The Indian authorities are using the recommendations of an international body to monitor the financing of terrorism to target civil society groups and activists, Amnesty International said on Wednesday.
The organization announced in a report published today that the government of Narendra Modi is misusing the recommendations of the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in order to silence its critics.
Akar Patel, head of Amnesty International's Executive Office in India, said the Indian government had benefited from the FATF recommendations to strengthen its arsenal of financial laws under the cover of counter-terrorism.
Patel said the laws were being used in an "abusive way" to target and silence people who made criticism.
In the past 10 years, the Indian government has revoked the licenses of more than 20,6 NGOs, including about 2022,<> since the beginning of <>, according to the Amnesty International report.
NEW: The Indian government has exploited the 2010 and 2013 Financial Action Task Force (FATF) assessment reports to weaponise its financial and counter-terrorism laws and target civil society groups and activists. Read our new briefing: https://t.co/oeQ4LCem1m
— Amnesty India (@AIIndia) September 27, 2023
Several NGOs consider themselves victims of harassment by the Indian government for criticizing the authorities' treatment of Indian minorities and denouncing human rights violations in conflict zones.
Modi's opponents argue that the Indian government is pressuring rights groups by scrutinizing their finances and restricting how they are funded abroad.
The Indian government has accused Amnesty International of illegal practices, notably the transfer of large sums of money from its UK branch to India.
Amnesty International ended its activities in India in 2020 after the government ordered the freezing of its bank accounts, and the organization considered itself to be the victim of an ongoing witch hunt led by the Indian government against human rights groups on unfounded grounds.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which includes 39 countries and joined India in 2010, works to combat money laundering and terrorist financing globally.