New Delhi, July 21: India is watching three Dutch and Danish non-government organisations that have allegedly “cultivated” voluntary organisations in the Northeast to gather data for anti-India reports to be presented to the United Nations.
Officials of these foreign agencies may face visa restrictions too.
Reports prepared by voluntary organisations on human rights violations by the security forces in India’s northeastern states, particularly Manipur, have become “base material” for reports to the UN that are damaging to India, sources said.
The Danish Institute of Human Rights (DIHR) and Dutch Catholic Organisation for Relief and Development (Cordaid) are the two major organisations put under watch.
The Danish International Development Agency (Danida) has been on the Union home ministry’s watch-list since December 29 last year. Danida is known to be the primary donor to the DIHR.
New Delhi’s prime concern is the UN General Assembly, where reports from Special Rapporteurs may show the Indian government in a poor light over its human rights record.
Special Rapporteurs are people working on behalf of the UN with a mandate to “examine, monitor, advise and publicly report” on human rights problems.
“Reports presented by these activists were used as base material for reports of the UN Special Rapporteurs on Extra-Judicial Executions (EJE) and Human Rights Defenders (HRD) to the OHCHR (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights) and would be the basis for reports to the UN General Assembly in March 2013,” says a government document accessed by The Telegraph.
Senior officials of Cordaid — Ben Hayes, Rick van der Woud and Stephanie Joubert — may find it difficult to get a visa to India again. These officials have not only regularly visited India but are also known to have accompanied Indian activists to New York and Bangkok, sources said.
India’s move is part of a larger policy of visa curbs on the three Scandinavian countries — Denmark, Norway and Sweden — besides nations seen to be fomenting trouble here.
Denmark recently rejected India’s request for the extradition of Purulia arms-drop accused Kim Peter Davy citing poor jail conditions in India. Nor do Danish NGOs mince words in describing the Indian state.
The DIHR is understood to be funding NGOs not registered under the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act, through some registered groups. Some five agencies in the Northeast are said to receive funds from European NGOs.
Babloo Loitongbam of Human Rights Alert in Manipur felt that more restrictions on foreign donors would severely affect the cash-strapped regional NGOs and hit humanitarian efforts in the Northeast. “There is little help from Indian donors,” he said.