Nurses vs Doctors: How the backbone of Kerala is fighting for their due


G Pramod Kumar Feb 7, 2012

The fast-spreading strike by nurses in Kerala has laid bare the inherent contradiction in India’s burgeoning healthcare sector: it is a highly exploitative industry dominated by money-minded corporates and doctors.

While the doctors and surgeons earn by the hour, sometimes running into millions of rupees a month, the nurses who form the backbone of patient care are thrown the crumbs. At best, on an average, Rs 4000-8000 a month.

While managements are trying every trick in the book to rein in the striking nurses, including court injunctions and new recruitments, the doctors asked for invoking ESSMA, the essential services maintenance act, the bogey that oppressive governments use against labour unrest. The state unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and the Qualified Private Medical Practitioners Association (QPMPA), an association of private medical practitioners and hospital managements were united in this demand.

The QPMA even went a step ahead and asked the political parties and the government not to encourage the strike.

Does it matter that for every doctor, you need many nurses and without them, hospitals will crumble? The contrarian stand of the doctors clearly demonstrates the power and class inequality in the healthcare sector.

The nurses are now clear that even the doctors they serve 24/7, much less the management, will not support them. Their agitation is spreading to every part of the state threatening to cripple its private healthcare sector. It’s a “white-revolution” that is as spontaneous as the Arab Spring.

The demands of the nurses are very simple. They want decent salaries and better working conditions. Nothing more. In 2009, the state government has fixed a minimum salary of Rs 9,000. A majority of the hospitals do not pay this, although the nurses say that even this salary is inadequate and should be revised.

According to United Nurses Association, the newly formed organisation that galvanised the feeble voices of protest into a snowballing movement, only five per cent of the hospitals in the state pay the minimum wages. In a Kochi hospital where the nurses are on strike, a nurse with 16 years of experience is given only Rs 7,000. Most of the nurses are paid Rs. 4,000-6,000.

The worst off are the “trainees” or the straight-out-of-college nurses. They are usually paid Rs 1,000 or so and work under bonded conditions. This is widely prevalent in hospitals outside the state, where the managements even confiscate their certificates. The state of their bonded condition was brought to light, when a nurse committed suicide in Mumbai last year. The trainees suffer in silence in the hope of a few years experience so that they can shift to a bigger hospital or go abroad.

The flicker of protests first appeared at the end of last year with Keralite nurses going on strike in Mumbai, Delhi and Calcutta. Early this year, about 800 nurses from a “multi-speciality” hospital in Kochi and another 600 in a private medical college hospital in a southern district went on strike, followed by several other hospitals.

The organisational capacity of the nurses has strengthened considerably since they agitated in Mumbai and Delhi. They were so busy with enslaving work that they didn’t even know how to organise a protest without inviting criticism. The main charge against them has been that they didn’t give sufficient notice to managements and the patients suffered.

The labour minister of Kerala, Shibu Baby John, while supporting nurses advised them to follow fair labour practices, such as sufficient advance notice, so that they are on good legal footing. Now they serve notice and go on strike. The Association says that more hospitals have been served notice, including the one where they had reached an agreement last year. Apparently this hospital reneged on their commitment.

The doctor-management nexus that the strike has brought to light was not unexpected given their mutually beneficial stakes. “IMA seeking ESMA against striking nurses is only a ploy to protect hospitals, some of which are owned by its members.” according to Jasmin Shah, State President of the United Nurses Association. The doctors also came in for severe criticism from civil society because they went on strike several times in the recent past. “If the IMA can call for state-wide strike when doctors face a problem, why can’t we agitate for minimum wages,” is Shah’s counter.

Meanwhile, support is pouring in from all quarters. The CPM, the CPI, the women’s wing of the Congress and INTUC have openly supported the cause of the nurses. The labour minister remained categorical that he wouldn’t allow anybody to pay the nurses below the minimum wages and violate labour rules. The State Women’s Commission member T Devi said that the commission will intervene if the nurses asked for help.

Even the courts are on their side. While responding to a plea on the issue, the Kerala High Court said last week that nurses were being exploited. They were forced to work for low salaries and that is why they were on strike, the court said. Some private hospitals haven’t revised the salaries even in the past ten years.

It’s worthwhile to note that when the nurses from Kerala went on strike in Mumbai and Delhi last year, the politicians in Kerala hardly paid any attention since they were busy with a politically expedient Mullaperiyar.

However, the nurses didn’t wait for any patronage. Their working conditions were so exploitative, that they abandoned their fear of job-(in)security and anxieties about hefty loan-paybacks. The sincerity of purpose paid off. Now that their movement is gaining momentum, all political parties want a share of the success.

The doctor-management voice against them continue to demonstrate the class struggle in the healthcare sector.

Sexier still: Osho bosses move on from free sex to free land


Osho („Rajneesh“ Chandra Mohan Jain)

Image via Wikipedia

By Abhay Vaidya

7th feb, 2012,Pune: Even 22 years after his death, spiritual mystic Osho, or Bhagwan Rajneesh, continues to spark controversy. This time, the issue is not sex, which always shadowed his name, but something even sexier: the fate of prime real estate belonging to the Osho International Foundation (OIF) at Koregaon Park, Pune, estimated at a value of around Rs 1,000 crore.

