JAILED TO DIE?
India's incarcerated human rights defenders
and the Covid emergency

19 June 2021
Public Appeal Meeting

When prisons are unable to provide for the health and safety of the prisoners, the family has a right to
offer such care as they deem necessary.

 

Prisoners have a constitutional right to live and die in dignity.

 

Join this concerted public appeal to India's courts to implement the Covid-19 administrative order
and release jailed human rights defenders  

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June 2021

India accounts for almost a third of deaths from Covid-19 worldwide. The spread of the pandemic in India’s prisons remains a cause for grave concern, with the incarcerated becoming particularly exposed to infection, and developing other serious health issues owing to prison over-crowding, absence of appropriate medical care, and deplorable hygiene conditions.

The temporary administrative order to release prisoners due to the pandemic or place them under house arrest is shockingly not applicable to political prisoners in India. By turning a blind eye to the compounded risks the pandemic adds to an already cruel prison system, the government is in violation of its constitutional duty to safeguard the life of these citizens.

At this meeting we heard testimonies from family members of the BK-16 and human rights and legal experts to raise international public awareness on how the courts and prisons have become complicit in denying not only those in prison but also their family members their basic rights protected by India’s constitution. This is a concerted public appeal to India's courts for the appropriate implementation of the temporary administrative order. When the prison is unable to provide for the health and safety of the prisoners, the family has a right to offer such care as they deem necessary. The prisoners have a constitutional right to live and die in dignity.

Panellists
Aakar Patel, Director, Amnesty International India and columnist
Shahrukh Alam, Lawyer, Supreme Court of India
Koel Sen, Filmmaker and artist, daughter of Shoma Sen
Jenny Rowena, Lecturer, Delhi University, wife of Hany Babu
Sagar Abraham-Gonsalves, Son of Vernon Gonsalves
Father Joseph Xavier, Associate of Stan Swamy, Bangalore

Moderation

Lotika Singha and Simi Korote (InSAF India)

Co-sponsor

India Civil Watch International 

Further reading

 

Sukanya Shantha, 10 December 2020. From segregation to labour, Manu’s caste law governs the Indian prison systemThe Wire.

Sukanya Shantha, 13 February 2021. The Wire impact: after 70 years, Rajasthan amends Prison Manual that sanctioned caste-based labourThe Wire.

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