Posts Tagged ‘community health
PRESS RELEASE 4TH Jan 2011
Today on the 61st birthday of Dr Binayak Sen group of physicians, health activists and human right defenders have come together to form Physician for Human Rights- India. This independent and non political organisation will work on the principles of human rights, medical ethics and social justice. Physicians for Human Rights is a worldwide organisation established in 1981 with a solid foundation of over two decades of investigation, advocacy and accomplishment. It has campaigned vigorously for the human rights of health care workers in various countries and has been in the forefront of the International campaign for justice for Binayak. In fact its founder Jonathan Fine has been in India closely following the case and was present at Binayak’s trial.
We choose to offer the position of Honorary Chairman of Physicians for Human Rights / India to Dr.Binayak Sen who has given his life to these principles and to serve the poorest among us. Without neglecting others equally worthy, we will work tirelessly for his release from prison and complete exoneration of unjust accusations. His prompt return to the fight for human rights, civil liberties and service of India’s masses is essential for the sake of our nation. We strongly communicate our dismay and call for the dropping of charges , recognition of his exceptional contribution to Health & Human rights , his sacrifices & his deep commitment , & rare integrity , his proclaimed consistent support of Non Violence .It was for the above human values reflected in his life & work he was awarded for being a role model for Medical students , by CMC Vellore his Alma Mater .R.R Keithan award for demonstrating the values of the ” father of the Nation” and Johnathan Mann award for his work with the Tribals .
Physicians for Human Rights – India will mobilize health professionals to advance health, dignity and justice, and to promote the right to health for all. Harnessing the specialized skills, rigor, and passion of doctors, nurses, public health specialists and scientists, PHR India will investigate human rights abuses and will work towards stopping them . We believe that human rights are essential preconditions for the health and well-being of all people. PHR India will educate health professionals and medical, public health, and nursing students and organize them to become active in supporting a movement for human rights and creating a culture of human rights in the medical and scientific professions.
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By systematically persecuting Dr Binayak Sen, a tireless champion of human rights and the rights of adivasis and workers, the Indian state is sending a strong message to civil society about the price of not toeing the line.
Raja bola raat hai,
mantri bola raat hai,
court bola raat hai,
ye subah subah ki baat hai!
(The king said it was night. The minister said it was night. The court said it was night. It was early morning!)
On 24 Dec 2010, the District Court in Raipur in Chhattisgarh state of central India sentenced Dr Binayak Sen to life imprisonment. Given the flimsy nature of the evidence, to most it came as a shock; to the Indian state seeking to silence dissenting human rights activists and social workers, it was shot in the arm.
Targeting Dr Binayak Sen, a well-known civil rights and public health activist, has wide implications for democracy and civil rights in India. Dr. Sen is the National Vice President of the Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), one of the most respected civil liberties organizations in India founded by late Jaya Prakash Narayan during the 1975-77 internal Emergency, the worst era in the history of post-independence India. Dr Sen’s work in the area of public health is well known; in fact, he was a part of the group which set up the Mitanin rural health care system for Chhattisgarh twenty years ago when the state was still under formation. He is a man for whose bail, twenty two Nobel laureates had appealed. For whose release, the British House of Commons had issued a motion.
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by Sandeep Pandey
Mainstream, Vol XLVII, No 26, June 13, 2009
Akin to George Bush in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attack who, while declaring his war on terror, proclaimed that if one is not on the side of US Government then one is with the terrorists, the Chhattisgarh Government thinks that if one is not with the Salwa Judum, the state sponsored tribal militant group meant to counter the Naxalites, then one would be considered a sympathiser of the Maoists. Binayak Sen paid the price for criticising the Salwa Judum. Now, it the turn of Himanshu Kumar. Encouraged by the recent success of the Sri Lankan Government against the LTTE, the local administration moved in three JCV machines and 500 police personnel on the morning of May 17, 2009, to finish off the Vanvasi Chetna Ashram, the centre painstakingly created by Himanshu over the last 17 years in Kanwalnar village of Dantewada district.
