New Delhi: Human rights experts have suggested that a letter from the Prime Minister to chief ministers will help prioritise the issue of bonded and migrant labour. During an open house session hosted by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), participants discussed the issue and felt that the root cause of this menace lies in the agrarian crisis, which needs to be addressed on priority in the country, a senior NHRC official said on Saturday. Also Read – Dussehra with a ‘green’ twist”It was also suggested that a letter from the prime minister to the chief ministers will help priorities this issue on the lines of mission mode campaigns, like the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan,” the NHRC said in a statement. NHRC Member Justice P C Pant said that a preventive approach is needed to end bonded labour, as it has acquired various “new forms and dimensions” with changing times and vocations since the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act was enacted in 1976. Also Read – India receives its first Rafale fighter jet from FrancePant said bonded labour contracts are not purely economic in India and these are reinforced by custom or coercion in many sectors such as agriculture, silk, mining, match production and brick kiln industries. He said that robust inter- state coordination mechanisms involving all ministries, agencies, trade unions and NGOs are required to address the issues of migrant workers, who may end up becoming bonded labour. D M Mulay, Member, NHRC, said that for the robust implementation of the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, it will be necessary to increase the conviction rate of those involved in subjecting people to bonded labour to act as a deterrent. Jyotika Kalra, Member of the rights panel, said that the NHRC has been very proactive in taking cognisance of complaints related to bonded labour. She suggested that NGOs should try sending online complaints to the commission by geo-tagging photos showing bonded labour. Online complaints are easy for quick processing, monitoring and effective action to catch the culprits, she said. NHRC Secretary General Jaideep Govind said that the social and economic marginalisation of weaker sections and their inability to move out of their respective groups makes them particularly vulnerable to forced labour and human trafficking.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) had voiced concern after video footage surfaced indicating Mr. Qadhafi was initially alive when captured in his hometown of Sirte and may have been killed later.Media reports today indicate that interim authorities in Libya have ordered an investigation into the former leader’s death and OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani said it was important that the probe look into the questions surrounding Mr. Qadhafi’s death.“We always stress the need to follow due process in the treatment of all detainees,” she told the UN News Centre, adding that OHCHR stood ready to provide any assistance to the inquiry if required.Ms. Shamdasani added that as Libya undergoes a transition now that the regime of Mr. Qadhafi has fallen and fighting has ended, it was important that Libyans seek to rebuild and heal rather than take revenge.“This is a new beginning for Libya and the world is watching. Human rights were at the foundation of the protests that led to the ousting” of the Qadhafi regime, and it was critical to ensure that human rights are upheld in the weeks and months ahead.Ms. Shamdasani noted that OHCHR was aware of press reports that more than 50 pro-Qadhafi loyalists may have been executed in Sirte.“It is essential that all detainees, regardless of which side they are on, are awarded due process.” 24 October 2011The United Nations human rights office today welcomed reports that Libya will set up an independent commission of inquiry into the circumstances surrounding last Thursday’s killing of the country’s former leader Muammar al-Qadhafi.