India protests: UN rights office calls on all parties to exercise ‘maximum restraint’


The UN human rights office (OHCHR) has called on both authorities and protesting farmers in India to “exercise maximum restraint” and for the parties “to find an equitable solution”.

“We call on the authorities and protesters to exercise maximum restraint in on-going farmer’s protests. The rights to peaceful assembly and expression should be protected both offline and online,” the human rights office tweeted on Friday.

“It is crucial to find equitable solutions with due respect to human rights for all,” the agency added.

For more than two months now, thousands of farmers, including women and the elderly, have been protesting on the outskirts of capital Delhi, against reforms to agriculture laws which they say would lead them at the mercy of corporations.

The farmers came with tractors and lorries, and set up camps along the highways, blocking major arteries leading into the city.

Several rounds of talks between the farmers and the government have failed to produce any breakthroughs. The government has said the laws are necessary to modernise Indian agriculture.

Though protests started off largely peacefully, violence flared on 26 January when some farmers drove into the city, clashing with security forces. One protester was reportedly killed and more than 300 police personnel wounded.

Media reports added that internet services were shut off in areas where the protesters were camped in, and barricades set up by authorities. (Source: UN News)