15 international human rights groups condemn Indian government’s action against Amnesty International IndiaAmnesty International on Tuesday announced it was closing its India office, saying it was facing harassment.
Fifteen international human rights organisations have condemned the Indian government’s actions against Amnesty International India that forced the rights organisation to halt its work in the country.
Amnesty India on Tuesday announced halting its works after the Enforcement Directorate under the Indian government froze its bank accounts accusing its alleged involvement in money laundering.
“The Indian government’s actions against Amnesty India are part of increasingly repressive tactics to shut down critical voices and groups working to promote, protect, and uphold fundamental rights,” said the Association for Progressive Communications, Global Indian Progressive Alliance, International Commission of Jurists, International Federation for Human Rights, Human Rights Watch among others in a statement on Wednesday. They also have pledged to continue support for local human rights defenders and organizations against the crackdown.
The Indian government has accused Amnesty India of violating laws on foreign funding, a charge the rights group says is politically motivated and constitutes evidence “that the overbroad legal framework is maliciously activated when human rights defenders and groups challenge the government’s grave inactions and excesses.”
The rights group is being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), since October 2018 when the agency raided its Bengaluru head office and froze its accounts because of which it had to let go of some staff at the time. In early 2019, the Income Tax department wrote to Amnesty’s office-bearers seeking certain clarifications.
Avinash Kumar, executive director of the Amnesty International India, on Tuesday said that the constant harassment by different government agencies in India was a result of his organisation’s unequivocal calls for transparency in the government, for accountability of the Delhi police and the Government of India regarding the grave human rights violations in Delhi riots and Jammu and Kashmir. “For a movement that has done nothing but raise its voices against injustice, this latest attack is akin to freezing dissent,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.
This is the fifth time Amnesty India was forced to shut down its service which started 50 years back when George Fernandes was its president and last time it was in 2009, according to Indian media reports.