THEME PAPER PRESENTED BY: TEAM_UP4 TOPIC: “HUMAN RIGHTS IN MF COUNTRIES” TEAM MEMBERS: Team Mentor: Bernardita Ruffinelli Coordinator: Kayla Harris (U.S.) Derrick Anderson (U.S.) Jing Ji (China) Malavika Datar (India) Marcus Kosak (Germany) Maria Magdalena Benavente (Chile) Sabine Reichert (Germany) Srikanteswara S (India) Contents Introduction……………………………………………………3 Acknowledgement ………………………………………….4 General Perspective of Human Rights in MF countries o Chile…………………………………………………….6 o China……………………………………………………8 o Germany………………………………………………...9 o India…………………………………………………...25 o USA…………………………………………………….27 Specific Areas of Research – Child Rights in MF Countries o Chile……………………………………………………29 o China…..……………………………………………….31 o Germany………………………………………………..34 o India……………………………………………………35 o USA…………………………………………………….38 Specific Areas of Research – Criminal Sentencing and Re-entry policy o Chile……………………………………………………40 o China…………………………………………………...42 o Germany………………………………………………..46 o India……………………………………………............47 USA………………………………………………………...50 Conclusion…………………………………………………….53 Introduction We in our team up have chosen the topic of human rights in MF countries as our project paper. After some discussions and voting from the list of very interesting topics presented to us, we decided to work on the topic “HUMAN RIGHTS IN MF COUNTRIES’. We find that this is an interesting and extensive topic, and one that gives us a comparative and absolute insight into human rights in our respective countries and in that of other countries around the world. In today’s world the protection of human rights is of paramount importance and necessity for every society. With the UN declaration on human rights being as descriptive as it is, it leaves hardly any room for misinterpretation. Along with it, each country has its own set of human rights laws that are used to protect its citizens from human rights violation. We have studied the UN charter on human rights and also the human rights laws in our respective countries so far. We have included two specific areas of Human Rights in our paper and also present certain case studies of Human Rights violations in our countries, We have studied the violation of Child Rights and Criminal Sentencing and Re-entry policy in MF countries. ACKNOWLEDGMENT We the members of Team_up4 are very happy to have completed this paper on the topic of "Human rights in MF Countries" successfully. We enjoyed doing this paper. We have learnt a lot during the process of making the paper. It was very enlightening to have been part of this paper. Human Rights is indeed a very thought provoking topic and we had a lot of fun in the process of learning too. We are also thankful to Bernardita Ruffinelli (Chica) who helped us a lot during the making of the paper. She also guided us through the three months with various things be it the paper or just about anything else. We thank the Melton Foundation for having given us this wonderful opportunity for researching into such a wonderful topic and presenting the paper. What are HUMAN RIGHTS On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the full text of which appears in the following pages. Following this historic act the Assembly called upon all Member countries to publicize the text of the Declaration and "to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories." PREAMBLE Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world, Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people, Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law, Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations, Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom, Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms, Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge, HUMAN RIGHTS - A GENERAL PERSPECTIVE: CHILE: At first I had decided to research about the topic, and try to do a paper about the situation of Human Rights in Chile and make it as objective as possible. While doing so, I realized that there's too much of information about this topic everywhere here in Chile, and that it was going to be really difficult to write a small paper with all the information of our history of Human Rights. Human Rights is a complicated topic here, so I thought I’d try to explain with my words what happened, the actual situation and why it¹s such a complicated topic in the country. I must put emphasis that this is my own vision of facts. Of course I'm trying to be as objective as possible, and well informed too. But with this subject we never know, there's always someone with a different vision of facts. Anyway I don't want to bore you with facts that you can find on the web, let me try to explain my vision. During the dictatorship of Pinochet here in Chile, various violations of Human Rights were committed. Thousands of people were tortured, murdered, made to disappear and exiled. I'm not going deep into these aspects. Since the regime ended, people who were tortured and families of the missing prisoners have been trying to obtain justice. The information about those years wasn't very accessible but in the last few years, many opportunities have come up, and persons who were involved or had information have accepted as being guilty. We have advanced a lot in this matter. Plenty of information about those years has now come to light, and the mistakes of the past have been accepted and recognized by the armed forces of the nation. Now what causes the main troubles is that the families of the missing persons demand remuneration and punishment for the persons who are responsible. There are many kinds of compensations that the government provides to the families and persons that are affected, mainly monetary compensations and of course recognition. This is always one of the main concern of the government. Another important aspect is the trial of Pinochet. He has to face hundreds of lawsuits against him. As the "President" of the country in those years, he is persecuted as the main person responsible for what happened. Until now he has been avoiding facing the courts of justice, claiming that because of his old age he's not able to face a trial. However, recently it was known that he had some secret accounts in an American bank, an account with millions of dollars that nobody knows how it got there. So he's not in a good position right now. Plus half of the country hates him (maybe even more). In spite all that there are a lot of people who defend him, saying that he saved the country. In fact when the military forces took over the government, the situation in the country was critical. Foods and other supplies were scarce, and the social situation wasn't the best either. That's why a lot of people still defend him, despite everything that has happened during his regime, and this is publicly recognized now. Personally I don't like the subject at all, because it's something that only causes divisions and fights in the country. However, I must admit that nobody in my family suffered any torture or exile, and that if that were the case, maybe my opinion would be very different. But I wish we could leave this in the past, not forget it, but now that the mistakes have been recognized and the pardons are said, I hope we can move on. I think it's really bad that the youth is infected with all these hate and divisions that Pinochet has caused. This will definitely leave it's footprints in our history, and we're not forgetting it nor ignoring it, but I say lets not leave these footprints on us, the youth of the country. Because that will only mark us and make us grow with resentment. Let¹s learn from the mistakes from the past, and not make them again, but let¹s not live with them, because nothing good is coming from that. We have the right to have a fresh new start, with no divisions and no resentments between us. I hope I could express myself correctly, and that you could get my ideas. It¹s not an easy subject, and there are definitely many visions about it. This is my vision on the Human Rights in Chile. CHINA: It has been a long-cherished ideal of mankind to enjoy human rights in the full sense of the term. Since this great term -- human rights -- was coined centuries ago, people of all nations have achieved great results in their unremitting struggle for human rights. However, on a global scale, modern society has fallen far short of the lofty goal of securing the full range of human rights for people the world over. And this is why numerous people with lofty ideals are still working determinedly for this cause. Under long years of oppression by the "three big mountains" -- imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism -- people in old China did not have any human rights to speak of. Suffering bitterly from this, the Chinese people fought for more than a century, defying death and personal sacrifices and advancing wave upon wave, in an arduous struggle to overthrow the "three big mountains" and gain their human rights. The situation in respect to human rights in China took a basic turn for the better after the founding of the People's Republic of China. Greatly treasuring this hard-won achievement, the Chinese government and people have spared no effort to safeguard human rights and steadily improve their human rights situation, and have achieved remarkable results. This has won full confirmation and fair appraisal from all people who have a real understanding of Chinese conditions and who are not prejudiced The issue of human rights has become one of great significance and common concern in the world community. The series of declarations and conventions adopted by the United Nations have won the support and respect of many countries. The Chinese government has also highly appraised the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, considering it the first international human rights document that has laid the foundation for the practice of human rights in the world arena. However, the evolution of the situation in regard to human rights is circumscribed by the historical, social, economic and cultural conditions of various nations, and involves a process of historical development. Owing to tremendous differences in historical background, social system, cultural tradition and economic development, countries differ in their understanding and practice of human rights. From their different situations, they have taken different attitudes towards the relevant UN conventions. Despite its international aspect, the issue of human rights falls by and large within the sovereignty of each country. Therefore, a country's human rights situation should not be judged in total disregard of its history and national conditions, nor can it be evaluated according to a preconceived model or the conditions of another country or region. Such is the practical attitude, the attitude of seeking truth from facts. From their own historical conditions, the realities of their own country and their long practical experience, the Chinese people have derived their own viewpoints on the human rights issue and formulated relevant laws and policies. It is stipulated in the Constitution of the People's Republic of China that all power in the People's Republic of China belongs to the people. Chinese human rights have three salient characteristics. First, extensiveness. It is not a minority of the people or part of a class or social stratum but the entire Chinese citizenry who constitutes the subject enjoying human rights. The human rights enjoyed by the Chinese citizenry encompass an extensive scope, including not only survival, personal and political rights, but also economic, cultural and social rights. The state pays full attention to safeguarding both individual and collectivrights. Second, equality. China has adopted the socialist system after abolishing the system of exploitation and eliminating the exploiting classes. The Chinese citizenry enjoys all civic rights equally irrespective of the money and property status as well as of nationality, race, sex, occupation, family background, religion, level of education and duration of residence. Third, authenticity. The state provides guarantees in terms of system, laws and material means for the realization of human rights. The various civic rights prescribed in the Constitution and other state laws are in accord with what people enjoy in real life. China's human rights legislation and policies are endorsed and supported by the people of all nationalities and social strata and by all the political parties, social organizations and all walks of life. As a developing country, China has suffered from setbacks while safeguarding and developing human rights. Although much has been achieved in this regard, there is still much room for improvement. It remains a long-term historical task for the Chinese people and government to continue to promote human rights and strive for the noble goal of full implementation of human rights as required by China's socialism. GERMANY: Human Rights – an excellent view on the German perspective In Germany, there are rights, known as Basic Fundamental Rights that are given to all citizens throughout the country. The rights are separated into two parts: Human rights, also known as: “Jedermann-Grundrechte”, and Civil rights. The human rights are applicable to everyone, no matter what race or nationality. In addition, everyone living in Germany is entitled to a constitutional complaint. A constitutional complaint can be made if any of the basic rights are endangered or violated. "Human rights" refers to standards of behavior as accepted within their respective legal systems regarding 1) the well being of individuals, 2) the freedom and autonomy of individuals, and 3) the representation of the human interest in government. These rights commonly include the right to life, the right to an adequate standard of living, the prohibition of genocide, freedom from torture and other mistreatment, freedom of expression, freedom of movement, the right to self-determination, the right to education, and the right to participation in cultural and political life. These norms are based on the legal and political traditions of United Nations member states and are incorporated into international human rights instruments. The civil rights only apply to german citizens. They include the right to vote, for example the German parliament, and also articles 8, 9, 11, 12 I, 16, 20 IV , 33 I-III in the German constitution. In the past the Government generally respected the human rights of its citizens; although there were problems in some areas, the law and judiciary provided effective means of addressing individual instances of abuse. There were at least two reports of alleged police mistreatment or use of excessive force against detainees, which the Government investigated. There were some limits on freedom of assembly and association. There was some government and societal discrimination against minority religious groups. Instances of societal violence and harassment directed at minority groups and foreign residents continued, and the Government at times did not provide adequate protection. Women continued to face some wage discrimination in the private sector, as did minorities and foreigners. Trafficking in persons, particularly women and girls, was a problem, which the state and federal governments took steps to address. RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom Wrom: a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life There were no reports of the arbitrary or unlawful deprivation of life committed by the Government or its agents. By year's end, there was no court decision on the 2002 appeal by three Federal Border Police Officers who were indicted for the 1999 death of Amor Ageeb, a Sudanese asylum seeker, during a deportation flight. In July, a court in Cologne found six police officers guilty of the beating death of a man who had been arrested in 2002. The court gave the men sentences ranging from 12 to 15 months in jail; the officers appealed the decision. b. Disappearance There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances. c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment The Constitution prohibits such practices; however, there were at least two reports of alleged police mistreatment or use of excessive force. Amnesty International (AI) reported that there was a persistent pattern of alleged ill-treatment and excessive use of force by police. The Government investigated abuses and prosecuted police who mistreated persons in custody (see Section 1.d.). In February, in a detention center in Cologne, a prison official beat a detainee who was allegedly verbally abusive. Authorities reassigned the official to another position and began an investigation, which remained pending at year's end. In April, three police officers in Frankfurt am Main were charged with assault for beating Andre Heech after arresting him in February for failing to return from a prison work release program in January (Heech had been serving a 4-year sentence for fraud). Heech, an amputee, alleged that one of the officers struck the remaining part of his leg with a metal pipe, and that he was not provided medical assistance. The case remained pending at year's end. There were a number of violent attacks by rightwing groups on minority groups and foreigners (see Section 5). Prison conditions generally met international standards. Men were held separately from women, juveniles were held separately from adults, and pretrial detainees were held separately from convicted criminals. The Government permits visits by independent human rights monitors, although there were no reports that such visits were requested during the year. d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile The Basic Law prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention, and the Government generally observed these prohibitions. The police force is organized at the state level. The jurisdiction of the Federal Criminal Office is limited to counterterrorism, international organized crime, particularly narcotics trafficking, weapons smuggling, and currency counterfeiting. Police forces in general were well trained to a high professional level, disciplined, and mindful of citizens' rights. The Government investigated abuses and prosecuted police who mistreated persons in custody (see Sections 1.a. and 1.c.). Allegations of corruption were very rare. A person can be arrested only on the basis of an arrest warrant issued by a competent judicial authority, unless the person is caught in the act of committing a crime or the police have strong reason to believe that the person intends to commit a crime. If there is evidence that a suspect might flee the country, police may detain that person for up to 24 hours pending a formal charge. Anyone detained by police must be brought before a judge and charged within 24 hours of the arrest. The court then must issue an arrest warrant stating the grounds for detention or order their release. Police at times detained known or suspected radicals for brief periods when they believed such individuals intended to participate in illegal or unauthorized demonstrations (see Section 2.b). The rules governing this type of detention are different in each state, with authorized periods of detention ranging from 1 to 14 days, provided judicial concurrence is given within 24 hours of initial apprehension. There were no reports of such detention during the year. Detainees have access to lawyers. Only judges may decide on the validity of any deprivation of liberty. Bail exists but seldom is employed; the usual practice is to release detainees unless there is clear danger of flight outside the country. In these cases, a person may be detained for the duration of the investigation and subsequent trial. Such decisions are subject to regular judicial review, and time spent in investigative custody applies toward the sentence. In cases of acquittal, the Government must compensate the individual. The Basic Law prohibits forced exile, and the Government did not employ it. e. Denial of Fair Public Trial The Basic Law provides for an independent judiciary, and the Government generally respected this provision in practice. Ordinary courts have jurisdiction in criminal and civil matters. There are four levels of such courts (local courts, regional courts, higher regional courts, and the Federal Court of Justice), with appeals possible from lower to higher levels. In addition to the ordinary courts, there are four types of specialized courts: Administrative, labor, social, and fiscal. These courts also have different levels, and appeals may be made to the next higher level. In addition, there is the Federal Constitutional Court, which is comparable to the supreme court in the usa. Among other responsibilities, it reviews laws to ensure their compatibility with the Basic Law and adjudicates disputes between different branches of government on questions of competencies. It also has jurisdiction to hear and decide claims based on the infringement of a person's basic constitutional rights by a public authority. The judiciary provided citizens with a fair and efficient judicial process, although court proceedings at times were delayed because of increasing caseloads. For simple or less serious cases, the Government adopted a procedure allowing for an accelerated hearing and summary punishment at the local court level. The maximum sentence for such cases is limited to 1 year, provided the accused has a defense counsel and execution of the punishment is suspended on probation. There were no reports of political prisoners. f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence The Basic Law and statutory laws prohibit such actions, and government authorities generally respected these prohibitions in practice; violations were subject to effective legal sanction. Several hundred organizations were under observation by the federal and state Offices for the Protection of the Constitution (OPC). The OPCs were charged with examining possible threats to the constitutional democratic system; they had no law enforcement powers, and OPC monitoring by law could not interfere with the continued activities of any organization. However, because the OPCs published a list of organizations being monitored, being on the list could have a negative influence on an organization's reputation, thus disturbing its normal activities. In observing an organization, OPC officials sought to collect information, mostly from written materials and first-hand accounts, to assess whether a threat existed. At times, more intrusive methods, such as the use of undercover agents, but they were subject to legal checks (see Section 2.c.). Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: a. Freedom of Speech and Press The Basic Law provides for freedom of the press, and the Government generally respected this right in practice. An independent press, an effective judiciary, and a functioning democratic political system combined to ensure freedom of the press and of speech, including academic freedom. However, there were some limits on freedom of speech. Distribution of the propaganda of proscribed organizations, statements inciting racial hatred and endorsing Nazism, and denying the Holocaust, are illegal, and the authorities sought to block what they considered dangerous material on the Internet. The independent media were active and expressed a wide variety of views without government restriction. There were approximately 120 Internet service providers. The law bans access to prohibited material (for example, child pornography and Nazi propaganda) on the Internet, and the Government explored ways to expand bilateral and multilateral cooperation in countering Internet crime. German officials estimated that there were approximately 800 Internet sites with what they considered objectionable or dangerous rightwing extremist content. The Federal Court of Justice held that the country's laws against Nazi incitement may apply to individuals who post Nazi material on Internet sites available to users in the country, even if the site resides on a foreign server. b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association The law provides for freedom of assembly, and the Government generally respected this right in practice; however, outlawed organizations were not permitted to hold public assemblies. Permits must be obtained for open-air public rallies and marches, and state and local officials have the authority to deny such permits when public safety concerns arise or when outlawed organizations attempt to hold public assemblies. For example, in August rallies and marches by neo-Nazis and rightwing extremists commemorating the death of Nazi official Rudolf Hess were prohibited by a court in Bavaria, but the Federal Constitutional Court upheld the extremists' right to assemble and advised police to ensure that the assembly did not endanger public safety. The law provides for freedom of association, and the Government generally respected this right in practice; however, the Basic Law and the Association Law permit the banning of organizations whose activities were found to be illegal or opposed to the constitutional democratic order as established by the Basic Law. The Federal Constitutional Court is the only body that can outlaw political parties on these grounds. Federal or state governments may ban other organizations on these grounds, but legal recourse against such decisions is available. Such banned organizations included a number of groups that authorities generally classified as rightwing or leftwing, foreign extremist, or criminal in nature. Several hundred organizations were under observation by the federal and state OPCs (see Section 1.f.). On October 28, more than 300 police officers raided homes and meeting places of suspected neo-Nazi groups in Schleswig-Holstein. Police found weapons and arrested several people suspected of "forming a politically motivated criminal organization." The suspects were associated with the international neo-Nazi group Combat 18. A commission of experts examined whether evidence against the rightwing extremist National Democratic Party (NPD) met the threshold to support a legal ban, which was widely demanded after a surge of rightwing extremist activity in 2000. In March, the Court dismissed separate petitions by the Bundestag and Bundesrat for the banning of the NPD because of flaws in the Government's case. In January, Interior Minister Otto Schily used his executive authority to ban the Islamic extremist organization, Hizb ut-Tahrir. In October, the Federal Constitutional Court rejected the appeal and upheld the ban on the Islamic extremist organization "Caliphate State," exhausting the organization's legal remedies. The "Caliphate State" had appealed the Interior Minister's 2001 ruling banning the organization. Metin Kaplan, former head of the "Caliphate State," was released from prison in May after serving a 4-year sentence for calling for the killing of an opponent. Authorities have denied Turkey's extradition request for Kaplan, who was wanted in Turkey for terrorism- related charges, on the grounds of uncertainty that a fair trial would take place in Turkey. The Higher Regional Administrative Court in Muenster was deciding an appeal on whether Kaplan could be granted asylum, or be deported to Turkey at year's end. Kaplan was not allowed to travel outside of Cologne and was required to report regularly to police. c. Freedom of Religion The Basic Law provides for the freedom of religion, and the Government generally respected this right in practice; however, discrimination against minority religious groups remained an issue. Church and state are separate, although historically a special relationship existed between the State and those religious communities that had the status of a "corporation under public law." If they fulfill certain requirements, organizations may request that they be granted "public law corporation" status, which, among other things, entitles them to levy taxes on their members, which the State collects for them. The decision to grant public law corporation status is made at the state level. Religious organizations are not required to register, although most were registered and are treated as nonprofit associations and therefore enjoyed tax-exempt status. Within the federal system, the states showed large differences with respect to their treatment of the Church of Scientology. Two states, Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, did not monitor Scientology. The city-state of Berlin dropped OPC observation of Scientology in September, and the state of Hesse did not mention Scientology in its 2002 OPC report. Bavaria, on the other hand, announced in November 2002 that it might seek to ban Scientology and indicated that it would ask the Federal Interior Ministry to consider a federal ban. In March, Bavaria found no support among other states, except for Hamburg, for such a ban. Scientology was the only religious community under OPC observation, and Scientologists contended that inclusion in a list of totalitarian and terrorist groups was detrimental to the Church's reputation. In December, a court in Baden-Wuerttemberg found that the Church of Scientology in the state was entitled to tax-exempt status as a religious community. State officials had maintained for several years that the Church of Scientology was a commercial enterprise, not a religious community, and had refused to grant it tax exempt status. The Lutheran Church employed "sect commissioners" to warn the public about supposed dangers posed by Scientology, as well as by the Unification Church, Bhagwan-Osho, and Transcendental Meditation. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Church of Christ, Christian Scientists, the New Apostolic Church, and the Johannish Church were characterized in less negative terms but nevertheless were singled out as "sects." Private sector firms that screen for Scientology affiliations frequently cited OPC observation of Scientology as a justification for discrimination. The Federal Property Office barred the sale of some real estate to Scientologists, noting that the Finance Ministry had urged that such sales be avoided if possible. Since 1996, employment offices throughout the country have implemented an Economics and Labor Ministry administrative order directing them to enter an "S" notation next to the names of firms suspected of employing Scientologists. Employment counselors are supposed to warn their clients that they might encounter Scientologists in these workplaces. Scientologists claimed that the "S" notations violate their right to privacy and interfere with their livelihood. The Unification Church has sought legal remedies against the Government's refusal to grant an entry visa to the founder of the Unification Church, Reverend Sun Myung Moon, and his wife, Hak Ja Har Moon through 2004. Federal courts ruled that the exclusion does not infringe upon church members' freedom to practice their religion. At year's end, an appeal by the Unification Church was pending. On October 22, the Federal Constitutional Court overturned a lower court's 2002 decision that without the appropriate state legislation, a school in Baden-Wuerttemberg could prohibit a Muslim teacher from wearing a headscarf to work. The ruling does not affect states' ability to establish a legal basis for banning headscarves in schools. After the ruling, several states indicated their intention to enact laws prohibiting Muslim public servants from wearing headscarves on duty. Several states have submitted draft laws prohibiting Muslim teachers from wearing headscarves on duty in public schools. Legislative approval was pending at year's end. Leading politicians from all major parties stated that neo-Nazi groups posed a serious threat to public order and called for continuing vigilance by law enforcement agencies. Following a rise in the incidence of anti-Semitic crimes and an increase in public criticism of the Israeli Government's actions in the Middle East, Jewish community leaders expressed disappointment in the leaders of other religious communities, as well as in some local and national politicians, for not speaking out more forcefully against anti-Semitism. In October, the public remarks of Martin Hohmann, a Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Member of Parliament, comparing the actions of Jews during the Russian Revolution to those of the Nazis during the Holocaust, led to the opening of an inquiry following a criminal complaint alleging incitement and slander. The CDU subsequently expelled Hohmann from its parliamentary caucus. Arab youths appeared to be increasingly behind attacks on and harassment of the country's Jews. In May, an American orthodox Jew in Berlin was attacked by a group of teenagers who appeared to be of Arab origin. The attack was the fourth in a series of similar incidents that took place during the year. During the year, Jewish cemeteries were desecrated in Kassel and Beeskow. Dozens of gravestones were pushed over or painted with pro-Nazi graffiti. In September, police arrested several people for suspected involvement in a plot to bomb a Jewish institution in Munich. All branches of Islam were represented in the country, with the large majority of Muslims coming from abroad. Reports continued of opposition to the construction of mosques in various communities around the country, generally concerning complaints about increased traffic and noise. There was debate over whether Muslims could use loudspeakers in residential neighborhoods to call the faithful to prayer. There also remained areas where the law conflicted with Islamic practices or raised religious freedom issues, notably the headscarf issue. Authorities ran a variety of tolerance-education programs, many focusing on anti-Semitism and xenophobia. Government agencies cooperated with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the formulation and administration of these programs. d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation The Basic Law provides for these rights, and the Government generally respected them in practice. For ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, the Basic Law provides both for citizenship immediately upon application and for legal residence without restrictions. The law provides that children born to legal foreign residents be granted citizenship. Individuals may retain both German citizenship and that of their parents until the age of 23, when they must choose one or the other. The law reduced the period of residence legal foreign residents must spend in the country in order to earn the right to naturalize from 15 to 8 years. The Basic Law and legislation provide for the granting of asylum and refugee status to persons who meet the definition in the 1951 U.N. Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol. In practice, the Government provided protection against refoulement and provided refugee status or asylum. Both the Federal Government and state governments cooperated with the office of U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other humanitarian organizations in assisting refugees, although immigration matters were primarily a state-level responsibility. Individuals attempting to enter via a "safe country of transit" (any country in the European Union (EU) or adhering to the Geneva Convention on Refugees) were ineligible for asylum and could be turned back at the border or returned to that "safe country of transit" if they managed to enter the country. Individuals whose applications were rejected on these grounds had up to 2 weeks to appeal the decision. Individuals who arrived at an international airport and who were deemed to have come from a "safe country of origin" could be detained at an airport holding facility. In these cases, the Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees was required to make a decision on an asylum application within 48 hours or allow the person to enter the country. The applicant could appeal a negative decision to an administrative court within 3 days, and the court was required to rule within 14 days or allow the individual to enter the country. Although stays in the airport facility are limited to a maximum of 19 days, applicants whose claims were rejected, but who could not be deported immediately, allegedly have been held at the airport for months, a practice criticized by some refugee assistance groups and human rights advocates. Applicants who entered the country and were denied asylum at their original administrative hearing could challenge the decision in court, and 80 percent of applicants denied asylum did so. Only about 3 to 4 percent of such rejections were overturned. The rejected applicant was allowed to remain in the country during the course of the appeal, which usually took at least a year and sometimes significantly longer. Applicants received housing and other social service benefits during this time. Asylum applicants and civil war refugees have been allowed to work after a 1-year waiting period. Individuals who failed to cooperate during the deportation process or who were deemed liable to flee to avoid deportation could be held in predeportation detention, with the average detention period lasting 5 to 6 weeks. Some foreigners whose asylum applications were rejected, but who would be endangered if they were returned to their home country, received temporary residence permits; however, they were expected to leave when conditions in their home country allowed for their safe return. The vast majority of the approximately 345,000 Bosnians and the approximately 200,000 Kosovars whom the Government admitted during the conflict in the former Yugoslavia fell into this category; most of these persons have since been repatriated or resettled outside of the country. For the remainder, once their residence permits expired they could be deported, although some exceptions were made for certain vulnerable groups, such as members of ethnic minorities, including Serbs, Roma, Ashkalia, and Muslim Slavs. In a number of cases, there also were exceptions made for medical reasons. The Government continued to support voluntary return programs for refugees from the former Yugoslavia, providing financial incentives of between $956 and $2,813 (765 and 2,250 euros) to help cover travel and resettlement costs. Many states provided additional resettlement funds. However, failure to accept voluntary repatriation subjected these refugees to the threat of deportation, forced them to leave their personal property behind, and excluded them from reentering the country for a 5-year period. In some cases, unsuccessful asylum seekers attempted to thwart their deportation by refusing to disclose to authorities their country of origin or their identity. This situation was prevalent among asylum seekers from West Africa; it was also not unusual among asylum seekers from the former Soviet Union. Several states attempted to speed up repatriation of uncooperative rejected asylum seekers by opening communal accommodations where foreigners were housed while authorities obtained valid information regarding their identity and citizenship. Some refugee-rights and church organizations criticized these centers as inhumane. They claimed that the basic amenities and relative lack of freedom of movement exerted psychological pressure on the residents. Authorities countered that the centers' emphasis on counseling and job skill development promoted the residents' willingness to depart voluntarily and enhanced their chances of success in their home countries. During the year, there were 377 voluntary returns of Bosnian refugees. The Government estimated that since 1999, approximately 100,000 Albanian Kosovars have returned to Kosovo. According to government sources, 85 percent of these returned voluntarily, the other 15 percent involuntarily. These figures were consistent with those of refugee advocate groups. The Government estimated that there were approximately 60,000 deportable Kosovar refugees in the country. Of these, 27,000 were ethnic Albanians and 33,000 were members of ethnic minorities, primarily Roma and Serbs, but also including Bosniaks, Egyptians, Ashkalia, Turks and Torbesh. Roma and Serbs were exempted from forced returns, but other ethnic minorites and Albanians were being returned, increasingly on a forced basis. In coordination with the U.N. Interim Administrative Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), German authorities in some states provide voluntary returnees with some resettlement funds and in-country assistance. There were two reports of the forced deportation of Chechens to Russia. After the 2002 incident in a Moscow theater in Russia, the federal Interior Ministry recommended to its state- level counterparts that deportations of Chechens should be temporarily halted and that previously refused asylum cases of Chechens remaining in Germany should be re-evaluated. However, according to AI, many asylum applications by Chechens were refused during the year. Due to continuing security concerns, the Government decided not to compel the return of Afghan refugees. Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to Change Their Government The Basic Law provides citizens with the right to change their government peacefully, and citizens exercised this right in practice through periodic, free, and fair elections. Members of Parliament are elected every 4 years from a mixture of direct-constituency and party-list candidates on the basis of universal suffrage and secret balloting. The second legislative body, the Bundesrat, is composed of delegations from state governments; there are no collective Bundesrat elections. In the Bundestag, there were two major parliamentary groups, the SPD and the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU), as well as two smaller parliamentary groups, the Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens. Parties that failed to win either 5 percent of the vote nationwide or three seats in head-to-head contests ("direct mandates") were not allotted their proportional share of seats (although they retain any seats won directly). In the 2002 national elections, the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) won two direct mandates, but failed to gain the 5 percent needed; therefore, there were only two PDS deputies in the new Bundestag. The federal Constitutional Court may outlaw political parties that actively work to undermine the liberal democratic order (see Section 2.b.). The law entitles women to participate fully in political life, and a growing number were prominent in the Government and the parties. Close to 31 percent of the members of the Bundestag were women. Women occupied 7 of 15 Federal Cabinet positions. On the Federal Constitutional Court, 5 of the 16 judges were female, including the Chief Justice. Two of the parties represented in the Bundestag were headed by women: The CDU and the Greens/Alliance 90 (co-chaired by a woman and a man). All of the parties have undertaken to enlist more women. The Greens/Alliance 90 Party requires that women constitute half of the party's elected officials; and 57.5 percent of the Party's federal parliamentary caucus members are women. The SPD had a 40-percent quota for women on all party committees and governing bodies, and they met that goal. The CDU required that 30 percent of the first ballot candidates for party positions be women, a goal that they met. Few minorities were represented in the Government. There were two Turkish-German Bundestag deputies and one German-Indian mixed race deputy in the Bundestag. Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights A wide variety of international and domestic human rights groups generally operated without government restriction, investigating and publishing their findings on human rights cases. Government officials were very cooperative and responsive to their views. Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Disability, Language, or Social Status The law prohibits the denial of access to housing, health care, or education on the basis of race, disability, sex, ethnic background, political opinion, or citizenship. Women Violence against women was a problem and was thought to be underreported; nationwide statistics are not compiled, but the Ministry of Family, Seniors, Women and Youth estimated that there were approximately 45,000 cases per year of domestic violence against women. In 2002, countrywide, 8,615 cases of rape were reported, 724 (9.2 percent) more than in 2001. The law prohibits violence against women and the Government has implemented a number of legal and social structures to combat it. Societal attitudes toward such violence are strongly negative, and legal and medical recourse were available. During the year, the Government conducted campaigns in schools and through church groups to bring public attention to the existence of such violence and supported numerous projects to combat the problem. There were 435 "women's houses," including 115 in the eastern states (excluding Berlin), where victims of violence and their children could seek shelter, counseling, and legal and police protection. In the last few years, the Federal Ministry for Families, Seniors, Women and Youth commissioned a number of studies to obtain information on violence against women, sexual harassment, and other matters. The law provides for removing a violent husband or male domestic partner from a shared dwelling. Prostitution is legal. Lawmakers have approved new rules affording prostitutes more benefits, such as the chance to enter the social security system and to use the courts to obtain payment for their services. Trafficking in women was a problem (see Section 6.f.). Sexual harassment of women was a recognized problem. The press reported on sexual harassment in the workplace and in public facilities. Unions, churches, government agencies, and NGOs ran a variety of support programs for women who experienced sexual harassment and sponsored seminars and training to prevent it. The Government continued to implement its multiyear action plan, "Women and Occupation." The program promoted the equality of women and men in the workforce, including increased vocational training for women, greater representation of women in political advisory councils, and the promotion of female entrepreneurs through government grants and participation in regional projects earmarked for women. The Federal Ministry for Families, the Elderly, Women, and Youth also announced a multiyear initiative designed to increase the number of women and girls who receive training in information technology (IT) and in media careers, with the goal of raising the number of IT-training slots to 60,000 by 2003 and the share of female IT-trainees to 40 percent by 2005. The law provides for equal pay for equal work; however, in practice many employers categorized individual jobs held by women differently from the same job held by a man, thereby creating inequalities in pay for men and women. Union contracts typically identified categories of employment in which participants are to be paid less than 100 percent of the wage of a skilled laborer covered by the same contract. Women were represented disproportionately in these lower-wage scale occupations. In general, a women's average monthly income was lower than a man's average monthly income. However, if factors such as differences in age, qualification, occupational position, structure of employment or seniority are taken into consideration, women usually were not discriminated against in terms of equal pay for equal work, although they were underrepresented in well-paid managerial positions. Persons with Disabilities The Basic Law specifically prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities, and there were no reports of discrimination against persons with disabilities in employment, education, or in the provision of other state services. The law mandates several special services for persons with disabilities; they are entitled to assistance to avert, eliminate, or alleviate the consequences of their disabilities and to secure employment commensurate with their abilities. The Government offered vocational training and grants for employers who hired persons with disabilities. Persons with severe disabilities could be granted special benefits, such as tax relief, free public transport, special parking facilities, and exemption from radio and television fees. The Government set guidelines for the attainment of "barrier-free" public buildings and for modifications of streets and pedestrian traffic walks to accommodate persons with disabilities. All 16 states incorporated the federal guidelines into their building codes, and 98 percent of federal public buildings follow the guidelines for a "barrier-free environment." There were no reports of societal discrimination against persons with disabilities. National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities The Federal Criminal Police uses a crime definition system for "politically motivated crimes" (PMCs). PMCs are crimes that involve motives that have to do with victims' ideology, nationality, ethnicity, race, skin color, religion, world-view, ancestry, sexual orientation, disability status, appearance, or social status. PMCs are categorized and reported by the Federal OPC in its annual report, according to perpetrator (rightwing extremist, leftwing extremist, foreign extremist) and crime type (propaganda, racist literature or hate speech; property destruction, desecration of Jewish graves; and assaults on persons). In 2002, 10,902 rightwing PMCs were recorded (10,054 in 2001), including 7,294 propaganda crimes (6,336 in 2001), 2,513 "incitement of racial hatred" crimes (2,538 in 2001), 178 property crimes (251 in 2001), 115 criminal threats (190 in 2001), and 30 grave desecrations (30 in 2001). In 2002, 772 of the rightwing extremist PMCs were violent (709 in 2001); the majority of these (440, 56.9 percent; up from 374 in 2001) were perpetrated against foreigners; 28 (2.5 percent) were anti-Semitic (up from 18 in 2001), and 207 (26.8 percent) were against political opponents (197 in 2001). Harassment of foreigners and racial minorities, including beatings, remained common throughout the country. Media as well as official reports indicated that several such incidents occurred each week. There were several incidents in July. An African woman was harassed with racial slurs and punched as she waited for a streetcar in Potsdam; several Vietnamese were attacked in Berlin; in Rhineland-Palatinate, a neo-Nazi shouted "Heil Hitler" as he kicked a Nigerian in the stomach, sending him to the hospital. In northwestern Brandenburg state, a 13-year-old German of color was assaulted and burned by a group of 14- to 16- year olds who started their attack with racial slurs. In Wittenberg (Saxony-Anhalt), six men hit a young Arab man with bottles, knocked him to the ground, kicked him, and harassed him with racial slurs. In June, a foreign government granted asylum to a German citizen of color and her children after finding that the Government's failure to protect her rights and address her grievances effectively condoned racist attitudes and discrimination. The asylee alleged that government agencies ignored her complaints against her ex-husband (a Caucasian citizen) of spousal and child abuse because she was a person of color, and that government agencies through malfeasance and discrimination denied her equal access to social services. In an ongoing domestic court case in which she was attempting to obtain a child support enforcement order, she alleged that government agencies continued to deny her access to legal representation to which she is entitled as a citizen. Membership in rightwing organizations was difficult to ascertain; however, authorities estimated that there were approximately 1,500 persons nationwide who were leaders of rightwing activities. Authorities estimated an additional 10,000 persons were sympathizers. The Federal Government and state governments remained firmly committed to combating and preventing rightwing violence, although police resources increasingly were allocated to address the terrorist threat. In September, authorities in Bavaria arrested several members of the neo-Nazi "Southern Brotherhood" organization and seized weapons and explosives from the group in raids. Police discovered plans the group had to attack the cornerstone-laying ceremony of a new Jewish community center and synagogue. State and federal authorities are continuing their investigation of possible links between this group and other violent neo- Nazi groups nationwide. The Government protected and fostered the languages and cultures of national and ethnic minorities that traditionally lived in the country (for example, Sorbs, Danes, Roma, Sinti, and Frisians). Although the Government recognized the Sinti and Roma as an official "national minority" since 1995, the federal and state interior ministries resisted including Romani among the languages to be protected under relevant EU statutes. Critics contended that the Sinti/Romani minority was the only official national minority that did not have unique legal protection, political privilege, or reserved representation in certain public institutions. Resident foreigners and minority groups continued to voice credible concerns about societal and job-related discrimination. Unemployment affected foreigners disproportionately, although at times this was due in part to inadequate language skills or nontransferable professional qualifications of the job seekers (see Section 6.e.). The Federal Government and all states established permanent commissions to assist foreigners in their dealings with government and society. Section 6 Worker Rights a. The Right of Association The Basic Law provides for the right to associate freely, choose representatives, determine programs and policies to represent workers' interests, and publicize views, and workers exercised these rights. Approximately 27 percent of the total eligible work force belonged to unions. The German Trade Union Federation (DGB) represented approximately 83 percent of organized workers. The law effectively protects workers against antiunion discrimination. Complainants file their cases directly with the labor courts, which are the courts of first instance. Specialized labor court judges render decisions in these cases. The DGB participated in various international and European trade union organizations, including the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU). b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively The Basic Law provides for the right to organize and bargain collectively and workers exercised these rights. Collective bargaining was widespread due to a well-developed system of autonomous contract negotiations; mediation was used infrequently. Basic wages and working conditions were negotiated at the industry level. However, some firms in the eastern part of the country refused to join employer associations or withdrew from them and then bargained independently with workers. In addition, some firms in the west withdrew at least part of their work force from the jurisdiction of employer associations, complaining of rigidities in the industrywide, multicompany negotiating system; however, they did not refuse to bargain as individual enterprises. The law mandates a system, known as co-determination, whereby workers are able to participate in the management of the enterprises in which they work through "works councils" and worker representation on boards of directors. The rights of the works councils are regulated through the Works Constitution. Members of works councils do not have to be union representatives. The Basic Law provides for the right to strike, except for civil servants (including teachers) and personnel in sensitive positions, such as members of the armed forces. In the past, the International Labor Organization (ILO) criticized the Government's definition of "essential services" as overly broad. The ILO continued to seek clarifications from the Government on policies and laws governing the labor rights of civil servants. The ILO has repeatedly reminded the Government that this restriction is not in line with Convention 87, and has asked it to change its legislation accordingly. Similarly, teachers in the public service continue to be denied their right to collective bargaining. This has not changed despite ILO criticism of the violation of Convention 98. These groups who are not allowed to strike have legal recourse through the court system to protect their rights. In June, a strike by the IG Metall labor union for a 35-hour work week in eastern Germany failed in the face of determined resistance by employers, lack of support among workers who feared they would be priced out of their jobs, and objections from western German workers who would have had to cope with the consequences of disruptions in supplies from the east. The Government did not interfere. There are no export processing zones. c. Prohibition of Forced or Bonded Labor The Basic Law and the federal statutes prohibit forced or bonded labor, including by children; however, there were reports that such practices occurred (see Section 6.f.). Since 2001, the "Remembrance, Responsibility, and the Future Foundation," has paid approximately $2.81 billion (2.25 billion euros) to some 1.4 million claimants worldwide for payments to private and public sector Nazi-era forced and slave laborers and others who suffered at the hands of German companies during the Nazi era. The Government and a consortium of German companies have each contributed $3.1 billion (2.5 billion euros) to the Foundation, which was established under the law. The Foundation concluded agreements with partner organizations such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany that receive Foundation funds in order to process and pay claims according to agreed procedures and subject to audit. d. Status of Child Labor Practices and Minimum Age for Employment The law prohibits the employment of children under the age of 15, with a few exceptions: Those 13 or 14 years of age may do farm work for up to 3 hours per day or may deliver newspapers for up to 2 hours per day; and those 3 to 14 years of age may take part in cultural performances, albeit under stringent curbs on the kinds of activity, number of hours, and time of day. The Federal Labor Ministry effectively enforced the law through its Factory Inspection Bureau. e. Acceptable Conditions of Work There was no legislated or administratively determined minimum wage; wages and salaries were set either by collective bargaining agreements between unions and employer federations or by individual contracts. Covering an estimated 80-90 percent of all wage and salary-earners, the collective bargaining agreements set minimum pay rates and were enforceable by law. The remaining 10-20 percent were covered by either individual contracts or company-level contracts negotiated by worker representatives who were not necessarily members of unions. These minimums provided a decent standard of living for a worker and family. Federal regulations limit the workweek to a maximum of 48 hours, but the number of hours of work per week was regulated by contracts that directly or indirectly affected 80 percent of the working population. The average workweek for industrial workers was 36 hours in the western part of the country and approximately 39 hours in the eastern states; rest periods for lunch were accepted practices. Provisions for overtime, holiday, and weekend pay varied depending upon the applicable collective bargaining agreement. There was an extensive set of laws and regulations on occupational safety and health. A comprehensive system of worker insurance carriers enforces safety requirements in the workplace. The Labor Ministry and its counterparts in the states effectively enforced occupational safety and health standards through a network of government bodies, including the Federal Institute for Work Safety. At the local level, professional and trade associations-- self-governing public corporations with delegates both from the employers and from the unions--oversaw worker safety. The law provides for the right to refuse to perform dangerous or unhealthy work without jeopardy to continued employment. Foreign workers legally in the country were protected by law and generally worked in conditions equal to that of citizens; however, wage discrimination affected legal foreign workers to some extent. For example, foreign teachers in some schools were paid less than their German counterparts. In addition, seasonal workers from Eastern Europe who came to the country on temporary work permits often received wages below normal German standards. Workers from other EU countries at times were employed at the same wages they would receive in their home country, even if the corresponding German worker would receive a higher wage. Foreigners who were employed illegally, particularly in the construction industry in Berlin, were likely to receive substandard wages. f. Trafficking in Persons The law prohibits trafficking in persons; however, trafficking in persons, primarily women and girls for sexual exploitation, was a problem. The law specifically prohibits trafficking in persons and makes the offense punishable by up to 10 years' imprisonment. These crimes are prosecuted at the state level. The Federal Criminal Office for Criminal Investigation and state police actively investigated cases of trafficking and published their findings in an annual trafficking report. In 2002 (the latest year for which figures are available), state officials conducted 282 pre-trial investigations, a 5.9 percent increase from the previous year. The number of suspects in 2002 was 821, an