Civil Society Forum on Human Rights

CSFHR e-Newsletter
VOLUME II ISSUE -11 December 2016, January 2017

Violations in News
NHRIs/SHRIs in News
Important Judgements/Orders
Fact-finding reports
Case Updates
Meetings & Workshops
Editorial Team:

Dhirendra Panda
Adv.Chandranath Dani
Rizwana Akhtaree
Pragnya P Jena

Support and Coordination:
Prasanta Panda
Ranjit Sutar
Rashmi Ranjan Pattnaik
Feedback from Readers

Dear Readers,

We are pleased to bring out another issue of CSFHR’s electronic Newsletter. This issue will familiarize you with the regular features and activities of the last two months.

As a major setback, embarrassment to National Human Rights Commission has been made in a damning report to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) recommends that accreditation to India’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) be deferred till November, 2017.

The recommendation has been made by the Global Alliance for National Human Rights Institutions (GA-NHRI), affiliated to the UN’s OHCHR, late in January. This would mean that till accreditation is renewed, the NHRC will be barred from representing India in the UN’s Human Rights Council as well as the UN General Assembly.

We wish our readers happy reading!

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Violations in News

Four minor girls employed in Coimbatore textile mill rescued

The Sulur police rescued four minor girls, hailing from Odisha under Raikia police station of Khandamal district, who were working in a textile mill in the area. A police team from Odisha has arrested a 48-year-old woman who brought the girls to Coimbatore for work but denied them salary. It took seven days for the team to spot the girls.

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Teacher held for molesting student

Police have arrested a teacher of Jamapada Girls’ High School in Jamapada under Patkura police limits of Kendrapara district on charges of molesting a 14-year-old schoolgirl on the campus.

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100 girl students flee SC/ST hostel

Over 100 tribal girl students of Pateswar Degree College reportedly left their hostel at Suakati under Bansapal block in Keonjhar district, students alleged they were facing problems in availing proper food and stipend. Though the administration is aware of these problems but no step has been taken in this regard.

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Man attacks wife with acid in Dhenkanal

A woman was attacked with acid by her husband at Satmaili Chhak under the Hindol police station in Dhenkanal district while the duo were coming to a local court for hearing on a divorce case filed by them.

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Lady Lecturers Of Keonjhar Engineering College Allege Harassment

A lady lecturer of Keonjhar Government Engineering College today brought physical and mental harassment charges against one of their senior lecturers. As per allegations, lecturer Nimai Charan Patel had sent messages and emails late night to her. The lady lecturers have also alleged that their initial complaint filed before the principal was deliberately suppressed.

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Woman, son killed over alleged sorcery practices in Odisha

In a superstition-related crime, a 38-year-old woman and her six-year-old son Bikas of Rajen Basti village under Bamebari police limits in Keonjhar district were stabbed to death on the suspicion of practising sorcery.

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Harassed by police, man attempts self-immolation

A man attempted self-immolation in front of the Collectorate alleging harassment by police. Niranjan Singh was arrested by police in a land dispute case with an ulterior motive as he had filled a FIR against some people who illegally had acquired his Indra Awas House in the village. But instead of arresting them the police had arrested him. He had to run from pillar to post but the authority did not pay any attention.

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Tribal minor girls kidnapped in Odisha’s Bhadrak

Two tribal minor girls have allegedly been kidnapped in Bhadrak district of Odisha. They have claimed in the complaint that the girls have been kidnapped by the two tractor helpers with the help of Manas.

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2 girl students critically injured in elephant attack in Odisha

Two girl students of a school were critically injured in an elephant attack at Ambajhara forest in Nilagiri area of Odisha’s Balasore district.

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Tribal woman gang raped in Odisha’s Balasore, hospitalized

A tribal woman was allegedly gang raped in Odisha’s Balasore district while she was on her way to a forest to collect firewood. Acording to reports, the woman was gang raped by three persons in a forest near Sahupada under Remuna police limits.

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Students risk lives studying at dilapidated school in Bhadrak

Though the government makes provision of funds for infrastructure development of schools, students are risking their lives by studying at dilapidated buildings, with one such instance coming to light from Sundarpur area under Chandbali block in Bhadrak. An Anganwadi building in Nayagarh had similarly collapsed a few years ago, killing several children.

