Tuesday, July 17, 2012

National Consultation “Testimonial Campaign contributes to eliminates impunity for perpetrator of Torture in India”

National Consultation "Testimonial Campaign contributes to eliminates impunity for perpetrator of Torture in India"
Lenin Raghuvanshi, Secretary General PVCHR


First of all I would like to welcome Hon'ble Justice K. G. Balakrishnan, Chairperson National Human Rights Commission, Guest of Honour: Mr. Pavel Svitil, Chargé d'affaires, Delegation of the European Union to India and chair of inauguration session, Mr. Gautam Navlakha, Consultant Editor-Economic and Political Weekly (EPW). Mohammad Aamir Khan, who was released in January 2012 after 14 years of incarceration and was named as falsely implicated  in 20 low-intensity bomb blasts which took place between December 1996 and October 1997 in Delhi, Rohtak, Sonepat and Ghaziabad. Today PVCHR is honouring Mohammad Aamir Khan with the Jan Mitra Award with 60 Thousand Rupees as a financial support for his commitment and conviction based on rule of law, democracy and non-violence for protection of human life with dignity of individual.


            Mr. Sankar Sen, Ex- Director General, National Human Rights Commission, Dr D Roy Laifungbam, Chairperson, Human to Humane Transcultural Centre for Torture Victims (H2H), Mr. Mathews Philip, Executive Director SICHREM. And all delegates from Manipur, Assam, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jammu & Kashmir, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and New Delhi, Kolkata etc


We are organising National Consultation "Testimonial Campaign contributes to eliminates impunity for perpetrator of Torture in India"  Challenging the impunity through breaking the silence is based on eliminating the fear, phobia, hopelessness and fragmentation of the survivors in empathetic safe and secure environment. Survivor's psycho – social and legally supported through Testimonial Therapy converted into human rights defender/barefoot worker based on concept of justice, democracy, non – violence and human dignity. In this context Peoples' Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR), National Alliance on Testimonial Therapy (NATT) in collaboration of Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims (RCT) and European Union project "Reducing Police Torture Against Muslim Minority"is holding a two days national consultation i.e. 12th – 13th July, 2012 in New Delhi on "Testimonial campaign contribute to eliminate impunity for perpetrators of torture in India". We are aware that the fear and phobia due to torture and organized violence (TOV) is imparting culture of silence and testimonial therapy as a psycho -legal support to the survivor is breaking silence against impunity.


In the national consultation "Testimony to improve psychosocial wellbeing and promote advocacy for survivors of torture and organised violence" held 16 – 17 April 2009 Vishwa Yuvak Kendra, New Delhi a loose alliance National Alliance on Testimonial Therapy (NATT) was formed by the panellist for the further use of testimonial therapy in India. In 2010 NATT secretariat launch formal subscription form for the NATT and now organization from 8 states are its members.


The PVCHR had spread the testimonial campaign in Manipur with Wide Angle, in Assam with Barak Human Rights Protection Committee, in Karnataka with SICHREM and in Uttar Pradesh, especially in Purvanchal and Bundelkhand region collaborating with Institute of Social Development Trust. We have trained over 50 human rights defenders and community worker in 5 Training of the Trainers workshops and developed manual "Giving Voice" different cultural context for the south India and north – east India in their own local language.


The testimonial method was originally developed in Chile during the military dictatorship in 1970s. It has been successfully used in the psychotherapeutic treatment of survivors of torture and organized violence in India and it has also been an advocacy tool employed by different human rights movements. It is a specific therapeutic technique which is being used to confirm and document severe emotional trauma that victims of torture and their relatives had experienced.


PVCHR has integrated Testimonial Therapy into a unique advocacy and educational model within which "torture free" model villages are organized and empowered to protect and expand basic human rights, and to fight against impunity of the violators. The pain and the agony expressed in the testimonies have helped to inform and convince the judiciary and human rights institutions about the injustice committed against the plaintiff. It is easier to elicit a coherent story from survivors and it effectively help to release their pain during narration of the suffering of being tortured.


PVCHR have further experienced a synergetic effect of the testimonial therapy with their folk school at villages and colonies in urban locations as breaking the censorship to challenge the impunity. The TOV free village strategy is focusing on survivors and advocating for reforms with interlinked activities:


 Testimonial

Testimonial Therapy

 Seeking Legal Redress

 Building Solidarity

 Advocacy for Institutional Reform


On 13th July 2012, the National Consultation would chalk out a future plan and sessions would be held at Indian Social Institute, Lodhi Road, New Delhi.