UN rapporteur on human rights meet activists of western region

Ahmedabad, Jan 17 (PTI) Special Rapporteur of theUnited Nations (UN) on situation of human rights defenders,Margaret Sekaggya, met with activists and members of civilrights groups from western India here today.

"Our mission in India is to evaluate the situation ofhuman rights defenders in the country," Sekaggya toldmediapersons here, on sidelines of consultation for westernIndia held here.

She would be travelling across the country and holdregional consultations.

Sekaggya who is accompanied by human rights officersGuillaume Pfeiffle and Olga Nakajo, would present her finalreport on situation of human rights defenders in India, to theHuman Rights Council in 2012 in Geneva.

"Various issues related to minorities, dalits,Naxalites in Gujarat were put before the UN SpecialRapporteur," Father Cedric Prakash of city-based Prashant, alocal NGO who was also one of the organisers of the meet,said.

Some of the 2002 riot victims of Ahmedabad, Vadodaraand Panchmahals made representation during the consultations.

While, some of the lawyers like Suhel Tirmizi andS M Vora, who had represented riot victims also presentedtheir experiences before Sekaggya. .

Gagan Sethi, member of Special Monitoring Group appointed by National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) after the2002 riots was also present for the consultation and made hissubmissions before the UN Special Rapporteur.

Human rights activists Hiren Gandhi from Gujaratalleged about how 18 persons fighting for tribal rights weretermed as Naxalites and arrested. Out of them, 14 werereleased on bail later.

Today''s regional consultations had 50 participantsfrom Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.

"Western states of Goa and Madhya Pradesh would,however, be submitting their submissions in writing," Prakashsaid.

UN Special Rapporteur Margaret Sekaggya is a lawyerfrom Uganda, and was appointed Special Rapporteur in March2008 by the UN Human Rights Council and works in herindividual capacity. PTI PB PDABC

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