Saturday, August 29, 2015

Mysterious silence of NHRC in my case: Testimony of Lenin Raghuvanshi.

This matter concerns not only the life and the reputation of a human rights defender, but also the very legitimacy of human rights work in general.
https://www.saddahaq.com/mysterious-silence-of-nhrc-in-my-case-testimony-of-lenin-raghuvanshi

Friday, August 28, 2015

CONFERENCE ON “ENDING TORTURE: COLLECTIVE CONCERN”


Dear Madam/Sir,
Greetings from PVCHR and NATT.
Torture, practiced by states, non -state actors and sometimes together, continues to be a global problem. Despite global resolve for its prevention, it continues to be an accepted and practiced tool for dominance. While the definition of torture is contested among organisations and academicians, what is agreed is that torture involves both physical and psychological methods of causing pain, distress or harm. Limited project based findings have highlighted the scale of its prevalence and institutional shortcomings in preventing torture, accessing justice and rehabilitation of the survivors. Unwillingness by the states to recognize its prevalence and address it has strained relationship between state and citizens. 

In this background, People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR),National Alliance on Testimonial Therapy (NATT) in collaboration with DIGNITY: Danish Institute against Torture are organizing a Conference titled “Ending Torture: Collective concern” in Varanasi, India on 15-16 November, 2015. Academicians, civil society groups, representatives of human rights institutions and survivors from several South Asian countries will present their thought and share their experiences.

Concept Note: CONFERENCE ON “ENDING TORTURE: COLLECTIVE CONCERN”
The overall goal of Initiative ‘Healing and Empowering the Marginalized Communities of India’    is to sustain a strong testimonial campaign contributing to eliminate impunity for perpetrators of torture in India. Specific objectives include strengthening a solidarity Movement of the Torture and organized violence -free Villages,detention places and prisons and cities ; promoting psycho-social support of the survivors, their families and communities; and mobilizing civil society and academia towards advocacy for justice and prevention of the survivors of torture & lobby and advocacy for the survivors of TOV at the Sub-Regional and International levels.
PVCHR principles are tested and aligned with the human rights based approach. The dynamics of power and politics between rights holders at local level to duty bearers at districts and national level are analyzed thoroughly before and during action. The motto is from policy to practice and practice to policy. PVCHR is bridging the capacity gap between duty and rights holders and create channels for the voice of local communities to be listened to by decision makers at district and national level.
PVCHR is active in the 3 themes– Urban, Detention and Rehabilitation – and they perceive themselves as a grassroots psycho-social organization. PVCHR is recognized in India and internationally for its work against violence affecting poor neighborhoods of India. National and international dailies and broadcasting companies report on torture and violence with information from PVCHR. PVCHR is coordinator in the South Asian Network against Torture (SANTI[1]). Interest from other human rights organizations in the project strategies is growing and the outlook of PVCHR is determined to work for building a regional movement on Testimonial Therapy covering South Asia[2].
The ‘Model Village’ is the key change concept and PVCHR is making substantial progress in reducing torture and violence in 70 villages as part of the preventive campaign ‘torture free villages’. The concept has received tremendous attention and other Indian NGOs and they have taken up similar principles. Prime Minister Modi has embraced the Model Village perspective in his political speech-making on promoting local development.
The pre- post- effect study on Testimonial Therapy (TT) was based upon 500+ torture and organized violence cases by PVCHR. Data analysis and article writing was assisted by DIGNITY. The article concluded that TT has a promising positive therapeutic effect on the survivors. TT facilitator’s manual has been transformed into local languages and the training on TT has been offered to other organizations. More than 100 Indian CSO organizations are enrolled in the National Alliance on Testimonial Therapy.
India has twice given promises at UPR sessions for ratification of the CAT. Broken promises are common in Indian politics and the draft Anti-Torture law has not moved further by the select committee since 2010. The PVCHR review and recommendations to improve the draft law was based upon the analysis and recommendations offered by the lawyer, Emily Reilly from DIGNITY. Prospects for passing the law are good under the prevailing political circumstances.
Torture, Rule of Law and Poverty: Analysis of the individual cases of torture handled by PVCHR illustrates the critical failings in a dysfunctional public justice system in India. Prison conditions in India are appalling with all the known symptoms of poor correctional systems. There is no unified correctional system in India but many different systems in the individual states. The biggest problems are found in the district prisons. In many ways PVCHR has made similar findings and analysis as in The ‘Locust Effect’.
Communal Violence: Post 9/11 India has seen increasing discrimination and communal attacks against Muslim and Madrasa schools. Muslim areas are often target of anti-terror campaigns. 54% of prisoners in Indian prisons are Muslims and 28% are Dalits. Right wing Hindu fascists orchestrate planned communal riots, such as in Aligarh (Uttar Pradesh). The attacks on Muslims are frequent and the consequences are destruction of livelihood – a paradox as Muslims constitute the backbone of Indian small scale industry. PVCHR has been able to document the role of police in attacks on Muslims. Ultimo 2013 PVCHR completed the EU funded project ‘Police Torture against Muslim Minorities’. The project documented severe human rights violations and the general socio-economic deprivation of Muslim communities.
Objective of Conference as next three years planning as:
·        Strengthening and deepening a solidarity movement of torture and organized violence  free villages, detention places, prison and cities
·        Promoting and sustaining healing and psychosocial support of survivors, families and communities
·        Mobilizing civil society and academia towards advocacy for justice and prevention of the survivors of torture, lobby and advocacy for survivors of torture at the sub-regional and international levels. To bring sustain peoples voice for ratification of UNCAT and OPCT
·        Strengthening NATT as activist Knowledge center
Few links:

