India among 38 countries for harassment of human rights activists: Reports
Kathmandu, 16 September: In what is believed to bring embarrassment to the nation, the United Nations has named India in its ‘shameful' list of 38 countries for harassment of Human Rights activists. The United Nations in its annual report revealed that a rise in legal, political and administrative hurdles used to intimidate and silence civil society have been witnessed in countries including India and Israel among others. The annual report from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also included allegations of ill-treatment, surveillance, criminalisation and public stigmatisation campaigns targeting victims and human rights defenders, reports said. In India, several human rights activist were arrested recently and charged under the UAPA for allegedly having ‘Naxal' links. The 38 countries included 29 countries with new cases, and 19 with ongoing or continuing cases. The UN report has accused these countries of torturing, killing victims and their human rights defenders, and also carrying out surveillance against them. According to a report by Reuters, the new cases of violence have been reported in Bahrain, Cameroon, Colombia, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, India, Israel, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Mali, Morocco, Myanmar, Philippines, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, and Venezuela. According to the report, some of the countries listed in the UN report are current members of the Human Rights Council, which adopted a resolution last year reaffirming that everyone individually or in association with others had a right to unhindered communication with the UN. The report quotes the UN Secretary-General saying that the world owes it to those brave people standing up for human rights, who have responded to requests to provide information to and engage with the United Nations, to ensure their right to participate is respected. “Punishing individuals for cooperating with the United Nations is a shameful practice that everyone must do more to stamp out”, he added.