OIC rights body condemns ‘bigoted far-right’ policies of India

People attend a protest against a new citizenship law, in Kolkata, India, December 22, 2019. (REUTERS)
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Updated 25 December 2019

OIC rights body condemns ‘bigoted far-right’ policies of India

  • India is under pressure locally and internationally over Citizenship Amendment Bill
  • The new law is widely seen as anti-Muslim

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.

US passes 9 million coronavirus cases as infections spike

Updated 31 October 2020

US passes 9 million coronavirus cases as infections spike

  • On Friday the US set a record for new daily infections of more than 94,000 in 24 hours
  • More than 229,000 people have died of the virus in the US since the pandemic began

WASHINGTON: The United States passed nine million reported coronavirus cases on Friday and broke its own record for daily new infections for the second day in a row, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University, as Covid-19 surges days before the country chooses its next president.
The US, which has seen a resurgence of its outbreak since mid-October, has now notched up 9,034,295 cases, according to a real-time count by the Baltimore-based school.
On Friday the country set a record for new daily infections of more than 94,000 in 24 hours, breaking the record of 91,000 it had set just one day earlier.
With the virus spreading most rampantly in the Midwest and the South, hospitals are also filling up again, stretching the health care system just as the nation heads in to flu season.
"We are not ready for this wave," Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University school of public health, warned on ABC's Good Morning America on Thursday.

COVID-19 tally by the John Hopkins University of Medicine as of October 30, 2020.

Authorities in El Paso, Texas, imposed a curfew this week to protect "overwhelmed" health care workers and began setting up field hospitals.
But a judge's attempt to shut down non-essential businesses in the city has been challenged by the mayor and the state's attorney general, the Washington Post reported.
Midwestern state Wisconsin has also set up a field hospital in recent weeks, and hospital workers in Missouri were sounding warning bells as cases rise.
Hospitals in the western state of Utah were preparing to ration care by as early as next week as patients flood their ICUs, according to local media.
The pattern of the pandemic so far shows that hospitalizations usually begin to rise several weeks after infections, and deaths a few weeks after that.
More than 229,000 people have died of the virus in the US since the pandemic began, the Hopkins tally showed as of Friday, with the daily number of deaths creeping steadily upwards in recent weeks also -- though at present it remains below peak levels.
For months public health officials have been warning of a surge in cases as cooler fall weather settles over the US, driving more people indoors.
As the weather changes, New York and other parts of the northeast, which were the epicenter of the US outbreak in the spring but largely controlled the virus over the summer, were reporting a worrying rise.
Some epidemiologists believe that Covid-19 spreads more easily in drier, cool air.
Rural areas, which in the spring appeared to be getting off lightly compared to crowded cities, were also facing spikes with states like North Dakota charting one of the steepest rises in recent weeks.
The state is so overwhelmed that earlier this month it told residents they have to do their own contact tracing, local media reported.
With four days to go until the election, Donald Trump was battling to hold on to the White House against challenger Joe Biden, who has slammed the president's virus response.
"It is as severe an indictment of a president's record as one can possibly imagine, and it is utterly disqualifying," Biden said Friday as the toll passed nine million.
Trump downplays the virus even as the toll has been accelerating once more, holding a slew of rallies with little social distancing or mask use.
He has repeatedly told supporters that the country is "rounding the curve" on Covid infections.
But Americans, wary of crowded polling booths on Election Day as the virus spreads, are voting early in record numbers.