Launch of Book title Margins to Centre Stage: Empowering Dalits in India:
Margins to Centre Stage: Empowering Dalits in India portrays the journey of the powerless, marginalised Dalits, located in Varanasi district of Uttar Pradesh, India to the triumph of hope, courage and social action over despair, poverty, oppression and vulnerability with the help of the relentless efforts put in by the volunteers of People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR), India.
The critique chronicles how the innocent victims of custodial-torture become active human rights defenders or freedom of bonded-labourers is snatched from the confinement of feudal and capitalist oppressors, and the change of weavers’ nightmares transformed into dreams, optimism and motivation.
Authored by Dr.Archana Kaushik, Ph D, Associate Professor, Department of Social Work, University of Delhi, India and Shruti Nagvanshi, a social activist and co-founder of People’s Vigilance Committee on Human  Rights (PVCHR), India, the discourse would be beneficial for the educators, students and practitioners of social work, managers and administrators in welfare and development sector, NGO workers, policy planners and all those who wish to participate in the future journeys of unwavering human spirit towards emancipation…

You are cordially invited.

Waiting your kindest response.

With regards,

Prof. Inam Shastri


Lenin Raghuvanshi, Founder and CEO-PVCHR


[1] SANTI was established in 2003 and have participation of human rights organizations from South Asia. They organize regional consultations on prevention of torture and breaking impunity.
[2] Due to long relationships with INSEC, PVCHR has been requested by INSEC’s founder and reputed human rights defender, Mr. Subodh Raj Pyakurel, to organize a testimonial training in Nepal in 2015.  

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Margins to Centre Stage: Empowering Dalits in India

Releasing soon…



Margins to Centre Stage: Empowering #Dalits in #India portrays the journey of the powerless, marginalised Dalits, located in Varanasi district of Uttar Pradesh, India to the triumph of hope, courage and social action over despair, poverty, oppression and vulnerability with the help of the relentless efforts put in by the volunteers of People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (#PVCHR), India.

