Tuesday, 7 December 2010
New Delhi, December 7, 2010
‘The Coalition against Exclusion and Violations caused by the Commonwealth Games’ organised a public meeting and media consultation with the communities affected by the Commonwealth Games (CWG). The coalition also released a charter of demands to Members of Parliament, Members of the Legislative Assembly, and the media.
‘The Coalition against Exclusion and Violations caused by the Commonwealth Games’ consists of a number of organisations, civil society groups, and social movements that have been working on the human rights impacts of the CWG. Although the members work in diverse areas and have opposed the Games for different reasons, they unanimously condemn the large-scale human rights violations in the city, the financial irregularities inherent in the CWG process, and the continued lack of redressal for the grievances of the poor and marginalised citizens of Delhi.
Members from affected communities spoke about a range of human rights violations that they have had to face due to the CWG. These include:
* The forced eviction and displacement of approximately 250,000 people for the Games, including in the ‘beautification’, ‘cleaning’ and ‘security’ drives in Delhi.
* The arrests, detention and forced removal of ‘beggars’ and homeless citizens from Delhi for the duration of the Games. The Bombay Prevention of Begging Act 1959 was used to arrest and detain ‘beggars’ as well as gainfully employed homeless citizens. Several people were threatened to leave Delhi and forcefully sent back to their homes.
* The violation of the rights of construction workers, most of them migrants, who were denied adequate wages and safe working and living conditions. In many instances even children were made to work at the sites.
* The eviction of domestic workers, drivers, plumbers, and other informal sector workers and labour groups.
* The trafficking of women and young girls from other states for CWG visitors and participants.
* The loss of livelihoods for over 300,000 street vendors (according to the National Association of Street Vendors of India - NASVI). Cart-pullers, vegetable sellers, waste-pickers, balloon sellers, cobblers, street-food vendors and others were prevented from working on the streets, and thus denied their right to work and livelihood. Many of them were forced into starvation since they had no money to buy food. Eateries and weekly markets were also forcibly shut down. (Estimation from various sources put the figure at a daily income loss of Rs.10,70,00,000 (10 crore and 70 lakh rupees) for the above-mentioned groups)
* The diversion of Rs. 678.91 crore for Scheduled Castes in Delhi from the Special Component Plan to cover CWG-related costs. This was in violation of the 2006 Planning Commission Guidelines.