Respect human rights while enforcing lockdown: Guidelines for police in India from CHRI

Respect human rights while enforcing lockdown: Guidelines for police in India from CHRI

April 01, 2020

(South Asia Monitor)

Responding to vivid accounts of police brutality and arbitrariness across India during the nationwide lockdown, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative has framed a set of guidelines to assist police departments to enforce the lockdown within the Constitutional framework.   

“We are all aware the police cannot do its job without a secure base of public cooperation and trust," said Sanjoy Hazarika, CHRI‘s International Director. The organization's police reforms unit has developed the detailed guidelines. 

While underscoring the many cases of arbitrariness, Hazarika further said, “while guarding against the spread of the Covid-19 virus, we recognize also that as the frontline implementer of a complex, challenging and mammoth lockdown, the police are at great risk and extremely vulnerable to the virus”. He pointed out that there were many cases where police had handled difficult situations effectively. 

Devika Prasad, the head of the police reforms unit, said, "In this time of collective hardship and unprecedented restrictions, people are looking to the police to approach their mandate in a humane manner, in the spirit of service. Urgent measures are needed to ensure a human rights-based approach in policing”. 

The following is a summary of the detailed guidelines which have been shared with police and state leaderships across the country as well as with the Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi, and a wide array of civil society groups.

The guidelines can be accessed here

For more information, please contact: 

Devika Prasad, Programme Head and Devyani Srivastava, Senior Programme Officer, Police Reforms Programme, CHRI