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In Update on India, UN Human Rights Chief Highlights Farmers’ Protests, Sedition Charges, Kashmir

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New Delhi: United Nations Human Rights commissioner Michele Bachelet raised the farmers’ protests, sedition charges against journalists and curbing of social media in an update to the Human Rights Council on Friday, February 27.

In her oral update, Bachelet had raised concerns about human rights issues in 50 countries, ranging from Spain to Sudan.

In the part about India, she observed that farmers’ protests “highlight the importance of ensuring laws and policies are based on meaningful consultations with those concerned”. She hoped that the dialogue efforts by the farmers and Centre “will lead to an equitable solution to this crisis that respects the rights of all”.

She also stated that sedition charges on journalists and activists for reporting or commenting on protests and attempts to curb freedom of expression on social media “are disturbing departures from essential human rights principles”.

At least three BJP-ruled states have filed FIRs against journalists for sharing “unverified” news about the tractor rally on January 26. An FIR was also filed against The Wire, its founding editor Siddharth Varadarajan and reporter Ismat Ara for reporting on the allegations made by the family about the death of Navreet Singh at the tractor rally on January 26. An independent journalist, Mandeep Punia, was arrested at Singhu border for reporting on the farmers protests.


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