NHRC, India statement on media release of AiNNI report<br> <br>

The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, India is pained to notice that a group of NGOs, under the banner of All India Network of NGOs and Individuals, AiNNI, who, due to some vested interests, perhaps, have lowered the prestige of the country in the eyes of the world community by asking the International Coordination Committee, ICC to downgrade a national institution like NHRC, India which has "A" accreditation status for its credibility as a human rights organization. This despite the fact that the NHRC, India is the most empowered autonomous and independent statutory NHRI in the world and also recognized so.

The report prepared by these NGOs on the NHRC, India and released, recently in New Delhi at a press conference by Justice J.S. Verma, former Chairperson, NHRC and in Mumbai by Justice H. Suresh, a former high court Judge, and also reported about in a section of media is misleading as it seeks to misrepresent the facts. The Commission is disappointed to see that its former Chairperson associated himself with the release of a report on the NHRC, India which also criticizes his period for not doing enough to protect the human rights.

The NHRC, India scrupulously adheres to the provisions of section 12(i) of the Protection of Human Rights Act,1993 and has a mechanism in place for having periodical consultations with the NGOs on vital human rights issues in not only generating awareness, but also in assessing human rights scenario. The NHRC, India organizes meetings of its Core Group of NGOs more frequently than ever before despite a lukewarm response from them. The Commission has also been taking steps to ensure the safety of the human rights defenders, who mostly include the active members of the civil society, and has set up a focal point for them.

It is strange that people behind AiNNI and criticizing the NHRC, India are also the members of its Core Group of NGOs. They have been repeatedly asked to contribute for National Human Rights Action Plan on which the NHRC, India is working, but none of them made any contribution. Despite invitations from the NHRC, India on many occasions, these NGOs failed to turn up to its national level seminars, workshops and consultat-ions on many important human rights issues. This shows that they are only interested in criticizing the NHRC, India only to distort public perception and faith in it.
During the last 17 years of its existence since 1993, the NHRC, India has emerged as one of the leading institutions in the Asia Pacific Region by virtue of its interventions, recommendations and proactive approach in matters of human rights violations. This is a fact well recognized by the international bodies, including the ICC of National Human Rights Institutions which accredited it with 'A' status in 2006. The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navanethem Pillay, during in her visit to India in recent past, also appreciated the NHRC, India for its work.

The Commission has succeeded in getting the human rights education included in the curriculum of the universities, colleges and schools and also in training institutes. This
is an ongoing effort, which is being pursued with vigour and commitment.

The rising number of complaints on human rights violations only proves the fact that awareness is growing about the NHRC, India's work and the faith the people have in it. Most of the recommendations made by the NHRC, India are implemented by the public authorities. Its recommendations on the issues like bonded and child labour, torture, narco analysis, mental health, manual scavenging, silicosis, Endosulfan, rights of physically challenged, displacement of people due to riots or industrialization, encounter and custodial deaths etc. have made significant impact. The Government of Orissa on the recommendations of the Commission recently abolished age old 'Bartan' system, which is a kind of bonded labour.

The Commission also restored the practice of camp sitting during the year 2010-2011 and held two sittings for Southern States at Bangalore and for Orissa at Bhubaneswar for an on the spot disposal of long pending cases.

During the year 2010-2011, the Commission disposed of 88788 cases, out of which in 574 cases, monetary relief to the tune of ` 19 crores was recommended. During the year 2009-2010, the Commission disposed of 86050 cases, out of which in 398 cases, monetary relief to the tune of ` 6.29 crores was recommen-ded. During the year 2008-2009, the Commission disposed of 103996 cases, out of which in 373 cases, monetary relief to the tune of ` 5.02 crores was recommended.

The Commission has been instrumental in persuading states to set up Human Rights Commissions and twenty states have set up the State Human Rights Commissions. The Commission functions and acts as per its jurisdiction and powers bestowed upon it by the Protection of Human Rights Act passed by Parliament. But given the complaints on human rights violations in Jammu & Kashmir, where it does not have full jurisdiction, the Commission, for the first time, recently gave a thorough interpretation to the Act explaining that the NHRC, India has a role to facilitate good governance in the state for protection and promotion of the human rights and to that extent it has its jurisdiction in J&K state also.

The Chairperson and Members of the Commission are appointed by the President of India on the recommendations by a committee headed by the Prime Minister and comprising Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha, Leader of opposition, Rajya Sabha, Speaker of Lok Sabha, Leader of the opposition, Lok Sabha and the Union Home Minister. This is considered as the most transparent process of appointment of Chairperson and Members of the Commission in the world. The Commission is making efforts to impress upon the government to have in place a new Act for the people with disabilities conforming to the UNCRPD."