The rights watchdog Amnesty International said it has been forced to halt its India operations due to “reprisals” from the Narendra Modi government and has accused Hindu nationalist government of indulging in a “witch-hunt of human rights organisations”. The organisation has been compelled to let go of staff in India and pause all its ongoing campaign and research work. Amnesty India also said its bank accounts have been frozen and it’s been forced to lay off staff in the country, and suspend all its campaign and research work.
Read Amnesty International’s full statement responding to Amnesty International India’s bank accounts being frozen by the Enforcement Directorate:
This is an egregious and shameful act by the Indian Government, which forces us to cease the crucial human rights work of Amnesty International India for now. However, this does not mark the end of our firm commitment to, and engagement in, the struggle for human rights in India. We will be working resolutely to determine how Amnesty International can continue to play our part within the human rights movement in India for years to come.
The Amnesty movement is very proud of the vital work carried out by our outstanding colleagues in India regardless of the risks they faced, including their unequivocal calls for accountability for the actions of the authorities during the Delhi riots and in Jammu and Kashmir and their work on gender based violence.
Sadly, this enormously important work standing up for victims has been met with the heavy-handed tactics that Indian civil society has become increasingly familiar with – part of the government’s drive to silence critical voices and stoke a climate of fear.
The staff of Amnesty India have shown great dignity in the face of a concerted and vicious smear campaign of spurious allegations, raids by various investigative agencies, malicious media leaks, and intimidation without an iota of credible evidence of wrongdoing. No laws have been broken.
It is a dismal day when a country of India’s stature, a rising global power and a member of the UN Human Rights Council, with a constitution which commits to human rights and whose national human rights movements have influenced the world, so brazenly seeks to silence those who pursue accountability and justice. As many of our colleagues have lost their jobs this week thanks to the actions of the Government of India, we will look for ways to continue our support to them as we continue to call on the Government to end its shameful crackdown on those who stand up for human rights of Indians