In recent weeks, what has grabbed the attention of the public – especially the community of his followers – is the incredulous gifting of prime properties by the OIF to an unknown trust in New Delhi, called the Darshan Trust.

The Osho Commune, renamed Osho International Meditation Resort after his death, is located at Koregaon Park along with other Osho properties spread on 25-30 acres of land and controlled by the OIF.

At a time when politicians, builders, generals and brigadiers are found involved in one land-grab scam after another, here is this extraordinarily generous OIF which seems to be on a property-gifting spree, claiming that maintaining and managing these properties has become a burden.

Opposing them are another set of Osho followers who have accused the OIF trustees of maladministration and complained to the Charity Commissioner, Mumbai.

The matter was exposed in recent months by two, long-time followers of Osho, Yogesh Thakkar (Swami Prem Geet) and Kishor Raval (Swami Prem Anadi), who discovered OIF’s application dated 19 September 2011, to the Charity Commissioner, Mumbai, under section 36(1)(a) of the Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950.

The battle between factions of his followers is not new. Oshoworld.com

This application, signed by OIF trustee Mukesh Sarda, proposed to gift six units in Little Woods Coop Housing Society, plot number 22, Koregaon Park, to New Delhi-based Darshan Trust with its registered office at A-34, Defence Colony.

Sarda’s application on behalf of OIF said that the Darshan Trust had approached OIF “with a request for some space to accommodate the teachers and participants of its activities in Pune” and that the matter was discussed in detail at a meeting of the trustees on 14 August 2011.

As per documents submitted by the OIF to the Charity Commissioner, Sarda stated at this meeting that the the 6,611-square-foot property was “excess space”, not needed by the OIF. He also said that the OIF was finding it unaffordable to maintain and repair this property as it was not deriving any income from it.

The OIF trustees then decided unanimously at the 14 August meeting to donate the property to Darshan Trust subject to the approval and sanction of the Charity Commissioner. The condition stipulated was that the stamp duty, registration and other expenses towards “the alienation of the property” be borne by Darshan Trust.

Armed with documents obtained under the Right to Information Act, 2005, Thakkar and Raval questioned the gift proposal and filed a petition with the Charity Commissioner, challenging the OIF application. They were soon joined by another senior Osho follower, Nitin Phulphagar (Swami Nitin Bharati), in challenging various activities of the OIF, even as Osho followers within and outside the country began extending support.

While in the midst of this battle, Thakkar and Raval were shocked when they stumbled upon a 17 March 2011 decision of Charity Commissioner MK Chaure approving another OIF proposal to gift plot CTS No 3, Koregaon Park, Pune to the same Darshan Trust.

Measuring 5,387 sq m, this plot is located in Lane No 1 Koregaon Park, and was being used as a parking lot for the Osho Meditation Resort. According to the Osho disciples, the market value of this plot is estimated at more than Rs35 crore.

The reasons given by the OIF for gifting this property (excess space not required) and the conditions laid down for the transaction (Darshan Trust to bear cost of stamp duty, etc.) were similar to the previous application.

The OIF has never felt it necessary to explain these controversial gift deeds or reply to criticism. Whenever asked for an explanation by this journalist, OIF’s trustee and member (management team) Sadhana Belapurkar has restricted herself to saying that “the matter is subjudice.”

Another issue that worries Osho’s followers and admirers concerns his samadhi inside the meditation resort. After he was cremated in Pune on the night of 19 January 1990, Osho’s ashes were collected and put in an urn which was buried in his bedroom. This became his Samadhi, beautified with wall-sized glass windows, marble walls and flooring and an impressive circular chandelier.

The samadhi has a special significance in eastern cultures and naturally Osho’s followers and others want the sanctity of this place respected for all times.

However, the OIF, controlled by a group of his foreign followers, has a different view. Represented by Sadhana Belapurkar (also known as Amrit Sadhana), the OIF management went so far as to say in an interview to this journalist that it was “a mistake” on their part to use the word “samadhi”. As she explained, “We do not call it a samadhi. It is called Chuang Tzu (hall) where Osho gave his first lectures after arriving in Pune in 1974. As per Osho’s wishes, his ashes were put in an urn and buried there.”

Like all samadhis in India, Osho’s admirers who respect him for his many incisive commentaries on spiritualism, his emphasis on meditation and acceptance of sexuality, want the samadhi to be made accessible to the public. That has not happened so far.

These and many other issues were raised by Thakkar and Raval with the Charity Commissioner.

On 7 December 2011, Thakkar, Raval and Phulphagar applied for interim relief to the charity commissioner through an application alleging irregularities by the OIF management. The application alleged that some OIF trustees had formed a new company “Osho Multimedia & Resorts Pvt Ltd” in which they had vested interests. Those named as opponents in the application included Mukesh Kantilal Sarda (Swami Mukesh Bharti), Devendra Singh Devol, Sadhana Belapurkar, Lal Pratap Singh; Inner Circle Chairman Michael Byrne (Swami Jayesh); Inner Circle Vice-Chairman George Meredith alias John Andrews (Swami Amrito); and Inner Circle member Darcy Byrne (Swami Yogendra). (The Inner Circle is an informal group of Osho community individuals who run the show at OIF).

