The Myanmar government has been accused by Human Rights Watch of continuing to defy international calls to seriously investigate human rights violations against ethnic minorities in Shan, Kachin, Karen and Rakhine states.
“A United Nations-mandated Fact-Finding Mission found sufficient evidence to call for the investigation of senior military officials for crimes against humanity and genocide against ethnic Rohingya Muslims.
“The government has been unwilling to address the root causes of the crises, including systematic persecution and violence, statelessness, and continued military impunity,” HRW said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government increasingly harassed, arrested, and prosecuted rights defenders, activists, journalists, students, academics, and others critical of the government or its policies.
The government continued to impose harsh and discriminatory restrictions on Muslim-majority areas in Jammu and Kashmir since revoking the state’s constitutional status in August 2019 and splitting it into two federally governed territories.
Attacks continued against minorities, especially Muslims, even as authorities failed to take action against BJP leaders who vilified Muslims and BJP supporters who engaged in violence.
The Covid-19 lockdown disproportionately hurt marginalized communities due to loss of livelihoods and lack of food, shelter, health care, and other basic needs.
Hundreds of people remained detained without charge in Jammu and Kashmir under the draconian Public Safety Act, which permits detention without trial for up to two years.
In June, the government announced a new media policy in Jammu and Kashmir that empowers the authorities to decide what is “fake news, plagiarism and unethical or anti-national activities” and to take punitive action against media outlets, journalists, and editors. The policy contains vague and overbroad provisions that are open to abuse and could unnecessarily restrict and penalize legally protected speech.
The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act continued to provide effective immunity from prosecution to security forces, even for serious human rights abuses. In July, security forces killed three people in Shopian district, claiming they were militants. However, in August, their families, who identified them from photographs of the killings circulated on social media, said they were laborers. In September, the army said that its inquiry had found prima facie evidence that its troops exceeded powers under the AFSPA and it would take disciplinary proceedings against those “answerable.”