increase of 10 percent over the previous year. In March, a Kassel court sentenced a Czech national to 8 years in prison for trafficking 300 Afghan and Chinese nationals to Germany. The Federal Criminal Office for Criminal Investigation has a team that coordinates international operations and offers special training. The Federal Ministry for Families, the Elderly, Women, and Youth heads an interagency working group to coordinate the efforts of state and federal agencies to combat trafficking and to aid victims of trafficking. The federal and state Governments worked actively with NGOs and local women's shelters to combat human trafficking. Germany was both a destination and transit country for trafficking in persons, overwhelmingly women and girls. Most trafficking victims were women and girls between the ages of 16 and 25 who were forced to work as prostitutes; according to police statistics, less than 0.5 percent of trafficking victims were men or boys. Estimates by NGOs varied considerably as to the number of women and girls trafficked to and through the country. The number of known and registered trafficking victims in 2002 was 811. Of these, 87 percent came from Eastern Europe and the countries of the former Soviet Union, primarily from Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Moldova, Lithuania, Slovakia, Latvia, Bulgaria, and the Czech Republic. Frequently crime rings would traffic women who already had been caught in, and deported from, one European country to another. Non-European victims came mostly from Africa and Asia. The UN Center for International Crime Prevention stated that Germany is the most common destination for victims of human trafficking. Traffickers used a range of intimidation techniques to ensure the compliance of victims, including threats to "sell" the victim, threat of deportation, misinformation about victims' rights in Germany, physical violence, and withholding documents. The Government was active in combating trafficking in persons at the federal and state levels. There was no known involvement of authorities or individual government employees in human trafficking. The federal and state governments, as well as private donors, subsidized more than 30 counseling centers for victims of trafficking that are run by NGOs. When an illegal alien is discovered to be a trafficking victim, police were required to notify a counseling center and to inform the victim of his/her rights and options for seeking assistance. The centers provide shelter, counseling, interpreting services, and legal assistance. The NGOs involved with combating human trafficking also worked to raise public awareness through seminars and training courses. Victims who serve as witnesses in trafficking cases have the right to join the criminal trial against the trafficker as a co-plaintiff, a status that entitles them to an attorney and financial assistance to cover legal expenses. Victims who are illegal residents receive basic health care for acute illness or pain according to the Benefit Rules for Asylum Seekers. Of the 811 registered victims in 2002, 284 were deported, 153 returned to their home countries of their own free will, and 104 were granted a temporary stay. The right to remain in Germany was granted in cases of marriage to a German national, political asylum, or evidence that the victim's life would be endangered by being deported. The Government covered the basic cost of repatriation of trafficking victims under the Reintegration and Emigration Program for Asylum-Seekers in Germany (REAG). The IOM administers REAG, and is represented in several of the major return countries where the organization assists returned victims. The Government was actively involved in reaching out to potential trafficking victims before they entered the country. German embassies and consulates as well as NGOs distribute a brochure that provided information on residency and work permit requirements as well as warnings about trafficking. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs sponsored and organized conferences on trafficking issues. Government agencies work actively with NGOs, which were represented in the federal interagency working group on human trafficking. Summary: Well our opinion on the german way of applying the human rights agreements is quite positive. Most of the rights are applied to a high degree. Just some problems like racism etc. concern us. There´s always some black sheep (fascist for example) that mess around and kick the human rights. But the good thing is that the vast majority thinks differently and that they stand up against negative movements. Right in june-it was the beginning of the month when a fascist party planned a demonstration here in jena with rather bad contents. The cool thing was that counter action was taken immediately and a whole bunch of organizations planned anti fascist demonstrations and meetings. Eventually the fascist where totally overwhelmed by all the democratic demonstrations spread over the city. That´s what we call a real success in defending the human rights. way sweet was that young and old were working together. All in all we think Germany to be a save and good country when it comes to HR. Hope that the examples(see top) for each human right will help to show how things work in germany. Another interesting aspect is the european union and it´s convention on human rights. INDIA: Indian history is replete with examples and instances of emphasis on human dignity with zeal for justice in some of the kings namely, Akbar, Jehangir, Vikramaditya, Ashoka to name only a few. In administration of justice during the British Rule, some Indian judges stood out for their great sensitivity to social justice and respect for human dignity as the quintessence of the basic human freedoms. Though common now, it was uncommon then to visualize it then. Human Rights in the Indian perspective is defined as “the rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed under the Constitution or embodied in the International Covenants and enforceable by courts in India.” The Indian Constitution in its Preamble declares: “WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN, SOCIALIST, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens: JUSTICE, social, economic, political; LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and the integrity of the nation……..” Thus it was only natural for the makers of the Constitution to declare the meaning and to have specifically a section in the Constitution dedicated to Human Rights. Every citizen of the country is entitled to certain basic rights called as the Fundamental Rights. Articles 12 to 35 in the Constitution are dedicated to Fundamental Rights. Fundamental Rights have a special significance or importance of their own, especially for the Indians who remained under the foreign rule for a very long time. Fundamental Rights provide those conditions which are essential for the all-round development of human personality. They provide equality of status and opportunity to every citizen. The rights are as listed below: Right to Equality: This right ensures to all citizens equality before the law irrespective of caste, creed, status, religion, sex. It provides equality of opportunity in all fields in life. It also declares practicing untouchability as a punishable offence. Right to Freedom: Various kinds of individual and collective freedoms have been guaranteed under this Right. The freedoms listed under this are Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression; Right to Assemble peacefully without arms; Right to form associations or unions; Right to Free movement across the country; Right to reside in any territory or part of India; Right to practice any profession or to carry out any occupation. Right against Exploitation: This right puts a firm end to such exploitation as forced labour, traffic in women and children, prevention of Child Labour. Bonded labour in any form has also been illegal. Right to Freedom of Religion: India is a secular state. The Constitution of India confers to the people the freedom to practice any religion of their choice, to practice it according to their specific ways and to preach it. Cultural and Educational Rights: All groups, sects and linguistic minorities in the country have been granted the right to safeguard their culture, language and script. They can build their own educational institutions for this purpose. Right to Constitutional Remedies: The Constitution of India has conferred upon its citizens this right where every citizen of the country is entitled to move the Supreme Court, any of the High Courts or any other court authorized by the Parliament for that purpose if his or her Fundamental Right/Rights are encroached upon, abridged, or snatched away by the State, a person or a body or persons. NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION: The above listed are the Fundamental Rights conferred upon by the State to its citizens. But it was observed after some time that the Rights of the citizens were being violated by various agencies or groups of people or certain other individuals. Thus, in October of 1993 the National Human Rights Commission was constituted under The Protection of Human Rights Act which was passed then. The National Human Rights Commission based in New Delhi is a State sponsored agency which is engaged in the protection of the Human Rights of the citizens. The main objectives of the National Human Rights Commissions are to protect the Human Rights of the citizens of the country which include functions like accepting complaints from any citizen in case of Human Rights violations which may include Bonded Labour, Child Labour, Murder, Sexual Harassment, and other such related issues. The main intention of the commission is to be reachable to every single citizen of the nation. The Commission also involves the reviewing of the factors such as terrorism which inhibit the enjoyment of Human Rights. They also are involved in researching into Human Rights and also spreading the Human Rights literacy. They also encourage the efforts of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) working in the field of Human Rights. The NHRC takes complaints filed by the people and conduct extensive inquiries into the matters. The NHRC takes the help of various agencies the like Police etc. conduct the enquiries and they inturn help the victim to file a case in the concerned courts and get justice. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: According to the Wikipedia Dictionary, human rights refer to “the concept of human beings as having universal rights, or status, regardless of legal jurisdiction, and likewise other localizing factors, such as ethnicity and nationality.” The United States is a nation that’s way of life is dictated by documents created to protect the freedoms of its people. The protection of fundamental human rights was a foundation stone in the establishment of the United States over 200 years ago. Since then, a central goal of U.S. foreign policy has been the promotion of respect for human rights, as embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The United States understands that the existence of human rights helps secure the peace, deter aggression, promote the rule of law, combat crime and corruption, strengthen democracies, and prevent humanitarian crises. Because the promotion of human rights is an important national interest, the United States seeks to: Hold governments accountable to their obligations under universal human rights norms and international human rights instruments; Promote greater respect for human rights, including freedom from torture, freedom of _expression, press freedom, women’s rights, children’s rights, and the protection of minorities; Promote the rule of law, seek accountability, and change cultures of impunity; Assist efforts to reform and strengthen the institutional capacity of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Commission on Human Rights; and Coordinate human rights activities with important allies, including the EU, and regional organizations. Since the budding of the Unites States, then referred to as the “American experiment” has had its share of abusing human rights. The Constitution is a perfect example of a document containing double standards displaying freedom of human rights and the exploitation of humanly-liberated entitlement. The “Constitution” has been publicized as a document giving rise to the freedom of all United States “citizens,” but also the same manuscript that created the social and economic discriminatory platform for slavery and other mischievous acts toward society. Because slaves were considered “beings of an inferior order,” according to the United States: Declaration of Independence, slavery was considered a level of normalcy in society. In addition to the consideration of slaves as “inferior,” women of any race were deemed mediocre to men and were not able to participate in political exercises of any kind. Presently, the United States has exceedingly progressed by not only modifying the Constitution, but creating divergent documents and supportive groups that incorporate the true definitions of “freedom” and “human rights.” Through its, United States, Offices of Promotion of Human Rights and democracy, Multilateral Affairs, and Country Reports and Asylum Affairs, the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) applies three key principles to its work on human rights: Firstly, DRL strives to learn the truth and state the facts in all of its human rights investigations, reports on country conditions, speeches and votes in the UN, and asylum profiles. Second, DRL takes consistent positions concerning past, present, and future abuses. With regard to past abuses, it actively promotes accountability. To stop ongoing abuses, the bureau uses an “inside-outside” approach that combines vigorous, external focus on human rights concerns with equally robust support for internal reform. To prevent future abuses, it promotes early warning and preventive diplomacy. Third, DRL forges and maintains partnerships with organizations, governments, and multilateral institutions committed to human rights. The primary concerns within the American society deal with police brutality, the war on drugs, mistreatment of the inopportune, and many other vitally important issues. On the contrary, different views present another ideology to prospect. In order to prevent such crimes, the government must enforce laws. This presents a complicated position for human rights. If human rights are supreme, then the government cannot enforce laws. For example, the government could not put people in prison, for this would be a violation of the human right not to be confined against one’s will. The courts could not force inactive fathers to contribute child support, because this would be a violation of the individual’s right to property. In fact, no punishments could be levied; therefore, resulting in no deterrents to crime becoming established. But this will result in anarchy, which will ultimately lead to a loss of all human rights. In conclusion, the question aroused is: “What exactly can be done to eliminate the manipulation of human rights without technically infringing upon an individual’s right to “freedom?” The question requires thought towards whether or not all people are equal or should a standard be created to decide the terms? But, then, the question of who decides and sets the standards comes to surface, because a certain level of bias will be present. Thus, although the U.S. outlook on human rights has positively advanced, improvement is yet required and awaited on. AREAS OF SPECIFIC RESEARCH: 1. CHILD RIGHTS IN THE MF COUNTRIES 2. CRIMINAL SENTENCING AND RE-ENTRY POLICY IN THE MF COUNTRIES GENERAL PERSPECTIVES OF CHILD RIGHTS IN THE MF COUNTRIES: CHILE: Chile's legislation does not contain a definition of what is understood by "child", but it does establish clearly that the age of majority and with it the full capacity to perform civil acts is reached at 18 years. The Government is committed to children's rights and welfare. In 2002, a National Policy and Plan of Action for Children and Adolescents was launched by the Government. It has provided a framework for the protection of children rights and has raised the awareness of the authorities. Progress has been made in the implementation of the rights of children, however, improvements still have to be made in many other areas. EDUCATION Chile is making an important effort to expand the time children spend at the classroom through measures such as expanding the coverage of pre-school education; increasing the daily school hours; increasing compulsory education from nine to 12 school years; and improving learning skills. Education is compulsory and free from first through twelfth grade. CHILD LABOR The law restricts child labour; however, it’s a problem in the informal economy. The law allows children between the ages of 15 and 18 to work with the express permission of their parents or guardians, they must attend school, and 15-year-olds may only perform light work not requiring hard physical labour or constituting a threat to health and childhood development. Additional provisions in the law protect workers under 18 years of age by restricting the types of work open to them (for example, they may not work in nightclubs) and by establishing special conditions of work (they may not work more than 8 hours in 1 day). Labour inspectors enforced these regulations, and compliance was good in the formal economy; however, many children were employed in the informal economy. It’s estimated that approximately 107,000 children between the ages of 12 and 19 work. Children sell chewing gum on the street, wash windshields, work as street performers, beg or help their parents to harvest crops. The Ministry of Labour convenes regular meetings of a tripartite group (business-labour-government) to monitor progress in eradicating child labour. It is estimated that in Chile 64,954 children between 12 and 17 years of age, work or are seeking work. Many children are working as farm labourers and for this reason UNICEF, together with the Ministries of Education and Labour, decided to carry out a communication campaign exclusively aimed at the Prevention of Child Labour. It was also considered important to include information on labour rights enjoyed by adolescents above 15 years-old (i.e. legally authorized to work) to enable them to demand and defend these rights. The objective of the communication campaign was to prevent children and adolescent living in rural areas of the country abandoning their studies to carry out seasonal harvest work. This was achieved by producing graphic materials (posters, leaflets and fliers) and distributing them among secondary schools in areas where seasonal child labour is found. The materials contained information on the importance of finishing higher education and the risks adolescents are exposed to when carrying out agricultural work. CHILD ABUSE Violence against children was a serious problem, although it appeared to be declining. A survey of 8th grade students comparing the incidence of mistreatment from 1994 to 2000 showed that in 1994, 63 percent of children had been subject to some sort of physical violence compared with 54 percent at the end of the period. During the same period, those having suffered some sort of serious physical violence from their parents had fallen from 34 percent to 25 percent. A 1999 report by the National Minors Service (SENAME) noted that it had handled the cases of 5,453 mistreated children for the first 6 months of that year; 583 of these cases were judged severe enough to be presented to legal authorities. The SENAME reported that 9,723 cases of abuse were brought to its attention in 1998. From mid-1998 to December 1999, the SENAME brought to the courts 713 cases of child abuse, 314 of rape, 292 of sexual abuse, 79 for grave harm done to children, and 28 cases of homicide. Of the cases, 70 percent came to trial, of which 80 percent resulted in convictions. SENAME lawyers received specialized training in child abuse cases, leading to a higher conviction rate of offenders according to the director of the organization. Child prostitution is a problem. Police and social workers attempted to identify and place child prostitutes found on the streets in juvenile homes. The Constitution and the Labour Code prohibit forced labour, and the prostitution of children and corruption of minors are prohibited under the Penal Code. However, the law does not prohibit prostitution, and the age of