The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) are gaining attention internationally for their blatant communal discrimination and the violence against those who are agitating against the unconstitutional laws.
In keeping with this, the European Parliament is now set to discuss the CAA during a plenary session in Brussels, Belgium, debating on a resolution tabled by some of its members which says that the “divisive legislation” marks a “dangerous shift” asking the Indian government to “repeal” the same, reported India Today.
The resolution has been put forth by 560 of 751 MPs and 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 Joint Action Plan signed in November 2005 and to the EU-India Thematic Dialogue on Human Rights.
The resolution reads, “The European Parliament…deeply regrets the adoption and implementation of the CAA, which is discriminatory in nature and dangerously divisive; calls on the Government of India to immediately respond to citizens’ petitions as required by the Supreme Court; further calls on the Government of India to engage with various sections of the population in peaceful dialogue and to repeal the discriminatory amendments, which violates India’s international obligations; warns against the increasing nationalism which has resulted, inter alia, in the fuelling of religious intolerance and discrimination against Muslims…”
The resolution also made note of the protests and violence that ensued after the CAA was announced. “The European Parliament…condemns the violence and brutality that broke out in different regions of India following the adoption of the CAA; recalls the special responsibility of law enforcement services to show restraint and allow peaceful protest; calls for a prompt and impartial investigation into the events; calls on the Indian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release the protesters and human rights defenders currently held under arrest…” it read.
The EU MPs, through the resolution, also asked India to reconsider the National Register of Citizens (NRC) saying, “The European Parliament calls on the Indian government to address the legitimate concerns raised over the NRC, which may be used to target marginalised groups; is worried that the NRC marks a dangerous shift in the way citizenship will be determined in India, and may create a large-scale statelessness crisis and cause immense human suffering…”
The members also condemned the decision of the Indian authorities to shut down internet access thus restricting communication and violating freedom of speech, also stating that the adoption of CAA could “exacerbate the climate of xenophobia, while fueling religious intolerance and indiscrimination in the country.”
It called on the government to cooperate proactively with all special procedures of the UN Human Rights Council; urges them to cooperate in particular with the UN Special Rapporteurs on minority issues, on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and on freedom of religion or belief.
The European Union (EU) has distanced itself from the European Parliament’s decision to move the draft resolution saying that the opinions of the Parliament and its members did not “represent the official position of the European Union,” The Indian Express reported.
In an email response to The Indian Express, Virginie Battu-Henriksson, EU Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy said, “The European Parliament is currently planning to hold a debate on legislation adopted by the Government of India last December establishing a fast track procedure for irregular migrants belonging to certain religious groups originating from neighbouring countries. The Supreme Court of India is currently assessing the constitutionality of this law. As per its regular procedures, the European Parliament published the draft Resolutions. It is important to recall that these texts are only drafts tabled by various political groups in the European Parliament.”
“Let me also remind you that the opinions expressed by the European Parliament and its Members do not represent the official position of the European Union. The EU will host its 15th Summit with India on the 13th March 2020 in Brussels, with a view to strengthen its Strategic Partnership with India. India is a key partner for the EU to address global challenges and to jointly promote the rules based multilateral order,” she added.
India’s external affairs ministry has reiterated that CAA is an “entirely internal” matter and also called upon all those who supported the EU Parliament resolution to engage with the Indian government to get a “full and accurate assessment of the facts before they proceed further.”
The entire draft resolution by the EU Parliament may be read here.