Foreign Office expresses concern about human rights activists like 83-year-old Father Stan Swamy – advocate for Adivasi and Dalit rights – harassed and arrested in India. India should be making caste history – not prosecuting those who follow in the footsteps of the great Dr.Ambedkar, the Dalit who was father of India’s constitution.

Nov 6, 2020 | Featured

Fr Stan Swamy SJ, is an 83 year old Indian Jesuit in Ranchi Province of India. He is a well-known activist on behalf of Adivasi (tribal) and Dalit rights. He has been arrested before and repeatedly harassed by the Indian state because of his defence of the poorest people in India. Here is an article about his work . The video gives you a sense of the man himself.

As you will know, the plight of Dalits in India is very grave as this article on the BBC about Dalits shows.  It follows another horrendous rape and murder of a Dalit young woman in India.

This letter was sent to the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab MP, setting out details of Fr.Swamy’s case:

Reply from the Minister of State at the Foreign Office:

Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth
Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict
King Charles Street
Tel: 0207 008 5000

The Lord Alton of Liverpool
House of Lords

Our ref:
6 November 2020

Dear David,
Thank you for your letter of 12 October to the Foreign Secretary about Father Stan Swamy in India. I am replying as the Minister of State for South Asia and Minister responsible for Human Rights.

I appreciate many people feel strongly about this case. Human Rights Defenders make an essential contribution to the promotion of the rights of their fellow citizens. They face growing threats and the UK works with international partners to support them through organisations like Lifeline and Frontline Defenders, and through our overseas network of embassies and high commissions.

In India, as elsewhere, the British High Commission in New Delhi closely monitors political developments and the human rights situation. Where we have concerns, we raise them directly with the Government of India, including at ministerial level. On 9 October, British High Commission officials highlighted to the Ministry of Home Affairs criticisms of recent amendments to Indian security legislation, including their impact on activists and human rights campaigners in India.

Yours sincerely,

Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth
Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict

Lord David Alton

For 18 years David Alton was a Member of the House of Commons and today he is an Independent Crossbench Life Peer in the UK House of Lords.

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