UN human rights body approaches Supreme Court over CAA

UNHCR has expressed great concern over the Citizenship Amendment Act and reports of police inaction during the violence in Delhi.

UNHCR
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has filed an intervention in the Supreme Court on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and informed India’s Permanent Mission in Geneva about it, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Tuesday.

The Ministry of External Affairs on Tuesday criticized this move by the UN body. The MEA also asserted that the CAA is an internal matter of India and concerns the sovereign right of the Indian Parliament to make laws.

“Our Permanent Mission in Geneva was informed yesterday evening by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (Michelle Bachelet) that her office had filed an intervention application in the Supreme Court of India in respect to the 2019 Citizenship Amendment Act,” MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

“We strongly believe that no foreign party has any locus standi on issues pertaining to India’s sovereignty,” he said.

India is clear that the CAA is constitutionally valid and complies with all requirements of its constitutional values, Kumar said.

“It is reflective of our long standing national commitment in respect of human rights issues arising from the tragedy of the Partition of India,” he said.

“India is a democratic country governed by the rule of law. We all have utmost respect for and full trust in our independent judiciary. We are confident that our sound and legally sustainable position will be vindicated by the Supreme Court,” he said.

Immediately after the Act was passed by the Parliament, the UNHRC had issued a statement against it saying that it was “fundamentally discriminatory in nature”.

“We are concerned that India’s new Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 is fundamentally discriminatory in nature”, said the statement issued by Jeremy Laurence the Spokesperson of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Expressing “great concern” over the Citizenship Amendment Act and reports of police inaction during the violence in Delhi, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Thursday called on Indian political leaders to prevent further violence.

While addressing the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, Bachelet said: “Indians in huge numbers, and from all communities, have expressed – in a mostly peaceful manner – their opposition to the Act, and support for the country’s long tradition of secularism. I am concerned by reports of police inaction in the face of attacks against Muslims by other groups, as well as previous reports of excessive use of force by police against peaceful protestors.”

Bachelet also expressed concerns over the restrictions imposed on jammu and kashmir by heavy military presence and suspension of Internet and mobile services.

The death toll in northeast Delhi’s riots has risen to 47.

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