UN Labels India’s New Citizenship Law “Fundamentally Discriminatory”

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The United Nations Human Rights Body has expressed great concern over the new citizenship law that is soon to be implemented across the length and breadth of the country. The body has gone ahead to express deep condemnation of the issue and called it “fundamentally discriminatory” by nature. The new citizenship law seeks to provide citizenship to non-muslim persecuted religious minorities from the neighbouring Muslim countries- Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Pakistan. 

The new law does not extend the same protection to minorities who follow Islam like they do to six other minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. This then undermines the fundamentally egalitarian nature of the Indian Constitution.

A UN Human Rights spokesperson Jeremy Lawrence told reporters in Geneva, “ We are concerned that India’s new Citizenship( Amendment) Act 209 is fundamentally discriminatory in nature. The amended law would appear to undermine the commitment to equality before law enshrined in India’s Constitution and India’s obligations under the International Convenant 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.”

The Ministry of External Affairs has promised that the new citizenship law would give expedited citizenship to persecuted non-Muslim religious minorities already in India from certain contiguous countries.

It also said that like every nation, India too had the right to numerate and validate its citizenry and to exercise this prerogative through the means of policies.

Many states of the north-east such as Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh have been experiencing widespread provers over the last couple of days with thousands of people coming out onto the streets defying prohibitory orders to demand the scrapping of what they call an unjust law.

Two people have even lost their lives due to police firing during a protest in the Assamese capital of Guwahati.

Violent clashes have also taken place in Delhi between the police and the students who were protesting against the enactment of the contentious law.

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