Amnesty urges India, Bangladesh to address human rights issues; asks Indian authorities to provide asylum to Rohingya refugees

A Rohingya refugee woman cries after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border : Photo courtesy .Reuters

By M M Special Correspondent

Bengaluru/New Delhi: Ahead of meeting between Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Shantiniketan on May 25, human rights group Amnesty International on Thursday urged both heads of the governments to address specific human rights concerns in their respective nations. In the wake of India’s reluctance on the Rohingya issue, it called upon both the leaders to uphold their commitment to human rights under national and international law.

Amnesty lauded Bangladesh’s open-arms policy towards Rohingya refugees and asked India to follow Bangladesh example.

 “Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina should uphold their commitment to human rights under national and international law. While Bangladesh has been exemplary in opening its doors to nearly a million Rohingya refugees, India’s reluctance to provide refuge for the estimated 40,000 Rohingya people in the country is disappointing. Indian authorities should follow Bangladesh’s example and adopt effective measures to protect Rohingya people escaping persecution and state violence.”

 “ It is the shared duty of both nations to ensure refugees in their countries have supportive systems that are responsive to their needs. Governments in both countries have a duty to protect them from harm, especially in light of smear campaigns and widespread anti-refugee rhetoric,” said Aakar Patel, Executive Director, Amnesty International India

As both countries go to general elections within the next year, it is an opportune time for both leaders to reiterate their commitment to human rights.

“We urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to ensure their governments hold rigorous investigations into fatal and near-fatal targeted attacks on historically and socially marginalized communities, as well human rights defenders in India; and against Indigenous and secular activists in Bangladesh. Both leaders should ensure that space for expressing dissent is not compromised. This can be achieved when both countries have a free and independent press, where journalists are not intimidated, harassed and attacked, and repressive laws are not used to silence them,” said Aakar Patel.

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