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Girl set afire for protesting eve-teasing dies

A minor school girl from Kalahandi, set afire by miscreants last week for resisting eve-teasing, succumbed to her injuries long battle for survival at a hospital in Rourkela Tapaswini Rana, a student of class 10th of TRW School at Madhupur village in Kalahandi district of Odisha was set afire by two youths, identified as Sana Sahoo and Bulu Das for protesting against eve-teasing in the village.

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NHRIs/SHRIs in News

Doctors to pay three lakh for loss of limb

Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has directed the Health and Family Welfare Department to pay a compensation of `3 lakh to a woman who had to lose a hand due to medical negligence at a Community Health Centre in Bhadrak. More importantly, the rights panel has directed that the compensation amount be recovered from three doctors of Agarpada CHC for payment to victim Ranjita Sahu.

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Rights of tribal families over forest reinstated

Eleven tribal families were evicted from their homes by the forest department for allegedly constructing them on encroached land, the families got back their houses again after six years. A government probe by National Human Rights Commission found that they had rights on the land under the Forest Rights Act 2006. The government restored the properties to them and provided them the record of rights for the land.

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NHRC orders inquiry into October 24 Maoist killings

The Malkangiri subcollector is set to conduct a magisterial inquiry into the deaths of 30 Maoists, who were killed in an exchange of fire during a joint operation conducted by the security forces belonging to Odisha and Andhra Pradesh near Bejingi forest inside the cut-off area under Chitrakonda police limits in Malkangiri district on October 24 since the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has ordered a magisterial inquiry and directed them to submit the inquiry report within 60 days of receiving the order.

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Odisha rights panel issues show cause to Kendrapara Collector, CDMO

On the basis of petition filed by social worker sangita Swain the Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has issued show cause notices to Kendrapara district administration and Health department over the conduct of a surgery at the Rajnagar Community Health Centre (CHC) using torch light on July 11, 2016. The OHRC on the advice of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sought reports from Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO) and district Collector on the matter within four weeks.

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Odisha human rights commission asks nurse to shell out 50,000 for negligence of duty

Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) recommended the state government to pay compensation of Rs 50,000 to a woman for alleged negligence towards her by a state-owned hospital in Mayurbhanj district. The woman, Rina Singh was forced to deliver a girl outside the hospital as the hospital was locked at midnight.

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Majority of HIV infected persons in Odisha are youths

Despite frequent awareness campaigns to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, no visible result has been reported in Odisha with 39,629 HIV infected people and 1,717 AIDS patients have been detected in the state while 1495 persons have died of AIDS till date. The number of AIDS patients in India is 2.39 million. Most of the HIV/AIDS patients detected in the state got infected due to unprotected. According to a report of the Odisha State AIDS Control Society, 3479 HIV positive persons were detected in the state in 2013 which reduced to 3357 in 2014 and 3066 in 2015. Highest number of HIV/AIDS infected patients were detected in Ganjam district out of which 13,585 were tested HIV positive and 531 AIDS patients.

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OHRC seek reports on infant deaths in Cuttack’s Sishu Bhawan

The Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has directed the health department to submit an inquiry report into the death of infants in Sishu Bhawan at Cuttack. The commission has asked the Health Secretary and Superintendent of Sishu Bhawan to submit their respective reports within four weeks on the petition filed by rights activists Akhand.

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Odisha Human Rights Commission for probe into botched transfusion

Taking suo moto cognizance of the incident, the commission has directed the collector of Keonjhar to conduct a probe taking strong objection to the death of a woman due to alleged transfusion of wrong blood group at a government-run hospital in Keonjhar, the Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) directed the district collector and health secretary P K Meherda to submit a report on the incident within four weeks.

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OHRC calls for reports from DGP, home secretary

Expressing concern over death of Saroj Senapati alias Akul due to alleged police torture in Narasinghpur police custody, the Orissa Human Rights Commission (OHRC) served notices on home secretary, DGP, Cuttack collector, superintendent of police (rural) and Narasinghpur inspector-in-charge on a petition filed by rights activist and advocate Anusuman Mohapatra.

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NHRC takes cognizance of deaths of people due to unknown disease

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken cognizance of a case regarding death of several people due to unknown disease at Bhusal village under Bhuban block in Dhenkanal district during last few years. It has transferred the case to Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) for disposal in accordance with the provisions of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.

