28, Feb 2020 | Newsclick Report
As the death toll due to the communal violence—which flared up in the national capital and continued for over three days starting February 23—continues to rise, the Working Group on Human Rights in India and the UN (WGHR) has written a letter to the National Human Rights Commission on February 28, reminding the Commission of its statutory mandate. The mandate gives the Commission the power to take suo motu action in the face of human rights violations, particularly acts of omission and commission by public servants.
Signed by humans rights activists and academics including Indira Jaisingh, Sanjoy Hazarika and Teesta Setalvad among others, the letter states, “The mandate and powers of the Commission are independent of assurances or action that may be being taken by other State actors or institutions.”
Calling upon the NHRC to take urgent action, the letter addressed to the Chairman of NHRC states, “The NHRC needs to recall its own rich legacy where the institution had proactively responded to situations of human rights violations.”
Raising questions on the NHRC’s functioning at such times of distress, the letter asks, “We are compelled to ask if the NHRC’s working is in keeping with the ‘A’ status of accreditation accorded by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI)? Does the NHRC’s silence, at this time, not undermine and harm its statutory mandate?”
The letter can be accessed here.
The original report may be read here.