Statement issued by MEA condeming UNHRC's statement

​New Delhi: The Ministry of External Affairs on Tuesday issued a statement condemning the comments by UN High Commission for Human Rights on the issue related to Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).

“India is a democratic polity based on the rule of law and an independent judiciary. The framing of laws is obviously a sovereign prerogative. Violations of law, however, cannot be condoned under the pretext of human rights. A mere informed view of the matter was expected of a UN body,” the statement read.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet accused India of "tightening of space for human rights NGOs".

She expressed concern over the restrictions on foreign funding for the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in India and the arrest of activists in the country while appealing to the Indian government to "safeguard the rights of human rights defenders and NGOs, and their ability to carry out their crucial work” on behalf of the many groups they represent".

Bachelet said activists and human rights defenders have also "come under mounting pressure in recent months, particularly because of their engagement in mass protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act that took place across the country earlier this year." "More than 1,500 people have reportedly been arrested in relation to the protests, with many charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act - a law which has also been widely criticized for its lack of conformity with international human rights standards,”

"I urge the Government to ensure that no one else is detained for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly - and to do its utmost, in law and policy, to protect India's robust civil society," she added.

Late last month, Amnesty International halted its India operations "due to reprisal from the central government". The human rights watchdog said the complete freezing of its bank accounts by the Indian government, about which it was notified on September 10, compelled its staff in India to stop all campaign and research work. 

The Union Home Ministry, in a briefing later, said that Amnesty International is free to continue humanitarian work in India, but made it clear that India does not allow interference in domestic political debates by entities funded by foreign donations. "This law applies equally to all & it shall apply to Amnesty International as well," it said.