e – Voice Of Human Rights Watch – e-news weekly
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Editor: Nagaraj.M.R….vol.4 . issue.47……22/11/2008
TO PROTECT HUMAN RIGHTS OF INNOCENTS VISIT ,http://www.amnesty.org
Editorial : KILLER COLAS & KILLER MEDICINES OF INDIA
Government officials murdering innocents in league with greedy industrialists
In india, & many other 3rd world countries , the larger corporations , MNCs & industry lobby is
literally running the governments. They are grossly abusing human rights of people. Hereby, HRW calls upon GOI to rein in those corporations.
It is not the first time that , the harmful effects of colas – food beverages are made public. The government is aiding the cola companies in covering-up their crimes , in hiding harmful ingradients of their products in the name of trade secrets. The government is yet to enact a new food legislation making it mandatory for all manufacturers of food items to specifgically mention the type & quantity of ingradients on each food product. Even , under the present food Act itself the government officials can ban the harmful colas & other products in the interest of public health & lives. Then how will they get kickbacks ?
The cola companies are so cunning & ruthless that they have used muscle power – rowdies , corrupt police personnel & assaulted harmless peaceful protestors. The cola companies have purchased justice previously in kerala & got favourable judgement. Due to presence of cola companies , under water table has depleted in surrounding villages. The farmers are unable to grow their crops & are committing suicides. One of the senior executive of a cola company – BEJOIS , MADE MURDER THREATS , FIX-UPS IN FALSE CASES TO EDITOR OF HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH’S and even made false complaint to police , but repeatedly failed to turn-up for enquiry fearing that truth will come out. The police closed the case subsequently.
In India , many medicines / drugs manufacturing companies are silently murdering thousands of innocent patients. Some of these companies are manufacturing counterfeit drugs of popular brands. Some MNCs , big drug companies are in cheating business , they are just filling chalk powder in tablets where as on the outer cover they mention ingradients & quantities of it which are not at all their in the product. The patients who are taking these chalk powder tablets , hoping that they will get cured of diseases are dying due to lack of proper medication. These greedy , cheating drug companies are also exporting these counterfeit drugs to many third world countries like Nigeria. The drugs controller of Nigeria has caught hold of evidences about these illegal drugs & their import from India. These companies with the aid of mafia even tried to finish her off. The GOI is yet to take action on her complaint. Silence of GOI bought for a price by drug companies.
Just a few months back , there was a programme called “bad medicine” on BBC channel , where in the drugs controller for nigeria proved that 95% of drugs in nigeria are fake & 80% of them are being exported from india. These indian fake medicines are killing hundreds of innocents in nigeria & she is crusading to control to control it. She has survived murder attempts by the pharma drugs mafia linked to india. She came over to india along with BBC correspondent & under- cover they went to greedy industrialists. The said industrialists- FAKE SPECIALISTS boasted how they fake the holograms , labels of big MNCs , how they add chalk powder , paracetamol to all tablets , how they gifted imported car to a chief minister in return for protecting their crimes fake businesses , etc. At the end, the drugs controller for india , refused to give an interview, EVEN TO MEET the BBC correspondent, fearing that all his beans will spill out. just 2 years back in karnataka, honourable lokayukta justice N.Venkatachala raided certain pharmaceutical companies & drugs control department officials and unearthed a huge scam of Rs.200 crore of fake medicines. However the government didn’t take any action as politicians were also part of the ring & threw the report on a back burner. In india, how many are dying due to fake medicines – the corrupt officials are covering the numbers & shielding the murderers the greedy industrialists.
Previously HRW has appealed to government authorities including supreme court of India , but to no avail. It is a sad pointer to the grim fact that in India there is no value for human lives & the long arm of corruption has even reached the apex court. JAI HIND , VANDE MATARAM , GOD’ SAVE MY INDIA.
INDIA LARGEST EXPORTER OF FAKE MEDICINES TO EU
The following statistics may not give India much reason to cheer. The country is still the second largest counterfeit medicines exporter to the European Union in 2007, although it has forfeited the first position it held in 2006 to Switzerland.
