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Cherry Bird - 6 March 2023 Meeting Highlights - Sutton Amnesty

At our March meeting we welcomed Cherry Bird, AIUK’s Country Coordinator for India and Nepal. Cherry gave an informative talk highlighting key concerns about human rights and freedom of speech in India, Kashmir and Nepal.

In India, Cherry drew our attention to the Bhima Koregaon 16 (BK16), a group arrested in two waves in 2018 and 2020 including poets, journalists, lawyers, academics, artists and a Jesuit priest. They had defended in particular the rights of minorities but also stood up for free speech and fair trials. Their arrests under the UAPA had been politically motivated with planted evidence. An Amnesty petition asking for their release can be signed here (see

In Kashmir, Cherry mentioned the case of Khurram Parvez - more details here

In Nepal, a Maoist insurgency ran from 1996-2006 fed by inequality and government. Subsequently the Maoists were brought into a political grouping and while Nepal is nominally a multi-party democracy that position is fragile. Amnesty's concerns in Nepal are

  • the continuing need for transitional justice (after the Maoist revolution) - financial compensation to those who lost out has never been delivered
  • migrant labour rights - for example many of those who went to Qatar died or were left in debt
  • conservation and indigenous people's land rights
  • climate change
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