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Citizenship (Amendment) Act violates international law

HumanRights Council, 43rd Regular Session

Joint OralStatement by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), Asian Forum forHuman Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), CIVICUS - World Alliance for CitizenParticipation, Human Rights Watch, International Service for Human Rights (ISHR),Minority Rights Group International, and World Organization against Torture(OMCT), in General Debate item 4

10 March2020


India’s Citizenship(Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) arbitrarily excludes certain groups at risk of persecution, such as Muslims, from accessingan expedited path to citizenship, based on their religious affiliation.

The CAA isinconsistent with rule of law principles and international law, including the rightto equality before the law and the right to non-discrimination, protected underhuman rights treaties such as the International Covenant on Civil and PoliticalRights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms ofRacial Discrimination, to which India is a party.

Theimplementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam risks making1.9 million persons stateless. A nationwide NRC will put more people at risk.

Our organizationsurge the Indian government to amend the CAA to ensure that any path to citizenship provides for equal protection for persecutedpersons, and does not discriminate on grounds such as religion or nationalorigin.

We also urge India to develop a comprehensive refugee law that addresses the plight of persecutedminorities in a non-discriminatory manner, and to accede to the 1951 RefugeeConvention and its 1967 Protocol.

We further call on India to respect the right topeaceful assembly, and to ensure accountability for those alleged to haveinstigated violence or used excessive force in relation to the nationwide protestsagainst the CAA.

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