On another front, Thakkar and Raval have created a website http://www.oshowork.org to gather support for their crusade for transparency in the affairs of the OIF.

This is by far, the biggest battle between the opposing factions of Osho’s followers in recent years. The last big clash was the “copyright battle” which was lost by the OIF some years ago in its attempt to claim intellectual property rights over the word “Osho” and everything attributed to the spiritual master.

Appeal for acid attack victim Aarti Thakur


AKHIL BHARATIYA JANWADI MAHILA SANGHATA

(All India Democratic Women’s Association)

MUMBAI DISTRICT COMMITTEE

E5, Ensa Hutments, Mahapalika Marg (Next to Mumbai Marathi Patrakar Sangh), Mumbai 1. Tel: 65286823

APPEAL

Many of you would have read about the brutal acid attack on 22 year old AARTI THAKUR on 31st January at Goregaon station. This was the third attack since November 2011, the first two being cases of slashing and stabbing, both with the intention to inflict grievous injury and severely intimidate her. Aarti lives with her mother, Seema and younger sister, Pooja. Aarti was the only one holding a job at the time of her attack. She had joined a private firm in Goregaon as a receptionist in January and is too new in this job to be entitled to any financial support. Her mother has been unable to rejoin her work in the past two months as she has been trying to protect Aarti, including shift out of their Malwani rental accommodation to Nalasopara.

Aarti is a victim of gross negligence by the police which failed to take cognizance of the first attack of slashing that took place in Malwani. Even as the crimes are being investigated, the immediate need is for a fund for Aarti’s immediate and long term treatment and surgeries. We visited Aarti in the hospital on February 3rd. We learnt that she needs to undergo her first surgery immediately as the burns are fairly deep. Some friends have already contributed which we handed over on the 5th February.

The Akhil Bharatiya Janwadi Mahila Sanghatana (AIDWA), Mumbai District Committee, appeals to all concerned citizens to support Aarti and her family and contribute towards a fund for her treatment. If you wish to make a contribution, please contact us on the mobile numbers given below. We also urge you to share this appeal with your friends and encourage them to contribute to this cause.

Sonya Gill Sugandhi Francis

Secretary, Secretary,

Maharashtra State Committee Mumbai District Committee

09869250126 09869129146

UN appeals to India to ratify global nuclear test ban treaty


Ban Ki-moon

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7TH FEB, 2012

United Nations: UN chief Ban Ki-moon has appealed to eight countries, including India, to ratify the CTBT to bring the global nuclear test ban into force.

The UN secretary general made the appeal after Indonesia became the 157th country to adopt the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

Besides India, China, North Korea, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the US are the other nations in a core group of 44 nuclear countries which did not ratify the treaty.

The 44 nations which must ratify the CTBT to bring it into force all have nuclear weapons or atomic programmes.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has appealed to eight countries, including India, to ratify the CTBT to bring the global nuclear test ban into force. AFP

This would accelerate the entry of CTBT into force, Ban said after his meeting with Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa at the UN headquarters.

During their meeting, Ban stressed the importance of Indonesia’s ratification of the CTBT given that the country is one of the so-called Annex 2 States, whose endorsement is required for the treaty to enter into force, a UN release said.

PTI

Pakistan nationals will be able to roam freely in India soon


Map indicating locations of Pakistan and India

Image via Wikipedia

7H FEB, 2012

In a bid to ensure more people to people contact, India is contemplating easing visa regulation for Pakistan nationals. With the cabinet note on the issue set to be tabled in a few days, it might be a couple of weeks before visa regulations are eased.

The new regulation ensures that Pakistan nationals on a visiting visa have wider access to the country, the new norms will allow Pakistan nationals access to five Indian cities as opposed to three cities earlier.

Unlike in the past where Pakistan nationals were not allowed to enter and exist India from different cities, the new norms ensure that Pakistan nationals can enter and exit from different cities in the country.

The new regulation ensures that Pakistan nationals on a visiting visa have wider access to the country. Reuters

India has also eased business visa rules for Pakistani businessmen. Business establishments with a turn over of half a million dollar or more will benefit with the new visa norms.

The new visa norms are expected to help students, senior citizens, business men, tourists and group tourists. The new visa regime however does not amend any restrictions for religious tourists.

India has extended the olive branch to Pakistan although there has been no forward movement by Pakistan on the issue of Hafiz Saeed, Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, and more importantly 26/11 attacks in India.

India hasn’t heard from the judicial panel from Pakistan, probing the 26/11 attacks and Ajmal Kasab’s role in the episode, that was expected to come to India earlier this month. A Pakistan official had earlier this year said that the probe panel will visit India on February 3.

The new visa norms come in the backdrop of Pakistan easing its stand on the Kashmir issue, with Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, suggesting that all issues with India be resolved through dialogue, diplomacy, prudent policy and national consensus. Gilani said said Pakistan and India cannot afford another war in the 21st century and described talks as the only way forward.

