JAWAHARLAL NEHRU UNIVERSITY
CENTRE FOR PROMOTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS TEACHING & RESEARCH (HURITER)
Fax: 91-11- 26717592
The primary objectives of the Centre for Promotion of Human Rights Teaching & Research (HURITER) are to promote interdisciplinary research and teaching in the field of human rights at all levels of education and to that end:
· serve as a means of liaison and coordination between the teachers and institutions specializing in human rights education and contribute to all forms of research and reflections essential to the teaching of human rights;
· make available the text of international instruments--declarations, conventions, treaties, etc.--adopted by the United Nations/UNESCO/ILO and other international organizations as also relevant documents, studies and reports prepared by these organizations;
· collect and disseminate information on national and international human rights laws, as well as information, materials, syllabic and instructional guides for all levels of education and availability of materials towards setting of priorities for effective human rights research;
· facilitate interaction among teachers, scholars and human rights activists primarily by means of seminars, meetings and conferences.
Over the years human rights teaching and research have constituted part of the work of various study centers of the School of International Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University. A number of research papers published by the faculty members and a number of M.Phil/Ph.D. dissertations/theses written by the students of the School dealt with human rights problems. However, it was felt that human rights teaching and research deserves more concerted efforts and interdisciplinary approach.
In August 1981, under the dynamic leadership of late Professor K.P.Saksena and having done some preparatory work, the School of International Studies organised, in cooperation with UNESCO, a Round Table of University Teachers, Lawyers/Human Rights Activists, and Educationists. As a follow-up, the School initiated a Programme of Human Rights Teaching and Research in April 1982.
THE DOCUMENTATION-INFORMATION CENTRE
As a part of the Programme of Human Rights Teaching & Research of the School of International Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, a Documentation-Information Centre for Human Rights Teaching & Research was set up on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights--10 December 1983-- with the support of the University Grants Commission and within the framework of UNESCO Programme for Promotion of Human Rights Education,
The Documentation-Information Centre was inaugurated on 10 December 1983 by Hon’ble Judge Dr. Nagendra Singh, the then President of the International Court of Justice, one of the principal organs of the United Nations. The proceedings were chaired by Mr. K. C. Pant, then Member of Parliament and representative of India to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Messages of good wishes were received from the then Prime Minister of India, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, as well as the then Minister of Education, Mrs. Sheila Kaul.
To take the first concrete step in the direction of introducing human rights teaching, it was deemed essential to arrange a framework for extensive discussion and intensive interaction among the representatives of various universities. Hence, the Vice Chancellors of various universities and heads of educational institutions in India as also some of the neighbouring countries were requested to name contact persons for exchange of experience and information.
Since February 1986, the Documentation-Information Centre has been put on the regular financial grants by the University Grants Commission.
REFERENCES AT HURITER
1. User Profile: Research facilities at HURITER are available to all researchers registered with JNU, working towards their M.Phil./Ph.D. degrees as well as to those who wish to undertake independent research work. Any scholar interested in the field of human rights, though not registered with JNU, can also avail of these facilities. Research scholars have the additional option of seeking affiliation with the School of International Studies/JNU on payment of a nominal fee to make full use of the University Library facilities, access to faculty and other scholars and services of HURITER.
2. Timing: HURITER is located at Room No. 235, School of International Studies, JNU; and is open for reference from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on working days. Requests for information and material, by correspondence, are also entertained. Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Accommodation: Scholars coming from outside Delhi can avail accommodation at Aravali Guest House, which is situated inside the JNU New Campus or at Gomti Guest House which is situated at Barakhamba Road, New Delhi. Requests for accommodation should be addressed to Public Relations Officer, JNU, New Delhi-110067.
ACTIVITIES BY HURITER
1. Teaching: As a first major step, the beginning was made by introducing an optional course entitled “Human Rights: Problems & Perspectives” in July 1984 at the School of International Studies, JNU (where teaching is at the post-graduate level) under the direction of Late Professor K.P. Saksena, the Founder Director of HURITER. Subsequently, this paved the way for introducing Human Rights and Duties education by a galaxy of universities and educational institutions. Since 1991, JNU provides an opportunity to M.A. students to study human rights through an optional course entitled “Human Rights and World Order”.
