Date: 15 November 2013

India improves its performance at UN’s UPR but refuses to recommend anything to Sri Lanka

New Delhi: Asian Centre for Human Rights in its report, “India’s role for promotion of human rights in third countries through Universal Periodic Review, released today, stated that India’s performance on scrutinising human rights records of other countries during the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the United Nations Human Rights Council has improved but it refused to make any recommendation to Sri Lanka. This is the first study assessing India's performance on scrutinising human rights record of other countries at the United Nations.

During the first cycle of the UPR from 2008 to 2011,  human rights records of 191 countries were reviewed and India participated in the deliberations on 107 countries while it remained silent on the rest 84 countries. Out of 107 countries, India made a total of 38 recommendations on 28 countries while comments and questions were asked from 79 countries.

During the Second Cycle from 2012 until 3 May 2013, a total of 55 countries including Sri Lanka were reviewed and India made comments on 10 countries without any recommendations while it made 37 specific recommendations with comments on 19 countries.

There is a comparative improvement during the second cycle of the UPR. In terms of number of recommendations, India had made 37 specific recommendations on 19 countries out of 55 countries reviewed during the second cycle until 3 May 2013 in comparison to 38 recommendations made to 28 out of the 191 countries during the first cycle. Further, during the second cycle, India improved its recommendations on Algeria, Bahrain, Ecuador, France, Japan, Romania, United Arab Emirates, Germany, Canada and Cuba even though India made no recommendations despite making comments on Indonesia, Ukraine, Sri Lanka, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan,  Bangladesh  and Russian Federation.

"Regrettably, during the review of Sri Lanka on 1 November 2012, India called for speedy resolution of the residual issues in resettlement and rehabilitation of the displaced Tamils and credible investigations into allegations in the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) report but it did not make any specific recommendation on its demands despite voting in favour of the resolution at the UN Human Rights Council sessions against Sri Lanka in March 2012." -stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights.

“During the first cycle, India excessively focused on the human rights situations in Europe and the United States as it made recommendations on 16 European countries and the United States in comparison to 12 countries from the rest of the world. Its geographical focus during the second cycle is improving and it  is a step in the right direction. ” – further stated Mr Chakma.

Considering that “not raising questions or not making recommendations as a strategy to avoid scrutiny of one’s human rights record is not an option available to any Member State under the Universal Periodic Review”, Asian Centre for Human Rights recommended to the Government of India to broaden geographical focus beyond the Western countries; promote its experiences of addressing discrimination through affirmative action which has strong resonance including for the Romas in Europe; to follow up recommendations it makes in the previous sessions; and expand its thematic focus beyond the soft issues like the rights of the child, National Human Rights Institutions and the rights of the persons with disabilities. [Ends]