History

NESOHR Charter Final version released in October 2005.!

NESOHR Charter

Final version released in October 2005

 

  1. Karadippokku Junction
  2. Kilinochchi,
  3. Tel: 021 2285986
  4. Email : nesohr@hotmail
  5. www.nesohr.org

 Preamble

Conscious of the human dignity and equality of all personsirrespective of their race, caste, gender, religion or communityMindful of each person’s inalienable human rightsRecognizing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other

United Nations Human Rights Instruments and the necessity to applythem more effectively to reduce the violence and continuing humanrights violations against persons in the Northeast of the IslandDesiring that the rights, principles, and policies specified in thischarter shall be respected by and guide the actions of all persons,institutions, organizations, and enterprises in the Northeast

  1. Determined to promote social progress and better standards of life for allRecognizing the rights and the responsibility of individuals, groups and associations to promote respect for and foster knowledge of human rights and fundamental freedoms at national and international
  2. levels.
  3. Acknowledging the right of peoples to self- determination and the
  4. right of every people to exercise full sovereignty over their wealth,
  5. natural resources, sea and the seabed without prejudice to any
  6. obligations arising out of international economic cooperation
  7. basedupon the principles of mutual benefit and International Law.
  8. Reiterating that all human rights and fundamental freedoms are
  9. universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated and
  10. should be promoted and implemented in a fair and equitable
  11. manner, without prejudice to the implementation of each of
  12. those rights and freedoms.

 

Mindful of the objectives of this Institution (hereinafter

referred to as NESOHR), which are:

  1. To promote recognition and respect for the human rights and the
  2. basic freedoms of the people of the Northeast of this Island
  3. according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the
  4. International Covenants on human rights especially the
  5. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
  6. and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, Cultural
  7. Rights (ICESCR) as well as the United Nations Declarations on
  8. the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination, Convention
  9. on the Rights of the Child , Convention on the Elimination of
  10. Discrimination against Women, the Convention Against Torture
  11. and other International instruments of Human Rights
  12. To create awareness in order to respond to the socio, economic,
  13. cultural, political needs and realities prevailing in the Northeast
  14. whilst complying with the International Human Rights standards
  15. and norms.
  16. To promote and protect the right to participation in public affairs
  17. without discrimination on the basis of opinion, religion, sex, race
  18. or colour.
  19. To promote and protect the freedom of opinion and expression as
  20. well as artistic and literary invention.
  21. To promote and protect freedom of belief, thought and religion.
  22. To provide legal aid to internally displaced persons of Northeast
  23. to return, resettle and reintegrate with the communities in their
  24. homes or habitual places of residence.
  25. To provide legal aid to secure the release of the persons of
  26. Northeast who were arrested in the past by the Sri Lankan State
  27. Forces and are languishing in the detention Centres and prisons,
  28. under the Prevention Of Terrorism Act (PTA), and other
  29. repressive legislations, without recourse to justice.

Part I – Fundamental Rights

  1. Believing that the promotion of human rights is a common aim of the
  2. entire Northeast and being determined to spare no peaceful effort in
  3. its struggle against human rights violations.
  4. And whilst recognizing that all people are possessed of certain
  5. inalienable rights and resolving to defend those rights, this charter is
  6. not intended to be an exclusive list of all the rights and NESHOR
  7. recognizes that there are other rights that may be included in this
  8. charter and that those rights which are not listed here deserve the
  9. same protection as those that are included here.
  10. Civil Rights
  11. All persons deserve to be treated with dignity and respect
  12. by virtue of their humanity. This dignity is secured through
  13. the protection of certain rights, including but not limited to:
  14. 1.1. The right of all persons to bear and be registered
  15. under a name;
  16. 1.2. The right to be free from torture and from cruel,
  17. degrading or inhuman treatment or punishment, and
  18. the right to have one’s physical, mental and moral
  19. integrity respected;
  20. 1.3. The right of prisoners to appropriate treatment, as defined
  21. in Part 11, Section 3 of this Charter;
  22. 1.4. The right to have one’s honour and reputation protected
  23. from defamation;
  24. 1.5. The right to be free from incitement of discrimination,
  25. hatred or violence, to be protected through the prohibition
  26. of national, racial or religious discrimination;

1.6. The right to claim nationality and avail oneself of the

protection of a person’s state of residence;

 

1.7. The right to conscientiously object to perform compulsory

military service for reasons of conscience or profound

religious, ethical or similar convictions;

1.8. The right to perform an alternative service of a civil nature

in lieu of compulsory military service;

1.9. The right not to be subjected to slavery, involuntary

servitude, or forced or compulsory labour, or any form of

exploitation or trafficking.

