extrajudicial killings cannot play the role of replacements for criminal prosecutions and punishments. It recommends that in addition to handing out compensation payments to the victims or their families, India should ensure that criminal investigations, prosecutions and trials be launched and conducted in a swift, effective and impartial manner in all cases of unlawful killings, irrespective of the status of the perpetrator.
Kashmir’s human rights activists have time and again accused the Indian government of failing to prosecute security forces involved in human rights abuses in the region. A rights group released a report last December, documenting more than 200 cases and naming 500 Indian security men involved in crimes including enforced disappearances, killings, rapes, and torture. But, no action has been initiated against the accused.
However, Indian government says that it is prosecuting the security forces involved in human rights violations. The government has called for zero tolerance regarding human rights abuses in the region.
Kashmir is a subject of dispute between India and Pakistan and the two countries have fought three wars over this disputed region. India blames Pakistan for supporting separatist rebellion in the territory. According to human right groups more than 70,000 people have lost their lives in conflict in Kashmir since late 1980s.

Source: Press TV (Iran) 13/05/2013: