By removing Amnesty, India is cheating with its founding ideology Rajat Khosla Opinion

ANowadays, Amnesty International will no longer be able to operate inside India. After years of official threats, intimidation and harassment, Amnesty India’s accounts have been frozen without any official notice. The human rights research and campaign run by our colleagues has suddenly stopped. They have had a source of livelihood to snatch from them. And the millions of people who helped them in their work will no longer have a strong voice to strengthen their own voice for justice.

The decision was not affected by any question of law, as Indian authorities now claim. This is not about Amnesty India’s financial resources, which are completely legitimate and there is no violation of the law. This is the punishment for standing up for the basic values ​​of humanity in the world’s largest democracy.

Bank accounts were frozen following two major human rights reports Delhi riots This year, where Amnesty India demonstrated police intervention in violence against Muslims, and another arbitrary detention and Internet ban Tolerate in Kashmir, One year after the end of its special status. Both reports yielded results that were confirmed by other independent observers.

But according to Indian officials, the facts no longer matter. Instead of studying these reports and acting on their recommendations, the authorities have finally lost patience with a human rights organization that insists on telling the truth over and over again. In recent years, Amnesty India has documented and campaigned against human rights abuses. Women online, Against children School sexual abuse, Against victims of class discrimination, against health workers during Kuwaid 19 epidemics, and against Muslims denied protection Killed in the streets According to UN experts, their faith has been pushed to the brink of stupidity under a law. Condemned As “fundamentally discriminatory in nature”.

These efforts are not part of a nefarious conspiracy to tarnish India’s image, as some government officials now claim in a humorous way. This is a work that is influenced by India’s own traditions. India was one of the original members of the United Nations, which voted in favor of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Hansa Mehta, an Indian women’s rights champion, was among the select few who drafted the landmark document. As the Indian courts have repeatedly stated, these are the same values ​​enshrined in India’s own constitution, which Mehta also helped draft, and are guaranteed by a number of human rights treaties. Which India has voluntarily signed. When these values ​​are misrepresented, Amnesty India is a completely independent organization, working for Indians and supported by Indian members.

In addition, Amnesty impartially sets the standards for governments around the world. In China, for example, we are leading a global campaign to expose the persecution of Uighurs and other Muslim groups in Xinjiang. Our research has revealed the excesses of a Criminal justice system It is not worth mentioning, it is a smile because of the use of violence, utterly unfair trials and thousands of executions every year. And we’ve documented and talked about Beijing’s extremist crackdown on liberties in Hong Kong.

In Pakistan, we have long campaigned against it To be missing, Where people get away from their loved ones and are not seen or heard again for weeks, months, even years. We have spoken against the Lord Silence of Pakistani journalists, Through censorship and physical attacks. We have defended human rights defenders against harassment, intimidation or worse. And we stand together Religious minorities Those who are fast by the mob and the state has shown them little protection, even if the people are charged under it. Laws of blasphemy, Hindu women abducted and Forced change, Or Hindu worshipers deny a temple in the capital Islamabad.

Taking advantage of a long tradition of tolerance and pluralism, India once prided itself on standing apart from the rest of the region. It was a tradition that was not influenced by the West but was opposed to it. This was evident in the struggle for independence against the British, when Indian activists like Mehta were imprisoned under strict laws for peaceful beliefs and the demonstration was crushed with violent punishment. And it was a tradition that gave birth to an independent press and countless social movements, including trade unions, women’s rights groups, indigenous and Dalit rights activists, each of which strongly blamed the Indian state. Ready to book.

These traditions are now in error. Under the current administration, critical journalists have been fired, while voices in support of the government dominate the airways. Minorities were hunted down by mobs on the streets and harassed by the government. Students, academics, lawyers and workers have been arrested for their completely peaceful activities under “anti-terrorism” laws.

Last week, Prime Minister Modi told the United Nations that India wanted to play a permanent role in the Security Council. Presenting his case, he said that the “founding ideals” of the United Nations were the same as in India. What he didn’t say was where those views were expressed by Mehta and others or how they have now been deceived. India is not one of the foremost defenders of human rights in the world today, as it may be, but instead has claimed a place alongside states that fear the presence of independent and critical human rights organizations. Yes, and anxious to make sure no one is left. Testifying and speaking.

Rajat Khosla is Senior Director of Research, Advocacy and Policy at Amnesty International

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