consent for sexual relations is 14 years (raised by Congress in December from 12 years). There are legal sanctions for adults who are found to have induced children under the age of 18 to engage in commercial sex or engage them for the purposes of pornography. It’s estimated in 1999 that there were roughly 10,000 child prostitutes between the ages of 6 and 18. The age of consent is 14 years; the law is vague regarding child prostitution above this age unless force, fraud, or abuse of authority can be proven. CHINA: General Perspective China is a developing country with a population of over 1.2 billion, of whom over 300 million are children under the age of 16, making up about one fifth of the total number of children in the world. China has formulated laws and regulations to protect children. It is strictly forbidden to ill-treat and sell children and to use child labor. In order to safeguard the life and health of children, the state has issued a decision on strengthening and improving the health care in nurseries and kindergartens, and formulated special regulations to prevent and treat diseases. Children's Health and Care The Chinese Government and various circles in Chinese society have paid great attention to the health and care of its children. Much painstaking work has been done in protecting children's lives and health. As a result of these efforts, remarkable success has been achieved. Birth and Death The mortality of children under five years old is an important indication of the situation of children in a country. From 1950 to 1980, the annual decrease rate of China's infant mortality was above five percent, higher than the annual decrease rate (2.5 percent) of the average infant mortality of developing countries in the same period and also higher than that (4.6 percent) of developed countries. In the 1990s, the annual rate of decrease of infant mortality in China is 6.50 percent and that of children under five years old is 5.85 percent. So far, no other country in the world enjoying an annual per capita income approximate to China has reached such a high level. Medical Care In order to realize the global strategic target whereby everybody would enjoy health care by the year 2000, a maternity and child hygiene service system commensurate with its national conditions has been established in China and a three-level network of medical treatment, prevention and health care has been developed in its rural and urban areas, providing health care and planned immunity services for children. Using vaccines for children is an economical and effective way for preventing epidemic diseases and reducing children's death rate. In order to eliminate poliomyelitis, while strengthening regular work on immunity and the monitoring of poliomyelitis, China performed nationwide six rounds of reinforced inoculations on children under four years old. by tetanus, so as to meet the 2000 international standard for eliminating tetanus. In 1995, the Ministry of Public Health promulgated the National Action Plan on Eliminating Tetanus Neonatorum. Basing on data gathered from investigation and monitoring, it designated areas highly susceptible to tetanus neonatorum attacks and, while continuing to popularize the new methods of child delivery and encourage hospital childbirths, strove to rapidly develop immunization work among women of childbearing age. Nutritional Status China has paid great attention to improving children's nutritional status and various medical and health measures have been adopted. In the early period after the founding of the People's Republic of China, the government handed out infant foodstuffs in some areas. Now it is rare to find cases of serious malnutrition caused by shortage of food or cases of serious vitamin-A deficiency. In response to the proposals of the WHO and UNICEF, various activities to promote breastfeeding and build "baby friendly hospitals" have been developed. At the same time, in order to improve the level of medical treatment and health care and the nutritional status of children in rural areas, measures for promoting the building of township clinics, county anti- epidemic stations and county health centers for women and children have been adopted by the state. Since 1991, 300 million yuan from central finance has been allocated and 8.65 billion yuan from local financial administrations, collective economy and peasants had been pooled for input that direction. Education for Children The Chinese Government always gives pride of place to children's education in the promotion of education in general. Thanks to the mutual efforts made by the government and society, children's education in China has seen great progress in the past few years, with many indexes higher than those of other developing countries and some indexes close to those of developed countries. Vigorously Increase Input in Education In recent years, China has established an educational fund-raising system, whereby financial allocations are the predominant source, with funds collected through other channels as a supplement. It is stipulated that the increase of allocations for education by the central and local governments should be higher than the increase of regular revenue, thus ensuring a year-by-year increase of average educational appropriations for every student. The Chinese Government pays great attention to educational development in remote and poor areas, as well as areas inhabited by national minorities. The State has been trying constantly to raise funds in support of educational systems. The money will be used mainly to improve conditions in primary schools and junior middle schools in poor areas. Develop Preschool Education Mobilizing the whole society to develop preschool education in various forms and channels and encouraging not only government institutions and enterprises but also mass organizations and individuals to open kindergartens in light of relevant regulations--this is one of the principles adopted by China in developing preschool education. In recent years, due to the vigorous support and active participation of governments at all levels and society at large, China's preschool education has been developing steadily. In urban areas, full-time kindergarten is the dominant form of preschool education, with the boarding system and preschool classes as a supplement; in rural areas where the local economy is better-developed, central kindergartens can be found in every township and preschool classes in every village. In backward countryside, people are opening children's activities stations, games groups, mobile groups giving children guidance, and other irregular forms of preschool education. Higher Enrollment Ratio for Children of School Age Popularization of compulsory nine- year schooling is the key goal of China's elementary education program. According to China's present standard on popularization of compulsory primary schooling, elementary education has been basically popularized in areas covering 91 percent of the country's population. UNESCO statistics show that the enrollment ratio of school-age children in China is much higher than in other countries of the same economic development level. Education for girls is a key problem that faces developing countries in the field of children's education. When New China was firstly founded, the country's enrollment rate of girls was only 15 percent. The Chinese Government later took many measures so that great progress was made in education for girls and the gap between enrollment rates of boys and girls was reduced year by year. China therefore has solved a problem, which remains unsolved in many other developing countries. Help for Children Unable to Go to School In China's poor areas there are children unable to go on to school because of poverty. Governments at all levels have incorporated help for children from poor families to enter school in their help-the-poor programs and, at the same time, have taken various measures to help them return to school. In the mean time, thanks to the concern of and vigorous promotion by the government, people from all walks of life have been helping these children, enabling them to enjoy the fundamental right to education. In October 1989, the China Youth Development Foundation initiated the Hope Project in Beijing. It provides grants-in-aid as long-term financial assistance to children in poor areas who dropped out of school because of straitened family circumstances, thus enabling them to return to school. In some poor rural areas, it also helps build or repair schoolhouses and buy teaching aids, stationery and books. It has sponsored the ``One Million People's Love Movement'' and the ``1 (family) + 1 (dropout) Help Movement,'' mobilizing the entire society to help dropouts return to school. Guarantee of Children's Rights and Interests Children's survival, protection and development, which are the basis for improving the quality of the population and the prerequisite conditions for the advance of mankind, directly concern a country and a nation's future and destiny. The Chinese nation has long cultivated the traditional virtues of ``bringing along the young'' and ``loving the young.'' The Chinese Government, with an earnest and responsible attitude, always shows great concern for children's survival, protection and development. It regards ``the education of children to improve the quality of the whole people'' as a fundamental policy for its socialist modernization program. The Government spares no effort to create favorable social conditions for the progress of children's programs. Since the initiation of reform and opening to the outside world, children's programs in China have moved into social, scientific and legal tracks; and children's programs have become an important component part of the nation's construction and the duties of the whole society. Children's Programs for the 21st Century On February 16, 1992, the Chinese Government formally promulgated the Outline of the Program for Chinese Children's Development in the 1990s. The formulation of this program fully displays the Chinese Government's earnest and responsible attitude toward, and its concern for, the work impacting children. All of the 30 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government in China have worked out development programs for children in light of the Outline and their respective local conditions. The measures and work for implementing the Outline are carried out in a down-to-earth and effective way throughout the country. Protection Through Legislation For many years, China has striven to protect children's legitimate rights and interests through legislation, endeavoring to place such protection on a legal and normal footing. In accordance with the actual conditions in China and by reference to relative legislation in other countries, especially to the laws and international documents on the protection of children's rights and interests, China has worked out a series of laws concerning children's survival, protection and development. A fairly complete legal system for the protection of children's rights and interests has been formed. The Constitution of China clearly specifies: ``The state promotes the all-round moral, intellectual and physical development of children and young people,'' ``... child are protected by the state,'' and “maltreatment of ... children is prohibited.'' Provisions also address children's family environment and substitutional care, education, free time and cultural activities and the special protection of disabled children. It is specified that criminal acts, such as maltreating, abandoning and deliberately killing children, as well as stealing, abducting and trafficking, kidnaping, selling and buying in children, should be severely punished. It can be clearly seen that China's legal framework for the protection of children's rights and interests and its social guarantee mechanisms are effective in practice. Judicial Protection China's judicial procedure attaches great importance to the protection of juveniles' legal rights and interests, on which there are many important laws containing special provisions. To the juveniles who break the law and commit crimes, China adopts the policy of education, help and reform and adheres to the principle of relying mainly on education while making punishment subsidiary. While trial on juveniles is conducted they are treated apart i.e. differently from the adults and their physical, mental state is also examined and taken into concern. All criminal cases of persons aged 14 and 15 are not tried publicly by the people's court; and in general, criminal cases of persons aged 16 and 17 are not tried publicly. Chinese Welfare Homes for Children China's welfare homes for children play a special role in the country's efforts to care for children. The welfare homes and some social welfare institutions that also accept orphans over guardianship and rearing mainly to children who have lost their parents during natural disasters or accidents, and also to those abandoned by their parents because they are seriously or almost irremediably disabled mentally or physically, or because they have contracted a serious illness. Rearing Under Guardianship In China, such rearing and emplacement of orphans or children abandoned for physical disability are under the charge of civil administration departments. These are the ways that orphans are reared under guardianship in China: social welfare institutions set up by the government or collective guardianship and rearing to some of the orphans till their adult age and give life support to idiotic and seriously disabled orphans under their care; some orphans are brought up in citizens' homes under the guardianship of welfare institutions; some orphans are adopted by domestic citizens and a small number by foreign citizens according to relevant laws. Apart from welfare institutions set up by the government and the society to take care of orphans and abandoned children, China encourages citizens to adopt these children so that they can enjoy a normal family life and grow up sound of body and mind. In order to protect legal adoption and the legal rights of the persons concerned, and to benefit the care and growth of adopted juveniles, the NPC Standing Committee of China stipulated the Adoption Law. All adoption procedures are done strictly according to law. Both Chinese citizens and foreigners shall meet the conditions required by law and go through all necessary procedures. While handling the adoption procedures for the person concerned, the related departments of the Chinese Government charge the fees strictly according to law. As required by law, the adoptor shall pay to the welfare home the cost for upbringing of the adoptee, which will then be used to improve living conditions for other children in the institution. This cost is determined mainly through negotiations between the two parties. Funds Most of the funds for China's welfare homes for children come from appropriations by state and local financial departments (the funds being budgeted as full operating expenses for welfare homes in the financial report of each year), supplemented by other means, such as collective fund raising, welfare lotteries and donations. During this period, the state appropriated 740 million yuan specially for the improvement of welfare homes for children, including 240 million yuan raised from welfare lotteries published by central and local governments, 150 million yuan from local financial departments and 350 million yuan from donations. The funds received by each welfare home around the country are different due to the various levels of economic development in each area. In economically developed areas, the average expense per child per month is 400 to 500 yuan while in the less developed areas, the amount is 200 to 300 yuan. Living expense of the children in the welfare homes is usually no lower than that of local citizens, in view of the fact that prices are comparatively low in China. GERMANY: Children The Government was strongly committed to children's rights and welfare; it amply funded systems of public education and medical care. Public education was provided free of charge through the university level and was mandatory through the age of 16; almost all children attended school on a daily basis. Child abuse was a problem. No statistics were available, but children's advocates from NGOs as well as some politicians considered it a problem, and individual cases received attention in the newspapers. The law stresses the need for preventive measures, and in response the Government increased its counseling and other assistance to abused children. The Criminal Code provides for the protection of children against pornography and sexual abuse. For possession of child pornography, the maximum sentence is 1 year's imprisonment; the sentence for distribution is 5 years. The law makes the sexual abuse of children by citizens abroad punishable even if the action is not illegal in the child's own country. In 2002, there were 15,998 cases of sexual abuse of children recorded (881, or 5.8 percent more than in 2001). There were 2002 cases of possession or distribution of child pornography (down 743, or 27.1 percent, from 2001). In October, the German UNICEF office published a report drafted by a local social worker that characterized the region along the border with the Czech Republic as a "haven for pedophilia." The two countries have formed a liaison group to increase communication and exchange information on vice crimes, augmenting a 2000 agreement on police cooperation. Trafficking in girls was a serious problem (see Section 6.f.). INDIA: In a country which has a fourth of its population under the age of 25, it is very important for the youth in India to have a proper upbringing, which includes good education, health facilities, recreation, and an enjoyable childhood. However, despite Constitutional guarantees of opportunity and civil rights, the sad truth is that millions of children in India face wide- spread deprivation and discrimination. Child Rights Abuse is of various forms. This article looks at the prominent cases of violation of Child Rights in India. CHILD EDUCATION: Children in India are to be given free and wholesome education upto the age of 14, according to the Indian Constitution. However, this is not entirely implemented in practice. India has more working children than any other nation in the world. This distressing fact is attributed to a variety of factors like economic weakness, social stigma, the lack of awareness of the benefits of education, the lack of incentive to pursue schooling etc. One of the main reasons for children to be forced out of education is so that they can help their families in their labour. Most working children are involved in agricultural labour, where their earnings are so small that they are not really significant for the family. The children are often working because they find school uninteresting and do not see the point of going to school because not everyone knows the opportunities available in the outside world, when they are constantly bogged down by the concern of being able to have a square meal a day. Another factor is that every child out of labour means one more job available for adults. Since children are often exploited to work for long hours for a paltry wages, most employers find it much more profitable to employ children and pay them lesser than to employ adults and pay them a more deserving wages. This situation is now changing with the introduction of the “Mid-day meal scheme” by which every student is given a free lunch everyday, if he/she attends school. This scheme which has been quite effective in many parts of India is luring more and more children into schools. This scheme was found to benefit everyone, since the child benefits through education and the family benefits since it has one meal less to prepare every day. CHILD MARRIAGE: The legal age for marriage in India is 18 years for girls and 21 years for boys. However, a distressing phenomenon that has been occurring for the past many centuries in India is “Child Marriage”. Children are often married off between the ages of 10 and 15 for both boys and girls. Along with this, there is the system of dowry, where the bride’s family pays the bridegroom’s family exorbitant amounts of money at the time of marriage, since the groom has to “look after” his wife for the rest of their lives. This system of child marriage arose due to acute social backwardness and because many families believed that a female child did not help in the economic upliftment of the