A group of 154 members of the European Parliament have drafted a resolution against India’s Citizenship Amendment Act, saying it could trigger the “largest statelessness crisis in the world”. The five-page resolution will be presented during the plenary session of the European Parliament in Brussels next week.
It describes the CAA as discriminatory and dangerously divisive but also a violation of India’s international obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The lawmakers are from the S&D Group, a forum of leaders from 26 European Union countries. They aim to uphold the values of equality, diversity and fairness.
It called the CAA “explicitly discriminatory in nature” as it excludes Muslims from having access to the same provisions as other religious groups.
The resolution has also called on the Indian government to ensure the right to peaceful protest is allowed and to guarantee the life and physical integrity of those who choose to protest. The resolution also denounced the CAA.
What is CAA?
According to CAA, six minorities including Jain, Sikhs, Hindus, Christians, Parsis, and Buddhists from three neighboring countries Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh are eligible to get citizenship of India if they have lived for six years in the country. These lists exclude Muslim immigrants who have entered the country the same way as other non-Muslims immigrants. This bill amends the citizenship acts of 1995. It is the first time that India has used religion as a legal basis for determining nationality.
Protests against India's anti-Muslim citizenship laws to be held in 30 US cities today.https://t.co/2g72zmCSq6
— CJ Werleman (@cjwerleman) January 26, 2020
Previously India was receiving many illegal migrants from neighboring countries, and the influx of the migrants coming into the country created many problems especially in the Muslim majority providence of Assam. These migrants include people of different religions Hindus, Christians, and Muslims. India does not have any law to give refugee status to illegal migrants, instead it holds the legal right to deport them. This is likely to create a severe humanitarian crisis if these migrants have to face deportation on the basis of faith. The government of India identifies the migrants (on religious grounds) and give them refugee status one by one.
Opposition parties condemn this bill saying it is “unconstitutional and unprecedented”, as never before has religion been the basis of any law in the Indian constitution. Further, they fear that it will marginalize the Indian 200 million Muslim population since it is discriminatory and exclusionary in nature.
Chidambaram from the opposition party said the government was “wrecking and demolishing India’s secular constitution”. The bottom line of all criticism is that this bill is not in line with the Indian constitution but in fact, it is the negation of the creation of India.
Rahul Gandhi Congress leader opposing CAA said, “The CAA is an attack on the Indian constitution. Anyone who supports it is attacking and attempting to destroy the foundation of our nation.”
European Parliament stood up for Kashmir
Recently, the European Parliament stood up for the people of Kashmir as was tweeted by the Government of Pakistan, “Members of European Parliament called on India to immediately put a halt to its atrocities in Indian Occupied Kashmir and carry out investigations into the incidents of grave human rights violations.”
Members of European Parliament called on India to immediately put a halt to its atrocities in Indian Occupied Kashmir and carry out investigations into the incidents of grave human rights violations. pic.twitter.com/MIbrRULsqJ
— Govt of Pakistan (@pid_gov) February 20, 2019
It is important to note that a United Nations report accused India of human rights violations in occupied Kashmir and has called for the formation of a commission of inquiry into the allegations.
A 43-page report released by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Monday said the Muslim-majority region of Kashmir is claimed in full by both India and Pakistan, who have fought two wars so far over the Himalayan territory.
Amnesty International raises concerns
Recently, Amnesty International stated that the Indian government is widely misusing a law allowing for detention without trial in Occupied Kashmir. The human rights organization has been repeatedly saying that India is violating international law and targeting the civilian population across India occupied Kashmir
The head of Amnesty International India Aakar Patel said the Public Safety Act is a “lawless law” under which the authorities hold children, old people and the disabled. He said this act is contributing to inflaming tensions between the state authorities and local populace and must be immediately repealed.
According to the statement, the Public Safety Act circumvents the criminal justice system in Kashmir to undermine accountability, transparency and respect for human rights. It said, the text of the PSA violates several of India’s obligations under international human rights law, including respecting detainees’ fair trial rights.
It is yet to be seen how Indian government reacts to the resolution once it is formally presented or approved.