Amnesty International India has urged Bangladesh’s prime minister Sheikh Hasina and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi to address specific human rights concerns in their respective countries.
Amnesty International India executive director Aakar Patel made the urge in the statement uploaded on the organisation’s website Thursday evening as the two prime ministers at Shantiniketan in West Bengal in India on Friday.
‘Narendra Modi and 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,’ said the statement.
‘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,’ it read.
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, the statement said.
‘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,’ said Aakar Patel.
‘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,’ he said.
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