ISLAMABAD: The Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has strongly condemned the violence and loss of life in the wake of peaceful protests against India’s recently enacted Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB).
“OIC-IPHRC strongly denounced the bigoted Indian Citizen Amendment Bill (CAB) that overtly discriminates Muslims based on their religion and urges the Government of India to immediately repeal it as well as to ensure protection of the basic rights and fundamental freedoms of its Muslim minority,” the commission said in a statement issued in Riyadh on Dec. 24.
The commission noted that Indian Muslims and members of the Indian society had “categorically rejected the CAB as a biased, discriminatory and diversionary act, which goes against the Indian constitution.”
The IPHRC echoed the concerns of the UN Human Rights Office, referring to the new law as “fundamentally discriminatory in nature.
The statement termed the new law as “incompatible with the relevant international human rights covenants, which obligate countries to ensure that all measures governing migration are based on equality and non-discrimination, and applies to all the people regardless of their race, religion, national origin or other status.”
The statement further mentioned “other discriminatory actions” by India, including revoking the special status of Muslim-majority Kashmir, discriminatory screening of Muslims from the National Register of Citizens in the northeastern state of Assam, and plans to build a Hindu temple at the site of centuries-old Babri Mosque.
IPHRC said these actions reflect a consistent pattern of the “bigoted far-right Hindutva policies that aim to subjugate Muslims in India.”
India has a large Muslim minority of 200 million people. The Indian government is under pressure locally and internationally, following two weeks of protests during which over two dozen people have been killed and 7,500 have been detained protesting the new citizenship law, which is widely seen as anti-Muslim.
While the controversial new citizenship law gives Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, Christians and Buddhists from India’s Muslim neighbors – Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh – an easier path to citizenship, it restricts Muslim migrants, which “is inherently violative of international human rights obligations,” the OIC body said.