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[Oral Statement] Item 2: General Debate on the oral update by the High Commissioner

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54th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council

Item 2: General Debate on the oral update by the High Commissioner

Oral statement delivered by Ahmed Adam

On behalf of Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)

13 September 2023


Mr. President,

We welcome the High Commissioner’s update.

We share the High Commissioner’s observation about the urgent need to intensify efforts to protect religious minorities, Dalits, Adivasis and other marginalised groups in India.

Hate speech, majoritarian rhetoric and incitement to violence and discrimination by State officials and Hindu nationalist leaders with complete impunity have increasingly fuelled violence against minorities including killings, public lynching, and mob violence.

The ongoing intercommunal violence in Manipur and the recent violence against Muslims in Haryana and Gurugram clearly indicate the potential for escalation of violence against minorities in India without urgent action to counter hate speech and incitement.

These incidents are taking place in a context of systematic erosion of the rule of law and independent institutions, leaving victims with little hope of justice and accountability.

Amid the Council’s indifference or selective silence, as well as the continuing pattern of the abuse of state institutions and national security infrastructure to silence human rights defenders, journalists, independent media, and civil society, the High Commissioner’s role is crucial in bringing to light the deteriorating situation of human rights in India.

The detention of Kashmiri human rights defender Khurram Parvez and journalists Irfan Mehraj and Fahad Shah under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, and harassment of civil society and media in Kashmir including the blocking of the independent news outlet, the Kashmir Walla, are part of this pattern specifically aimed at silencing those who monitor and report on the human rights crisis in the Indian Administered Kashmir.

We urge the High Commissioner to use his mandate to monitor and regularly update the Council on the situation in India with a view to preventing further escalation.

Thank you.