As per data released by the European Commission on Monday, India stands second after Switzerland in the list of top exporters of fake medicines to the EU in 2007 with 35% of the total fake drugs seized. In 2006, India was the leading source of fake drugs exported to the EU.
Next to Switzerland and India, the United Arab Emirates comes third with 15% of the total amount seized, according to the survey titled, ‘2007 customs seizure of counterfeit goods at EU’s external border’. In 2006, India, together with the UAE and China, was responsible for more than 80% of all counterfeit medicines.
Overall, as per the 2007 survey, China remains the main source of counterfeit goods, with almost 60% of all articles seized coming from there. Cigarettes and clothing continue to represent a large proportion of all seizures comprising respectively 35% and 22% of the total amount of articles seized. In particular, medicine seizures have shown a dramatic increase of over 50%.
Also, in 2005, based on the European Commission’s Taxation and Custom Union (TAXUD) statistics, 75% of fake medicines cases originated from India, 7% from Egypt, and 6% from China. According to an earlier EU report, counterfeiters accept crude methods for manufacturing drugs such as filling the capsules with a mixture of brick dust with yellow paint used to mark roads to give it a colour similar to that of genuine medicine and furniture polish to give a nice, shiny finish.
The EU, in its statement issued in 2007, said, “Health and safety are a big issue, as witnessed by the sizeable figures relating to seizures of pharmaceutical products. The emergence of India in this sector reflects the developing industrial capacity of this nation and highlights the reality that counterfeiting is carried out on an industrial scale, in all sectors where a potential profit is perceived.”
In 2007, customs registered over 43,000 cases of fake goods seized at the EU’s external border, compared to 37,000 in 2006.
The number of articles seized decreased from last year’s peak of 128 million articles to around 79 million. This is due to a growing number of seizures involving smaller quantities of counterfeit and pirated articles. However, cigarettes and clothing continue to be faked in large quantities and there has been a worrying increase in sectors that are potentially dangerous to consumers like medicines, electrical equipment, and personal care products, EU said in its statement.
In 2006, India was in second position in ready-to-wear accessories segment with 19% article seized, following China . “Counterfeiting continues to pose a dangerous threat to our health, safety and our economy,” warns EU Taxation and Customs Commissioner László Kovács.
Enraged by the increasing fake drug supply, the European Commission had launched a public consultation on the dangers of counterfeit drugs and had invited ideas to be submitted for regulatory reform. As per foreign media reports, the commission plans to plug in the deficiencies in the supply chain integrity through strict adherence to Good Distribution Practice (GDP), Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards and transparency in the distribution chain.
Action on fake drugs urged by WHO
A global taskforce to fight drug counterfeiting needs to be set up, the World Health Organization has said.
Fake drugs are thought to account for one in 10 drugs sold worldwide, and medicines counterfeiting is a growing and lucrative business, it says.
It urged customs, police and drug enforcements agencies to shut down the sophisticated production networks.
The call comes as a meeting of regulatory, pharmaceutical and consumer representatives takes place in Rome.
Howard Zucker, the assistant director-general for the WHO for health technology and pharmaceuticals, said fake drugs could be deadly.
He said: “People don’t die from carrying a fake handbag or wearing a fake t-shirt. They can die from taking a counterfeit medicine.”
The WHO suggests that bar-coding medicines, increasing surveillance methods and improving both patient and healthcare worker education could help ensure fewer people take fake drugs.
The United Nations health agency also wants those charged with tracking down the culprits to work together and share more information.
Drugs counterfeiting is most common in developing countries where life-saving drugs can be sold on the streets.
But there are a growing number of cases of fake medicines being discovered in Europe – although these tend to be lifestyle drugs.
A spokeswoman for the WHO medicines and health technology department fake Tami-flu had been found in the Netherlands and Spain.
“The counterfeiters are getting more sophisticated and fake drugs are now even entering the official distribution systems,” she warned.
She said there was also a need for a universal approach as in some countries drug counterfeiting was not even considered a crime or was thought of as an offence that was not very serious.
“But this is a crime that can kill people,” she said.
