Two-day Camp Sitting and Public Open Hearing of the NHRC gets underway

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The inaugural programme of the Two-day camp Sitting/Public Open Hearing of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for the States of Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura was held today at the State Convention Centre, Shillong. The inaugural programme was graced by the Members of NHRC, Justice Mahesh Mittal Kumar, Dr. DM Mulay and Shri Rajiv Jain, Members of the MHRC, Shri PJP Hanaman and Smti B. Giri, Secretary General, NHRC, Shri B Pradhan, Meghalaya Chief Secretary, Smti RV Suchiang and senior government officials of Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura.

Addressing the programme, Justice Mahesh Mittal Kumar said that the effort on the part of the Commission is to bring awareness about Human Rights and their redressal and through this process, the Commission is trying to reach out to the people particularly amongst the marginalised section of the society and other stakeholders to create bridges of cooperation and forging better understanding. NHRC play a catalyst role by organizing seminars, debate competitions, inviting complaints and issuing public notices, he said.

These Open Hearings have been instrumental in giving voice to the persons from marginalised sections/communities and giving relief to them on the spot. The victims of the human rights violations have been compensated in many cases and action has been recommended against the perpetrators of human rights violations, he informed.

Justice Mahesh Mittal Kumar also said the Camp Sitting and Open Hearing being organised in Meghalaya will also provide an opportunity to deliberate upon human rights issues pertinent to the three participating States, provide a platform for all stakeholders to voice their opinion and concerns, and thus help chart a way forward to address these human rights issues collectively. He said that the effective implementation of key socio-economic Flagship Programmes of the Government of India are crucial in ensuring the socio-economic well being, particularly those who grapple with poverty and lack of livelihood opportunities on everyday basis and there is a close connection between the proper implementation of the socio-economic programmes, well being of the people and protection of human rights. Hence, it is vital that in the education sector, schools function properly; Anganwadi centres under the ICDS are provided requisite infrastructural and financial support to function properly. Health centres at PHCs and CHCs level run effectively by ensuring that vacancies of doctors and para-medical staff are filled up and there is proper support of medicines in these institutions.

The Commission wishes to emphasize that the provision of basic facilities such as roads, water, food education and electricity, all contribute to enhancing the quality of life of the people and help reinforce the commitment of the State Government to human rights protection. Issues concerning prison reforms, custodial justice, condition of juvenile homes, basic sanitation and other facilities at police stations and prisons, delay in submission of compliance reports by State authorities, also need to be addressed. The NHRC firmly believes that human rights defenders and civil societies are crucial allies in the fight to preserve and promote the inalienable rights of the citizens since they play a vital role in fighting discrimination, investigating violations, and helping victims in getting justice. And, therefore, it is vital for State Governments and various public agencies, together with the support of the Commission, do their utmost to protect them and safeguard their freedom of expression to facilitate their efforts in the defence of human rights in the country, he said.

He hoped that during the ensuing programme, the Commission will be able to deliberate meaningfully on the important human rights issues and create a blueprint for more effective cooperation and coordination between the Commission and the government agencies and officials, with a noble objective of better protection and promotion of human rights. We have to work hard to ensure protection of human rights and bring comfort to maximum number of people, he added.

Others who spoke during the inaugural programme include Secretary General NHRC, Shri B Pradhan, Meghalaya Chief Secretary, Smti RV Suchiang and Secretary Home (Political), Shri C V D Diengdoh