From Human Rights Watch
The Indian government intensified its harassment and at times prosecution of critics in 2018, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2019. Authorities used draconian sedition and counter-terrorism laws to silence peaceful dissent, and foreign funding regulations and other laws to discredit and muzzle nongovernmental organizations critical of government actions or policies.
In a landmark decision in September, however, the Supreme Court decriminalized consensual adult same-sex relations, paving the way for full constitutional protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. The ruling opened the door for reform in other countries with British colonial-era sodomy laws.
“The room for dissent in India is getting ever smaller, and anyone who criticizes government actions can become a target,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Authorities seem more interested in silencing activists and journalists than in addressing the problems they bring to light.”
In the 674-page World Report 2019, its 29th edition, Human Rights Watch reviewed human rights practices in more than 100 countries. In his introductory essay, Executive Director Kenneth Roth says that the populists spreading hatred and intolerance in many countries are spawning a resistance. New alliances of rights-respecting governments, often prompted and joined by civic groups and the public, are raising the cost of autocratic excess. Their successes illustrate the possibility of defending human rights – indeed, the responsibility to do so – even in darker times.
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