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India Human Rights

Human Rights Concerns

India is home to a thriving democracy and to recent stunning economic growth. Unfortunately, this has not prevented multiple serious human rights abuses from remaining a fact of life in many parts of the country. Political and separatist violence and the government’s heavy-handed response have threatened the well-being and human rights of millions. Economic development has often threatened the livelihoods, land, and lives of the poor who are in its way. Hundreds of millions live in severe poverty, and women, religious minorities, dalits, adivasis and LGBT Indians can face harsh discrimination and shocking violence.

In Jammu & Kashmir, some northeastern states, and wide rural swaths of central India infiltrated by Maoists, civilians are caught between armed insurgents and Indian security forces, suffering violence and human rights abuses by both sides. The state government in J&K has consistently held Kashmiris for months and even years without charge and subjected prisoners to torture, disappearance, and death. In Chhattisgarh, the state has threatened and imprisoned human rights defenders on trumped-up charges of sedition and treason, while state-supported militias operate with impunity. Terrorist attacks by Hindu and Muslim extremists are not uncommon in northern and western India. The 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat continues to go unpunished, as do the mass killings of Sikhs in 1984 and the killing of Muslims across India in 1992-1993. In Orissa and other resource-rich parts of the country massive industrial projects, such as mines, dams and economic development zones, force thousands off their land with inadequate compensation. In Bhopal, site of the world’s worst industrial disaster over 26 years ago, thousands of survivors and their children suffer debilitating medical problems while those responsible for the leak walk free.

Along with these headline-grabbing issues are other equally grave human rights concerns that threaten Indians’ economic, cultural and social rights. Hundreds of millions of Indians live in extreme poverty and these marginalized people suffer most from a poor healthcare system, often non-existent education, economic exploitation, sexual violence, an overwhelmed judicial system, and police brutality and impunity. Extrajudicial killings by the police are common as is torture in police custody. India retains the use of the death penalty.

Women and girls face persistent discrimination and the threat of rape and other acts of violence, particularly in the north, and often at the hands of family members through dowry deaths, honor killings, and female foeticide. Members of lower castes, as well as adivasis (indigenous people), remain the victims of violence and humiliation despite their growing political and economic empowerment. Many Muslims and Christians face routine violence and harassment on account of their faith. Similarly, LGBT Indians find it very difficult to live openly in Indian society despite significant recent legal rulings in their favor.

Finally, a changing climate and a rapidly growing population will mean that soon millions of Indian lives will be threatened by rising oceans, melting glaciers, unpredictable monsoons, devastating droughts, polluted water sources, growing urban slums, and the resulting societal upheaval.

Detained Indian Journalist Released!

Santosh Yadav was released from prison on 9 March 2017, over a week after the Supreme Court of India granted him bail. Detained since September 2015, it is believed that he was targeted for his work among Indigenous Adivasi communities in Bastar district, Chhattisgarh. He is required to report to the local police station daily.

India Newsroom



April 7, 2020 • Press Release

Government in India Must Act As Lives At Risk In Overcrowded Detention Centers In Assam

While steps taken by the Assam Government to release over 700 prisoners to contain the novel coronavirus (COVID19) outbreak are welcome, the Chief Minister of Assam, Sarbananda Sonowal must ensure that those declared foreigners and detained across the six detention centres of Assam are also released immediately, said Amnesty International India today.

March 28, 2020 • Press Release

Battle Against COVID-19 in India Must Not Leave Behind the Poor and Marginalized

The three-week nation-wide lockdown to battle the COVID-19 pandemic in India have left millions of migrant workers stranded and the poor struggling to access essential services across the country. The policies and schemes that are being planned and implemented to battle the pandemic by the Government of India must alleviate and not aggravate the hardships …

March 26, 2020 • Press Release

As COVID-19 spreads in South Asia, fears rise for people at higher risk

As cases of COVID-19 escalate in South Asia, one of the world’s poorest and most populous regions, Amnesty International calls on the authorities there to put human rights at the heart of their responses and intensify efforts to protect marginalized and vulnerable groups at higher risk, including daily wage earners, people displaced by conflict, health …

March 19, 2020 • Press Release

India: Mitigate Risks Of COVID-19 for the People of Jammu and Kashmir by Immediately Restoring Full Access to Internet Services

In wake of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Government of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir must restore full access to internet services in the region of Jammu and Kashmir and ensure that people have full access to health and safety-related information, said Amnesty International India today.

February 25, 2020 • Press Release

Violence Fueled By Hate Speeches Needs Immediate Action By The Indian Government

Political leaders in India who are fuelling hatred and creating a violent environment by making hate speeches must be immediately held accountable, said Amnesty International India today.

February 24, 2020 • Press Release

MODI-TRUMP MEETING HIGHLIGHTS ANTI-MUSLIM SENTIMENT IN BOTH GOVERNMENTS’ POLICIES

As U.S. President Donald Trump meets Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, Amnesty International India and Amnesty International USA issued the below joint statement: “Anti-Muslim sentiment permeates the policies of both U.S. and Indian leaders. For decades, the U.S.-India relationship was anchored by claims of shared values of human rights and human dignity. Now, those …

January 23, 2020 • Press Release

New Study Shows Shocking Scale of Abuse on Twitter Against Women Politicians in India

Women politicians in India face a shocking scale of abuse on Twitter, reveals data from a new study titled “Troll Patrol India: Exposing Online Abuse Faced by Women Politicians in India." The study was conducted using crowdsourcing, machine learning and data science. It reviewed hundreds of thousands of tweets sent to 95 women politicians — an analysis on an unprecedented scale in India, said Amnesty International India today.

December 9, 2019 • Press Release

Generation Z Ranks Climate Change Highest as Vital Issue of our Time in Amnesty International Survey

Climate change leads as one of the most important issues facing the world, according to a major new survey of young people published by Amnesty International today to mark Human Rights Day.

November 15, 2019 • Press Release

Statement From Amnesty International India on Government Raids

Over the past year, a pattern of harassment has emerged every time Amnesty International India stands up and speaks out against human rights violations in India.

June 7, 2019 • Press Release

Climate activists Greta Thunberg and the Fridays for Future movement honored with top Amnesty International award

Climate change activist Greta Thunberg and the Fridays for Future movement of school-children have been honored with Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2019, the human rights organization announced today. “The Ambassador of Conscience Award is Amnesty International’s highest honor, celebrating people who have shown unique leadership and courage in standing up for human …

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