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Let's keep the #JungJaari for Equality and Justice - CJP's Human Rights Manifesto for Election 2019

Let's keep the #JungJaari for Equality and Justice - CJP's Human Rights Manifesto for Election 2019

by The Daily Eye News Desk April 3 2019, 5:15 pm Estimated Reading Time: 11 mins, 0 secs

The upcoming general election is critical for human rights in India, given the recent surge of violations of rights that are constitutionally guaranteed for all Indians. With this in mind, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), a Human Rights movement dedicated to upholding and defending the freedom and constitutional rights of all Indians. The movement works to guarantee rights in the courts and beyond. Their focus areas which they call as the Four Pillars are:

  1. Minority Rights - Rights of religious, ethnic, caste, gender and sexual minorities as well as persons with disabilities.
  2. Freedom of Expression - A healthy and vibrant democracy always respects free expression and the dignity of different belief systems, cultures and languages. Hate speech, they believe, is an abuse of this freedom.
  3. Criminal Justice Reform - CJP believes that their agencies - investigation, prosecutorial and judicial - need further democratisation to ensure both, quality and quick justice delivery.
  4. Child Rights - CJP works to inculcate pluralism and Constitutional values in young minds. They work in the field of Juvenile Justice Reform and protection of children from Sexual Abuse.

CJP has drafted this manifesto highlighting the most pressing human rights issues they believe political parties and candidates should focus on in the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections, and issues on which the future government should take action.

Right to Peaceful Assembly and Freedom of Expression and Association

  • Stop the perennial misuse of Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC)
  • Stop the misuse of the Prevention of Seditious Meetings Act, 1911 and repeal the said Act
  • Allow human rights defenders (HRDs) access to police stations, prisoners etc.
  • Remove restrictions for access to funding and resources for HRDs, people’s movements and marginalised communities, including the clampdown through the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010

Right to Information

  • Block any attempts at dilution of the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI)
  • Ensure transparency in vetting process for selection of members of the Central and state Information Commissions
  • Ensure these commissions are fully staffed to avoid the pile-up of RTI requests/ appeals
  • Implement process for quick, time-bound appraisal of the more than 25,000 complaints and appeals currently pending with the CIC

Draconian Laws

  • Repeal draconian sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), the National Security Act (SNA), the Public Safety Act (PSA) and release of all those falsely implicated under them
  • Repeal Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code pertaining to sedition, and release those falsely implicated under it
  • Repeal provisions of the Chhattisgarh Public Safety Act, the Tamil Nadu Public Security Act and other similar provisions that are being used to terrorize dissenters and common people
  • Decriminalize triple talaq, as it can be used as a tool to target and harass Muslim men, and bring it under the purview of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005

Attacks on Dissent: Protection for Human Rights Defenders and Movements

  • Stop the crackdown on human rights defenders, including, but not limited to protestors, activists, civil society organisations, student leaders, trade unionists, journalists, advocates, Right to Information Act (RTI) activists, Dalits, tribals, minorities etc.
  • Drop all false cases against them and immediately release all those who are wrongfully incarcerated
  • Enact a special law, that meets international standards to protect human rights defenders against persecution

Religious/linguistic/ethnic minorities and oppressed castes:

  • Pass the Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2011 to protect religious and linguistic minorities, as well as people from historically oppressed communities like Dalits and Adivasis in all states, after consultation and reference to a Joint Parliamentary Committee
  • Ensure the said Bill has necessary provisions to make authority figures accountable for dereliction of duty in the event of targeted violence
  • Ensure that said Bill standardizes compensation and reparation
  • Ensure victims/survivors of cow vigilante attacks and mob lynchings are not booked under cow protection laws
  • Drop all false cases against cattle traders and other sections of religious minorities and immediately release all those who are incarcerated under such laws (cow protection laws)
  • Ensure members of marginalized communities, historically oppressed castes, economically disadvantaged classes, and religious minorities are not falsely implicated and jailed in cases of targeted violence and rioting
  • Ensure investigative authorities do not target people based on caste, class, religious community while conducting their probes
  • Promptly rehabilitate Kashmiri Pandits, particularly the 800 families still residing in the Kashmir Valley
  • Formulate a proper and peaceful resolution to the Kashmir conflict through peaceful dialogue
  • Amend the Citizenship Bill, 2016 to ensure that the law does not discriminate on the basis of religion or faith in terms of granting citizenship

