March, 2020

Indo-Canadian human rights activists say India’s Citizenship Amendment Act is an attack on Muslims, call on Canadian government to speak out

The British Columbia based Global Peace Society and other BC human rights activist organizations gathered in front of the India’s Consulate General office in Vancouver last week to protest the Indian government’s “Citizenship Amendment Bill” (CAB), and to condemn the police brutality towards the students on the occasion of 71th Republic day of India.

The proposed legislation amends India’s citizenship laws to make it easier for those fleeing persecution in neighbouring countries to get Indian citizenship. However, Muslim minorities are not covered under the law which has sparked nation-wide protests in India. “This law is officially sanctioned discrimination against Muslim minorities who might be seeking refuge in India from neighbouring countries. But it seems that only non-Muslims are protected under this law. Criminals in India seem to have more rights than Muslims do under Narendra Modi’s Hindu supremacist government,” according to Mahwish Yousaf, representative of the Global Peace Society.

Thousands of students across India have taken to the streets in recent days in an uprising against this controversial law and state sponsored violence against the students. The protestors feel that these laws are discriminatory and part of a Hindu-nationalist agenda to marginalize India’s 200-million Muslim minority. “We are calling on the government of India to withdraw the CAB and abide by international refugee covenants which do not place the welfare of one persecuted minority over another. In addition, we are urging the Indian government to halt the National Register for Citizens (NRC) initiative, which also negatively impacts the Muslim minority in India, and has the potential to strip citizenship from tens of millions of marginalized Muslims whose families have lived in India for generations, but who may not be able to produce the required identification documents to prove citizenship,” Yousaf added.

The Global Peace Society and other groups demonstrated in front of India’s consulate are also calling on the Canadian government to speak out and take action to defend international human rights. Yousaf pointed out that “In the Throne Speech Justin Trudeau said that his government would ‘increase Canadian support abroad for democracy, human rights, international law’ and ‘promote respect for diversity and inclusion.’ Now is the moment when can put actions behind those words by defending the human rights of India’s Muslim minority.

A memorandum with demands to withdraw the CAA bill and to stop the violence against protestors was delivered to the Indian Consulate in Vancouver during the demonstration on 26 January, 2020.

The Global Peace Society is a Vancouver based activist organization dedicated to promoting peace, tolerance, justice, and unity as universal values. It opposes human rights violations across the globe, calls for respect for diversity, promotes integration of different cultural communities, and condemns all forms of discrimination.

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