//India admits to rights abuses

India admits to rights abuses

Parul Malhotra, CNN-IBN, Saturday , March 03, 2007

New Delhi: The war on terror has led to human rights abuses in some instances, admits the Indian Government to an international panel of judges.

While the Ganderbal families are still coming to terms with their tragedies of losing their loved ones in fake encounters carried out by state police, thousands of miles away, the Government is admitting its mistakes to international observers.

“They acknowledged that the steps taken cannot completely prevent these abuses from happening,” said an International Court of Justice (ICJ) panelist, Arthur Chaskalson.

“We heard that there had been aberrations. But there appears to be a willingness to address this increasingly,” said another ICJ panelist, Vitit Muntarbhorn.

But why should the state care for human rights when terrorists don't? That’s because ordinary people, often innocent victims of conflict, can actually provide useful intelligence.

“If you have good intelligence, you don’t need counter terror laws. But good intelligence depends on the confidence the public has in a system,” said Muntarbhorn.

India's free press, independent judiciary, and a pro-active Human Rights Commission gives them comfort but there's a real need to make security agencies and law enforcers more effective and accountable, they caution.