Diplomacy in Action
India – Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012
U.S Department of State – Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights & Labor
India is a multiparty, federal, parliamentary democracy with a bicameral parliament. The president, elected by an electoral college, is the chief of state, and the prime minister is the head of the government. Under the constitution the 28 states and seven union territories have a high degree of autonomy and have primary responsibility for issues of law and order. President Pranab Mukherjee was elected in 2012 to a five-year term, and Manmohan Singh became prime minister for a second term following the Congress Party-led coalition’s victory in the 2009 general elections, which were considered free and fair, despite scattered instances of violence. Security forces reported to civilian authorities.
The most significant human rights problems were police and security force abuses, including extrajudicial killings, torture, and rape; widespread corruption at all levels of government, leading to denial of justice; and separatist, insurgent, and societal violence.
Other human rights problems included disappearances, poor prison conditions that were frequently life-threatening, arbitrary arrest and detention, and lengthy pretrial detention. The judiciary was overburdened, and court backlogs led to lengthy delays or the denial of justice. Authorities continued to infringe on citizens’ privacy rights. The law in some states restricted religious conversion, and there were reports of arrests, but no reports of convictions under these laws. There were some limits on freedom of movement. Rape, domestic violence, dowry-related deaths, honor killings, sexual harassment, and discrimination against women remained serious problems. Child abuse and child marriage were problems. Trafficking in persons, including widespread bonded and forced labor of children and adults, child prostitution, and forced adult prostitution, were serious problems. Caste-based discrimination and violence continued, as did discrimination against persons with disabilities and indigenous persons. Discrimination against persons with HIV and discrimination and violence based on gender identity continued. Religiously based societal violence remained a concern. Forced labor and bonded labor were widespread. Child labor also was a serious problem.
Widespread impunity at all levels of government remained a serious problem. Investigations into individual cases and legal punishment for perpetrators occurred, but in many cases a lack of accountability due to weak law enforcement, a lack of trained police, and the overburdened and underresourced court system created an atmosphere of impunity.
Separatist insurgents and terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, the Northeastern States, and the Naxalite belt committed numerous serious abuses, including killing armed forces personnel, police, government officials, and civilians. Insurgents were responsible for numerous cases of kidnapping, torture, rape, and extortion, and they used child soldiers. For the second consecutive year, Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast saw considerably less violence than in the past.
Read the complete report here Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012