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United States Congressional Briefing “Religious Freedom in India,” September 22, 2021

Thank you for inviting me to testify today. Among India’s most pressing human rights concerns today is the worsening situation with respect to religious freedom. The facts are clear: attacks against religious minorities in India, especially Muslims…
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Biden Envoy Should Combat Actual Antisemitism, Not Israeli Criticism

On May 18, a group waving the Palestinian flag assaulted diners seated outside a Los Angeles restaurant after reportedly asking if they were Jewish. In New York City two days later, assailants pummeled a young man wearing a skullcap on the street, a…
Police stand guard in front of the Young Israel of Riverdale synagogue where glass windows were smashed in New York on April 25, 2021.
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Anti-Sikh Violence a Continuing Concern

The April 15 shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis that left eight dead, four of whom were members of the Sikh community, should be investigated as a possible hate crime motivated by religious bias. Since the September 11, 2001 attacks on…
Members of the Sikh Coalition gather at the Sikh Satsang of Indianapolis 
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Government Increasingly Targeting Rights Groups

(New York) – Amnesty International India announced that it is halting its work in the country after the Indian government froze its bank accounts in an act of reprisal for the organization’s human rights work. Fifteen international human rights…
Amnesty International India headquarters in Bangalore, India.
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The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on September 18, 2020 leaves a vacancy on the United States Supreme Court and enormous uncertainty over the court’s future role in the protection of fundamental human rights. A nominee for Justice Ginsburg’s…
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Sedition, Counterterrorism Laws Used to Silence Dissent

(New York) – The Indian authorities are increasingly bringing politically motivated cases, including under severe sedition and terrorism laws, against critics of the government, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities should immediately drop…
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Discrimination Will Affect the Country’s Fight Against the Pandemic

As the number of coronavirus cases in India crossed 10,000, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation on April 14 to announce an extension of the nationwide lockdown until May 3. He acknowledged the hardship, particularly for…
Men wait for a bus that will take them to a quarantine facility in the Nizamuddin area of New Delhi, India, March 31, 2020.
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Possible Excessive Use of Police Force Against Citizenship Law Protesters

(New York) – The Indian authorities should immediately order all police to abide by international standards on policing assemblies, Human Rights Watch said today. The police may have used excessive force against demonstrators across the…
A man is arrested during a protest against the new citizenship law in Gauhati, India, December 16, 2019.
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Draft Law Favors Hindus, Other Non-Muslim Immigrants

Update: On December 11, India’s upper house of parliament also passed the bill. It will now become law after the president of India gives his assent. (New York) – The Indian government’s proposed law to grant citizenship…
A protest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Gauhati, India, Dec 10, 2019.
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Provide Roadmaps for Reform Ahead of Elections

(New York) – Candidates and political parties contesting India’s parliamentary elections, slated for April and May 2019, should commit to strengthening human rights protections, Human Rights Watch said today in an open letter. Human Rights Watch…
Government officers distribute postal ballot papers to a election presiding officer ahead of the country's general elections in Gauhati, India, Tuesday, March 19, 2019.
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Stop Prosecuting Dissent; Repeal Abusive Counterterrorism Law

(New York) – Indian authorities detained five activists and raided the homes of several others on August 28, 2018, for allegedly inciting caste-based violence in January, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International India said today. The government…
Police try to stop people belonging to the Dalit community as they take part in a protest during a nationwide strike called by Dalit organisations, in Chandigarh, India, April 2, 2018. REUTERS/Ajay Verma
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February 2017

Around the world, religious freedom is under a sustained attack. In the Asia-Pacific region, there are governments that restrict the freedom to choose and practice a religion, that discriminate in law and policy against certain religious groups, that…
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The list of activists falling victim to efforts by Indian authorities to curb criticism is growing by the day. On June 17, 2016, the government announced that Sabrang Trust – a group run by activists Teesta Setalvad and Javed…
A police van transports some of those convicted in connection with the 2002 riots in Gujarat, India on June 2, 2016.
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Kerry Should Press to Free Activists, Let Independent Groups Operate

(Washington, DC) – United States Secretary of State John Kerry should publicly express concern over Central Asian governments’ distinctly poor human rights records during his Central Asia visits, beginning October 31, 2015, Human Rights Watch said today…
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Address Virginity Tests, Women’s Rights, and Religious Freedom Rollback

(Washington, DC) – United States President Barack Obama and Indonesian President Joko Widodo should address increasing threats to women’s rights and religious freedom in Indonesia when they meet in Washington, DC, on October 26, 2015, Human Rights Watch…
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Sentences Often Extended for Merest Excuse

(Warsaw) – Human rights activists, journalists, and others imprisoned by the Uzbek government on politically motivated charges suffer torture and abysmal prison conditions. The prisoners’ sentences are often extended arbitrarily for years. Uzbekistan has…
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Justice Department Inquiry Needed in Face of New York State and City Inaction

(Washington, DC) – The US Justice Department should immediately investigate the New York City police for alleged religion-based discrimination in their surveillance of Muslim communities, and make its findings public, Human Rights Watch said today in a…
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Massive Operation Based on Religious Profiling, Not Criminal Activity

(New York) – New York authorities should fully investigate New York City police for violating religious freedom in their surveillance of Muslim “communities of interest,” Human Rights Watch said today. The New York State Attorney General’s office…