A spokeswoman for the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency said there had been four cases of fake drugs being discovered in Britain the past 10 years. The last one was in July, she said.
“There are nearly 650 million prescriptions issued in the UK every year so four cases in the last 10 years is minimal.
“But we recognise that there’s an increasing problem, and have our own anti-counterfeiting strategy.”
The agency also assists eastern European countries in their fight against drugs counterfeiting.
The spokeswoman added that a suspicious batch of anti-flu drug Tamiflu seized in the UK last month by the agency had turned out to be illegally imported rather than counterfeited.
MEDICINES THAT ARE KILLING MILLIONS OF PEOPLE
Imagine the outcry if 500 people in a developed country such as the US or UK died after being given a fake medicine. Then consider that in the early 1990s a similar number of children died of kidney failure in India, Haiti, Bangladesh and Nigeria after taking fake paracetamol syrup contaminated with a toxic solvent. Barely anyone noticed bar their families and a few doctors.
Their deaths represent just one documented case of a trade in illicit pharmaceuticals that claims countless lives each year. Victims, mostly among the world’s poorest, unwittingly buy fake medicines that often contain toxic substances or little or no active ingredients, yet purport to combat the most common preventable killers, including malaria, tuberculosis and typhoid.
Victims, mostly among the world’s poorest, unwittingly buy fake medicines that often contain no active ingredients
The scale of the problem is laid bare this month in a review published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases (vol 6, p 602). In south-east Asia, for example, half of all medicine sold is thought to be fake, much of it counterfeit versions of new anti-malaria drugs based on the molecule artemisinin, which many believe will be vital in curbing the spread of the disease. In Cambodia, a survey revealed that 71 per cent of the artemisinin-derived drug artesunate sold is fake, while across south-east Asia, 53 per cent of artesunate packs sold in 2002 and 2003 were faked, says lead author Paul Newton of the University of Oxford.
“We’re desperately worried that these counterfeit derivatives will follow the real ones into Africa,” Newton says. “The very high prevalence of counterfeit artesunate in Asia has emphasised the importance of tackling this trade.” Unless it can be stopped, he warns, there is little point in spending vast amounts of money developing new drugs, as they will only be immediately undermined by ineffective or toxic counterfeits.
The World Health Organization is so worried by the trend that this November in Bonn, Germany, it will launch an International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Taskforce, or IMPACT. The aim is to unite all parties involved in tackling in the problem, from pharmaceutical companies, drug regulators and distributors through to Interpol and customs officers.
Experts fear the trade in counterfeit pharmaceuticals kills more people and causes more harm than the trade in illegal narcotics. And it isn’t a great deal less lucrative. In 2005, the US Food and Drug Administration estimated that worldwide sales of fake drugs exceeded $3.5 billion, but other estimates suggest the figure is 10 times as high. The Center for Medicines in the Public Interest, a charity backed by the US pharmaceutical industry, predicts that global sales of fake drugs will reach $75 billion by 2010 unless the trade is curtailed.
However, no one can yet be sure how many fake drugs are sold. The pharmaceutical industry first raised the alarm 20 years ago, but law enforcement agencies, governments and charities that donate medicines have paid scant attention. As too have researchers. In his review, Newton found that just 43 academic papers have been published on fake drugs, only one of which used scientifically acceptable methodology.
What’s more, a survey he conducted in Laos revealed that two out of three pharmacists and four of five consumers didn’t even realise fake drugs existed. The reality is that this trade threatens to undermine global attempts to combat infectious diseases that kill 14 million people, 90 per cent of them in developing countries.
A survey in Laos revealed that two out of three pharmacists and four out of five consumers didn’t know fake drugs existed
IMPACT will initially focus its efforts in five areas: anti-counterfeiting technology; harmonising legislation; tougher enforcement; strengthening regulatory agencies; and better publicity warning consumers about fakes, says co-founder Howard Zucker, who is the WHO’s assistant director-general for health technology and pharmaceuticals.
