Amnesty urges Obama: Get tough on Indian human rights

Manmohan Singh today meets President Obama. Amnesty International has urged Obama to press Singh on human rights abuses in India.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is today meeting President Obama in the first official state visit since his re-election. Ahead of that meeting, Amnesty International issued an open letter to Mr Obama, urging him to press Prime Minister Singh on human rights abuses in India.

In a press release issued last night Amnesty said:

“As the world’s largest democracy, human rights must be fundamental, and accountability for past abuses should be treated not as a luxury but as a necessity.”

On Monday Larry Cox, Executive Director of Amnesty International, sent an open letter to President Obama in which he claimed that:

“Serious and disturbing human rights abuses are ongoing, including rape, extrajudicial executions, deaths in police and military custody, torture, cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, arbitrary arrests, and dowry deaths.”

The human rights organisation cited the 2002 Gujarat killings of more than 2,000 Muslims, and the mass killing of Sikhs in 1984, for which they claimed that the members of the governing Congress party and others involved had not been brought to justice. They also called for Obama to bring attention to abuses of the lowest caste of Indian society, the “Dalits” or “untouchables”.

Amnesty have urged President Obama to push Prime Minister Singh for better human rights protections for civilians in the ongoing military action against the Maoists-Naxalites, and for better accountability for armed forces personnel responsible for human rights violations in Kashmir.

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