Avoid vague laws to restrict freedom: UNHCR to India

Avoid vague laws to restrict freedom: UNHCR to India

Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR).

New Delhi, October 20

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR), Michelle Bachelet, on Tuesday appealed to the Indian Government to safeguard the rights of human rights defenders and NGOs, and their ability to carry out their crucial work on behalf of the many groups they represent.

Bachelet, in a statement, expressed regret at the tightening of space for human rights NGOs in particular, including by the application of vaguely worded laws that constrain NGOs’ activities and restrict foreign funding.

“India has long had a strong civil society, which has been at the forefront of groundbreaking human rights advocacy within the country and globally,” the High Commissioner said, adding, “But I am concerned that vaguely defined laws are increasingly being used to stifle these voices.”

Bachelet cited as worrying the use of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), which a number of UN human rights bodies have also expressed concern is vaguely worded. — TNS

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