“Devastating, Inexcusable”: EU, UN Human Rights Reps On Stan Swamy’s Demise

“Devastating, Inexcusable”: EU, UN Human Rights Reps On Stan Swamy’s Demise

Human rights representatives, politicians and intellectuals flooded the social media with messages condoling Father Stan Swamy’s death.

After an 84-year-old Jesuit Priest and tribal rights activist Father Stan Swamy passed away on Monday while being incarcerated under draconian anti-terror law UAPA in connection with the Elgar Parishad case, human rights representatives, politicians and intellectuals flooded the social media with messages.

Mary Lawlor, a United Nations Special Rapporteur for human rights defenders, and Eamon Gilmore, the European Union’s Special Representative for Human Rights were among those to have spoken out on Swamy’s death.

Attaching a link to a YouTube video in which Stan Swamy explains his work, Ms Lawlor tweeted: “The news from India today is devastating. Human Rights Defender and Jesuit priest Father Stan Swamy has died in custody, nine months after his arrest on false charges of terrorism. Jailing HRDs is inexcusable.”

Retweeting Ms Lawlor’s post, Mr Gilmore said: “India: I am very saddened to hear that Father Stan Swamy has passed away. A defender of indigenous peoples’ rights. He was held in detention for the past 9 months. The EU had been raising his case repeatedly with authorities.”

The United Nation’s Human Rights office in Switzerland, in January this year, had expressed serious concern over the condition of Stan Swamy and other human rights activists in India.

Though the UN had not mentioned the names of Swamy and others accused in the Elgar Parishad case, it had said that, “We continue to be concerned about the situation of activists detained in India, including in the context of the Bhima Koregaon events”, and urged the government to release “some of the detainees (who) are elderly and in poor health” as they await trial.

Within the country, Jharkhand Chief Minister and his Kerala counterpart were among the first few politicians to post the messages of Condolences. Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi also condoled Swamy’s death.

Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren, in whose state the Jesuit Priest worked for the tribal communities for around five decades, held the union government responsible for his passing. Mr Soren said: “Shocked to learn about the demise of Father Stan Swamy. He dedicated his life working for tribal rights. I had strongly opposed his arrest & incarceration. The Union Govt should be answerable for absolute apathy & non provision of timely medical services, leading to his death.”


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