112 Countries Will Question India on Its Human Rights Record

India under the Modi regime faces a review of its human rights record by the UN Human Rights Council.
Sabrang India 02 May 2017
women's rights
India under the Modi regime, faces a review of its human rights record by the UN Human Rights Council ; the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group of the UN will examine India's human rights record for the third time on May 4; as of now, India is the second-most popular country for this UPR session – South Africa just barely beat it out with 113 countries listed to speak for that UPR. Brazil, Indonesia, Morocco, and the Philippines are all tied for third at 109.

Of the 112 countries, the first batch of questions that will be put are officially out and can be read here. India will have to respond to queries on its human rights record on religion-based discrimination, lawlessness when it comes to attacks on religious minoriuties stigmatisation of Dalits (a burning issue since the first review) and violence against them. The crushing of dissent and attacks on human rights defenders will be also a matter of concern. It will also be questioned on limits on free speech, limits on work of human rights defenders, attacks on religious minorities, reports of excessive use of force, including in Jammu & Kashmir, and use of AFSPA. Other issues on which it faces questions are combating violence against women, human trafficking, tackling harmful practices such as “honour killings“, early and forced marriages, violence against children and child labour.

India's second report had come in for heavy criticism by Human Rights Council troika ­­ comprising Latvia, the Philippines and South Africa that served as rapporteurs for India's review ­­ and stakeholders in the second review in 2012. At this week's session, India will spell out steps to implement the council's recommendations after the previous reviews which it committed to follow up, as well as highlight the many recent human rights developments in the country. While the 112 countries will be given 45 seconds to 1.5 minutes each, in an intense three-and half hour session, the Indian delegation led by attorney general Mukul Rohatgi will introduce the report prepared by the country and will have to answer questions from the member nations, civil society and the troika. India’s official report can be read here.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), created under the Paris Principles of the United Nations is also supposed to submit an independent assessment and report. This report can be read here.

The Working Group on Human Rights (WGHR), Advocates for Human Rights and Indian American Muslim Council among many organisations have submitted extensive reports and fachsheets on different aspects of the human rights situation. The live web cast of the session on May 4 can be viewed here.

The list of questions this time is longer than 2012. India will also be grilled on how it combats extreme poverty, inequalities in access to health services, high levels of neonatal mortality , stunting, malnutrition, underweight children and attendance of girls in schools. The factsheets prepared by the WGHR may be read here.

The Facsheets prepared by the WGHR are on the following subjects:

Fact Sheet-01-Right to Adequate Housing
Fact Sheet-02-Land Rights
Fact Sheet-03-Right to Food
Fact Sheet-04-Right to Health
Fact Sheet-05-Right to Water and Sanitation
Fact Sheet-06-Right to Education
Fact Sheet-07-Impact of Trade and Investment Agreements
Fact Sheet-08-Militarisation and Armed Conflict
Fact Sheet-09-Torture and Enforced Disappearances
Fact Sheet-10-Access to Justice
Fact Sheet-11-Death Penalty
Fact Sheet-12-Human Rights Defenders, Freedom
Fact Sheet-13-Women
Fact Sheet-14-Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Fact Sheet-15-Children
Fact Sheet-16-Discrimination based on work and descent
Fact Sheet-17-Tribals
Fact Sheet-18-Persons with Disabilities
Fact Sheet-19-Refugees and Asylum Seekers
Fact Sheet-20-Religious Minorities
Fact Sheet-21-Nomadic
Fact Sheet-22-The Elderly
Fact Sheet-23-Right to Inform
Fact Sheet-24-Human Rights Education
Fact Sheet-25-National Human Rights Institutions
Fact Sheet-26-Collaboration with UN
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