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UK’s House of Commons to debate the Human Rights Violations & Death Penalty issue in India

February 19, 2013 | By

London, United Kingdom (February 19, 2013): According to an Press release by the campaigners and organizers of the Kesri Lehar: “[t]he Kesri Lehar petition has secured a debate in the House of Commons on 28th February 2013, primarily sponsored and supported by Rt. Hon. John McDonnell, MP for Hayes and Harlington. The debate has now been listed to take place in the Main Chamber of the House of Commons, on Thursday, 28th Feb., 2013 at 11.30am”.

“The petition originated after a public gathering in Parliament Square on 12th April, 2012, to appeal for the release of Balwant Singh Rajoana. The petition which has accrued over 118,000 signatures, was formally presented to Prime Minster David Cameron on 10th December 2012 by a large delegation of Kesri Lehar campaigners, which included representatives of Amnesty International, Federation and the Asian Chriastian Fellowship. A greater momentum has since gathered for a Parliamentary debate to discuss the on going Human Rights atrocities that are being systematically being perpetrated by the Union of States Government of India within various states and upon certain minority groups” the press release reads further.

As per organizers of Kesri Lehar the call for the parliamentary debate was supported by a cross-party group of 68 Members of Parliament, through their support of the Kesri Lehar EDM 296.

The full text of the motion to be debated states: “That this House welcomes the national petition launched by the Kesri Lehar campaign urging the UK Government to press the Indian government to sign and ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which encompasses the death penalty, with the result that India would abolish the death penalty and lift this threat from Balwant Singh Rajoana and others.” Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Williams, one of the supporters, commenting on the petition said: “I pay tribute to the work done by both Kesri Lehar and to Amnesty International (which I am a member of) as they have continued to expose the Indian Government’s failure to address human rights abuses effectively. I abhor the death penalty and I do not think it has a place in any modern criminal justice system. I strongly believe that it is not an effective deterrent and simply demonstrates contempt for human life.”

“The secrecy in which recent executions were carried out in India has evoked both shock and surprise in the civilized world. Human rights bodies and activist have renewed calls for India to end capital punishment” a Kesri Lehar organizer told Sikh Siyasat News.

India is among a minority of countries which continue to use the death penalty. In total, 140 countries, more than two thirds of the world’s countries, are abolitionist in law or in practice. In 2011, only 21 states in the world executed, meaning that 90 per cent of the world was execution-free.

“The campaigners and supporters of Kesri Lehar (Wave for Justice) feel that the scheduled debate on Human Rights violations in the Union of States Government of India will be “a timely debate as India seeks to send many others currently on death row, including Balwant Singh Rajoana and Professor Bhullar who have amassed immense grassroots support” reads a statement by Kesri Lehar.

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