NHRC notices civil society just ahead of G20; unimpressed AINNI calls for boycott
Given the NHRC's failure to send teams to Manipur or report on its 23 May deliberations, AINNI calls for boycott of its 5 September meeting
The All-India Network of NGOs and Individuals working with National and State Human Rights Institutions (AINNI) has appealed to civil society organisations to boycott a meeting convened by the National Human Rights Commission on 5 September.
Human rights activists suspect that the meeting is mere eyewash, because the commission has shown little to no interest in engaging with them during the past several years. The NHRC chairman, retired Supreme Court justice Arun Mishra, too has shown scant interest in interacting with civil society organisations until now.
The 5 September meeting, they allege, has been called as an exercise in ‘ticking off boxes’ ahead of the G20 summit in New Delhi, designed to mislead international delegates attending the conference about the deplorable human rights record of India.
Here is the complete text of the statement issued by Tamil Nadu-based Henri Tiphagne on behalf of AINNI:
The NHRC has, after considerable inactivity, called a meeting with civil society on 5 September 2023 in New Delhi.
The NHRC was a mute spectator to the gross human rights violations in Manipur since 3 May 2023. It is only after the chief justice of the Supreme Court of India spoke out on 20 July 2023 that the NHRC India belatedly issued a notice to the government of Manipur on 24 July 2023.
No visit to the state has been undertaken, information of which is in the public domain. The NHRC’s silence and apathy on the egregious sexual violence against women from minorities and especially vulnerable groups, the latest example being the public sexual abuse and gang rape of women from the Kuki-Zo community in Manipur, has laid bare its lack of concern for women’s human rights.
This is despite the NHRC’s full commission having been convened on 23 May 2023. No report of the full commission has been made public, three months after the meeting.
The NHRC meeting with civil society has been called only a few days before the deadline for submitting a report to the Sub Committee of Accreditation (SCA) of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANRHI) regarding NHRC’s accreditation. Its intention is clearly suspect.
It may be recalled that the NHRC‘s membership of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) was deferred for a year in March 2023 due to it not being in compliance with the UN Paris Principles. These principles are the lowest common denominator for the running of national human rights institutions.
The meeting on 5 September is only a charade to tell the international human rights community that the Indian human rights NGO community is being consulted. The fact is that the community is being consulted nominally, on paper, as a token.
We call upon all responsible civil society representatives to disassociate with the NHRC, which is hosting a meeting of civil society representatives on 5 September 2023.
This hastily called meeting is obviously a 'box-ticking' exercise rather than a genuine attempt at dialogue and discussion with the large, vibrant human rights community in India.
This community in India has been so vibrant that for its universal periodic review (UPR) report to the UN Human Rights Council in 2022, it held over 4,000 meetings across the country, translating the UPR session into regional languages, bringing human rights (conversations) close to people on the ground at the community level and to the panchayat-level organisations, institutions, NGOs, academic classes and others.
The NHRC chair, Mr. Arun Mishra, did not enter into any dialogue or communication with AINNI.Henri Tiphagne, All-India Network of NGOs and Individuals working with National and State Human Rights Institutions (AINNI)