TODAY -

Ensure that harassment and surveillance of Mr. Urikhimbham, and his organisation is stopped

01st March 2018



INDIA: Ensure that harassment and surveillance of Mr. Urikhimbham, and his organisation is stopped.

ISSUES: Surveillance of Human Rights Defenders, freedom of movement, protection of Human Rights Defenders.

Dear Friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from the Human Rights Initiative, the Committee on Human Rights, Human Rights Alert, and Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur regarding the harassment and surveillance on Nobo Urikhimbam, human rights defender and activist.

CASE NARRATIVE:

The AHRC has received information regarding the military surveillance of an official of the Centre for Social Development (CSD). The Secretary of the CSD, Mr. Urikhimbam Nobokishore, is being especially targeted. Since the 10th of January 2018, there has been military surveillance of the office premises of the CSD. A white maruti Gypsy, with security forces, was seen parked for long hours from 11AM till 7PM. The security detail comprised of military personnel, having both locals Manipuris as well as persons from outside the state.

Mr. Nobokishore’s every movement is being watched, even outside of office premises. When he travelled to Shillong, Meghalaya to admit his son to school, the Indian intelligence agencies were already there investigating his stay in a hotel. By the time he had checked into the hotel at around 3 PM on 8th February 2018, intelligence agencies had already contacted the Hotel and its staff.

The Hotel Staff of the Yalana Hotel were interrogated by the Intelligence Department of Meghalaya. They asked the staff to provide detailed information on activities of Mr. Nobokishore, including his reason for visiting Shillong and a list of the people he interacted with during his stay.

The harassment being conducted hasn’t been just on Mr. Nobokishore. Previously, on 2nd August 2017, two persons who claimed to be from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) went to the President of the CSD, seeking details of the work and activities of the organization. The personnel once again intruded on 4th August 2017.

Later, on August 11th 2017, six armed young persons visited the CSD office premises at 10:45 AM. They refused to disclose their identity, and caused great fear in the minds of the staff and members of the organisation. The movements of these youths were captured on the CCTV and shown to the police, to no avail. On 18th August, 2017, another employee named Mr. Dhanabir Singh was attacked by four persons (including one in uniform). The police refused to file an FIR citing the lack of sufficient evidence.

On 4th October 2017, Mr. Nobokishore was under attack by a proscribed organisation. It was reported to the Porompat Police Station. Again, no action was taken. In the last week of November 2017, two volunteers and a staff of the CSD visited the Heingang and Moreh Police Station. They were interrogated about their harassment claims, and instead of providing assistance, they were subjected to further harassment.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Mr. Nobokishore and the staff of CSD have every reason to believe that the harassment and its threats is in relation to the series of initiatives to promote and protect the human rights of the indigenous peoples of Manipur, including their rights over land and natural resources.

The freedom to move, assemble and form associations is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution of India. The constant monitoring and investigation has disturbed the normal life, work and activities of Mr. Nobokishore and his organisation.

Human Rights defenders play a crucial role in ensuring protection of human rights, seek justice and build peace in the armed conflict affected Manipur. It is a matter of serious concern that all threats, ill treatment and harassment of human right defenders of Manipur by state actors and others are stopped. It is the constitutional right of an individual to freedom of movement, assembly and association.

This should be respected, and security forces should not instill fear in these Human Rights defenders. The Government of India must ensure the safety and security of all the officials of the CSD, and all surveillance and investigation on these officials must be completely stopped. There is a great need for human rights defenders to be protected in Manipur, as per the UN Declaration on the Rights of Human Rights Defenders, 1998.

SUGGESTED ACTION:

The AHRC calls for quick action on the matter as there is a looming threat to Mr. Nobokishore, and members and staff of the CSD. We urge the Government of India to communicate with the Director Generals of Police of Manipur and Meghalaya, and ask them to heed the complaints submitted on the issue.

The AHRC is writing separate letters to the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, and to the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, calling for their intervention into this matter.

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear ___________,

INDIA: Ensure that harassment and surveillance of Mr. Urikhimbham, and his organisation is stopped.

Name of victim: Mr. Urikhimbam Nobokishore, and members and staff of the Center for Social Development, Manipur

Names of alleged perpetrators: Alleged - Intelligence agencies and security forces, unknown

Date of incident: August 2017 till date.

Place of incident: Manipur and Meghalaya States in North East India.

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the information received from Human Rights Organisations in Manipur that the members and staff of the Centre for Social Development are continually under survillence. The Secretary of CSD, Mr. Urikhimbham Nobokishore is being specifically targeted as well.

According to the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), it has received troubling updates about the constant military surveillance of social workers in the state of Manipur. Every movement is being watched, even when the workers are conducting personal activities. Since the 10th of January, Mr. Nobokishore has been followed even when he is travelling for personal matters. People around him are interrogated for details on these activities.

Later, on August 11th 2017, six armed young persons visited the CSD office premises at 10:45 AM. They refused to disclose their identity, and caused great fear in the minds of the staff and members of the organization. The movements of these youths were captured on the CCTV and shown to the police, to no avail. On 18th August, 2017, another employee named Mr. Dhanabir Singh was attacked by four persons (including one in uniform). The police refused to file an FIR citing the lack of sufficient evidence.

On 4th October 2017, Mr. Nobokishore was under attack by a proscribed organization. It was reported to the Porompat Police Station. Again, no action was taken. In the last week of November 2017, two volunteers and a staff of the CSD visited the Heingang and Moreh Police Stations. They were interrogated about their harassment claims, and instead of providing assistance, they were subjected to further harassment.

Mr. Nobokishore and the staff of CSD have every reason to believe that the harassment and threats are in relation to the series of initiatives to promote and protect the human rights of the indigenous peoples of Manipur, including their rights over land and natural resources.

Social workers play a crucial role in the State. It is a matter of serious concern that the Human Rights Defenders of Manipur are being ill treated, threatened and harassed by state actors. The Government must ensure that the Fundamental Right to Life, and other rights, enshrined in the Constitution are duly enforced.

Thereby, I request you to take all action possible to ensure that there are no further threats to the members and staff of the Centre for Social Development, Manipur. The surveillance, on part of the military, and otherwise, must be halted. The police must act on complaints filed in Police Stations. Most importantly, the Government of India must ensure security for the lives which are now instilled with fear.

Yours Sincerely,

PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. L.M. Khaute
IPS Director General of Police (DGP),
Manipur Police Headquarters
Imphal -97500.
Manipur.
Tel: +91-0385-2451166
Fax: +91-0385-2449825
Email: dgp-mnp@nic.in

2. Justice HL Dattu
Chairperson,
National Human Rights Commission
Manav Adhikar Bhawan,
Block-C, GPO Complex, INA
New Delhi - 110 023.
Email: cr.nhrc@nic.in

3. Shri Rajnath Singh
Minister of Home Affairs
Room no 104, North Block, Central Secretariat
New Delhi – 110001.
Tel: +9111 23092462
Fax: +9111 23094221
Email: jscpg-mha@nic.in



Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)


Asian Human Rights Commission
G/F
52 Princess Margaret Road
Ho Man Tin, Kowloon
Hongkong S.A.R.
Tel: +(852) 2698-6339 Fax: +(852) 2698-6367
Web: www.humanrights.asia
twitter/youtube/facebook: humanrightsasia


* This Press Release was sent to e-pao.net by Asian Human Rights Commission who can be contacted at www.humanrights.asia
This Press Release was posted on March 03 2018

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