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The Odisha rights panel serves notice to top six state officials over Chilka boat tragedy

Acting on the complaint of rights activist (Akhand) and working group member of Civil Society Forum on Human Rights (CSFHR) ,Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has issued notice to the top six officials of the state government over the alleged negligence to check the boat tragedy at Chilka lake. The Commission has directed secretary of both tourism and transport department, Revenue Divisional Commissioner (Southern), Chilka Development Authority, District Magistrate of Ganjam and Inspector General of Police (Southern range) over the matter.

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NHRC panel notice to Chief Secretary, Collectors on displaced villagers

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notice to Chief Secretary and four district Collectors over the delay in rehabilitation and resettlement of villagers displaced due to Indrāvati Hydro-Electric project. In the petition Rights campaigner, Radhakanta Tripathy, highlighted the displacement of more than 15,000 families, which included Scheduled Tribes, Dalits and poor farmers, from over 100 villages in Kalahandi, Koraput, Nabarangpur and Rayagada districts, thereby forcing them to suffer helplessly with deprivation of basic necessities of life.

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Rights panel move on Keonjhar displaced

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the Chief Secretary to conduct a fresh inquiry by a senior revenue officer on large-scale displacement in Keonjhar district and send a report within eight weeks.

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OHRC awards Rs 4 lakh aid

The Odisha Human Rights Commission awarded a compensation of `4 lakh to the family of Chandan Kumar Das who allegedly committed suicide in the custody of Baripada police on December 1, 2015. The OHRC has directed the Home Department to pay the compensation to the parents of the deceased within a period of two months.

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NHRC prompts Govt to act on sexual abuse in schools

NHRC had taken cognisance of a case - after a petition was filed by rights activist Subash Mohapatra - over sexual harassment of a 10-year-old girl student of a Government school in Saipriya Nagar of Rayagada by the headmaster in 2013. Following the NHRC’s notice, the SP had submitted a report stating that the headmaster, Panchanan Palak, was arrested. Later, a detailed report of the School and Mass Education Department showed that Palak was charge sheeted and subsequently, convicted for the crime. He was handed out a three-year imprisonment.

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NHRC camp court focuses on Malkangiri

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) conducted a camp court on 9th January 2017 at Jayadev Bhawan in the Bhubaneswar, where Chairman HL Dattu stressed on the dismal situation in Malkangiri. He pointed out that Education and Health are both in a depressing state in the Malkangiri and that lack of infrastructure has kept people here deprived of basic facilities. The district has 72 schools that run without a building with Right to education Act completely overlooked. He also raised issues of ‘dadan’ labour, women trafficking, and violation of Right to Forest Act.

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Odisha Human Rights Commission orders probe into patient's murder

The Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) directed chief district medical officer (CDMO) Sundargarh to probe into the incident of a patient killing a co-patient at Rourkela government hospital on January 29. The commission has directed the CDMO to thoroughly probe into the matter and submit its report within four weeks. The direction came in response to a petition filed by a human rights campaigner, Prabir Das, holding the hospital authorities responsible for the mishap.

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Dhenkanal lathicharge: NHRC urged to intervene

The Odisha Bhumihina Praja Samiti State president Debashisha Hota discussed with NHRC Chairperson Justice HL Dattu, Member Justice S Murgeson and Sarat Chandra on illegal lathicharge on landless people by police in Dhenkanal on December 27. The incident occurred at Khatuahata in Tumusinga Police Station area in which 437 people were injured and one was killed.

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NHRC begins probe into minor girl torching case in Odisha’s Kalahandi

A team of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) probing the alleged torching to death of a minor girl in Madhupur village under Narla police limits arrived there and held discussions with the officials of the district administration. NHRC team comprising of Special Rapporteur and Special State Coordinator held a meeting with the district administration officials in the presence of the District Collector.

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NHRC move on Indravati displaced

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) directed the Chief Secretary to submit a detailed report on Indravati project and constitute a team of officials to look into the issues of people displaced by the project within 12 weeks. Acting on a petition filed by rights campaigner Radhakanta Tripathy, the Commission also asked Special Rapporteur Damodar Sarangi to visit villages affected by the project and assess ground realities within eight weeks.

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5 lakh compensation for fake encounter

In a fake encounter case in Kandhamal between SOG jawans and Maoists on July 26,2015 that killed an innocent tribal couple, the Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) directed state government to pay a compensation of Rs 5 lakh per person.

