Skip to main content

UK's trade deal with India would amount to "endorsing" enslaved work, warns Britain's Anti-Slavery International

By Our Representative
Amidst British Prime Minister Theresa May’s on-going India visit, Britain’s well-known human rights organization, Anti-Slavery International (ASI), has apprehended that “the world trade deal Britain signs with India would open it up as a major market for slavery-tainted goods India.”
Claiming that India has “the largest numbers of people in slavery in the world, and many of those enslaved work in the supply chains of India’s export-oriented sector”, Aidan McQuade, who is director, ASI, has said, “Any trade deal that Britain would sign with India, under the current conditions that prevail there, would open the UK up as a major market for slavery-tainted goods.”
Authored jointly with Meena Varma, Director, Dalit Solidarity Network UK (DSN-UK), an online article published on the day May landed in Delhi, says, “The fundamental reasons for the prevalence of slavery in India lie first of all in the persistence of the caste system in India.”
The authors add, “Those who are enslaved are from the most discriminated against groups in society, particularly Dalits, previously known as the ‘Untouchables’, and Adivasis, or tribal peoples, who number over 200 million according to the 2011 Census.”
The article, titled “Challenges to Britain’s anti-slavery ambitions: India”, and released by http://news.trust.org/, says, “Because of the discrimination that they endure their routine enslavement by more powerful individuals passes with little comment, and with less governmental action.”
“In fact”, according to the article, “This situation is too often regarded as the norm. And the social prejudices against Dalits and Adivasi are exacerbated because of the elusiveness of legal remedy from the abuses they suffer.”
Agreeing that “India has much decent anti-slavery law”, the authors say, “But it is simply not implemented because of the lack of capacity of the judiciary, the scarcity and corruption of the police, the lack of labour inspections, and the lack of a proper system of minimum wages for occupations where a high number of workers are Dalits and Adivasis.”
“This is why Anti-Slavery keeps witnessing horrific stories of abuse in industries such as cotton mills or brick kilns”, they say, adding, “Prime Minister Modi has declared that development is one of his governmental priorities. But it will be difficult for him to achieve development for all, and with that a reduction of the extraordinary levels of slavery in India, without robust implementation of the law of the land.”
Warning the British Premier that she may feel that “she cannot be held responsible for the rule of law in other lands”, the article says, “But if she wishes the UK to be a world leader on the issue of slavery then the engagement that her country establishes with India will be decisive in the success or failure of this aspiration.”
The article wants Theresa May to ask Prime Minister Modi “to establish a national commission to consider how anti-slavery law and practice may be advanced” through police, judiciary and district labour officials, “who have sufficient capacity to uphold the law without fear or favour.”

Comments

ALSO READ

India failing to dictate diplomatic preferences of Nepal, Bhutan, is unfairly blaming Beijing: Chinese daily

By Our Representative
In a sharply-worded editorial, a top Chinese media outfit, described by BBC as state-run, has said, commenting on India's foreign relations with its neighbours, that "speculation and suspicion" is "certainly not diplomacy". Published in "China Daily", the largest circulating English Monday-to-Saturday newspaper with branches across the world, the editorial notes (September 20) that "several recent events" in Nepal and Bhutan, are "gnawing worrywarts in New Delhi".
The editorial -- which comes close on the heels of a sharp critique of India's foreign policy in a state-supported Russian media outfit, Sputnik International, calling India's anti-Pak diplomacy as having "gone awry" following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "half-baked" push for anti-terror drill down "others' throat" -- says, the " worrywarts" include "Nepalese troops taking part in a joint…

Accused of being RSS plant, Modi man, Hyderabad Urdu varsity chancellor asks President to probe "irregularities"

Counterview Desk
Refused entry in the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), the central university's newly appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed, who claims to be grand nephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, has, in a letter to the President of India, said that MANUU vice-chancellor (V-C) Dr Aslam Parvaiz has accused him of being an RSS plant and a Modi man, whose sole aim is to "interfere in the working of the university".

