Amnesty wants EU to raise human rights issues at summit with India

September 28th, 2008 - 4:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghBrussels, Sep 28, (IANS) Human rights group Amnesty International has called on the European Union (EU) to raise the issue of human rights in India at the EU-India summit that will take place in the French city of Marseille Monday, the EuAsianNews has reported. “A discussion on global challenges such as food security and climate change is not complete unless human rights are taken on board. Amnesty International therefore urges the EU to discuss India’s retention of the death penalty, the harassment of human rights defenders and the attacks on religious minorities,” Nicolas Beger, director of Amnesty International’s EU office, said in a statement Saturday.

“As a major regional player and as the largest democracy in the world, India should set an example and change its track record on human rights violations” he said.

The EU should also put pressure, said the statement, on the Indian authorities “to become more effective in preventing and investigating the on going attacks on its Christian and Muslim minorities,” it said.

“So far we have seen very little progress by the Indian justice system to bring to trial the perpetrators of such crimes. This cannot continue. The EU should be very clear in reminding India that religious freedom and respect for minorities are essential pillars of a democratic system” added Berger.

In a separate letter to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Amnesty wrote that “ahead of the EU-India summit, which you will be attending in Marseille next week, we are writing to urge you to make human rights a core part of the discussion”.

Sarkozy, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, will be leading the EU side at the summit.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will lead the Indian delegation to the summit organized by MEDEF, the French Association of Enterprises.

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