Strengthening regulatory agencies is key, argues Newton, especially in the one-third of countries worldwide where they barely function. “If you don’t have a functioning drug regulatory agency, you can’t inspect the drug supply, enforce border checks, prosecute counterfeiters or root out bribes and corruption.”
Zucker agrees this is a priority. “If there’s no enforcement, nothing else has any teeth,” he says. So too does the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which spends millions of dollars each year providing drugs to treat these major diseases. Spokeswoman Rosie Vanek says the Global Fund has already approved requests for technical assistance to improve national drug quality-control labs and bolster regulatory authorities. Vanek also stresses that the Global Fund has established measures to “ensure to the greatest possible degree the authenticity of commodities purchased with Global Fund resources”.
But Valerio Reggi of the WHO, who will coordinate IMPACT from Geneva, Switzerland, says it won’t be easy to root out corruption, especially in countries where inspectors are paid so little that it is worth the risk of taking bribes to turn a blind eye to the trade.
Newton also says that donor agencies must subsidise life-saving drugs so that the real versions price counterfeiters out of the market. “The key is to beat them at their own game.” This strategy is supported by the Global Fund, which provides drugs either free or at a small fee.
One recommendation is to subsidise real versions of drugs so that they price counterfeiters out of the market
The pharmaceutical industry is less convinced, however. “As long as the cost per unit of a counterfeit is lower than the street price of the real thing, there will be counterfeits,” says Harvey Bale, director of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers. He points out that paracetamol (acetaminophen) and the antibiotics ampicillin and amoxycillin are the most widely counterfeited drugs in developing countries, even though they are also the cheapest.
A number of initiatives are to be unveiled in Germany. One option IMPACT will pursue is to give each packet of drugs a code number that can only be read when the seal is broken. The consumer can phone the factory with the number to check their medicine is genuine. Zucker says the precise details are secret for now, but will be revealed in Bonn.
Others include off-the-shelf legislation that nations could adopt to combat counterfeiting, while IMPACT will launch a study to assess the growing threat of fake medicines sold on the internet, and another to gauge the scale of counterfeiting in Africa.
Newton warns not to underestimate the counterfeiters, as their production techniques have become increasingly sophisticated. Often they include small amounts of the real drug to make them more difficult to spot than if they contained no active drug. This practice that promotes the development of drug resistance. “It means that bacteria or parasites see very low concentrations of the active ingredient, enough to select for resistance,” says Newton. That could mean future generations of drugs could become obsolete.
Fake packaging is also increasingly sophisticated, says Newton. Some of the artesunate packs he found in Asia even carried holograms like those on the originals. “At the moment, the counterfeiters are winning.” But Zucker is more upbeat, and sees the creation of IMPACT as evidence that there is at last the political and international will to do something. “My perception is that there’s momentum.”
Churning them out
• In 1995 in Niger, some 60,000 people were inoculated with fake meningitis vaccine after authorities received a donation of 88,000 doses of purported Pasteur Merieux and SmithKline Beecham vaccines from neighbouring Nigeria. The vaccines contained no traces of the true active ingredient.
• 192,000 patients in China reportedly died over the course of 2001 after taking fake drugs. In the same year Chinese authorities closed 1300 factories while investigating 480,000 cases of counterfeit drugs worth $57 million. In 2004 they arrested 22 manufacturers of grossly substandard infant milk powder and closed three factories after the death of more than 50 infants.
• In North America, there have been recent reports of various counterfeits: human growth hormone; atorvastatin, which is used to lower cholesterol and treat heart disease; erythropoietin, used to alleviate anaemia; filgrastim, used to treat people who have had either leukaemia or a bone marrow transplant; and the anti-cancer drugs germcitabine and paclitaxel.
• Antiretrovirals, a long-term drug therapy that helps stop people with HIV from developing AIDS, are already being faked in central Africa. So far, counterfeit versions of the drug combinations stavudine-lamivudine-nevirapine and lamivudine-zidovudine have been identified.