2. Research: HURITER assists people in the formulation of human rights course curriculum, research proposals, dissertations, theses, etc. This service has helped in the introduction of human rights courses in several universities such as the University of Poona and the National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkotta. HURITER has a modest library, which is open for reference.
3. Documentation: HURITER has in its collection texts of the most important international laws on human rights, selected documents of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); International Labor Organization (ILO), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), summary records of international bodies such as the Human Rights Committee (HRC) and the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).
HURITER receives documents from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (formerly the Center for Human Rights of the United Nations). Further, HURITER receives summary records of the proceedings of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Sub-Commissions on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and the various committees relating to human rights. HURITER also receives the reports submitted by the member states to various committees. HURITER also receives reports and publications of some NGOs such as Amnesty International. HURITER keeps the copies of national laws relating to human rights. HURITER updates the accession/ratification and signature of various international human rights covenants and conventions particularly with special reference to Asian states. HURITER library also keeps selected books, theses and dissertations bearing on human rights.
Research material produced by HURITER includes:
- Teaching about Human Rights at the Secondary School level (prepared for NCERT/UNESCO pilot project, 1982-83), pp.25
- Human Rights in Asia: Problems and Perspectives (summary of proceedings and text of working paper of the seminar held in December 1982), pp.72
- Human Rights Education (working papers and conclusions and recommendations of the seminar held in December 1984), pp.30
- The Teaching of Human Rights (Proceedings of the First National Symposium on Human Rights Teaching in India at the University (under-graduate) level, May 1985), pp.82
4. Dissemination of Information: One of the main purposes of HURITER is to assist scholars and teachers in obtaining information and source material needed for their work. Several requests are received for copies of the texts of international instruments, national laws, seminar proceedings, and other materials. It is HURITER’s utmost effort to meet the increasing demand. However, because of staff shortage and lack of facilities, HURITER is selective in responding to the requests for supply of material.
Requests for material: All requests for the material available from HURITER may please be addressed to HURITER, #235, SIS, JNU, New Delhi 110067 or emailed to: email@example.com
5. Seminars/symposia: Several seminars/symposia have been organised under the auspices of HURITER. Some of them are:
a. First National Symposium on Human Rights Teaching, 9-11 May 1985
This national symposium was devoted to Human Rights Teaching in India at the University (Under-graduate) Level. The symposium was inaugurated by Dr. (Mrs) Madhuri Shah, the then Chairperson, UGC, New Delhi. The representatives of some 25 universities, besides human rights experts and jurists, participated in the symposium. Subsequently, proceedings, conclusions and recommendations together with six selected working papers were published and sent to all universities in India.
b. Third World Congress on Human Rights, 10-15 December 1990
Under the dynamic direction of Late Professor K. P. Saksena, HURITER in collaboration with the United Nations Centre for Human Rights (Geneva) organized the Third World Congress on Human Rights in New Delhi from 10 to 15 December 1990. It was perhaps the largest conglomeration of human rights experts and activists and attended by some 400 human rights activists, educationists, jurists and representatives of NGOs from more than 60 different countries across the five continents.
The participants included official representatives of the United Nations, United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, International Labor Organization, World Health Organization, and United Nations Children's Fund. Twenty-six member States of the United Nations sent their representatives as ‘observers’. Several prominent NGOs, including Amnesty International were represented by their highest officials. The Congress was inaugurated by Mr. Justice Ranganath Misra (then Chief Justice of India) and presided over by Mr. Justice P. N. Bhagwati (former Chief Justice of India). The Congress adopted “Final Act of the World Congress on Human Rights, 1990” and the papers presented at the Congress were published in K.P. Saksena, ed., Human Rights: Perspective and Challenges (New Delhi: Lancer Books, 1994).
