Indian PM Should Raise Concerns with Obama on US Rights Record : Activists

John Sifton, Asia policy director for Human Rights Watch, an international nongovernmental organization, told lawmakers at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission on Tuesday that the prime minister of India should raise concerns during his visit to the United States about the human rights record of the United States.

“The Indian government, of course, has every right to raise its own concerns with the United States’ human rights record and speaking as a representative of an international human rights organization that works on over 90 countries worldwide, including on the United States itself, we encourage Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi to do just that,” Sifton said in his sworn testimony.

“Raise human rights issues that the United States has — excessive and abusive NSA surveillance practices, discriminatory and excessive use of lethal force in policing – whatever he wishes,” Sifton said.The commission hearing announcement, however, reveals the ongoing human rights abuses in India, including under the Modi administration.

“According to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s most recent report, ‘In 2015, religious tolerance deteriorated and religious freedom violations increased in India. Minority communities, especially Christians, Muslims, and Sikhs, experienced numerous incidents of intimidation, harassment, and violence, largely at the hands of Hindu nationalist groups,’” it stated.

“Meanwhile, a large number of international non-governmental organizations supporting a range of causes, including human rights, have been added to government watch lists or had funding cut off by Indian officials,” the hearing announcement stated. “These actions, coupled with perceived crackdowns on groups or individuals critical of the Indian government, have many concerned that the rights to freedom of speech and freedom of association are being increasingly curtailed.”

Source: CNS

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