Amnesty International’s annual report, the State of the World’s Human Rights Report 2016-17, has expressed concerns over a range of human rights violations in India.
Major Findings in the report:
1. The report, being released worldwide, slammed the use of legislation such as the Foreign Currency (Regulation) Act (FCRA) and the sedition law to silence government critics and crack down on civil society organisations.
It noted the suspension of FCRA registration of Lawyers Collective (an NGO), and government’s refusal to renew the FCRA licences of 25 NGOs “without offering valid reasons”, which constitute a violation of the right to freedom of association.
2. The report pointed to deaths of journalists Karun Mishra and Rajdeo Ranjan, who were allegedly killed for their reporting, in Sultanpur, Uttar Pradesh, and Siwan, Bihar, respectively.
3. In a sub-section on India, the report noted that “Dalits and Adivasis continued to face widespread abuses”. It highlighted the nationwide protests following the suicide of Dalit student Rohith Vemula, the attack on Dalit men by a cow vigilante group in Una, and the discrimination faced by Dalits in accessing social spaces and public services.
4. The report also drew attention to India’s amendment to the child labour law, which allows children under 14 to work in “family enterprises”, and children between 14 and 18 years to work in occupations not classified as “hazardous.”
What is Amnesty International?
Amnesty International (commonly known as Amnesty and AI) is a non-governmental organisation focused on human rights that claims to have over 7 million members and supporters around the world. Amnesty International was founded in London in 1961, following the publication of the article "The Forgotten Prisoners" in The Observer on 28 May 1961, by the lawyer Peter Benenson. Amnesty draws attention to human rights abuses and campaigns for compliance with international laws and standards.
The stated objective of the organisation is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated." It works to mobilise public opinion to put pressure on governments that let abuse take place. The organisation was awarded the 1977 Nobel Peace Prize for its "campaign against torture," and the United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights in 1978.