April 03, 2020
The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) has urged the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to review conditions in relief camps for migrants and emphasize police professionalism and prison preparedness during the lockdown.
Calling on the NHRC to send fact finding teams to relief camps where migrants in transit are being housed, CHRI's International Director Sanjoy Hazarika said that the needs of the latter for "food, water, sanitation and shelter must be met".
Emphasising the need for state governments and police departments to adhere to a human rights-based approach in the fight against the pandemic, Hazarika said that "more than ever before, this is the time for the NHRC to make its voice heard and its presence felt to set the bar for accountability."
In a communication to Justice (retd) HL Dattu, Chairperson of the NHRC on Thursday, Hazarika shared two sets of guidelines put together by the organization's prison and police reform teams "to help frame a human rights-based approach during the lockdown".
“The guidelines for police departments urge them to approach their mandate in a humane, transparent, accountable and non-discriminatory manner,” Hazarika said. CHRI took note of vivid accounts of police brutality and arbitrariness at a time when they ought to offer protection, assistance and guidance to the public.
He stressed that CHRI’s “guidance notes for prisons have a key bearing on mitigating the stress on prisoners, jail staff,” especially where overcrowding may prove to be hazardous to life during these times of social distancing.
For more information on the Prison and Police guidelines, please contact:
Madhurima Dhanuka, Programme Head, Prison Reforms Programme, CHRI
Devika Prasad, Programme Head, Police Reforms Programme, CHRI