US delegation brings ‘human rights concerns’ to India

Lazy eyes listen


The United States’ Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Human Rights, Uzra Zeya, has arrived in New Delhi to meet with senior government officials and civil society organizations.

The State Department said in a statement announcing the visit that Zeya will meet with senior government officials “to discuss the deepening and enduring US-India partnership, including advancing shared solutions to global challenges, democracy, regional stability, and cooperation on humanitarian relief.”

According to a State Department press release, Zeya will meet with officials in Bangladesh to discuss “shared humanitarian concerns” such as the Rohingya refugee crisis, labor challenges, human rights, free and fair elections, and combating human trafficking. He intends to “advance shared solutions to global challenges, contribute to a more free, open, secure, and prosperous Indo-Pacific,” she said in announcing the trip.

Zeya, who was named special coordinator for Tibetan issues in 2021, visited India in March last year and met with the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan Buddhist leader who celebrated his 88th birthday this week.

China slammed the US official’s visit to the spiritual leader’s house in Dharamshala, in the Himalayan foothills of northern India’s Himachal Pradesh. The visit of US officials is viewed by Beijing as an intrusion into its domestic affairs and a violation of Washington’s vow that Tibet is a part of China.

The high-profile delegation’s arrival in India follows Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first state visit to the United States, which was overshadowed by requests for President Joe Biden’s administration to discuss human rights concerns with Modi.

More than 70 members of the US Senate and House of Representatives signed a letter stating that “a series of independent, credible reports reflect troubling signs in India toward the shrinking of political space, the rise of religious intolerance, the targeting of civil society organizations and journalists, and growing restrictions on press freedoms.”

Amnesty International India Board Chair Aakar Patel stated that Biden and Modi must “hold each other to account for their human rights commitments, rather than sweeping human rights issues in their respective countries under the rug.”