c. Symposium on Human Rights at the Turn of the Century: Issues and Challenges, 10 December 1995
d. Symposium on Democracy, Human Rights and Terrorism, 3 December 1999
e. National Seminar on Disability and Human Rights, 1 February 2002, organised in collaboration with the Society for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies, New Delhi
f. International Conference on Globalisation, Development and Human Rights, 20-23 November 2002
g. National Symposium on Disability and Public Policy in Historical Perspective, 22–24 October 2003, organised in collaboration with the Society for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies, New Delhi
h. National Summit on Disability, Human Rights Law and Policy, 1-4 December 2004, organised in collaboration with the Society for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies, New Delhi.
6. Internships: HURITER offers internships to exceptionally brilliant students, research scholars, human rights activists, etc., who are interested in working on human rights issues. The facility is intended to increase human rights awareness and competence, particularly from the legal perspective to a broad spectrum of people. Applicants are free to choose the period of their internships, ranging from 1 month to 6 months.
HURITER does not provide financial assistance for those who are selected as interns but it helps in obtaining accommodation in the University guest house. Applicants can forward a letter of intent and their resume to the Director, HURITER, Room No. 235, School of International Studies, JNU, New Delhi 110067, or email the same to firstname.lastname@example.org
Professor Yogesh K. Tyagi
Since Spring 2004, Professor Tyagi is Director of HURITER. Professor Tyagi is Professor of International Law at the Centre for Studies in Diplomacy, International Law and Economics, School of International Studies, JNU, New Delhi.
Previous positions held by Professor Tyagi are Legal Officer, Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization; Reader in Law, University of Poona; Academic Visitor, London School of Economics and Political Science; Fulbright Scholar, Columbia University School of Law; Visiting Scholar, Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, D.C.; Visiting Scholar, Faculty of Law, University of Tokyo; Visiting Woodruff Chair of International Law, School of Law, University of Georgia at Athens, USA; and Visiting Scholar, Max Planck Institute of International and Comparative Law, Heidelberg, Germany.
Professor Tyagi's publications include: “Third World Response to Human Rights”, Indian Journal of International Law, vol.21, no.1, 1981; “Cooperation between Human Rights Committee and Non-governmental Organizations: Permissibility and Propositions”, Texas International Law Journal, vol.18, no.2, 1983; “Some International Law Aspects of the Bhopal Disaster”, Social Science and Medicine, vol.27, no.10, 1988; “Towards UNCLOS IV?” Journal of World Trade, vol.27, no.1, 1993; “The Concept of Humanitarian Intervention Revisited”, Michigan Journal of International Law, vol.16, no.3, 1995; “The Conflict of Law and Policy on Reservation to Human Rights Treaties”, British Yearbook of International Law, 2000.
Professor Tyagi offers a course on “Human Rights and World Order” at the M.A level.
Dr G.N. Karna
Research Officer at HURITER
Dr. Karna holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from JNU, and has done post post-doctoral studies as well from JNU. Dr. Karna who himself is afflicted with severe disability, specializes in the area of Disability Studies and Human Rights. Dr. Karna is the hon. President of Society for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies, New Delhi, and also the editor of International Journal of Disability Studies. Dr. Karna is on the editorial Advisory Panel of a half-yearly journal titled Disabilities and Impairments.
Dr. Karna's publications include: United Nations and the Rights of Disabled Persons: A Study in Indian Perspective (New Delhi: APH, 1999); Disability Studies in India: Retrospects and Prospects (New Delhi: Gyan Publishing House, 2001).
Shri Surender Kumar,
Hon. Assistant to HURITER
Sri. Surender Kumar is associated with the Centre for Studies in Diplomacy International Law & Economics since 1992. He is Hon. Assistant to HURITER since early 2004.