Open letter to the prime minister expressing concern over the EU-Trade negotiations


English: Manmohan Singh, current prime ministe...

Image via Wikipedia

To,

Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India

South Block, Raisina Hill, New Delhi-110 011
Tel: 91-11-23012312 Fax: 91-11-23016857/91-11-23019545; email: pmo@pmindia.nic.in

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

All India Drug Action Network (AIDAN) members express grave concern with regard to the round of negotiations on intellectual property that continues to be held between Indian and European Union (EU) negotiators as part of the India-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) talks. News reports in India quote the EU Ambassador as stating that discussions on Pharmaceuticals have progressed significantly.

It is reliably learnt from media reports that on the 10th February 2012, at the India-EU Summit to be held in Delhi, the EU & India will agree on and finalize the political framework for the FTA.

We express grave concern that these negotiations between the EU and India are progressing towards an agreement which includes provisions that will seriously hamper India’s ability to manufacture safe, effective and affordable generic medicines and export these to other developing countries.

Background:-

Indian generic industry is rightly known as the “Pharmacy of the Developing Country” because:-
In 2001, India’s generics brought prices down from $15000 per person per year to $350 for first line AIDS medicines.
80% of people living with HIV in developing countries are on Indian generic ARVs.
Over 90% of pediatric AIDS medicines are supplied by Indian generics.

For millions of people in the developing world, access to essential medicines is often a question of life and death. Most of them rely on the affordable generic medicines being produced by countries like India. Backed by the big multinational pharmaceutical companies, US, European Union and European Free Trade Association are pushing for aggressive trade policies to restrict the supply and production of the generic medicines. The attack is taking various forms but with a single handed objective: Pushing for TRIPS plus provisions through Free Trade Agreements and other international agreements. The impact of such actions could be devastating and result in loss of millions of lives in absence of affordable medicines.

BUT ALL THIS COULD CHANGE IF INDIA DOES NOT SAY NO TO INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY (IP) IN THE INDIA-EU FTA.

AIDAN demands:-

REMOVE:

§ Investment Rules, which enable foreign companies to take the Indian government to private courts over domestic health policies like measures to reduce prices of medicines.

§ Border Measures, which will deny medicines to patients in other developing countries with custom officials seizing generic medicines in transit.

§ Injunctions, which undermine the independence of the Indian judiciary to protect right to health of patients over the profits of drug companies.

§ Other Intellectual Property Enforcement Measures, which put third parties like treatment providers at risk of police actions and court cases.

DON’T BRING BACK:

§ Data Exclusivity, as it delays the registration of generic medicines and will not permit the placing of affordable versions of pediatric doses and combinations of “off-patent” medicines on the market. IT’S NOT REQUIRED UNDER THE TRIPS AGREEMENT!

§ Patent Term Extension, as it will extend patent life beyond 20 years.

The EU states that these two provisions are off the table. It must keep its word!

We urge you to look into this important issue and save the Indian generic industry from the onslaught of the multinationals, which in turn will save millions of lives all over the world!

Yours truly

(Dr Mira Shiva) – 09810582028

(Mr Srinivasan S) – 08056292350

(Dr Anant Phadke) -09423531478

(Dr Gopal Dabade) – 09448862270

(Mr Naveen Thomas) – 09342858056

ALL INDIA DRUG ACTION NETWORK- http://aidanindia.wordpress.com/
Towards a people oriented, rational, drug policy!

The EU-India Free Trade Agreement: is it the end of the world as we know it?


European Union

Image via Wikipedia

This week, Indian and European Union (EU) trade negotiators in New Delhi will most likely announce that they have reached a preliminary agreement on a trade pact that will forge a new commercial relationship between the two economies. The EU wants the pact to include new intellectual property (IP) rules that go beyond current requirements under international law. These new IP rules would serve the interests of multinational pharmaceutical companies in Europe, while drastically increasing medicines prices for millions of poor people in India and other developing countries.

If India accepts the new rules, the impact on public health would be severe, especially for the poorest people in India who buy medicines out of pocket. The Government has found that 80% of all out of pocket expenses for health care are medicines, meaning people are highly sensitive to any rise in medicine prices. If the Indian Government caves in to EU demands, it may force Indian households to forego life-saving treatment in the future, or to make difficult choices between medicines and other basic necessities. Some States in India have recognized the negative impact of people paying out of pocket for medicines and provide free medicines instead. Such a scheme is working particularly well in Rajisthan for example. However, such progressive programs could be put at risk if medicine costs rise as a result of this trade agreement.

Compounding these concerns is India’s role as the ‘pharmacy of the developing world’. India produces over two-thirds of all of the generic medicines (identical copies of originator medicines) used in low and middle income countries, including over 80% of all medicines used to treat HIV and AIDS. Competition in the Indian marketplace is fierce, and producers continuously innovate new ways to reduce the cost of making quality medicines, both simple and complex. Competition from Indian generics has reduced the cost of providing treatment for a range of illnesses through multilateral and government programs, in addition to making quality medicines more accessible for patients who must buy them out of pocket. The price of medicines to treat HIV and AIDS fell drastically, from 10,000 USD per patient per year, to less than 80 USD, thanks in large part to robust generic competition amongst manufacturers in India.

