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    July 04, 2014

    The lack of effective regulation of visa brokers and rogue recruiting agents makes Indian migrant workers vulnerable to serious human rights abuses, said Amnesty International India today in a new report focusing on migrants from the Indian state of Kerala working in Saudi Arabia.

    The report, Exploited Dreams: Dispatches from Indian migrant workers in Saudi Arabia, highlights cases of migrant workers from Kerala who were deceived about their jobs, wages and working conditions by Indian visa brokers and rogue recruiting agents. Many workers went on to face a range of abuses in Saudi Arabia, which at their worst included forced labour.

    “Migrant workers send billions of dollars in remittances every year to India and sustain thousands of families. Yet Indian authorities continue to let them down when they are abused. It is time that migrant workers’ rights get the protection they deserve,” said G. Ananthapadmanabhan, Chief Executive, Amnesty International India.

    May 30, 2014

    The gang-rape and murder of two teenage Dalit girls in Badaun, Uttar Pradesh is a gruesome reminder of the violence that Dalit women and girls face in India, Amnesty International India said today.

    The girls - aged 14 and 16 – went missing on the night of 27 May. They had gone to a field to relieve themselves because they did not have access to a toilet at home. The father of one of the girls says he sought the help of the local police to find them, but the policemen on duty refused to register or investigate the complaint and slapped him instead. The next morning, the bodies of the girls were found hanging from a tree near their houses. Autopsies indicate that both girls had been gang-raped and strangled.

    The police have arrested two men from a dominant caste on suspicion of being involved in the gang-rape and murder, and are searching for more suspects. A police constable has been suspended for dereliction of duty, and another arrested.

    May 14, 2014

    The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) is blinding investors to the toxic legacy of Bhopal, Amnesty International said ahead of the corporation’s AGM on Thursday. The company has blocked a shareholder resolution asking for a report on the financial, reputational and operational impact of the catastrophe on Dow’s business.

     “Dow’s refusal to talk about the Bhopal disaster ignores the continued suffering of the local community, and is an irresponsible business move,” said Audrey Gaughran, Director of Global Issues at Amnesty International.

    “Dow’s Bhopal problems aren’t about to go away simply by ignoring them.”

    There will be no discussion at the AGM of the consequences of impending criminal and civil court proceedings relating to the 1984 gas leak which resulted in the deaths of thousands, as well as ongoing damage to the health and environment of local communities.

    April 15, 2014

    A millions lives would improve thanks to Supreme Court's recognition of transgender people’s human rights, Amnesty International India said today.

    A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court ruled that discrimination based on gender identity violated constitutionally guaranteed rights to equality, free expression, privacy, autonomy and dignity. The Court directed central and state governments to grant legal recognition to transgender persons’ self-identification as male, female or a ‘third gender’; and put in place affirmative action and social welfare policies for them.

    “This ruling has the potential to significantly alter the lives of people who have suffered oppression for years,” said Shashikumar Velath, Programmes Director of Amnesty International India.  

    “It reaffirms constitutional values of inclusion and equality but as long as Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code stays on the books, discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity will remain a threat,” said Shashikumar Velath.

    March 31, 2014

    A decision by India’s Supreme Court today to commute the death sentence of Devender Pal Singh Bhullar, on the grounds of mental illness and delay in the disposal of his mercy petition, should lead authorities to reconsider the use of the death penalty in India, Amnesty International India said today.

    “With this ruling, the Supreme Court has now commuted 19 death sentences in 2014. Authorities should use the momentum generated by these decisions to establish a moratorium on executions and move toward abolishing the death penalty altogether”, said Shashikumar Velath, Programmes Director, Amnesty International India.  

    Devender Pal Singh Bhullar was sentenced to death in August 2001 for his involvement in a bomb attack in New Delhi in 1993 that killed nine people. His trial fell far short of international standards for a fair trial. The President of India rejected Devender Pal Singh Bhullar’s mercy petition in May 2011, eight years after the request was filed.

    January 23, 2014

    Authorities must investigate the alleged gang rape of a 20 year-old Adivasi woman in Birbhum, West Bengal, on 20 January 2013 and bring to justice those responsible, Amnesty International said.