Himanshu Kumar was presently engaged in a very important task of resettling tribals who had left their villages amidst violent confrontations between the Naxalites and Salwa Judum since 2005. Some of them were living in camps run by the Salwa Judum, under strict para-military supervision, and some of them had escaped to as far as neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. People of Lingagiri in Bijapur district have returned from Cherla in AP after three years. Similarly, people of nearby Basaguda have returned from a Salwa Judum camp across the river from their village, a river which nobody dare cross for the last three years due to fear of violence from both sides. The government-backed Salwa Judum wants people in camps, most of them on the roadside, but there is a Supreme Court directive that the government must help people resettle in their original villages. Around three lakh people were internally displaced during these violent years, of which 56,000 landed in the camps. But now their number has come down to less than half. More people yearn to return to their villages. The reason is simple. How long can one be dependent on government dole and live under armed security? Life has to start again in villages. That is where the agricultural fields and cattles are. Himanshu, who like the common people, is equidistant from both the Naxalites and Salwa Judum, was helping the people realise their dream of returning to normalcy. The government is certainly not in a position to undertake this perilous and arduous task at the moment.
The government, instead of being grateful to Himanshu, has been vindictive because Himanshu has been raising the cases of human rights violations of tribals by the security forces, SPOs—the 3500 adhoc tribal police force—and the Salwa Judum, the most recent being the killing of 19 innocent people in Singaram who were declared to be Naxalites in January, 2009, in a false encounter by the police. The government and the local administration were obviously not happy with him. They gave him a notice a day before the demolition to vacate the land, which they claimed the VCA was encroaching upon. The land was obtained by the VCA from the Gram Sabha based on a resolution in its favour. Even though it is a tribal area the government refused to recognise the right of the Gram Sabha.
in New Delhi
The Supreme Court directive to release Dr. Binayak Sen on bail raises the question of the illegality of his detention .
THE Supreme Court’s direction on May 25 to release Dr. Binayak Sen, vice-president of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), on bail from the Raipur Central Jail marks a milestone in the history of the civil liberties movement in India. Never before has the bail plea of an individual unjustly kept in prison been the subject of such an intense campaign by intellectuals and activists across the world.
The campaign seeking Sen’s freedom intensified after 22 Nobel Prize winners, including Amartya Sen, signed a public statement on May 9 last year describing him as a “professional colleague” and appealing to the President and the Prime Minister to ensure his release so that he could receive in person the prestigious Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights in Washington. The helplessness of the Centre, and the refusal of the Chhattisgarh government to oblige only indicated that the struggle for Sen’s freedom could be long and daunting.
Kolkata (PTI): About 50 per cent of children, equal percentage of scheduled tribes and 60 per cent of scheduled castes in the country are living under conditions of permanent famine as indicated by their Body Mass Index (BMI), civil rights activist Binayak Sen said.
As per WHO specifications, a person is recorded as undernourished if their BMI (body weight in kg divided by the square of height in metres) was below 18.5. If at least 40 per cent of the population of a group or a community had BMI below 18.5, it was said to be living in a permanent state of famine.
“Our studies have found that nearly 50 per cent of children, 60 per cent of SC and more than 50 per cent ST population in India have a BMI below 18.5 and as such, they can be said to be living in a state of permanent famine,” Mr. Sen said at a seminar here yesterday.
By Patralekha Chatterjee
There is much to celebrate. Dr Binayak Sen has been finally granted bail by the Supreme Court. The 59-year-old doctor and human rights activist has paid a steep price for defending the health and rights of tribal communities in remote pockets of Chhattisgarh: two precious years of his life spent within the four walls of Raipur jail, and denial of medical treatment at a hospital of his choice despite a heart ailment and worldwide pleas from Nobel laureates, human rights activists, doctors and numerous concerned citizens.
The personal ordeal of Dr Sen, winner of the prestigious 2008 Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights, appears to be temporarily over. But the issues thrown up by the Binayak Sen case go beyond an individual, his iconic status, or the suffering of his family. They raise inconvenient questions about India today, which can be dodged only at great risk.
“The bail has nothing to do with the ongoing trial. It’s the discretion of the Supreme Court to grant him bail. But the trial will continue”, said a miffed Raman Singh, Chhattisgarh’s BJP chief minister, immediately after the order of the country’s highest court. Dr Sen was arrested under the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act in May 2007 for suspected links with Maoist rebels. The prosecution has failed to throw up legally-admissible evidence to support the accusations in the chargesheet till date, and this is not for want of trying.