CONTACT CENTRAL DRUGS CONTROLLER GENERAL FOR INDIA ,
email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Shanthy.email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
COCA-COLA , PEPSI COLA & OTHER SOFT DRINK MANUFACTURERS
-Are you disclosing full information to the consumers about contents of your products ?
various soft drink manufacturers & bottled drinking water manufacturers draw their raw material- water from the tube wells . nowadays due to excessive usage of chemical fertilizers , pesticide , insecticides , the ground water table is polluted by these chemicals . these are very harmful for human beings. In some areas even the ground water is poisoned by arsenic & flouride . In addition the soft drink manufacturers use chemical flavours , food additives & preservatives in their products . these are also harmful to human beings above certain limits.
Some of the MNCs are practicing double standards , while in their home operations in the U.S.A they are strictly adhering to F.D.A norms as consumer safety is strictly enforced there by the government , while in India they have thrown to wind the consumer safety with respect to indian operations. The
situation is so worse that it has been reported in the media that SOME FARMERS ARE USING THESE SOFT DRINKS AS PESTICIDES IN THEIR FARMS.
Hereby, i want following questions answered by soft drink manufacturers specifically coca-cola & pepsi,
1.how you are removing the harmful chemicals from the tube well water ie your raw material ?
2.how you are ensuring the proper mixture of food additives , preservatives & flavours within safe limits ?
3.why not you are giving the exact quantity of all contents in the soft drink of your’s on the product itself ?
4. are you exactly replicating your manufacturing & quality norms of your U.S.A operations in india ? if not why ?
5.are you strictly adhering to food norms of government of india ?
6. are you keeping the F.D.A NORMS OF U.S.A as benchmark for your operations in india ?
7. are you ready for the laboratory test of your product randomly selected by the consumer ?
8. Are they using genetically modified food ingredients ?
9. are they using ingredients sourced from animal origins ?.
Since April 22, 2002, residents of Plachimada, Kerala have been on vigil—24 chours a day, 7 days a week—outside the gates of Coca-Cola’s bottling plant in their village. The panchayat (village council) has
refused Coca-Cola the license to operate and the bottling facility, the largest Coca-Cola bottling facility in India, has been `temporarily’ shut down and the struggle is continuing make it permanent.
Local residents in Mehdiganj, near the holy city of Varanasi, are also leading a struggle against Coca-Cola and over 1,500 members demonstrated against Coca-Cola in November 2004. Protesters were met
at Coca-Cola’s factory gates by ARMED police, sent to “protect’ the plant. This was no mere threat, the protesters were severely beaten up.
At Coca-Cola’s bottling facility in Kala Dera, near Jaipur, Rajasthan, the sinking water table has created water shortages for over 50 villages. Over 2,000 people marched in August 2004 to protest Coca- Cola’s practices.
In Kudus village in Thane district in Maharashtra, villagers are forced to travel long distances in search of water which has dried up in their area as a result of Coca- Cola’s bottling operations. Coca- Cola has built a pipeline to transport water from a river to its plant, and activists opposing the pipeline and the facility are regularly harassed by local police.
Sensing a pattern, more than 7,000 people in Sivaganga, Tamil Nadu, mostly women, turned out in April 2003 to protest a proposed Coca- Cola factory in their village. Residents are justifiably worried that Coca-Cola’s joint operations with a sugar mill in the area will lead to water scarcity and contamination.
GRASSROOTS STRUGGLE AGAINSTR COLAS…
THOUSANDS of people all across India are protesting Coca-Cola’s operations in India. Led primarily by women, Adivasis (Indigenous Peoples), Dalits (lower castes), agricultural laborers and farmers, a significant grassroots movement has emerged in India to hold Coca- Cola accountable for its crimes in India and internationally. The campaign is growing and winning extremely important battles in the quest for justice. …AGAINST CRIMES A PATTERN of ABUSE has emerged for Coca- Cola’s bottling operations in India. Coca-Cola is Guilty of:
1.Causing Severe Water Shortages in Communities Across India
2. Polluting Groundwater and Soil Around its Bottling Facilities
3.Distributing its Toxic Waste as `Fertilizer’ to Farmers
4.Selling Drinks with High Levels of Pesticides in India, including DDT— sometimes 30 times higher than EU standards
…STRUGGLE OF HUMANITY AGAINST COLAS
Communities living around Coca-Cola’s bottling facilities are facing severe hardships. A majority of the community members affected by Coca-Cola’s indiscriminate practices are also some of the most marginalized communities in India- Indigenous Peoples, lower castes, low-income and agricultural day-laborers.
