United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is concerned about the violence and the “alleged use of excessive force” in the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in India, his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said on Tuesday. “We very much call for restraint and urge full respect for the rights of freedom of opinion and expression and peaceful assembly,” he said while answering a question about the protests at Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi. On the CAA, he said that he would refer to the “very strong words” from Human Rights High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet.
The United Nations human rights body had on Friday expressed its concerns over India’s new Citizenship Act and termed the law “fundamentally discriminatory” in nature. “We are concerned that India’s new Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 is fundamentally discriminatory in nature,” Jeremy Laurence, a spokesperson for UN Human Rights chief, Michele Bachelet, told reporters in Geneva. The rights body further said that the amended law “appears to undermine the commitment to equality before the law enshrined in India’s Constitution”.
“The amended law would appear to undermine the commitment to equality before the law enshrined in India’s Constitution and India’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, to which Indian is a State party, which prohibit discrimination based on racial, ethnic or religious grounds,” the spokesperson said.