Geneva campaign highlights rights abuses in India

Murtaza Ali Shah
Banners outside UNHRC office in Geneva. Photo: Geo News

GENEVA: Posters and banners appeared outside the headquarters of United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC,) condemning violence against Christians, Dalits and others by Hindutva groups.

The posters exposing India’s poor human rights record and treatment of its subjugated minorities were placed on trams running across the UNHRC headquarters.

These banners in support of Kashmir’s indigenous movement of independence from India read ‘Jammu and Kashmir seeks attention’ and ‘Kashmir needs justice’.

Banners on trams also called for ‘free indigenous tripura’ and ‘free Nagaland’. 

Panaflexes put by rights group demanding civil rights. Photo: Geo News

Dozens of banners and standees have been placed near the iconic ‘Broken Chair’, reminding the UNHRC that extremist Hindu groups are involved in the burning of churches and attacking Christian missions across India at a wide scale with full support from far-right Narendra Modi’s government.

The awareness campaign is being run by Christian human rights groups and Dalit advocacy groups to highlight the prejudice and persecution these face in India on account of their beliefs and caste, respectively.

These banners read: ‘India, lower castes need your mercy and attention’, ‘India, do not burn churches’, ‘India, shun religious extremism’, ‘India, please stop using rape as a tool against the weak’, ‘respect religious places of minorities, it’s their basic right’, ‘India, stop female foeticide and spare the girl child’, ‘stop racism’ and ‘no to racism’.

Banners in support of indigenous people and Dalits read: ‘indigenous people suffering’, ‘manual scavenging by Dalits in 21st century is a crime’, ‘stop violence against women, ‘India, no to terror attacks on minorities’, ‘India stop violence’, ‘no to children labour’, ‘India, don’t we deserve clean drinking water’ and ‘Dalits equal citizens?’.

A  Panaflex put by Christian human rights group. Photo: Geo News

The banners call on India to revoke AFSPA law terming it ‘black law against human rights’.

Earlier, an expensively-funded banner campaign by a group called ‘Baluchistan House’ placed dozens of banners and posters across a wide network of Geneva public transport and road network in support of ‘Free Baluchistan’, triggering strong protest from Pakistan. 

The Swiss ambassador to Pakistan was summoned to the Foreign Office where protest was lodged that the anti-Pakistan campaign violated Pakistan’s sovereignty and showed that the Swiss government turned a blind eye to anti-Pakistan activities on its soil. Swiss government has promised to investigate and look into Pakistan’s complaint.