India’s weaponization of laws against civil society must prompt EU action

Amnesty International issued a letter to President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and Commissioner McGuinness, calling for EU action in light of India’s weaponization of laws against civil society.

This letter follows up on Amnesty International’s briefing, Weaponizing Counterterrorism: India’s exploitation of terrorism financing assessments to target civil society, which highlights how the Indian authorities have systematically targeted civil society, including by intimidation, harassment, investigation and prosecution on trumped-up money laundering and terrorism related charges. The briefing analyses the Indian government’s exploitation of the 2010 and 2013 Financial Action Task Force (FATF) assessment report recommendations to tighten its arsenal of financial and counter-terrorism laws to target human rights defenders, activists, journalists, and civil society organizations including those promoting the rights of women, Dalits and Adivasis (India’s indigenous people) and religious minorities, and those working on environmental advocacy.

These developments must prompt the European Union and its member states to hold India accountable for this growing crackdown on the country’s human rights defenders, activists, journalists, and once vibrant civil society, both at the forthcoming Mutual Evaluation Report assessment in November and in their wider relations with India going forward.