Yet India’s role as pharmacy of the developing world is already eroding. Today, India is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and therefore already plays by certain trade rules, including in relation to intellectual property. For instance, it must provide patents, which confer a time-limited monopoly, to innovative companies to reward them for developing new products including medicines. Indian companies must wait for a patent to expire before they can produce identical, quality copies of innovator medicines for use in India and for export to poor patients around the world. From 2005, India started granting patents for medicines, meaning delays to provide generics are increasing.

It hasn’t been all bad news until now. An important feature of these global trade rules is they do not prevent countries from addressing public health concerns, including high medicine prices. Countries have recourse to a set of policy tools that can be used to keep medicine prices from rising, and to ensure that competition can be stimulated to bring down prices. The right of countries to use these tools was affirmed in 2001, when WTO members unanimously agreed to the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health, which stated that the rules must be applied in a way that promotes public health and, in particular, access to medicines for all. Having entered trade negotiations with the EU, the Indian Government is under immense pressure from EU trade negotiators to accept stricter IP rules that contradict the Doha Declaration and to give up these tools and provisions that can safeguard the health of millions of people in India and other developing countries. Such strict new rules can be extremely damaging when implemented in low and middle-income countries.

Oxfam has observed over time a measurable, negative impact on access to medicines in those countries that have implemented stricter IP rules along the lines of those proposed by the EU. For instance, a 2007 Oxfam study in Jordan found that medicines prices rose by 20% following implementation of a 2001 trade agreement with the United States, with the cost of medicines to treat heart disease and cancer, the two leading causes of death in Jordan, rising markedly. A second study published in Health Affairs in 2009 found a similar impact in Guatemala following implementation of its 2005 trade deal with the United States.

Why do costs keep going up as IP rules get stricter? When armed with patent monopolies on new medicines, innovator pharmaceutical companies charge the highest price a market will bear, even if this means the product is unaffordable for government health programs and poor people. Competition from generics producers brings down prices for medicines that have gone off-patent – but new treatments remain unaffordable during the monopoly patent period. The innovator companies argue they are changing their pricing policies for new products which are under monopoly protection, and, indeed, some companies appear to be trying to find ways to improve access for patients in poorer countries. Oxfam has applauded some of these changes. Overall, however, our assessment is that this is an industry that is still failing to put access to medicines at the heart of its business model. Indeed, the cost of new medicines under patent, even when companies say they have tried their best, remains too high.

The dangers of high medicine prices are relevant for communicable diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, and also for non-communicable diseases like cancer and diabetes.The World Health Organization estimates that over 80 percent of all deaths from non-communicable diseases now occur in low-income countries. Less than six months ago, the United Nations issued a landmark political declaration on Non-Communicable Diseases, calling attention to the enormous challenges faced by rich and poor countries alike in addressing NCDs in the coming decades. Like HIV/AIDS, treatment for cancer, heart disease, and diabetes often requires extended treatment, making the cost of medicines a crucial factor as to whether patients can receive health care.

Today, in an era of economic crisis and austerity, ensuring that foreign assistance is effective means the global community must find every way possible to save money, including keeping down the price of medicines.The European Union has done much to provide effective aid in the health sector. It has harmonized its aid through budget support, and it has invested in effective multi-lateral institutions such as the Global Fund. However, these efforts are countered by an EU trade agenda that would harm public health in poor countries.

Civil society groups and public health experts around the world will hold their collective breath next week as the final deal is announced and finalized. As in any negotiation, both sides must make trade-offs in order to reach a final agreement. One hopes that India will recognize that public health, both of millions of Indians and millions of people in other developing countries, should not be traded off. Rohit Malpani is a campaigns advisor at Oxfam and leads the organization’s access to medicines campaign.

Rohit Malpani is a campaigns advisor at Oxfam and leads the organization’s access to medicines campaign

‘Plea of mental instability being misused as grounds for divorce’


English: Karnataka High Court, in Bangalore, I...

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 ‘Show compassion’:Karnataka High Court judge N. Kumar speaking at a workshop on mental health awareness in Gulbarga on Sunday.

GULBARGA : Karnataka High Court judge N. Kumar on Sunday expressed anguish over the incidence of married couples seeking divorce on the grounds that either the wife or the husband was mentally unstable, and said that courts should be very careful while allowing such divorce petitions.

Inaugurating a workshop on Mental Health Awareness organised jointly by the Karnataka State Mental Health Authority, the district administration, Department of Health and Family Welfare and district judiciary here on Sunday, Mr. Kumar said the provision of mental instability as grounds for allowing divorce was being misused. He urged courts to thoroughly verify the doctor’s certificate while hearing such cases, and check whether the person accused of mental instability was really suffering from mental illness before allowing the petition for separation.

Mr. Kumar said that only cases where either the husband or the wife was “incurably of unsound mind” and or suffering from “continuous mental disorder” should be allowed, adding that divorce should only be allowed as a last resort.

Mr. Kumar said the replacing of joint families by nuclear families had resulted in the neglect of people with intellectual disabilities. It was the responsibility of society to show compassion towards them and help them to get the best possible treatment.