Here’s a bit of context to Dr Sen, the public health activist. I caught a glimpse of the man’s vision on a visit to the health clinic in Bagrimnala village, a tribal backwater plagued by malaria and malnutrition in Chhattisgarh’s Dhamtari district, in mid-April this year.
The dark heart within the glory of Indian democracy
The Telegraph, Calcutta
There is almost a mythic power in the spectacle of India going to the polls. Just the number of people going to the booths in every corner of the country, the gigantic scale of the organization, the numerous political parties — all add up to a fascinating and undoubtedly significant exercise in democracy. Especially now, with the civilian governments in countries around India gasping for life, or turning into ruthless victory-mongers at the expense of minority populations. Within India, too, tragedies stalk the exercise of the people’s franchise. In the mythic perspective, these endow India’s general elections with something akin to a noble aura.
The last day of this magnificent exercise will also be the day on which Binayak Sen completes two years in prison. The doctor, who has for years been treating adivasis in the poorest and least developed areas of Chhattisgarh, has been repeatedly refused bail, although on May 4 this year the Supreme Court issued a notice to the Chhattisgarh government to provide him with “the best possible medical aid”. Sen is seriously at risk from cardiac problems and has reportedly said in open court that he may get a heart attack any time. To be fair to the Chhattisgarh government, it is willing to offer its hospital facilities to the prisoner. But their prisoner insists on being treated in his old medical college in Vellore. Although he is within the law in choosing his place of treatment, the state government does not see why it should comply.
Worse, his wife, Ilina Sen, has been telling the world exactly what the Sens and their friends fear — that Binayak may not leave a Chhattisgarh hospital alive. Ilina has carefully documented the sequence of events since his application for medical treatment, and recorded her use of the Right to Information Act to find out what means the government used to make the denial of her husband’s request official. At the end, she writes: “Under these circumstances, Binayak is absolutely right to fear that his life may be in danger in any facility controlled by the state in Chhattisgarh.”
No doubt the chief minister of Chhattisgarh would consider this a wife’s paranoia, since according to him, in “the lanes and by-lanes of Chhattisgarh [Sen] is a non-issue”. Faced with demands for his release, the Union home minister has reportedly said that the Centre cannot do much, since Chhattisgarh has a Bharatiya Janata Party-led government. That does make Binayak Sen into a “non-issue”, a mere object of political balancing acts, of reductive reasoning — or conditioned unreason — that has, in the 62 years since Independence, lost all touch with the desire for justice, equity and human rights which must have once inspired the democracy now going so studiously, so spectacularly, to the polls.
With Binayak Sen, we touch the dark heart of India’s democratic glory. Amid the terrors that reside in that secret place, one of the keenest is the fact that today very few thinking people in India are unaware of who he is, and how much he has achieved in his life before prison. But even the world’s knowledge of what true courage means, what it is to be just, to stand up to all forms of violence — particularly that against the poor, what legal procedure is, how State repression works, has made no difference to Sen’s incarceration.
British Medical Journal May 09 issue on Binayak
Volume 338, 9 May 2009, p b1864
Published 5 May 2009, doi:10.1136/bmj.b1864
Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1864
An Indian doctor whose achievements in community health have been recognised by the international medical world and whose personal sacrifices have been cited by academics in medical schools across India will complete two years in prison on 14 May this year.
On Monday 4 May India’s Supreme Court asked the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh to respond within two weeks to a petition for bail from Binayak Sen, a paediatrician and civil rights activist, who was arrested in 2007 after an allegation that he had carried letters for armed Maoist rebels. Dr Sen has asserted that the allegation is false, and the charge against him remains unproved, despite numerous hearings in a lower court in Raipur, the state’s capital.
The campaign seeking Dr Sen’s release has steadily grown. Doctors, civil rights groups in India and abroad, academics, public health activists, and legal experts have individually and jointly decried his incarceration and repeatedly urged his release. Last year a group of 22 Nobel laureates wrote to the federal and state governments asking that Dr Sen be freed while the judicial process proceeds, to enable him to continue his “important medical work” (BMJ 2008;336:1155, doi:10.1136/bmj.39588.419745.DB).