family, since she could not perform hard manual labour, and were keen to get the female child married early lest she doesn’t find a suitable groom later in life. This system is prevalent mainly in parts of North and Western India, though there are sporadic cases reported in the South as well. The evils of this system are that they rob children of their childhood by introducing them into wedlock even before they reach puberty. Also, the girl normally discontinues her education after marriage, since there will be plenty of other chores to perform. Child bearing also begins at a tender age, and hence this system can also be associated to the extremely large population of the country. Due to the above said reasons, Child Marriage is a crime against children, and has to be shunted out of the society urgently. However, social pressures will always exist and the process of removing this menace from our society will have to be a gradual one. There has been a lot of improvement on this front ever since India obtained freedom in 1947, but there is still a lot of work to be done. CHILD LABOUR: Very often, when one visits a small eating joint that are many in number in India, invariably, there are atleast three young pre-teen boys working at that joint, performing tasks such as washing utensils, sweeping the area etc. Apart from this, if one has a quick look at the factories in Sivakasi, India’s hub of making fire-crackers, there are scores and scores of young children working in miserable conditions, with no protection, making the fire-crackers that delight almost all who watch them light up the twilight sky. These are two strong examples of “Child Labour” that is widely prevalent in India. Children are susceptible to economic exploitation because they can be made to work for longer hours at a much lesser wages than adults performing the same tasks. Families too sometime encourage children to work from young age itself, believing that it would lead to an increase in the household income, but unaware of the negative implications it will have on a young body and a younger mind. This is perhaps the worst form of Child Rights Abuse in India, since a large percentage of the cases are not even reported. It has almost become a routine part of life to watch these young boys and girls perform menial tasks. Sadly, not enough is being done on this front by both the government and by the employers who take in the services of these young children. While there are a number of cases of children being freed from this exploitation, a concentrated focused effort is much needed to root out this evil from the society. TSUNAMI RELIEF: th The December 26 tsunami, devastating as it was, left many children homeless, orphans, and mentally shocked. While in time, food and medicines were supplied to the survivors, the mental agony, shock, the utter depression that will happen to any youngster experiencing the horrors of the tsunami needed to be addressed immediately. There are many organisations that sent out teams and missions to various affected areas to help the young children recover from the shock and re-build their lives. They helped re-instil in the minds of children the fact that resilience and the human spirit is infinite, and that it is possible to achieve anything you want in this world, as long as you work hard for it. Some such organisations include SNEHA-Social Need and Education, Health Awareness, SIGA Community Service Guild which focus on rehabilitating adolescent girl children, child trauma and have also opened up pre-schools too. Hence this is one of the areas in which children have been helped to a great extent by various social, Non-Governmental and Governmental organisations. These are some aspects of Child Rights in India that are prominent and require urgent attention. The big question now is: Is the situation confronting the lives of our children bleak, or is there reason for hope? Can we promise them an India that truly shines? What do elections hold for these non-voters? Lest we forget, they are the adults of tomorrow, and they will hold the adults of today accountable someday. One effective way of improving the lives of children is by inculcating in them a sense of purpose. Ambition is the least comfort that children deserve to be given, and if even that is denied, we will become a depraved people. As a wise man once said, said, “Give the children Ambition, they will turn it into reality”. CHILD RIGHTS IN INDIA – A CASE STUDY Child Rights thus form an integral part of Human Rights Protection in India. We present a small heart warming, true story of a young Indian whose life was changed by the timely help of good Samaritans who work hard to improve the lives of young oppressed Indian children. It is 6 in the morning. 13 year old Fatima stirs in her sleep. She pulls her sheet closer around her chin and opens one eye. Amma (Her Mother) is already awake, trying to get the fire going outside. The baby is sound asleep, snoring gently. Appa (Her father) is nowhere to be seen. Fatima gets up and stretches luxuriously. School! She thinks happily. School. Friends, and lessons, and games. She sets off to fill water at the tube well, carrying three heavy pots with the ease of habit. Hoisting her two-year-old brother on her hip whenever he whimpers, she begins clearing up the meager bedding, sweeping out the house, and getting ready for school, as her mother gets a meal prepared for both of them to carry. A brisk combing and tight plaiting of her well oiled hair, a quick bath and scrub, a bright red hibiscus flower in her hair (an Indian sign of freshness and beauty), and Fatima is off. Just six months ago, Fatima's day began very differently………. At 5 in the morning, the dilapidated factory van rattled into the village to pick up Fatima and eight other children. By 6 they were already well into their work picking up cut scraps, folding ready garments, sweeping the factory floor, the older girls finishing off garments by trimming loose threads, on and on for 14 hours, with only a short break. By the time she came home, it was dark and the baby was already asleep. In any case she had no energy left to play with him. All she could do was eat the cold rice her mother had kept aside for her and collapse into an exhausted sleep. No time to dream. One day a village youth, working for an organisation to protect child rights, came to Fatima's house and spoke to her mother about a new group he had formed. He told them that they wanted to help children like Fatima to go to school, to be able to live a better life. But how would they manage without Fatima's earnings, she wondered. But she listened silently. Over the next few months, the group spoke with the parents of many of the children who worked in the hosiery factory. They convinced them that their children's future lay in getting an education, that they had a right to develop and grow. They took Fatima and her friends and enrolled them in school. They helped them in the evenings with their lessons. They are hoping now that the factory owner will be forced to employ adults like Fatima's mother. Of course he will have to pay adults more. He will lose some of the profits he has made at the cost of Fatima's childhood. It's time for him to pay his debt. Today Fatima is beginning to understand what they teach in school, even to enjoy it. She especially loves reading. She is beginning to learn how to play, to laugh, to draw. To dream. A dream that is gradually turning into a pleasant reality. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The basic foundation for the rights bestowed to children are the fundamental freedoms and inherent rights of all human beings alike. The right to survival; the right to develop to the fullest; the right to protection from harmful influences, abuse, and exploitation; and the right to participate fully in family, cultural, and social life are there in order to secure equality, righteousness, and respect of the younger generations of society. Child Labour History As early as the 1830's, laws in the U.S. were sprouting up, restricting and prohbiting the employment of children in industrious environment. Though closely watch in the urban areas, child labor was condoned in the factories and mills of the rural countryside for belief that children working at ages as young a four or five would be benefcial to the less poorer families in the community. As a result, entire families were hired to work exhaustive shifts usually lasting from sunrise to sunset. Men were in charge of more strenious labor while women and children would perform lighter work. In addition to the never-ending days of labor, most families lived in homes that were owned by their employers leaving their employer to dictate their way of life. By the latter days of the century over 1500 laws had been passed by states and territories prohibited child labor, but coincidently these laws were not applicable to immigrants leaving them working long hours with very little pay. For years the exploitation of these people was overlooked and the protection of children's labor laws were halted several times by the U.S. sumpreme court who felt that children labor laws wer unconstitutional. In 1907 the National Child Labor Committee, a group of concerned citizens and politicians, was chartered by Congress and the reformation movement became even stronger. For the next few years, photographers, such as Lewis W. Hine would travel the country visiting different industrious sites along the way and photographing children whose rights were being imposed upon. These photographers would use these photos in their works to speak out against these employers. As a result, states began to pass stricter laws banning employment of underaged children, which led to the passing on the Fair Labor Standards Act, also known as the Federal Wage and Hour Law in 1938 and in 1941 the Act was declared constitutional by the U.S. Supremem Court. This was a very imprtant act because it set limitations on employers disabling them from overworking their employees. In this new law it stipulates that an employees' work week was forty hours and established a minimum wage that had to be met by the employer. In addition to hours and wages, children under the age of 16 are unable to work while minors 16 and over were allowed to work non-hazardous occupations. Today, the rights of minors are monitored fairly carefully by different laws and stipulations that must be met before a minor can be hired. For example, a minor between the ages of 14 and 16 must get a workers permit from the local board of edcation before they can even begin to work at any establishment. This another preventive measure to overlook and take action against potentially right imposing employers. Discrimination Child Rights Information Network (CRIN), a network whose focus is solely on the preservation of Child Rights, has been assembled to promote, facilitate, and encourage Child Rights. The key objective of the are to improve the lives of children by: meeting the information needs of organizations and individuals working for child rights, supporting and promoting the implementation of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, and developing networking tools that enable effective information exchange among members of CRIN. According to the CRIN, poverty, conflict, chronic social instability, and preventable diseases such as HIV/AIDS threaten children’s rights and sabotage their development in extraordinary numbers. In addition, females are presently still thought of as inferior to males, making the discrimination towards girls eve worse. Child Abuse The 1988 amendments to the Child Abuse and Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) directed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to establish a national data collection and analysis program. In order to abide by this order the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services created a system called the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS). This system was used to keep record all allegedly filed cases of abuse in the United States reported each year. Though on the decline, child abuse in America occurs in staggering numbers. In 2002, over an estimated 1,800,000 referrals alleging child abuse or neglect were accepted by state and local child protective services (CPS) agencies for investigation or assessment. Including over 3 million children, approximately 896,000 children of those were determined to be victims of child abuse or neglect by the CPS agencies. These numbers mean that out of every 1,000 children in the United States, 12.4 had been abused or neglected in 2002. And of the 896,000 victimized children, more than 60 percent of child victims were neglected by their parents or other caregivers, almost 20 percent were physically abused, 10 percent were sexually abused, and 7 percent were emotionally maltreated. Plus, nearly 20 percent were associated with "other" types of maltreatment based on specific state laws and policies, meaning a child could be a victim of more than one type of maltreatment. Fatalities are also an unfortunate outcomein some abuse cases. According to the database, nearly 1,400 children died due to child abuse and/or neglect. Even though ther have been great stides in decreasing the level of injustice toward children but there is so much that needs to be done in the years to come. CRIMINAL SENTENCING AND RE-ENTRY POLICY: A GENERAL PERSPECTIVE CHILE: The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary. The judiciary has civil, criminal, juvenile, and labour courts of first instance throughout the country but mostly concentrated in and around Santiago. There are 16 courts of appeal with at least 1 in every region. The Supreme Court, with 25 members, is the last instance of appeal. A constitutional tribunal decides whether new laws or treaties present conflicts with the Constitution (but does not look at specific court cases). There is also a Court Martial and Naval Court Martial. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment The Constitution forbids the use of excessive pressure on detainees and the law provides that if a member of the police force uses "torture or unlawful coercion," either physical or mental, orders them to be applied, or commits them against a person under arrest or detention, the officer would be sentenced to imprisonment. Officers who know about the abuse and have the "necessary power and authority" to prevent or stop it also would be considered accessories to the crime if they fail to do so. The Corporation for the Promotion and Defence of Human Rights of the People (from now on CODEPU), nevertheless, still received reports of abuse and mistreatment by the Carabineros, the Investigations Police, and prison guards. Prison conditions are generally poor. Prisons often are overcrowded and antiquated, with sub-standard sanitary conditions. In March 2002, overcrowding led to a prison riot in Valdivia, in which part of the prison was destroyed by fire. Several guards and prisoners were injured although there were no fatalities. The prison, built for 200 inmates, housed more than 600. The Ministry of Justice announced a $5 million (3 billion pesos) program in all prisons to develop contingency planning for emergencies and to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future. The Government recognized that overcrowding in prisons continued to be a problem. According to the Ministry of Justice, in 2001 there were 34,335 prisoners in prisons designed to lodge 23,025 inmates, a situation that remained unchanged in subsequent years. In 2001, the Ministry of Justice opened bids on 3 new prisons, to be completed in December 2004 and designed initially to house 4,800 prisoners. These prisons are part of a plan to construct 10 new prisons in the next several years, to house an initial population of 16,000 prisoners. Even with this construction program, the growing prison population is projected to continue to exceed the space available. Food met minimal nutritional needs, and prisoners were able to supplement the diet by buying food. Those with sufficient funds often can "rent" space in a better wing of the prison. Pre-trial detainees generally were not held with convicted prisoners. Women generally were housed in separate facilities, which tended to be less crowded and with comparatively better conditions than men's prisons. By law, juvenile offenders (those under the age of 18) were segregated from adult prisoners. In September 2002, the Supreme Court admonished police officials for failing to keep minors sufficiently separated from adult offenders and ordered prison officials to correct this deficiency. Separation of minors was a concern, especially when a minor initially was detained before being brought to court. A study by Diego Portales University determined that in 2001, of the 10,748 minors detained, 37.3 percent were initially held in adult facilities. The National Minors Service completed construction of two juvenile detention centres started in 2001, and continued the construction of two additional centres. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention The Constitution prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention. Only public official expressly authorized by law can arrest or detain citizens. The courts must be advised within 48 hours of the arrest and the detainee placed at a judge's disposition. No one can be arrested or detained except in their house or a public facility designed for that purpose. The Carabineros, who number approximately 27,000 men and women, have primary responsibility for public order, safety, traffic control, and border security. The civilian Investigations Police, made up of approximately 3,600 detectives, are responsible for criminal investigations and immigration control. The Investigations Police, while under the operational jurisdiction of the Ministry of Interior, take their guidance from the prosecutor or judge responsible in a criminal investigation. The police force had an extremely low incidence of corruption. Police, prison guards, and officials take courses in human rights, which are part of the core curriculum in the police academies. Provisional liberty must be granted unless a judge decides that detention is necessary to the investigation or for the protection of the prisoner or the public. The accused cannot be obliged to testify against himself. The authorities generally respected constitutional provisions for arrest and detention; however, detainees often were not advised promptly of charges against them nor granted a timely hearing before a judge. The Constitution allows civilian and military courts to order detention for up to 5 days without arraignment and to extend the detention of alleged terrorists for up to 10 days. The law affords detainees 30 minutes of immediate and subsequent daily access to a lawyer (in the presence of a prison guard) and to a doctor to verify their physical condition. The law does not permit a judge to deny such access. The law requires police to inform detainees of their rights, to expedite notification of the detention to family members, and eliminates the ability of police to demand identification from or stop persons based solely on suspicion. The law also prohibits physical abuse by police against detained persons. The Constitution allows judges to set bail. Denial of Fair Public Trial The Constitution provides for the right to a fair trial, and an independent judiciary generally enforced this right. An office of Public Defender also was established to provide professional legal counsel to anyone who should seek such assistance. The judicial reform law, which applies to criminal cases, provides that national and regional prosecutors investigate crimes and formulate charges, leaving judges the narrower function of weighing the merits of evidence presented to them. Training and administrative setup began in 1999, and implementation began in 2000, with oral trials in 2 of the 13 political regions. Nowadays all thirteen regions have implemented the reform. Initial reports indicated that the reform resulted in a more transparent process, greater respect for defendants' rights, and speedier trials. In the Santiago metropolitan region, criminal proceedings were inquisitorial rather than adversarial. The Constitution provides for the right to legal counsel, but indigent defendants, who account for the majority of the cases in the Santiago region, have not always received effective legal representation. They were usually represented by someone from the Government's legal assistance corporation, who was sometimes a law student finishing studies under the supervision of one of the corporation's lawyers. On occasion, the court may appoint a lawyer. Re – Entry to Society In the beginnings of the eighties the Centers of Education and Work (CET) were created. This system allows the prisoners to develop productive labor activities inside the prison. Later in 1998, a reform gave the possibility to do work for private companies. That year 20% of the jail population participated in any of the varieties of work existent. There are more informal ways of rehabilitation trough work. Germanderie facilitates materials and ways for doing, for example, handicrafts. CHINA: In every link of the work of public security and judicial organs and in the judicial procedure, China's law provides definite and strict stipulations to protect and guarantee human rights in an effective way. 1. Detention and Arrest China's Constitution provides that it is prohibited to take people into custody illegally or to deprive or limit citizens' personal freedom in other illegal ways. Without the permission or decision of the people's court, and the dispensation of public security organs, no citizen can be arrested. In order to guarantee the proper use of the compulsory measure of arrest and to prevent infringement of the right of innocent people, the Constitution and the law vest procuratorial organs with the authority of investigation and approval before any arrest is made. According to law, public security organs have the authority to detain. If the internee is not convinced by the detention, he may appeal to the public security or procuratorial organs. If suspects detained by public security organs need to be arrested, this should be approved by the people's procuratorate; if the people's procuratorate does not approve the arrests, the public security organs should release them upon receiving notice from people's procuratorates. China's procuratorial organs and people's courts should promptly investigate and deal with cases involving staff members in governmental departments and other citizens depriving or limiting citizens' personal freedom. China's Law of Criminal Procedure provides specific regulations on the deadline for handling criminal cases. At the same time, special regulations have been formulated on the deadline for major and complicated cases according to actual conditions. The Supplementary Regulations on Deadline in Handling Criminal Cases, issued by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress in July 1984, provides extension and calculation of the deadline for investigation and detaining, the deadline for the first trial and second trial, and the deadline for supplementary investigation of major and complicated cases. 