PURCHASE OF JUSTICE BY COLA
New Indian Express, June 02, 2005, Thursday Did the law break the law, asks Krishna Iyer
KOCHI: Justice V R Krishna Iyer demanded a second look into the Coco Cola judgment made by the High Court on Wednesday. Alleging that the modified decision smacks of bench shopping by powerful litigant, Justice Iyer said the circumstances of the case when fully disclosed may suggest a `riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma’.
The strongly worded statement of Justice Iyer is as follows:
I have great respect for the judiciary of which I have been a member, both in Kerala and in the apex court.
But criticism of judiciary pronouncements when one considers them as aberrational is a failure of a jurist’s duty to the Constitution and the non-exercise of the fundamental right of freedom of _expression. We are governed by the Constitution but it has been said that the Constitution is what the judges say it is.
This does not mean that the `robed brethren’ can go haywire reduce the law to mere judicial ipse dixits. I suspect the wisdom and constitutionality of the Coco Cola judgment pronounced by the Division Bench of the Kerala High Court.
May be I am wrong or may be the concerned judges are in error. When license has been refused for the Coco Cola by the local authority which is necessary under the Municipal Law the court cannot hold
that, in certain circumstances, the license may be deemed to have been granted, thus nullifying the statute.
The procedure of invoking the jurisdiction of that court for getting an earlier decision modified smacks of `bench shopping’ by a powerful litigant.
The circumstances of the case when fully disclosed, may suggest a `riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma’.
Coco Cola jurisprudence as laid down by the Court does require a second look although I must say that our judges in the High Court generally command my respect. I have not had the time to investigate
dialectically the many dimension of this pronouncement.
I must also confess that I have not fully investigated how, in the face of earlier decision, a fresh case was instituted before a different bench. This calls for a closer study of the procedure adopted and the substantive law declared when I consider curious and dubious.
In short, `Coco Cola’ as a law had made an imbroglio of our writ jurisdiction and jurisprudence. Already, Prof Mohammed Ghouse long ago, in a thoughtful article, felt that the highest court has at times becomes a conscience-keeper of vested interests.
I am sure that in India today, the one high institution which holds aloft people’s confidence is the judiciary. `Ye, are the salt of the earth; but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted’. (Bible).
COLOMBIA: KILLER COLA!
Coca-Cola’s main Latin American bottler, Panamco, is on trial in the US for hiring right-wing aramilitaries to kill and intimidate union leaders in Colombia. SINALTRAINAL union leaders and organizers have been subject to a gruesome cycle of violence unleashed by Colombian paramilitary forces in complicity with the Coca- Cola’s Colombian bottling subsidiary.
Since 1989, eight union leaders from Coca-Cola bottling plants have been murdered by paramilitary forces, some of them even attacked within their factory’s gates. Workers have also reported being
intimidated with threats of violence, kidnapped, tortured, and unlawfully detained by members of the paramilitary working with the blessing of, or in collaboration with, company management.
Water and land is central to agriculture and over 70% of Indians make a living related to agriculture.Water scarcity and polluted soil and water created by Coca-Cola has directly resulted in crop failures—leading to a LOSS of LIVELIHOOD for thousands of people in India. More than half of India‘s population lives BELOW THE POVERTY LINE, and disrupting farming is a matter of LIFE AND DEATH for many in India.
Ironically, communities most impacted by Coca- Cola’s bottling operations cannot even afford to buy Coca-Cola products. Coca-Cola’s indiscriminate pollution of the common groundwater source is a major long-term problem. It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to clean the groundwater resource through technology, and future generations are now subjected to drinking polluted waters courtesy Coca-Cola. Or they can install water pipes to their homes and pay for clean drinking water, which most CANNOT afford to do. Distribution of toxic waste as fertilizer to farmers around its bottling facilities has created a PUBLIC HEALTH NIGHTMARE. The long term consequences of exposure to the toxic waste is not yet known and the worst is yet to come. Coca-Cola is committing crimes against humanity in India. But a more powerful force has emerged to challenge Coca-Cola.
