AG and Police Officers to be summoned for questioning

The Parliamentary Human Rights Committee (PHRC) will summon and interrogate all those involved in Penjore Penjore’s arrest and detention

By Tashi Namgyal

Thimphu

The Parliamentary Human Rights Committee (PHRC) has completed four rounds of talks and also compiled a 39 page report as of last week in connection with Penjore Penjore, who lodged a complaint to the PHRC about violation of his human rights while under detention in Thimphu City detention center in May this year.

“I was summoned by the chairperson of PHRC on July 28 to update on the case,” Penjore said. “During that two and half hours’ meeting, I was told that already four rounds of meetings were held.”

Penjore was also told that the Committee will soon summon the Attorney General (AG) and the concerned Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) officers for questioning with regard to the 16 days’ arbitrary detention.

“The chairperson also told me that the Committee will write to the government relating to the Anti-Corruption Commission’s (ACC) letter and seek the government’s views on the accountability aspect of the matter,” Penjore said, adding that a letter will also be forwarded to ACC asking for a copy of their letter to the Prime Minister (PM).

Penjore said, “As of last week, the PHRC has reached 39th page of the report writing and compilation which will continue further on till the Final Accountability chapter and Action Taken Report is ready and fully compiled.”

Penjore was arrested by police on May 6 following a complaint from the AG. “When I have not committed any crimes under the Constitution, on what legal grounds have I been detained by OAG under whose instruction the RBP arbitrarily arrested me without a court arrest warrant, illegally?”

“I was arbitrarily arrested and detained behind the bars for 16 days in violation of my human rights,” he said, reiterating on the fact that there was not even an arrest warrant against him.

Penjore then wrote to the Speaker of the National Assembly (NA), among others, to look into his human rights violation complaint against the AG and RBP. The Speaker of the National Assembly (NA) referred the case to the PHRC. Following his complaint, PHRC members also paid Penjore a visit at the detention center on May 11.

Meanwhile, about the PHRC’s approach, outlook and aspect of this case, a law expert said that they cannot take up a specific or a particular case but can only recommend for systemic improvements by looking into a class/general need of consideration.

It is also upto the government, individual or institution whether to consider the PHRC’s recommendations or not, according to the expert. “It can’t take action against anyone for not abiding by their recommendation and report,” he said.

What are Human Rights? (United Nations)

Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more.  Everyone is entitled to these rights, without discrimination.

International Human Rights Law

International human rights law lays down the obligations of Governments to act in certain ways or to refrain from certain acts, in order to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals or groups.

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