HURITER Affiliated Researchers
Dr. R. S. Saini, ICSSR Senior Fellow
Dr. Saini holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from JNU. He was appointed as Documentation Officer at HURITER in the year 1986. He held that position till December 2002, when he retired. From then on he continues to be associated with HURITER as a Senior ICSSR Research Fellow, and is currently working on a research project titled 'A Study of Custodial Torture in the Context of International Human Rights Regime and the Indian Law'.
Dr. Saini’s publications include: "Freedom from Torture and the United Nations", Indian Journal of International Law, vol. 29 (1&2), 1989; "Right to Self Determination/Secede and the International Terrorism: What are the UN Norms and Practices" in A. P. Vijapur, ed., Perspectives on Human Rights (New Delhi: Manak, 1999); “Rights of the Minorities under International Law” in Dipankar Sen Gupta and Sudhir Jumar Singh, eds., Minorities and Human Rights in Bangladesh (New Delhi: Author Press, 2003).
Dr. Kanan Gahrana
Dr. Gahrana worked as a post-doctoral research fellow with HURITER from February 1988 to February 1993. At present she is working as Reader at the Department of Political Science, D.S. College, Aligarh.
Dr. Gahrana's publications include: Right to Freedom of Religion- A Study in Indian Secularism (New Delhi: South Asian Publishers, 1992); "Terrorism and Human Rights: Indian Context" in Y.G.Nigam, ed., Some Contemporary Issues of Indian Polity (Aligarh: 1996); "Women's Rights: A Human Rights Perspective", World Focus, No. 143, 1992; "Women's Rights and the Role of Women's Organization in India", Detente, vol. VII, nos. 1-2, 1989.
HUMAN RIGHTS INTERNS
Mr. Binu Varghese
Mr. Varghese is a Ph.D. candidate at the International Legal Studies Division, JNU. For the Ph.D. theses he is working on the legal linkages between international trade law and the right to health. Mr. Varghese holds an M.Phil Degree in International Law from the same department and a law degree as well.
Mr. Rajdeep is an M.Phil Scholar with the International Legal Studies Division, JNU. He has completed master’s degree in International Relations from the School of International Studies, JNU. His areas of interest include conflict studies, security studies, international humanitarian law, and international organizations.
Mr. Udayakumara Ramakrishna B.N.
Mr. Udayakumara is a Ph.D. candidate at the International Legal Studies Division, JNU. For the Ph.D. theses he is working in the area of international labour laws. Mr. Udayakumara has completed his M.Phil in International Law from the same department with a dissertation entitled‘Reporting Procedure for Promotion of Compliance with International Labour Standards in India”. Mr. Udayakumara holds an LL.M Degree in International Law and has also completed the International Trade law Post- Graduate Course at the University Institute of European Studies and International Training Centre of the International Labor Organization, Turin, Italy.
Professor K.P. Saksena
Late Professor Saksena laid down the foundation of HURITER in April 1982. Professor Saksena retired as Professor of International Organization, School of International Studies, JNU in the year 1992. He was the Secretary-General, Institute for World Congress on Human Rights (IWCOHR) and Director of its Centre for Human Rights Education & Research, New Delhi.
Earlier, Professor Saksena was Adviser, Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations, New York; member of Indian delegation to six sessions of the UN General Assembly, two sessions of the UN Commission on Human Rights and scores of other UN bodies; a U.S.Smith-Mundt/Fulbright Scholar (1962-64) at New York University (NYU), New York, from where he earned his Ph.D; Consultant, Human Rights Division, UN Secretariat (1967-68), New York; Hon. Consultant, Division of Human Rights & Peace, UNESCO, Paris (1980-87); leader of Indian delegation to the United Nations Conference on “Local, National and Regional Arrangements for Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in Asian Region”, Colombo (Sri Lanka), June-July 1982 and served as its Rapporteur; elected Chairman of the First Committee, UNESCO International Congress on “Human Rights Teaching, Information and Documentation”, Malta, August-September 1987; Secretary-General, World Congress on Human Rights, New Delhi, 10-15 December 1990, convened by HURITER, JNU, in collaboration with the UN Centre for Human Rights, Geneva.
