28
Thursday
January 2021
5:36 AM IST
News Headlines
Unlucky Kerala shares spoil with Jamshedpur        England team lands in Chennai, Indians arrive in batches for first two tests        Israel military revising operational plans against Iran        France's Sanofi to boost Pfizer vaccine supply amid EU shortages        Hero MotoCorp to commence its operations in Mexico soon        GHIAL to raise US $300 Mn through bond issue for Hyderabad airport expansion        Cabinet approves MSP of Copra for 2021 season        Rajnath speaks to his US counterpart, the two NSAs also talk, Indo-US ties to deepen further        RJD should cancel it's proposed human chain in view of Republic Day violence: Sushil        Two farmer unions withdraw from protest against farm laws        One million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in India in just 6 days: Health ministry        England near Sri Lanka's 1st innings total after Root's 186        Srikanth resumes training after BAI gets mandatory quarantine time reduced        Melbourne century very special as it was crucial for series victory, says Rahane        FinMin allocates Rs 660 cr additional funds to MP for capex        Markets may remain volatile in holiday-shortened week: Analysts        US condemns Russia's use of harsh tactics against protesters, journalists        Egypt says it has launched vaccination against coronavirus        Qureshi says Pakistan ready to work with new US administration        MP government trying to crush farmers' voice: Kamal Nath        
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International News
UN rights chief expresses concern over restrictions on NGOs, arrest of activists in India
 
Geneva: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday expressed concern over the restrictions on foreign funding for the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in India and the arrest of activists in the country. She appealed 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. "India has long had a strong civil society, which has been at the forefront of groundbreaking human rights advocacy within the country and globally," she said in a statement.

"But I am concerned that vaguely defined laws are increasingly being used to stifle these voices." Bachelet specifically cited as "worrying" the use of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), which prohibits the receipt of foreign funds "for any activities prejudicial to the public interest." She said the Act, which was adopted in 2010 and was amended last month, has been invoked over the years to "justify an array of highly intrusive measures, ranging from official raids on NGO offices and freezing of bank accounts, to suspension or cancellation of registration, including of civil society organizations that have engaged with UN human rights bodies.”

"I am concerned that such actions based on the grounds of vaguely defined ''public interest'' leave this law open to abuse, and that it is indeed actually being used to deter or punish NGOs for human rights reporting and advocacy that the authorities perceive as critical in nature,” she said. As per the amended FCRA law, furnishing of Aadhaar numbers by office-bearers of NGOs has become mandatory for registration. The Act also provides for reduction in administrative expenses of any NGO receiving foreign funding, from 50 per cent to 20 per cent of annual funds to ensure spending on their main objectives.

Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai had said in Parliament that the legislation was not against any NGO and was an effort to maintain transparency. This amendment is in the interest of good NGOs which want to do good work in the country, he had said. "NGOs (non-governmental organisations) are expected to adhere to all our laws including in respect of foreign funding just as they presumably would in other countries including the US and in the European Union," Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs Anurag Srivastava said last month.

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." India maintains that the CAA was its "internal matter" and that "no foreign party has any locus standi on issues pertaining to India''s sovereignty". "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,” she said, adding that charges have also been filed under this law against a number of individuals, including 83-year-old Catholic priest Stan Swamy.

"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.


Israel military revising operational plans against Iran
France's Sanofi to boost Pfizer vaccine supply amid EU shortages
US condemns Russia's use of harsh tactics against protesters, journalists
Egypt says it has launched vaccination against coronavirus
Qureshi says Pakistan ready to work with new US administration
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87
UN: Violence in Sudan's Darfur killed 250, displaced 100,000
At 78 and the oldest president, Biden sees a world changed
Experts: 15 more days to reach trapped China mine workers
Global Teacher Prize winner Ranjitsinh Disale hails Biden's education focus
India provides 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Nepal
China silent on why its top leaders are yet to take COVID-19 vaccine
''Democracy has prevailed,'' says Biden in his maiden speech as US President
Census Bureau director to resign amid criticism over data
California becomes first state to top 3 million virus cases
Biden to propose 8-year citizenship path for immigrants
N. Korea''s parliament rubber stamps new development plans
Kremlin critic Navalny detained after landing in Moscow
'Rooting hard for you': Will departure notes end with Trump?
Kremlin critic Navalny departs Berlin on Moscow-bound flight
ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
George Clooney says Capitol attack put Trump family 'into the dustbin of history'
 Los Angeles: Hollywood star George Clooney has condemned the attack on the Capitol Hill in the US by  
'Mean Girls' won't be returning to Broadway
Ian McKellan is 'happy' Elliot Page came out as transgender
A R Rahman thanks fans for support during 'difficult times'
KERALA NEWS
Fire in luggage van of running train doused in time in Kerala
 Thiruvananthapuram: A fire broke out in a luggage van of a running train in Kerala on Sunday and was
Kerala logs 5,005 new COVID-19 cases, 4,408 recoveries
5,960 new COVID-19 cases, 27 deaths in Kerala
Kerala transport corporation MD alleges Rs 100-crore scam
NATIONAL NEWS
Cabinet approves MSP of Copra for 2021 season
 New Delhi: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on We
Rajnath speaks to his US counterpart, the two NSAs also talk, Indo-US ties to deepen further
RJD should cancel it's proposed human chain in view of Republic Day violence: Sushil
MP government trying to crush farmers' voice: Kamal Nath
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