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UK: India will be 'real test' of foreign policy under new strategy

‘The UK needs to go beyond fine phrases and take a principled stand’ - Kate Allen Responding to the UK government’s publication today of an Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK, said: “China and other serious foreign policy challenges aren’t going to go away, but in many ways the real test of this review will be India. “Ministers speak out regularly about human rights setbacks in China, Russia, Myanmar or Iran, but say almost nothing about India despite a rapidly deteriorating human rights situation. “In India

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India: Counter-terror raids on journalists and human rights organisations signal 'alarming' escalation in crackdown on dissent

Raids in Jammu and Kashmir conducted based on accusations that the organisations have been using funding from India and abroad ‘for secessionist and terrorist activities’ ‘The authorities are evidently targeting these groups because of their continued work reporting and advocating for the rights of the people in the region, despite a harsh communications blackout imposed last year’ - Julie Verhaar India’s government must immediately halt its intensifying suppression of dissent, said Amnesty International, following a series of counter-terrorism raids on the premises of human rights groups as

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More than 7,000 health worker deaths from COVID-19 globally - UK deaths third-highest

Some countries have seen very large numbers of health worker deaths © Amnesty International

649 deaths in UK - third-highest reported figure for any country globally Social care worker deaths make up more than half of UK total (325) ‘For over seven thousand people to die while trying to save others is a crisis on a staggering scale’ ­- Stephen Cockburn New analysis by Amnesty International has found that at least 7,000 health workers have died around the world after contracting COVID-19 - with 649 deaths in the UK, the third-highest reported figure for any country globally. Issued as an update on global figures first produced by Amnesty in July, Amnesty cautioned that the numbers for

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India: Delhi police committed multiple human rights abuses during February riots - new briefing

The riots followed protests against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act.

Police in Delhi must be investigated for committing multiple human rights abuses during riots in the Indian state in February, Amnesty International India said in a new briefing published today. The riots in the north-east district of Delhi between 23-29 February left more than 50 people dead, the majority of whom were Muslims, and injured more than 500. The riots followed protests against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act. Based on interviews with more than 50 eyewitnesses, lawyers, doctors, human rights activists and retired police officers, as well as analysis of several key

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PROTESTORS ARRESTED FOR OPPOSING BIGOTED LAW

Protestors arrested for opposing bigoted law

Protests Against CAA And NRC At Red Fort - © Raj K Raj/Hindustan Times/Getty
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Safoora Zargar, a research student from Jamia Millia University, Meeran Haider, a member of the Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC) and Shifa-Ur-Rehman, the President of the Jamia Millia Islamia Alumni Association are accused of being ‘key conspirators’ in the February 2020 Delhi riots. They were arrested by the Delhi Police on 10 April, 2 April and 24 April respectively and subsequently booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

Safoora’s pregnancy is a mitigating factor against her continued detention under UAPA, particularly amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders, also known as the Bangkok Rules, recommend that while deciding on pre-trial measures, non-custodial alternatives should be preferred for pregnant women where possible and appropriate.

On 22 February, several peaceful protesters occupied a portion of the road near the Jaffrabad Metro station in north-eastern part of New Delhi to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. A day later, Kapil Mishra - a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader - made provocative speeches and gave Delhi police a three-day ultimatum to remove the protesters. Shortly after Mishra’s speech, riots broke out and attacks by a Hindu mob on Muslims resulted in at least 50 deaths. 

During the riots, verified videos of police officers pelting stones and beating young Muslims surfaced. In one such video, the police officers forced the men to sing the national anthem as they begged the police officers to stop. One of the men later died of the injuries. 

While peaceful protesters face arbitrary detention under draconian laws, the allegations of excessive force against protesters during the CAA protests and subsequent riots which resulted in a number of deaths, as also pointed out in the communication by Special Rapporteurs dated 28 February 2020 to the Government of India, remain to be investigated. 

The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, enacted in December 2019, legitimises discrimination on the basis of religion and stands in clear violation of the Constitution of India and international human rights law. The Act while inclusionary in its stated objective, is exclusionary in its structure and intent. It amends the Citizenship Act of 1955 to enable irregular migrants to acquire Indian citizenship through naturalisation and registration. However, it restricts the eligibility to only Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who entered India on or before 31 December 2014. The Act also reduces the requirement of residence in India for citizenship by naturalisation from 11 years to 5 years for these particular communities.

