Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau


Justin Trudeau is set to visit India from February 17 to 23, and Amnesty International wants the Canadian Prime Minister to discuss six things, which includes the criminalization of marital rape, with India during his time in the sub continent.

The letter lays “out a number of pressing human rights concerns and related recommendations that Amnesty International’s 300,000 supporters across Canada urge you [Trudeau] to raise in all possible exchanges, including meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”

The areas of concern are:

Threatened forced mass expulsion of Rohingya people from India:

According to the open letter, an estimated 40,000 Rohingya people in India are at risk of mass expulsion.  Expelling Rohingya asylum-seekers and refugees would violate the “international principle of non-refoulement – which is part of customary international law and is binding on all countries – that forbids governments from forcibly returning people to
countries where they may be subject to serious human rights violations,” noted the letter.

Justice and accountability for the 1984 Sikh massacre:

At least 3,000 people belonging to the Sikh faith were killed over the course of four days following the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984. However, only a small fraction of those responsible have been punished for the crime.

“The Delhi Police closed investigations in hundreds of cases after the massacre citing lack of evidence. Only a handful of police personnel who were charged with neglecting their duty and offering protection to the attackers have been punished,” Amnesty International said in the letter.

Use of pellet-firing shotguns in Kashmir:

In January this year, the Jammu and Kashmir state government admitted in the state legislative assembly that 6,221 persons received pellet gun injuries, including 782 eye injuries, between July 2016 and February 2017. ” These risks are virtually impossible to control. The use of pellet shotguns in Kashmir violates international standards on the use of force,” the letter noted.

Demonization of religious minorities:

The year 2017 saw a rise in hate crimes against Muslims in the country, leading to a growing sense of insecurity. A section of BJP workers even made statements appearing to justify the violence.

Decriminalization of consensual adult same-sex relations:

The Delhi High Court’s 2009 decision to decriminalize adult consensual same-sex relations was reversed by the Supreme Court of India in 2013. Although several countries have called upon India to decriminalize same sex relations, there has not been much progress made in this regard.

Criminalization of marital rape:

Marital rape is not a criminal offence within the Indian legal framework, and India has rejected the recommendations of international bodies to consider it an crime. According to an official nationwide family health survey in 2015-16, about six percent of married women in India say they have been raped by their husbands.