Rise in numbers

He expressed concern over the growing number of people afflicted with mental illness, and said that suicide among those with intellectual disabilities was on the rise. According to estimates, around 8 lakh of them ended their lives every year in the country, with the highest number in Bangalore, he said.

URGENT APPEAL: A Palestinian Detainee on 52nd day of hunger strike denied examination by an independent (PHR Israel’s) doctor


English: One of our volunteer doctors assists ...

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On  February 6th PHR Israel appealed to the court and to the Ministry of Health to allow the immediate and urgent medical examination of Khader Adnan Mousa, A Palestinian Administrative Detainee, who is on his 52nd day of hunger strike.

18 December 2011: Khader Adnan Mousa, 34, from ‘Arabe, near Jenin, detained by Israeli forces on 17 December, went on a hunger strike one day after his arrest as a protest against his administrative detention and his humiliating and cruel conditions of interrogation.

29 January 2012: PHR-Israel appealed urgently to allow one of their physicians to see Mr. Mousa, in keeping with guidelines drawn from the World Medical Association (WMA) Declaration of Malta of 1991, as well as Israeli law. Mousa conditioned his referral to a hospital on being examined by PHR-Israel’s physicians. Once such a commitment was granted by the Israel Prisons Service (IPS), two of PHR-Israel’s doctors met him at the hospital, (Assaf Ha-Rofeh, 29th Jan) examined his condition and answered his questions regarding the current and predicted effects of his hunger strike. He decided to continue his hunger strike. Since that examination Mr. Mousa has conditioned further treatment on examination and follow-up by PHR-Israel’s doctors. He clearly stated to his attorneys that he wishes to be examined and consulted by PHR Israel’s doctors and will make his decisions according to their assessment of his condition. However, this request was not respected. Instead of ensuring Mr. Mousa’s rights, the IPS has transferred him from one hospital to another – 5 medical institutions in 8 days – in what seems to be a non-medical, unethical manner. As a consequence, he is refusing to be treated by IPS doctors or by doctors in the several hospitals he has been referred to since[1].

Mr. Mousa was referred on February 6th to Ziv hospital in Safed and is currently hospitalized there. He has not been allowed to see independent doctors since the last visit by PHR-Israel’s physicians.
With no examination, and no doctor he can trust, PHR-Israel is very concerned his medical condition is unclear and gives reason for grave concern since he is now on the 52nd day of his hunger strike.
By refusing to allow an independent doctor to examine Mr. Mousa the Israeli authorities are disregarding his precarious medical condition as well as several international directives:

The UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, Principle 25: “A detained or imprisoned person or his counsel shall, subject only to reasonable conditions to ensure security and good order in the place of detention or imprisonment, have the right to request or petition a judicial or other authority for a second medical examination or opinion.” http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/bodyprinciples.htm

The WMA emphasises the importance of confidence in hunger striker-doctor relationships: “Since the person’s decisions regarding a hunger strike can be momentous, ensuring full patient understanding of the medical consequences of fasting is critical. Consistent with best practices for informed consent in health care, the physician should ensure that the patient understands the information conveyed by asking the patient to repeat back what they understand.”

Following the IPS refusal to allow Mr. Mousa to be seen by an independent physician he trusts, PHR-Israel appealed to the district court to order the IPS to allow PHR-Israel’s doctor in. PHR-Israel also appealed to the Ministry of Health who has the authority over civilian hospitals and can – if they so wish – represent such patients’ rights.

The expected effects of a hunger-strike: According to the World Health medical association[2], after the 42nd day of a hunger strike, it is expected that individuals will begin to lose their hearing and vision, and suffer bleeding in the gums, intestines, and esophagus. The body will gradually stop functioning. After the 45th day, there is a high risk of death due to vascular system collapse and/or cardiac arrest.

PHR Israel therefore urges you to:
a. Contact the appropriate Israeli authorities and urgently request that, in accordance with Israeli prison regulations and international guidance, Mr. Mousa be allowed to see PHR-Israel’s doctors, who are independent doctors of his choice, and to consult regularly with them while on hunger strike.
b. Consider being present at Mr. Mousa’s court hearings, and requesting permission to visit him at the civilian hospital he is currently held in.
c. we urge you to request information regarding reports that he was shackled in previous hospitalization despite his weakened condition. This practice is counter to proper medical practices and ethics.

Because of our fear for Mr. Mousa’s health and the urgency of the case, please do not hesitate to contact Hadas Ziv (054-6623232) or Amany Dayif (054-9431854) personally by phone or email at any time of day or night in order to request further detail or update us on progress.
Our emails: hadas@phr.org.il; amany@phr.org.il

[1]Medical Center IPS, Assaf Ha-Rofeh, Ma-ayanei Ha-Yeshua, Bikur Holim, Ziv,.

US on UN Veto: “Disgusting”, “Shameful”, “Deplorable”, “a Travesty” . . . Really?