Professor Saksena’s publications include: Reforming the United Nations: The Challenge of Relevance (1993); Human Rights: Perspectives and Challenges in 1990s and Beyond, ed. (1994); Teaching Human Rights: A Manual for Adult Education (1996); Human Rights: Fifty Years of India’s Independence, ed. (1999); Human Rights and The Constitution: Visions and the Reality, ed. (2003).
Professor V. S. Mani
Professor Mani succeeded Late Professor K.P.Saksena as the Hon. Director of HURITER in 1993. He directed the activities of HURITER till his superannuation from JNU in March 2004. Professor Mani was Professor of International Space Law at the International Legal Studies Division of the School of International Studies, JNU. Earlier Professor Mani was Chief Secretary and Secretary to the Cabinet of the Government of Nauru (1985-1990), Republic Counsel of Nauru (1981-1983), Agent and Legal counsel for Nauru in the Certain Phosphate Lands in Nauru case before the ICJ (1989-1993), Legal Counsel for India in the Aerial Incident (Atlantique) case against Pakistan (1999-2000), Visiting Professor at the University of Tokyo (2000), and Secretary-General of the Indian Society of International Law (1997-2000). He had chaired a session of the UN Technical Forum on Space Law of UNISPACE III, Vienna (1999). In 2003 he was elected Executive President of the Indian Society of International Law, New Delhi. After his retirement from JNU, Professor Mani is the first Director of the Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar.
Professor Mani’s publications include: International Adjudication: Procedural Aspects (Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague/New Delhi, 1980); Basic Principles of Modern International Law: A Study of the United Nations Debate on the Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States (New Delhi, 1993); Human Rights in India: An Overview (New Delhi, 1997) Occasional Paper No.4 of the Institute for World Congress of Human Rights, New Delhi; (Co-ed. with M.S. Rajan and C.S.R. Murthy) The Non-Aligned and the United Nations (New Delhi, 1987); (Co-ed. with S. Bhatt and V.B. Reddy) Air Law and Policy in India (New Delhi, 1994); (Co-ed. with S. Bhatt and V.B. Reddy) Recent Trends in Space Law and Policy (New Delhi, 1996); (Co-ed. with S. Bhatt) India on the Threshold of the 21st Century: Shape of Things to Come (New Delhi, 1998).
Professor Mani is going to deliver lectures on
“Humanitarian Intervention” at The Hague Academy of International Law, 2005.
HURITER is organizing a National Seminar on “Human Rights and Social Justice in India” on the occasion of the 56th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December 2004 and in memory of late Professor K.P. Saksena (Founder Director – HURITER). A number of people have paid rich tribute to late Professor K.P. Saksena for his outstanding contribution in the field of human rights.
Centre for Human Rights Teaching & Research
School of International Studies
Jawaharlal Nehru University
“Human Rights and Social Justice in India”
9.00 A.M. to 5.30 P.M.
Venue: Committee Room, SIS, JNU
Inauguration: 9.00 to 10.00 A.M.
Welcome Address : Professor Yogesh Tyagi
Director, HURITER, JNU
Presidential Address : Professor G.K. Chadha
Vice Chancellor, JNU
Tribute to Late Prof. K. P. Saksena
(Founder-Director, HURITER): Professor C.S.R. Murthy
Chairman, CIPOD, SIS, JNU
Concluding Remarks : Professor Balveer Arora
First Session: 10.00 A.M. to 1.00 P.M.
Chair: Dr. K.N. Chaturvedi
· Dr. Ashwini Despande
(Reader, Delhi School of Economics, Delhi)
· Professor Arun Kumar
(Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, School of Social
Sciences, JNU, New Delhi)
· Mr. Dipankar Banerjee
(Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha)
· Professor S.K. Thorat/Mr. S. Venkatesan
(Indian Institute of Dalit Studies, New Delhi)
· Dr. A.P. Vijapur
(Reader in Political Science, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh)
· Dr. Arshi Khan
(Sr. Lecturer, Jamia Hamdard University, Delhi)
LUNCH: 1.00 P. M. to 2.00 P. M.
