Instituationalised Repression: NCHRO Strongly Condemns CBI Raid on Amnesty India.
16 Nov 2019
The National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO) strongly condemns the CBI raid on the premises of Amnesty India in Bengaluru and Delhi.
These raids are part of an intimidation strategy, aimed at discouraging the Amnesty from carrying out the documentation of rights violation in the country. This is the latest manifestation of the government’s sinister and calculated attacks designed to curtail vital human rights work in the country.
The assault comes at a time when the Amnesty has been seriously campaigning against human rights abuses, fear and alienation in Jammu and Kashmir following the Centre’s ill advised moves to abrogate Article 370. The CBI raid now comes a year after the Enforcement Directorate had carried out investigations on Amnesty. The oppressive and retaliatory use of law by government violates the rule of law and human rights as guaranteed in Indian Constitution as well as in regional and global human rights treaties to which India is a party. Criminal law must never be used as a means to silence human rights defenders.
Governments may be uncomfortable about human rights organisations exposing wrongdoing, but that’s precisely why a human rights organisation is absolutely vital. NCHRO considers that these raids constitute a blatant violation of the right to freedom of expression and are part of a wider pattern of persecution and intimidation of human rights defenders in India.
Recent actions taken by government force fit neatly into the concept of a totalitarian state and is a logical consequence of the government’s campaign waged against the civil sector. it is important to understand that the CBI raid on Amnesty is not a single isolated case of the excessive use of power. The oppression of critical voices will continue through pressure on opposition parties, the media, NGOs and human rights organisations. The regime is bent on systematically crushing independent civil society.
Harassment of civil society organisations is a violation of the rights to freedom of opinion and expression, peaceful assembly and association. The government should recommit itself to ending impunity for human rights abuses, and making human rights a reality for everyone.