- Over 150 European Union leaders draft five-page anti-CAA resolution
- Resolution expected to be tabled during the EU plenary session next week
- European Union lawmakers expressed solidarity with protesters
More than 150 lawmakers of the European Union have drafted a five-page resolution against the Citizenship Amendment Act, contending that it "marks a dangerous shift in the way citizenship will be determined in India and is set to create the largest statelessness crisis in the world and cause immense human suffering".
Accusing the government of "discriminating against, harassing and prosecuting national and religious minorities and silencing any opposition, human rights groups... and journalists critical of the government", they asked the EU to insist on a "strong human rights clause with an effective implementation and suspension mechanism" during any trade agreement.
Government sources reacted by saying that the CAA -- as the citizenship law is widely referred to -- is a matter that's "entirely internal to India" and has been adopted through "due process and democratic means" after a public debate in both houses of parliament.
"Every society that fashions a pathway to naturalisation contemplates both context and criteria. This is not discrimination. In fact, European societies have followed the same approach," a source said, hoping that those backing the draft would engage with the government to get a "full and accurate" assessment of the facts before proceeding any further.
The resolution -- which is expected to be tabled during the plenary session of the European Parliament starting in Brussels next week -- comes days after the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked India 10 places lower in the Democracy Index, mentioning the citizenship law and the restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir after the government ended its special status.
The lawmakers expressed solidarity with the January 7 protests and asked the government to stop criminalising the protests and negotiate with the protesters.
In the resolution, the lawmakers expressed "deep concern" that India has "created the legal grounds to strip millions of Muslims of the fundamental right of equal access to citizenship; is concerned that the CAA could be used, along with the National Register of Citizens, to render many Muslim citizens stateless".
The CAA, the lawmakers contended, also violates India's international obligations on citizenship and the Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that 'Everyone has the right to a nationality' and that 'No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality'.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has called the CAA 'fundamentally discriminatory', they pointed out.
The CAA provides for citizenship for non-Muslim minorities from Muslim-majority countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan if they fled religious persecution and entered India before 2015. Critics believe the law, along with the NRC, will be used to target Muslims.
In their resolution, the EU lawmakers also mentioned the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and called the EU and its member states to promote the implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir.
In October, a group of lawmakers from the EU had visited Kashmir in their private capacity. The government had come under criticism over the visit, with the opposition pointing out that their MPs and MLAs have not been allowed to visit Jammu and Kashmir.
Earlier this month, the European Union skipped a visit to Jammu and Kashmir which the Centre had organised for foreign diplomats. Diplomatic sources from Europe told NDTV that the envoys do not want a "guided tour" of Jammu and Kashmir and would visit later.