Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence, John Brady TD, has once again raised his concern at the continuing incarceration of the human rights defender Fr. Stan Swamy in India.
Teachta Brady said:
“Fr Swamy is an 84-year-old human rights defender, who was arrested by the National Investigation Agency of India on 8 October, on false charges.
“He has been a prominent defender of the land rights of the Dalit and Adivasi indigenous people, who have been victims of forced displacement to make room for developments, or for companies to access to mineral rich lands.
“Fr. Swamy would typically be involved in the recording and filing of the arrests of Adivasi peoples for protesting discrimination and forced removal from their homelands.
“The human rights defender also suffers from Parkinson’s and despite being unable to hold a cup to drink from it, has been refused request to access a straw, a water bottle or winter clothing.
“I have written to the Minister on two occasions so far, and an again calling on the Irish government to raise this matter within the EU, and with their Indian counterparts.
“This elderly clergyman must be released immediately.
“The targeting and abuse of human rights defenders across the globe, particularly and most often as a response to the needs of multinational companies, has worsened over the past twenty years.
“And as the battle for resources intensifies on our diminished planet, this will only intensify. The EU, and Ireland as a key member state, and one about to take up a role on the UN National Security Council have a key responsibility to pursue legislation that will hold both companies and countries accountable for human rights abuses and the persecution of human rights defenders.”