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10 Dec 2023, Edition - 3071, Sunday

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A humane reminder: World Human Rights Day

Indrani Thakurata


Humans Rights Day is celebrated on 10 December every year as a reminder that every human on earth has the right to live with full dignity. But this day falls flat on its face if we continue to disregard and violate human rights.

Per a report, abuses by police and security forces, including extrajudicial killings, torture and rape, as well as corruption at all levels of government, are the most significant human rights problems in India. But a closer look tells us of many more.

Violence against women: Over 37,000 cases of rape were reported in 2014; discrimination from police officials and authorities continue to deter women from reporting sexual violence. Most domestic abuse cases go unreported due to fear.

The Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which gives state governments the right to declare any state a “disturbed area,” allowing security forces to fire indiscriminately is a human rights violation. “The law gives forces immunity from civilian prosecution thereby letting many personnel abuse the power,” says Gina Dutta, a lawyer with a firm in Delhi.

Human rights defenders, journalists and protesters continue to face arbitrary arrests,detentions and bans. “Take the recent case of the ban on NDTV.Authorities continue to use “anti-terror” laws such as the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and other state-specific laws which do not meet international human rights standards,” says Puneet Bharadwaj, a lawyer in the Delhi High Court.
Freedom of expression is one of the fundamental rights enjoyed by citizens. But many incidents reveal that it is under threat. “Examples of professors being jailed for expressing dissent or mocking the CM, activists arrested for possessing “pro-Maoist” literature are some,” says Aditi Mukherjee, Human Rights law student.

Section 377 of the Penal Code continues to be used to criminalise same-sex relations between consenting adults. Senior government officials made contradictory statements about whether the law should be retained.

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