TODAY -

Death threats against four indigenous Meitei human rights defenders
- The Observatory -

Imphal, April 21, 2011



The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), has requested the GOI for thier urgent intervention in the following situation in India.

The Observatory has been informed by the Centre for Organisation Research and Education (CORE) of the death threats received by Mrs. Ibempishak Takhellambam, Mrs. Memcha Sagolsem, Mrs. Anita Konjengbam and Mrs. Momon Mayanglambam, four indigenous Meitei human rights defenders, members of Manipur Chanura Leishem Marup (also known as "Macha Leima"), an organisation dedicated to the empowerment and the defence of the rights of indigenous women.

These threats occurred following to the refusal of the State Public Information Officer of the State of Manipur to inform them on taken by local authorities of Pallel Gram Panchayat to implement the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS)[1]. The four women human rights defenders have been trying to obtain such information relying upon the Right to Information (RTI) Act of 2005.

Some unidentified man came to Mrs. Takhellambam's house in Pallel Mamang Leikal, Thoubal district, Manipur, where they met her husband and her younger son and told them that the "work" done by the four women should stop immediately, otherwise they would face dire consequences. They gave them mobile telephone number +91 ****** , and left. At around 7.30 p.m. the same day, Mrs. Takhellambam called the number. As a male voice reportedly picked up the phone, she asked this man to disclose his identity and to explain her what he wanted. The latter replied that there was no need for her to ask any questions, and that she should stop the activity that she was doing immediately, otherwise she would have to face dire consequences.

Actions requested:

The Observatory urges the authorities of India to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mrs. Ibempishak Takhellambam, Mrs. Memcha Sagolsem, Mrs. Anita Konjengbam Mrs. Momon Mayanglambam, and of all human rights defenders in India;

ii. Order an immediate, thorough, effective, transparent and impartial investigation into the death threats they received, the result of which must be made public, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before a civil competent and impartial tribunal and apply to them the penal sanctions provided by the law;

iii. Put an end to acts of harassment and threats faced by defenders of economic and social rights in India, and by all Indian human rights defenders;

iv. Conform to the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, especially:

- its Article 1, which states that "everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels";

- its Article 6(a), which provides that "everyone has the right, individually and in associations with others, to know, seek, obtain, receive and hold information about all human rights and fundamental freedoms";

- its Article 9.2, which provides that "everyone whose rights or freedoms are allegedly violated has the right, either in person or through legally authorized representation, to complain to and have that complaint promptly reviewed in a public hearing before an independent, impartial and competent judicial or other authority established by law and to obtain from such an authority a decision, in accordance with law, providing redress, including any compensation due, where there has been a violation of that person's rights or freedoms, as well as enforcement of the eventual decision and award, all without undue delay";

- and its Article 12.2, which states that "the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration".

v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by India.

Adresses:

* Shri Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India,
* Dr. P. Chidambaram, Union Minister of Home Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs,
* Justice Kapadia, Chief Justice of India and RK. Raghavan, Chairman of the Special Investigation Team, Supreme Court,
* Justice K. G. Balkrishnan, Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission of India, Faridkot House,
* Gopinathan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Permanent Representative to the United Nations (Geneva)
* Embassy of India in Brussels

The Observatory, an OMCT and FIDH venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

Link here




* This PR was webcasted on April 21 2011 .

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