AEHRF makes interventions in the HR Council Session

Asian Eurasian Human Right Forum (AEHRF), a Delhi-based NGO with ECOSOC status made two video interventions in the 44th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on July 13 and 16. Speaking on item 3 of the agenda on ‘Human Rights of Women in prisons, Dr’ K. N Pandita, President AEHRF reminded the Council of “United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners” (Nelson Mandela rules) that the essence of these rules is to treat the female prisoners as human beings and not targets of human rage, revenge, or lust. He contended, “The UNHRC is well aware of the brutal and inhuman treatment of women and young girls as young as 9 years old of Yezidi ethnic group during their captivity in the course of horrendous outrages by ISIS barbarians. He said the treatment meted to females accused and imprisoned, mostly wrongly, of blasphemy in a country where the controversial anti-blasphemy law is promulgated, is inhuman and reprehensible. This discrimination based on faith is so horrifying that even the governor of the province who wanted to treat the victim humanely had to lose his life”.

Dr Pandita said, “Discrimination and deprivation inflicted on women of a religious minority in a region where a variety of radicals and religious extremists have drawn, from the majority group, are perpetrating crimes like kidnapping, rape or gang rape, taking females as hostages and also murdering them in cold blood to wash off the evidence of rape and torture have also come to the notice of human rights activists. The worst is that a neighbouring country offering them asylum on the humanitarian ground is defamed and maligned for being humane.

AEHRF President said that merely reprimanding the perpetrators of heinous crimes like these is not enough. They have to be dealt with strongly by way of deterrence. For example, isolating them and depriving them of various privileges which the member countries of the UNHRC enjoy could be one of the workable options.

Talking to correspondents, Secretary of AEHRF Dr.Yashodhan Agalgaonkar said the human rights violations of women of religious/ethnic minorities mostly happening in theocratic, autocratic and quasi-military states is a matter of grave concern. World democracies should take notice of these human right violations.

In the second written intervention made on July 16 under item 9 on Contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, Xenophobia, which was an Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, Dr Pandita said that his NGO was deeply perturbed by an upward trend in racial discrimination and xenophobia in some parts of the world. However, the redeeming factor was that neither the international community nor the peace-loving people anywhere on the globe want to remain a silent spectator of racial atrocities perpetrated even in the strongest democracy of the world. He said that wanton destruction of historical relics should serve a grim warning that stoking the flames of racism, hatred and discrimination will not be tolerated anymore by the contemporary human race.

Dealing with a crucial point of racism, the veteran Professor reminded that In her report to the 41st Session, the distinguished Special Rapporteur had provided an update on trends in and manifestations of glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and related ideologies; and a human rights analysis of efforts by contemporary Nazi, neo-Nazi and other extremist groups to recruit and radicalize young people.

Prof. Pandita asserted that while AEHRF strongly rejects and condemns contemporary forms of racism, it feels it must urge the Council to discourage speakers and representatives from using such terminology as is reprehensible for its racist content. AEHRF condemns any attempt by an individual, organization or a state of initiating a public level campaign of sullying another state’s reputation by calling their governments as neo-Nazi just because the two are politically at loggerheads. Infusing hatred among the youth by injecting doses of neo-Nazism rhetoric into their narratives is tantamount to promoting racial hatred which is a crime against responsible nations, particularly when we know that in contemporary times autocratic, theocratic and military-controlled states are attempting to pull down democratic, secular and egalitarian structures world over.

Dr Pandita said AEHRF strongly recommends that the member states are disallowed the freedom of viciously labelling leading democracies with negative epithets like Nazi or Fascist. We also recommend that the HRC prompts.

Member states to stop characterizing any country or nation with stigmatic appellations like pro-Nazi etc.

In a side event Secretary of the organization, Dr.Yashodhan Agalgaonkar said, in a world torn by conflicting ideologies and rivalling strategies, AEHRF finds that the great teachings of the Buddha of peace and non – violence could be the lighthouse to guide human societies to chart the new map of peaceful, safe and secure future for the coming generations. The light brought by the Buddha became the lodestar for great humanists like Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela and Gandhi.

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