Misconception persists on rights violations: Mathews

matphil1Bengaluru: There is a lot more to human rights violations than police highhandedness or atrocities perpetrated by the defence forces in certain regions of the country. According to Mr Mathews Philip, executive director, South Indian Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM), there is a misconception among Indians about human rights violations.

A well-known human rights and child rights activist in Karnataka, Mr Mathews Philip spoke to NSoJ Bureau in an exclusive interview recently, the first in the series of weekly interviews with achievers. He has been working as a rights activist in Karnataka for the past 30 years. His NGO has focused on the issues such as torture in custody, encounter killings, domestic violence and child abuse.

In the interview that lasted for about an hour, Mr Mathews Philip touched upon a range of issues such as child abuse, child rights, human trafficking and juvenile justice. He ended his interview with a request to people to not discriminate against sexually abused women and children.

(Click here for the video excerpts of the interview.)

Later, speaking to the student-journalists of the National School of Journalism, Bengaluru, Mr Mathews Philip shifted the focus of the interaction shifted from problems to solutions.

How can media help stop violations?

“People might get out from the claws of law but once they are shamed by the media that is, in itself, a punishment”, he said. “If media can also bring awareness while reporting a human rights violation case it will be really helpful,” he said.

Asked how one can bring to light cases of violation and how victims need to be treated, he said, “we get calls on our helpline but we can’t go directly to the place as that would be trespassing. So, we first contact the concerned NGO and the police station”.

The interactive session included real-life cases to sensitise students about the state of mind of victims of abuse. He said, “sometimes the victim is not in a state to file a report for three to four days and that makes it hard to file an FIR later on.” – NsoJ Bureau


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