    The Adivasi woman was allegedly gang raped by 13 men on the orders of a khap panchayat -- an unelected all-male village council -- as punishment for falling in love with a Muslim man.  

    Divya Iyer, Senior Researcher, Amnesty International India said:  

    "The West Bengal police must thoroughly investigate this alleged gang rape, and bring to justice those responsible. Authorities must also ensure that the woman and her family receive immediate and adequate police protection.  

    “Any person found guilty of inciting violence against the woman must be held accountable.  

    “Khap panchayats notoriously issue extra-legal decrees ordering inhuman and sexually violent punishments against women, including 'honour' killings. The Justice Verma Committee has pointed out that the orders of khap panchayats are illegal, and urged the government to crack down on them.  

    January 21, 2014

    A historic decision by India’s Supreme Court commuting the death sentences of 15 prisoners and setting out guidelines to safeguard the rights of prisoners on death row and their families is a positive step for human rights in the country, Amnesty International India said today.

    The Supreme Court commuted the death sentences of Suresh, Ramji, Bilavendran, Simon, Gnanprakasham, Meesekar Madaiah, Praveen Kumar, Gurmeet Singh, Sonia Chaudhury, Sanjeev Chaudhury, Jafar Ali, Shivu and Jadeswamy, on the ground of delay in the disposal of their mercy petitions by the President ranging between 5 and 12 years.  

    The Court commuted the death sentences of Sundar Singh and Magan Lal Barela on the ground that they suffer from mental illness.

    “While acknowledging the need to strike a balance between the rights of the accused as well as the victims, this momentous decision reaffirms the rights guaranteed to death row prisoners under the Constitution of India and international law and standards” said G Ananthapadmanabhan, Chief Executive, Amnesty International India.

    December 11, 2013

    A ruling by India’s Supreme Court making consensual same-sex conduct between adults a criminal offence marks a black day for freedom in India, Amnesty International India said today.

    “This decision is a body blow to people’s rights to equality, privacy and dignity,” said G Ananthapadmanabhan, Chief Executive, Amnesty International India. “It is hard not to feel let down by this judgement, which has taken India back several years in its commitment to protect basic rights.”

    The Supreme Court overturned a historic ruling by the Delhi High Court in 2009 which had decriminalized consensual same-sex activity between adults. The Supreme Court said that Section 377 - which criminalizes “carnal intercourse against the order of nature”- was constitutionally valid, and said that the Government could take legislative steps to repeal the law.

    The Delhi High Court had ruled in 2009 that the outlawing of consensual adult same-sex relations was discriminatory and violated the rights to equality, privacy and dignity set forth in the Indian Constitution.

    September 13, 2013

    Far-reaching procedural and institutional reform, and not the death penalty, is needed to tackle the endemic problem of violence against women in India, Amnesty International said today after four men convicted of the December 2012 gang-rape were sentenced to death by a court in New Delhi.

    The court found the four men guilty of gang-rape, murder and other related charges on September 13. A 17-year old convicted in the same case was sentenced to three years detention in a juvenile home on 31 August. Another accused was found dead in his prison cell on 10 March.

    “The rape and murder of the young woman in Delhi last year was a horrific crime and our deepest sympathy goes out to the victim’s family. Those responsible must be punished, but the death penalty is never the answer,” said Tara Rao, Director of Amnesty International India.

    July 23, 2013

    US chemical giant The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) must acknowledge its responsibility towards survivors of the devastating Bhopal industrial disaster, Amnesty International said after the company was summoned to appear before a court in Bhopal, India.

    The company has been ordered to explain why its wholly-owned subsidiary, Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), has repeatedly ignored court summons in the ongoing criminal case concerning the 1984 Bhopal disaster, where UCC is accused of “culpable homicide not amounting to murder”.

    “Today’s court decision is an important step in ensuring corporate accountability for the devastating consequences of the Bhopal gas leak,” said Audrey Gaughran, Director of Global Issues at Amnesty International.

    “Dow has always tried to claim it has nothing to do with UCC’s liability for Bhopal, but the court has today made it clear that Dow itself has a responsibility to ensure that UCC faces the outstanding charges against it. Dow can no longer turn its back on the tens of thousands still suffering in Bhopal.”

