Statement by India at the 39th Session of the Human Rights Council (September 10 to 28, 2018) on Agenda Item 3: Clustered Interactive Dialogue on Working Group on Use of Mercenaries and SR on Hazardous Wastes delivered by Dr. A. Sudhakara Reddy, Counsellor [Geneva, 12th September 2018].

Statement by India at the 39th Session of the Human Rights Council (September 10 to 28, 2018) on Agenda Item 3: Clustered Interactive Dialogue on Working Group on Use of Mercenaries and SR on Hazardous Wastes delivered by Dr. A. Sudhakara Reddy, Counsellor [Geneva, 12th September 2018].

Mr. President,

We thank the Working Group on Mercenaries and also the Special Rapporteur on disposal of hazardous substances and wastes for their respective reports.

2. The report on Mercenaries focusses on the recruitment of children by non-state armed groups including mercenaries and private military and security companies (PMSCs). We agree with the views of the Working Group regarding economical and motivational factors for the recruitment of children by non-state armed groups. Recruitment of children for whatever reasons is a grave violation of international law in general and the standards set by humanitarian and human rights law, in specific.

3. India believes that outsourcing of military functions to private military companies can undermine the rule of law and functioning of democratic institutions responsible for ensuring public safety in accordance with national laws. We take note of the observations of the Working Group to ensure social re-integration and fight against stigmatization of child soldiers who are recruited by non-state armed groups and involved in war crimes or human rights abuses.

4. The report on hazardous wastes squarely covers the policy and legal framework to ensure safety and hygiene at work place in order to prevent exposure of workers to toxic substances. States are obliged to balance the improvement of health and safety standards to prevent occupational hazards on one hand and to achieve the much needed developmental activities on the other.

5. The ILO Conventions regrettably do not recognise the right of workers to safe and healthy working conditions as a ‘fundamental right’. It implicitly provides that the workers shall not be exposed without their prior informed consent. Similarly, the ILO Convention on Worst Forms of Child Labour identifies the nature of the activity which is likely to harm the health and safety of children. As regards the effective remedial measures to fix the accountability, it is worth recalling the Indian Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016, wherein the occupier shall be responsible for safe and environmentally sound management of hazardous and other wastes.

6. In conclusion, my delegation takes note of the 15 principles offered by the Special Rapporteur addressed to States and other stakeholders to respect human rights of workers who are exposed to occupational hazardous and toxic substances.

Thank you Mr. President.

 
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