Dr Sen’s supporters view the Supreme Court’s decision to admit his petition for bail as a “positive development.” Dr Sen, who was given a diagnosis of angina in prison earlier this year, hopes to be treated at the college where he trained, the Christian Medical College in Vellore, Tamil Nadu. The prison authorities have not yet agreed.
“It’s a shame our government has treated him in this manner,” said Mira Shiva, a member of the steering committee of the Indian branch of the People’s Health Movement, a worldwide network of doctors and health activists. “His contributions to grassroots community medicine have been acclaimed globally, but our own government has refused to recognise his work,” Dr Shiva added.
Public health activists said that a hospital that Dr Sen helped set up at Dalli-Rajhara, an iron ore mining town in Chhattisgarh, is an example of how health care may be practised in a way that is relatively insulated from the commercial pressure that is so prevalent in India.
The Text is given below
DR BINAYAK SEN
That this House is concerned that Dr Binayak Sen, a public health and human rights campaigner in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh, has been detained for nearly two years on what Amnesty International considers politically-motivated and trumped up charges to silence his dissent of State authorities and activities; is aware that Chhattisgarh is of particular interest to the UK as one of six focus states of India for the Department for International Development; is concerned that there have been repeated delays in giving Dr Sen a fair trial and that he has been denied his constitutional right to bail repeatedly; recognises Dr Sen’s contribution to community health and human rights as attested by the award of the 20E08 Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights; expresses concern about the deterioration of Dr Sen’s health due to lack of appropriate medical care; and therefore calls on the Chhattisgarh state government to release Dr Sen immediately on bail pending a fair and prompt trial so that he is able to carry out his work as a public health and human rights activist without harassment and free from fear; and calls also on the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to intervene in this grave case of violation of human rights.
It is so far signed by above 15 MPs (updated 12.00PM IST May 8th). We request all supporters who have some access/connection in UK to consider asking your local/familiar MP to sign this.
UK residents: This is the time to contact to anybody who has a UK address and get them to write to their own MP, http://www.writetothem.com/ asking for the EDM 1441, on Binayak Sen, to be signed:
CommonWealth : Anybody from anywhere in the Commonwealth can write to a UK Lord, using EDM 1441 as a topic of interest to any Lord – given the Lord’s presumed staunch support for human rights: http://www.writetothem.com/lords
Early day motions (EDMs) are formal motions submitted for debate in the House of Commons in UK. EDMs remain open for signature for the duration of the parliamentary session.EDMs Usually used as a way for demonstrating the extent of UK parliamentary support for a particular cause. EDMs tabled on important topics include those tabled demanding the release of Nelson Mandela when he was incarcerated in apartheid South Africa.
- UK Parliamentary motion calls for release of Binayak Sen – The Hindu
- British MPs demand release of Binayak Sen - The Hindu
The Lancet, Volume 373, Issue 9674, Page 1512, 2 May 2009
Indian doctor, Binayak Sen, continues to pay a steep price for defending the health and rights of tribal communities in the central India state of Chattisgarh. Patralekha Chatterjee reports.
Despite worldwide calls for his release, this May, Indian paediatrician and human rights activist, Binayak Sen, will be spending his second year inside a jail in Raipur, Chattisgarh.
Worryingly, the health of 59-year-old Sen, winner of the prestigious Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights in 2008, is now deteriorating. But he has been denied bail and has not yet got permission to seek medical treatment at a hospital of his choice, Ilina Sen, his wife, told The Lancet in mid April.
Sen’s continued incarceration is also hampering the health work he started in Chattisgarh. Indian doctors typically dodge rural postings. But Sen, a graduate from Vellore’s prestigious Christian Medical College, opted to work in the neglected hinterland, where most Indians still live. Rupantar, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) founded by Sen and his wife, set up a weekly clinic in 1997 in a village in central India (now part of Chattisgarh state) plagued by malaria and malnutrition. Local tribal youths were trained to become community health workers. Ever since, the clinic has been providing low-cost medical care to those living within a 50 km radius and who cannot access health services easily. Today, however, the health clinic is denied the services of its creator—the doctor, who once advised the state government on health sector reforms, is now branded an enemy of the state.
Sen was arrested under the Chattisgarh Special Public Security Act in May, 2007, for suspected links with Maoist rebels, known locally as Naxalites. But so far, the prosecution has failed to throw up legally admissible evidence to support the accusations in the charge-sheet.