BOMBAY: “Having a liberal democracy is no guarantee to the defense of human rights,” stated Mr. Old Simpson head of the membership department of the Amnesty International secretariat while expressing regrets over the violation of human rights in Punjab.

Mr. Simpson was addressing reporters in the city on Saturday to announce the human rights organize campaign against death penalty to be launched on April 25 and to enhance various efforts to increase membership among Indians.

Speaking briefly about the human rights violations in different parts of the subcontinent including India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Mr. Simpson hoped that the Indian government in particular would react more positively towards Amnesty International in the future,

The campaign against the death penalty would be worldwide one and coincide with the release of a major report on the death penalty the world over, according to Mr. Simpson. About 60 percent of the countries practice death penalty while a few countries including the Soviet Union were restricting it. Most victims continued to be from socioeconomically disadvantaged back grounds, he added.

The campaign would seek to mobilize public opinion and pressurize governments to repeal the death penalty. Individual cases including the recent hangings of Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh would be used to illustrate the arguments against the death penalty.

Mr. Simpson pointed out that India, though a major third world force had only 1000 members of Amnesty International. Membership amongst the youth, especially. after the Human Rights now concert had sharply increased. The membership fee is Rs 50 and members receive a newsletter with details of human rights violations and action to be taken.

Article extracted from this publication >>  March 31, 1989