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Amnesty Official Alleges Organization Activities Stopped in India Due to Account Freezing | India News


WASHINGTON: An Amnesty International official has reported that the organization was forced to fire all staff and cease all human rights work after its bank accounts in India were frozen.
Joanne Lin, National Director of Defense and Government Affairs for Amnesty International USA, made the accusations during a congressional hearing on international human rights.
India’s Interior Ministry said in October that the organization’s claims that it was being subjected to an “incessant witch hunt” were unfortunate, exaggerated and far from the truth.
The ministry said that Amnesty International had received permission under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) only once and that also 20 years ago (on December 19, 2000). Since then, he said, the organization, despite its repeated requests, has been denied approval of the FCRA by successive governments as under the law it is not eligible for it.
The Interior Ministry said Amnesty is free to continue humanitarian work in India, as many other organizations are doing.
During the hearing, Lin told members of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Global Human Rights that in 2020, Amnesty India was forced to lay off all staff and cease all work on human rights after their bank accounts were frozen.
This came after years of intimidation by the government, including raids on Amnesty India offices and interrogations of board members and staff, he alleged.
“Amnesty International’s forcible closure of the world’s largest democracy has sent a chilling message to civil society around the world,” Lin said.
An influential Republican congressman described it as a disturbing development.
“That is a very, very worrying state of affairs, that the larger democracy tells the people of Amnesty International that you are out …” said rank-and-file congressman Christopher Smith, who wanted to know more details about the situation. in India.
India has said that it hopes other governments will not tolerate infringement of the country’s laws by any entity.
“NGOs (non-governmental organizations) are expected to comply with all of our laws, including regarding foreign funding, just as they presumably would in other countries, including the US and the European Union,” said the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Anurag Srivastava. in October.

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