Ahmedabad, GIFT, Adani city get 1.68 lakh acre ft Narmada water; Gujarat's rural areas just 4.27 AF: Letter to CM

Counterview Desk
Well-known farmer rights leader Sagar Rabari, in an open letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, has demanded a transparent account of Narmada water, saying, while he has received a "routine reply" from him to his earlier, the data emerging from his RTI application show huge quantity of water being directed to Ahmedabad, the 10 km stretch of Sabarmati for the Ahmedabad riverfront, and nearby elite urban areas, including the Adanis' Shantigram township and GIFT City.

17 lakh Jharkhand elderly, widows, differently abled do not receive pension: Public hearing told, aadhaar is a hurdle

By Our Representative
Hundreds of elderly, widows, single women and differently-abled persons from different districts of Jharkhand gathered near the Raj Bhavan in Ranchi for a public hearing organized by the Jharkhand Right to Food Campaign and Pension Parishad demanding the right to universal social security pensions ahead of World Elderly Day on October 1.

Ethnocide in Caribbean island filmed following award winning docufilm on Jamaica's anti-colonial Indian roots

International awards winner for Best Feature Documentary Linda Aïnouche for “Dreadlocks Story” (2014), which shows how Indians are entangled in the Jamaican society, and how Hinduism was a source of inspiration for the Rastafari movement, is all set to release her new documentary, “Marooned in the Caribbean”, which aims at documenting the awful desolating living conditions that Raizal people, the native inhabitants of San Andres Archipelago, endure.
Sons of slaves, these islanders have fallen prey to what the Colombian government calls Colombianization. “It’s a process”, according to her, “which kills the Raizal culture; it’s the killing of the Raizal soul. Colombianization subjugates Afro-descendants of San Andres to an ethnocide.”

Explorer, director and producer, Linda Aïnouche writes exclusively for Counterview: ***
Nobody escapes from blood and thunder in Colombia, and definitely not in the archipelago of San Andres, situated closer to Managua and Kingston than Bogota. The Raizal p…

India to deport Rohingya refugees, as the world moves towards prosecuting Myanmar for genocide

By Tapan Bose*
Seven Rohingya Muslims refugees who were held at a detention centre in Assam since 2012 will be handed over to Myanmar. The Supreme Court of India has refused to stop their deportation. The new Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gagoi said, "We are not inclined to interfere on the decision taken".

An elite Kutir set up by Modi far from the "madding" crowd: This Gandhi museum is formal, unapproachable

By Rajiv Shah
Have you ever heard of a Gandhi museum, sough to be projected as the “largest” on the Mahatma, yet totally inaccessible, in sharp contrast to Ahmedabad’s humble, approachable and unassuming Gandhi Ashram on the banks of Sabarmati, set up by the Mahatma during the heydays of the freedom movement? It exists about 30 kilometres away, its idea was conceived by none other than a person who has today become even more inaccessible than he ever was: Narendra Modi, India's Prime Minister.

History less known: Kasturba's role as an independent woman and a freedom fighter in her own right

By Nandini Oza*
Even the most deserving of women do not find a place that equals their worth in history. Kasturba is one such woman whose contribution to India’s struggle for freedom has been exemplary, and yet, it has not received the recognition it deserves. Kastur Makhanji Kapadia was born in the year 1869, the same year and in the same town of Porbandar in Gujarat as Gandhiji. In fact she was older than Gandhiji by a few months.

Hyderabad-based Urdu university "bars" entry of its new chancellor, who had "initiated" reforms in institute

Counterview Desk
In an unusual controversy, Aslam Parvaiz, vice-chancellor of of the Hyderabad-based Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) has restricted the entry of its newly appointed Chancellor, Firoz Bakht Ahmed, allegedly because he was trying to initiate reforms, including setting up of a Maulana Azad Center for Composite Culture and Progressive Studies, Model Madrasa, Center for Empowerment of Muslim Women, Course for the Development of Legal Vocabulary and Legal Consciousness in Urdu, and so on.

Poor response to tenders for Gujarat's bid for the world's tallest statue, no international firm shows interest

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government’s claim that its decision to build the world’s highest statue in the world, in the memory of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, would attract “tremendous” response top international construction companies, has gone phut. The state government floated international tenders in August to build the statue, which is slated to be 182-metres high. Despite the “international” character of the tenders and big claims, well-informed Sachivalaya sources close to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi say, “not one international firm has come up to offer to carry out the construction activity.”