Second Session: 2.00 P.M. to 5.30 P. M.
Chair: Dr. Ranjana Kumari
Director, Centre for Social Research
· Professor B.B. Pande
(Faculty of Law, Delhi University, Delhi)
· Dr. Yeshi Choedon
(Associate Professor, Centre for International Politics, Organization
and Disarmament, School of International Studies, JNU, New Delhi)
· Mrs. Pritam Arora
(Retd. Principal; Vice President, All India Women’s Congress-I)
· Professor P.R. Ramanujam
(Director, STRIDE, Indira Gandhi National Open University, Delhi)
· Dr. G.N. Karna
(Research Officer, HURITER, JNU, New Delhi)
For further information, please contact:
Report of the Seminar
Professor V. S. Mani’s Tribute to Late Professor K. P. Saksena
Many thanks for your invitation [to attend the National Seminar on “Human Rights and Social Justice in India” in memory of Late Professor K. P. Saksena]. To miss a Human Rights Day function not only to celebrate the birth of UDHR, but also to mark the memory of our late beloved Professor K. P. Saksena, requires more than just an excuse. Believe me, I just can't move out of my University at the moment. And I am the real loser, I know.
My close association with Professor Saksena began as I moved over to the International Organisations Division in 1979, from International Law. Professor Saksena did take a bit of time to have trust in me - that was one of his personal traits. But when he did, he did so whole-heartedly, without any mental reservation. Having participated in the drafting of the two Human Rights Covenants 1966 (while he was with the Permanent Mission of India, New York), he was imbued with the need for propagation of human rights teaching in India (His friend, Professor M. K. Nawaz, did not let Professor Saksena's experience go unshared: he prevailed on him to write that important article in the Indian Yearbook of International Affairs, Madras (1967)). Indeed, this motivated him to eventually establish the HURITER at SIS, JNU. He began the Human Rights Teaching and Research Programme in 1982 as the Board of the School adopted it as a School level programme in 1982, and introduced MPhil level courses at CIPOD in which many of us participated - Besides Prof. Saksena, Professor Rahmatullah Khan, myself, Professor Vijapur, subsequently Professor Yogesh Tyagi and Prof. Murthy. I suspect, Professor Tyagi's later programme on Human Rights and World Order, an optional course for M.A., must have drawn inspiration from this initiative of Prof. Saksena.
In 1983, Prof. Saksena organised a national seminar that was inaugurated by Judge Nagendra Singh (then President of ICJ), with Prof. Madhuri Shah, Chairperson of the UGC in the Chair. The occasion was the inauguration of the HURITER. The UGC promised and paid an annual grant of Rs. 10,000 for postage and other expenses to be incurred by the Centre, and granted a post of a Documentation Officer, two posts of Research Associates, and one post of a steno-secretary. (Over time of course, all but the post of a Documentation Officer and the annual grant of Rs. 10000/- disappeared, mainly thanks to the inaction or half-hearted action on the part of JNU administration. Professor Saksena himself wrote scores of letters to Mr. P. N. Sharma and others at the Administration, but to no avail. Even the annual grant of Rs. 10,000, was at times unavailable to the Centre, as it was considered as an integral part of the budget allocation of SIS, and therefore, available for adjustment if shortfall occurred in the School budget in any particular year.).
Be that as it may, Professor Saksena dedicated all his human rights research to the name and benefit of the Centre - and research he did aplenty, and see his number of books and articles on human rights since 1983. With his personal contacts with the various international organisations and NGOs he ensured some steady supply of documents for the Centre, whether from UNESCO or from the UN, Amnesty International, or Indian NGO's.
It was during his time that the Centre drew up a list of contact universities in India and evolved a scheme of sharing documents with them and with any scholars requiring access to documents.