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NHRC seeks report on woman selling her newborn for Rs 2000 due to poverty

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) sought a report from the Kendrapara district magistrate in Odisha on reports of a woman selling her newborn due to poverty, taking suo motu cognizance of media reports during its camp sitting at Bhubaneswar, the commission directed the district magistrate to submit a report within four weeks along with the list of steps taken or proposed to be taken for relief and rehabilitation of the family.

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Important Judgements/ Orders/ Observations

SC directs govt to appoint NHRC director general in a week

The Supreme Court on 23rd January, 2017 directed the Centre to appoint the director general of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) within a week.

The court also gave the Centre four weeks to appoint members to the commission. A bench comprising Chief Justice J.S. Khehar, justices N.V. Ramana and D.Y. Chandrachud was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed in 2015 by advocate Radhakanta Tripathy over inordinate delay in filing up vacant posts in the commission.

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Orissa HC judge says the lower courts can ensure justice to common man

High Court Judge SK Mishra said that the lower courts can ensure justice to common man and protect their right to liberty as enshrined in the Constitution speaking at a function organised by Talcher Bar Association on the occasion of Law Day. Mr. Mishra stressed on the protection of human rights and the provisions under Sections 41 and 41A of CrPC.

Referring to the Article 21 and 32 of the Indian Constitution, he said no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to a procedure established by law. It embodies a constitutional value of supreme importance in a democratic society, he added.

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Factfinding Reports

Saroj Senapati of Narsinghpur, cuttack was a heavy vehicle driver and was working privately, on 9th December police came to Saroj senapati’s house in the midnight at about 12 PM and started beating him. There were 5-6 police personnels in uniform beat him with long stick, kicking on chest and back, some blowing and slapping him mercilessly as told by the eye witnesses. They also dragged him on the floor towards police jeep. After beating him mercilessly Inspector of PS reached and he along with other police staffs present there took Saroj in the jeep to police station. And on 10th December the Narsinghpur doctor referred Saroj to Cuttack hospital and told his wife, Alaka Senapati that Saroj is alive but his wife could know that he is dead in the ICU. And on 11th December, 2015 the police home guard declared that saroj was dead.

Team interacting with eye witnesses and villagers Wife of victims grieves while describing torture on Saroj

A fact finding team comprising of Lakhmi Devi Bhimsen Nayak, Social Activists, Akhand, Tapan Padhi and Chandranatha Dani, Human rights defenders, all from CSFHR went to Narasinghpur, Cuttack on 15th December, 2015. The team visited the place, interacted with the wife of the victim, some eye witnesses to factual happenings, villagers, accused and suspected persons.

The fact finding team came out of the impression that the victim was of scheduled caste family so police atrocity was intense. Excessively beating of the police force to Saroj was the cause of his death though the police blamed that the victim had bitten the leg of ASI, which was a clear lie. Police team raided in the midnight without any court order and also there were no woman police personnel along with them. Even after taking him to the custody the police beat him mercilessly. No support has reached to the victims family till that day which consists of three children and the eldest one is a daughter of 11 years.

Demands of the team:

  • Proper economic and educational rehabilitation is required to the deceased family as the children are so young and the wife of Saroj is only class 5 literate.
  • Rs 10 lakhs compensation must be granted to the family immediately
  • Suspension, arrest and judicial proceedings against the erring ASI, Bhagaban


Case Updates

Death due to pollution in Jajpur: Odisha Human rights Commission orders inquiry

The Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has ordered for an inquiry into the alleged death of some villagers of Dhuligada of Danagadi block in Jajpur district due to industrial and coal pollution related diseases during last two years.

Acting on a petition filled by Akhand of Civil Society Forum on Human Rights (CSFHR), the commission has issued notice to Collector of Jajpur and Member Secretary of Pollution Control Board to probe the matter and report to the Commission within four weeks.

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Regulate IVF clinics: Rights panel

Acting on the petition filed by human rights activist Akhand, the commission has directed the principal secretary of health and family welfare department to probe into the allegation and file a report.

The petitioner has alleged that ART clinics use technologies like in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI) to help infertile couples conceive, but there is no proper regulation of such clinics in the state. Further, contended due to lack of stringent laws, unregulated and unprofessional ART clinics are mushrooming in the state.

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NCPCR orders inquiry into denial of ambulance to carry a dead child in Odisha

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has directed District Magistrate of Malkangiri to conduct an inquiry into the denial of ambulance facility to a dead child.

