New Delhi, Oct 21: Giving a befitting reply, the Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement condemning the remarks made by UN High Commission for Human Rights (UNHRC) on the issue related to Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). It said that "violations of the law cannot be condoned under the pretext of human rights."
"We have seen some comments by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on an issue relating to the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) India is a democratic polity based on the rule of law and an independent judiciary. The framing of laws is obviously a sovereign prerogative. Violations of law, however, cannot be condoned under the pretext of human rights. A mere informed view of the matter was expected of a UN body," said Anurag Srivastava, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson, on Tuesday in the statement.
This statement came after the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet accused India of "tightening of space for human rights NGOs". Further she had stated, "India has long had a strong civil society, which has been at the forefront of groundbreaking human rights advocacy within the country and globally...But I am concerned that vaguely defined laws are increasingly being used to stifle these voices."
Bachelet also used the FCRA act and said a number of UN humean right bodies have also expressed concern is vaguely worded and overboard in its objective. She said that Act which was amended last month "will create even more administrative and practical hurdles for such advocacy-based NGOs. Most recently Amnesty International was compelled to close its offices in India after its bank accounts were frozen over alleged violation of the FCRA."
However, the Union Ministry had said that Amnesty International is free to continue humanitarian work in India, but made it clear that India does not allow interference in domestic political debates by entities funded by foreign donations. "This law applies equally to all & it shall apply to Amnesty International as well," it said.