Indian armed forces have utmost respect for human rights, says Army Chief General Bipin Rawat: Human Rights Cell upgraded to the level of a Directorate in Army Headquarters... (27.12.2019)

Indian armed forces have utmost respect for human rights, says Army Chief General Bipin Rawat: Human Rights Cell upgraded to the level of a Directorate in Army Headquarters: Army starts recruitment of lady Jawans in Military police force to address the concerns of women during search operations

New Delhi, 27th December, 2019

The Chief of the Army Staff General Bipin Rawat today said that Indian Armed Forces are much disciplined and have utmost respect for human rights laws and International human rights law. The Indian armed forces not only ensure protection of human rights of our own people but also of adversaries and deal with the prisoners of war as per the Geneva Conventions. General Rawat was addressing the interns and senior officers of the National Human Rights Commission on the topic “Preserving Human Rights in times of War and Prisioners of War” at Manav Adhikar Bhawan, New Delhi.

The Army Chief said that the driving ethos of the Indian armed forces is “Insaniyat”( Humanity) and “Sharafat”( Decency). They are extremely secular. The challenge is the changing war fare tactics with the advent of technology. Unlike the attack by any armed forces, the terror attacks remain unaccountable in international law. Hence, the counter terrorism and anti insurgency operations have to be dealt in a manner of winning the hearts of the people by identifying and alienating the insurgents among them without collateral damage, which becomes very challenging and difficult.

General Rawat said that the Army Head Quarters had created a human rights cell in 1993, which now is being upgraded to the level of a Directorate to be headed by an Additional Director General. This will also have police personnel to address the complaints of human rights violations against the armed forces and facilitate related enquiries.

General Rawat said that a new innitiavte has been taken in October this year by recruiting women Jawans in Military Police Force. He said that the Army takes along with it several police personnel in search operations, but keeping in view the concerns of women during such operations, the army has now decided to deploy its lady Jawans of its Military Police Force also.

He said that keeping in view the provisions of human rights law and importance of the protection of human rights, now a court of enquiry is being held after every anti- insurgency operation and all records are maintaned realted to such operations.

Referring to the Armed Force Special Powers Act, AFSPA, the Army Chief said that the Act gives almost the same powers to the Army, which are also exercised by Police and CRPF in connection with search and enquiry operations. However, over the years the army itself has diluted its application in its own way under the ten commandments issued by the Chief of Army Staff, which are to be strictly adhered by every soldier, and particularly those deployed for operations in anti- insurgency areas. The Supreme Court guidelines on this are also being strictly followed by soldiers, who are all given special training before their deployment in counter insurgency and counter terrorism operations.

Earlier, NHRC Member, Mr. Justice P.C. Pant addressing the gathering gave an insight into various laws protecting human rights. He also mentioned about some of the fundamental rights, which are not given to the armed forces in line of their duty.

NHRC Secretary General, Mr. Jaideep Govind welcomed General Rawat and said that the Commission through its internship programmes has started a special lecture series of eminent persons and senior officers to provide an interface between them and the interns and officers of the Commission on human rights and related issues & challenges in their respective fields.

NHRC Member, Dr. D. M. Mulay, Director General (Investigation), Mr. Prabhat Singh, Joint Secretary, Mrs. Anita Sinha and other senior officers, staff and interns were present.