EU leaders urged to not sacrifice human rights for the sake of a free trade agreement

Indian Prime Minister Narendra ModiWikimedia

ADF International, a human rights group, urges EU leaders to not 'turn a blind eye' to the rising persecution of Christians and Muslims in India when they meet for the 14th annual EU-India Summit.

On Friday 6 October, Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, and Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, will meet with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

'How many more victims of government-condoned violence against Muslims and Christians will the EU tolerate until it puts the issue on the agenda with Prime Minister Modi? As long as the severe and continuing violations of the right to religious freedom do not have an impact on trade agreements, we cannot speak of a coherent EU commitment to human rights. Religious freedom needs to become a precondition to economic cooperation,' said Sophia Kuby, Director of EU Advocacy for ADF International.

'No person should live in fear of being killed, tortured, or oppressed because of their religious beliefs. The EU should not sacrifice the human rights it claims to protect for the sake of a free trade agreement.'

The persecution of religious minorities in India has become worse under the government of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is the political arm of the nationalistic Hindutva movement. The party has been accused of inciting hatred and riots against religious minorities, including Christians and Muslims.

According to the 2016 International Religious Freedom Report on India, there were more than 300 reported incidents of abuse directed at Christians, compared to 177 in 2015.