Acting on the petition filled by Bhubaneswar-based rights activist Akhand, the Commission has asked the District Magistrate to submit his report within 10 days.

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OHRC seeks report on rishi death probe

The Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) on Wednesday sought report from the Commissionerate of Police on the investigation into the death of engineering student Asutosh Mohanty alias Rishi who died in May 2016 allegedly due to drug overdose.

Acting on a petition filed by human rights activist Akhand over inadequate police action to unearth the mystery over Rishi’s death, the OHRC has directed DCP Satyabrata Bhoi to submit a report within three weeks.

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Two staff of CSNR accompanied with members of navanirman krushak sangathanam on 17 Dec 2016 to submit a petition to Odisha Human Rights Commission for intervention in the matter of hunger strike by two farmer leaders in Bhubaneswar Jharpada Jail.

Meeting & Workshops
  • Two staff of CSNR participated in “I will Go out Campaign, claiming back the night” to demand freedom from Violence against women” on 21st January 2017 from 8.00 pm to 12.30 am, organised by Nawo Odisha Chapter to protest the different kinds of violence against women and demand an end to such incidents. The objective of the campaign was to urge, all to walk out on the 21st to protect women's freedom and equality. There is No Turning Back now and let those who harass women in public spaces know that women are not afraid and women will come out, not just during daylight, but also at night.

Fundamentalist Intolerance Is Degrading Assembly and Association Rights Worldwide

By: Maina Kiai

GENEVA – The phenomenon of fundamentalism is fuelling growing intolerance worldwide, which poses a grave threat to the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, United Nations expert Maina Kiai told the Human Rights Council in presenting his latest report on religious, free market, political, and nationalist or cultural fundamentalism.

“The concept of fundamentalism cannot be limited to religion,” cautioned the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. “It can and should be defined more expansively, to include any movements – not simply religious ones – that advocate strict and literal adherence to a set of basic beliefs or principles.”

“At its core, this report is about the struggle between tolerance and intolerance,” Mr. Kiai stressed.

“The people of the world speak some 7,000 languages, practice 270 major religions, live in 193 UN Member States and belong to thousands of cultures. But we share only one planet,” the human rights expert said. “We will not always agree. But tolerance towards our differences is the only way to make sure that they do not boil over into violence, oppression and conflict.”

For the Special Rapporteur, the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association are the ‘bedrock’ of such tolerance, because they help ensure that “all of humanity, in its stunning diversity, has a voice.” Despite this, he noted, many States are moving in the wrong direction, promoting fundamentalist viewpoints –whether via government policy or by supporting non-State actors– and suppressing dissent.

“Free market fundamentalism –the belief in the infallibility of free market economic policies– is an urgent threat,” Mr. Kiai said, noting laws in Australia and Canada that potentially criminalize some anti-business protests.

“Economic activity is certainly important, but States tread a dangerous path when they prioritize the freedom of the market over the freedom of human beings. The economic rights of investors should never trump fundamental human rights in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” he stated.

Political fundamentalism poses a similar problem, the UN expert said, requiring dogmatic adherence to official party platforms or allegiance to particular leaders. He cited the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Bahrain, China, Cuba, Laos and others as examples.

“The rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association unequivocally include the right to assemble and associate for political purposes,” the Special Rapporteur said. “In fact, one of their core purposes is to preserve people’s ability to peacefully express their grievances with political leaders. This may pose a threat to the Government’s hold on power, but this should not be confused with a threat to the State itself. The former is democracy at work; the latter is how autocracies work.”

The independent expert explained that religious fundamentalism also poses a severe threat to the enjoyment of peaceful assembly and association rights, but emphasized that no single religious group has a monopoly on this problem, citing instances of Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish and Muslim fundamentalism around the world.

“The failure of States to ensure a tolerant environment,” Mr. Kiai noted, “can have catastrophic results.”

“People have an instinctive need to take part in the societies in which they live – to have some control over their destinies, to voice their discontent and to improve their lives. Assembly and association rights allow them to do this, and to do it in a peaceful manner,” Mr. Kiai said.

“Denying these rights does not make peoples’ feelings of anger, despair and dissatisfaction go away. It simply pushes these feelings underground, where they can fester and turn violent,” the human rights expert concluded. “Extremism thrives in such environments, because it is the only option left.”


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