HUMAN RIGHTS SCENARIO IN INDIA
India has not ratified the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) with torture remaining rampant as a method of criminal investigation in the country. Even in more developed areas of India, from the point of view of the educational level of the people, like Kerala, torture is still common. The widespread use of torture occurs despite commendable judicial decisions, such as the famous Basu vs. the State of West Bengal, which laid down detailed rules on arrest, detention and the like, which, if applied, would lead toward the elimination of torture. The prevalence of torture is also not due to the lack of forensic facilities or forensic training available to the Indian police; for in recent years, there has been considerable sophistication achieved with regard to equipment and training. Torture though remains endemic due to other factors, such as bribery and corruption and the lack of a speedy and efficient disciplinary control mechanism. The tolerance of torture by higher-ranking officers and some prominent politicians of the central government as well as various states has not ceased. The failure of the Indian government to ratify CAT is itself a manifestation of the irresoluteness on the part of the state to bring this evil practice to an end.
In addition, India‘s record on delays in adjudication, including matters of criminal justice, are among the worst in the world. Court cases may go on for five or 10 years or even longer—delays in the judicial system that virtually distort the whole process of justice. The prevalence of these delays prevents the possibility of judicial enforcement of the basic rights of the people. While the higher courts still produce significant judgments, the justice that the average litigant receives is still of a primitive nature. Delays allow corruption and negligence. Accusations of corruption among some of the judiciary of all ranks are now an open accusation that has not been reputed in any credible way.
Another major problem facing the country is the caste system. Despite many commitments expressed by India‘s best-known leaders since independence to end this great social divide, it is still one of the greatest obstacles to progress in Indian society. Dalits, or “Untouchables,” for instance, are among the worst victims of torture and other abuses of human rights in the country. Dalits also suffer from delays in justice and the absence of access to justice. Thus, their misery is specifically linked to serious defects in the criminal justice system.
The absence of justice also contributes to deeply entrenched poverty and starvation. The AHRC’s studies on starvation deaths have revealed that there have been deaths caused by starvation even due to the negligence of magistrates who have particular responsibilities relating to these matters.
In short, the neglect of justice in India is of such a proportion that it challenges India‘s claim of being a vibrant democracy. India‘s democracy, in fact, is fundamentally flawed and is unable to maintain the rights of its ordinary folk. The powerful, for the most part, are still above the law.
An Open Letter to the Honourable Prime Minister of India , GOI , New Delhi
We, the concerned citizens, urge your government to support the resolution calling for a global moratorium on executions, at the 63rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Supported by countries from all regions of the world, such a resolution would be an important milestone towards abolition of the death penalty in all countries.
We oppose the death penalty believing it to be a violation of the right to life and the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. The death penalty legitimizes an irreversible act of violence by the state and will inevitably claim innocent victims, as has been persistently demonstrated.
A momentum is gathering to end capital punishment in all countries: 137 countries from all regions of the world have abolished the death penalty in law or in practice and only 25 countries carried out executions in 2006.
By adopting a resolution on a moratorium on executions, the UNGA will take a further, important step towards the fulfillment of the established UN goal of abolition of death penalty set out by the UNGA in 1977 (resolution 31/61 of 8 December 1977).
The vote on this resolution affords India the opportunity to support the eventual abolition of the death penalty at the international level and strengthen world opinion against capital punishment.
A step towards abolishing death penalty would go well with the principles of Gautam Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi, of which the whole country is proud.
We recall what the words of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon emphasized shortly after assuming office on 11 January 2007: “I believe that life is precious and must be protected and respected, and that all human beings have the right to live in dignity. International law affirms these values. I recognize the growing trend in international law and in national practice towards a phasing out of the death penalty.”
We request you to take note of this growing trend and not to lose this opportunity.
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