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As India's farmers protest for their human rights, Britain's silence is deafening

As India's farmers protest for their human rights, Britain's silence is deafening

Credit: Dinodia Photos / Alamy Stock Photo

Harmeet Singh Gill | Sri Guru Singh Sabha Southall

2 min read Partner content

Human rights are universal and never an “internal matter”. Britain has a positive obligation to raise these abuses and fundamental violations of human rights with the Indian Government and appropriate authorities and forums in the UN.

Like others, we're glad the British Government is standing up for human rights in Russia and Myanmar. But in the case of India, Britain's silence is deafening.

India is seeing the largest protests in its history for farmers’ rights.

Nearly all of the UK's half a million Sikhs and other Indian communities are affected by this, by the participation of loved ones or through financial ties in India's agricultural land.

For a community that is one of Britain's most successful migrant stories, which has a global and national reputation of altruism, the Government's response has been starkly inadequate and shameful.

The Foreign Secretary told Indian media, "this is an internal issue for India" whilst Prime Minister Boris Johnson embarrassingly contradicted this by unwittingly, knowingly?, claiming this was an 'India-Pakistan' issue.

Seven months ago, Amnesty International was harassed out of India.

Three months ago, over 200 UK Sikh Organisations foresaw and warned the British Government about the grave human rights violations that are now occurring. India's handling of the farmers' protests has been the subject of global outrage: independent journalists have been detained, news outlets have been taken offline, internet and phone services have been cut and water and electric supplies terminated.

Protestors have been subjected to violence by law enforcement agencies and sexual harassment. Hundreds remain missing and fears are they are being illegally detained.

Although the farmers are protesting for their economic rights, the state has been accused of harbouring a dangerous narrative in the media that increases religious tensions and polarity.

Much like Delhi in November 1984 and the 2002 Gujrat Riots (in which PM Modi was subjected to a de facto travel ban in the UK, US and EU) there is a serious threat of communal violence.

Britain has a positive obligation to raise these abuses and fundamental violations of human rights with the Indian Government and appropriate authorities and forums in the UN.

Gurdwaras and Sikh Organisations from across the UK have written to the Foreign Secretary demanding he fulfills his duty.

Human rights are universal and never an “internal matter”.

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