CAA Violates International Agreements India Signed in 1967 and 1979: Human Rights Watch

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The International Conventions on Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) “explicitly obliges India to guarantee the right of everyone to equality before the law, including in the enjoyment of the right to nationality,” John Sifton, Asia Advocacy Director of the Human Rights Watch in the US, said.

Caravan News

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Citizenship (Amendment) Act of India violates at least two international treaties that India has signed and ratified in the past, Human Rights Watch has said.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that India ratified in 1979 “is very clear that you cannot deprive people of their citizenship on the basis of their race, colour, descent, national or ethnic origins,” John Sifton, Asia Advocacy Director of the Human Rights Watch in the US, said at a briefing at US Congress this week. 

Similarly, the International Conventions on Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) that India signed in 1967 and ratified the next year “explicitly obliges India to guarantee the right of everyone to equality before the law, including in the enjoyment of the right to nationality,” Sifton said.

The Committee created to safeguard that treaty “specifically added that the deprivation of citizenship on the basis of national and ethnic origin, race and colour violates their obligations,” Sifton said at the Briefing titled “India’s Citizenship Law (CAA)”.

“The treaty asks countries to take steps to address xenophobic attitudes and behaviour towards non-citizens, in particular hate speech and racial violence, to promote a better understanding of the principle of non-discrimination in respect to the situation. In other words, this treaty obligates India to do everything it is not doing right now, which is to promote harmony, fight xenophobic attitudes towards non-citizens.”

The international setting allows non-Indian human rights activists, civil society, Members of Congress, to “raise these issues with India and not have the Indian Embassy say you don’t have a right to raise this with us [as] it is a domestic and internal issue,” Sifton said. “On the contrary, this is an international issue. These are international norms. You have every right to raise them whether you are Indian or not.”

The Briefing was attended by Congressional staffs of Senators, Congresspersons and House committees, as well as by officials from the Department of State.

It was organised by Indian American Muslim Council, the largest Indian American group advocating for Constitutional secularism in India; Hindus for Human Rights; Emgage Action; and Council on American-Islamic Relations.

4 COMMENTS

  1. You are doing a great job of creating awareness keep it up.

    We expect more in-depth stories on CAA and the atrocities being committed by police on protesters.

  2. Without reading & Knowing the contents knowingly or unknowingly, people starts commenting against any subject. They should care about the credibility of their own wisdom. CAA– carefully read its content.

  3. CAA does not “deprive” citizenship to anyone, it ‘provides’ citizenship to those who have been actually ‘deprived’ of basic human rights in the three neighboring Islamic countries and have been persecuted on the basis of their religion. Hence your article is legally flawed.

  4. Yes, CAA is not just an domestic, internal issue. For one thing it names the countries and as it affects the people in those countries, it is also a human rights issue. Thank you for publishing this.
    I salute the courage of Caravan and appreciate the trouble you take to go deep into the issues that really matter. While exposing the lies of the regime is important, something needs to change in the system, which seems to make us hostage of the very people we elect with hope and expectations. We are helpless till the next election, which in any case will be fought on hate campaign and won by the powerful who have the most might to spread fake news. the spontaneous protest by the youth of the nation has brought a glimmer of hope.

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