Title India: A Vital Opportunity to End Impunity in Punjab
Publisher Amnesty International
Publication Date 1 August 1999
Country India
Topics Armed groups / Militias / Paramilitary forces / Resistance movements | Disappeared persons | Extrajudicial executions | Human rights courts | Impunity | International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
Citation / Document Symbol ASA 20/024/1999
Cite as Amnesty International, India: A Vital Opportunity to End Impunity in Punjab, 1 August 1999, ASA 20/024/1999, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6a9b80.html [accessed 31 July 2014]
Comments Amnesty International has on many occasions urged the Government of India to order impartial investigations into allegations of a widespread pattern of 'disappearances' and extra-judicial executions in the state of Punjab between 1984 and 1994. On 12 December 1996, an important step was made towards that goal. In response to two petitions filed in the Supreme Court containing allegations of a pattern of human rights violations in Punjab and linking these to research which found evidence of illegal cremations by Punjab police, the Court gave an order requesting the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to examine the allegations. Over two and a half years later, there has still been no comprehensive or consistent investigation into the allegations of human rights violations contained in the petitions. After a protracted debate about the role that the NHRC should play in carrying out the Supreme Court's order the NHRC issued an order on 13 January 1999 which would severely restrict its role in providing redress to victims. The directions given to the NHRC by the Supreme Court represent a vital opportunity to address past human rights violations in Punjab. What the NHRC has itself proposed is the minimum role that it could play in response to those directions. Amnesty International believes that the Supreme Court order provides a basis for a full and thorough invesigation by the NHRC of the pattern of 'disappearances' and extra-judicial executions and an opportunity to provide redress and reparation to victims and their relatives. It hopes that by going to the Supreme Court for clarification of its original order and further directions, the petitioners will ensure this opportunity is not lost. In the event that the NHRC does not pursue a thorough investigation, Amnesty International believes that the Government of India has a responsibility to appoint some other body with powers to impartially investigate past human rights violations referred to in the petitions before the Supreme Court in accordance with its international obligations to investigate allegations of human rights violations and ensure full redress and reparation to victims.
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