To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of alleged reports of (a) violence and (b) discrimination targeted at Muslim women in India; and what representations he has made to his Indian counterpart on this.
1 March 2022
We condemn any instances of discrimination because of religion or belief, regardless of the country or faith involved. We look to India to uphold all freedoms and rights guaranteed in its strong constitution and by the international instruments to which India is a party. Where we have concerns, we raise them directly with the Government of India, including at ministerial level. Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for South Asia and Human Rights, last discussed human rights in India during his visit in July 2021.
We engage with India on a range of human rights matters, working with Union and State Governments and Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) to build capacity and promote human rights for all. The British High Commission (BHC) in Delhi regularly assesses human rights across India. Our officials in India work closely with Indian civil society and non-governmental organisations to promote gender equality and tackle gender-based violence. We have worked with the Madhya Pradesh Police's Gender Resource Centre to train a core group of officers on tackling crimes against women. We also regularly meet religious representatives and have run projects supporting minority rights. The BHC supports a UK-India Interfaith Leadership Programme for emerging Indian faith leaders, including Muslims, to build expertise on leading modern inclusive communities and promote values of tolerance and multi-culturalism. The UK will host an international Ministerial conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief in 2022 to energise collective efforts on this agenda. We also work with the UN, OSCE, Council of Europe, G7 and other multilateral fora to promote our objectives.