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Civil rights and parliamentary oversight of intelligence agencies

HRF 225/12 | December 2012


Dear Madam/Sir,

There is need for a statutory framework for South Asia’s intelligence agencies to build effective oversight and accountability mechanisms. Whilst national security is highly important to public interest, it is only one of many competing interests to be balanced for effective governance. This paper outlines best practice for regulation of intelligence services in South Asia, acknowledging the difficulty of balancing national security needs with civil liberties guarantees.  It seeks to identify appropriate civil liberties safeguards, whilst maintaining sufficient freedom for intelligence agencies to perform their functions effectively.

It appeared in the December 2012 issue of the South Asia Journal. 


Ignoring the Disappeared of Kashmir with Impunity

HRF/224/12 | 6 November 2012

Dear Madam/Sir,

The blanket refusal by security forces in Jammu and Kashmir to investigate or release the identities of bodies buried in unmarked and mass graves is a gross violation of international law that India has so far been able to commit with impunity. National and international pressure has been found wanting in this regard. Fatigue and helplessness over the persistence of India’s egregious human rights abuses has made such relative silence the norm. Domestic apathy and selective enforcement of international law must be overcome to end such impunity to the violation of human rights.

It appeared in the 10 November 2012 issue of the Economic and Political Weekly.

HRF/224/12 [ PDF ]


Notifying Farming as an Essential Service-An Authoritarian Manoeuvre

HRF/223/12 | 18 September 2012

Dear Madam/Sir,
The Government of India is considering a proposal to notify farming as an essential service. This is ostensibly to bring drought relief to farmers suffering from a weak monsoon - a laudable goal indeed. However, if farming is deemed an "essential service", farmers and farm workers could lose many of their political and civil rights because the government can then invoke the Essential Services Maintenance Act to ban strikes by agricultural workers, leaving them without collective bargaining power.

It appeared in the 22 September 2012 issue of the Economic and Political Weekly.

The Border Security Force (Amendment) Bill, 2011

HRF/222/12 | 12 May, 2012

Dear Madam/Sir,
Please find enclosed as HRF 222, – an article on the proposed, “The Border Security Force (Amendment) Bill, 2011”. It appeared in the 12 May 2012 issue of the Economic and Political Weekly.


National Counter Terrorism Centre

 HRF/221/12 | 19 April 2012

Dear Madam/Sir,
Please find below as HRF 221, – an article on the proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre. It appeared in the 17 March 2012 issue of the Economic and Political Weekly. It is titled, “The National Counter Terrorism Centre- The Creation of the Indian Stasi.”

A copy is also appended in PDF format.


Harassment of Sikhs in Afghanistan

HRF/219/12 | 3 February 2012

The plight of Afghanistan’s Sikh community is often ignored. Since the coming to power of the Mujahedeen in 1992, the Sikh community has been fleeing Afghanistan. The bulk of the estimated 200,000 Afghan Sikhs appear toh ave fled between 1991 and 1994.....