|In the wake of reports of large-scale violations in South Asia|
NEW DELHI: An assembly organised by Amnesty International India has recommended the setting up of a regional mechanism to address human rights abuses in the South Asian region.
The demand comes in the wake of reports of large-scale rights violations being perpetuated through security laws and their specific forms.
"SAARC was set up with the objective of maintaining trust and cooperation across South Asia, but security laws justified in the context of terrorism, frequently curb the freedom of expression and the ability of citizens to express peaceful political dissent," said Purna Sen, Asia-Pacific Director of Amnesty International, at a press conference here on Monday.
Delegates at the assembly noted that it was becoming increasingly common for governments to use "security" as an excuse for violating human rights.
The assembly has also asked for reviewing the death penalty, pushing for greater corporate accountability and curbing violence against women.
"The death penalty is a violation of right to life and it allows no correction of miscarriage of justice," said social activist Usha Ramanathan.
Seeking a moratorium on the death penalty, Ms. Ramanathan said: "It will allow States to assess whether or not the death penalty helps. It is neither an effective deterrent for crime nor a fail-safe means of punishment, given the flaws of the criminal justice system."
She also drew attention to the need for pressing for greater corporate accountability. "There is a huge difference between corporate accountability and corporate social responsibility; the latter helps them improve their image, but it is difficult to pin down corporates, who have become powerhouses in the neo-liberal years. There is a need to tame them. Earlier, the governments talked of land for all, but today there has been a turnaround and land is being provided to corporates."
Violence against women
The assembly also urged SAARC nations to declare their commitment to curb violence against women. It expressed concern over the impact on the rights of populations touched by mining projects and special economic zones.
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