The report took into consideration factors such as the detention of protestors and journalists for classifying the countries into five categories with people in “open” nations having democratic freedom and those in “repressed” and “closed” nations facing several restrictions. While China, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Egypt and a few other countries have been listed as closed, India, Russia, Pakistan along with several African and Asian nations have been categorised as “repressed”.
In India, the report noted, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, or UAPA, was abused by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to keep several people in “pre-trial detention on baseless charges and deny them bail”. It also mentioned arrests of human rights activists in the Bhima Koregaon case, arrests of journalists who covered the Tripura communal violence, detention of Kashmiri rights defenders Khurram Parvez and Curfews and other restrictions that are routinely imposed in Jammu and Kashmir. “Raids were conducted on the homes of HRDs [human rights defenders] and offices of CSOs [Civil Society Organizations] and newspapers,” the report stated.
“In November 2020, Father Stan Samy, who was suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, had to fight the National Investigation Agency in court for a straw and sipper cup to drink water. The tribal rights activist died in July 2021, awaiting bail on health grounds. Navlakha too had been denied a pair of new spectacles after his spectacles were stolen in jail,” the report said. Meanwhile, the report mentioned that critics of the problem prevailing in India and 13 other countries have been silenced by the government through “extra-legal tactics”.
In its conclusion, the report made a slew of recommendations for countries to curb practices that affect democratic freedom. It recommended following the international human rights law and standards, creating an “enabling environment for human rights defenders, journalists and activists” and carrying out an impartial investigation into human rights violations.