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UN rights chief seeks to intervene in India Supreme Court over citizenship act
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UN rights chief seeks to intervene in India Supreme Court over citizenship act

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet Jeria is moving to file an intervention application in the India Supreme Court to seek review of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), an official spokesperson for India said Tuesday. The application requests that the court review the CAA with regard to international human rights law and the India Constitution.

Ministry of External Affairs of India Raveesh Kumar said in an official statement that it is an “internal matter of India” and “no foreign party has locus standi” on this issue. Kumar also stated that the CAA is “constitutionally valid.”

The intervention application seeks to protect migrants that fall outside the specific categories of the CAA. The CAA allows Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Parsi and Sikh migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, a path to legal citizenship in India who entered India on or before December 31, 2014. As of 2011, India has 5.87 million migrants from outside the country. The application mentions that there are a number of minority groups that would not be protected under the CAA.

The application calls on India to respect human rights of all migrants through equality before the law, equal protection of the law and the right to non-discrimination. It mentions India is a party to several legal human rights instruments such as the International Covenant on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

The application comes only several days after India experienced the worst interfaith violence in years between Hindus and Muslims. The CAA’s protection noticeably does not extend to Muslims, India’s largest minority, which has added to the tensions. The New Delhi riots began on February 23 and lasted for days. The riots killed 46 people, a majority of them Muslims. Mobs reportedly chanted Hindu nationalist slogans while they burned buildings and beat Muslims.