Statement by India at the 40th Session of Human Rights Council (25 February – 22 March 2019) under Agenda 3: Interactive Dialogue with the SR on minorities, delivered by Ms. Mini Devi Kumam, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of India [13 March 2019, Geneva]

Statement by India at the 40th Session of Human Rights Council (25 February – 22 March 2019) under Agenda 3: Interactive Dialogue with the SR on minorities, delivered by Ms. Mini Devi Kumam, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of India [13 March 2019, Geneva]

Mr. President,

We take note of the report of the SR on Minority Issues and the recommendations.

2.  India reiterates that the OIC has no locus standi to comment on internal matters of India.

Mr. President,

3. As regards to the comments of the SR, we would like to clarify that the National Register of Citizens is being updated in Assam in accordance with the Assam Accord signed on 15 August 1985. The entire process is being carried out as per directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India which is constantly monitoring the process. The exercise is being carried out in a totally objective, transparent and meticulous manner. At every stage of the process, adequate opportunity of being heard is given to all persons. It is also clarified that the NRC published on 30th July 2018 is only a draft. After the draft publication, adequate opportunity for claims and objections are available. All claims and objections will be duly examined. Adequate opportunity of being heard will be given before disposal of claims and objections. Only thereafter, final NRC will be published.

4. The Citizenship Rules of India provide that any person who is not satisfied with the outcome of claims and objections can appeal in the Foreigner’s Tribunal. India is a secular State and safeguarding the rights of minorities forms an essential core of our polity. The Indian Constitution enshrines various provisions for the protection of rights and interests of the minorities. The State makes no distinction between caste, creed, colour or religion of a citizen.

5. Along with being the world’s largest democracy, Indian polity also weaves in immense diversity along with respect for tolerance and mutual understanding. An independent judiciary, free and vibrant media, and, a vocal civil society are all active in this regard within the legal framework of the State. National and State level Human Rights Commissions along with other specific Commissions continue to monitor complaints from minority communities regarding issues of discrimination and disadvantage faced by them. The Government of India has issued Communal Harmony Guidelines which lay down Standard Operating Procedures to deal with communal violence.

Thank You, Mr. President.

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