Amnesty International in Canada and India calls on Trudeau and Modi to press each other on human rights
As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prepares for an official visit to India, Amnesty International has issued Open Letters to both Trudeau and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling on the leaders to raise pressing human rights concerns in India, Canada, and on the world stage. The Open Letters note the strong linkages between the two countries, and call on both leaders to recognize that progress toward the enjoyment of human rights for all must be at the core of our bilateral relationship. Substantive engagement on human rights during Prime Minister Trudeau’s visit offers an opportunity to demonstrate that commitment.
“It is crucial that Prime Ministers Trudeau and Modi seize this moment and show mutual determination to advance progress toward greater respect of human rights in both India and in Canada,” says Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. “This meeting comes amid a deeply troubling global context marked by grave crises and deteriorating respect for fundamental human rights in many corners of the world. Their leadership is urgently needed to address grave concerns within their own countries and in response to crises beyond their borders, particularly the unprecedented crisis confronted by the Rohingya population facing ethnic cleansing in Myanmar.”
In the Open Letter to Prime Minister Trudeau, Amnesty called on Canada to raise six particularly pressing human rights concerns in India at every available opportunity during the visit, including:
- Alarming moves my Indian officials suggesting an intention to deport of as many as 40,000 Rohingya refugees to Myanmar in contravention of international law and amidst ongoing ethnic cleansing in that country/
- The ongoing criminalization and persecution of the LGBTIQ community in India.
- A climate of impunity for the persecution and in some cases killings of Muslims in India.
- A lack of criminal provisions against rape in the context of marriage.
- The use of indiscriminate pellet-firing shotguns by police responding to protests in Kashmir.
- A decades-long failure to provide justice and accountability for victims of the 1984 Sihk massacre.
Amnesty’s Open Letter to Indian Prime Minister Modi comes three months before Canada’s human rights record is examined under the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review process (UPR). Prime Minister Modi is called on to reiterate concerns which India raised during Canada’s previous UPR, by calling on Canada to:
- Develop and enact a National Action Plan on Gender-Based Violence.
- Ensure decision-making process around large-scale resource development projects include gender-based impact analysis and measures for mitigation.
- Ensure First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people fleeing violence have access to culturally-relevant programming, emergency shelters, and transition houses.
- Improve policing services in remote and northern communities.
- Fully implement the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling calling for the elimination of discrimination in provision of child and family services to First Nations.
- Address provisions in Bill C-59 which continue to give rise to human rights concerns.
Modi and Trudeau urged to cooperate in response to the Rohingya crisis
The Open Letters to both leaders note the important role each country must play in addressing the ongoing ethnic cleansing and extensive crimes against humanity, including the crime of apartheid, against the Rohingya population in Myanmar and the corresponding refugee crisis in which more than 650,000 people have fled the country. Both leaders are called on to:
- Work with the international community to strengthen protection of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, including opposing the repatriation of refugees to Myanmar at this time.
- Call for a comprehensive arms embargo against Myanmar, imposed by the UN Security Council.
- Insist that the Myanmar government allow unfettered humanitarian access to all parts of Rakhine State.
- Press the government of Myanmar to cooperate with the UN Human Rights Council in its ongoing efforts to address the country’s human rights crisis, including by allowing full and unhindered access to all parts of Myanmar by the Council’s Independent International Fact Finding Mission on Myanmar and the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar.
Media Contact: Jacob Kuehn, Media Relations, Amnesty International Canada: firstname.lastname@example.org / 613 744 7667 x 236