Amnesty International to stop work in India, cites government harassment and threats

Amnesty International announced Tuesday it would close its operations in India after its bank accounts were frozen and its executives were interrogated following the publication of two reports by the group that criticized the government’s human rights record.

The group said it has been a victim of an increasingly aggressive Indian government that has pounced on anyone who speaks negatively about it.

Critics of government policies have faced threats and arrests made by the leaders of the world’s largest democracy.

FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, file photo, a woman walks past the Amnesty International India headquarters in Bangalore, India. The Human rights watchdog said on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, that it was halting its operation in India, citing reprisals from the government and the freezing of its bank accounts. Its announcement comes at a time amid growing concerns over the state of free speech in India where critics accuse Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist government of increasingly brandishing laws to silence human rights activists, intellectuals, filmmakers, students and journalists. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi, File)

FILE – In this Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, file photo, a woman walks past the Amnesty International India headquarters in Bangalore, India. The Human rights watchdog said on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, that it was halting its operation in India, citing reprisals from the government and the freezing of its bank accounts. Its announcement comes at a time amid growing concerns over the state of free speech in India where

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Amnesty International to cease work in India, citing government harassment

The government is “treating human rights organizations like criminal enterprises and dissenting individuals as criminals without any credible evidence,” said Avinash Kumar, executive director of Amnesty International India, in a statement. Its goal is to “stoke a climate of fear.”

Amnesty said it would lay off its staff and cease its human rights campaigns, which have included reports on the deadly inter-religious riots in Delhi earlier this year and India’s crackdown in the restive region of Kashmir.

Tuesday’s announcement puts India in the same category as authoritarian regimes such as Russia, the only other country where Amnesty International previously ceased operations when it shuttered its office in 2016. The director of its Turkey arm was arrested but its office in the country remains functional. The group does not have a presence in China.

 Amnesty said that it was in compliance with all Indian laws and had received no formal communication

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Are You in Compliance? California’s Sexual Harassment Law AB 1825

I was speaking recently at a business network meeting when a business owner asked whether she needed to be concerned with California’s new Sexual Harassment law, AB1825. This business owner runs her company with 18 full-time, 20 part-time employees, 8 temp workers, and 5 sales subcontractors who are located in several states.

Requirement: 50 + employees

On the surface it appears that she does not meet the 50+ employee requirement that determines whether she must train her supervisors. Taking a closer look at the law, however, reveals that temporary service workers and independent contractors, regardless of where they are located are included in the total count of employees.

Requirement: Training must encompass all aspects of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.

The training must address retaliation and: sex, race/color, religion, age, and national origin harassment and discrimination. Typically previous trainings did not include these areas.

Another business owner wanted to … Read More