On 4th September (local time), the Permanent Mission of India at the United Nations strongly rejected comments by UN experts on Manipur. India has termed them “unwarranted, presumptive and misleading” while adding that the situation in the state is peaceful.
The statement by India came as a verbal note to the Special Procedures Branch of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Indian mission noted in its response that the situation in Manipur was peaceful and stable. Furthermore, the mission added that the Government of India was committed to taking the required steps to maintain peace and stability in the state.
The Permanent Mission of India to the UN office and other International Organizations in Geneva said, “The Permanent Mission of India completely rejects the news release as it is not only unwarranted, presumptive and misleading but also betrays a complete lack of understanding on the situation in Manipur and the steps taken by Government of India to address it.”
“The Government is also committed to protecting the human rights of the people of India, including the people of Manipur,” it added.
The remarks came in response to the press release by the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner on 4th September, stating that UN Experts were “alarmed” by “continuing abuses in Manipur.
The UN experts raised the alarm over “alleged acts of sexual violence, extrajudicial killings, home destruction, forced displacement, torture and ill-treatment”. They claimed that most of the persons killed in the conflict were Kukis and pointed out that Meiteis are predominantly Hindus and Kukis are predominantly Christians, forming a divide between the communities based on religion. Furthermore, the experts claimed that most of the gender-based violence targeting women and girls of all ages was against the Kuki community.
“It is particularly concerning that the violence seems to have been preceded and incited by hateful and inflammatory speech that spread online and offline to justify the atrocities committed against the Kuki ethnic minority, particularly women, on account of their ethnicity and religious belief,” they said.
They accused the Government of India of a “slow and inadequate” response to the violence. Furthermore, the experts “praised” the lawyers and human rights defenders in Manipur for responding to the reports of violence. “We are also concerned about reported criminalization and harassment of human rights defenders documenting the cases,” they said.
Questionable past of the “experts”
Irene Khan hails from Bangladesh. She has been a regular critic of India and has often tried to interfere in India’s internal matters using her position on International platforms. According to the official profile of Irene Khan on UNCHR, she was Secretary-General of Amnesty International from 2001 to 2009. Interestingly, Khan had to leave the organization in 2009 after she was accused of receiving over USD 700,000 from the organization. Under her leadership, Amnesty faced criticism for supporting Moazzam Begg, the former Guantanamo detainee and its links to Islamist groups. In 2022, she came out in support of a dubious journalist who is under ED’s scanner for alleged fraud done while raising funds for Covid relief work, Rana Ayyub.
Amnesty International is a dubious organization that has indulged in anti-India activities for a long time. Despite the non-issuance of FCRA licenses for its Indian chapter, the organization kept receiving foreign funds in India. After strict action from the Indian government in 2020, when ED froze its accounts, the organization closed its Indian chapter.
She was also director-general of the International Development Law Organization (IDLO), as mentioned by another Twitter user, Sagorika. Her profile on UN suggests she was part of IDLO from 2012 to 2019. China is a major contributor to IDLO and has been part of the collective since 1989. 2017 IDLO and China signed a memorandum on the “One Belt One Road” initiative.
Another aspect of Irene’s connection to China is that the Chinese govt was behind her appointment at the UN. In 2020, a China-led panel appointed her as the world monitor of free speech. UN Watch categorically mentioned in a report that Khan enjoys close ties with the Communist regime.
Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
According to her resume which can be seen here, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin was a member of the Women’s Program Board, Open Society Foundation owned by George Soros in 2018. Earlier, she was Chair, the Women’s Program Board, Open Society Foundation, with an Annual Budget of around $7,000,000 between 2011 and 2018. She received the Open Society Foundations Grant on Emergency Powers (Co-I) in 2020-21. George Soros is known for his anti-India and anti-Hindu views. Our detailed coverage of Soros can be seen here.
Rajagopal was an Open Society Foundation fellow. The year of his fellowship at the foundation was not mentioned.
According to her profile at Kellog University, her research on different topics was funded by the likes of Qatar Foundation and Open Society Institute. For those who are unaware, George Soros’s Open Society Foundation was previously called the Open Society Institute.
He was director of regional and global human rights program for Amnesty International (UK) between 1990 and 2003. Notably, Amnesty International has a history of bias against India. Our detailed reports on Amnesty can be seen here. Furthermore, he is one of the UN experts who called for immediate release of Khurram Pervez who NIA arrested in a terror funding case.
Mary Lawlor, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders at the United Nations, is the co-author of the anti-India rant on the investigation against Rana Ayyub. Lawlor is also linked to Amnesty International. She was director of the Irish chapter of the organisation from 1988 to 2000. Alongside, Irene, she also came out in support of Ayyub.
Lawlor had repeatedly targeted India for arresting Bhima-Koregaon violence accused Stan Swamy, who died of old age-related illness in 2021. She had said his death would “forever remain a stain on India’s human rights record.”
She had been meddling in India’s internal matters and tried her best to paint a negative picture of India on the international platform in Swamy’s case. However, she conveniently ignored that the Indian security agencies had found evidence against Swamy and the court had found these allegations legitimate multiple times to refuse bail. There were allegations that Indian authorities did not provide medical assistance to Swamy, but contrary to the allegations, he was provided with the best possible medical care.
She also raised objections over the arrest of Kashmiri separatist activist Khurram Parvez, whom the investigating agencies arrested in a terror funding case. NIA had arrested Parvez in November 2021 on the charges of terror funding. He was booked under Sections 17 (raising funds for the terrorist act), 18 (conspiracy), 18B (recruiting of any person or persons for the terrorist act), 38 (offence relating to membership of a terrorist organisation), and 40 (raising funds for a terrorist organisation) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
On February 22, a Delhi court sent him and two others to NIA custody on February 25 for interrogation linked to the arrest of former IPS officer Arvind Digvijay Negi in connection to sending sensitive documents to the terrorist organisation LeT.
Fernand de Varennes
Fernand de Varennes has a long history of meddling in India’s internal affairs. In May 2023, he said in a tweet that holding a G20 meeting in Kashmir would be a massive human rights violation.
Holding a #g20 meeting in #jammuandkashmir while massive #humanrights violations are ongoing is lending support to attemps by #India to normalize the brutal & repressive denial of democratic & other rights of #kashmiri #Muslims and #minorities. pic.twitter.com/fjLSjovfKX
— UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues (@fernanddev) May 15, 2023
Most of the so-called experts in the list have come out in support of terror suspects, Naxalites, farmer protests and other anti-India activities from time to time.