An Open Letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook on Human Rights in India

March 10, 2017 by David Curry in Advocacy

An open letter to Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc., from David Curry, president and CEO of Open Doors USA.

February 28, 2017

Tim Cook, CEO
1 Infinite Loop
Cupertino, CA 95014

Dear Mr. Cook:

Apple Inc. is one of the most respected companies in the world. Your organization’s commitment to excellence is inspiring and commendable. Your products are an integral part of the everyday lives of millions of people. Apple’s unique approach to personal electronics continues to revolutionize daily life here in America and around the globe. And yet, I urge you to more fully realize that you have an incredible opportunity for influence. Your company represents the best of American values and ideals, and I encourage you to stand for these values—including the protection of basic human rights—in all international business negotiations.

I am writing to you regarding your efforts to expand operations in India. I know you are aware of the human rights issues so prevalent there, but did you know that India ranks No. 15 on the 2017 Open Doors World Watch List? The list is a global indicator of countries where human rights are violated, where religious freedom is threatened, and where societies are most vulnerable to unrest and destabilization. In the last year, increased mob violence against Christians and other religious minorities has gone unchecked by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his administration. Muslims, Christians and other religious minorities continue to suffer terribly as radical Hindu nationalists target them.

There are currently 63 million Christians living in India, all facing some form of persecution for their faith. For example, Samari Kasabi, a mother in the village of Dokawaya was dragged from her home by a mob of Hindu extremists, stripped naked, beaten, killed and then her body was publicly set on fire because of her faith. Others like Sukhdev Negi, a village chief in Gudsakal, have been attacked by Naxalite guerrillas, beaten and murdered in front of family members. These are just two tragic stories that represent a myriad of human rights abuses in India. 

Mr. Cook, you and your company have a unique opportunity to be a strong voice for human rights by insisting India’s government protect and preserve religious freedom in India, specifically addressing the plight of Muslims, Christians and other religious minorities who often face severe persecution for their faith. In addition to the requested tax and sourcing concessions, I urge you to publicly call upon the government of India to affirm the fundamental right to choose one’s own faith or no faith at all.

As you finalize negotiations and, ultimately, begin hiring employees in India, please recognize that many who join your ranks will come from a background of persecution. Inclusion and diversity are integral to the way Apple operates. Will you advocate for your future Indian employees?

Please know that you are venturing into a country where Hindu extremists are vowing to erase the Christian faith by 2021. I have enclosed a photograph recently taken at an Indian train station by one of our staff.

These troubling signs are a common sight throughout India. I urge you to give careful thought to the ways in which Apple can be a force for good.


David Curry