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Criticism mounts on Indian HR record, US media policy

[TamilNet, Monday, 12 December 2011 08:44 No Comment]

“Nothing but a radical shift in economic, security and social policy is needed to meet India’s national and international human rights commitments,” said Miloon Kothari, the convenor of Working Group on Human Rights (WGHR) in India, commenting on the latest WGHR review report that presents a very bleak scenario of the actual state of human rights across India, according to The Hindu, Sunday. Meanwhile, several media and rights organisations are currently engaged in a campaign against the US Congress considering a law on censoring the world’s Internet. The US, long criticising China and Iran over Internet, now embarks upon discussing a law far worse that could target You Tube and WikiLeaks, the rights groups said. The rights groups and media in India and the US were virtually silent when the policies of the powers killed a hundred thousand Tamils in a war that kept witnesses away.

The WGHR in India came out with its review report in advance of the UN Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) Universal Periodic Review on India in May 2012.

The UNHRC examines the rights record of its members once in four years on a rotational basis. The WGHR report will be considered as one of the sources for the UNHRC review in next May.

Commenting on the WGHR report, an Indian human rights lawyer, Vrinda Grover, cited by The Hindu on Sunday said, “People are increasingly losing faith in systems of justice and governance.”

“The last four years have seen a marked increase in the deployment of security forces and draconian laws to deal with socio-economic uprisings and political dissent. Conflict is no longer confined to Kashmir and the northeast but also many parts of central India. In all these areas, human rights violations are overlooked and even condoned. The legal framework and practice have entrenched the culture of impunity,” Vrinda Grover said.

According to The Hindu, the lawyer felt the military approach and the ongoing conflicts contradicted India’s stated position in the U.N. that it did not face armed conflict and pointed out that militarisation was also being used to forward the state’s ‘development’ agenda.

Commenting, an Eezham Tamil political analyst said that in the last four years what India had been doing inside was no different from what it had been doing in the neighbourhood, in shaping a militarized state in Sri Lanka and in contributing to the genocide of Eezham Tamils.

The rights groups and elite media in India cannot have double standards, the analyst said pointing to the silence of Indian institutions and even abetment shown from some media quarters towards Indian-partnered military solution, genocide and ‘development’ agenda of structural genocide in handling the national question of Eezham Tamils.

Some of the latest abuses committed by India on its peoples are inspired by its experiments in the island. Therefore, setting the record right in the island is of utmost importance to save the entire region, the analyst further said.

On Saturday, genocidal Sri Lanka’s military commander Lt. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya was invited by Indian Military Academy to review its passing-out parade of cadets. For the first time India invited a Sri Lankan commander to review its parade.

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Meanwhile, calling for a signature campaign against Internet censor discussed in the US Congress, the Avaaz Organization said, “For years, the US has condemned countries like China and Iran for their clampdown on Internet use. But now, the impact of these new censorship laws could be far worse — effectively blocking sites to every Internet user across the globe.

“Under the new law, the US could force Internet providers to block any website on suspicion of violating copyright or trademark legislation, or even failing to sufficiently police their users’ activities. And, because so much of the Internet’s hosts and hardware are located in the US, their blacklist would clamp down on the free web for all of us,” Avaaz said.

“Last year, a similar Internet censorship bill was killed before reaching the US Senate floor, but it’s now back in a different form. Copyright laws already exist and are enforced by courts. But this new law goes much further — granting the US government and big corporations enormous powers to force service providers and search engines to block websites based just on allegations of violations — without a trial or being found guilty of any crime,” Avaaz further said.

Directed by Canadian-British Ricken Patel, Avaaz that campaigned for issues ranging from West Asia to Tibet and Burma on human rights, and from dolphins to honey bees on environment, was totally silent on the largest human rights issue of the century, the genocide of Eezham Tamils and the subsequent incarceration, human rights situation and structural genocide.

Most of the rights groups fail to see that a global inspiration to engineer media come from the successful experiment of powers in Sri Lanka, in keeping the world media away from a large scale genocide. USA discussing censor of Internet is only a further development.

Avaaz cites the US criticism on China’s Internet policy. But the hard truth is that rather than inspiring China on democracy, the USA and India actually follow China in many ways. Sri Lanka once again is the focal point where for the first time all the three of them jointly demonstrated a ‘paradigm’ for the future of humanity and the world was silent without realizing the impending dangers to everyone, the Eezham Tamil political analyst pointed out.

The case of Eezham Tamils is not an insignificant issue as some policy makers, world media and rights groups try to down play, comparing it with other geopolitical situations of power interests. On the contrary, the Tamil issue is of much significance from the world peoples’ point of view, as every contemporary question of human rights or political justice would become a joke without setting the answer right to the national question in the island of Sri Lanka, the political analyst observed.

Whether the world rights groups and media would rightly identify the current ideological epicentre of the world human rights crisis, expose the real culprits, lead a world-wide struggle and would help the progress of humanity, or would they succumb to the ‘reconciliation’ paradigm set to silence the victims to facilitate further global manoeuvrings, is the question, the political analyst said.

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