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  Policing – A Human Rights Perspective

"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 impossible.”

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 Police.

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 gathered dust.

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.


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