CAA internal matter, UN body told
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CAA internal matter, UN body told

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The Citizenship Amendment Act is an internal matter and no foreign party has any standing on issues pertaining to India's sovereignty, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a sharply-worded statement on Tuesday, after it emerged that the UN Human Rights Council had taken the unprecedented step of approaching the Supreme Court over this issue.

The UNHRC has filed an intervention plea with the top court, which asks for it to be made a party in the case against the CAA that is being heard by the court.

'The Citizenship Amendment Act is an internal matter and concerns the sovereign right of the Indian parliament to make laws. We strongly believe no foreign party has any locus standi on issues pertaining to India's sovereignty,' the ministry said.

The MEA response went on to assert that the CAA, which the government says will help non-Muslim refugees fleeing religious persecution, was 'constitutionally valid', was consistent with 'our constitutional values' and upheld human rights values.

'It is reflective of our long-standing national commitment in respect of human rights issues arising from the tragedy of the Partition of India,' the ministry said.

The law, which was passed by parliament in December, has been criticised as discriminating against Muslims and violating secular tenets of the Constitution.

The opposition has alleged that the CAA, used in conjunction with the NRC (national register of citizens) and NPR (national population register), can be used to target Muslims.

Violence broke out in Delhi last week over the law, leaving at least 46 people dead and hundreds injured. UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet voiced 'great concern' over violence that left schools, houses and shops burnt and residents in northeast Delhi terrified.

India, which has come under growing pressure from the international community over the law, said it 'encouraged' the global body to develop a 'better understanding and appreciation' of freedoms and rights guaranteed and protected by the Constitution.

Shortly after the CAA was passed by Parliament the United Nations expressed its concern over a law that was 'fundamentally discriminatory in nature'.

A spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said it would 'have a discriminatory effect on people's access to nationality'.

The spokesperson also said: 'All migrants, regardless of their migration status, are entitled to respect, protection and fulfilment of their human rights.'

The CAA has sparked widespread protests across the country, with the peaceful and weeks-long sit-in in Delhi's Shaheen Bagh area becoming the epicentre.

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