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HRC49 Oral Statement on Item 4: General Debate on human rights situations that require the Council’s attention

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49th 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)

21 March 2022


Mr. President,

We draw the Council’s attention to the deteriorating human rights situations in India and Bangaldesh.

In India, we are disturbed by the increasing hatred, discrimination, and violence against religious minorities, fueled by majoritarian and ultranationalist narratives actively endorsed by public and religious officials. The situation in India is further compounded by systematic repression of civil society marked by attacks, surveillance and harassment against human rights defenders, journalists and media through draconian anti-terrorism, national security and sedition laws. Since 2016, Indian authorities have cancelled, suspended or refused to renew the licenses of hundreds of NGOs to receive foreign funding under the Foreign Contribution Regulations Act (FCRA), effectively curtailing their ability to operate.

Similarly, in Bangladesh, human rights violations including enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, and torture by security forces, in particular the Rapid Action Battalion, remain pervasive with no prospect for accountability. The government continues to invoke the Foreign Donation (Voluntary Activities) Regulation Act 2016, the Information and Communication Technology Act 2006 (ICT Act) and the Digital Security Act 2018 to systematically target and silence human rights defenders, NGOs and journalists. The government’s continued prosecution of human rigths defenders Adilur Rahman Khan and Nasiruddin Elan of Odhikar on a trumped-up cybercrime charge is emblematic of the ongoing trend of persecution of human rights defenders in Bangladesh.

The Council must pay close attention to the situations in these countries and take necessary action to prevent further deterioration.

Thank you