India: Misuse of FATF standards to undermine civil society groups in India

© Naveed Ahmed / Unsplash

On February 12, 2024, FIDH and OMCT within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, along with six other groups, wrote to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) urging the global body to ensure its assessment team meets an independent and diverse set of civil society actors as part of its mutual evaluation of India’s anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime in India.

The letter drew from the various reports and letters sent by Amnesty International and other groups to FATF previously documenting the barriers faced by non-profit organisations in carrying out their legitimate human rights work in India. On February 27, 2024, FATF responded, citing lack of sufficient time to carry out such consultations despite constant reminders since September 2023. Their response is attached to the joint letter. In its September 2023 briefing, Amnesty International had found that Indian government has exploited the 2010 and 2013 FATF assessment reports to tighten its arsenal of financial and counter-terrorism laws including Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Prevention of Money Laundering Act without any consultation with non-profit organisations operating in India. These laws are routinely used to target civil society organisations.

Read the full letter here