CURTAIN RAISER: NHRC begins its Silver Jubilee celebrations with a media dialogue at IIMC, New Delhi tomorrow on 5th September, 2018 (04.09.2018)

New Delhi, 4th September, 2018
The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, India starts its series of Silver Jubilee Celebrations tomorrow on the 5th September, 2018 with a composite programme focusing on its engagement with various media platforms. For this, it has collaborated with the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, IIMC, New Delhi.
The programmes includes a panel discussion with senior journalists on the 'Role of Media in Creating Awareness on Human Rights';Release of NHRC Documentary Film;Screening of NHRC award winning Short Films -2018; andPresentation of Human Rights Short Film awards.

Mr. Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad, Chairman, Press Council of India will be the Chief Guest of the function to be attended by the NHRC Chairperson, Members, Secretary General and senior officers, DG, IIMC, Faculty and students of IIMC and other media institutions, representatives of civil society, media etc.

The NHRC, India is an institution compliant with UN mandated Paris Principles and having an 'A' status of accreditation with Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions, GANHRI besides being a founder member of the Asia Pacific Forum, APF. The mandate of the Commission is to work for the promotion and protection of human rights and take cognizance of such complaints wherein the actions, inactions and omissions of government functionaries, prima facie or allegedly, cause human rights violation. It is a recommendatory quasi-judicial body having powers of a civil court to call for any documents and summon any public authority in a case of human rights violation. In a case of human rights violation, its recommendations are twofold: relief to the victim and punishment to the guilty.

The Commission's functioning is focused mainly around the six key areas and allied activities. These include registration and disposal of complaints of human rights violations, enquiry into the complaints, research into the generic issues of human rights and study of related international treaties, covenants and domestic laws as well as the proposed bills, organizing consultations with different stakeholders on human rights issues, providing training and orientation in the field of human rights, bringing out publications and dissemination of information through the news media and the various other alternative media platforms for building widespread awareness on the importance of promotion and protection of human rights, besides meeting the requirements related to the management of infrastructure, manpower and financial resources.

Disposal of more than 17 lakh cases, payment of more than one billion rupees to the victims of human rights violations by various state agencies on the recommendations of the Commission, more than 750 spot enquiries, 20 open hearings and 25 camp sittings covering the length and breadth of the country, reviews and comments on over 40 bills and legislations, conduct of more than 200 seminars, conferences and workshops, 27 month-long internships, 1300 attachment programmes, more than thousand sponsored awareness trainings through various institutions and NGOs, more than 50 publications besides about 25 volumes of nearly 300 monthly Newsletters in English and Hindi, hundreds of media reports etc bear a testimony to the NHRC, India's multi-dimensional work for the cause of human rights during its first 25 years.

The NHRC, India considers media as its equal partner in its endeavour towards the promotion and protection of human rights. No wonder, the first few cases registered by the Commission were based on its 'suo motu' cognizance of media reports about human rights violations. In fact, many incidents of human rights violations, that happened in far flung areas of the country, could come to the notice of the Commission only because of media reports. In recognition of this fact, the Commission thought it apt to commence its silver jubilee celebrations with a dialogue with media as well as showcasing some samples of its engagement with some alternative media platforms of mass appeal and communication.

It's not a co-incidence that the Commission proposed to collaborate with the prestigious Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi for this composite event, which is intended at highlighting how, in addition to reaching out to the news media, the Commission has been exploring multimedia platforms to expand its outreach for the cause of human rights. The essence of its engagement with the multimedia platforms, which include the Short film on human rights award scheme, Street theatre competition, award and festival scheme, Painting, Tagline/Slogan writing and Logo designing competitions, commissioning of theme specific short films etc is to involve people and seek their meaningful participation as a catalyst to think of human rights and promote them.

In the near future, the NHRC, India also intends to engage with various innovative medium of mass communication, including the vast network of community radio stations in the country to provide them content and information, for their respective target audience groups about the human rights and how to promote and protect them and approach the grievance redressal mechanism.
The Commission believes that its role is not limited merely to the registration and disposal of complaints of human rights violations; it is also for creating an enabling atmosphere as a preventive mechanism to check incidents of human rights violations. An action to prevent an act of crime is better and valuable than an action after an act of crime. Recommendation of relief to a victim of human rights violation and punishment to the guilty public servant has some deterrent effect but a more sustainable idea would be to educate and inform people about the importance of human rights and values to check violations thereof.

This, in real sense, can be achieved by building mass awareness among people, using effectively various multi-media platforms, in a mission mode, with the cooperation from all the stakeholders including the Centre and State Governments, civil society and media. The 25 years' experience of the NHRC, India provides a bulwark to guide it on this path as a way forward into its golden jubilee, twenty five years thence.