UPR Media Briefing Note


Thursday, 24 May 2012 (Afternoon)
For use of information media; not an official record

State under review

India
Represented by 19-member delegation headed by Mr. Goolam VAHANVATI, Attorney General of India.

Documents

To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit the India page on UPR website.

Troika *

Kuwait, Mauritius, Mexico.

Opening statement by State under review

Key points from opening statement of State under review:

  • Over the last several years, several significant developments have taken place in the field of human rights in India, among them the enactment of the Right to Information Act, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, the Rights to Education Act and the National Food Security Bill;
  • Several measures have been put in place to ensure that there were strict guidelines for the armed forces when dealing with terrorists and insurgents;
  • The Minister noted that the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions recently visited the country;
  • In terms of social and economic rights, poverty has declined by 9% in a decade; the Rural Employment Guarantee Act has also played a crucial role in that regard;
  • The infant mortality rate has also decreased from 58 thousand births in 2005 to 47 thousand in 2010;
  • The Rights to Education Act required the State to provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of 6 to 14 years; rural habitation with access to primary school has increased from 87% in 2002 to 99% in 2008;
  • In 2007, the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights was established and a National Mission for the Empowerment of Women was launched in 2010;
  • The National Food Security Bill has led to a policy whereby two-thirds of the population will be entitled to receive subsidized food grains under Targeted Public Distribution System, with a special focus on women, children and other special groups;
  • The Minister also noted that the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders also visited the country;
  • The Indian media, civil society and other activists have helped the Government to be vigilant against transgressions and ensured that the best practices were disseminated.

(See full statement on the India page on UPR Extranet)

Participants

In total, 80 States participated in the discussion:  31 HRC members and 49 observers  (Statements available on India page on UPR Extranet).

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • Increased access to education, sanitation and safe drinking water;
  • The decriminalization of homosexuality and the July 2009 ruling in that regard;
  • The extension of a standing invitation to Special Procedures; 
  • Measures taken to promote and protect the rights of the child;
  • Efforts to eradicate and combat poverty;
  • The measures implemented to reduce the HIV rates in the country.

Issues and Questions

Main issues and questions raised by the Working Group:

  • Challenges faced in respecting human rights when carrying out counter-terrorism policies;
  • Limitations of freedom of expression on the Internet; intimidation against and killings of media professionals;
  • Steps to address the issue of honour killings and child marriage;
  • The status of caste-based discrimination and efforts to stamp out discrimination in general;
  • Measures intended to bring about significant improvement in maternal and child health.

Recommendations

In total, States participating in the discussion posed a series of recommendations to India. These included, among others: 

  • To ratify the CAT and OPCAT; to allow the Special Rapporteur on torture to visit the country; to ratify the Convention on Enforced Disappearances; and to ratify the OP to the ICCPR;
  • To institute an official moratorium on the death penalty;
  • To ensure that human rights were fully respected when carrying out counter-terrorism policies; to address incidents of extrajudicial killings and torture committed by security forces; to review the Armed Forces Special Powers Act;
  • To implement the 2011 ICC recommendations to ensure the high standards and independence of National Human Rights Institutions;
  • To guarantee effective access to justice and provide legal aid to the poor and marginalized;
  • To institute a national action plan to eradicate all forms of discrimination; to increase sensitization and reduce discriminatory attitudes among law enforcement officers through human rights education and training;
  • To reconsider laws and bills on religious conversion in several Indian States in the light of freedom of religion or belief;
  • To provide adequate protection for members of religious minorities, scheduled castes and Adivasi groups, as well as women, victims of trafficking and LGBT citizens; to prevent and combat violence stemming from caste and religious discrimination;
  • To prohibit harmful and discriminatory practices that violated the rights of women and girls;
  • To take practical steps to reduce the high level of maternal and child mortality; to intensify efforts toward implementing MDG 5 (maternal health) and to set up an independent body to advance programmes and policies on maternal health;
  • To consider ratifying the Optional Protocol of CEDAW; to reinforce efforts to combat and protect and rehabilitate victims of human trafficking; to enhance laws to ensure the protection of minors from sexual violence;
  • To ban all forms of child labour and ratify ILO Conventions 138 and 182 in that regard; to implement the recommendations included in the report of the OHCHR on street children (A/HRC/19/35);
  • To prioritize efforts to ensure children with disabilities are afforded the same level of rights; to conclude efforts to ensure the CRPD, which it has ratified, is in line with domestic laws;
  • To provide more resources in the favour of economic and social rights, especially for the benefit of vulnerable groups;
  • To amend the Special Marriage Act so as to give equal rights to property accumulated during marriage; to take additional steps to combat female foeticide;
  • To adopt the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders; to continue to safeguard the right of legitimate NGOs to operate without undue restriction; to enact a law on the protection of human rights defenders;
  • To ensure that measures to limit freedom of expression on the Internet was in line with international human rights standards; to ensure safe working environment for journalists and take proactive measures to address the issue of impunity.

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on India is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, 30 May 2012.

The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR. 

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