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Wednesday, August 05, 2020

‘Fundamentally discriminatory’: UN body voices concern over Citizenship Amendment Act

UN Human Rights office: "Although India's broader naturalization laws remain in place, these amendments will have a discriminatory effect on people's access to nationality."

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: December 13, 2019 7:53:29 pm
The rights body’s reaction over the Bill has come days after the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) expressed its apprehensions over the law. (AP Photo)

Amid protests over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the Human Rights office at the United Nations has expressed concern over the new law saying that it is “fundamentally discriminatory in nature”.

“We are concerned that the new #CitizenshipAmendmentAct is fundamentally discriminatory in nature. Goal of protecting persecuted groups is welcomed, but the new law does not extend protection to Muslims, incl. minority sects,” the UN body tweeted Friday.

The UN body for human rights said in a statement, “The amended law would appear to undermine the commitment to equality before the law enshrined in India’s constitution and India’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, to which Indian is a State party, which prohibit discrimination based on racial, ethnic or religious grounds. Although India’s broader naturalization laws remain in place, these amendments will have a discriminatory effect on people’s access to nationality.”

The bill seeks to grant citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, Jains and Parsis who entered the country from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan until December 31, 2014. (AP Photo)

The rights body’s reaction over the Act has come days after the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) expressed its apprehensions over the controversial legislation. On Monday, the commission said that it was “deeply troubled” by the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Lok Sabha, “given the religion criterion in the Bill”, and recommended that “if the CAB passes in both Houses of Parliament, the US government should consider sanctions against the Home Minister and other principal leadership”.

The Bill, which was passed in the Rajya Sabha on December, seeks to grant citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, Jains and Parsis – it leaves out Muslims – who entered the country from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan until December 31, 2014. In the following two days, there were violent protests in Assam and two persons were killed in alleged police firing Thursday.

Meanwhile, on Friday, the CAB protests at Jamia Milia Islamia University in New Delhi turned violent after protesting students and police clashed. There were reports of stone-pelting at the protest site and police resorted to lathicharge and use of tear gas shells to disperse protesters.

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