‘Stop criminalising human rights defenders’, EU human rights body writes to Amit Shah

Sit-in protestors at ShaheenBagh. (Maktoob Archives)

European Union Committee for Human rights writes a letter to Indian Home minister Amit Shah ‘expressing serious concern’ about the recent arrests of students and Human rights defenders. The letter opined that peaceful protest is ‘portrayed as terrorist activities’ by the government.

Letter From Marie Arena, Chairman of European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI), asks for urgent steps to ‘stop impeding and criminalising the work of human rights defenders’.

The letter Published on Friday, is sent to Amit Shah’s Office criticizing the ongoing crackdown on Student leaders and activists during the Covid19 pandemic.

The letter raised concerns about recent arrests of Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha by the National Investigative Agency and the arrest of Muslim leaders such as Safoora Zargar, Gulfisha Fatima, Khalid Saifi, Meeran Haider, Shifa-Ur-Rehman, Dr Kafeel Khan, Asif Iqbal and Sharjeel Imam Over Anti-CAA protest.

The letter said its worrying to see terrorism charges, including under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), are used to silence them and pointed out it as a violation of international human rights standards.

The letter reminds Shah about the repeated call of the United Nations to the immediate release of prisoners of conscience as part of overall efforts to contain the outbreak.

The letter says: “We trust that it is our common duty and responsibility to protect human rights without discrimination and thus, encourage India to join in and implement fully the guidelines adopted by its Supreme Court aiming at reducing detainee population at this difficult time.”

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