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Debates
Wednesday, 29 January 2020 - Brussels Provisional edition

India's Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 (debate)
MPphoto
 

  Phil Bennion (Renew). – Madam President, I certainly welcome the idea of a Citizenship Amendment Act in offering protection for persecuted groups. Unfortunately, the Act as it stands is seriously flawed. The law does not extend to the protection of Muslims. Now, there are Muslim sects in neighbouring countries that do face discrimination and one of them, the Ahmadiyyas, has already been mentioned. Ultimately, this law discriminates on religious grounds, and is therefore contrary to the whole principle in India of secularism and also its obligations and international human rights law. The danger, if this act is applied alongside the requirements of the National Register of Citizens, is that many Muslims could be deemed stateless if they cannot produce the correct documentation. This is already proving to be an issue in Assam, where – it’s already been stated by Mr Mohammed – 1.9 million people have been excluded from the register on the basis of not having the documents. So, India’s refugee policy needs to be applied to all of those in need, including Muslims, and the Government should ensure that security forces show sufficient restraint towards protesters and are held to account for their excessive use of force.

 
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