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US Congresswoman introduces resolution against human rights violations in India

Ilhan Omar, a Somali-born lawmaker, has been vocal about targeted attacks against religious and cultural minorities

Sabrangindia 23 Jun 2022

Ilhan Omar, a Somali-born lawmaker,
Image: AFP

On June 22, Ilhan Omar who represents the 5th Congressional District of the US state of Minnesota introduced a resolution to condemn human rights violations in India. Needless to say, the resolution, promptly dubbed “anti-India” by a section of the Indian press, has not made the regime happy.

Though, so far, the Ministry of External Affairs has not issued any formal statement on the Resolution. However, when Omar had recently visited Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, MEA spokesperson Arndam Bagchi had not minced words and stated, “She visited a part of Jammu and Kashmir illegally occupied by Pakistan. If such a politician wishes to practice her narrow-minded politics at home that may be her business, but violating our territorial integrity in its pursuit makes it ours.”

What does the Resolution say?

“The Indian government must be held responsible for human right violations against religious and cultural minorities,” said Omar, adding, “In recent years, the Indian government has been escalating repressive policies against Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, and Dalits. The United States should stand for religious freedom in India and the fair treatment of all religious minorities.” She further said, “It is past time for the State Department to acknowledge the reality of the situation in India and formally designate India as a Country of Particular Concern under the International Religious Freedom Act.” 

Demand to name India CPC

Readers would recall that the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has been recommending that India be designated a CPC for the last three years. Omar’s Resolution has now added more heft to this demand. The Resolution is co-sponsored by Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian-American Congresswoman from Michigan, Jim McGovern, a Congressman from Massachusetts, and Juan Vargas, a Congressman from California.

References to political prisoners, violation of minority rights

As per the official text of the Resolution H.RES.1196 uploaded to Omar’s official website also refers to USCIRF’s findings pertaining to the “emblematic cases of the Indian Government’s repression of religious minority leaders and voices for religious pluralism in India, including the Jesuit human rights defender Father Stan Swamy and the Muslim human rights advocate Khurram Parvez.”

The resolution also mentions how the USCIRF report had mention that the Indian Government was “criminalizing, harassing, and repressing interfaith couples and converts from Hinduism to Christianity or Islam.” It also refers to 45 prisoners of conscience in India, out of whom at 35 still remain under detention.

H.RES.1196 resolves that, “That the House of Representatives—

(1) condemns human rights violations and violations of international religious freedom in India, including those targeting Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Dalits, Adivasis, and other religious and cultural minorities;

(2) expresses grave concern about the worsening treatment of religious minorities in India; and

(3) calls on the Secretary of State to designate India as a country of particular concern under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 6401 et seq.) and the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act of 2016 (Public Law 114–281).”

The entire Resolution may be read here: 

The Resolution has been forwarded to the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) that will decide if it should be considered and then forward it to the full House. But if the Resolution is not taken up before the November 2022 House elections, it will lapse.

Related:

USCIRF recommends India be designated Country of Particular Concern for third straight year!

Fr Stan Swamy, Khurram Parvez, Siddique Kappan on USCIRF’s Freedom of Religion or Belief victims list

Will the US tag India a 'country of particular concern'?

HRW World Report 2022 showcases India’s worsening Human Rights situation 

US Congresswoman introduces resolution against human rights violations in India

Ilhan Omar, a Somali-born lawmaker, has been vocal about targeted attacks against religious and cultural minorities

Ilhan Omar, a Somali-born lawmaker,
Image: AFP

On June 22, Ilhan Omar who represents the 5th Congressional District of the US state of Minnesota introduced a resolution to condemn human rights violations in India. Needless to say, the resolution, promptly dubbed “anti-India” by a section of the Indian press, has not made the regime happy.

Though, so far, the Ministry of External Affairs has not issued any formal statement on the Resolution. However, when Omar had recently visited Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, MEA spokesperson Arndam Bagchi had not minced words and stated, “She visited a part of Jammu and Kashmir illegally occupied by Pakistan. If such a politician wishes to practice her narrow-minded politics at home that may be her business, but violating our territorial integrity in its pursuit makes it ours.”

What does the Resolution say?

“The Indian government must be held responsible for human right violations against religious and cultural minorities,” said Omar, adding, “In recent years, the Indian government has been escalating repressive policies against Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, and Dalits. The United States should stand for religious freedom in India and the fair treatment of all religious minorities.” She further said, “It is past time for the State Department to acknowledge the reality of the situation in India and formally designate India as a Country of Particular Concern under the International Religious Freedom Act.” 

Demand to name India CPC

Readers would recall that the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has been recommending that India be designated a CPC for the last three years. Omar’s Resolution has now added more heft to this demand. The Resolution is co-sponsored by Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian-American Congresswoman from Michigan, Jim McGovern, a Congressman from Massachusetts, and Juan Vargas, a Congressman from California.

References to political prisoners, violation of minority rights

As per the official text of the Resolution H.RES.1196 uploaded to Omar’s official website also refers to USCIRF’s findings pertaining to the “emblematic cases of the Indian Government’s repression of religious minority leaders and voices for religious pluralism in India, including the Jesuit human rights defender Father Stan Swamy and the Muslim human rights advocate Khurram Parvez.”

The resolution also mentions how the USCIRF report had mention that the Indian Government was “criminalizing, harassing, and repressing interfaith couples and converts from Hinduism to Christianity or Islam.” It also refers to 45 prisoners of conscience in India, out of whom at 35 still remain under detention.

H.RES.1196 resolves that, “That the House of Representatives—

(1) condemns human rights violations and violations of international religious freedom in India, including those targeting Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Dalits, Adivasis, and other religious and cultural minorities;

(2) expresses grave concern about the worsening treatment of religious minorities in India; and

(3) calls on the Secretary of State to designate India as a country of particular concern under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 6401 et seq.) and the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act of 2016 (Public Law 114–281).”

The entire Resolution may be read here: 

The Resolution has been forwarded to the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) that will decide if it should be considered and then forward it to the full House. But if the Resolution is not taken up before the November 2022 House elections, it will lapse.

Related:

USCIRF recommends India be designated Country of Particular Concern for third straight year!

Fr Stan Swamy, Khurram Parvez, Siddique Kappan on USCIRF’s Freedom of Religion or Belief victims list

Will the US tag India a 'country of particular concern'?

HRW World Report 2022 showcases India’s worsening Human Rights situation 

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