- For defenders
- How can I help?
The sheer size of India and the diverse political, social and cultural contexts existing in different part of the country are reflected in the diverse range of risks that human rights defenders (HRDs) face, which range from killings, torture and ill-treatment to enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention, smear campaigns, and judicial harassment.
People defending the rights of marginalised communities are targeted by state and non-state actors alike. Police officials are often the perpetrators of violence against HRDs. Most cases in which the police are involved remain unpunished. Armed groups and private companies are also among the perpetrators of attacks against HRDs. While human rights bodies exist both at the national and at the state levels, human rights defenders expressed strong criticism at their work and effectiveness. A number of complaints of human rights violations were submitted to the National Human Rights Commission and the State Human Rights Commissions (SHRCs), but investigations were either not adequate or extremely delayed.
HRDs making use of Right to Information Act have been targeted with physical attacks. At least two HRDs were killed in 2012 as a result of their work on access to information. Women human rights defenders (WHRDs), are particularly vulnerable in rural areas, especially in regions with a heavy presence of the military and armed groups. Dalits’ rights defenders encounter death threats, destruction of their properties, fabricated charges, physical attacks, as well as caste-based insults and discrimination.
Community leaders and environmental rights defenders have suffered attacks for their work in relation to economic development projects and their impact on the local communities or the environment.
High ranking officials have openly criticised NGOs working on such issues. In February 2012, India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared that “there are NGOs, often funded from the United States and the Scandinavian countries, which are not fully appreciative of the development challenges that our country faces”. HRDs have also been labelled as "insurgents" or “Naxalites” (Maoists), in an attempt to discredit their work and justify their targeting.
05 March 2013
08 August 2012
20 March 2012
10 February 2012
15 April 2011
India: Death threats and intimidation against human rights defender Mr Azimuddin Sarkar and his family
- 1 of 15