The critique chronicles how the innocent victims of custodial-torture become active human rights defenders or freedom of bonded-labourers is snatched from the confinement of feudal and capitalist oppressors, and the change of weavers’ nightmares transformed into dreams, optimism and motivation.

Authored by Archana Kaushik, Ph D, Associate Professor, Department of Social Work, University of Delhi, India and Shruti Nagvanshi, a social activist and co-founder of People’s Vigilance Committee on Human  Rights (PVCHR), India, the discourse would be beneficial for the educators, students and practitioners of social work, managers and administrators in welfare and development sector, NGO workers, policy planners and all those who wish to participate in the future journeys of unwavering human spirit towards emancipation…

Price:                           £14.95, $ 21.95, INR 495

ISBN:                          978 93 81043 17 2                 
Publication Date         15 September 2015
Binding:                       Paper Back Trimmed Page Size: 215 x 140 mm Number of Pages: 294

Contact

             Frontpage Publications Limited                
Level 2, 13 John Prince’s Street, 
                   London W1G 0JR, United Kingdom                     
                                 E: info@frontpagepublications.com                                  


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Hindu nationalism and Islamic terrorism cast a shadow on Modi’s visit to the Emirates


Talks also centred on the fight against Islamic fundamentalism. Both the Indian and UAE governments condemned the actions of some states that use religion to support and justify violence and terrorism.

However, for Dr Raghuvanshi, India is not immune from religious fundamentalism, which lurks even among members of Modi’s party. "It is essential,” he said, “to break the cycle of poverty and the culture of silence in order to build lasting peace in India and the Middle East, and achieve a society based on justice. This requires confronting the violence of fundamentalist forces.”

“Modi has the right to express his faith,” the PVCHR president said, “but as prime minister of India on an official visit he should have insisted on secular democratic principles rather than promote his religion.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Continuation and Expansion of Elementary Education Project for Muslim and Dalit Children in Jaunpur and Varanasi Districts, U.P.


#India is a multicultural, multilingual and multi religious country. The current developments of educational provisions in India are much focused on school education. Basic education for any religious Minority group such as Muslim will be meaningful only if the system could encompass the cultural, linguistic and other social values into it. Educational policies have long ignored the unique educational need of the #Muslim religious group of the country. However, the education system of the country has several issues to address. Among these issues, first is the expanding access to appropriate learning provisions and opportunities and the second issue is making education relevant, useful and desirable for all. Madarsa is the most trusted educational institution of the Muslim to provide cultural education which has been running since long in INDIA and providing education for the Muslim community on traditional style. Many Madarsas all over the country have been registered and included mainstream subjects in their curriculum along with Islamic subjects. This is a new experience for both the #Madarsa organizers as well as policy makers. Achieving quality education along with other several indicators are also very important. This study was intended to evaluate the worked conducted by the #PVCHR entitled, Continuation and expansion of elementary #education project for Muslim and Dalit children in Jaunpur and #Varanasi Districts, Uttar Pradesh.” and sponsored by Sir Dorabji Tata Trust (#SDTT). 
This evaluation exercise would not have been possible without the hard work and untiring effort put in by everyone who was associated with it. A heartfelt  gratitude to all those who helped in every possible manner. I would sincerely like to thank Mr. Lenin Raghuvanshi Director of PVCHR who gave me this responsibility to evaluate the work done by the PVCHR in Madarsa of Jaunpur and Varanasi.
A special word of thanks to Ms. Saumya Gupta for her hard work and diligence, technical inputs, word processing and final layout of the report. I would also like to express my gratitude, for Dr. Rajeev Singh,Mr. Dilshad Ahmed Khan, and Mr. Irshad Ahmed for their support to the project.
Finally I would like to gratefully acknowledge the time, co-operation and effort of all the Principals/Heads, teachers, staff, students and parents of the Madrasas. We visited across in helping us to complete this evaluation.


Dr. Shaila Parveen
Associate Professor
Department of Social Work,
Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith, Varanasi