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e-2391 (Foreign affairs)

E-petition
Initiated by Nasir Ahmed from Markham, Ontario

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the House of Commons

Whereas:
  • Amendments by the Government of India to the Citizenship Act to make religion a criterion for nationality for the first time and discriminate against some religious minorities, such as Muslims and other vulnerable communities, by not granting them eligibility;
  • The creation of the National Register of Citizens and National Public Register by the Government of India has the potential to render many members of marginalized minorities stateless, as they are more likely to be unable to produce the documentation needed to prove their identity and status; and
  • Taken together, these initiatives risk the disenfranchisement and denial of basic human rights to vulnerable populations, including the Muslim minority of India, that should be of concern to all Canadians.
We, the undersigned, residents of Canada, call upon the House of Commons to:
1. Condemn the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Public Register (NPR) and demand independent oversight to ensure that minorities are treated like all others in the registration process;
2. Demand the withdrawal of the Citizenship Amendment Act, National Register of Citizens, National Public Register and stress the importance of upholding the rights of all religious minorities; and
3. Condemn the excessive use of force by the police against the peaceful citizens of India.

Response by the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne

The Government of Canada has closely followed the political and human rights situation in India related to the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA), the National Register of Citizens (NRC), and the National Public Register (NPR).

Canada has raised concerns over the implementation of the CAA and related violence directly with the Government of India. During the official visit of the Indian Minister of External Affairs to Ottawa on December 19, 2019, the Minister of Foreign Affairs discussed the CAA and the importance of upholding the rights of all religious minorities. On March 2, 2020, the Minister had a call with his Indian counterpart. During this frank conversation, he expressed concerns over the violence in Delhi and the lives lost and he highlighted the importance of a path towards peaceful and productive dialogue on this sensitive issue.

Canada continues to encourage India to uphold human rights, including respect for the rights of minorities. During the United Nations Human Rights Council’s most recent Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process for India in May 2017, Canada recommended that India guarantee freedom of religion or belief by implementing existing laws to better protect individuals belonging to minority groups from hate speech, incitement to religious violence, discrimination on religious grounds and forcible conversions. Canada expressed concern about continued caste-based discrimination, against, inter alia, Christian, Muslim, and Hindu Dalits.

The Government of Canada is committed to the protection and promotion of human rights, including freedom of religion or belief, at home and abroad.  Canada will continue to follow the situation around the recently legislated citizenship Amendment act and to stress the importance of upholding the rights of all religious minorities.

Open for signature
January 23, 2020, at 2:32 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
February 22, 2020, at 2:32 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Salma Zahid (Scarborough Centre)
March 11, 2020 (Petition No. 431-00144)
Government response tabled
May 25, 2020
Photo - Salma Zahid
Scarborough Centre
Liberal Caucus
Ontario
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