  1. Equality

2.1. All persons are equal, and entitled to equality before the

law.

2.2. All persons have the right not to be subjected to

discrimination based on race, gender, language, religion,

social group, political belief or any other characteristic,

belief or practice that is a fundamental part of their

character, or impossible, impractical or unreasonable to

change.

  1. Access to justice

3.1. All persons have the right to be recognized as a person

before the law.

3.2. All persons have the right to petition the court for redress

of their claims.

3.3. All persons accused of a crime have the right to legal

representation of their choice. and to be provided with

representation if they cannot afford it and ensure their

right to equality.

3.4. All persons accused of a crime have the right to be heard

and present a defense in person.

3.5. All persons have the right to have their conviction and

sentence reviewed by a higher tribunal.

3.6. All persons accused of a crime have the right to a public

trial before a competent impartial and independent judicial

authority without undue delay.

 

  1. Administration of justice

4.1. All persons have the right to own property alone as well as

in association with others and no one shall be arbitrarily

deprived of his property.

4.2. All persons who are accused of a crime have the right to

be informed of the charges against them and are presumed

to be innocent until proven guilty.

4.3. No one can be compelled to give evidence against himself.

4.4. All persons involved in legal proceedings have the right to

access relevant information.

4.5. All persons involved in legal proceedings have the right to

adequate time and facilities to prepare a defense.

4.6. All persons involved in legal proceedings have the right to

privileged and confidential communication with their

Attorney free from interference by the Government or

opposing parties.

4.7. All persons involved in legal proceedings are entitled to a

reasonable opportunity to present their case before the

Court under conditions that do not place them at a

disadvantage vis-à-vis their opponents.

4.8. All persons accused of a crime have the right to confront

and cross examine their accusers and the witnesses against

them and to challenge the evidence presented against

them.

4.9. All persons have the right not to be tried more than once

for the same offence.

4.10. All persons have the right to freedom from torture, cruel

and degrading or inhuman treatment or punishment. All

victims of such criminal acts shall be entitled to receive

compensation.

4.11. No one shall be subjected to heavier penalty than the one

applicable at the time the offence was committed.

4.12. No one shall be subjected to retro-active laws.

 

4.13. No one shall be subjected to Bill of Attainder

4.14. All persons have the right not to be deprived of property

except according to procedures prescribed by law

including notice and an opportunity to be heard and to

receive just compensation for property taken for public

use.

  1. Freedom and Security of persons

5.1. All persons have the right to life.

5.2. All persons have the right not to be held against their will

without just cause or formal charges, and the right to

challenge the appropriateness of their detention through

the Writ of Habeas Corpus and other legal means.

5.3. All persons are entitled to an effective means of redress

before the authorities in case of violations of guaranteed

rights and freedoms.

5.4. All persons are entitled to be free from the violation of

their fundamental rights.

5.5. All persons are entitled to be protected from abuse of

authority.

5.6. All persons have the right to be secure in one’s person,

home, papers, communications and effects against

unreasonable searches and seizures, except upon issuance

of a warrant which specifically details the nature and

limits of the search or seizure.

5.7. All persons have the right to travel and move about as

they see fit, and to enter and leave the country.

5.8. All persons who are lawfully within the territory of a State

enjoy, within that territory, the right to move freely and to

choose his or her place of residence.

5.9. All persons are entitled to obtain compensation in case of

a miscarriage of justice.

5.10. No one may be subjected to medical or scientific

experiments without freely and competently given consent

5.11. No one may be imprisoned due to debt.

5.12. No one may be arbitrarily exiled.

5.13. All persons have the right to receive seek and impart

information and the right to publish and publicize

information and opinions through writing printing

electronic media or any other means.

  1. Political Rights

6.1. All persons have the right to freely hold opinions,

including religious and political beliefs, and to freedom of

conscience.

6.2. All persons have the right to express their opinions and

beliefs freely.

6.3. All persons have the right to assemble peacefully, and to

associate with others.

6.4. All persons have the right to vote in elections subject to

age stipulations.

6.5. All persons have the right to political participation,

including but not limited to campaigning, for and

participating in party politics.

