June 28, 2016
Earlier this month, the Government of India suspended the FCRA registration of the internationally well-known Lawyers Collective for 6 months, for alleged violations of FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act) norms. Senior lawyers Indira Jaising (former member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women), and Anand Grover (former Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health) have been especially targeted.
A group of 50 organizations and over 300 individuals has strongly condemned the action. The group argues that the suspension was politically motivated: “There has been a systematic campaign and abuse of the legal process by the Central Government to malign Indira Jaising and Anand Grover as well as LC [Lawyers Collective] over the past six months. The suspension of LC’s FCRA registration is nothing but an escalation of the Government’s campaign to crush dissent and criminalise any person or organisation that questions or opposes the violation of fundamental rights and human rights by the State and its agencies.” (full statement can be accessed below)
Protest letter IFHHRO
In solidarity, IFHHRO sent the following letter to the Indian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rajnath Singh:
Dear Mr. Rajnath Singh,
The International Federation of Health and Human Rights Organizations (IFHHRO) has taken notice, with great concern, of the 180 days suspension of the Lawyers Collective by the Union Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on basis of “violations” of provisions of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FRCA). International human rights organizations such as Amnesty International have already stated that the “FRCA allegations are clearly a pretext to silence [..] dissenting opinions”.
Lawyers Collective trustee Anand Grover is a former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health (Right to Health). His reports and his achievements during his mandate period are of utmost importance for the understanding and implementation of the Right to Health. He made sure that the health rights of marginalized groups such as HIV/Aids patients and LGBT persons are firmly included in international law and patient rights.
IFHHRO has always cooperated with, and supported the work of the Special Rapporteur, is the conviction that the Right to Health is pivotal in achieving equality and dignity for all people. Lawyers Collective trustee Indira Jaising is a former member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw), and has been instrumental in promoting women’s rights, including women’s Right to Health.
IFHHRO calls on immediate revocation of the FRCA suspension and restoration of respect for the important work of the Lawyers Collective, which supersedes India’s interest as it is of global importance. IFHHRO has therefore joined the statement condemning the persecution of Lawyers Collective and senior lawyers Indira Jaising and Anand Grover by the Ministry of Home Affairs, India .
IFHHO calls on its member organizations to join the protest and call on the Minister of Home Affairs, India, to immediately revoke the suspension.
Adriaan van Es, MD, secretary IFHHRO