"As societies build walls of separation between communities,
ICAAD works to remove each brick to illuminate our common humanity"

UPR: India, 27th Session, 2017

Executive Summary

Through their collective community monitoring project, End Maternal Mortality Now – initiated to bring down the rate of maternal deaths in Assam, India – ICAAD, Nazdeek, and PAJHRA can confirm that India still faces serious problems in regard to the violation of women’s right to nondiscrimination and right to life as protected under the Indian Constitution (Articles 14, 15, & 21), and international instruments including Article 2 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and Article 12 and 14 of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.[1] India still has much to do to fulfill its obligations under the multiple UPR recommendations regarding maternal and infant health that India supported during the last UPR cycle. The current condition of public health services, further elaborated in the report, underscore the need to adopt a national legislation on the right to health.

This submission brings to light labor rights violations of tea plantation workers in Assam, with recommendations to meet the statutory minimum wage and provide safe & healthy working and living conditions in keeping with its legal obligations. Recommendations on housing seek to address the large scale of violations taking place in the absence of a national legislation on the right to adequate housing, with India’s urban poor being victims of forced evictions and inequitable rehabilitation.

Furthermore, since its last UPR review, India has still not ratified the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and its Optional Protocol.[2] The practice of torture of civilians by police in custody continues unabated, and a case filed in the United States shows that despite being a signatory to the Convention against Torture, India failed to uphold diplomatic assurances not to torture an individual who was extradited from the United States, in violation of international law. During its prior UPR, India previously supported recommendations to ratify the Convention, but has made no progress in doing so.

[1] ISIF Asia 2015, Project Factsheet Information, isifasia_grants_grants2014_technicalreport_nazdeek_vfinal, p.5.

[2] United Nations 2012, Human Rights Council, Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Thirteenth session, India, A/HRC/WG.6/13/IND/1, p.7, viewed 19 September 2016, <https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G12/116/85/PDF/G1211685.pdf?OpenElement>.


On May 17, 2019, ICAAD Advisor Erin Thomas’ publication: Compacts of Free Association in FSM, RMI, and Palau: Implications for the 2023-2024 Renewal Negotiations (hrbrief.org/2019/03/compacts-of-free-association-in-fsm-rmi-and-palau-implications-for-the-2023-2...) was cited by the President of Palau, Tommy Remengesau Jr., in an op-ed published in The Hill (thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/444291-pacific-defense-pact-renewal-vital-to-the-u...). In her piece, Erin points to critical issues stakeholders have raised regarding human trafficking, adoption policies, and COFA migrant rights among other important human rights issues.

Some of the above-mentioned policy gaps span several of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), particularly 10 (reduced inequalities) and 17 (partnership for the goals). Holistically, the existing COFA agreements represent the type of inequity that SDG 10 seeks to address. SDG 17 promotes inclusive and participatory decision-making at the international, national, and local levels. Developing transparency on both sides will allow for a more equitable process and outcome for the renewal negotiations.

The issues within the existing agreements also involve SDG 16 (peace, justice, and strong institutions) and limited access to justice regarding redress for nuclear testing and environmental destruction. This impacts targets and indicators including SDG 13 (climate action) and SDG 3 (good health and well-being). Finally, SDG 10 and 8’s targets for responsible migration policies are important considering the limited provisions for COFA migrants in the U.S. and U.S. territories.
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