The annual US report on human rights has listed “significant” human rights abuses in India, including unlawful and arbitrary killings, challenges to freedom of press, interference with privacy, and violence targeting religious and ethnic minorities, with the Biden administration strongly urging Delhi to uphold its rights commitments.
“The US and India regularly consult at the highest levels on democracy and human rights issues.
We have and we will continue to strongly urge India to uphold its human rights obligations and commitments,“ the Acting Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Erin Barclay, told reporters after the release of the 2022 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices on Monday.
“Not surprisingly, we also regularly meet with civil society both in the US and in India to hear their perspectives and learn from their experiences, and we encourage the Government of India to consult with them as well,” she said.
Replying to a question on a recent BBC documentary critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s role in the 2002 Gujarat anti-Muslim riots, which was banned in India, she said the US will continue to support press freedom.
“On the BBC issue, we’re of course aware of the BBC issues, and we will continue to support free press around the world and have communicated the same,” Ms. Barclay added.
The report says that a lack of accountability for official misconduct persisted at all levels of government in India, contributing to widespread impunity. Among the significant human rights violations in India in 2022, it says, are unlawful and arbitrary killings, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment by police and prison officials, and harsh and life-threatening prison conditions.
The State Department also flagged arbitrary arrest and detention, unlawful interference with privacy, restrictions on freedom of expression and media, unjustified arrests or prosecutions of journalists, and the enforcement of or threat to enforce criminal libel laws to limit expression.
The report also says there are restrictions on internet freedom, interference with the freedom of peaceful assembly and association, restrictions on freedom of movement and on the right to leave the country, refoulement of refugees, serious government corruption, and harassment of domestic and international human rights organizations.