Amnesty International organized a vigil this evening, in Porto, to “light up the darkness that is seen today in India” and that “silences the dissent and repression of human rights defenders”.
Instead of people, the vigil featured a candle for each of the almost 1,000 people who signed the “online” petition that asks European leaders for “consistency” – who will meet, on Saturday, in Porto, with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will participate by videoconference.
Pedro Neto, executive director of Amnesty International Portugal, asks European leaders to “do not forget about human rights at the table of talks”.
Assuming that he has “hope” that European leaders will apply the same principles that they have followed towards China, the official stresses that it would be “inconsistent” for the European Union (EU) to approach India and “not to place human rights on top of the table”.
The vigil served to draw attention to the situation of 16 dissidents arrested in India, “from human rights defenders to journalists, lawyers, even religious”, but which symbolize the “hundreds, if not thousands, of people, who are being persecuted and repressed “in India, says Pedro Neto.
In common, summarizes the Jesuit priest José Maria Brito, present at the vigil, the dissidents have “a voice” that calls into question “the interests of a clearly nationalist vision of the Indian State, at this moment”.
Jesuits have followed the case of a detained, elderly and sick priest, “falsely accused of terrorist ties” for defending the adivasi (Indian tribal ethnicity).
“We would like the issue of human rights to be present at this meeting”, he corroborates.
“We must not let this stop being an issue”, which “is uncomfortable for India”, he insisted, also mentioning the case of a comedian who was arrested before the show. “He didn’t even make jokes,” he says.
Amnesty International “was forced to close operations” in India and “the organization’s bank accounts were frozen,” says Pedro Neto.
“There are no human or financial means to do the work of defending human rights, at a time when human rights are being attacked a lot”, he stresses, leaving an appeal: “Leave neither the European Union’s foundational dream nor the dream of Gandhi to be left behind. “.
Source: Renascença – Noticias by rr.sapo.pt.
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