"The world over
governments are reorienting their institutions to human rights
standards as they are an important measure of good governance.
The law enforcement agencies must protect legitimate interests
of the community by providing safety and security to the people.
They have to uphold law at all costs and maintain a delicate
balance between overlapping interests—a task difficult but not
These words of the Union Home Secretary, Mr. Anil Baijal set the
pace for the day long seminar on “Policing – A Human Rights
Perspective,” organized in 2004 by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA),
Government of India, in association with
Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) and the Delhi
The seminar throughout emphasized the need for the police to be
responsive, adopt democratic norms while interacting with the
public and have overall transparent means of dealing with public
grievances. Time and again the various Commissions have given
viable suggestions to build a people friendly service. Yet due
to lack of political will and resistance within police and the
political establishment, many of the recommendations have
The police being the most noticeable organ of the government and
also perhaps the most criticized received few accolades while
discussing the situation in Delhi. The proceedings of the
seminar brought out that the people of the city lack confidence
in the impartiality and effectiveness of their police and at
their worst they feared them. The poor, the destitute, people
with little access to power or clout, women and children feel
most vulnerable in the hands of the police.
The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) is a non
partisan, non-profit independent international non-governmental
organisation mandated to work towards the practical realisation
of human rights in Commonwealth countries. Human rights advocacy
and education are at the core of all CHRI activities.
CHRI aims to raise awareness of and adherence to internationally
recognized human rights instruments and declarations made by the
Commonwealth Heads of Governments, and more particularly the
values embodied in the Harare Declaration.
CHRI was based in the United Kingdom until 1993, when it opened
a head office in India at New Delhi. View the full text of
Policing – A Human Rights Perspective in a
PDF format here.