Lack of accountability in India fosters rights violations: HRW

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 - 19:22

New York: India has strong legislation to protect human rights but entrenched corruption and lack of accountability foster violations, Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday.

In its World Report 2014, the rights watchdog said the Indian government`s inability to protect women and children from rape and sexual violence undermines its commitment to uphold the rights of all Indians.

During 2013, authorities also failed to enforce laws that protect vulnerable communities including Dalits, religious minorities and tribal groups, the report said.

"International attention to sexual attacks in India led to a new law, but should have spurred the government towards systemic changes to make real progress on this issue," said Meenakshi Ganguly, HRW South Asia director.
"The government has also failed to keep its promises of reforms to create a responsive police force, and to repeal laws that protect the armed forces from prosecution," Ganguly said.

In the 667-page world report, HRW reviewed rights practices in over 90 countries.

In India, numerous civil society groups - which play a crucial advocacy role in addressing these problems through protests and free expression - are increasingly at risk due to misused sedition laws and financial regulations, the report said.

In April, India rolled out a Central Monitoring System for all phone and Internet communications, which rights groups fear could lead to abuse in the absence of adequate oversight or safeguards for the right to privacy, it said.

India took positive steps in 2013 by strengthening laws protecting women and children, and, in several important cases, prosecuting state security force personnel for extrajudicial killings. The impact of these developments will depend in large part on effective follow-up by central government authorities, the HRW said.

First Published: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 - 19:22
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