Human Rights WatchWorld Report ContentsDownloadPrintOrderHRW Homepage

World map India



Europe and Central Asia

Middle East and North Africa

Special Issues and Campaigns

United States


Children’s Rights

Women’s Human Rights


The Role of the International Community

Once again the conflict in Kashmir featured prominently in India's dealings with the international community. While many governments pushed for a peaceful resolution to the crisis, India maintained that no talks would be possible until Pakistan ended its support of militant groups in the region.

United Nations

In January, during its review of India's initial report under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Committee on the Rights of the Child concluded that the caste system was an obstacle to children's human rights. The Committee also expressed concern about India's juvenile justice system, prison conditions, and the use of the death penalty against juvenile offenders.

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women also raised concerns about the caste system during its February review of India's initial report under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The Committee expressed concern over extreme forms of physical and sexual violence against women belonging to particular castes or ethnic or religious groups, and over customary practices such as dowry, sati, and the devadasi system, all of which contribute to a higher incidence of gender-based violence in the country.

In March, Secretary-General Kofi Annan expressed his outrage over the Chithisinghpora massacre and urged both Pakistan and India to find an immediate "political solution to this long-standing dispute." On August 2, he reiterated this plea after the killings of over ninety Hindu pilgrims. In August, in response to a NGO briefing organized by the International Dalit Solidarity Network-of which Human Rights Watch is a member-the U.N. Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights passed without a vote a resolution on "discrimination on the basis of work and descent." The resolution was aimed at addressing the plight of Dalits. The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination considered the term "descent" to encompass caste.

United States

Buoyed by President Clinton's visit to India in March, the first of a U.S. president in over twenty years, Indo-U.S. relations improved markedly. While the massacre of Sikhs on the eve of Clinton's visit forced Kashmir to the forefront of discussions, the trip was notable for its lack of attention to rights issues.

In September the U.S. Department of State released its second annual report under the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act detailing attacks on religious minorities throughout India and many other countries. The State Department indicated that India was close to earning the dubious distinction of "Country of Particular Concern" because of the many attacks on religious freedom during the year. Later that month, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom held public hearings on religious persecution in India and Pakistan. The hearings were followed by a visit to India in November by members of the commission.


During his South Asia tour in late August, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori urged a resumption of talks on Kashmir and condemned violent attacks on civilians caught in the conflict. Despite Japan's suspension of all new grants and loans to both India and Pakistan following their successive nuclear tests in May 1998, Mori announced that U.S. $176 million would be provided for two existing projects in India.

European Union

The European Union (E.U.) condemned the violence in Kashmir and in various public statements called upon both India and Pakistan to resolve the conflict quickly and peacefully. A joint declaration resulting from the first ever E.U.-India summit in June emphasized the importance of coordinating efforts to promote and protect human rights. Both sides pledged to work towards the universal ratification and implementation of all major international human rights instruments. Echoing last year's initiatives, the European Parliament also pressed India to foster tolerance and protect freedom of religion; ratify the torture convention; and impose a moratorium on executions and step up efforts to abolish the death penalty.

Human Rights Watch World Report 2000

Current Events

The Latest News - Archive




China and Tibet

East Timor





Sri Lanka





Copyright © 2001
Human RIghts Watch