Later this week, the European Parliament is scheduled to debate and vote on resolutions criticising India’s Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
Five key groupings, ranging from the centre-right to far-left, and comprising 559 out of the 751 Members of European Parliament (MEPs), have moved resolutions that criticise the law. Two of these state that the CAA marks a “dangerous shift” in the way citizenship will be determined, and say it might create the “largest statelessness crisis in the world”.
A sixth resolution, brought in by 66 MEPs, supports the Act but calls for an impartial probe into “excessive use of force by security forces” against anti-CAA protesters.
Previous European Parliament resolutions on India
In 2016, the EU body adopted a resolution on Estonian and UK seamen under detention in India.
The EU nationals (six Britons and 14 Estonians), along with 12 Indians and three Ukrainians, were crew members of a US-based ship, and were arrested in Tamil Nadu in 2013 for illegally possessing weapons in Indian waters. In January 2016, a Tuticorin court sentenced all 35 to five years rigorous imprisonment under The Arms Act and The Essential Commodities Act.
The resolution, which was passed after the conviction, “(called) on the Indian authorities to ensure that the case of the MV Seaman Guard Ohio crew is dealt with on a basis of full respect for the human and legal rights of the defendants, in line with the obligations enshrined in the various human rights charters, treaties and conventions that India has signed up to”.
After the 2012 Delhi bus gangrape case, the EU Parliament passed a resolution in 2013, which expressed “its deepest solidarity with the victims of the New Delhi attack and with the victims of all other such attacks, whether or not reported by the media…”, and said that it “expects India, being a democracy and having significant relations with the EU, to ensure respect for democratic principles, fundamental rights and human rights, in particular the rule of law and the rights of women”.
Also in 2013, the EU legislature passed a resolution condemning the execution of Mohammad Afzal Guru.
“The European Parliament condemns the Government of India’s execution in secret of Afzal Guru at New Delhi’s Tihar Jail on 9 February 2013, in opposition to the worldwide trend towards the abolition of capital punishment, and expresses its regret that Afzal Guru’s wife and other family members were not informed of his imminent execution and burial”.
It also called on India “to adopt legislation introducing a permanent moratorium on executions, with the objective of abolishing the death penalty in the near future”.
In 2012, the European Parliament passed a resolution on caste discrimination in India, following the Dabra gangrape case from Haryana and the violence in Dharmapuri in Tamil Nadu.
The Parliament said that it “(remained) alarmed at the persistently large number of reported and unreported atrocities and widespread untouchability practices, notably manual scavenging,” and called for the implementation or, if necessary, amendment of existing legislation, such as the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
It also called on Indian authorities “to repeal those provisions of the Foreign Contribution (Regulations) Act which do not conform to international standards and potentially undermine the work of NGOs, including Dalit organisations and other organisations representing disadvantaged groups in Indian society, by impeding them from receiving funds from international donors”.
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