Senator Larissa Waters of the Australian Green Party addressed the issue of human rights violations in India in her speech to the NSW Parliament on 3 September 2020.
“Over the last six months, the world’s attention has understandably been diverted to the response to the COVID-19 crisis. This afternoon I want to draw this chamber’s attention to the human rights abuses that continue to occur unabated around the world in spite of the pandemic. In some cases, the abuses have been exacerbated by the pandemic. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said this week that COVID-19 has fuelled authoritarian trends. As the UN Special Rapporteur, on the situation of human rights defenders, recently said, the pandemic means that we need to do more to protect human rights activists.
In the short time I have available today, it’s not possible to traverse all the atrocities occurring globally, but I wanted to mention a few. In India, Prime Minister Modi is rounding up critics in the shadow of the virus. Indian authorities have arrested dozens in a nationwide crackdown, with arrests based on scant evidence. Those who have been detained include a youth activist who raised awareness of police violence against Muslims, an academic who opposes the government’s dangerous anti-Muslim citizenship law, and a co-founder of a women’s collective.
Authorities continue to impose harsh and discriminatory measures in Kashmir just over a year after the Indian government drastically eroded Kashmiris’ right to self-determination. To quell dissent and to keep away news from the outside world, it continues to maintain stifling restraints, with widespread detention and drastic limits to the internet, to name a few abuses,” Ms Waters Said.