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Social Welfare Department clarifies on allegation of de-addiction centres

Matters relating to human rights violation cannot be ascertained by asking straight questions to the staff and functionaries of the de-addiction centres, says Ngangom Uttam, director of department of Social Welfare Department.

ByIFP Bureau

Updated 22 Nov 2022, 3:03 pm

Ngangom Uttam, director of department of Social Welfare Department (PHOTO: IFP)
Ngangom Uttam, director of department of Social Welfare Department (PHOTO: IFP)

The Department of Social Welfare, in a clarification to the allegation made by Drug Users Federation for Human Rights and Justice over non-compliance of recently framed guidelines for de-addiction centres in Manipur, stated on Monday that they employ various methods to find out facts relating to human rights violations at such centres.

Ngangom Uttam, director of department of Social Welfare Department, on Monday stated that they came across a news item alleging that questionnaires related to the ongoing inspection does not cover certain aspects mentioned in guidelines for setting up of the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Users for Social Transformation (TRUST) Centre in Manipur.

It stated that the present inspection was being carried out by a team of officers headed by the District Social Welfare Officer of the concerned district to verify the eligibility of private de-addictions centres to get registered under the Department of Social Welfare, Government of Manipur.

ALSO READ: State accused of non-compliance of de-addiction centre guidelines in Manipur

The apprehension of the federation is that the current inspection will not effectively capture issues related to human rights violation and forcible pickup/confinement by the centres. The relevance of the query on the number of trained staff in the centre was also questioned, the director stated.

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In this regard, the department issues the following clarification in public interest that prevention of human rights violation in any deaddiction/ TRUST centre is one of the primary objectives of guidelines.

To achieve this, it is highlighted that NGOs involved in human rights violation, illegal activities, forcible confinement of patients, etc. shall be deducted 20 points, NGOs scoring below 50 points will be cancelled/unregistered' and in the event of conviction of the chief functionary or staff of the centre for death cases or torture or human right violation of in-patient in the centre, registration of the centre shall automatically be cancelled, he added.

In this regard, it is hereby clarified that such matters relating to human rights violation cannot be ascertained by asking straight questions to the staff and functionaries of the de-addiction centres. No official of the centre will admit that they have violated human rights in the past or they have resorted to forcible pickup or confinement of clients in the past, the department stated.

District Social Welfare Officers should employ various methods to find out facts relating to such matters and some of the methods/options that can be employed are seeking reports from concerned police stations, talking to the clients in private and seeking information from other reliable sources. Further, Part- II marked as 'Confidential - to be filled by the 1.0.' of the questionnaire used in the present inspection is meant for the District Social Welfare Officer to report any findings on human rights violation, illegal activities, forcible confinement of patients, etc., the director stated.

Reduction in the score or cancellation of registration due above reason are to be recorded in this part of the questionnaire. Hence, questions in this regard are not covered in Part-I (information to be obtained from the centre) as it is highly unlikely that private/non-funded de-addiction and rehabilitation centres themselves will admit to any human rights violation or illegal activities perpetrated in their centre.

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It further clarified that the District Social Welfare Officers have been given proper briefing and handholding before the commencement of inspection of private/non-funded de-addiction centres who applied for registration under the Department of Social Welfare. In regard to the concerns raised in respect of staffing pattern, infrastructure and training, it is highlighted here that Part I of the inspection report format has all the questions related to these. It is normal to award higher scores to deaddiction centres with higher numbers of trained and experienced staff/functionaries than others with lesser numbers, the department stated.

Further, the department aspires to provide capacity building training to the functionaries/staff of TRUST Centres from time to time. Hence, finding out the number of trained and untrained staff is essential, the director stated in the press release.

At the end, the Department of Social Welfare hereby appealed to all stakeholders working in the field of prevention of psychoactive substance use in Manipur and the public in general to give co-operation to this Department's endeavour of regulating and monitoring all private/non-funded de-addiction and rehabilitation centres to ensure that rights of the clients are upheld while providing quality treatment to substance users who can be valuable resources to the society on recovery.

Positive criticism and constructive suggestions in the best interest of drug users’ community is most welcome, the department stated. In addition to this, it is also requested that, in case of doubt, any person or organisation may kindly seek information/ clarification from this Department, instead of just going to the press/media with half-baked information, the director said.

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First published:

Tags:

drug usersde-addiction centresDepartment of Social Welfare

IFP Bureau

IFP Bureau

IMPHAL, Manipur

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