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Uphold human rights, democratic values in relations with India: Euro Parliament insists

By Our Representative 

A European Parliament resolution on India, which seeks to address the critical concerns surrounding human rights and religious freedom issues in India, has expressed concern over "violence, increasing nationalistic rhetoric, and divisive policies" and called upon Indian political leaders to refrain from making inflammatory statements, insisting on the importance of upholding "human rights and democratic values" in EU-India relations.
The resolution raises serious concerns about the situation in Manipur and condemns the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). It urges the European Council, European Commission, and the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to press the Indian government to uphold the constitutionally enshrined right to the free practice of religion. Additionally, it calls for measures to counter hate speech against religious minorities and demands accountability for perpetrators.
Furthermore, the resolution highlights the importance of media freedom, the protection of media professionals, and the creation of a safe and democratic environment for human rights and environmental defenders, indigenous people, Dalit rights defenders, political opponents, and trade union activists. It calls for an end to the use of sedition, broader foreign funding, and terrorism charges to target critics, emphasizing the independence of the judiciary and advocating for the release of political prisoners.
The resolution also addresses the harmful effects of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act on civil society organizations. It calls on the European Commission and European Council to urge Indian authorities to end caste-based discrimination and grant rights to Adivasi communities under the Forest Rights Act. 
In response to the resolution, Claudio Francavilla, Associate EU Advocacy Director at Human Rights Watch, remarked, "The European Parliament resolution on EU-India relations is an indictment of Narendra Modi’s government. Silence by India’s international partners has effectively green-lighted continuing abuses, and the European Parliament deserves praise for breaking it. Other EU institutions, EU  governments, and India’s western partners should urgently make clear to Modi’s government that its crackdown on rights will have consequences for India’s bilateral relations on the world stage."
 Rasheed Ahmed,  Executive Director of the US diaspora advocacy group, Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), while welcoming the European Parliament's resolution, said, "We applaud the European Parliament for its principled  stand on issues of human rights in India. We eagerly anticipate its implementation by the European Council and European Commission, ensuring the advancement of religious freedom and the protection of minority and marginalized communities".



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