UN Rights experts urge India to repeal law restricting NGO’s access to crucial Foreign Funding



Narendra Modi government was misusing the legal provision to silence groups that are critical about the centre’s ways,said by three experts.


According to the three human rights experts associated with United Nation,reported PTI,that the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act is be8ing misused by the Indian Government to “silence” groups that are critical of the centre ways.Narendra Modi Government should reconsider the legal provision that restricts NGO’s from availing foreign funds,said by experts.This comes a day after the Home Ministry cancelled the FCRA license of activist Teesta Setalvad’s NGO Sabrang,which handles cases related to the 2002 riots in Gujrat.

We are alarmed that Foreign Contribution Regulation Act provisions are being used more and more to silence organisations involved in advocating civil, political, economic, social, environmental or cultural priorities, which may differ from those backed by the government," they said. The experts — Michel Forst, UN Special Rapporteurs on Human rights defenders, David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteurs on freedom of expression, and Maina Kiai, UN Special Rapporteurs on freedom of association — said the government's crackdown on NGOs with the help of the Act is not in accordance with international norms on human rights.

 "We are alarmed by reports that the suspension was politically motivated and was aimed at intimidating, delegitimising and silencing Lawyers Collective for their litigation and criticism of the Government's policies," the experts said. In June, the Home Ministry dicided  to bar senior advocate and former additional solicitor general Indira Jaising's non-profit, Lawyers Collective, from receiving foreign funds for the next six months.  

In a statement, the UN experts observed that terms like "political nature", "economic interest of the State" or "public interest" in the Act are "overly broad, do not conform to a prescribed aim, and are not a proportionate responses to the purported goal of the restriction".

"We strongly urge the Government to reverse its decision and embrace the invaluable contribution of the two prominent human rights defenders in upholding constitutional values in India. We encourage the authorities to ensure a safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders and civil society, which play a critical role in holding the Government to account and buttressing the Indian democracy," the statement read.