Curbs and Prosecution of Hate Speech and Hate Writing:

  • Monitor instances of violence-inciting hate speech in public by influential figures, television news channels and the like, and take prompt action against them
  • Take strict action against those engaging in trolling or bullying of ethnic, religious, gender, and sexual minorities
  • Cases of violence, particularly those that target marginalised communities, that are arise out of hate speech/writing should be treated as high priorities and prosecuted through special courts
  • Police and law enforcement personnel should be trained to protect these communities from violence caused by hate speech

Adivasis/Forest Workers:

  • Hold a special session of Parliament to discuss the adequate implementation of the Forest Rights Act, 2006 (FRA) in all declared forests in India
  • Appoint a Judicial Commission, first in Uttar Pradesh, then in other states to examine all the false and arbitrary cases against Adivasis and other forest dwelling communities as a first step towards quashing these malicious prosecutions
  • Stop the oppression, harassment, torture of, and police brutality against Adivasis, Dalits and all forest dwellers and workers, especially women
  • Initiate strict action against officials responsible for these acts
  • Expedite the process of approving community land claims by forest dwellers and forest workers
  • Make the process of approval and rejection of individual and community land claims under FRA completely transparent, so that rejects can be appealed
  • Institute strict accountability measures for authorities, including those reviewing these claims
  • Ensure fair prices for Minor Forest Produce (MFP)

Dalits

  • Recognise Dalits  as  specific  ‘vulnerable  groups’  (groups at risk), given that their Right to Peaceful Assembly and Association is regularly denied, and is also weaponised by dominant caste groups to deny the same right to Dalits.
  • Call for the institution of a specialised, sensitive monitoring infrastructure to factor in the issue of Dalits’ Right to Assembly and Association.

Workers

  • Proper implementation of labour laws, stop proposed pro-employer amendments
  • Revise minimum wages to no less than Rs 15,000 per month, and assured pension of no less than Rs.3,000 per month for the entire working population, including agricultural labourers, and forest-dwelling communities
  • Declare Anganwadi teachers, Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers and auxiliary nurse midwives as regular workers/karmacharis as defined and demanded by the 45th and 46th Indian Labour Conferences, with a minimum salary of Rs 18,000 per month; they are currently given honorariums under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) programme that vary across states
  • Halt contractual labour in regular jobs, and ensure equal pay for equal work
  • Stop the privatisation of state-run PSUs, and immediately halt Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Railways, insurance and defence

Farmers

  • Guarantee Minimum Support Prices (MSP) for farmers across the country that is at least one and a half times the full cost of production
  • Implement the recommendations of MS Swaminathan Commission
  • Stop FDI in agriculture and food processing
  • Implement a universal Public Distribution System (PDS) without linking it to Aadhaar, or moving to direct cash transfers
  • Provide a minimum pension of Rs. 5,000 per month to each farmer above the age of 60
  • Increase the number of guaranteed employment days under MGNREGA to 200 days per family
  • Hold a special session of Parliament to specifically address the agrarian crisis
  • Pass the Farmers' Freedom from Indebtedness Bill, 2018 and the Farmers Right to Guaranteed Remunerative Minimum Support Prices for Agricultural Commodities Bill, 2018
  • Quash false cases against all activists working to alleviate the agrarian crisis
  • Provide immediate relief in drought situations,
  • Implement adequate solutions for irrigation issues

Women, Gender-based and Sexual Minorities:

