[HRC51 Joint Oral Statement] Item 4: General Debate on Human Rights Situations that Require the Council’s Attention
3 October 2022 1:55 pm
51st regular session of the UN Human Rights Council
Item 4: General Debate on Human Rights Situations that Require the Council’s Attention
Delivered by Ahmed Adam
On behalf of Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), World Organisation against Torture (OMCT), CIVICUS – World Alliance for Citizen Participation
26 September 2022
We call for the attention of the Council on the deteriorating human rights situation in India.
Since 2014, India has witnessed a sharp rise of authoritarianism accompanied by systematic erosion of the rule of law and independent institutions such as the National Human Rights Commission, Elections Commission and the judiciary, that are mandated to safeguard human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Indian authorities have escalated crackdowns on and persecution of human rights defenders, journalists, and critics through restrictive laws and counter-terrorism legislation that do not comply with India’s international obligations. The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) continues to be applied as part of a broader systematic repression of civil society and opposition voices. It fails to comply with international standards and must be repealed or reviewed.
The government continues its assault on fundamental freedoms, in particular the rights to freedom of expression, media, peaceful assembly, association and movement, in Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmiri human rights defender Khurram Parvez, and journalists Fahad Shah remain in detention under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in a deliberate attempt to obfuscate and stifle independent reporting on the extent and gravity of human rights implications of its policies in Kashmir.
At the same time, majoritarian and ultranationalist narratives actively promoted or endorsed by public and religious officials as well as discriminatory legislation such as the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and policies, and police inaction, continue to fuel hatred, discrimination, and violence against minorities, especially Muslims.
We call on Indian authorities to end repression of civil society and media, end harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders, journalists and critics, and release all those who are arbitrarily detained for their legitimate work including human rights defender Khurram Parvez and journalist Fahad Shah.
The Council must act urgently and appropriately to prevent further escalation of violence, discrimination, and hatred against minorities which, if left unchecked, could lead to gross and systematic violations.