Professor Saksena also began the tradition of holding a Human Rights Day seminar every year. The Crowning achievement of the Centre under his stewardship was the organisation and holding of the World Congress of Human Rights in December 1990. Many of us now recall with amazement, the organising ability he had, the elaborateness of arrangements he went into, the wide and distinguished contacts he had. Through the mist of history, I am still able to recognise the faces of people like Murthy "sweating it out" (in December!) whether with the xerox machine, or getting the final recommendations ready in time for the last plenary!
Prof. Saksena, however, did not stop with his association with the Centre after his retirement from JNU. He made it a point that the Centre was associated with whatever his Institute for the World Congress of Human Rights engaged in - and his IWCOHR held seminars and after seminars, and published a number of Occasional Papers! In fact, whether academically or organisationally, it was not easy to keep pace with him.
As an academic, he was a sharp critic of whatever he felt could not stand on reason or social relevance. I distinctly recall his strong criticism of the NCERT Source Book on Human Rights (he was good enough to send me a copy of his letter to NCERT). He argued - and I agreed with him completely - that the plan of the book and its contents were Euro-centric in that they looked at human rights as a 'given' by the European countries, and that there was nothing 'Oriental' or 'Indian' in the book. Is it that there were no human rights concepts in India, or for that matter anywhere in the world, before 1776? However, his criticism fell on deaf years - the NHRC till today has not found it proper to make amends to this disaster of a source-book. Stung by Prof. Saksena's criticism, Prof. Arjun Dev, one of the current champions of 'detoxification,' wrote back to Professor Saksena, a self-serving reply, without caring to 'detoxify' the Eurocentrism in the NCERT's official thinking on human rights. Obviously, NCERT under him, like the British King, could do no wrong!
Not that Prof. Saksena did not tolerate a different viewpoint. He did, and I did differ with him on many issues at the academic level. But we went on well together rather famously.
I knew that Professor Saksena's health was fading. In a sense, emotionally I must have let him down, in my decision to move out to Gujarat on my new, current assignment in April this year. But he knew I took a bold and right decision in the interest of legal education in the country. The realist in him discussed with me his plan for the Centre and his Institute. I had an e-mail from him even a couple of days before he breathed his last.
At Professor Saksena's death, we all lost a true captain, an eternal motivator, and a constant mover. He was an institution par excellence. Professor Saksena was not a usual occurrence.
The only way we can keep Professor Saksena's memory alive is by working for the institutions he tried to nurture. Do count me in, although I am currently separated by the geographical distance.
My hearty best wishes for the success of the Human Rights Day Celebrations.
V. S. Mani
Gujarat National Law University
Gandhi Nagar, Gujarat
Tuesday, December 07, 2004 2:40:02 PM
This course is open to any student of any discipline within the University. The methodology adopted for the study of human rights under this course is flexible and includes preparation of assignments by students, discussions and field surveys on issues relating to the course. Though the study is primarily from a legal perspective, due care is taken to emphasise and to sensitise the students on the social ramifications of the legal instruments involved. This course is offered in the winter semester, i.e. from January to May.
a) Philosophical and legal foundations of human rights
b) Peculiarities of specific cultures and minimum standards of human rights
c) Relationship of civil and political rights vis-a-vis economic and social rights
d) Entangling human rights with world politics
a) General norms (Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenants on Human Rights)
b) Specific norms relating to
vii) Persons with disabilities
viii) Treatment of accused persons
ix) Racial discrimination
b) Complaints/petitions-inter-state, individual and others
c) Investigation and fact-finding
d) Conciliation and adjudication
e) Campaigns and sanctions
a) Stability of government versus international standards
b) Socioeconomic development versus personal freedoms
c) Governmental lawlessness versus the rule of law
d) Educational backwardness versus human rights awareness
e) International rivalry as impediment to the promotion of human rights
f) Human rights conditionality
a) National (institutionalising social action programmes; inculcating human rights awareness; establishing human rights organs)
b) Regional (building up regional institutions for human rights implementation)
c) International (formulating additional norms; improving existing procedures; evolving new procedures)