UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres Tuesday voiced concern over the “alleged use of excessive force” against those protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act in India.
“We are concerned about the violence and alleged use of excessive force by security forces that we’ve seen that have been taking place in the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. We very much call for restraint and urge full respect for the rights of freedom of opinion and expression and peaceful assembly,” Guterres’ spokesman Stephane Dujarric told a press briefing.
Dujarric had been asked if the Secretary General had any comment on the protests in India over the CAA. Dujarric said he would also refer to the comments of High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on the Act.
On December 13, the office of the United Nations Human Rights had tweeted: “We are concerned that the new Citizenship Amendment Act is fundamentally discriminatory in nature. Goal of protecting persecuted groups is welcomed, but new law does not extend protection to Muslims, incl. minority sects.”
The same day, the US government too urged India to “protect the rights of its religious minorities” in keeping with its “Constitution and democratic values”.
The statement, which was released by the US State Department in Washington DC, was shared by the US Embassy in Delhi.
India, meanwhile, has said “those genuinely committed to religious freedom” should not be criticising the CAA, as it expedites grating of Indian citizenship to persecuted religious minorities from neighbouring countries.
“It seeks to address their current difficulties and meet their basic human rights. Such an initiative should be welcomed, not criticised by those who are genuinely committed to religious freedom,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has said in a statement.
(with PTI inputs)
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