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HRW wants India to stop targeting NGOs

Human Rights Watch (HRW), a rights group, wants the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to direct India to stop targeting NGOs in the country. The rights group alleged that NGOs in India are being targeted for criticizing the government. HRW also wants UNHRC to take action against the country for attacks on minorities. HRW made these demands and observations ahead of India’s quadrennial review by UNHRC. The review will be conducted by UNHRC on May 4 in Geneva, as per the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) procedure.

Expressing HRW’s views, South Asia director of HRW Meenakshi Ganguly said, “The UN review comes at a time when freedom, long-cherished in India are seriously being challenged and critics are increasingly under attack. UN member countries should raise alarm bells that India’s proud history of respect for peaceful dissent crucial for protecting the poor and vulnerable is at real risk.” 

HRW also pointed out to the misuse of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), which, the group alleged is being used to restrict foreign funding for specific NGOs. HRW alleged that FCRA does not comply with international laws, principles, and standards. However, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had earlier said that just because an organization is doing good work, it does not mean that they can violate the rules and regulations of the country. He had explained the importance of FCRA, without which foreign funding can easily be misused by anti-national elements.

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