Monday, January 17, 2011

Protest against discriminatory decision of the office of UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders

Friends                                                                                                                                                                                                                                17.01.2011


Many of you have seen the open letter dated 13th January, 2011, sent by me to the UN Secretary General protesting against discriminatory decision of the office of UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders. I wrote that letter because I hold the office of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders responsible for excluding representation from Uttar Pradesh in National Meeting on 11 January 2011. However, I am shocked to see the desperation among some NGO leaders to accept martyrdom by valiantly shielding the office of Mrs. Margaret Sekaggya.  They even stooped to the level of calling one human rights organization from Varanasi to represent in the meeting on 18th January, 2011, without realizing that our organization People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) stood by that organization when it receive threat from the state whereas, the head of that organization kept quite when I received threat from the Chief Minister of UP. I wish to highlight that the office of the Rapporteur instead of observing the trend of violations against Human rights defenders in India is more interested in setting trend of favoritism and operating through the age old British policy of 'divide and rule'. I also understand, we still have 'Roy Bahadurs' working for their masters. Colonialism is a mindset and I am not surprises to see that among some of the people who fight for dignity. People in the office of the Rapporteur have done everything except giving answer to my question- Why did you exclude UP from the meeting and who advised that? I still expect a simple answer to a simple question.


I hold many organizations and individuals like Mr Miloon Kothari engaged in the preparatory process for the visit of the Special Rapporteur with high regards and have reasons to believe that they have no interest in keeping the representation from Uttar Pradesh out. I thank Ms Teesta Setalvad for understanding our feelings. Who else other than her can understand what it takes to fight the powerful state? In my initial mail to the office of the Rapporteur, I had urged her to visit Chhatisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir and North Eastern States. I am sure many others might have also suggested the same and I for everyone's behalf thank her for prioritizing those states.  The planning of meetings for the Rapporteur smacks a hidden agenda to alienate some groups representing certain states. For example, the planners have asked the people from Uttarakhand to travel to Kolkatta for the meeting instead of coming to Delhi. The southern states were clubbed with Orissa when nearby state hosted another meeting. This cannot be just coincidence. Whose interests are protected and promoted here? 


I condemn attempt by some people to paint me as egoist, irrational and attention seeker.  I had written about the plight of victims in Manipur, Chattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Orissa, Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab, Bihar highlighting challenges posed by the state. My struggle for dalit and minority rights started much before I worked on projects. Carpet mafias and my feudal relative nexus poisoned my brother when we were working against child labor. I rebelled against my feudal family and embraced Buddhism because I believed that truth must prevail. Historic blunders must not be allowed to continue. I believed in caste reconciliation. I donated my ancestral lands to people belonging to socially weaker section. Now someone tells me that I did all these for drawing attention?  My commitment for a just, secular India is absolute. I only seek attention of the victims/survivors. I do not need certificate from so called human rights defenders who not only steal ideas but also sell religion, caste, victims and what not to get projects.


We believe, history will consider the outcome of the findings by Mrs. Margaret Sekaggya, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders in India as pre decided, biased and non- reflection of the ground realities in India.


My decision to protest against the discrimination by the office of UN Special Rapporteur is final and irreversible. I have been advised by my organization and others to stage a peaceful sit-in protest outside the meeting venue. The office of the Prime Minister, Union Home Minister and the office of the Secretary General and media have already been informed about it. The organizers and the office of the Special Rapporteur will solely be responsible for the consequences if any untoward incident takes place at the meeting venue.


Thanking you for your overwhelming support.


Dr Lenin Raghuvanshi

Executive Director, PVCHR

Gwanju Human Right Awardee, 2007

Recipient of Weimer City Council Award on Human Rights, 2010




Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.
--The Buddha
"We are what we think. With our thoughts we make our world." - Buddha

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