We are launching our latest report ‘Strangers to Justice: A Report on Foreigners in Indian Prisons’ and holding a roundtable consultation with key stakeholders on Friday, 11th January, 2019 at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.
This report has been authored by members of our Prison Reforms programme and highlights problems faced by Foreign National Prisoners (FNPs) in India – collated through RTI responses from 26 states and union territories -- and includes plausible solutions to these issues. Strangers to Justice is inspired by our team’s experience in working with FNPs in West Bengal, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab and Assam over the past decade and attempts to address the problems on a national level. Our team has dealt with cases of foreigners from more than 20 countries, including several from South Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East.
In our study, we found a variety of problems that FNPs face. For instance, there are currently 3,908 foreign nationals from 58 countries housed in prisons in India; of these, only a mere 5.7% have had consular access.
Therefore, through this consultation, we aim to bring together key stakeholders, including Ambassadors/ High Commissioners, consular representatives from embassy/ high commissions, representatives from the Government of India (Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs), the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO), state prison departments, legal services authorities and state home departments to discuss the challenges faced by FNPs.
The roundtable will be addressed from speakers including Mr Wajahat Habibullah, chairperson of the CHRI’s India Executive Committee, former chairperson of the National Commission for Minorities and India’s first Chief Information Commissioner; Mr Salman Khurshid, Advocate, Supreme Court of India and former Union Minister of External Affairs; and Mr Sanjoy Hazarika, CHRI International Director.