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India shied away from UN recommendations: Rights group

October 01, 2012 10:38 IST

A US based rights body and an Indian American Muslim advocacy group have expressed disappointment over India's decision of not accepting all the UN body recommendations on human rights, in particular not ratifying the convention against torture and cruelty.

The Advocates for Human Rights (AHR) and the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), in a statement alleged that India's failure to accept key recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the country by United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva early this month, would affect the rights of minorities. At the same time, the two organisations commended India for its general acceptance of certain critical principles.

After months of internal deliberations, India on September 18 committed to only 67 of the UPR recommendations, some in substantially watered-down form, the joint statement said.

"The definition of terrorism currently employed in the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) increases the arbitrary detention of religious minorities and vilifies them as criminals and traitors due to a presumption of guilt," said Jennifer Prestholdt, deputy director of AHR.

India has failed to commit to the implementation of the Prevention of Atrocities Act or counter terrorism strategies, as recommended by Germany, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, and thus has shirked its obligation to reduce the arbitrary detention of minorities, Prestholdt said.

"The policy machinery in India is responsible for Enforced Disappearances as defined by the Article 2 of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance," said Jawad Khan of IAMC who attended the Universal Periodic Review of India in Geneva in May, 2012 as part of the The Advocates for Human Rights delegation.

Both the groups alleged that the accepted recommendations lack a sense of urgency and are not action-based.

"India adopted only the most passive and diluted recommendations; it shied away from details within the recommendations that instructed it to amend or institute policies, bills, or laws that would ensure the protection of religious minorities," it said.

"Nonetheless, during the September 20 meeting, the Government of India pledged to work assiduously on all issues highlighted during the UPR, regardless of whether it had formally accepted a particular recommendation," the statement said.

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