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European Union told to talk human rights with India, not as any other business

By Our Representative
The European Union (EU) and India should “quickly restart” their talks about human rights, because for “too many years pressing issues like freedom of belief and religion have not been discussed”, said participants of the online conference “Situation of Human Rights in India”, hosted by Members of the European Parliament (EP) Bert-Jan Ruissen (Netherlands) and Cristian Terhes (Romia) under the umbrella of the EP Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Religious Tolerance.
“Freedom of religion is clearly being limited in India, to a worrying level”, stated Bert-Jan Ruissen. “The EU as a community of values and economic superpower is uniquely placed to stand up worldwide for human rights, of which freedom of belief is one of the most important.”
He pressed the EU to step up its efforts. “Human rights should be mentioned as a top priority in meetings with India, not as ‘any other business’. I recommend the European Parliament to adopt an urgency resolution on the matter”
Stressing on positive impact on countries that respect fundamental rights, Cristian Terhes said, “India is the second country in the world by population, with tremendous potential. As history proved, any country that respected human rights and religious freedom became stronger and more prosperous. Strengthening the respect for human rights and religious freedom within its borders, India could bring more prosperity for its citizens and make its voice stronger and better heard in the world.”
Four speakers addressed the online conference: Rahil Patel, Associate at Oxford House Research, Anna Hill, EU advocacy officer of NGO Open Doors International, Alessandro Pecorari, Europe Liaison Officer for Christian Solidarity Worldwide, and Shabnam Hashmi of ANHAD, social activist and a human rights defender from India.
Rahil Patel stated: “The matter of India is urgent. Democratic values are backsliding with speed and the EU can be a great economic partner that can initiate tough conversations. But first, before we engage and try to change India, we need to understand how it sees the world. The Hindu worldview through a democratic lens is complex.”
“A rise in Hindu nationalist ideology has led to hate speech, discrimination and violence against minorities including Muslims and Christians. The number of reported annual incidents against Christians has increased more than five times between 2014 and 2019”, said Anna Hill, adding, “Anti-conversion laws have a negative effect on minority rights.”
“We need to resume the postponed EU-India Human Rights Dialogue from January 12, so that they can discuss examples of best practice in law enforcement reform”, insisted Alessandro Pecorari, “The EU should urge India in every interaction to investigate and address allegations of complicity in the police hierarchy in emboldening non-state actors and for failure to register, investigate and prosecute cases.
Shabnam Hashmi said: “There is an unprecedented attack on democracy in India. All dissent is being curbed and human rights defenders maligned, cases filed against them and many are jailed. Voices defending human rights and minority rights are silenced.”
She added, “The violence, hate speeches, attacks on journalists, human rights defenders (HRDs), women, artists , intellectuals and minorities, especially Muslims and Christians, have spiralled after Modi regime came to power. EU must discuss the status of human rights in India in any future talks with India as top priority.”

Comments

Anonymous said…
the problem is - either you sell fighter aricraft to India or discuss human rights and so on.
Anonymous said…
EU is better off without doing any business with India. EU doesn't need India. India doesn't need EU. Human rights?? Shove it

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