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MRG and partners gravely concerned by the situation facing religious and ethnic minorities in India

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This joint statement to the UN Human Rights Council on the situation of minorities, indigenous peoples and human rights defenders in India was delivered by Glenn Payot, UN Advocacy Consultant for Minority Rights Group, in the name of a coalition of organizations (Amnesty International, Frontline Defenders, Human Rights Watch, the International Commission of Jurists, IDSN and Minority Rights Group). Interactive dialogue on the annual report of the High Commissioner, Human Rights Council, 50th session, item 2, 15 June 2022.

Madam High Commissioner,

This is a joint statement from Amnesty International, Frontline Defenders, Human Rights Watch, the International Commission of Jurists, IDSN and Minority Rights Group.

We are gravely concerned by the deteriorating situation facing religious and ethnic minorities, Dalits and Adivasis, and human rights defenders in India that has continued to worsen under the majoritarian Hindu nationalist ideology of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

In the past months, there have been numerous incidents of incitement to violence and attacks against Muslims, their religious symbols and practices, their places of worship, their livelihoods, and education of Muslim girls for which the authorities have not taken meaningful action.

Christians, including many from indigenous peoples, have also faced a spike in violence. Their places of worship and faith symbols have come under attack, while faith leaders have been assaulted and criminally charged under anti-conversion legislation.

Across the country, Dalits continue to confront social and economic marginalisation and gruesome violence – including sexual violence, torture and killings.

Indian authorities have not taken any tangible steps to hold perpetrators of abuses against minorities and indigenous peoples to account and have instead punished victims if they protest. A culture of impunity has fuelled increasing calls for violence against minorities by Hindu nationalist leaders.

Human rights defenders working on the rights of India’s most vulnerable populations are at high risk of being targeted by the authorities, including under counterterrorism legislation.

The right to remedy for minorities and indigenous peoples and those defending them in India appear to be increasingly ineffective, inadequate or inaccessible. With national elections in 2024, there are concerns that targeting of minorities and activists will increase.

This makes action on the part of the UN system for redress and prevention particularly critical.

We therefore call on the HRC to pay attention to and address the situation of minorities, indigenous peoples and human rights defenders in India.

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