The CAA stands in violation of the right to equality before the law and right to non-discrimination as guaranteed under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which India is a state party. 

The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA)is routinely used by the government to bypass human rights and stifle dissent. In 2018, the conviction rate under UAPA was 27% while 93% of the cases remained pending in the court. It is a mere tool of harassment that the government uses to harass, intimidate and imprison those who are critical of the government. The slow investigative processes and extremely stringent bail provisions under UAPA ensure that they are locked up for years altogether, creating a convenient setting for unlawful detention and torture.
 

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CRACKDOWN ON DISSENT CONTINUES DURING COVID-19

Crackdown on dissent continues during Covid-19

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Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha were charged under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code along with the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for their involvement in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon riots. Their trial will now be held at a National Investigative Agency special court. With a poor conviction rate, the UAPA is routinely used against people for simply expressing dissenting opinions often without evidence that they incited or resorted to violence or assisted banned organisations, resulting in lengthy pre or under trial detention.

The UAPA has often been abused and used to detain people peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and association. Parts of the UAPA do not meet international human rights standards and their application leads to human rights violations.

Following the arrests of Sudha Bharadwaj, Shoma Sen, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Arun Ferreira, Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Vernon Gonsalves and Varavara Rao in 2018, a smear campaign was launched against the activists. The government claims they are ‘anti-nationals’ working against the country. However, the opinion of communities, where the activists work, is entirely different. In these communities, they are hailed as brave activists, committed to the causes of the poorest and most marginalised communities in the country, like Dalits & Adivasis.

On 25 January 2020, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) took over the Bhima Koregaon investigations from the Maharashtra state police. This came after the new Maharashtra state government had raised several questions regarding the police investigations and had also asked for probe against police officials for the manner in which the investigation was conducted. The transfer of the case to the NIA is seen by many as part of the ongoing crackdown by the Narendra Modi government on human rights defenders in the country.

Hundreds of Dalits had gathered in Bhima Koregaon in Maharashtra on 1 January to commemorate a 200-year-old battle in which Dalit soldiers of the British army defeated the ruling Peshwas. Hindu nationalist groups and alleged supporters of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) objected to the celebration, calling it anti-national for celebrating a colonial victory. The organizers of the Dalit rally said they wanted to campaign against the pervasive ideology in India that leads to attacks on Dalits and Muslims.
 

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India: execution of Delhi bus murderers won't end violence against women

New delhi, India. 3rd January 2013 © © Louis Dowse / Demotix

INDIA: EXECUTION OF DELHI BUS MURDERERS WON’T END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN First executions in India in nearly five years Expert committee had previously warned against death penalty in sexual offence cases ‘The death penalty is never the solution’ - Avinash Kumar In response to the execution of four men convicted for the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman on a bus in New Delhi in 2012, Avinash Kumar, Amnesty International India’s Executive Director, said: “Since August 2015, India had not executed anyone and it is unfortunate that four men were executed today in the name of tackling

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Bangladesh: Man faces 7 years in jail for Facebook post about Indian Prime Minister

Emdadul was arrested for a post expressing concern about the decision to extend a state invitation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi (pictured) © Getty

Emdadul Haque Milon was arrested for a post expressing concern about the decision to extend a state invitation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi Accused under the Digital Security Act, he could be imprisoned on vague charges of ‘deteriorating law and order’ Amnesty International is calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Emdadul Haque Milon, who has been arrested and faces up to seven years in jail for a Facebook post he wrote last month. In the post he expressed his concern about the decision to extend a state invitation to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Accused under the

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India: Eight people killed in riots after 'hateful speeches' by political leaders

Protests have continued against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act.

Political leaders in India who are creating a violent environment by making hateful speeches must be immediately held accountable, Amnesty International India said today. In riots last night in north-eastern New Delhi, eight people were killed and more than 100 injured after protests against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act. Avinash Kumar, Executive Director of Amnesty International India, said: “These riots - along with the earlier instances of violence that took place in Jamia Milia University and Jawaharlal Nehru University - were preceded by the hateful speeches made by

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India: Four men at risk of imminent execution

Amnesty is calling for the death sentences of four convicted men to be commuted.

First UA: 05/20
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