Human Rights Defenders need protection – Free Bhima Koregaon 16

Who defends the defenders? Indian human rights defenders need protection.

Next weekend, the heads of government of the G-7 countries (G-7) will meet in the United Kingdom for their 47th summit. Invited this time are also India, South Korea and Australia. India is thus joining what is seen as a new group of Ten Democracies (D-10), united by a commitment to multilateralism and human rights.

At the same time, human rights defenders working peacefully for the rights of the poorest and most vulnerable are in detention in India. Sixteen of them, some of whom have been detained for three years without charge in Byculla jail (Mumbai) and Taloja jail (Navi Mumbai), have become known as Bhima Koregaon – BK16. They are:

Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Ferreira, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen, Rona Wilson, Sudhir Dhawale, Vernon Gonsalves, Varavara Rao, Gautam Navlakha, Anand Teltumbde, Hany Babu, Stan Swamy, Sagar Tatyarao Gorkhe, Ramesh Murlidhar Gaichor, Jyoti Raghoba Jagtab.

Their situation has become increasingly dramatic due to the Covid 19 crisis, which has particularly affected prison inmates in India. But release on bail has been granted only to Varavara Rao so far.

More details on the BK16 case can be found here:

Amnesty International’s India Coordination Group in Germany, together with Amnesty groups in Switzerland, Austria, the UK and other countries, Solifonds (Switzerland) as well as civil society organizations in India and Indian diaspora groups in Europe and the US, are calling for a public protest against the arbitrary detention of Bhima Koregaon 16 human rights defenders:

Berlin, June 12, 2021

13:15 at the Indian Embassy, Tiergartenstraße 17

14:00 at the Brandenburg Gate (Platz des 18. Maerz)

8. Juni 2021