Silence means complicity: During Modi’s Europe visit, European activists condemn failure of governments to address atrocities in India

Press release
​​​​​​​Copenhagen, May 3

In protest against international silence on human rights violations and mass atrocities against religious minorities in India, human rights activists associated with The London Story placed empty shoes in front of the Amalienborg Palace, Copenhagen. The action coincided with the arrival of Modi in Copenhagen. The empty shoes, which symbolize the lack of people speaking out against Modi in Europe, were framed by printed quotes from Indian civil society actors calling for urgent international support.

“The Nordic governments are happily turning a blind eye to atrocities in India. Their meeting agenda is only about trade and clean energy partnerships. How much worse does it have to get? This is unacceptable: Silence means complicity,” The London Story activists said.

The action called on the international community to take atrocities in India seriously, such as the recent bulldozing of Muslim homes. According to international commentators such as Genocide Watch, which predicted the Rwandan genocide, the former UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng, and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, these incidents put India at immediate risk of genocide. Under the Genocide Convention, which India as well as Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Finland have all ratified, incitement to genocide is prohibited, and state parties are obliged to do everything in their power to prevent genocide.

In a recent interview, genocide expert Gregory Stanton sharply criticized political leaders around the world for failing to take the threat of genocide seriously: “What we have here is genocidal denial by our leaders in which they want to look the other way. I think we’re very complicit,” he said.

The activists added: “During the Holocaust, the international community did too little. The same during the Rwandan Genocide and in Myanmar, where warning calls were just plainly ignored. We cannot afford to do the same with India, where the lives of tens of millions are at stake.”

The action took place on May 3 as Modi visited Europe for a three-country trip. In Copenhagen, apart from meeting the Queen, Modi met with business leaders and heads of government of the Nordic countries Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Finland for the second Nordic-India Summit. The leaders discussed economic recovery, climate change and innovation and technology – but not mass atrocities or human rights.

Photo from the action at Amalienborg Palace, Copenhagen. Photograph: TLS
Photo from the action at Amalienborg Palace, Copenhagen. Photograph: TLS