Recently, famous Chilean Politician Michele Ballet had a message for India. The former president of the noted South American nation currently serves in the capacity of the UN Human Rights Chief. The 69-year-old political luminary requested the Indian government to take care of the rights of the NGOs.
Truth be told, the space of the human rights defenders as well as the Non Governmental Organizations is one that’s often vulnerable to attacks and hostilities to their right to exist. Situations, for whatever reasons, often pose a direct challenge to their freedom.
This perhaps explains why the UN Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet requested one of the most prominent countries in the East to stand up for those who, in turn, stand for good and cater to a large cause; the collective good of the society.
That being said, what did the La Cisterna-born Chillean offer as a kind request to India?
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. “But I am concerned that vaguely defined laws are increasingly being used to stifle these voices.
In fact, there’s little surprise as to why eminent global leaders have had to voice their concern regarding the Human Rights groups and activists. Given the recent state of affairs that have marred the space of human rights, there’s been a huge outcry over the indifference shown toward individuals and groups, with there being a feeling that points to the tightening of the space for human rights.
In addition to the above, one of the most respected national dailies of India- Hindustan Times- happened to report on the following in relation to the dominant story:
In a statement, Bachelet specifically cited as “worrying” the use of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), which a number of UN human rights bodies have expressed concern about, because it is “vaguely worded and overbroad in its objective”.
The act prohibits the receipt of foreign funds “for any activities prejudicial to the public interest”. The act, which was adopted in 2010 and amended last month, has had a “detrimental impact on the right to freedom of association and expression of human rights NGOs, and as a result on their ability to serve as effective advocates to protect and promote human rights in India.
The above told, there’s no clarity whether India has responded, as of now, to the UN Human Rights Chief. Can we, in the times ahead, expect a new bridge of sorts given the concerns of the human rights group and the society they cater to?