Today's Paper

Amnesty faults sedition law

Criticises curbs on NGOs, attacks on activists, journalists

Amnesty International’s annual report, the State of the World’s Human Rights Report 2016-17, has expressed concerns over a range of human rights violations in India. The report, being released worldwide on Wednesday, slammed the use of legislation such as the Foreign Currency (Regulation) Act (FCRA) and the sedition law to silence government critics and crack down on civil society organisations.

It noted the suspension of FCRA registration of Lawyers Collective, and government’s refusal to renew the FCRA licences of 25 NGOs “without offering valid reasons”, which constitute a violation of the right to freedom of association.

Speaking of India’s record, Amnesty International said, “Human rights activists and journalists faced intimidation and attacks from both state and non-state actors.” The report pointed to deaths of journalists Karun Mishra and Rajdeo Ranjan, who were allegedly killed for their reporting, in Sultanpur, Uttar Pradesh, and Siwan, Bihar, respectively.

In a sub-section on India, the report noted that “Dalits and Adivasis continued to face widespread abuses”. It highlighted the nationwide protests following the suicide of Dalit student Rohith Vemula, the attack on Dalit men by a cow vigilante group in Una, and the discrimination faced by Dalits in accessing social spaces and public services.

The report also drew attention to India’s amendment to the child labour law, which allows children under 14 to work in “family enterprises”, and children between 14 and 18 years to work in occupations not classified as “hazardous.”

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