6.6. All persons are entitled to hold free and periodic elections

to choose their government.

6.7. All persons have the right to equal access to public

service, including the right to be elected to office.

6.8. All persons have the right to petition government officials

for a redress of grievances.

 

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

  1. Economic Rights

1.1 All persons have the right to be educated.

1.2 All persons have the right to own property.

  1. Social Rights

2.1 All persons have the right to found a family, and to engage

in family planning if they choose.

2.2 All persons have the right to marry and the right not to enter

into marriage without giving free and full consent.

2.3 The family has the right to respect and protection as the

fundamental unit of society.

2.4 All persons have the right to have their morals protected.

  1. Cultural Rights

3.1 All persons have the right to speak their own language, and

to teach and publicly communicate in their own language.

3.2 All persons have the right to practice the religion of their

choice free from government interference, or to practice no

religion.

  1. Other Rights

The State shall undertake to take steps individually and through

international assistance and co-operation to the maximum of its

available resources with a view to achieving progressively the full

realization of the rights mentioned below

4.1 All persons have the right to work, and the right to choose

their employment.

4.2 All persons have the right to have their health protected,

including the right to prevention and control by the state of

epidemic diseases.

4.3 All persons have the right to adequate standards of living.

4.4 All persons have the right to social security.

 

4.5 All persons have the right to insurance.

4.6 All persons have the right to social and medical assistance.

4.7 All persons have the right to adequate nutrition.

4.8 All persons have the right to enjoyment of scientific

advancements.

Part II – Further Rights of Specific Categories of Persons

NESOHR believes that the fundamental rights described in this

charter belong to all persons, regardless of race, gender, age,

ethnicity, nationality, religion, caste, language or social group.

NESOHR also recognizes that certain groups of persons are more

vulnerable than the rest of the population and require further

protections.

  1. Rights of Women

1.1. Women have the right to be treated equally as men.

1.2. Women have the right to receive remuneration equal to

similarly qualified men employed in a similar or identical

position.

1.3. Women have the right to equality in marriage.

1.4. Women have the right to be protected from all forms of

exploitation.

1.5. Women have the right to paid leave during a reasonable

period before and after childbirth.

 

  1. Rights of Children

2.1. Children have the right to a name.

2.2. Children born out of wedlock enjoy equal rights as those

born in wedlock.

2.3. Children have the right to access to education, including

free and compulsory elementary education.

2.4. Children have the right to free vocational

training/apprenticeship

2.5. Arrested juveniles have the right to rehabilitation.

2.6. Children have the right to protection from neglect, cruelty

and exploitation

2.7. Children have the right to protection through a minimum

age for employment.

2.8. Children have the right to opportunity for play and

recreation.

2.9. Children have the right to social services.

2.10. Children have the right to freedom of expression; this

right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart

information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers,

either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or

through any other media of the child’s choice.

2.11. Children have the right to protection in accordance with

the International Humanitarian Law in times of armed

conflict.

2.12. Respect the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of

Child (CRC) and the two optional protocol to CRC,

namely, the Optional Protocol on the involvement of

children in armed conflicts and the Optional Protocol on

the sale of children, child prostitution and pornography.

 

  1. Rights of Prisoners

3.1. Prisoners have the right to be registered as prisoners.

3.2. Prisoners have the right to be separated into categories, i.e.

men should be separated from women, untried prisoners

from convicted prisoners, and young persons from adults.

3.3. Prisoners have the right to adequate ventilation, lightning,

clothing and bedding, sustenance, medical service,

sanitary facilities, physical activity and other necessities

for health and hygiene.

3.4. Prisoners have the right be free from corporal punishment

and all cruel or degrading treatment, Including

disciplinary measures, except in accordance with law and

regulations.

3.5. Prisoners have the right to present or make complaints to

authorities

3.6. Prisoners have the right to correspond with and receive

visits from family and reputable friends.

3.7. Prisoners have the right to be regularly informed of news

from the outside world.

3.8. Prisoners have the right to use of a prison library

3.9. Prisoners have the right to practice their religion

3.10. Prisoners have the right to retain personal property

3.11. Prisoners have the right to protection from public security

3.12. Prisoners have the right to be attended by prison officers

of same gender as the prisoner

3.13. Prisoners who suffer from mental illness have the right to

be removed to mental institutions to receive treatment

 

  1. Rights of Aliens

Aliens have the right to seek asylum and the right to protection

from deportation to a country where their right to life or personal

freedom is endangered because of their race, nationality,

religion, social group or political opinion. Aliens have the right

to freedom from collective expulsion. Aliens have the right to

reunite with their dispersed family.

