India: Citizenship Bill Discriminates Against Muslims

Source: Human Rights Watch

Draft Law Favors Hindus, Other Non-Muslim Immigrants

The Indian government’s proposed law to grant citizenship based on religion violates India’s international legal obligations, Human Rights Watch said today. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 protects only the rights of non-Muslim irregular immigrants from the neighboring Muslim-majority countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.

The bill passed the lower house of parliament on December 9 and will be introduced in the upper house on December 11. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government has sought to justify singling out non-Muslim migrants by claiming that the proposed law will give sanctuary to religious minorities fleeing persecution in neighboring countries.

“The Indian government’s claim that the citizenship law aims to protect religious minorities rings hollow by excluding Ahmadiyya from Pakistan and Rohingya from Myanmar,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia. “The bill uses the language of refuge and sanctuary, but discriminates on religious grounds in violation of international law.”

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