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May 5, 2021

8 world rights organisations say…: European leaders must take up HR violations with India

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May 5, 2021

BRUSSELS: European leaders at the May 8, 2021 summit with their Indian counterparts should prioritise the deteriorating human rights situation in India, including the right to health, eight organisations said on Tuesday.

A news release issued by the Human Rights Watch said European leaders should press the Indian government to reverse its abusive and discriminatory policies and immediately release all human rights defenders and other critics, who have been jailed for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

The organisations are Amnesty International, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), Front Line Defenders (FLD), Human Rights Watch, International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN), International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), and World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT).

India has the fastest-growing number of Covid-19 cases in the world and is facing severe healthcare shortages – of testing capacity, medicines, ambulance services, hospital beds, oxygen support, and vaccines. The European Union and its member states should reconsider and reverse their opposition to India and South Africa’s proposal before the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to temporarily waive certain intellectual property rules under the TRIPS Agreement to facilitate increased manufacturing and production of vaccines and related products globally until widespread vaccination is in place the world over.

The Covid-19 crisis has also highlighted growing human rights concerns in India. The Indian government has tried to censor free speech, including by ordering social media content taken down and criminalising calls for help. The government has also ignored calls from the UN for countries to release “every person detained without sufficient legal basis.