BRICS nations must put human rights first: Amnesty
Johannesburg : The BRICS nations "must" put human rights at the forefront of their discussions, Amnesty International said here on Wednesday.
Amnesty International India and South Africa, in a joint statement released at the commencement of the 10th BRICS Summit, said that all the BRICS countries face a number of human rights challenges.
Citing incidents like the murder of Marielle Franco in Brazil, the Marikana tragedy in South Africa, Tibetan HRD Tashi Wangchuck have being handed an "unjust" five year prison sentence, it said the leaders of these countries must redress human rights violations.
It also referred to the hate crimes against marginalised communities in India, and LGBTI people facing serious threats and living in constant fear in Russia.
"With such wide ranging human rights issues plaguing these emerging economies, the leaders of these countries must act immediately to redress violations and ensure accountability," said Shenilla Mohamed, Executive Director, Amnesty International South Africa.
"Attacks on HRDs and marginalized communities cannot become the order of the day. HRDs defend truth and justice.
However, instead of commending them for their efforts, they are silenced and their work is shut down," he said.
The statement highlighted harassment of Indian HRDs with reference to the detention of Chandrashekhar Azad, a Dalit HRD working on issues of caste-based discrimination.
"Human rights defenders, the champions of truth and justice, are portrayed as criminals, anti-nationals or even foreign agents. They are maligned, locked up and attacked for speaking out," said Aakar Patel, Executive Director, Amnesty International India.
He urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and other heads of state at the Summit, "to acknowledge their responsibility towards upholding human rights and work collectively to end human rights violations."