The US human rights report released by the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, on Tuesday, shed light on human rights violations in countries around the world.
In the section dedicated to India, the report, titled ‘2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices’, notes the restoration of a certain degree of normalcy in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, saying that communication bans and restriction on 4G internet services are gradually being lifted, and activists held in detention were being released.
The report states the torture and killing of security personnel and civilians, and recruiting and training child soldiers by terrorists and separatist insurgents in the North-East, Jammu and Kashmir, and other areas plagued by Maoists, as offenses against human rights.
It notes that though there are murders and public property damage still being committed at large by terrorists and insurgents, with over 100 civilians and security personnel being killed, the death toll is the lowest it has been since 2000 when SATP (South Asia Terrorism Portal) began documenting these stats.
The report also brings to light some issues with censorship, unlawful arrests, prosecution, bullying, and killing of those who critique the government, restrictions on freedom of speech and peaceful protests, tolerance of religious freedom violations, and overall widespread governmental corruption at all levels. It also criticized the government for turning a blind eye to the violation of child labor laws and discrimination against minority groups on the basis of caste, religion, and gender.
It was stated that the government generally respected these rights but it was not so in many cases over the past year. The report cites as examples the arrest of lawyer Prashant Bhushan and ‘The Wire’ editor Siddharth Vardarajan over tweets that criticized the Chief Justice of India and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath respectively.
In other sections, the report notes human rights violations in China, Russia, and Syria, for genocide against Uyghur Muslims, attacks and prosecution of protestors, and civilian attacks.
Just last month, India’s Minister of External Affairs, S. Jaishankar, had shot down a US report that questioned India’s status as a democracy. He accused these international organizations of being hypocrites, a sentiment that many countries share about the US for releasing these reports criticizing other countries while their own nation has similar, if not worse, problems.