“...People have a right to demonstrate peacefully and authorities need to let them do so,” said Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary General of the United Nations on Saturday, on being asked about the farmers’ movement that has continued despite talks with the Government of India.
The comment is the latest addition to a show of support for farmers who have been protesting in the outskirts of the national capital for the last ten days. The remark from the U.N. comes a day after the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) described Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s support to the protest as “unacceptable interference”.
The comment from the United Nations came even as 36 British Members of Parliament sent a joint letter to U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, calling upon him to bring up the concerns of British citizens over the protests in Punjab and in the outskirts of Delhi. In a two page letter, Tanmanjeet Dhesi, Member of Parliament for Slough, expressed concern about the well-being of the protesting farmers and said, “...These new laws (in India) present the Punjabis with a huge problem, with some describing it as a ‘death warrant’.”
The comments from the U.K. and the United Nations have added to the arguments from Canada. Hours after the Ministry of External Affairs here described Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s support for the farm protests as “interference”, the Canadian leader said on Friday that Canada “will always stand up for the right for peaceful protest and for human rights around the world”. This was the second comment from Mr. Trudeau, who had made similar remarks in support of the farmers on December 1.
Earlier, the MEA summoned the Canadian High Commissioner Nadir Patel on Friday and said, “Such actions, if continued, would have a seriously damaging impact on ties between India and Canada.” In the meanwhile, protests were held in multiple locations across Canada, where a large number of Indo-Canadian citizens participated in drive-in locations, several of which culminated at Indian diplomatic missions.
The diplomatic spat between Canada and India was visible as External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar cancelled his participation in the December 7 meeting on the COVID-19 pandemic, which is to be led by Canada. The Hindu has learnt that the decision not to attend the meeting was conveyed to the Canadian High Commissioner in India as well by India’s High Commissioner to Ottawa, Ajay Bisaria.