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Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders, A/HRC/7/28/Add.1, 3 March 2008: India

1076. On 10 May 2007 the Special Representative sent a letter of allegations to the Government concerning Ms Subhajit Dey, a transgender Peer Educator at the  AIDS Prevention and Control Society, West Bengal State. Ms Dey is also a member of the Pratyay Gender Trust, an organisation which works to defend the rights of those marginalized due to their sexual orientation in India. She has been involved in the Targeted Intervention Project for Communities at risk of HIV/AIDS, in Calcutta.

1077. According to information received, on 24 April 2007, at approximately 22:45, Ms Dey, along with an outreach client, were entering Sealdah train station in Calcutta when they were accosted by two plain-clothes police officers from the Railway Protection Force. The police officers allegedly attempted to persuade Ms Dey to meet them in a secluded part of the station. However, when Ms Dey and her companion refused, they were forcefully brought to the nearby police station. The police officers proceeded to beat Ms Dey and the outreach client outside the police station when the latter managed to escape.

1078. According to reports, Ms Dey was then brought inside the police station where she was met by 8 to 9 police officers, the majority of whom were in civilian clothing. The officers accused Ms Dey of being a criminal before subjecting her to a barrage of verbal abuse and sexual assault. After her ordeal, Ms Dey was permitted to leave the police station on the condition that she would never return to Sealdah again. Concern was expressed that the aforementioned events may be directly related to Ms Subjahit Dey’s work in the defence of human rights in India, in particular her work defending the rights  of  those  marginalised because of their sexual orientation in the country.


1107. The  Special Representative  reiterates her  concerns for  the  situation of human rights defenders representing vulnerable groups, such as lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender (LBGT) persons and members of caste groups  facing  discrimination.  The  situation  of the Dalit community is of particular concern as human rights defenders advocating their rights face entrenched prejudice from many sectors of society.

1108. The Special Representative hopes that the Government of India will continue in its efforts to work for the improvement of conditions for those belonging to such communities and those working in defence of their rights.

Link to full text of the report: Summary of cases-SR Human Rights Defenders-2008-eng