Enactment of laws a sovereign prerogative: India to UNHCR chief

Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs Anurag Srivastava. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

Enactment of laws is a sovereign prerogative, India said on Tuesday, responding to criticism of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Act by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The statement came in response to the comments about the law by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.

“India is a democratic polity based on the rule of law and an independent judiciary. The framing of laws is obviously a sovereign prerogative. Violations of law, however, cannot be condoned under the pretext of human rights. A more informed view of the matter was expected of a UN body,” said Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs.

The Indian official’s remarks came hours after Ms. Bachelet urged the Government of India to defend the rights of human rights activists and NGOs. “India has long had a strong civil society, which has been at the forefront of ground-breaking human rights advocacy within the country and globally. But I am concerned that vaguely defined laws are increasingly being used to stifle these voices,” said Ms. Bachelet.

“Constructive criticism is the lifeblood of democracy. Even if the authorities find it uncomfortable, it should never be criminalised or outlawed,” Ms. Bachelet said. The top UN rights official raised the closure of Amnesty International after it was found to be in violation of FCRA rules. The official requested India to defend human rights workers and regretted that Indian laws were being used to punish human rights reporting.

Amnesty International had reported extensively on the riots in Delhi that took place during the last week of February 2020.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2020 6:05:46 AM |

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