Amnesty wants human rights issues to be included in upcoming Karnataka Assembly Elections

Bengaluru: Ahead of Karnataka Legislative Assembly elections, human rights organisation Amnesty International’s India wing on Friday urged the political parties in the state to uphold human rights in their poll manifestos.

“Amnesty International India is asking political parties contesting the ensuing Karnataka Assembly election to adopt in their manifestos six goals to improve the state’s human rights record,” it said through a ‘Human Rights Charter for Political Parties’.

The six issues the parties need to address through their election manifestos, according to Amnesty India, are protecting people’s rights to freedom of expression and privacy, ending gender-based discrimination, ensuring justice for those who have faced rights abuse over caste or religion, improving criminal justice system, strengthening human rights institutions and building a culture of respect for human rights through education.

The political parties must instruct police to protect whistleblowers, journalists, activists and ensure that nobody faces prosecution merely for criticising the government or its policies, it said.

“Parties must ensure that the Aadhaar biometric ID is not used to block access to essential services or to violate people’s right to privacy,” it said.

The poll manifestos must address all forms of gender-based violence, including sexual harassment at workplaces, Amnesty stated.

Parties must ensure the effective implementation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 by training district-level officials who enforce it, it said.

“People engaged in manual scavenging must be identified, provided with rehabilitation and access to alternative livelihoods”.

The state should commute all death sentences to terms of imprisonment to uphold human rights, the statement said.

“The human rights institutions in the state must be strengthened by filling the vacancies in Karnataka State Human Rights Commission and making sure that it has adequate human and financial resources,” it said, and also called for human rights education to be integrated into school education and training courses for school and university teachers, it added.