NFTV: India: The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights office issued a statement and said on the anti-constitution Citizenship Amendment Act.
The UN Human Rights Organisation’s Statement
We are concerned that India’s new Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 is fundamentally discriminatory in nature.
The amended legislation seeks to expedite citizenship for religious minorities – naming specifically only Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians – fleeing persecution in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who have been resident before 2014. But it does not extend the same protection to Muslims, including minority sects.
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.
All migrants, regardless of their migration status, are entitled to respect, protection and fulfillment of their human rights. Just 12 months ago India endorsed the Global Compact for Safe, Regular and Orderly Migration, which commits States to respond to the needs of migrants in situations of vulnerability, avoiding arbitrary detention and collective expulsions and ensuring that all migration governance measures are human rights-based.
While the goal of protecting persecuted groups is welcome, this should be done through a robust national asylum system that is premised on the principle of equality and non-discrimination, and which applies to all people in need of protection from persecution and other human rights violations, with no distinction as to race, religion, national origin or other prohibited grounds.
We understand the new law will be reviewed by the Supreme Court of India and hope it will consider carefully the compatibility of the law with India’s international human rights obligations.