UNITED NATIONS: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Tuesday expressed concern over the extreme force being used by police across India against people protesting against the new citizenship act that discriminates against Muslims, and called for restraint in dealing with peaceful assembly.
“We are very concerned about the violence and the alleged use of excessive force by security forces that we have seen, that has been taking place in the protests against the citizenship amendment act,” the UN chief’s spokesman, Stephane Dujarric told reporters at the regular noon briefing at UN Headquarters in New York.
Guterres was responding to a question posed by a Pakistani journalist who requested the secretary-general’s comments on the large-scale protests taking place all over India against the citizenship law, especially the brutal crackdown on New Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia University students that injured more than 100.
The spokesman said, “On the proposed amendment act, I would also refer you to the very strong words coming out of the (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights Madame (Michelle) Bachelet,” referring to the statement her office put forward the previews week that called India’s new citizenship law “fundamentally discriminatory” that does not offer Muslims equal protection as other minorities.
“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 statement had said.
On Tuesday, Dujarric, the spokesman, said, “We are concerned about the violence and the alleged use of excessive force by security forces that we have seen, that have been taking place in the protests against the citizenship amendment act.
“We very much call for restraint and urge full respect for the rights of freedom of opinion and expression and peaceful assembly.”
In regards to the suffering of the Kashmiri people under India’s inhuman lockdown and communications blackout since August 5, the spokesman said, “I think our concern about the situation in Kashmir has been expressed before and has not changed.”