Amnesty International has called on British Prime Minister David Cameron to not just “unfurl the red carpet” for his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi but “raise some red flags on human rights concerns too”.
“NGOs and activists face multiple obstructions to carrying out their work, including being subjected to smear campaigns, having their funding cut off and being accused of being anti-national,” said Allan Hogarth, head of policy at Amnesty UK.
“The UK needs to do more than unfurl the red carpet for yet another world leader, Mr Cameron must raise some red flags on human rights concerns too,” he added.
The human rights organisation highlighted that over 10,000 organisations had been “de-registered” over the last year to prevent them from receiving foreign funding, and just last week Greenpeace had its license to operate cancelled.
“It’s all the more important that Mr Cameron speaks out on human rights during the visit, as there’s not much space for criticism in Modi’s India. There’s a fevered crackdown on critics underway in India at the moment.
“Mr Cameron should speak out for the people Mr Modi is so intent on silencing and make it clear that how a country treats its NGOs is a litmus test for their international standing,” Hogarth added.
The statement issued by the group yesterday coincided with other voices of protest on the sidelines of Modi’s first visit to the UK as Indian Prime Minister.
Around 300 protesters had gathered outside Downing Street before moving down to Parliament Square to mark a “day of protest” yesterday, as the ‘Modi Not Welcome’ campaign by the Awaaz Network and CasteWatchUK were joined by British Sikh and Nepalese groups. (PTI)