  1. Rights of Working Persons

5.1. Workers who do the same or similar work have the right

to equal remuneration.

5.2. Workers have the right to collective bargaining, and to

appropriate bargaining machinery.

5.3. Workers have the right to form and join trade unions, and

the right to work without being compelled to join a trade

union.

5.4. Trade unions have the right to federate.

5.5. Workers have the right to strike.

5.6. Workers have the right to paid leave.

5.7. Workers have the right to fair remuneration.

5.8. Workers have the right to limited working hours.

5.9. Workers have the right to weekly rest periods.

5.10. Workers have the right to safe, just and healthy working

conditions.

5.11. Workers have the right to joint consultation with

employers

5.12. Workers have the right to progressive reduction of

working hours, that is, the limitation of working hours

specifically in proportion to increase of productivity.

5.13. Workers have the right to sheltered employment.

5.14. Workers have the right to vocational guidance.

 

  1. Rights of Differently-abled Persons

6.1. Differently-abled persons have the right to preferential

employment, and the right not to be discriminated against

from employment that they are capable of performing,

6.2. Differently-abled persons have the right to occupational

rehabilitation.

6.3. Differently-abled persons have the right to social

settlement.

  1. Rights of Aging Persons

7.1. Aging persons have the right to social Security.

7.2. Aging persons have the right not to he discriminated

against from employment that they are capable of

performing.

  1. Rights of Internally displaced people

8.1 Everyone has the right to be protected against being

arbitrarily displaced from their habitual residence.

8.2 Internally displaced people have the same rights and

freedoms as do others in the country.

8.3 Internally displaced people have the right to liberty of

movement and freedom to choose his or her residence.

8.4 Internally displaced people have the right to adequate

standard of living.

 

Part III

NESOHR in its endeavour to promote and protect human rights,

shall have the power to:

  1. Send fact-finding missions to, the camps where

displaced persons are housed, detention centres, and

prisons in order to collect testimonies as well as to

ascertain and document information about human rights

violations.

  1. Require any official to co-operate with its inquiries.
  2. Issue urgent appeals, press releases, reports and

publications on human rights violations in the North

East.

  1. Create and foster human rights awareness among

individuals and groups in the North East through

publications, conferences, seminars, and both local and

international study / educational / familiarization tours.

  1. Establish links with NGOs on an Island-wide basis and

with Inter-Governmental Organizations and Institutions

as well as International NGOs to develop mutually

beneficial co-operation to obtain information and to

initiate action to respect and enhance Human Rights

culture in the Northeast.

 

Part IV

Establishment of the Executive Committee

  1. There shall be established an Executive Committee for the

purpose of examining progress made on the realization of the

obligations undertaken by this Charter and for monitoring the

achievement of its objectives (hereinafter referred to as the

“Committee”)

  1. The Committee shall consist of not more than 15 members as

follows

  1. i) Members from amongst persons of standing in the

community who have distinguished themselves in

the fields of

  1. a) Law
  2. b) Health
  3. c) Economic development
  4. d) Religion
  5. e) Education / Journalism
  6. f) Science and Technology
  7. g) Environment
  8. h) Archives and Documentation
  9. i) Persons who have distinguished themselves

in the work of Human Rights Organizations

or in the sphere of Human Rights Activities

  1. ii) An Executive Director appointed by the Committee

having experience in the work related to Human

Rights development. The Executive Director shall

also be member and a full time official of the

Committee. The Chairman shall function as the

Executive Director for the first term of office

 

iii) The Chairperson of the Committee shall be

appointed by the Committee from amongst its

members

  1. iv) There shall be a Vice Chairperson appointed from

amongst its members

  1. v) There shall be a Secretary to the committee
  2. vi) There shall be a treasurer
  3. The Committee shall at the commencement consist of the

following 11 persons who are the founder Members of the

Secretariat

  1. Rev. Fr. M.X. Karunarathnam
  2. Mr.K. Sivapalan
  3. Mr. K Joseph Pararajasingham
  4. Mr. Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam
  5. Mr. A Chandranehru
  6. Mr.T. Mahasivam
  7. Dr. K Sivapalan
  8. Ms. Sri Arulananthan
  9. Mr.S. Achsuthan
  10. Dr. N. Malathy
  11. Dr. S Sriskandaraja

  1. 1) The members of the Secretariat shall appoint the remaining

members. It shall be the duty of the Secretariat to ensure its

continuity by appointing adequate number of members.

