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Curbing Religious freedom among Human Rights problems in India: US

The US State Department report brings out the major human rights issues in India, including topics like gender, caste and religious discrimination and more

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Washington, March 4, 2017: According to a US report, The most noteworthy and significant human rights problems in India include Restrictions on foreign-funded NGOs and religious freedom along with corruption and police and security force abuses.

According to PTI reports, the State Department 2016 Country Reports on Human Rights Practice, the first under the Trump Administration mentioned hazardous prison condition, dubious disappearances, and delay in justice due to court backlogs are among other major human rights issues in India in the year 2016.

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The report that was released on Friday says “The most significant human rights problems involved instances of police and security force abuses, including extrajudicial killings, torture, and rape; corruption, which remained widespread and contributed to ineffective responses to crimes, including those against women, children, and members of Scheduled Castes (SCs) or Scheduled Tribes (STs); and societal violence based on gender, religious affiliation, and caste or tribe.”

“Other human rights problems included disappearances, hazardous prison conditions, arbitrary arrest and detention, and lengthy pretrial detention. Court backlogs delayed or denied justice, including through lengthy pretrial detention and denial of due process,” said the report which will be submitted to the Congress.
“The government placed restrictions on foreign funding of nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), including some whose views the government believed were not in the ‘national or public interest,’ curtailing the work of civil society,” added the India section of the report.

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According to the report, religious conversion is restricted by the law in six states and there were reports of arrests but no reports of convictions under those laws, after a keen observation that found instances of infringement of privacy rights.

Also, the report alleged some limits on the freedom of movement continued. The rate of societal travesties such as Rape, domestic violence, dowry-related deaths, honor killings, sexual harassment, and discrimination against women and girls is still very much serious, it pointed out.

Problems like Child abuse, female genital mutilation and cutting, and forced and early marriage are still very much present in society. Serious cases of Trafficking in persons including widespread bonded and forced labor of children and adults, and sex trafficking of children and adults for prostitution are kind of regular, it added.
Societal discrimination against persons with disabilities and indigenous persons continues till date, so do discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation, gender identity and persons with HIV, the State Department report has said.

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The report also has said, “A lack of accountability for misconduct at all levels of government persisted, contributing to widespread impunity. Investigations and prosecutions of individual cases took place, but lax enforcement, a shortage of trained police officers, and an overburdened and under resourced court system contributed to infrequent convictions. Separatist insurgents and terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, the northeastern states, and the Maoist belt committed serious abuses, including killings of armed forces personnel, police, government officials, and civilians.”

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang

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USA: Everything you want to know about Security Clearance; Find out here!

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas.

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Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA
Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan. We take a look at what that means.

What is a security clearance?

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas after completion of a background check. The clearance by itself does not guarantee unlimited access. The agency seeking the clearance must determine what specific area of information the person needs to access.

What are the different levels of security clearance?

There are three levels: Confidential, secret and top secret. Security clearances don’t expire. But, top secret clearances are reinvestigated every five years, secret clearances every 10 years and confidential clearances every 15 years.

All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA
All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA

Who has security clearances?

According to a Government Accountability Office report released last year, about 4.2 million people had a security clearance as of 2015, they included military personnel, civil servants, and government contractors.

Why does one need a security clearance in retirement?

Retired senior intelligence officials and military officers need their security clearances in case they are called to consult on sensitive issues.

Also Read: Governments Across The World Request Apple for 30,000 Device Information

Can the president revoke a security clearance?

Apparently. But there is no precedent for a president revoking someone’s security clearance. A security clearance is usually revoked by the agency that sought it for an employee or contractor. All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance, which can include criminal acts, lack of allegiance to the United States, behavior or situation that could compromise an individual and security violations. (VOA)