Year Resolution Vetoed by the United States

1971 – Voted against sanctions against pakistan though they were committing atrocities in the East (which finally became Bangladesh)

1972 Condemns Israel for killing hundreds of people in Syria and Lebanon in air raids.

1973 Affirms the rights of the Palestinians and calls on Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories.

1976 Condemns Israel for attacking Lebanese civilians.

1976 Condemns Israel for building settlements in the occupied territories.

1976 Calls for self determination for the Palestinians.

1976 Affirms the rights of the Palestinians.

1978 Urges the permanent members (USA, USSR, UK, France, China) to insure UN decisions on the maintenance of international peace and security.

1978 Criticises the living conditions of the Palestinians.

1978 Condemns the Israeli human rights record in occupied territories.

1978 Calls for developed countries to increase the quantity and quality of development assistance to underdeveloped countries.

1979 Calls for an end to all military and nuclear collaboration with the apartheid South Africa.

1979 Strengthens the arms embargo against South Africa.

1979 Offers assistance to all the oppressed people of South Africa and their liberation movement.

1979 Concerns negotiations on disarmament and cessation of the nuclear arms race.

1979 Calls for the return of all inhabitants expelled by Israel.

1979 Demands that Israel desist from human rights violations.

1979 Requests a report on the living conditions of Palestinians in occupied Arab countries.

1979 Offers assistance to the Palestinian people.

1979 Discusses sovereignty over national resources in occupied Arab territories.

1979 Calls for protection of developing counties’ exports.

1979 Calls for alternative approaches within the United Nations system for improving the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

1979 Opposes support for intervention in the internal or external affairs ofstates.

1979 For a UN Conference on Women.

1979 To include Palestinian women in the UN Conference on Women.

1979 Safeguards rights of developing countries in multinational trade negotiations.

1980 Requests Israel to return displaced persons.

1980 Condemns Israeli policy regarding the living conditions of the Palestinian people.

1980 Condemns Israeli human rights practices in occupied territories: 3 resolutions.

1980 Affirms the right of self determination for the Palestinians.

1980 Offers assistance to the oppressed people of South Africa and their national liberation movement.

1980 Attempts to establish a New International Economic Order to promote the growth of underdeveloped countries and international economic co-operation.

1980 Endorses the Program of Action for Second Half of UN Decade for Women.

1980 Declaration of non-use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states.

1980 Emphasises that the development of nations and individuals is a human right.

1980 Calls for the cessation of all nuclear test explosions.

1980 Calls for the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.

1981 Promotes co-operative movements in developing countries.

1981 Affirms the right of every state to choose its economic and social system in accord with the will of its people, without outside interference in whatever form it takes.

1981 Condemns activities of foreign economic interests in colonial territories.

1981 Calls for the cessation of all test explosions of nuclear weapons.

1981 Calls for action in support of measures to prevent nuclear war, curb the arms race and promote disarmament.

1981 Urges negotiations on prohibition of chemical and biological weapons.

1981 Declares that education, work, health care, proper nourishment, national development, etc are human rights.

1981 Condemns South Africa for attacks on neighbouring states, condemns apartheid and attempts to strengthen sanctions: 7 resolutions.

1981 Condemns an attempted coup by South Africa on the Seychelles.

1981 Condemns Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, human rights policies, and the bombing of Iraq:

18 resolutions.

1982 Condemns the Israeli invasion of Lebanon:

6 resolutions (1982 to 1983).

1982 Condemns the shooting of 11 Muslims at a shrine in Jerusalem by an Israeli soldier.

1982 Calls on Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights occupied in 1967.

1982 Condemns apartheid and calls for the cessation of economic aid to South Africa: 4 resolutions.

1982 Calls for the setting up of a World Charter for the protection of the ecology.

1982 Sets up a United Nations conference on succession of states in respect to state property, archives, and debts.

1982 Nuclear test bans and negotiations and nuclear free outer space: 3 resolutions.

1982 Supports a new world information and communications order.

1982 Prohibition of chemical and bacteriological weapons.

1982 Development of international law.

1982 Protects against products harmful to health and the environment .

1982 Declares that education, work, health care, proper nourishment, and national development are human rights.

1982 Protects against products harmful to health and the environment.

1982 Development of the energy resources of developing countries.

1983 Resolutions about apartheid, nuclear arms, economics, and international law: 15 resolutions.

1984 Condemns support of South Africa in its Namibian and other policies.

1984 International action to eliminate apartheid.

1984 Condemns Israel for occupying and attacking southern Lebanon.

1984 Resolutions about apartheid, nuclear arms, economics, and international law. 18 resolutions.

1985 Condemns Israel for occupying and attacking southern Lebanon.

1985 Condemns Israel for using excessive force in the occupied territories.

1985 Resolutions about cooperation, human rights, trade and development. 3 resolutions.

1985 Measures to be taken against Nazi, Fascist, and neo-Fascist activities .

1986 Calls on all governments (including the United States) to observe international law.

1986 Imposes economic and military sanctions against South Africa.

1986 Condemns Israel for its actions against Lebanese civilians.

1986 Calls on Israel to respect Muslim holy places.

1986 Condemns Israel for sky-jacking a Libyan airliner.

1986 Resolutions about cooperation, security, human rights, trade, media bias, the environment, and development: 8 resolutions.

