ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Locked Abroad

Revisiting the Health and Human Rights of Indians Detained Overseas

Foreign prisoners are highly vulnerable to human rights violations and discrimination. Indians detained overseas are confronted with a multitude of challenges, including inadequate medical care, maltreatment, unsanitary conditions, limited access to legal representation and overcrowding. The covid-19 pandemic had further exacerbated their predicament, with older inmates and those with pre-existing medical conditions disproportionately affected. This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the current status of Indians detained abroad, with a particular focus on their health and human rights concerns.

The authors thank the anonymous reviewers for dedicating their time to review this manuscript and for providing valuable feedback to improve the quality of the article

Migration has been used as a strategy to escape from poverty and unemployment in India. With nearly 18 million people living abroad, India has the largest emigrant population in the world (McAuliffe and Triandafyllidou 2021). In 2020, India received the largest amount of international remittance, with a total amount of $83.15 billion. The migrants without a proper job visa or those who violate the local laws and commit crimes are apprehended by the local authorities and the offenders are boarded in detention centres. The number of Indian mig­rants in such centres varies significantly by country and over time. Evidence suggests that many of the convicts were forced to remain in foreign jails even after serving their sentence, awaiting authorisation from their respective countries (Das 2017).

Prisoners’ rights are fundamental ­human rights that are protected by inter­national laws and conventions. The United Nations (UN) Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners 2015, known as the Nelson Mandela Rules, outline minimum standards for the tre­atment of prisoners, including access to healthcare, adequate nutrition, freedom from cruel and unusual punishment, and right to a fair trial. While the specific rights afforded to prisoners may differ across countries and jurisdictions, dep­ending on their legal and cultural system, the overarching principles remain the same. Many countries have signed international treaties and agreements that establish minimum standards for the treatment of prisoners. Therefore, regardless of nationality and location, prisoners are entitled to basic human rights and should be treated with dignity and respect (Arrigo and Bersot 2014). Although the foreign prisoners have the same basic rights as other prisoners from their native counterparts, they are additionally entitled to consular access and assistance from their home country’s embassy or consulate. This, can help them with translation, communication with family, legal representation and advocacy for their rights. Consular officials can also monitor the conditions of detention to ensure that they are ­being treated fairly and according to inter­national standards.

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Updated On : 6th Jul, 2023
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