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UN special rapporteur calls for repeal of AFSPA

By Sobhapati Samom

IMPHAL, March 31 � United Nations Special Rapporteur Prof Christof Heyns has recommended scrapping of the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) 1958.

�A law such as AFSPA has no role to play in a democracy and should be scrapped,� said Prof Heyns in a press statement on Friday which was made available to media houses in Imphal.

The UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions on the concluding day of his 12 day visit to India said , �The repeal of this law will not only bring domestic law more in line with international standards, but also send out a powerful message that instead of a military approach the government is committed to respect the right to life of all people of the country.�

Prof Heyns had visited the Northeastern region and held a consultation with civil society in Guwahati on March 28 after visiting Gujarat, Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir and West Bengal besides meeting officials in New Delhi.

�AFSPA which is continuously in force since 1958 (different States have their own versions as well) in the North East and since 1990 in J & K has become a symbol of excessive State power,� the UN Special Rapporteur observed. �I have heard of extensive evidence of action taken under this law that resulted in innocent lives being lost, in Jammu and Kashmir and in Assam, where witnesses from neighbouring States also assembled. This law was described to me as �hated� and a member of a State Human Rights Commission called it draconian�.

Touching upon the issue, he further stated, �The Armed Forces are deployed in so-called �disturbed areas� in the North East and in Jammu and Kashmir. The AFSPA in effect allows the State to override rights in the disturbed areas in a much more intrusive way than would be the case under a state of emergency, since the right to life is in effect suspended, and this is done without the safeguards applicable to state of emergency.�

�AFSPA clearly violates International Law. A number of UN treaty bodies have pronounced it to be in violation of International Law, namely HRC (1997), CEDAW (2007), CERD (2007) and CESCR (2008). My predecessor has also called for its repeal,� he added.

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— Dalai Lama(THIS IS STATIC)

UN special rapporteur calls for repeal of AFSPA

IMPHAL, March 31 � United Nations Special Rapporteur Prof Christof Heyns has recommended scrapping of the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) 1958.

�A law such as AFSPA has no role to play in a democracy and should be scrapped,� said Prof Heyns in a press statement on Friday which was made available to media houses in Imphal.

The UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions on the concluding day of his 12 day visit to India said , �The repeal of this law will not only bring domestic law more in line with international standards, but also send out a powerful message that instead of a military approach the government is committed to respect the right to life of all people of the country.�

Prof Heyns had visited the Northeastern region and held a consultation with civil society in Guwahati on March 28 after visiting Gujarat, Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir and West Bengal besides meeting officials in New Delhi.

�AFSPA which is continuously in force since 1958 (different States have their own versions as well) in the North East and since 1990 in J & K has become a symbol of excessive State power,� the UN Special Rapporteur observed. �I have heard of extensive evidence of action taken under this law that resulted in innocent lives being lost, in Jammu and Kashmir and in Assam, where witnesses from neighbouring States also assembled. This law was described to me as �hated� and a member of a State Human Rights Commission called it draconian�.

Touching upon the issue, he further stated, �The Armed Forces are deployed in so-called �disturbed areas� in the North East and in Jammu and Kashmir. The AFSPA in effect allows the State to override rights in the disturbed areas in a much more intrusive way than would be the case under a state of emergency, since the right to life is in effect suspended, and this is done without the safeguards applicable to state of emergency.�

�AFSPA clearly violates International Law. A number of UN treaty bodies have pronounced it to be in violation of International Law, namely HRC (1997), CEDAW (2007), CERD (2007) and CESCR (2008). My predecessor has also called for its repeal,� he added.

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— Dalai Lama(THIS IS STATIC)