CAP LC Geneva, Switzerland (20 March 2024) – A prominent human rights organization today issued an urgent call for India to repeal its newly implemented Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which discriminates against Muslim migrants by denying them a pathway to citizenship based solely on their religion.

Speaking before the 55th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, the Coordination des Associations et des Particuliers pour la Liberté de Conscience (CAPLC) warned that the CAA poses an existential threat to India’s Muslim minority population.

“I speak on behalf of the Muslim minority of India as they dread that their citizenship may well be in danger,” stated the CAPLC representative. “On March 11th, India’s Home Ministry implemented the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act despite nationwide protests since 2019.”

The CAA expedites citizenship for non-Muslim minorities from three neighboring countries – Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. However, it explicitly excludes Muslims, including minority Muslim populations like the Rohingya of Myanmar who have faced severe persecution.

“This new Law denies citizenship to persecuted asylum seekers if they are Muslim,” the CAPLC stated. “India claims that this Law is to provide refuge to minority communities of its neighbors yet Muslims from Sri Lanka or Muslims from Rohingya who are minorities are neither welcome or eligible for the same asylum.”

The rights group warned that the CAA, combined with a proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC), could render many of India’s 200 million Muslims stateless. A recent NRC process in the state of Assam excluded 1.9 million residents from the register, though none were Hindu.

“Many experts fear that this law could render India’s Muslims stateless,” said the CAPLC. “There is NO provision for Muslims as they DO NOT PASS the new religious test.”

Both the Human Rights Council and the European Parliament have denounced the CAA as “fundamentally discriminatory” and contrary to India’s constitutional commitment to secularism.

“This Council and the EU Parliament have labeled this Law ‘fundamentally discriminatory,’” stated the CAPLC. “We urge India to repeal this discriminatory law.”

The Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has vigorously defended the CAA, despite intense domestic and international criticism over the law’s blatant anti-Muslim bias. Nationwide protests have rocked India since the CAA’s passage in December 2019.

With the law now being enforced as of March 11, 2024, human rights groups have escalated calls for its repeal, warning of a potential humanitarian crisis that could leave millions of Muslims in India stripped of citizenship rights based on their religious identity alone.

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