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Expression of concern on arbitrary arrest of executive director of People's

12 October 2004

Letter to Justice A. S. Anand, National Human Rights Commission of India, 12
October, 2004

Dear Sir,

It is with deep concern that we have received the news of the unwarranted and
arbitrary arrest of Mr Henri Tiphagne, the executive director of People's Watch,
Tamil Nadu, and fifteen others while they were engaged in conducting a human
rights training programme. We deplore the high-handed manner in which the
state police carried out this uncalled for action without due process. No warrants,
by lawful authorities, were produced at the time of making the arrest.

Mr Henri Tiphagne is a member of WCC network and is actively engaged in
promotion and protection of human rights, particularly of the Dalit community
in India. He is a frequent visitor to Geneva and we have often had the opportunity
to collaborate with him in our work during the annual sessions of the United
Nations Commission on Human Rights. He also serves on a number of UN-related
NGO committees.

The World Council of Churches therefore urges the National Human Rights
Commission to ensure that a prompt and thorough investigation is carried out
into this unlawful and arbitrary action of the state police. Pending such enquiry,
Mr Tiphagne should be released and the case against him, if any, should proceed
in accordance with due process.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Weiderud