The European Parliament is set to debate and vote on a resolution tabled by some of its members against India’s Citizenship Amendment Act, which it says marks a ‘dangerous shift’ in the country’s citizenship regime.
The resolution, tabled by the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) Group in the Parliament earlier this week, is set to be debated next Wednesday and voted on the day after.
It 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 Partnership Joint Action Plan signed in November 2005, and to the EU-India Thematic Dialogue on Human Rights as it urges the Indian authorities to ‘engage constructively’ with those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and consider their demands to repeal the ‘discriminatory CAA’.
‘The CAA marks a dangerous shift in the way citizenship will be determined in India and is set to create the largest statelessness crisis in the world and cause immense human suffering,’ it notes.
‘Instead of addressing the concerns, offering corrective action, calling for security forces to act with restraint and ensuring accountability, many government leaders have been engaging in efforts to discredit, rebuke and threaten the protesters,’ the resolution states.
The CAA came into force in India last December amid protests in India and around the world.
The Indian government has stressed that the new Act does not deny any citizenship rights but has been brought in to protect the oppressed minorities of neighbouring countries and provide them citizenship.
As background, the resolution sets out that since the May 2019 election, the government of India has ‘reinforced its nationalistic orientation’ as it also makes a reference to the revocation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, which removed the special constitutional status of the region.
The draft resolution, which falls under the category of ‘Resolutions on topical subjects’, expresses deep concern that India has “created the legal grounds to strip millions of Muslims of the fundamental right of equal access to citizenship’ and that the CAA could be used, along with the National Register of Citizens, to ‘render many Muslim citizens stateless’.
It seeks to remind the Indian government of its obligations under the 1992 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, which establishes the obligation of countries to protect the existence and identity of religious minorities within their territories and to adopt appropriate measures to ensure that this is achieved.
Such a resolution, which has been characterised under the ‘Relations with Asian countries’ section by the economic bloc, are used as a basis for engagement of EU member countries with specific nations.
If it is passed next week, it will be formally sent to the Indian government and Parliament as well as to the European Commission chiefs.