1987 Calls on Israel to abide by the Geneva Conventions in its treatment of the Palestinians.

1987 Calls on Israel to stop deporting Palestinians.

1987 Condemns Israel for its actions in Lebanon:

2 resolutions.

1987 Calls on Israel to withdraw its forces from Lebanon.

1987 Cooperation between the UN and League of Arab States.

1987 Calls for compliance in the International Court of Justice concerning military and paramilitary activities against Nicaragua and a call to end the trade embargo against Nicaragua: 2 resolutions.

1987 Measures to prevent international terrorism, study the underlying political and economic causes of terrorism, convene a conference to define terrorism and to differentiate it from the struggle of people from national liberation.

1987 Resolutions concerning journalism, international debt, and trade: 3 resolutions.

1987 Opposition to the build up of weapons in space.

1987 Opposition to the development of new weapons of mass destruction.

1987 Opposition to nuclear testing. 2 resolutions.

1987 Proposal to set up South Atlantic “Zone of Peace”.

1988 Condemns Israeli practices against Palestinians in the occupied territories: 5 resolutions (1988 and 1989).

1989 Condemns US invasion of Panama.

1989 Condemns US troops for ransacking the residence of the Nicaraguan ambassador in Panama.

1989 Condemns US support for the Contra army in Nicaragua.

1989 Condemns illegal US embargo of Nicaragua.

1989 Opposing the acquisition of territory by force.

1989 Calling for a resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict based on earlier UN resoltions.

1990 To send three UN Security Council observers to the occupied territories.

1995 Affirms that land in East Jerusalem annexed by Israel is occupied territory.

1997 Calls on Israel to cease building settlements in East Jerusalem and other occupied territories:

2 resolutions.

1999 Calls on the United States to end its trade embargo on Cuba:

8 resolutions (1992 to 1999).

2001 To send unarmed monitors to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

2001 To set up the International Criminal Court.

2002 To renew the peace keeping mission in Bosnia.

[Chart above from http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/geoff/UNresolutions.htm%5D

[Chart below from: http://www.krysstal.com/democracy_whyusa03.html%5D

2002 Condemns the killing of a UN worker from the United Kingdom by
Israeli forces. Condemns the destruction of the World Food Programme
warehouse.

2003 Condemns a decision by the Israeli parliament to “remove” the
elected Palestinian president, Yasser Arafat.

2003 Condemns the building of a wall by Israel on Palestinian land.

2003 To end the US’s forty-year embargo of Cuba.

2004 Condemns the assassination of Hamas leader Sheik Ahmad Yassin.

2004 Condemns the Israeli incursion and killings in Gaza.

2004 Production and processing of weapon-usable material should be
under international control.

2006 Calls for an end to Israeli military incursions and attacks on Gaza.

2006 Calls for an end to the financial embargo against Cuba.

2007 Calls for peaceful uses for outer space.

2007 Calls for a convention against female descrimination.

2007 Concerning the rights of children.

2007 Concerning the right to food.

2007 On the applicability of the Geneva Convention to the protection
of civilians in time of war.

2007 Calls for the protection of the Global Climate.

2007 Calls for Indian Ocean to be declared a zone of peace. Calls for
a nuclear weapon-free South East Asia.

2007 Calls for the right of self determination for the Palestinian
people. Other resolutions regarding the Palestinians and their rights.

2008 Calls for progress towards an arms trade treaty.

2008 Banning the development of new weapons of mass destruction.

2008 Assuring non-nuclear states they will not be attacked or
threatened with nuclear weapons.

2008 Prevention of the development of an arms race in outer space and
transparency in outer space activities.

2008 Calls to decrease the operational readiness of nuclear weapons
systems and to ban nuclear weapons.

2008 Calls to end the use of depleted Uranium in weapons.

2008 Concerning the trade in illicit small arms.

2008 Calls for a nuclear free Central Asia and a nuclear free Southern
Hemisphere. Prevention of proliferation in the Middle East.

2008 Calls for a comprehensive (nuclear) test ban treaty. Calls for a
nuclear weapon free world.

2008 Calls for a treaty on children’s rights.

2008 Condemns racial descrimination.

2008 Affirms the soverignty of Palestinians over the occupied
territories and their resources.

2008 Affirms the right of the Palestinians to self determination.

2008 Calls on Israel to pay the cost of cleaning up an oil slick off
the coast of Lebanon caused by its bombing.

2008 Calls for a new economic order.

2008 Calls for a right of development for nations.

2008 Calls for a right to food.

2008 Respect for the right to universal freedom of travel and the
vital importance of family reunification.

2008 Concerning developments in information technology for international security.

2008 Resolutions concerning Palestine, its people, their property, and
Israeli practices in Palestine, including settlements.

2009 Calls for an end to the twenty-two-day-long Israeli attack on Gaza.

2011 Calls for a halt to the illegal Israeli West Bank settlements.

2011 Calls for Israel to cease obstructing the movement and access of
the staff, vehicles and supplies of the United Nations Relief and
Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees.

2011 Calls for the immediate and complete cessation of all Israeli
settlement activities in all of the Occupied Palestinian Territory,
including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.

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