23 May 2023
Media Release: Action urged on ongoing human rights violations in India ahead of Narendra Modi’s visit to Australia
This week the Australian Centre for International Justice filed a follow-up submission to the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, urging again that three individuals be sanctioned for their involvement in serious abuses of human rights in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India.
This follows an extensive October 2022 submission setting out evidence of torture, inhuman treatment and extrajudicial killings by police in the context of violent crackdowns on protesters, minorities and vulnerable groups. The submission documents the responsibility borne by each of the three named individuals for human rights violations in Uttar Pradesh, a state where such crackdowns have been particularly brutal.
Our 75-page submission, prepared in consultation with affected members of the diaspora, set out evidence of the individuals’ respective involvement in violations of the right to life and the right not to be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. It focused on systematic campaigns carried out by members of the Uttar Pradesh police, in which Muslims (a religious minority in India) were disproportionately targeted.
The submission argued that domestic accountability for these abuses is highly unlikely and that efforts by survivors and the families of victims to seek justice in India have been met with intimidation, threats and harassment by police.
Today’s update notes a steady increase in the number of extrajudicial killings in so-called “encounters” with police. It also finds that impunity for these human rights abuses continues unabated. This is in the context of sustained deterioration of the human rights situation in India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is visiting Australia this week. The deterioration is particularly alarming for religious minority communities, as brought out recently by the US State Department in its annual State of Religious Freedom Report 2022, highlighting ‘continued targeted attacks’ against minorities.
Given the lack of any prospects of justice in India and ongoing obstacles to accountability at the international level, ACIJ calls on the Australian government to make use of its targeted human rights sanctions regime and to sanction individuals who are responsible for serious abuses of human rights in Uttar Pradesh.
Melissa Chen, Senior Lawyer said:
“Australia’s silence on human rights in India has to date been deafening. We are calling for action to challenge the impunity that allows torture and killings to continue.”
Australian Centre for International Justice, Rawan Arraf: +61 450 70 88 70
Image Credit: © Pawan Kumar, 2019