Amnesty hails Verma panel’s AFSPA review call

New Delhi, January 26, 2013 (PPI-OT): The world human rights watchdog, Amnesty International welcoming the Justice Verma committee’s recommendation for review of black law, Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), has said that the ‘draconian and lawless law’ is only increasing frustrations and suffering among people in conflict areas. Tara Rao, Head of Education for Rights, Spokesperson, Amnesty International in India in a statement said, “The calls for review of the AFSPA are very welcome – this is a ‘lawless law’ that is only increasing frustrations and suffering among people in the areas of conflict. Amnesty International has consistently demanded repeal of this legislation.”

The recommendation to appoint special commissioners to monitor and initiate action for redress and criminal prosecution in all cases of sexual violence against women by armed personnel in conflict areas in particular needs to be studied in detail, Rao said. The Amnesty International said that the recommendations would require strong political action and judicial will if they were to be turned into reality.

“The Indian authorities must follow up on their promise to give top priority to considering the Verma Committee recommendations. Government must also actively initiate public education and other measures that need to be taken to change discriminatory attitudes towards women,” said Rao.

It is to mention here that the commission led by former Chief Justice of India, J S Verma, has recommended an urgent review of AFSPA, which provides impunity for members of armed forces involved in violence against women in conflict areas including occupied Kashmir and Northeastern Indian States. The commission was set up by the Indian government to look into laws for sexual crimes following recent gang rape of a young girl in New Delhi.

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