India defers response to Sept `12

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IMPHAL, May 31: The UN Human Rights Council’s UPR Working Group adopted yesterday the draft report on India’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

According to a press release of the Working Group on Human Rights in India and UN, India’s UPR took place on May 24 in Geneva, where India’s entire human rights record was examined thoroughly by other UN member states.

It further stated that the Government of India’s  oral response during the UPR session  was marked by a general lack of acceptance of human rights challenges in the country and a mere reiteration of domestic laws, policies and Constitutional provisions by the Government of India (GoI).

Eighty countries participated in India’s UPR and made a total of 169 recommendations on a whole range of critical human rights issues, it informed.

Recommendations made to India include: ratify promptly the UN Convention against Torture and the UN Convention on Enforced Disappearances; repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA); adopt the Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence Bill; enact comprehensive reforms to address sexual violence and all acts of violence against women; improve human rights training of police officers; consider abolishing the death penalty or establish a moratium; ban all forms of child labour; strengthen efforts towards addressing maternal and child mortality; strengthen efforts to combat trafficking; and address the inequities based on rural-urban divide, the release said.

“India declined to comment on any of these 169 recommendations at the HRC yesterday”.

Further according to the press statement, GoI decided to examine all the recommendations back in the capital and respond to them prior to the plenary session of the HRC in Geneva in September 2012, where GoI will take a stand on which recommendations it accepts.

According to Miloon Kothari, convener of WGHR: “We look forward to a constructive response form the GoI as it formulates responses to the many useful suggestions that are contained in the document adopted by the UN on May 30, 2012.

These responses from the GoI should be formulated after thorough consultations with the Parliament, human rights institutions, civil society and independent institutions”, the statement quoted.

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