India’s new citizenship law and policies are causing discrimination against Muslims, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report Thursday.
The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) allows a fast-track to citizenship in India for undocumented immigrants who entered India before December 31, 2014. The CAA grants citizenship on the basis of religion, and allows persons “belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community in Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan,” the fast track to citizenship, excluding those who are Muslim.
HRW has noted this difference as being discriminatory against Muslims, writing in its report:
The citizenship law amendment is discriminatory and in violation of international human rights law because it applies only to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. The BJP government describes them as “refugees” trying to escape persecution in their country of origin while excluding Muslims from these predominantly Muslim countries, treating them as “infiltrators.”
HRW concludes its report with a call to action by multiple organizations and groups, including the Indian Parliament, the government of India, the police force in India and concerned governments to protect the rights and freedom of Muslims, and to call attention to this significant issue.