The CAA marks a dangerous shift in the way citizenship will be determined in India and is set to create the largest statelessness crisis in the world and cause immense human suffering, EU resolution notes
NEW DELHI — The European Parliament is debating today (Wednesday) and a vote could take place on Thursday on a resolution tabled by some of its members against India’s Citizenship Amendment Act, which it says marks a “dangerous shift” in the country’s citizenship regime.
The resolution which has been put forward by 560 of the parliament’s 751 MPs says the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is “discriminatory and dangerously divisive”.
The resolution, tabled by the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) Group in the Parliament earlier this week, makes a reference to the Charter of the United Nations, Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as well as the India-EU Strategic Partnership Joint Action Plan signed in November 2005, and to the EU-India Thematic Dialogue on Human Rights as it urges the Indian authorities to “engage constructively” with those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and consider their demands to repeal the “discriminatory CAA”.
“The CAA marks a dangerous shift in the way citizenship will be determined in India and is set to create the largest statelessness crisis in the world and cause immense human suffering,” it notes.
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“Instead of addressing the concerns, offering corrective action, calling for security forces to act with restraint and ensuring accountability, many government leaders have been engaging in efforts to discredit, rebuke and threaten the protesters,” the resolution states.
The resolution also says the “protests that broke out around India, particularly on university campuses, in response to the adoption of the CAA were met with a brutal crackdown by security forces”.
It says: “Indian authorities have also used internet shutdowns and placed limits on public transportation to prevent peaceful protests; whereas reports have emerged of hundreds of protesters being beaten, shot at or tortured, in particular in Uttar Pradesh”. Shutting down internet communications, the resolution says, is a violation of the fundamental right to access information.
The resolution also makes a specific reference to the arrest of human rights activists like Akhil Gogoi and Sadaf Jafar.
The CAA came into force in India last December amid protests in India and around the world.
The members of the European Parliament call on the government of India to engage with various sections of the population in peaceful dialogue and to repeal what it calls the discriminatory amendments, which violates India’s international obligations. It warns against “increasing nationalism which has resulted in the fueling of religious intolerance and discrimination against Muslims”.
It seeks to remind the Indian government of its obligations under the 1992 UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, which establishes the obligation of countries to protect the existence and identity of religious minorities within their territories and to adopt appropriate measures to ensure that this is achieved.
The Indian government maintains its stand that the new Act does not deny any citizenship rights but has been brought in to protect the oppressed minorities of neighbouring countries and provide them citizenship.
Indian officials have said the CAA is an internal matter of India and that the law was passed by India’s democratically elected parliament.
The resolution once passed in European Parliament will be formally sent to the Indian government and Parliament as well as to the European Commission chiefs.