Amnesty Volunteers All Over The World Call PM Modi A Bully Of Human Rights, Stage Protests
December 3rd, 2018 / 10:47 AM
Image Credits: AmnestyUK/Twiiter
Declaring themselves as “the latest victim of the Indian government’s crackdown on civil society”, Amnesty India has called out the government’s repeated raids and adverse actions on them as a gross violation of human rights in broad daylight. Amnesty volunteers from all parts of the world have come out in solidarity with Amnesty India, staging protests in public and on social media. PM Narendra Modi’s has featured in their outrage time and again, addressing him as an attacker of human rights.
The global non-profit organisation Amnesty International is well-recognised for their humanitarian activities all across the world.
Government’s strict policy against NGOs
On October 24, 2018, Enforcement Directorate conducted raids on Amnesty International India’s two offices in Bengaluru, in connection with a foreign exchange rules violation case, reported The Indian Express. A day later, the bank accounts of the NGO were frozen, reported The Quint.
The searches, conducted under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), has been dubbed by Amnesty as a “demonizing and criminalizing” attack on human rights. They have pointed out that the raids on their office premises in India were ‘highly publicized’ in media.
Protests from all over the world
At the outset of the G-20 Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina on November 30 – December 1, Amnesty activists in Argentina, Nepal, UK, Germany, Peru hosted peaceful protests in front of Indian embassy offices in these countries.
Buenos Aires witnessed a gathering of Amnesty Argentina volunteers, holding placards and voicing slogans in front of the Indian Embassy, just a week before the G-20 summit attended by PM Modi.
El gobierno de India bloqueó las cuentas bancarias de @AIIndia, lo que bloqueó su actividad.
Fuimos a la embajada de India para decirle a @narendramodi #BastaDeIntimidaciones #BullyNoMore pic.twitter.com/ngvZZYVLzE
— Amnistía Internacional Argentina (@amnistiaar) November 24, 2018
On November 30, thirty Amnesty Nepal activists affixed protest banners at the Indian Embassy premises in Kathmandu, only to be detained by the police unlawfully. The posters were also taken down within merely two hours.
— Amnesty Nepal (@amnestynepal) November 30, 2018
#keephumanrightsalive @narendramodi should rectify his ways of muzzling critical voices and #humanrights activism and stand up to the values and ideals his government represents as a member to the @UN #HumanRightsCouncil pic.twitter.com/0kGXo62GVo
— Amnesty Nepal (@amnestynepal) November 30, 2018
The disrupted protests in Kathmandu were soon followed by a similar demonstration in London by Amnesty UK. The activists chose to stage their protest in front of the Indian High Commission in London.
— Amnesty UK (@AmnestyUK) November 30, 2018
The organisation had earlier written a letter to newly appointed Indian High Commissioner in the UK, Ruchi Ghanashyam, demanding the removal of restrictions on bank accounts of the two NGOs, end of “intimidation and harassment” of the organisations and end of the legislation used as a ruse to muzzle activists. Amnesty UK tweeted about the protest reminding Prime Minister Modi of his promise to protect human rights.
Amnesty USA walked a similar path to voice their discontent against the controversial decision by the Indian government. In a tweet, they highlighted the message that protecting human rights should be the first and foremost responsibility of an elected government. Taking a dig at Narendra Modi’s 2014 election tagline “Ab Ki Baar, Modi Sarkar”, Amnesty USA mentioned “abKiBaarMaanavAdhikaar”.
.@amnestyusa stands in solidarity with @AIIndia and all human rights workers and activists in India. @narendramodi, strong leaders don’t bully charities. #abkiBaarMaanavAdhikaar Thank you @amnestynepal for your fearless leadership! @amnestysasia pic.twitter.com/ng2z2ZoyPv
— Francisco Bencosme (@Bencosmef) November 30, 2018
US human rights activist Brezhnev Otieno took to Twitter against the alleged “bullying” of charities by Narendra Modi, who incidentally was the winner of the Seoul Peace Prize.
Dear @narendramodi, Activists are being harassed, independent media houses raided, and organisations like Amnesty India and Greenpeace India targeted by Indian authorities for the work they are doing. Stop the intimidation and harassment now! #bullynomore #StandUp4HumanRights pic.twitter.com/nh832X4GXg
— Brezhnev Otieno (@BrezhnevOtieno) November 30, 2018
On the same day, the movement was replicated in Berlin and Hamburg in Germany as well where slogans were voiced and meetings were held.
In #Indien werden Menschenrechtler_innen verhaftet, Medienhäuser durchsucht und die Konten von NGOs gesperrt. Die indische Regierung unter @narendramodi greift direkt die Zivilgesellschaft an. ⇨https://t.co/a1N4S2hiUw #KeepHumanRightsAlive #MutBrauchtSchutz pic.twitter.com/G2ZQbRj9i1
— Amnesty Deutschland (@amnesty_de) November 30, 2018
— Amnesty Hamburg (@AmnestyHamburg) November 30, 2018
An unexpected addition to this list was perhaps Amnesty Peru, where the volunteers left signs and pamphlets at the Indian embassy quarters in Lima, pleading authorities to stop their crackdown on charitable organisations.
Hoy el activismo de Amnistía Internacional estuvo frente a la Embajada India en #Lima, Perú, para exigir al Primer Ministro Narendra Modi que deje de perseguir a las ONG de su país que solo buscan promover los derechos de más de mil millones de personas #BullyNoMore #G20 pic.twitter.com/1LJe0i0to2
— Amnistía Internacional Perú (@amnistiaperu) November 30, 2018
As per Zee News, Amnesty International UK’s director Kate Allen said, “As more people in India call for equality, accountability and justice, Prime Minister Modi’s government is trying to silence human rights defenders and organisations.” She further added that Amnesty India works in the domain of women’s rights and has exposed many incidents of use of force against defenceless people. For years, they have also supported indigenous communities whose rights are being violated by corporations.
Clampdown on Greenpeace
On October 5, Enforcement Directorate also searched premises of another international NGO, Greenpeace, in Bengaluru for alleged foreign exchange violations. Reportedly, the agency came to know that Greenpeace incorporated a commercial entity called DDIIPL after the Union Home Ministry cancelled Greenpeace India Society’s (Chennai) Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) registration in 2015 for alleged violation of rules. as per The Economic Times. The agency also froze over a dozen bank accounts related to Greenpeace. Greenpeace denied the allegations by stating that the organisation runs entirely on the donations made by ecologically conscious Indians.
Amnesty India fears more raids
Aakar Patel, director of Amnesty India, said that the government is showing no signs of easing the restrictions and more raids and restrictions are anticipated from different government organisations in the coming months.
Written by : Uday Bhanu (Intern)
Edited by : Sayantani Nath