Challenges to human rights defenders
Human rights defenders are on the frontlines to promote human rights and combat violations challenging government and civil society.
Human rights defenders acting against discrimination of all sorts in the country and outside , often at great personal risk to both themselves and their families, are being intimidated, threatened , false cases are foisted and many are murdered and killed.
Human rights defenders speak out against abuse and violations including discrimination, exclusion, oppression violence and while working on protecting natural resources, issues of accountability and governance. They advocate, transparency, justice and seek to protect the victims of human rights violations. They demand accountability for perpetrators and transparency in government action and non-state actors too. In so doing, they are often putting at risk their own safety, and that of their families and organizations.
Some human rights defenders are famous, but most are not. They are active in every part of the world, working alone and in groups, in local communities, in national politics and internationally.
To name a few, The arrest and incarceration of Dr Binayak Sen, Gautam Navlakh’s unlawful detention, false cases on Henri Tiphagne, Akhil Gogoi of Assam, Naba Dutta of WB, Susai Babu of KGF, Dr Sunilam and Advocate Aradhna Bhargava of Madhya Pradesh, Prof Hassan Mansoor, the arrest of Abhay Sahoo, and the killing of A.T. Babu, Sehla Masood and the recent one of Sr. Valsa of Jharkhand is important to note.
In this regard SICHREM, ISI along with SCMI, St. Joseph’s College, Mount Carmel College, Ananya-GCI, APD and the CRI and many others as part of the Human Rights Celebrations being held from the 1-10 December have set a day to remember all the Human Rights Defenders. The details of the program as follows:
A Public Meeting was held on December 6, 2011 at 4 p.m. at SCM House, Mission Road and a Candle Light Vigil was held in Solidarity for Human Rights Defenders at 6 p.m at Town Hall, Bangalore.
Speakers were Jagadish of New Socialist Alternate, Ms. Geetha Menon of Stree Jagruthi Samithi, Mathews Philip of SICHREM, Ms. Cynthia Stephen -independent researcher, Adv jagadish, Y.Mariswamy of SPJ , Sr. Malar, St. Joseph of Tarbes, representative of CRI and Fr. Stephen Kulandaisamy of ISI among others would address the gathering.
There were around 130 religious sisters, formees who took an active part in the deliberations. Sr. Malar, St. Joseph of Tarbes, addressed the gathering on behalf of CRI Bangalore. The need of the hour, we cannot work anymore in isolation, rather we are called to witness Christ through our joint efforts in fighting against the atrocities faced by humanity especially the marginalized and powerless.