Human rights situation in India poor, says global watch body
The situation is compounded by widespread impunity for abuses
Human rights issue should be a central part of the discussions at the European Union-India summit on strategic partnership commencing tomorrow in Delhi, Human Rights Watch said today.
The presidents of the European Council and the European Commission should make human rights a central part of their discussions with Indian officials, they said.
“A strategic partnership between the European Union and India should be based on shared respect for human rights,” said Lotte Leicht, European Union (EU) advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.
The human rights situation in India is “much poor”, they said.
The rights watch body said successive governments have yet to enact adequate laws or implement policies to protect marginalized communities, particularly Dalits, tribal groups, religious minorities, women, and children.
The government routinely “fails to take action” in cases of serious human rights violations, particularly all forms of sexual assault against women, communal violence, enforced disappearances in conflict areas, extrajudicial killings, torture, and increasing attacks on human rights defenders, they said.
These issues are compounded by the widespread impunity for abuses and the corresponding problems of access to justice and adequate compensation, they said.
The EU should call for repeal of Indian laws that protect public officials from prosecution for violating human rights, effective implementation of policies to ensure social justice, and a commitment to ensure freedom of expression, including on the internet, Human Rights Watch said.
They also called upon the EU to encourage India to use its increasing global influence to address human rights problems in other countries.
“India’s growing regional and global influence should be matched by an increasing commitment to protect human rights abroad,” Leicht said.
Human Rights Watch made a series of recommendations on human rights concerns in a February 3 letter to the European Council president, Herman Van Rompuy, and the European Commission president, Jose Manuel Barroso.