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INDIA – National Human Rights Commission ignores its mandate

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A human
rights organisation in India has accused the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)
of India of  not playing its role when
its response to complaints by NGOs was unsatisfactory.

directive of the Commission was not only shocking but it was in total disregard
of mandates given", said Kirity Roy, Secretary of Kolkata-based human rights
organisation MASUM and National Convener of Programme Against Custodial Torture
and Impunity, in a letter to the commission on 28 May 2009.

Roy's comments
came following a letter he received from the commission in March this year about
a complaint he made in September 2008. It said that his complaint was
"transmitted to the concerned authority", not mentioning the actions the
authority would take.

complaint addressed the death of a Bangladeshi national inside Indian Territory
in June 2008: Sobuj Seikh was killed by the Border Security Force, who says he
was smuggling. But Seikh was unarmed, and was attempting to return to his

Roy said
the response by the Commission decided "not to proceed with this extra judicial
killing" and "the entire matter will be at the disposal of the Ministry of Home
Affairs", pointing out that it is not following its mandate.

He further
commented that the commission was "denying the basic spirit" of the Vienna Declaration
and Programme for Action, set in 1993. The declaration affirms the constructive
role of national human rights institutions in promotion and protection of human
rights at the national level. He also cited the Human Rights Protection Act

"I hope
your good sense and responsibility will take up the case afresh and your
Commission will take proper, just and reasonable order to send a message to the
helpless victim's family members of deceased Sobuj Sk. that NHRC is not
shielding the perpetrators", Roy concluded in his letter.

To read his letter, please click here (.pdf).