Skip to main content

India a "weak proponent" of human rights in 2015 at UN, world leaders didn't raise "concerns publicly" with Modi

Back cover photograph on HRW report
By Our Representative
The Human Rights Watch (HRW), of the world’s most influential advocacy groups, has said that India was “a weak proponent of human rights at the UN in 2015.” Quoting examples, it says, “In March, India voted in support of a Russian-backed resolution to remove benefits for same-sex partners of UN staff” and “abstained on Human Rights Council resolutions on Syria, North Korea, and Ukraine, and voted against resolutions on Iran and Belarus.”
Giving more instances, its new report says, “In July, India abstained on a UN Human Rights Council resolution that called for Israeli accountability in the 2014 Gaza War.” In fact, it adds, “The Indian government said it had abstained from voting because the resolution included a reference to bringing Israel before the International Criminal Court (ICC), which India considered ‘intrusive’.”
The report notes, with the exception of USA’s Barack Obama, most other world leaders who visited India in 2015, or hosted Prime Minster Narendra Modi in their capitals “showed any willingness to raise human rights concerns publicly, deferring all too readily to India’s sensitivity to perceived intervention in its domestic affairs.”
The report wonders why, “despite its democratic traditions, India has not yet emerged as an effective proponent of human rights.” It adds, “For instance, in October, when India invited all 54 leaders of the African Union to a summit in New Delhi, it ignored calls by the ICC to arrest Sudan’s president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who faces charges of war crimes and genocide in Darfur.”
The report says, India is in the company of China, Ethiopia and Russia in setting the ball running for “a less recognized but disturbing and destructive global trend: the adoption by many countries of repressive new non-governmental organization (NGO) laws and policies targeting individuals and groups that try to hold governments to account, including social media users, civil society groups, and the funders who back them.”
Further, the report says, India is in the company of Cambodia, Egypt, and Tajikistan for justifying “restrictions on foreign contributions to civic groups as necessary to fight terrorism”. Titled “World Report 2016: Facts of 2015”, the report was released in New York on Tuesday.
Taking strong exception to laws that provide immunity to security forces and authorities, the report notes how Indian authorities ignored a May report by the UN special rapporteur on “extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions”, even as expressing “regret that India had not repealed or at least radically amended Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).”
“Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, environmental groups have been particularly victimized because of perceived challenges to official development plans”, the report says, adding, at the same time, Modi did little “to improve respect for religious freedom, protect the rights of women and children, and end abuses against marginalized communities.”
“Even as the prime minister celebrated Indian democracy abroad, back home civil society groups faced increased harassment and government critics faced intimidation and lawsuits”, the report says, pointing to how “dozens of writers protested against sectarianism and the silencing of dissent by returning prestigious literary awards bestowed by the Sahitya Akademi.”
“Artists, academics, filmmakers, and scientists also added their voices to the protest. Economists and business leaders warned that the Modi government risked losing domestic and global credibility if it failed to control Hindu extremism and restrictions on freedom of expression”, the report states.
---
Download HRW report HERE

Comments

TRENDING

Green revolution "not sustainable", Bt cotton a failure in India: MS Swaminathan

Counterview Desk
In a recent paper in the journal “Current Science”, distinguished scientist PC Kesaven and his colleague MS Swaminathan, widely regarded as the father of the Green Revolution, have argued that Bt insecticidal cotton, widely regarded as the continuation of the Green Revolution, has been a failure in India and has not provided livelihood security for mainly resource-poor, small and marginal farmers.
Sharply taking on Green Revolution, the authors say, it has not been sustainable largely because of adverse environmental and social impacts, insisting on the need to move away from the simplistic output-yield paradigm that dominates much thinking. Seeking to address the concerns about local food security and sovereignty as well as on-farm and off-farm social and ecological issues associated with the Green Revolution, they argue in favour of what they call sustainable ‘Evergreen Revolution’, based on a ‘systems approach’ and ‘ecoagriculture’.
Pointing out that Evergreen Revol…

Rejoinder: Inescapable to have Central Water Commission as strong technical body in India

