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The UN agency goes to the Supreme Court for CAA; “Internal matter,” says the government | India News


NEW DELHI: For the first time in the judicial history of India, a United Nations agency, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), tried to intervene Tuesday as amicus curiae, or friend of the court, to help the Supreme Court to judge the constitutional validity of the Citizenship Law (Amendment) (CAA). OHCHR said that although CAA has a “worthy and praiseworthy objective,” it seems to discriminate against persecuted Muslim communities.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded quickly, saying it was an “internal matter” and that “no foreign party has any place of interest in matters related to the sovereignty of India” and “the right of the Indian Parliament to make law.”

Intervening in a petition filed by former Indian High Commissioner for Bangladesh Deb Mukharji, who has challenged CAA, OHCHR Michelle Bachelet Jeria stated: “CAA can potentially benefit thousands of migrants in an irregular situation, including refugees, who otherwise, they may face obstacles to obtain protection from persecution in their countries of origin, including through the granting of citizenship. This is commendable. “However, he added, the law” raises a number of issues related to India’s broader human rights obligations in the context of the fundamental principle of non-refoulement, which is not the forced repatriation of refugees to their country of origin”.


CAA reflects our commitment to rights: Government

In response to the statement by Michelle Bachelet Jeria of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) against CAA, MEA spokesman Raveesh Kumar said: “We are clear that CAA is constitutionally valid and meets all the requirements of our constitutional values. It reflects our long-standing national commitment to human rights issues arising from the tragedy of the Partition of India. ”

“India is a democratic country governed by the rule of law. We all have the utmost respect and full confidence in our independent judiciary. We are sure that our solid and legally sustainable position would be claimed by the Supreme Court, ”added Kumar.

The government’s reaction came after India’s permanent mission in Geneva was informed by the OHCHR Office that it was submitting an intervention statement against CAA in the SC that seeks to present itself as an amicus curiae. SC officials could not confirm whether the request for intervention by Jeira, who was the first female president of Chile, had been submitted. An official at the registry said: “No request from UNHCHR was filed on Tuesday at Deb Mukharji’s request.” A spokesman for the UN agency said the high commissioner intended to submit an amicus curiae report on CAA in the SC shortly in accordance with court proceedings.

Jeria said she and her predecessors “have submitted amicus curiae reports on issues of particular public importance in the proceedings before a wide range of international and national jurisdictions, including internationally: the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights , International Criminal Court, and at national level, the Supreme Court of the United States and the final courts of appeal of the States of Asia and Latin America. ”

He clarified that although he intends to intervene in the proceedings of the CAA as amicus curiae in the SC, he would not renounce his diplomatic privileges and immunity. This means that you will not submit to the jurisdiction of the SC and will not be responsible for any adverse orders against you.

Referring to CAA that promises expedited citizenship for persecuted minorities, Jeria said: “The factual basis of the arguments provided in the Declaration of Objects and Reasons for the introduction of CAB for such preferential treatment, also finds support in the pronouncements of the mechanism of human rights of the UN regarding the situation of religious minorities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. ”

“However, recent reports from UN human rights treaty bodies, special procedures and other mechanisms determine that there are several religious groups considered religious minorities in these countries, especially the Muslim faith, including Ahmadi Muslims, Hazaras and Shiites whose situations guarantee protection on the same basis as provided in the preferential treatment proposed by the CAA, “he said. However, OHCHR says nothing if it moved similarly before the supreme courts of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh in search of protection for these groups.

“The question also arises as to whether the differentiation with respect to persecution for religious reasons, as opposed to other reasons, is sufficiently objective and reasonable, in particular in view of the prohibition of return and the obligations of India under the law international human rights “. she said.

Referring to India who advocated the right to ‘equal protection of the law’ in 1949 for the ‘International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights’, Jeria said: “It is remarkable that after 60 years, this same issue is found at the center of the SC’s deliberations as CAA examines. This presents SC with a historical and unique opportunity to give a practical meaning to this fundamental right (equal protection of the law) at the national level ”.

In requesting SC to take into account international human rights laws, norms and standards in procedures related to the CAA, she gave an example of similar interventions by OHCHR in judicial forums of other countries on human rights issues.

While a special rapporteur, an independent expert appointed to work on behalf of the UN, had previously submitted a statement in the Supreme Court of India on the Rohingya issue, this is probably the first time that a UN agency has tried to intervene in the superior court in a domestic law.

Jeria, who has a history of human rights activism and represented the socialist party in Chile, has been very critical of CAA since it was approved by Parliament in December and also with the management of the J&K government. Speaking at the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council last week, he expressed concern over 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 the police against peaceful protesters.

In Kashmir, she said that while life had been interrupted by a strong military presence, no measures had been taken to address allegations of excessive use of force and other serious human rights violations by military forces. security.

In recent weeks, India has rejected Turkey, Malaysia and entities of the United States Congress for criticizing the provisions of the CAA.

Times of India