Monday, November 30, 2009

Justice Hosbet Suresh’s concluding speech at Peoples' Tribunal on May 31, 2009

For two days 60 people came and spoke about land, Homelands; what is happening there.

As I saw their faces – a sense of desperation – nobody is there to do justice.

People’s Tribunal is meant to uphold right to live with dignity. Constitution of India advocated Liberty, Equality, Fraternity and Justice – Social, Economic and Political. You all are striving for Justice.

Constitution guarantees right to speech but no right to food. It guarantees right to Occupation and Business but no right to work and livelihood. It guarantees right to Travel but when tribals are displaced from their own homeland they have no right to stay in your own homeland.

Now whether communidade can give land to cultivators or to outsiders, this is Disha’s question. Basic question is who gets right to have the land? Who gets right to sky, right to Sea? It is a People who get the right.

We People of India made Sovereignity. People have right over above the State.

1970s, 1980s were golden period of the Constitution. Right to life was interpreted to include right to livelihood. Right to Food, Right to Education, Right to Environment, Right to Shelter is included in Right to life. Supreme Court interpreted right to Life as Right to Live with Dignity.

What is a Right and Role of communidade when it says it won’t give land to community? Communidade has trusteeship, People has Right to Communidade land.

Communidade land for industrial purpose? This trend has come from British Colonial times. Land Acquisition Act has been used for this purpose in Nandigram, Singur for Special Economic Zone (SEZ). Agriculture is not public purpose? Agriculture produces food. Without food who can live in this country?

There are higher principles – Human Rights are Fundamental Rights. Judges in past understood. Not sure if today’s Judges understood. There are large scale Human Rights violations in Goa in tribal areas. People’s tribunal is an inquiry into this from Human Rights angle. Encroachment by mining companies, encroachments by forest departments, Absence of legal land documents with tribals are all Human Right Violations.

Your Chief Minister talks about development. Development does not mean Industry, Buildings and Mining. Development means respect to Tribals.

There should be complete stop to harassment to Tribals by Forest department. Forest Rights Act 2006 must be implemented in Goa.

All the mining leases affecting people must be cancelled. It causes Human Rights violations and environmental right violations.

I add my voice to People’s Tribunal, to what you said. Report will be prepared. You must always fight, must never stop crying. Protest, exercise your right to dissent. Struggle has to go on.

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