Monday, November 03, 2008

Breaking myth, impunity and silence

Breaking myth, impunity and silence
Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi 2/11/2008 11:40:09 PM(IST)

People’s Watch in league with the Friedrich Naumann Stifung, began the National Project on Preventing Torture in India (NPPT) in January, 2006 with a grant from the European Union under the EIDHR. This project is operationalizing in 47 districts of nine states of India namely Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Rajasthan, Orissa, Karnataka, Andra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Primary aim of the action is to initiate and to focus on torture focuses on torture practices routinely employed by Police. In this project we are mainly focusing especially upon safeguarding groups on the margins of Indian society, such as dalits, tribal groups, minorities, women and children.

The goal of this project is

Protecting potential victim of torture, particularly those belonging to vulnerable and marginalized communities.
Highlight individual cases of torture as they occurs
improving institutional responses to instances of torture by demanding state accountability
Advancing an ethics of responsibility and restraint among the law enforcement officers.
Educating and enlisting professional groups such as lawyers, social activist, doctors, psychiatrists, journalists and teachers in the campaign to prevent and eliminate torture
Raising public awareness of torture as an unlawful and wide spread abuse of police power
Promoting favourable policy outcomes in the form of new anti – torture legislation and commitment to existing international treaties.

The overall goal of this project is the prevention and reduction of torture in India, where police abuses remain an entrenched and often routine law enforcement strategy despite India’s status as the world’s largest democracy.

Project design reflects priorities set up by the European Commission’s EIDHR call for proposals- specifically, research on torture practice, and research on torture practices, legal supports for victims, awareness raising and legislative lobbying.

The project deal with frequent police practices like assault and physical abuse, custodial death, custodial rape, threat and psychological humiliation and deprivation of water, food, sleep and medical attention.

In the duration of two 2006- 2007, the project undertook 4425 fact- findings through district by district torture monitoring, providing the basis for 4215 targeted legal interventions performed by staff lawyers in each states.

In 2006 – 2007 the project conducted 171 state awareness conferences targeting a total of 15,568 participants from various professions implicated in the elimination of torture including lawyers, social activist, psychiatry, journalist and teachers.

Ultimately, one of the most enduring effects of the project was model that its sets for addressing issues of torture nationality. Recognizing that there are insufficient resources to stanch the practice of torture nationally, a key aspect of this approach is the “model taluk” in which monitoring and campaigning efforts will be intensely focused in one “taluk” (an administrative sub division of a district) in each states, with the goal of working towards the elimination of torture practices entirely. This model will create a paradigm for the prevention and elimination of torture on a much larger scale.

With the slogan “BREAKING MYTH, IMPUNITY AND SILENCE” People’s Tribunal on Torture was organized in respective nine states. Finally in the month of September National Tribunal on torture was organized in New Delhi with the selected cases from these nine states.

Lots of Human Rights tortured victim from survivor became bare foot worker and they are guiding others for the legal advocacy of their cases. The outcome research through the data collect through fact – finding clearly state that torture is a serious problem and to generate conviction of torture practices within a wider culture of rights, to improve enforcement of and adherence to existing constitutional guarantees, and to lobby for the UNCAT ratification and the stricter domestic laws in India’s parliament and individual state legislative assemblies.

With the ratification of UNCAT and domestic law we should also campaign and make pressure on policy maker to authorize and validate psychological mapping of the police torture victim as equal to medico – legal report. As lots of torture victim are suffering from psychological problems – Nightmares, Memories, Fear of going out, Self isolation, Panic attacks, Anxiety, Depression, Suicidal thoughts and Sleeping disorder.

One state used “Testimonial Therapy” with the support of a Danish based organization known as Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victim (RCT) under the guidance of psychologist Dr. Inger Agger. The cases for the Testimonial Therapy were selected from those 73 cases which were heeded in the people’s Tribunal. Now this Therapy is being used in different country like Sri Lanka etc.

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