India
13.03.18
Urgent Interventions

Intimidation and harassment against Ms. Ranjeeta Sadokpam and her family

IND 001 / 0318 / OBS 028

Harassment / Intimidation

India

March 13, 2018

The Observatory for the Protection ofHuman Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture(OMCT) and FIDH, requests your urgent intervention in the following situationin India.

Brief description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed byreliable sources about acts of intimidation and harassment against Ms. RanjeetaSadokpam and her family. Ms.Sadopkam is a researcher with HumanRights Alert (HRA)[1], based in Manipur, India.

According to the information received, on February 27, 2018, at around 1 am,Ms. Ranjeeta Sadokpam was harassed and intimidated by mixed police and armypersonnel who knocked on her door and attempted to conduct a search of her home.The police and army personnel were allegedly looking for an individual named “Somendro”,who would allegedly be a member of the United NationalLiberation Front (UNLF).

Despite Ms. Sadokpam’s insistence that the so-called “Somendro”was not present in her home, an army officer insisted that they were authorizedto conduct a search[2]. Afterdiscussing the situation with her family, Ms. Sadokpam went out of her home to talkwith the army officer. She then noticed that many army personnel were deployed aroundher neighbourhood along with Manipur police officers and an unidentified maskedman.

Ms. Sadokpam spoke with the army officer andcooperated by providing details about the identities of all her family members wholived in her home and the adjacent apartment. Meanwhile, the team cornered Ms.Sadokpam’s younger brother, whom the combined team seemed to suspect of being “Somendro”.Despite Ms. Sadokpam’s insistence that he was not “Somendro”, the army officerand his personnel spoke to him outside the house before they could confirm thathe was not “Somendro”.

The army officer then asked Ms.Sadokpam’s family members to sign a statement that theywere not allowed to read. After they reluctantlysigned the paper, the mixed police and military personnel left the premises.

TheObservatory strongly condemns the harassment and intimidation of Ms. RanjeetaSadokpam and her family, which seems aimed at sanctioning her legitimate humanrights activities, particularly at a time when the Central Bureau ofInvestigation and the National Human Rights Commission are conducting aninvestigation upon orders of the Supreme Court regarding 90 cases ofextrajudicial executions involving the Manipur police and the army, in whichHRA is a petitioner[3].

TheObservatory has also been informed of several otherrecent incidents of violence, harassment, intimidation, and threats againsthuman rights defenders in Manipur by police and armed forces, including againsta member of the Extrajudicial Execution Victims’ Families Association, Manipur(EEVFAM) and a legal representative of many of the victims involved in theEEVFAM and Another Vs. Union of India and Another [Writ Petition (Criminal)]129 of 2012.

The Observatory calls upon the Indian authorities toput an end to all acts of harassment and intimidation against Ms. RanjeetaSadokpam, her family members, and all defenders who support the EEVFAM petition,and undertake a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation in the above-mentionedevents.

The Observatory is concerned that under Section 4(d) of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act(AFPSA), the Indian armed forces have the power to enter and search withoutwarrant any premises to make arrests, which provides the legal basis for arbitrarinessand abuses, including against human rights defenders, as illustrated by thecase of Ms. Sadokpam.

The Observatory urges the Indian authorities to urgentlyimplement the recommendation formulated by then United Nations Special Rapporteuron the Situation of Human Rights Defenders Ms. Margaret Sekaggya uponcompletion of her official visit to India in January 2011 to repeal the AFSPA[4].

Actions requested:

Please write tothe authorities in India, urging them to:

i. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physicaland psychological integrity of Ms. Ranjeeta Sadokpam, her family, and all human rights defenders in India;

ii.Put an end to any harassment against all human rightsdefenders in India, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carryout their legitimate activities without any hindrance and fear of reprisals;

iii.Conduct a prompt, independent, and thorough investigation on the aforementionedacts of harassment and intimidation against Ms. Ranjeeta Sadokpam in order toidentify the perpetrators, bring them before an independent tribunal, andsanction them as provided by the law;

iv. Repeal the Armed ForcesSpecial Powers Act (AFSPA) without further delay;

v. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declarationon Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the UnitedNations on December 9, 1998, in particular with Articles 1 and 12.2;

vi. Ensure in all circumstances respect for humanrights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rightsstandards and international instruments ratified by India.

Addresses:

· Mr. Shri Narendra DamodardasModi, Prime Minister of India, Fax: + 91 11 2301 6857. E-mail: pmosb@pmo.nic.in / manmo@sansad.in

· Mr. Raj Nath Singh, UnionMinister of Home Affairs of India, Fax: +91 11 2309 2979. Email: dirfcra-mha@gov.in

· Mr. Rajiv Gauba, Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs of India, Email: hshso@nic.in

· Justice Dipak Misra, Chief Justice of India,Supreme Court, of India, Fax: +91 11 233 83792, Email: supremecourt@nic.in

· Justice Shri H.L. Dattu, Chairperson of the NationalHuman Rights Commission of India, Fax +91 11 2465 1329. Email: chairnhrc@nic.in

· Mr. Biren Singh, Chief Minister of theGovernment of Manipur, Fax: +91 385 242 11 71, Email: cmmani@man.nic.in

· Mr. Rajani Ranjan Rashmi, Chief Secretaryof the Government of Manipur, Fax: +91 385 245 2629, Email:cs-manipur@nic.in

· Chairperson of the ManipurState Human Rights Commission, Email: mhrc@man.nic.in

· Mr. Srinivasa Kammath, Focal Point on Human Rights Defenders, NationalHuman Rights Commission of India, Email: hrd-nhrc@nic.in

· H.E. Mr. Rajiv Kumar Chander, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of India to theUnited Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Fax: +41 22 906 86 96, Email: mission.india@ties.itu.int

· H.E. Mr. Manjeev Singh Puri,Embassy of India to the European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg in Brussels,Belgium, Fax: +32 2 6489638 / +32 2 6451869

Pleasealso write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of India located in yourcountry.

***

Geneva-Paris, March 13, 2018

Kindly inform us of any action undertakenquoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (theObservatory) was created in 1997 by the World Organisation Against Torture(OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedysituations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are bothmembers of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented byinternational civil society.

[1] For more than two decades, HRA has been documenting human rightsviolations and organising victims of Manipur and north-east India to accesshuman rights redressal mechanisms both at national and international levels. Inparticular, HRA is a petitioner of the Extrajudicial Execution Victim’sFamilies Association, Manipur (EEVFAM) and Another Vs. Union of India andAnother [Writ Petition (Criminal) 129 of 2012] to the Supreme Court of India.The EEVFAM’s petition to the Supreme Court demanded an investigation to be launchedinto 1,528 reported cases of extrajudicial killings that took place in Manipurbetween May 1979 to 2012. The Court decided in favour of EEVFAM and ordered theCentral Bureau of Investigation to initiate an investigation into these cases.

[2]Under the Armed Forces SpecialPowers Act (AFSPA) Section 4 (d), armed forces have the power to “enter andsearch without warrant any premises to make any such arrest as aforesaid or torecover any person believed to be wrongfully restrained or confined or any propertyreasonably suspected to be stolen property or any arms, ammunition or explosivesubstances believed to be unlawfully kept in such premises, and may for thatpurpose use such force as may be necessary”.

[3]See above footnote 1 for more information.

[4] See UN Document A/HRC/19/55/Add.1,February 6, 2012.

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