India gets a rap from UN Human Rights Commission a day after it seals the office of Kashmir Times
- The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet claims that India is restricting the right to freedom of association using its ‘vaguely’ worded laws.
- She pointed in particular to the country’s newly amended
Foreign Contribution Regulation Act(FCRA).
- According to her, the
UN Human Rights Committeehas found that India ‘must show the specific nature of threat’ to justify its restrictions.
AdvertisementThe United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has called out India for its “vaguely” worded laws, which are stifling the work of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and human rights activists in the country.
Incidentally, her letter comes a day after the Jammu and Kashmir estates department sealed the Srinagar office of the
Today, Estates Deptt locked our office without any due process of cancellation & eviction, same way as I was evicte… https://t.co/YFzzEG50pe— Anuradha Bhasin (@AnuradhaBhasin_) 1603120032000
However, Bachelet’s issue isn’t related to that one incident. Instead, she points to India’s newly amended Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) that poses a big concern.
The committee oversees the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which India is a party.
"The FCRA has been invoked over the years to justify an array of highly intrusive measures, ranging from official raids on NGO offices and freezing of bank accounts, to suspension or cancellation of registration, including civil society organizations that have engaged with UN human rights bodies," she explained.
Kashmir Times is only the most recent example
According to Bachelet, activists and human rights advocates have also come under increasing pressure in recent months due to their participation in mass protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
The UN claims more than 1,500 people have reportedly been arrested in relation to the protests, with many charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act — a law which, like the FCRA, has also been widely criticised for its failure to meet the standards of international human rights.
In the case of government sealing the
“The debilitating restrictions imposed through the complete shutdown on internet and telecommunication services, and severe curbs on the movement of photo journalists and reporters [should] be immediately relaxed in order to ensure the freedom of the press and media,” said the petition filed on August 10, 2019.
What’s wrong with the FCRA?
The Foreign Contribution Regulations Act restricts the use of foreign funds in Indian not-for-profit organisations, among other changes. According to NGOs and human rights advocates, the problem with the act is that the definition of ‘public interest’ has not been specified and leaves it open to interpretation.
As a result, those looking to abuse the letter of law rather than uphold its spirit, have used the broad umbrella of ‘public interest’ to serve their own means.
"I am concerned that such actions based on the grounds of vaguely defined 'public interest' leave this law open to abuse, and that it is indeed actually being used to deter or punish NGOs for human rights reporting and advocacy that the authorities perceive as critical in nature,” said Bachelet.
She added that the UN Human Rights Office will continue to engage with the Indian government on issues relating to the promotion and protection of human rights. It will also continue to monitor developments that impact fundamental rights and freedom.
India releases Chinese soldier who strayed across the contested LAC border
Luxury icons Sabyasachi and Oberoi open up about their 'perfectionist quirks' like checking the color of egg yolks and slashing clothes so they can’t hit the edit table
EXCLUSIVE: Amazon AI executive explains three things every business needs to address before using machine learning
Popular on BI
- Here is a list of bank holidays in October 2022
- An Apple executive is leaving the company after being filmed joking about fondling 'big-breasted women' in a viral TikTok video
- RBI hikes repo rate by 50 bps, taking it to a three-year high of 5.9% – Das says inflation at ‘alarmingly high levels’ across jurisdictions
- Best camera phone under ₹15000
- Best 5G mobile phones under ₹20000
- 22 lakh Indian IT professionals likely to leave jobs by 2025: Report
- OnePlus says successfully geared up for 5G launch with 5G-ready smartphone portfolio
- This website generates videos from a single image and text for free – here’s all you need to know