Amnesty International (AI), global human rights watchdog on Tuesday said that the government of India must take practical and immediate measures to address the scourge of unlawful killings and “excessive use of force by India’s security forces”.
AI also welcomes the final report of the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and urges the government of India to implement the Special Rapporteur’s recommendations.
“The Indian authorities should constructively engage with the Special Rapporteur’s findings and observations and pay special heed to his several recommendations intended to help India uphold its international human rights commitments,” said G. Ananthapadmanabhan, Executive Director of Amnesty International in India.
Ananthapadmanabhan said that India is also obligated under its national laws and international human rights commitments to ensure that no person is deprived of life or personal liberty except in accordance with the law.
According to the Special Rapporteur, most of the unlawful killings in India occur as a result of the excessive use of force by the security forces, attacks by various armed groups, and killings of vulnerable persons.
“Impunity continues to remain the central problem in India and urged the government to remove obstacles to accountability, especially the need for prior sanction of prosecutions of civil servants,” he said.
Expounding on his call for a commission of inquiry, the Special Rapporteur said such a commission should also serve a transitional justice role to guarantee justice for victims, accountability and punishment for perpetrators. He proposed that such a government-appointed commission “should (a) investigate allegations concerning past and recent violations of the right to life; (b) propose relevant measures to tackle them; and (c) work out a plan of action for the future to eradicate practices of extrajudicial executions”.
The Special Rapporteur urged all sides involved in armed activities to immediately cease attacking civilians, human rights defenders and journalists. He also suggested that the authorities put in place a mechanism that will review and monitor the status of implementation of the directives of the Supreme Court and the NHRC guidelines on arrest, encounter killings, and custodial violence and death.
“Amnesty International is greatly concerned by the general absence of accountability and a broader culture of impunity prevailing in India in relation to extrajudicial executions and other human rights violations. We hope that the Indian authorities will implement the Special Rapporteur’s recommendations without delay and continue engaging with UN Special Procedures,” said Ananthapadmanabhan.