  • Ensure stricter implementation of the Prevention of Sexual Harassment at the Workplace Act, 2013
  • Expand provisions from said Act to cover the harassment of people from all gender-based and sexual minorities
  • Follow up on #MeToo cases involving public officials and ensure they are held accountable
  • Amend the Transgender Persons Bill, 2018 to respect determination of gender and accurately acknowledge the distinction between transgender, transsexual and intersex people
  • Decriminalise begging, as it still remains one of the few ways for transgender and other people to earn a living
  • Enact legislation to prevent candidates being rejected from jobs for being transgender
  • Encourage a culture that does not tolerate harassment based on gender expression via appearance, attire or body language
  • Encourage gender sensitivity training at public and private workplaces
  • Remove all legal and other provisions that prevent transgender people from serving in the armed forces
  • Take strong action against human traffickers, but destigmatise sex work so that sex workers can be treated with dignity and access basic facilities like healthcare and legal aid more easily
  • Block any attempts at diluting the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005
  • Include marital rape as criminal offence under rape laws
  • Ensure that strict action is taken against state authorities involved in the rape and torture of Dalit and Adivasi women and other women

Criminal Justice Reform

  • Ensure full implementation of police reform provisions in line with not just the Supreme Court judgement in the Prakash Singh case, but also the recommendations made by the National Police Commissions
  • Abolish the death penalty
  • Ensure the proper implementation of a Witness Protection Programme, especially in cases related to mob lynching, cow vigilante attacks, and also to protect whistleblowers and RTI activists
  • Ensure all such cases are tried by fast-track courts to ensure time-bound trials
  • Ensure the establishment of Directorates of Prosecutions that are monitored by the higher judiciary and are independent of the executive arm of the government
  • Impose stringent conditions for cow vigilantes to secure bail in cases of mob lynching
  • Ensure all cases of gender-based violence are tried by special courts and that survivors, witnesses, and the families of victims and survivors are provided proper protection

Rights of Undertrials and Prisoners

  • Follow and implement relevant judgments of the Supreme Court on undertrials
  • Order the release of undertrials who have already served half their maximum sentence
  • Ensure regular monitoring of prison conditions, particularly in relation to women and children
  • Ensure adequate sanitation and health facilities, and emphasise cleanliness and adequate food and clean water

Privacy and Surveillance

  • Scrap the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) order that empowers ten security agencies to monitor and decrypt communication on social media
  • Stop the compelling and arm-twisting of social media companies and app developers to disclose identities and other private data of users under the guise of national security
  • Maintain net neutrality
  • Implement stringent privacy measures to protect Aadhaar data
  • End state surveillance of human rights defenders as an attempt to intimidate them and impede their work

Education:

  • Work towards the goal of a common school system and public university system
  • Strengthen municipal, zilla parishad, and government schools
  • Ensure regular, full-time, and secure employment for teachers and other staff in schools and pre-school nurseries/anganwadis
  • Ensure that all state curricula and textbooks are in conformity with the principles of inclusion, pluralism, equality and non-discrimination that are enshrined in the Indian Constitution
  • Establish central and state boards for the monitoring of textbooks and educational materials used by religious, sociopolitical and private institutions to ensure that they adhere to the principles of the Indian Constitution
  • Restore all University Grant Commission (UGC) scholarships for diversity-driven affirmative action
  • Restore funding for pre- and post-matriculation scholarships for marginalized groups (e.g. members of Scheduled Castes)
  • Formulate a timeline, allocate adequate resources and work with state governments to ensure that all schools comply with the Right to Education Act (RTE)

Child Rights:

  • Provide crèche facilities staffed by trained childcare professionals to working parents from low-income and marginalised groups
  • Abolish the death penalty in cases of child rape to prevent the murder of survivors and witnesses
  • Include mandatory sex education for all students from an early age
  • Overhaul the juvenile justice system to ensure better regulation of detention facilities to prevent inmates’ abuse, and to align with international laws and conventions
  • Tackle the high pendency of cases filed under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO) by guaranteeing time-bound trials in fast- track courts

Right to Food

  • Ensure more nutritious midday meals in state-run schools
  • Include pulses and edible cooking oil in the Public Distribution System (PDS) and universalise PDS benefits, so that nobody is denied food due to exclusion errors
  • Double the Antodaya coverage, giving priority to vulnerable groups
  • Promote the procurement of local produce
  • Form community kitchens in urban areas to provide hot and healthy meals at subsidised rates to people from low-income and marginalised groups
  • Provide free, hot, and healthy meals for pregnant and lactating people and houseless persons at government-run facilities and facilities like Anganwadis
  • Encourage an inclusive environment in public and private workplaces and public spaces to curb caste-based and religion-based discrimination over food choices



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