Teesta Setalvad is a strong voice against hate: UN official

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Defending human rights is not a crime, says UN Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, Mary Lawlor

Defending human rights is not a crime, says UN Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, Mary Lawlor

A UN official has expressed “deep concern” over the arrest of activist Teesta Setalvad by Gujarat police and called for his release.

“Deeply concerned by reports that Teesta Setalvad is being held by the Gujarat Police Counter Terrorism Squad. Teesta is a strong voice against hate and discrimination. Defending human rights is not a crime. I call for his release and an end to persecution by the Indian state,” said Mary Lawlor, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders.

Ms Lawlor’s views have been echoed by Front Line Defenders, a global organization she founded to support human rights activists. Front Line Defenders said: “Alarmed by attempts to arrest Teesta Setalvad in India. The Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Police broke into her home and detained her baselessly. We call for his immediate release and an end to his legal persecution for his peaceful human rights work. »

Amnesty India, in a social media post, called the arrest a “direct retaliation” by the Indian authorities and said: “It sends a chilling message to civil society and further shrinks the space for dissent. in the country. Targeting human rights activists for their legitimate human rights work is unacceptable.”

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