STOP the National Register of Citizens from turning millions of people stateless in India.

STOP the National Register of Citizens from turning millions of people stateless in India.

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Justice For All Canada (JFAC) started this petition to António Guterres (Secretary-General of the United Nations)

Act now to protect millions of Indian Muslims facing imminent risk of statelessness due to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) plan on verification of citizenship.

On September 23rd, the world was shocked to disbelief by a viral video showing the barbarism of government officials including the police, and a district photographer caught on camera stomping on the body of a Muslim protester Moinul Haque. The protester was fatally shot by the police.

The majoritarian BJP government is running a hate campaign against Muslims to consolidate Hindu votes in Assam, by evicting them from their villages in the name of developing agricultural farms, and systemically dehumanizing them as “encroachers”.

The weaponization of processes & laws, especially NRC through its presumption of non-citizenship which requires re-verification, has enabled the systemic persecution of Muslims in Assam.

What is the NRC?

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a purported register of all Indian citizens, created by mandate under the 2003 amendment of the Citizenship Act (1955). Its purpose is to document all legal citizens of India so that "illegal" immigrants can be identified and deported.

What is the CAA?

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), passed in December 2019, provides citizenship to refugees from six religious communities (Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian) from Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The CAA, however, excludes Muslim minority refugees as eligible for citizenship.

Why NRC+CAA is fundamentally discriminatory against Indian Muslims?

The NRC requires that any individual seeking citizenship provides an abundance of legal documents that are inaccessible or extremely hard to access; existing documents like voter ID or passports won’t suffice. This obstacle has adverse effects; residents and citizens of India who are unable to locate the appropriate documents will be deported. Millions of Indians, if they can’t find a way to prove their citizenship, will be termed as “illegal”, dehumanized as "encroachers", thus legitimizing their persecution.

The NRC has only been implemented in Assam so far. 1.9 million people have already been excluded from NRC. Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, & Christians will have a fast track to citizenship as refugees by applying through CAA, but Muslims left out of the NRC will not qualify as the CAA excludes Muslims, and hence they will have to prove their citizenship through executive controlled quasi judicial body called Foreigners Tribunal.

The Assam govt is mulling to start another round of NRC through so-called re-verification so that it can exclude millions of Muslims from the citizenship list and render them Stateless.

India following Myanmar's model of persecution

India’s NRC has a striking similarity to the 1982 Burmese citizenship law that systemically stripped one million Rohingya Muslims of citizenship. The pattern of state-sponsored persecution of Muslims in Burma is now being applied in Assam by the Indian government's discriminating policies against Indian Muslims, pushing them to the brink of a genocide.

Months before the 2019 general elections, Indian Home Minister Amit Shah described migrants from Bangladesh as “termites”. This dehumanization of Muslims, as “migrants” and “infiltrators” who need to be driven out of the state, is the epitome of the Hindutva brand of politics favored by the majoritarian & nationalist BJP government.

This has led to an alarming rise in persecution of Indian Muslims and other minorities, such as mob lynchings, social boycotts, widespread discrimination sanctioned by both dominant groups in society as well as by the State.

India is a democracy built on a secular constitution and is a signatory to The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, India’s ruling BJP government is threatening the secular fabric by implementing citizenship legislation that is blatantly discriminatory, drawing worldwide condemnation and mass protests from its citizens.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights called the law “fundamentally discriminatory.”

In February 2020, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was concerned about the future of religious minorities in India after the enactment of the citizenship amendment law, saying “there is a risk of statelessness.”

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom said the US government “should consider sanctions against the home minister and other principal leadership” and held a hearing in March 2020 in which one of the commissioners raised concerns that the law “in conjunction with a planned National Population Register and a potential nationwide National Register of Citizens, or NRC, could result in the wide-scale disenfranchisement of Indian Muslims.”

We call on the United Nations to uphold its founding principles and take necessary steps to protect vulnerable minorities from state-sponsored persecution in India.

We, the undersigned, ask the United Nations to:

1. Demand India to scrap the 're-verification' of NRC to exclude more Muslims from the citizenship list.

2. Stop arbitrary deprivation of nationalities of Muslims in Assam.

3. Send a Special rapporteur to visit Assam:

  • Compile a special report for the UN on the grave human rights violations in the process of NRC reverification
  • Report on the Assam government's eviction drives stripping thousands of Muslims of their lands and subjecting a vast majority of women, children, and the elderly to inhuman conditions.

4. Demand India to take strong measures to curb hate speech by Political leaders and Media houses and to hold them accountable under Local and International law for inciting crimes against humanity in India.                                                                                

Copied:

Ahmed Shaheed, Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief
Alice Wairimu Nderitu, Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide
David R. Boyd, Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment
Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Sources 

1. Indian photographer in video stomps on man shot by Assam police https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/9/24/india-assam-photographer-video-stomps-muslim-police

2. Assam conducts eviction drive to clear ‘illegal encroachments’ in Darrang district https://scroll.in/latest/1005864/assam-conducts-eviction-drive-to-clear-illegal-encroachments-in-darrang-district 

3. India’s Anti-Immigrant Crackdown Has Torn Apart Families and Locked Up Hundreds. 1.9 Million People Fear They Could Be Next https://time.com/6092299/india-anti-immigrant-crackdown-assam/ 

4. Is India Creating Its Own Rohingya? https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/10/opinion/india-citizenship-assam-modi-rohingyas.html

0 have signed. Let’s get to 5,000!
At 5,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!