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Jesuit targets human rights chief

Corruption allegations make former justice 'unsuitable for role'

Jesuit targets human rights chief
Father Cedric Prakash (left) and Justice A P Ravani (Photo: Fatima Tanveer) reporter, Ahmedabad

April 19, 2011

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A Jesuit priest has demanded the resignation of the allegedly corrupt chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). “Since the credibility of the existing NHRC chairman has come under suspicion, he must step down immediately,” Father Cedric Prakash said yesterday at a function to launch a book on India’s compliance with the Paris Principles, a cornerstone of human rights initiatives worldwide. K. G. Balakrishnan, a former Supreme Court chief justice, now heads NHRC, an autonomous statutory body set up in 1993 to investigate violations of human rights. Father Prakash, who heads Prashant (tranquility), a human rights watch group, told media persons that Balakrishnan must resign from the post because his family had amassed wealth through unknown sources. Human rights could be protected only if persons of unquestionable integrity and commitment headed institutions designed to protect them, the priest said. Prashant is among the NGOs involved in preparing the report, “Compliance with Paris Principles by the National Human Rights Commission of India.” The principles were defined 20 years ago at the first International Workshop on National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights held in Paris. The UN adopted them in 1993. They relate to the status and functioning of national institutions for the protection and promotion of human rights.

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