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UN Special Rapporteur Speak Out On Gauri Lankesh's Murder

Gunjan Kalati |

On Wednesday, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression spoke out on Gauri Lankesh's murder. Urging India to act against her murder, the statement's title read, "UN rights experts urge India to act after the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh".  Special Rapporteurs on freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, on summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, and on the situation of human rights defender, Michel Forst said in a joint statement, "The Indian authorities should unequivocally condemn the killing of Gauri Lankesh, investigate it, bring all the perpetrators – including the masterminds – to account, and take seriously the safety of journalists"

"The murder of Gauri Lankesh is a terrible and painful tragedy for all who knew and loved her and her work, and is a vicious attack on the freedom of the press in India, which we unequivocally condemn"

"Her killing is the fourth in the last three years of activists who had opposed the rise of Hindu fundamentalism in politics"

Prior to this statement's release, the High Commissioner to the United Nations Human Rights Council had condemned Gauri Lankesh's murder and raised several questions on the matter. A part of the UN statement read, "People who speak out for fundamental human rights are also threatened. Gauri Lankesh, a journalist who tirelessly addressed the corrosive effect of sectarianism and hatred, was assassinated last week. I have been heartened by the subsequent marches calling for protection of the right to freedom of expression". 

Read | UN questions India 

Following this oral update by the UN human rights chief, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations gave a stern response to Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.  "India is proud of its independent judiciary, freedom of press, vibrant civil society, and respect for law and human rights" 

Read the full response | India responds to UNHRC statement
 

In addition to Gauri Lankesh's murder, the statement highlighted India's policy toward Rohingya Muslims amidst the crisis in Myanmar which then elicited reactions from key members of the Government of India.  Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Hansraj Ahir slammed the comments saying, "We don't need lectures from any country". Meanwhile, Kiren Rijiju tweeted, 

 

Read | MoS Home Slams UN Statement 

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