India: Acts of intimidation and harassment against Ms. Salima Memcha

10/04/2018
Urgent Appeal

IND 002 / 0418 / OBS 044
Harassment / Intimidation /
Threats
India
April 10, 2018

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in India.

Brief description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about acts of intimidation and harassment against Ms. Salima Memcha, Thoubal District Coordinator of the Extrajudicial Execution Victims’ Families Association, Manipur (EEVFAM).

According to the information received, on April 7, 2018, at around 5am, a team of the Manipur police commando knocked loudly at Ms. Salima Memcha’s gate. When she enquired about the reason for their visit, the police unit gave no explanation and instead rushed inside her house, searching every room and destroying personal property. One police officer reportedly threatened her,saying that “she was the one they have been looking for months”. They also asked her information about her family members, including her children. The search lasted about 30 minutes, after which police officers left the house. Before leaving, one of the police officers took a picture of Ms. Memcha and threatened her with “dire consequences”.

On the same day, Ms. Memcha submitted a memorandum to the Director General of Manipur police, asking for protection and his urgent intervention through the registration of a First Information Report (FIR) against the police team involved in the raid on her home.

Ms. Memcha was due to visit the Police Crime Investigation Department (CID) branch office at Imphal that day, in connection with the case of her husband, who was killed in an alleged encounter with Assam Rifles, an Indian paramilitary force. Her husband’s case is part of 62 cases submitted by EEVFAM to the Supreme Court along with Writ Petition (Criminal) 129 of 2012 [1]. However, due to concerns about her safety, Ms. Memcha did not attend the meeting.

The Observatory recalls that there have been other recent incidents of violence, harassment, intimidation, and threats against human rights defenders in Manipur by police and armed forces, including against a member of EEVFAM and a legal representative of many of the victims involved in EEVFAM’s 2012 petition to the Supreme Court of India, as well as against Ms. Ranjeeta Sadokpam, a researcher with Human Rights Alert (HRA) [2].

The Observatory strongly condemns the acts of harassment, intimidation, and threats against Ms. Salima Memcha, which seem to be aimed at punishing her for her peaceful and legitimate human rights activities as EEVFAM Thoubal District Coordinator.

The Observatory calls upon the Indian authorities to put an end to all acts of harassment and intimidation against Ms. Salima Memcha, her family members, and all human rights defenders who support the EEVFAM petition, and to undertake a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation in the above-mentioned events.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities in India, urging them to:

i. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity ofMs. Salima Memcha, her family, and all human rights defenders in India;

ii. Put an end to any harassment against all human rights defenders in India, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance and fear of reprisals;

iii. Conduct a prompt, independent, and thorough investigation on the aforementioned acts of harassment and intimidation against Ms. Salima Memcha in order to identify the perpetrators, bring them before an independent tribunal, and sanction them as provided by the law;

iv. Repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) without further delay;

v. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, in particular with Articles 1 and 12.2;

vi. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by India.

Addresses:

· Mr. Shri Narendra Damodardas Modi, Prime Minister of India, Fax: + 91 11 2301 6857. E-mail: pmosb@pmo.nic.in / manmo@sansad.in
· Mr. Raj Nath Singh, Union Minister of Home Affairs of India, Fax: +91 11 2309 2979. Email: dirfcra-mha@gov.in
· Mr. Rajiv Gauba, Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs of India, Email: hshso@nic.in
· Justice Dipak Misra, Chief Justice of India, Supreme Court, of India, Fax: +91 11 233 83792, Email: supremecourt@nic.in
· Justice Shri H.L. Dattu, Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission of India, Fax +91 11 2465 1329. Email: chairnhrc@nic.in
· Mr. Biren Singh, Chief Minister of the Government of Manipur, Fax: +91 385 242 11 71, Email: cmmani@man.nic.in
· Mr. Rajani Ranjan Rashmi, Chief Secretary of the Government of Manipur, Fax: +91 385 245 2629, Email: cs-manipur@nic.in
· Chairperson of the Manipur State Human Rights Commission, Email: mhrc@man.nic.in
· Mr. Srinivasa Kammath, Focal Point on Human Rights Defenders, National Human Rights Commission of India, Email: hrd-nhrc@nic.in
· H.E. Mr. Rajiv Kumar Chander, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Fax: +41 22 906 86 96, Email: mission.india@ties.itu.int
· H.E. Mr. Manjeev Singh Puri, Embassy of India to the European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg in Brussels, Belgium, Fax: +32 2 6489638 / +32 2 6451869

Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of India located in your country.

***
Geneva-Paris, April 10, 2018

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
• E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
• Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
• Tel and fax FIDH: + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

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