Human Rights Violations: India and Global Scale- 2019
Author: Tamanna Gupta, RGNUL
“Human Rights are not a privilege conferred by the government. They are every human being’s entitlement by virtue of his humanity.”- Mother Teresa.
Securing human rights of an individual, community or group is a basic duty of every society and it forms an essential part of living. Human Rights are intrinsic and inalienable. Every human being is guaranteed certain inherent rights. Examples of human rights may include the right to life, liberty, speech, religion, etc. However, violation of human rights is a common practice globally. Several human rights violations have been brought to global notice following several events. Some major Human Rights violations which marred 2019 in the domain are as follows-
Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019- Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 was promulgated in the RajyaSabha and LokSabha on 10th and 11th December 2019, and received Presidential Assent on 12th December 2019. The Bill simply aims to ease the requirement for citizenship for illegal immigrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh, who belong to religious minorities from these countries, thus excluding Muslim persons from these countries. India has been facing nationwide protests over the Citizenship Amendment Bill.
National Register of Citizens- National Register of Citizens can be simply defined as a list of all citizens in India, which has to be maintained in consonance with the requirements of The Citizenship Act 1955. Initially, due to several administrative reasons, the Register for Assam could not be created in the 1951 census, following which Assam did not have a defined list of citizens, which changed recently when NRC was followed and a list was created, which excluded several illegal immigrants, Muslim minorities, and persons living Below Poverty Line (BPL). It was alleged to be discriminatory and faced intensive backlash over its implementation.
Transgender Bill 2019-Transgenders have faced discrimination in every aspect, whether it be job opportunities, education or opportunities. Due to their biological differences, they are often isolated from mainstream society, which is especially prevalent in the Indian context. To provide for the welfare of the group, Mr. T.C. Gehlot, the Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment introduced the Transgender Bill 2019, which aimed to redress the shortcomings and make additions to Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2018. The 2018 bill has been widely criticized by people from all walks of society, also drawing ire from Human Rights Watch (HRW).
Industrial Reform Code Bill 2019-Following events of the last year wherein the government had floated a draft Relations code, recently, the Industrial Relations Code Bill 2019 (Bill No. 364 of 2019) introduced by Minister of State for Labour and Employment SantoshGangawar was approved by the Cabinet, which aims to amalgamate several acts such as The Trade Unions Act (1926), Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act 1946 and the Industrial Disputes Act (1947) into one. However, It has been rightly stated by Mr. K.R.ShyamSundar, labor economist that several clauses are prone to misuse, and the discretion vested leads to uncertainty, lack of clarity and wrongful implementation which is discriminatory in nature as well as scope for several other lacunae. The implementation of this bill which affects the rights of the affected parties especially poor and marginal laborers employed on a short term basis.
JNU Protests-Police in University Campus- The aftermath of the promulgation of Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 has seen widespread protests all over the country. A student protest held in JNU took a dangerous turn when Delhi Police entered the university campus to dispel the protesters, using methods that are a violation of any persons’ human rights. Delhi Police resorted to Lathi charge, dropping of Teargas bombs, and also arrested several students arbitrarily who were unrelated to the protests. Allegations of sexual assault and manhandling have been made against the officials in this regard.
Detention of Muslims in Mainland China- The ruling Communist Party of China has allegedly detained and transferred more than One Million Uighur Muslims to several detention camps, tearing apart families and forcing Uighur Muslims to relocate in several cases. The majority of detainees belonged to the province of Xijiang. The detainees include not only men but even women and children. The reason given for the detention was a need to “instill loyalty to China”. This has led to several protests worldwide, the most recent protest being held at the Chinese embassy in Malaysia. Human Rights Activist fear for the conditions in which the detainees are being kept, and attempts are being made to free them.
Myanmar-Rohingya Crisis-Recently, the African nation of Gambia filed a lawsuit in November 2019 alleging that Myanmar was involved in acts of genocide that intended to eradicate the group of Rohingyas through committing atrocities against them such as mass murder, rape, etc. During a three-day hearing at the Netherlands, at the International Court of Justice, Aung San Suu Kyi, the state counselor of Myanmar, who once used to be regarded as a global human rights activist and democracy icon, personally anchored a delegation which defended the country from accusations of genocide against the Rohingya community. The decision of the International Court of Justice would be a relief to several persons who are being denied basic human rights in Myanmar.
Hong Kong Protests over Extradition Bill- Hong Kong has been a separate administrative territory from mainland China since the year of 1997. Both countries are governed by the system of “One Country, Two Systems”, which means that while both countries are regarded as a single entity, Hong Kong has been granted several relaxations with regards to business, commerce, administration, etc. The most important right granted to citizens of Hong Kong is the freedom of speech, which is not shared by their Chinese counterparts. Recently, after the proposal of an Extradition Bill, protests broke out. The immediate reason for the protests is the passage of the extradition bill which happened in the aftermath of the murder of a young girl by her boyfriend which took place in Taiwan. He later returned to Hong Kong and confessed to the crime. He could not be charged for those crimes and could not be extradited to Taiwan. This resulted in bringing changes to the fugitive laws. The government proposed a change in the ordinance which proposes establishing a mechanism for carrying out the transfer of fugitives to the place where they committed the crime. It is being alleged that China is trying to interfere in Hong Kong’s affairs and thus violating the Human Rights of the citizens of Hong Kong.
Jammu and Kashmir Internet Shutdown- After the abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution which gave Jammu and Kashmir a “special status”, on August 5, 2019, the Union Government had imposed several restrictions- Curtailment of the press, Curtailing Movement and travel, etc. One of the measures the government resorted to is shutting down the internet, which continues in Jammu and Kashmir. It has been described as one of the gravest human rights violations, with the UN condemning the actions of the Indian Government, and stating the need for an inquiry in this regard.