Asia & Pacific

India: the discriminatory Citizenship law and the handling of the protests violates India’s own constitution and international human rights norms

By singling out the Muslim migration in its new citizenship law, India has embarked on unlawful discriminatory practice that goes against all human rights norms and India’s very own constitutional law.

India’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ruling party managed to introduce a bill to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955 in a move to discriminate against the Muslim  irregular immigrants, while allowing other religious groups access to its citizenship. The Citizenship amendment Bill, 2019 Is clearly islamophobic in letter and spirit and intends to drive a wedge between the very diverse and multi ethnic components of India’s society.

India’s constitution, the highest document in the land, makes it unconstitutional to discriminate against anyone “The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them”. states Article 15 (1).

The current amendment has been initiated after the government has excluded 1.9 million people,mainly Muslims, from its controversial National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the province of Assam.

AFD International condemns firmly such draconian legislation and calls upon the Supreme Court of India to review such bill to be congruous with the constitution and international human rights documents.

Resisting and fighting back the bill, protestors peacefully took to the streets to show their anger and rejection to the bill. However, the Indian law enforcement handled the situation with what could amount to unlawful and disproportionate response.  AFD International is watching closely the latest developments in India and would like to remind the state departments and institutions that the right to protest, assemble and express opinion is a human right and any restriction to that is a violation and infringement of major treaties and conventions which India has already agreed to, signed and ratified.

AFD International

Asia and the Pacific

December 29th 2019

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