BHRPC believes that every human being has certain inherent rights due only to the fact that s/he is a human being. These rights are called human rights. In 1948 United Nations’ General Assembly proclaimed the UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS (UDHR) as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations. Most of the rights enshrined in UDHR have also been embodied and elaborated in a number of other binding international and regional treaties and instruments. The United Nations adopted the DECLARATION ON THE RIGHT AND RESPONSIBILITY OF INDIVIDUALS, GROUPS AND ORGANS OF SOCIETY TO PROMOTE AND PROTECT UNIVERSALLY RECOGNIZED HUMAN RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS (UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders) by its General Assembly resolution 53/144 of 9 December 1998 recognising and encouraging the efforts of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in promoting and protecting human rights.
Fundamental human rights are also guaranteed in the Constitution of India and the Supreme Court and High Courts are made the custodians of these rights. There are other laws and mechanisms in India guaranteeing human rights enacted and constituted to fulfil its obligations under international law and treaties. One such legislation is the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, (the Act) which encourages explicitly under section 12 (i) the efforts of NGOs in the field of human rights. Barak Human Rights Protection Committee is such a non-profit organization as is envisaged under the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and contemplated in the Act.
BHRPC is named after the river BARAK as it is based in its valley. In Article 3 of the constitution of BHRPC the area of operation is defined as “basically entire Barak Valley and if necessary beyond this area”.
The main objectives of BHRPC are (i) to promote and protect human rights and prevent their violations, (ii) to improve socio-economic situation for full realization of Social, Economic and Cultural Rights for all and (iii) to work for promotion and establishment of democracy, secularism and world peace as these are sine qua non for full realization of all human rights.
As BHRPC believes in Democracy, Rule of Law, Peace and Non-Violence all its activities are within the Indian and International legal frame work. Main activities include (i) research and studies, (ii) awareness generation campaign, (iii) monitoring and documentation of human rights violations, (iv) legal intervention and (v) emergency response and urgent appeals.
BHRPC works through some specialised Programmes. These are (i) Right to Justice Programme, (ii) Right to Information Programme, (iii) Gender Justice and Child Rights Programme, (iv) Right to Livelihood Programme, (v) Disaster Risk Management Programme, (vi) Health Rights Programme and (vii) Environmental Awareness and Protection Programme.
All functions are done by 7 divisions of the organisation. These are (i) Organisation and Administration Division, (ii) Education and Training Division, (iii) Monitoring and Documentation Division, (iv) Law and Legal Affairs Division, (v) Research and Study Division, (vi) Information and Publication Division.
The organisation of BHRPC consists of (i) Auxiliary Body, (ii) Associates Body, (III) Advisory Body, (iv) Board of Patron, (v) General Body and (vi) Executive Body.
Past achievements of the organization include:
1. The term ‘human rights’ and its significance became more familiar to the people of the valley following many seminars, symposiums, public meetings, workshops, debates, interactive sessions, demonstrations, publications etc. conducted by the organization since its establishment. A drastic increase in recent days can be seen in the numbers of complaints regarding cases of violations filed by the victims and others with the organization, Assam Human Rights Commission and National Human Rights Commission which is indicative of greater awareness of the people. BHRPC received more than 150 complaints in the last year.
2. The organization has published folders and booklets containing Bengali translation (the local language) of (i) Universal Declaration of Human Rights, (ii) Provisions of the Legal Services Authority Act, 1988, (iii) Requirements of Arrest under D K Basu Case, (iv) NHRC Guidelines Regarding Arrest, (v) Dos and Don’ts regarding Solid Waste Management and (vi) The Supreme Court Judgment on Employment of Teachers on non-teaching duties and continues to distribute them free of cost among the public.
3. The organization maintains a 24 hours mobile helpline for the victims. A victim or anyone on his behalf can call at anytime on +919435989997 or +919401134314 or can e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .
4. The organization has got the status of district nodal NGO in Disaster Risk Management Programme from the district administration in 200*.
5. The Assam State Legal Services Authority has accorded approval to “Workshop cum Counselling and Conciliation Centre” run by the organisation in 2007.
7. The organization has undertaken a research project titled “Freedom from Torture and Violence: Compatibility of Indian Law and Practice with International Human Rights Standards (Focusing on The North East)”.
8. The organization publishes a yearly journal on human rights named ‘The Human Voice’ and a monthly e-news letter named ‘RightsNews’. (Publications have ceased temporarily due to lack of fund.)
In the Days to Come:
BHRPC will expand its activities and networking both horizontally and vertically by continuing formation of Auxiliary Groups and nomination of Local Monitors of Human Rights in or out of Barak Valley and entering into networking and partnership with other similar minded organisations and institutions in points of mutual agreement and interests in and out of the valley.
The organization has undertaken a project of translation (in Bengali) and publication of the International Bill of Human Rights and the organization is going to launch its own website. Besides, the organization is contemplating to start some other important programmes for working more conveniently in the area of i) Labour Rights, ii) Agricultural Awareness, iii) Right to Education, iv) Health Rights and v) Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Barak Human Rights Protection Committee will continue to fight for rights, justice, peace and truth with resilience and dynamism.