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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



December 9, 2018 • Report

Oppressive, sexist policies galvanize bold fight for women’s rights in 2018

Women activists around the world have been at the forefront of the battle for human rights in 2018, Amnesty International said today as it launched its review on the state of human rights over the past year. The human rights group also warns that the actions of “tough guy” world leaders pushing misogynistic, xenophobic and …

November 30, 2018 • Press Release

Amnesty and Sofar Sounds partner for Write for Rights concert and letter writing event

On Saturday, December 8, human rights organization Amnesty International USA in partnership with live music events startup Sofar Sounds will host a powerful evening of collective action along with an intimate concert experience in New York City. The event, Write for Rights, is aimed at securing justice for women human rights defenders under threat and …

November 28, 2018 • Press Release

Amnesty International launches world’s biggest human rights campaign

Women human rights defenders around the world are facing unprecedented levels of abuse, intimidation and violence, said Amnesty International as it launched its global Write for Rights campaign, in a bid to shine a spotlight on brave women who have been harassed, jailed, tortured or even killed for their human rights work. Women continue to …

October 26, 2018 • Press Release

Amnesty India latest target of government crackdown

Amnesty India is the latest target of the Modi government’s assault on civil society. On Thursday, the Enforcement Directorate, an agency that looks into financial crimes, raided the organization’s office and froze its bank accounts, effectively stopping its vital human rights work.

October 4, 2018 • Press Release

EXPULSION OF SEVEN ROHINGYA: A DARK DAY FOR INDIA TODAY

Today, seven Rohingya men, Mohammad Jalal, Mokbul Khan, Jalal Uddin, Mohammad Youns, Sabbir Ahamed, Rahim Uddin and Mohammad Salam were forcibly returned to Myanmar by the Indian Government. These seven men are at grave risk of being subjected to serious human rights violations by the Myanmar government, said Amnesty India today. “Today’s decision by the …

September 6, 2018 • Press Release

Supreme Court decriminalizing consensual same-sex relations marks a new era for LGBTI rights in India

The landmark ruling by India’s Supreme Court decriminalizing consensual same-sex relations is a historic step, which sends a message of hope not only to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, but to everyone fighting for justice and equality, Amnesty International India said today. “The judgment closes the door on a dark chapter of …

July 25, 2018 • Press Release

BRICS: Nations Must Put Human Rights First

BRICS nations must put human rights at the forefront of their discussions, said Amnesty International India and South Africa in a joint statement released at the commencement of the 10th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg today. All the BRICS countries face a number of human rights challenges. In Brazil, there are still no answers for the …

July 13, 2018 • Press Release

100 hate crimes allegedly committed in the first six months of 2018, reveals ‘Halt the Hate’ website

In the first six months of 2018, 100 hate crimes have allegedly been committed against people from marginalized groups, said Amnesty International India today, as it released data recorded on its interactive website, ‘Halt the Hate’. The term ‘hate crime’ is applied to criminal acts against people based on their real or perceived membership of …

May 18, 2018 • Press Release

Global Wikipedia edit-a-thon shines spotlight on the unsung women defending human rights around the world

Wikipedia enthusiasts from around the world are joining forces on 19 and 20 May 2018 to take part in a global edit-a-thon to shine a spotlight on extraordinary unsung women human rights defenders who have devoted their lives to fighting injustice. BRAVE:Edit, a collaboration between Amnesty International and Wikimedia (Wikipedia’s non-profit organization), will see hundreds …

September 13, 2017 • Report

Losing Sight in Kashmir: The Impact of Pellet-Firing Shotguns

Pellet-firing shotguns, which have been responsible for blinding, killing and traumatizing hundreds of people in Kashmir, must be immediately banned, Amnesty International India reiterated today in a new briefing, “Losing Sight in Kashmir: The Impact of Pellet-Firing Shotguns”.