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Source: European Parliament

B9‑0081/2020

European Parliament resolution on India’s Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019

(2020/2519(RSP))

The European Parliament,

 having regard to its previous resolutions on India,

 having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

 having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR),

 having regard to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,

 having regard to the Global Compact for Safe, Regular and Orderly Migration,

 having regard to the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities of 18 December 1992,

 having regard to the Indian Constitution,

 having regard to Rule 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA), passed by both Houses of the Indian Parliament with overwhelming support, enables migrants/foreigners of six minority religious communities, namely Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who came to India before 31 December 2014 to escape persecution on grounds of their religion, to access a simplified track for Indian citizenship;

B. whereas the Indian Government has explained that the rationale behind the amended legislation is to create legal certainty in India for representatives of persecuted religious minorities from the three abovementioned neighbouring countries;

C. whereas the majority of those who fled these neighbouring countries did so on account of the extreme persecution they faced under the radical Islamist regime of the Taliban in Afghanistan and former military dictatorships in Bangladesh and Pakistan;

D. whereas migrants from other groups are not affected by the new law in any way and are eligible to obtain Indian citizenship under the normal rules, provided that they fulfil the conditions for registration or naturalisation;

E. whereas over 3 000 refugees of all faiths from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh have been given Indian citizenship during the last six years;

F. whereas India has the second-largest Muslim population in the world, and is a country with widespread diversity and multiculturalism with equal rights for all;

G. whereas the amended Citizenship Law has stirred controversy and been subject to criticism for being too selective and for excluding Muslims from provisions offered to other religious groups; whereas this is contrary to the Indian Constitution, particularly with reference to Article 14, which guarantees the right of equality before the law, and Article 15, which protects all persons from discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth;

H. whereas the protests that broke out around India, particularly on university campuses, in response to the adoption of the amended Citizenship Law were met with a brutal crackdown by security forces, resulting in at least two dozen people being killed and many more wounded;

1. Takes note of India’s Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) and the domestic unrest this has caused throughout various parts of the country, jeopardizing India’s international image and internal stability;

2. Underlines that, as a sovereign state, India is free to be the sole determinant of its legislation on who can be granted Indian citizenship, in compliance with international laws;

3. Commends the Indian Government for its intention to embrace a law that takes into account the plight of persecuted minorities in bordering countries; calls, however, on the Indian authorities to extend the scope of this law to include others seeking refuge in India on the basis of persecution due to their religion, noting that migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who are not from persecuted religious groups may also seek citizenship if they so desire;

4. Calls on the Indian Government to allay the concerns of all groups inside the country regarding the modalities of the CAA;

5. Condemns any excessive use of force by security forces against demonstrators protesting against the CAA; regrets the loss of life and expresses its solidarity with the families of the victims; calls for an impartial investigation into the events;

6. Underlines that as long as the normal process of obtaining citizenship remains open to people of all faiths and from all countries, the new law granting an expedited procedure to persecuted minorities should be seen as a humanitarian act;

7. Takes note that a challenge to the CAA has been lodged before the constitutional court of India;

8. Stresses that India is an important ally of the European Union;

9. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Government of India, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Commission, the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

 

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