CHARTER OF THE CSCHR
Witnessing that the human rights situation in Manipur has been worsening, and new threats and challenges have appeared;
Noting the fact that India’s human rights record is being monitored at various levels by the United Nations and the various national human rights institutions;
Resolute in advancing, protecting and promoting the rights of the indigenous peoples of Manipur; and addressing all human rights violations and abuses, by both state and non-state actors;
Distressed that the Indian government’s reporting to the UN does not involve participation by local constituencies and her peoples, particularly the vulnerable sections such as indigenous and tribal peoples, ethnic and religious minorities, sexual minorities, differently abled, children, women and those experiencing armed conflict situations;
Also distressed that there is lack of wide dissemination and reporting to local constituencies and peoples of developments at the UN in which India has been involved, despite its commitments to the international community and the UN;
Committed to make best possible use of the various tools and mechanisms provided by the UN system for the promotion and protection of human rights and indigenous peoples’ rights, and to hold India and its state institutions/agencies/representatives accountable to its national and international human rights obligations; and
Further committed to carry out advocacy work to ensure the progressive and effective amplification of India’s international human rights obligations, including the ratification of treaties and Optional Protocols;
Members of CSCHR express their commitment and willingness to work together at this critical juncture and abide by the charter, fidelity to which is a precondition to joining and retaining membership of the Coalition:
- All-inclusiveness: Members agree to bring together all those who so desire and are committed to a common cause, particularly in the defence of indigenous peoples’ rights and human rights. CSCHR welcomes inclusion of those who are like-minded and genuinely pledge to the idea that working together is mutually beneficial and serves the common cause much more than working under conditions of division. CSCHR brings together all those who believe that the cause of human rights in Manipur can be advanced substantially and positively through the use of the UN system and its available tools.
- Agreeing on a Mutual Common Journey: The second principle of the Charter hinges around acceptance, articulation and working together on a mutually agreed common journey, which leaves the door open for vigorous expansion of the platform. CSCHR will commence work with a mutual understanding for our journey together that is acceptable to all. This understanding will enlarge its scope of work through debate, consultation/discussion and consensus building. Broad understanding on journey issues such as “effective monitoring of human rights” contribute to bringing together organizations and people who subscribe to common beliefs. The list could be expanded in order to build higher levels of political coherence but the list must not be defined so narrowly as to defeat the very principle of inclusiveness itself.
- Non-Supremacy: Non-supremacy by any individual/group of individuals or organization/group of organizations must be strictly followed. A mindful effort must be made to give the coalition visibility by its agreed name and not by any particular individual or any single organization. Decisions of the coalition are taken collectively and those by the collective should be strictly honoured.
- Respecting the Uniqueness of each Member: Each member will retain its own independent identity, which in certain cases might even imply submission of separate reports to, and independent communication with, UN bodies. However, whenever it is considered most efficient and productive, the members will come to the coalition collective for well-defined tasks such as drafting a common report/statement/position or holding pre-session consultations. All members agree to speak in one voice on the agreed mutual common journey goals. It could also be agreed, at least during specified periods – such as the time of hearing before a UN body – that there will be a designated spokesperson or delegate, as may be jointly agreed to, from time to time, by the collective.
- Mutual Respect and Honour: Members who come to the coalition must observe mutual respect and honour for each other and move further towards laying down norms to avoid claiming of credit by individuals or particular organizations. CSCHR subscribes to the non-competitive use of outputs that originate in the collective and voluntarily subsume individual contributions and credit seeking in favour of the collective identity.
- Continuity: Members pledge to contribute to the work of CSCHR to the best of their abilities and to dedicate the necessary time and effort for its development. It is understood that CSCHR requires sustainable work from all its members and that it is imperative to maintain momentum on initiatives and tasks to be done.