India’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Arindam Bagchi, summarily rejected the “concerns” raised by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, about its electoral process as “unfounded” , stating that they do not reflect the reality of the world’s largest democracy. He proudly stated that many around the world seek to learn from India’s electoral experience and aspire to emulate it.

In his global report to the 55th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Turk expressed concern about “increasing restrictions on civic space, with human rights defenders, journalists and critics perceived to be targeted, as well as hate speech.” and discrimination against minorities, especially Muslims. Ambassador Bagchi dismissed these concerns and argued that plurality, diversity, inclusiveness and openness are at the core of India’s democratic politics and its constitutional values ​​and “These are backed by fiercely independent institutions, including a strong judiciary.” , which aims to protect the rights of everyone.

This was the height of diplomatic arrogance but did not deter the United States and Germany from entering the dispute. The United States, despite India’s strong objection and its diplomat being summoned, has maintained its position. “We are closely monitoring these actions, including the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. We are also aware of allegations by the Congress party that the tax authorities have frozen some of its bank accounts in a manner that will make it difficult to effectively campaign in the upcoming elections. And we encourage fair, transparent and timely legal processes for each of these issues,” said US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller. Sebastian Fischer, a spokesman for Germany’s foreign office, said: “We assume and hope that standards related to the independence of the judiciary and basic democratic principles also apply in this case.”

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has strongly objected to the comments from both countries, reiterating that this is an internal matter. The MEA also summoned top US diplomat Gloria Berbena, who heads the public affairs section at the US Embassy, ​​days after summoning German deputy chief of mission Georg Enzweiler to present a strong protests against the German Foreign Ministry’s comments on Kejriwal’s detention.

And then the UN itself intervened. In a press conference, Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said: “What we very much hope is that in India, as in any country that has elections, the rights of all, including political and civil rights, will be protected. , and that everyone can vote in a free and fair environment. Dujarric made these comments in response to a question about the “political turmoil” in India following the arrest of Kejriwal and the freezing of the Congress party’s bank accounts.

India’s role in a world in crisis


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