By BN Navalawala*
This is with reference to Counterview Blog (December 5, 2018), "Modi govt 'shelves' water reforms report, shows 'no interest' in its recommendations", below mentioned are my comments/observations thereon:
A committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Dr. Mihir Shah, Former Member, Planning Commission, for restructuring of Central Water Commission (CWC) and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) for optimal development of water resources in the country in the backdrop of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

Some Hindu bodies in US defending BJP-RSS' divisive, violent activities: Agnivesh

Counterview Desk Last week, Washington DC saw speakers at a religious freedom roundtable, chaired by the US Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, express concern over "eroding" space for religious freedom in India. Dr Mike Ghouse, executive director, of the Center for Pluralism in Washington DC, referring to the roundtable, said in an email alert that Indian-Americans have "a moral duty to prevent India from being labeled as a Country of Particular Concern by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)".

Rejoinder: Worldwide anxiety post-Fukishima is fading, slowly and steadily

By Dr KS Parthasarathy* 
EAS Sarma, former Secretary, Government of India (GoI) in a letter addressed to the Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), GoI, stated that, there has been "worldwide anxiety about the consequences of catastrophic nuclear accidents, either due to manual lapses or natural calamities" (Counterview, December 2, 2018). "In the recent years, globally, the pace of growth of nuclear power has escalated in leaps and bounds, causing a great deal of public concern and apprehension."

Karnataka: NGO Akshay Patra "not sensitive" to nutrition demands of school children

Counterview Desk
Well-known civil rights organizations, Right to Food Campaign and Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, have sent a letter to the Union minister of human resource development, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, other concerned ministers and officials of the state expressing concerns regarding the mid-day meal (MDM) to school children, insisting, all contracts to the Akshay Patra for supply of MDM should be immediately terminated.

India's rewritten textbooks talk of demerits of democracy, praise Hitler, underrate Mughals

Counterview Desk
A detailed, 3,800-word review of the books rewritten under directions of the BJP rulers across India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014 has suggested that one of aims of the books is to instill a sense of doubt about India’s democratic polity among the country’s young minds. Reviewed in the prestigious US journal, “The New York Review of Books”, in its latest issue (December 6, 2018) by Alex Traub, the scrutiny insists, the effort has also been to paint Indian history from the angle of “Hindu triumphalism”, even as creating “Islamophobia”.

Modi's PRO, who served previous Congress, BJP CMs in Gujarat with "equal" competence

By Rajiv Shah
A public relations officer (PRO), even as maintaining anonymity, is supposed to “manage” reputation of his or her client, reflecting the client’s views in order to influence opinion and behaviour. A PRO is also known to use, the world over, media and communication to build, maintain, manage and plan publicity strategies and campaigns, even as dealing with enquiries from the public, particularly media, organising promotional events such as press conferences, open days, exhibitions, tours and visits. A PRO is also supposed to final touches to press statements for his or client.

Proposed expansion of Karnataka N-plant "ignores" worldwide anxiety post-Fukishima

Counterview Desk
EAS Sarma, former secretary, Government of India (GoI), in a letter addressed to secretary, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), GoI, with copies to chairman, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) and chairman Karnataka Pollution Control Board, has said that radiation and environmental risks have been ignored in DAE’s proposal to set up Units 5 & 6 (2X700MWe) at Kaiga Nuclear Power Station in Karnataka.

80% school children are beaten up, 91% parents "approve" of it: Report

By Rajiv Shah
A recent report, prepared by researchers with the civil rights group, Agrasar, has revealed that of the 521 children from marginalized groups surveyed in Gurugram, Haryana, 80% said they are punished at school. Based on data collected from semi-urban communities in Gurugram, the report’s conclusions also take into account survey 100 parents, personal interviews with 26 children, three focus group discussions and one seasonal calendar exercise with 29 parents.

Forced child labour rampant in Uttar Pradesh sugarcane fields: Oxfam study

By Rajiv Shah
A 14-year-old boy and his older brother were hired by an agent from Bihar under the pretext of getting them a job in a shoe factory in Uttar Pradesh. The agent brought with him a dozen-odd to Uttar Pradesh under the pretext of offering work to them in a factory. Only upon arrival in Muzaffarnagar, the boys were told that they would be working in a sugarcane field.