2. Search and the Obtaining of Evidence China's Constitution provides that it is prohibited to illegally search a citizen's body, and to illegally search or intrude into citizens' houses. The Law of Criminal Procedure provides that in order to search for criminal evidence and seize criminals, public security organs can search the body, articles, residence and other places concerned of the accused as well as those who may hide criminals or criminal evidence, but should do it strictly according to legal procedure. Procuratorial organs should strictly supervise law enforcement in the investigating activities of public security organs. As a matter of principle and discipline for China's public security and judicial organs in handling cases, it is strictly prohibited to extort confessions by torture. Whenever a case of violating this principle and discipline occurs, it should be dealt with according to law. In 1990, China's procuratorial organs filed for investigation 472 cases which involved extorting confessions by torture. This has not only protected citizens' personal rights effectively, but also taught law enforcement officials a lesson. 3. Prosecution and Trial Whether a case should be prosecuted after investigation or exempt from prosecution should be decided by procuratorial organs after overall and careful examination according to legal procedure; this is to ensure the timeliness, accuracy, and legality of a punishment, and at the same time, to prevent innocent citizens from unjust prosecution and prevent citizens' rights from infringement. The people's courts carry out a public trial system. Cases should be tried publicly, except those involving state secrets or individual privacy and involving minors, which according to law shall not be heard publicly. The main points of a case, the name of the accused, the time and place of the trial should be announced before the hearing, and visitors should be allowed into the court. During the hearing, all the facts and evidence on which the case on file is based should be investigated and checked in court. All activities in court should be carried out publicly except when the case is being reviewed during court recession. These include issuing the indictment by the public prosecutor, court investigation, questioning witnesses, debate and the final statement by the accused. The verdicts in all cases, including cases of non-public trial in accordance with law, should be pronounced publicly. The accused has the right to defense. According to the Law of Criminal Procedure, the accused, besides exercising his right to defend himself, can also entrust a lawyer, or close relatives, or other citizens to take up the defense on his behalf. When the public prosecutor institutes a case before the court, if the accused does not entrust his defense to a lawyer, the people's court can appoint one for him. During the trial, the accused has the right to terminate a lawyer's action in his defense and entrust another to take it up. After the people's court decides to hear a case, a duplicate copy of the indictment should be made available to the accused at least seven days before the opening session of the court in order that he may learn what crime or crimes he is being prosecuted for and the reasons why he is being prosecuted, and that he has enough time to prepare his defense and get in touch with his lawyer. During the prosecution, the people's court should strictly comply with the regulations of the Constitution and the Law of Criminal Procedure, and earnestly guarantee the right of the accused to defense. The accused has the right to appeal to a higher court and the right of petition. In deciding cases the Chinese courts follow the system whereby the court of second instance is the court of last instance. According to law, if a party refuses to accept the judgment and ruling of the first trial, he may appeal to a higher people's court; if he remains unconvinced by the judgment and ruling which are legal in effect, he may petition to people's courts or procuratorial organs. Appealing to a higher court will not increase the punishment. China, like most countries in the world, maintains capital punishment, but imposes very stringent restrictive regulations on the use of this extreme measure. China's Criminal Law states, "Capital punishment is applied only to criminals who are guilty of the most heinous crimes." It also provides that capital punishment is not applied to criminals who have not reached the age of 18 when they commit crimes or to women who are pregnant when they are on trial. China's Law of Criminal Procedure provides for a special review procedure in cases of capital punishment. That is, the judgment in cases of capital punishment, except for those made by the Supreme People's Court according to law, should be reported to the Supreme People's Court or to a high people's court authorized by it after the second, or final, instance; only after all the facts, evidence, convictions, sentences and trial procedures are comprehensively investigated and checked and approved can the judgment take legal effect. After the examination and approval, if a lower people's court finds that there may be mistakes in a judgment, it should stop enforcement of the punishment and immediately report to a higher people's court with the authority of examination and approval, or to the Supreme People's Court, in order that a ruling may be made by it. China's law also provides a system allowing a two-year reprieve in carrying out a death sentence. That is, in cases where criminals should receive the death penalty but the sentence need not be carried out at once, capital punishment can be announced with a two- year reprieve and reform through forced labor, in order to observe the offender's behavior. If the offender sincerely repents and mends his ways, after the two year reprieve expires, the punishment can be reduced to life imprisonment; if a criminal really repents, mends his ways and performs meritorious services after the two-year suspension expires, his punishment can be reduced to a set term of imprisonment from 15 years to 20 years. Practice has shown that most of the criminals who are given the death penalty with reprieve have had their punishment reduced to life imprisonment or a set term of imprisonment, after expiration of the two-year reprieve. 4. No "Political Prisoners" in China In China, ideas alone, in the absence of action which violates the criminal law, do not constitute a crime; nobody will be sentenced to punishment merely because he holds dissenting political views. So-called political prisoners do not exist in China. In Chinese Criminal Law "counterrevolutionary crime" refers to crime which endangers state security, i.e., criminal acts which are not only committed with the purpose of overthrowing state power and the socialist system, but which are also listed in Articles 91-102 of the Criminal Law as criminal acts, such as those carried out in conspiring to overthrow the government or splitting the country, those carried out in gathering a crowd in armed rebellion, and espionage activities. These kinds of criminal acts that endanger state security are punishable in any country. In 1980, in handling the case of the Lin Biao and Jiang Qing counterrevolutionary cliques, the special court of the Supreme People's Court strictly implemented this principle by prosecuting members of the cliques according to law for their criminal acts while leaving alone matters concerning the political line. 5. Prison Labor China's law stipulates that all prisoners able to work should take part in physical labor. This is also the practice adopted in many countries worldwide. China's policy of reforming criminals through labor is designed to help those serving prison terms mend their old ways by acquiring the labor habit and fostering a sense of social responsibility, discipline and obedience to the law. This policy enables criminals in custody to stay healthy through a regular working life and avoid feelings of depression and apathy resulting from a prolonged monotonous and idle prison life. It also helps them learn productive skills and knowledge of one kind or another so that they can find a job after being released from prison and avoid committing new crimes because of difficulties in making a living. China's policy of reforming criminals through labor is not simply for the purpose of punishment; it is a humanitarian policy conducive to the reform, and the physical and mental health, of the criminals. By the Chinese law, criminals work for no more than eight hours a day and take time off during holidays and festivals; they are entitled to the same grain, edible oil, and non-staple food rations and the same labor and health protection as accorded to workers of state-run enterprises engaged in the same type of work; those who have excess in their production quotas are given bonuses and those holding technical titles at and above the middle grade are entitled to monthly technical allowances and opportunities of on-the-job vocational and technical training. 7. Education through Labor and the Rights of Those Being Educated through Labor Education through labor is not a criminal but an administrative punishment. Education- through-labor administrative committees have been set up by the people's governments of various provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities as well as large and medium-sized cities, and the work is under the supervision of the people's procuratorates. It is stipulated that those eligible for education through labor should meet the requirements of relevant laws and regulations. The decision to put a person under education-through-labor is made through a strict legal procedure and under a system of legal supervision in order to avoid subjecting the wrong person to the program. After the education-through-labor administrative committee has according to related regulations made the decision to put a person an education-through-labor program ranging from one to three years, the person and his family members are entitled to be informed about the reasons for the decision and the duration of the program. If the person takes exception to the decision, he may appeal to the administrative committee or lodge a complaint with the people's court according to the Law of Administrative Procedure. If the education-through- labor institution finds that the person does not conform to the qualifications for the education- through-labor program or that he should have been sentenced to criminal punishment, it may report the case to the reeducation-through-labor administrative committee for review. Those undergoing education through labor are entitled to civic rights prescribed by the Constitution and the law, except that they must comply with the measures taken according to the regulations on education through labor to restrict some of their rights. For instance, they are not deprived of their political rights and have the right to vote according to law; they have the freedom of correspondence and the right to take time off during festivals and holidays; during the period of education through labor they are allowed to meet with their family members, those who are married can live together with their spouses during visits, and they can be granted leave of absence or go home to visit family members during holidays. Those who have acquitted themselves well while being educated may have their term reduced or be released ahead of time. The education-through-labor institutions follow the policy of educating, persuading and redeeming the offenders, with the emphasis on redeeming. Classes are opened, and instructors assigned, in these institutions to conduct systematic ideological, cultural and technical education. Offenders under the education-through-labor program work no more than six hours every day. The overwhelming majority of those who have been reeducated have turned over a new leaf, and many have become valuable participants in building the country. According to surveys conducted over the last few years, only 7 percent of those released from the education- through-labor program have lapsed into offense or crime. The program has done what families, workplaces and schools cannot do: to prevent those who have dabbled in crime from committing further anti-social actions and breaking the law and to turn them into constructive members of society. Both the public and family members of the offenders speak highly of the program for its role in forestalling and reducing crime and maintaining public order. China's public security and judicial organs have carried out their responsibilities strictly according to law and played an important role in protecting and guaranteeing the citizens' rights and freedoms. That explains why China has long been one of the countries with the lowest incidence of criminal cases and crime rate in the world. GERMANY: INDIA: India attained independence from the British rule in 1947, prior to that the Britishers i.e. the British crown and its predecessor East India Company ruled over India for more that 200 years, during this period, they introduced Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence into India which was convenient and conducive for their administration. So far as the system of administration of criminal justice was concerned prior to the British rule, the Islamic law was followed under the Muslim ruled parts of India and in the other parts, the Hindu law was followed. Wherefore, before independence, the Indian subjects/citizens were governed under the British (Anglo-Saxon) system of criminal justice and after the independence, the State i.e. the Union of India chose to follow the same. In the administration of criminal justice, Lord Macaulay’s Indian Penal Code (referred to as IPC) became the substantive criminal law of the land applicable to India since 1860 and the same is continued even today (with very few amendments). Sir James Stephens’ Evidence Act was introduced in the year 1872. And the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1898 continued till it was replaced in 1973. The Classical School of Penal system based on the use of deterrence was popular in th th England in the 18 and 19 century. The ideal was punitive societal reaction towards offenders. The attributes of punishment which were considered desirable were: (i) Uniformity, (ii) Certainty, (iii) Celerity and (iv) Severity, and there was an attempt to make these characteristics of the official legal system to deal with the law-breakers. This is fully reflected in the provisions of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 which brought in the concept of celerity. The IPC thus represents the definitions of crimes (termed as “offences” and corresponding punishment). The Code of Criminal Procedure is the method by which the offender would be dealt with and the punishment to be awarded on proof of his guilt. The procedure prescribed dealt with giving the accused a fair trial, in finding out whether the accused is guilty of the offence alleged but did not bring into focus clearly the aspect of sentencing, as it was based on a kind of tariff rating for punishments under the IPC. Under the new Criminal Procedure Code of 1973, under Section 360 and under Section 255(2) for summary trial, the procedure for sentencing is prescribed for the courts. THE GROWTH OF LAW: Under the British rule, the punishment inflicted by the Courts for the offences were strictly as prescribed under the IPC and no leniency was shown, and was more severe in respect of the Freedom Fighters who were charged for treason/sedition. However, after the independence, the Indian judges changed their attitude and approach towards the offenders/criminals and developed a more humane approach in sentencing. Thus the tendency in the development of the judicial sentencing policy in the recent years has been growing recognition of the Courts of the Principal of individualization of sentence based on the concept of rehabilitation of the offenders. The old concept of punitive reaction represented by the tariff system based primarily on the concept of retribution and general deterrence continues to exist side by side the modern pattern of reformative and rehabilitative measures. In this context, it is relevant to refer to the decision of the Supreme Court of India in the case of Ram Narayan V/s State of Uttar Pradesh, 1973, the Supreme Court speaking on the aspect of sentencing observed: “The next question is one of sentence which is always a matter of some difficulty. It generally poses a complex problem which requires a working compromise between the competing views based on reformative, deterrent and retributive theories of punishments. Though a large number of factors fall for consideration in determining the appropriate sentence, the broad object of punishment of an accused found guilty in progressive civilized societies is to impress on the guilty party that commission of crimes does not pay and that it is both against his individual interest and also against the larger interest of the society to which he belongs. The sentence to be appropriate should, therefore, be neither too harsh nor too lenient”. MODERN TRENDS IN SENTENCING In the case of Indo-China Steam Navigation Company V/s Jusjit Singh, 1964 the Supreme Court held “…………modern criminology does not encourage the imposition of severe or savage sentences against criminals because the deterrent or punitive aspect of punishment is no longer treated as valid consideration in the administration of criminal law. But it must be remembered that ordinary offences with which the normal criminal law of the country deals, are committed by persons under the pressure of provoked or unbalanced emotions or as a result of adverse environments and circumstances and so, while dealing with these criminals who in many cases deserve a sympathetic treatment and in few cases, are more sinned