NHRC condemned for the failure to act on Orissa

New Delhi: Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) today condemned the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India for its abject failure to send an investigation team to visit the strife-torn areas of Orissa. A number of central government teams including Minister of State for Home Shri Prakash Jaiswal visited Orissa, and Home Minister Shivraj Patil is scheduled to visit the affected areas today.


Over 50 persons, mainly Christians, have been killed, over 200 villages have been effected and hundreds of churches including house churches have been burnt down. About 15,000 displaced in the conflicts have been living in inhumane and deplorable conditions. The riots continue to occur in Kandhamal and surrounding districts for the last ten days. Yet, NHRC has failed to issue any public statement either to condemn the killings or visit the strife-torn areas to improve the situation of the victims, in particular, those who have been displaced.


“The perfunctory notice issued by the NHRC to the State government of Orissa, which has been suppressing the actual status of grave situation including the number of deaths, to submit a report is scandalous considering the scale of the violence against Christians.” –Stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights in a letter addressed to Chairman of the NHRC, Justice Rajendra Babu.


“The NHRC has failed to fulfill its legal and moral obligation for the protection and promotion of human rights. The existence of NHRC has increasingly come to mean wastage of national resources to shield the State authorities for their acts of commissions and omissions on human rights.”further added Mr Chakma


Under Section 12 of the Human Rights Protection Act, NHRC is legally bound to inquire, suo motu or on a petition presented, into complaint of and violation of human rights or abetment thereof; or negligence in the prevention of such violation.


ACHR urged NHRC to immediately send an investigation team to Orissa to inquire into killings in Orissa, improve the conditions of the internally displaced persons and take other necessary measures for prosecution of the culprits.


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