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European Parliament remains critical of CAA

PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2020 11:45 PM IST

New Delhi

The final draft resolution on India’s Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) agreed on by six of the largest political groups in the European Parliament on Tuesday said that the law was “discriminatory in nature and dangerously divisive” and called on the government to repeal “discriminatory amendments”.

Six political groups of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), including the European People’s Party (EPP) Group, and the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) Group, which together have 336 members in the 751-strong parliament, decided on a joint draft that is watered down compared to resolutions they had tabled individually.

However, the joint draft, to be debated on January 29, is still critical of the CAA and the proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC), which it said “may be used to target marginalised groups” and “may create a large-scale statelessness crisis and cause immense human suffering”.

The joint draft, accessed in advance by HT, “deeply regrets the adoption and implementation of the CAA, which is discriminatory in nature and dangerously divisive [and] further calls upon the Government of India to engage with various sections of the population for a peaceful dialogue and repeal the discriminatory amendments, which violate India’s international obligations”.

It also warned “against the increasing nationalism which has resulted, among others, in fuelling religious intolerance and the discrimination of Muslims”.

Indian officials have described the resolution as interference in the country’s internal matters and called on the MEPs to engage with the government to get a full and accurate assessment of facts. Reports have also suggested that sections of the MEPs have taken up the CAA at the behest of Pakistan.

Idoia Villanueva, a GUE/NGL Group member of the European Parliament’s committee of foreign affairs and member of the delegation for ties with India, said: “There is a slow but steady deterioration in the protection of human rights in India. The cut-off of communications in Kashmir, the citizenship law or the continuing strikes are good examples of this.

“In this context, we believe the European Union’s foreign policy must be able to combine the principles that guide it, which include human rights and respect for rule of law, with its interests... This is the intention of our motion, which seeks that human rights and the principle of non-discrimination are upheld as enshrined in international obligations.”

The final draft resolution also condemns the decision of Indian authorities to “shut down internet access to global networks”, and states that any ruling by India’s Supreme Court on CAA “will bring more clarity about the said legislation and its compatibility with the Constitution of India and its international obligations”.

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