The Indian Government should bring public officials, police, and military personnel who commit serious rights abuses to justice, Human Rights Watch said that in release of its world report 2015 on Thursday.
The Modi government intensified engagement with world leaders to promote trade and investment and revive the Indian economy but failed to speak out on human rights abuses, and continues to abstain on key UN resolutions. In the 656-page world report, its 25th edition, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, elected in May 2014, should act to fulfill its campaign commitments to implement laws promoting women’s rights, improve access to health and sanitation, end discrimination, and ensure development benefits for the poor and marginalised.
In his introductory essay, Executive Director Kenneth Roth urges governments to recognise that human rights offer an effective moral guide in turbulent times and that violating rights can spark or aggravate serious security challenges. The short-term gains of undermining core values of freedom and non-discrimination are rarely worth the long-term price, official website hrw.org reported.
The Modi government should seek to repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and ensure justice for security force members who commit serious violations,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia Director at Human Rights Watch. In 2014, authorities tightened restrictions on nongovernmental organisations critical of big development projects that activists say will harm the health and livelihoods of affected populations as well as the environment.
The millions of children in India still engaged in the worst forms of labor. Caste-based discrimination and neglect of tribal communities remained a problem. Despite legal reforms to better address violence against women and children, there is still no monitoring to ensure proper implementation. In November 2014, at least 16 women died and many others were critically ill after undergoing sterilisation procedures in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh, leading to an outcry against target-driven approaches to family planning programs that undermine freedom of choice and quality of care.
“Modi is seeking to be more engaged with finding solutions to global challenges and yet his government has shown no signs of breaking from India’s disappointing legacy on human rights concerns abroad,” Ganguly said. “India should promote, not ignore, the rights of those that are suffering under repressive regimes.”