2) The Committee may appoint a suitable person to fill any

vacancy occurring among the members and any person so

appointed shall hold office for the unexpired period or term of

office of the member whom she/he succeeds.

 

  1. There shall an Advisory Board consisting of 7 members both

from the International and local community appointed by the

Committee consisting of persons of eminence in the field of

Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

The Activities of the Committee shall be as follows

  1. As enumerated in the Character to entertain and scrutinize

complaints of human rights violations and discriminations and

channel such complaints where appropriate to the relevant

administrative authority and concerned persons or bodies for

necessary action,

  1. To refer complaints of violation of the provisions contained in

this Charter to inquiring officers and call for reports

  1. Initiate inquiries by a sub-committee nominated by it for that

purpose where appropriate and make its finding known

  1. To refer it to other organizations or to it’s other divisions for

redress, legal aid or for mediation.

  1. To monitor such action and require annual reports of progress

from relevant administrative authorities and make these reports

widely available within the territory

  1. To evaluate the impact of all legislative and development

policies on the rights and responsibilities as contained in this

charter

  1. To help to realize the objectives of the charter through the

encouragement of relevant research and to make

recommendation for reforms based on such research.

 

Procedures of the Committee

  1. The quorum for any meeting of the Committee shall be five

members.

  1. The Committee shall meet as often as maybe necessary and

at least once in a month

  1. Any member may resign his/her office by a letter addressed

to the Chairperson of NESOHR.

  1. The committee may act notwithstanding any vacancy among

the members thereof.

  1. The committee shall have a permanent office and a

Secretariat with full-time staff functioning under the

Executive Director and the first office shall be at

Kilinochchi. The Committee shall from time to time at its

discretion establish branch officers at regional level within

or outside the Northeast.

Chairperson shall,

  1. Preside over all Executive Committee Meetings and the

General Meetings.

  1. In the absence of the Chairperson, the Vice Chairperson or

Pro-tem Chairperson shall perform the functions of the

Chairperson.

Secretary shall,

  1. Convene all meetings on due dates.
  2. Maintain the Minutes of all meetings.
  3. Be responsible for keeping all the records and

correspondence of NESOHR.

 

Accounts

  1. There shall be a Bank Account/Accounts maintained by

‘NESOHR’.

  1. The authorized signatories to the accounts shall be the

Chairperson, Treasurer and the Secretary.

  1. The Chairperson and Treasurer or Secretary and Treasurer

shall sign the cheques and other Banking Documents.

  1. The Treasurer shall maintain the Books of Accounts and

shall be responsible for all the receipts and expenditure of

NESOHR.

  1. The Treasurer shall submit a monthly Financial Report.
  2. The Financial year of NESOHR shall be from 1st of January

to 31st of December of each year. However the 1st financial

period/ year shall be from 9th July, 2004 to 31st of December

2005.

  1. The Treasurer shall prepare accounts of NESOHR and

submit same for Auditing on or before 31st of March of each

and every following year, the first of such period ending 31st

March,2006. He shall publish a Financial Report.

Auditors

  1. a) The committee shall appoint an Internal Auditor and

External Auditors.

  1. b) The auditors shall submit the audited accounts on or

before the end of the month of May of each year, the

1st of such being 31st of May 2006.

 

Cessation of Membership

A member of the committee shall cease to hold office if she/he

is,

  1. a) Adjudged a bankrupt by a court of competent

jurisdiction, or

  1. b) Declared to be of unsound mind, or
  2. c) Convicted of an offence of moral turpitude, or
  3. d) Absent from three consecutive meetings without

obtaining leave from the Chairperson, or

  1. e) Guilty of serious misconduct

Funding

The committee shall decide upon and seek funds from within

the country or internationally. However the Committee shall

exercise due diligence and care to see that the sources of

funding shall not interfere with its independence in the

pursuit of its objectives and functions.

CASUS OMISSUS:

The committee shall take its own decision and act

accordingly in case of any point of contention or procedure

where it is not provided for specifically in this document.

 

 

 

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