Human Rights Issues

In news: National Human Rights Commission’s (NHRC) Accreditation 

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NHRC, GANHRI

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

  • The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is gearing up to defend India’s human rights processes at a critical meeting of Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) in Geneva.
  • A decision on retaining India’s NHRC’s “A status” accreditation is imminent at this summit.

About National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)

Details
Establishment
  • A Statutory Body;
  • Established under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.
Functions
  • Inquire into any violation of human rights
  • Recommend immediate interim relief to victims or their families
  • Intervene in court proceedings involving human rights violations
  • Review constitutional and legal safeguards for human rights
  • Study international instruments on human rights
  • Promote human rights literacy
  • Support the efforts of NGOs working in the field of human rights
Powers
  • Regulate its own procedure
  • Possess all the powers of a civil court
  • Proceedings have a judicial character
Chairperson
  • Must be a former Justice of the Supreme Court or Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
  • Appointed by the President of India
Members
  • Four full-time members;
  • Chairperson: former Supreme Court Justice or Chief Justice;
  • Other Member: former Judge of the Supreme Court;
  • Other Member: former Chief Justice of a High Court;
  • Three Members: with knowledge or experience in human rights, including at least one woman –
  • Seven ex-officio members:  Chairpersons of National Commissions viz., National Commission for Scheduled Castes, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, National Commission for Women , National Commission for Minorities, National Commission for Backward Classes, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights; and the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities.
Appointment
  • Appointed by the President, based on a committee recommendation including the Prime Minister, Speaker of Lok Sabha, Home Minister, Leaders of the Opposition in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, and others
  • Consultation with the Chief Justice of India for judicial appointments
Removal
  • Removal by order of the President of India
  • Consultation with the Supreme Court before removal
Terms of Office
  • Hold office for a term of three years or until the age of 70
  • Ineligibility for further government employment after office
  • Eligible for reappointment
Salaries Determined by the Central government
Reporting
  • Submits annual or special reports to the Central government and the concerned State government
  • Reports laid before the respective legislatures, along with a memorandum of action taken on the recommendations and reasons for non-acceptance of any recommendations
Limitations
  • The commission is not empowered to inquire into any matter after the expiry of one year from the date on which the act constituting the violation of human rights is alleged to have been committed
  • Functions are recommendatory in nature, with no power to punish or award relief to violators
  • Limited role concerning armed forces violations

 

GANHRI Concerns about India’s NHRC

India’s NHRC faced a potential downgrade in its accreditation status in 2023 due to concerns raised by the SCA regarding its operational independence and composition.

  • Political Interference: The NHRC-India faced objections related to political interference in appointments, compromising its independence.
  • Police Involvement: Involving the police in probes into human rights violations raised concerns about impartiality and fair investigations.
  • Lack of Cooperation: The NHRC’s poor cooperation with civil society was criticized, hindering its effectiveness in protecting human rights.
  • Lack of Diversity: The GANHRI highlighted the lack of diversity in staff and leadership positions within the NHRC. There is also lack of gender and minority representation.
  • Insufficient Protection of Marginalized Groups: The NHRC was found to have taken insufficient action to protect marginalized groups, contrary to the U.N.’s principles on national institutions (the ‘Paris Principles).

Back2Basics: GANHRI (Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions)

Purpose Promote and protect human rights globally
Year Established 1993
Headquarters Geneva, Switzerland
Members National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) from 114 member institutions
Key Functions
  • Promoting and strengthening NHRIs worldwide
  • Advocating for human rights at national, regional, and global levels
  • Facilitating cooperation and sharing of best practices among NHRIs
  • Providing capacity-building support to NHRIs etc.
Organizational Structure
  • President: Elected from GANHRI members for a specified term
  • Bureau: Assists the President in overseeing GANHRI’s work
  • Sub-Committees: Focused on specific thematic or regional issues
Key Documents
  • Paris Principles: Provide guidance for the establishment and operation of NHRIs
  • GANHRI Strategy: Outlines the organization’s strategic objectives and actions
Sub-Committee on Accreditation (SCA)
  • Part of a five-year peer evaluation cycle for all 114 member institutions of GANHRI.
  • Accreditation status holds significance as it determines its voting rights at international human rights forums.

 

PYQ:

[2011] Consider the following:

  1. Right to education.
  2. Right to equal access to public service.
  3. Right to food.

Which of the above is/are Human Right/Rights under “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”?

(a) 1 only

(b) 1 and 2 only

(c) 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

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1 month ago

Kindly allow copy and paste option please

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