    July 22, 2013

    The Indian authorities must ensure an urgent, full and independent investigation into the killing of four demonstrators and the alleged use of live ammunition against protesters in Jammu and Kashmir, Amnesty International said today.

    “It is of vital urgency that the authorities launch swift, thorough and independent investigations into the killings and the other reports that police used excessive force against the ensuing protests across Jammu and Kashmir,” said Shashikumar Velath, Programs Director at Amnesty International India.

    The protests erupted in numerous towns and cities after paramilitary forces killed four demonstrators in Gool, Ramban district on 18 July.

    Dozens of people have subsequently been injured in widespread clashes between the police and protesters across the northern Indian state.

    Protesters in several towns and cities defied curfews put in place over the weekend, with some holding violent demonstrations. Security forces have reportedly used excessive force in response, including firing live ammunition against protesters.

    July 12, 2013

    Authorities in the Indian state of Odisha (previously Orissa) are excluding Adivasi (indigenous) communities from the process to decide the future of a proposed mining project that could have disastrous effects on their livelihood and traditional lands, Amnesty International said.

    The controversial mining plans – a joint venture between Sterlite India, a subsidiary of the UK-based mining giant Vedanta Resources, and the Odisha Mining Corporation – would affect the traditional lands of Adivasi communities in the Niyamgiri hills region, which they depend on for food, water and their way of life.

    A decision-making process on the project facilitated by the Odisha authorities, which starts next week, would exclude many villages, with only 12 of the 100-odd villages in the region included – an approach that fails to comply with a landmark Supreme Court ruling on the issue, and a subsequent communiqué from India’s central Ministry of Tribal Affairs.

    July 05, 2013

    Authorities in the state of Odisha, India, must provide immediate remedy and reparation to families forcibly evicted in Jagatsinghpur district for a project proposed by South Korean steel company POSCO, Amnesty International India said today.

    "These evictions were unlawful and have devastated the livelihoods of thousands of people," said Shashikumar Velath, Director of Programmes at Amnesty International India.

    "Authorities acquired land without engaging in genuine consultation with affected persons, or providing adequate notice or adequate compensation. They have been violating the rights of these villagers for years. They must now ensure that the affected families receive effective remedies."

    Officials from the Odisha government and police resumed forced evictions on 28 June 2013 in continuing efforts to acquire land for the project.  On the same day, police personnel baton-charged protestors, injuring at least 20 people.

    May 30, 2013

    The killing of 24 people, including three senior politicians and eight police personnel, in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh on 25 May could further escalate violence in the state, putting more civilians - including local Adivasi (Indigenous) communities - at risk, Amnesty International has warned.

    “We unequivocally condemn the taking of hostages and murder of civilians in Chhattisgarh, which constitute serious human rights abuses,” said Shashikumar Velath, Director of Programmes at Amnesty International India.

    According to the police, around 250 heavily armed Maoists ambushed a convoy of senior leaders of the Congress party on the Jagdalpur-Sukma highway in Bastar, triggered a blast in two vehicles and fired indiscriminately. The attackers shot dead, among other Congress leaders, former Home Minister of the state Mahendra Karma, the state Congress President Nand Kumar Patel and his son Dinesh. Patel and his son were allegedly taken hostage before they were killed. The attack also wounded 33 people, including former Union Minister V. C. Shukla. The police say that one policeman is still missing.

    April 22, 2013

    Amnesty International India has called for an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the alleged misconduct of police officials in a case of abduction and rape of a 5-year old girl in New Delhi.

    “This case shows the appalling extent of indifference in the police to violence against women and girls, and the inadequacy of internal processes to ensure professional conduct”, said G. Ananthapadmanabhan, Chief Executive of Amnesty International India.

    On 15 April 2012, the 5-year old girl went missing from her home in New Delhi. Two days later, she was found by neighbours in a locked room in the same building with severe internal injuries and bruises.

    The girl’s uncle told Amnesty International that the police had delayed formally registering a complaint when the family reported that she had gone missing. After the girl was found, the police refused to register a case of rape. The girl’s uncle said that after the media began to report on the case, police offered the family a bribe of Rs. 2000 to stay silent, and told them to be thankful that the girl was still alive.

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