Emmanuel Macron’s participation as guest of honour at India’s Republic Day celebrations sends out a worrying political signal

As the French President, accompanied by several ministers and business leaders, embarks on a two-day official visit to India to “strengthen the strategic partnership” with Narendra Modi’s government, just a few weeks ahead of the country’s general elections, Amnesty International warns that minorities (religious, ethnic and gender) continue to suffer violent persecution in the country with complete impunity. Recent events in Manipur are an illustration of this and, moreover, the government’s criminalization of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly is imposing dangerous restrictions on civil society.

On this occasion, the President of Amnesty International France, Jean-Claude Samouiller, stated:  

“We have been warning the French authorities about the regime’s authoritarian excesses and its repeated attacks on public institutions and checks and balances (universities, justice, media) for years. Many marginalized groups and minorities in the country are discriminated from society and threatened through hate campaigns. Amnesty International has documented major breaches of the rule of law and the free functioning of institutions in the country.”

“In India, many national and international human rights associations, including Amnesty International India, have suffered judicial harassment, intimidation and arbitrary closure. Many human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers, political opponents, peaceful demonstrators, academics and students have been subjected to arbitrary arrests and detentions, unfounded prosecutions, illegal digital surveillance and other violations of their rights, in particular to freedom of expression and assembly.”

“Kashmiri human rights defender, Khurram Parvez, detained since November 2021, has been the object of new accusations as part of a campaign to denigrate and harass his former colleagues; in April 2023, his detention was declared arbitrary by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. Other emblematic cases are of Umar Khalid and nine of the BK16 activists who continue to languish in jail without a trial. India also refuses to respond to requests for access to its territory from UN Special Rapporteurs, despite its stated commitment to cooperate fully with the UN, particularly at the time when it applied to join the UN Human Rights Council, of which it is a member.

“France must not remain silent about India’s human rights record because of economic and geostrategic considerations. It must denounce these serious abuses and demand that India respect its commitments in this area, otherwise it will be sending a disastrous political signal of normalization and impunity to the perpetrators of the serious human rights violations that are being committed, encouraged or tolerated by the Indian authorities. Indian civil society must be able to count on the support ofFrench diplomacy to defend its rights.”

“The Indian authorities are using anti-terrorism laws and financial regulations to suppress the human rights work of human rights defenders, activists and non-profit organizations in the country,” said Aakar Patel, Chair of Amnesty International India’s Board. “They are using unfounded accusations of foreign funding and terrorism to target, intimidate, harass and silence their critics.”


This press release was originally issued by Amnesty France: Emmanuel Macron’s appearance as guest of honour at India’s Constitution Day sends worrying political signal – Amnesty International France

India continues to drop down all international human rights rankings, whatever the criterion used: it is ranked 160th out of 180 countries in the 2023 World Press Freedom Index, 80th in the 2022 Environmental Performance Index, 132nd in the 2021 UNDP Human Development Index,107th in the World Hunger Index, 135th in the Global Gender Gap Index,135th in the 2022 Global Peace Index, etc. 

Each year, we publish our Annual Report on the State of the World’s Human Rights. One year of research, 156 countries analyzed. Here’s what you need to know about human rights in India in 2022: https://www.amnesty.org/en/location/asia-and-the-pacific/south-asia/india/report-india/

Recent news related to the country: https://www.amnesty.org/en/search/news%20india/