against than the sinners, criminal law treats punishment more as reformative and corrective than as a deterrent or punitive measure.” In another case, Ramnaresh Pandey V/s State of Madhya Pradesh, 1974 the Supreme Court stressed that “Modern criminal jurisprudence recognizes, that no one is born criminal and that a good many crimes are the product of socio-economic milieu. Although not much can be done for hardened criminals, considerable stress has been laid on bringing about reform of young offenders not guilty of very serious offences and preventing their associations with hardened criminals. The probations of offenders of Offenders Act gives statutory recognition to the above objective.” These are some of the policy guidelines enunciated by the Supreme Court of India to be followed by sub-ordinate Courts in the matters of sentencing. ABOLITION OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT? In the 1970’s and 1980’s some of the criminals who were convicted for offence of murder(culpable homicide/man-slaughter) for which the IPC prescribed the sentence under Section 302(IPC) “Death Sentence or Life Imprisonment” challenged the same as being unconstitutional as the same was inhuman and served no purpose. The Supreme Court of India in the case of Bachan Singh V/s State of Punjab, 1980 ruled that the punishment provided was not unconstitutional nor illegal and was not inhuman however, cautioned that in so far as sentencing was concerned the rule may be to award life imprisonment and in “rarest of rare cases” to award Death Sentence (capital punishment). Subsequently the Supreme Court and other Courts have followed the said decision. Recently in the case of Saibanna V/s State of Karnataka, 2005 the Supreme Court was considering conviction of Saibanna, the accused who was sentenced with the capital punishment for having committed the murder of his second wife and daughter. Further he was punished and convicted for the murder of his first wife and was on bail when he committed the second murder. The Supreme Court considering the facts and evidence as also the decisions of the lower courts and also the law declared on the point confirmed the death sentence awarded to him as this case fell in the category of rarest of rare cases. REVIEW OF THE SENTENCING POLICY: In England, in 1958, the committee on the business of the Criminal Courts under the chairmanship of Mr.Justice.Streatfeild was appointed which submitted its recommendations and prepared a handbook for sentence of the Court. Subsequently such other handbooks on Criminal Justice system were prepared. In India, the Law Commission of India, continuously works and analyses on the decisions rendered by the Courts especially the Supreme Courts and High Courts and submits recommendation to the Government which inturn makes suitable changes in the law or brings in new laws like Juvenile Justice Act as also issues directions the Jail Authorities on reformation and rehabilitation. RE-ENTRY POLICY: Generally, a convicted person who has undergone the punishment for the offence he had committed ought to have received by the society as a normal person. However, he always carries with him the indelible stigma of his past and the society shuns him. As also in many laws a convicted person is disqualified to either contest for posts or hold even get some occupation for his livelihood. Even though it is said “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future”, considering such predicament of the convicted persons, the policy that is followed today in the jails is not merely one of completion of the sentence by either simply keeping in the prison walls or those who are undergoing rigorous imprisonment, asking them to do hard labour, but educating them with certain types of avocations such as tailoring, carpet weaving, machinists, etc, which would prepare them for a new kind of life whereby they will be standing on their own feet by starting their new avocation without depending on others making them self-reliant instead of resorting to either their old profession or beggary. Apart from this, new experiments have been carried out in certain jails wherein yoga and such spiritual exercises are taught to them whereby these convicted persons would be psychologically made stronger and perhaps would face and deal with the society in a better manner. It is not out of place to mention that one of the Jail Authorities, an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Ms. Kiran Bedi introduced many revolutionary changes for the reformation and rehabilitation of the prisoners in Tihar Jail, Delhi. She was recognized internationally for this contribution and was awarded the Ramon Magasassay Award given by the Government of Philippines for social service. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Criminal Sentencing and Re-entry Policy The American criminal justice system in America is a highly debatable discussion topic among American ctizens, but receives very limited coverage in comparison to other issues. From the first stages of criminal sentencing to the re-introduction back into society, citizens feel that there should be a reform in U.S. polcies that will be more beneficial to ex-offenders and the remainder of society. Sentencing Discrimination America sentencing policy is one of the harshest systems in the world. Criminals that are convicted face unfair sentencing based on race and age, long prison sentencing regardless of prior criminal record, and harsh living conditions. Adult facilities are not equipped to address the needs of youth. They often lack adequate education, medical services, or mental health care. In some cases they pose serious threats to the personal safety of young detainees. There is no evidence that treating children as adults reduces crime. In California, the juvenile crime has fallen an astonishing 30 percent in the past decade. But that fact is barely acknowledged in Proposition 21. The proposition would expand the number of children tried as adults in order to combat what it calls the "larger and more ominous threat" of crime by youth. One of Proposition 21's harshest aspects is its provision requiring an adult prison term for anyone sixteen years of age or older who is convicted in adult court. Proposition 21 is an objectionable, unnecessary measure that deserves to be defeated. Children held in adult jails are as much as eight times more likely to commit suicide than those held in juvenile detention centers. Yet the Baltimore jail offers almost no counseling to juvenile detainees, either in groups or individually. Detainees in crisis may be placed under suicide watch, but they then are kept naked, with nothing but paper sheets to cover their bodies. A study comparing Connecticut, which had the highest juvenile-to-adult transfer rate in the United States, with Colorado, the state with the lowest rate of such transfers, found that the youth crime rate was the same in each state. Similarly, studies of violent juvenile crime in Idaho, Florida, and New York have found that making it easier to try youth as adults does not deter violent juvenile crime. In a study done in Detroit by Colin Loftin and Milton Heumann showed that by “using data on defendants charged with violent felonies, they found that both black and white judge sentence black offenders more severely than white offenders.” Nationwide, one in every 20 black men over the age of 18 is in prison. In five states, between one in 13 and one in 14 black men are in prison. Black men are incarcerated at 9.6 times the rate of white men. In eleven states, they are incarcerated at rates that are 12 to 26 times greater than that of white men. The ten states with the greatest racial disparities are: Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Maine, Iowa, Maryland, Ohio, New Jersey, North Carolina, and West Virginia. In these states, black men are sent to prison on drug charges at 27 to 57 times the rate of white men. Conviction Methods In the conviction system, the American system tends to impose harsh sentences on criminals especially those convicted of drug crimes. Almost seven hundred thousand Americans are currently held in state or federal prison for nonviolent crimes, three hundred thousand on drug charges. Indeed, 60 percent of federal inmates were sentenced for nonviolent drug offenses, and high proportions are merely low-level offenders, not major traffickers or "king pins." The public's interest in securing accountability, promoting public safety and curbing the drug trade can be served without the imposition of unnecessarily harsh prison sentences for drug offenders, and without mandatory minimum criminal sentencing laws that tie judges' hands in sentencing. Prison should be reserved for serious, dangerous offenders. Judges and prosecutors must also be returned to their proper roles in the criminal justice system: prosecutors should seek to protect the community by securing convictions of the guilty; impartial judges should have the sole discretion to determine the punishment that fits the crime. State laws should also should encourage - and fund - the increased use of alternatives to incarceration - whether substance abuse treatment programs or community-based sanctions - for low level offenders who pose no appreciable threat to public safety. Prison Conditions Once convicted, the harsh living conditions that intimates have to live under are inhumane. Many of the intimates lived in constant fear of their lives and it is a constant struggle to remain unharmed in prison. Many men and women incarcerated in the nation's jails and prisons are subjected to violence, injury and sexual abuse at the hands of either other inmates or correctional officers. One of the most serious abuses plaguing our nation's prisons and jails is prisoner-on-prisoner rape. Such rapes, frequently, are unimaginably vicious and brutal, and their effects on the victim's psyche, let alone health, can be deep and enduring. Yet, despite the widespread and persistent nature of the problem, few states take specific affirmative steps to prevent or punish this gross abuse against persons in their custody. This is an issue that the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division should be to extremely attentive to this issue when conducting its investigations into conditions of state correctional facilities. Also, the National Institute of Corrections needs to develop, and widely promote, specific protocols for the prevention and investigation of prisoner-on-prisoner rape. Prisons should increased personnel and other resources to the Department's Civil Rights Division to enable it both to undertake more civil and criminal investigations into abusive correctional facilities, and to initiate the appropriate civil or criminal proceedings. In addition, the federal Bureau of Prisons – should encourage state correctional systems to institute - effective, independent mechanisms to receive and investigate complaints of abuse from inmates, to provide the inmates with appropriate redress, and to hold accountable abusive correctional officers. Investigations that involve the beatings of inmates should establish how and why it was possible for the abuses to continue and identify the changes needed in Bureau of Prisons' policies and procedures to prevent any possibility of repetition. Re-entry Policy Once an offender is released their journey is nowhere near over. After incarceration, offenders face a plethora of obstacles from housing restrictions to the freedom to vote. Housing Rights According to U.S. policy and international human rights laws, decent and stable housing is essential for human survival and dignity. In order to ensure a better quality of life for those less fortunate citizens, the government offers federally subsidized housing to millions of low-income people who could not otherwise afford a home of their own. In the U.S. these policies are abided by but exclude millions of needy people with criminal records, condemning them to homelessness. In 1996, former President Bill Clinton declared the "one strike rule" leading to its incorporation by Congress into the federal housing laws. The reason for such exclusions was to protect existing tenants from prior offenders who may still pose a threat or are unsuitable neighbors. The reasoning behind such restrictions is valid, but U.S. policies are so arbitrary, overbroad, and unnecessarily harsh that they even exclude those who have been rehabilitated and law-abiding, as well as those who may have never presented any risk in the first place. According to federal guidelines, three categories of people are denied admission into public housing. those with previous convicted of methamphetamine production on the premises of federally funded housing; banned for life those subject to lifetime registration requirements under state sex offender registration programs people using illegal drugs, even those without a criminal record. To add even more complexity, federal guidelines give discretion to public housing authorities (PHA) to deny admission based on three categories. those who have been evicted from public housing because of drug-related criminal activity for a period of three years following eviction those who have engaged in a pattern of disruptive alcohol consumption or illegal drug use, regardless of the duration of time since the previous incident those who engaged in drug-related, violent, or any other criminal activity, if the PHA deems them a safety risk; also known as the "catch-all" category. These discretionary categories are used to exclude a wide range of people with criminal records regardless of the posed threat they may present without any reasonable basis. Federal guidelines also recommend the local PHA's should take the nature and remoteness of offense and the mitigating factors and evidence of rehabilitation into consideration but they do not require them to do so, providing very few applicants with an individualized evaluation before rejection. This law among many others is among one of the harshest of the punitive laws that burden criminal record holders. Nonetheless, they have received very little attention from elected officials, policymakers and the public at large. In an effort to undo some of what has been done. The Human Rights Watch organization is urging citizens to support House Resolutions 4676 (HR4676), also known as the Second Chance Act of 2004 in public housing opportunities. The Second Chance Act would establish a National Offender Reentry Resource Center for states, local governments, service providers, faith-based organizations, corrections and community organizations to collect and disseminate best practices and provide training and support around reentry create a Federal Task Force to review and issue a report on the federal barriers to reentry restrict the ban on federal student loans to only those who commit drug offenses while receiving federal aid provide grants to states and local governments to provide post-release housing, mental health services, substance abuse treatment to those returning to communities. The act, if enacted, would be an important first step in addressing problems such as employment, post-release housing, mental health services, and social service programs. Voting Nationally, more than four million Americans are denied the right to vote as a result of laws that prohibit voting by felons or ex-felons. In 48 states (with the exception of Maine and Vermont) and the District of Columbia prisoners cannot vote, in 35 states felons on probation or parole are disenfranchised, and in 13 states a felony conviction can result in a lifetime ban long after the completion of a sentence. This fundamental obstacle to participation in democratic life is exacerbated by racial disparities in the criminal justice system, resulting in an estimated 13% of black men unable to vote. As a result of various changes in state laws, as well as extensive grassroots efforts, an increasing number of Americans with a felony conviction are regaining their voting rights. Public opinion data clearly shows strong support for reform - 80% of the public supports restoration of voting rights for ex-felons who have completed their sentences, and 64% and 62% respectively support the right of probationers and parolees to vote. The rate of disenfranchisement has grown higher in recent years as a result of harsh drug laws and mandatory sentencing requirements, which have sharply increased the number of offenders behind bars. Disenfranchised ex-offenders can seek a gubernatorial pardon to restore their voting rights, but few have the information or resources needed to do so. In Virginia, for example, there are more than 200,000 ex-offenders, but in 1996 and 1997, only 404 regained their voting rights. For example, Florida has disenfranchised more people than any other state in the country 647,100 people. This constitutes a rate of 5.9 percent of the adult population, which is three times the national average. Florida also has taken the vote away from more black men than any other state in the country 204,600 people. Nearly one-third of all the disenfranchised people in the state are black men. More than two-thirds of these disenfranchised people have already served their time and been released from prison, or finished their probation or parole. If they want their voting rights back, they need to obtain a gubernatorial order restoring their civil rights, or they must obtain a pardon. CONCLUSION: Three months ago, we could not have imagined how a simple paper made collectively by eight young students, barely acquainted with one other, could so greatly impact the lives of these individuals. We vividly remember the day when Tanja sent us a list of topics for the team up projects, to choose from...and we have since traversed a long distance in such a short time! Human Rights are fundamental rights of a person, and we discovered through our research and discussions that there are many aspects of human rights that are common to all our nations. The domain of Human Rights is vast, all encompassing, and is primarily the same in all countries, though there are certain variations that have taken place country-specific, within the larger domain. When we began discussing about Human Rights in our countries, we realised that human rights are extremely comprehensive and vast and that we would not be able to give a complete report on the entire Human Rights situation in our lands. Therefore, we selected the two topics of human rights that we felt were most pertinent to mankind today and presented a largely objective view on these topics. We also felt that it would be best if we present an overall perspective, an introduction to Human Rights in our respective countries. Having studied, compared and contrasted the Human Rights situation in MF countries, we find that there are many similarities with regard to the law in all our countries. However, certain violations are more prevalent in one country than in another. Hence, this calls for more stringent laws in that particular country. We understand that this however is not the case in most countries, and we strongly believe that a big initiative must be undertaken to improve the lives of the oppressed. There are several instances of massive Human Rights violations around the world, in some of our countries as well as in most developing, under-developed nations. The UN charter is explicit and comprehensive in defining and declaring the Human Rights, but it’s implementation needs to be more effective. We are particularly saddened by violation of Child Rights, since young children are like our younger brothers and sisters, and knowing that they are abused, make us saddened by the cruelty of our own peoples. We unanimously call for an improvement in the Human Rights situation around the world, and stresss the need to handle human rights violation cases with more care, sympathy and in an effective manner. We tried to find answers to many questions about Human Rights, but ended up with many more questions themselves! Such is the complexity and abstract nature of Human Rights. During the three months that we have known each other, we have established a good rapport within the team and communicate freely with one another. We look forward to another exciting phase of our lives where we will continue to work together and enhance our friendship too. We value this opportunity as an important learning curve in our lives. A few years hence, we may find ourselves recollecting these glorious three months and gently hum the famous words from Bryan Adams, “Those were the best days of my life...”. Thank you, Melton Foundation!