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Cong. slams govt. over UN rights chief moving SC on CAA

By PTI Updated: Mar 03, 2020 11:38 pm

New Delhi, March 3 (PTI): The Congress on Tuesday attacked the government over the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights filing an application in the Supreme Court on the CAA, with senior leader Ahmed Patel saying though it is “unwarranted interference” the Modi dispensation is to be blamed for the “mess”.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has approached the Supreme Court seeking to intervene in the hearing on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, saying there was a need to take into account the “international human rights law, norms and standards” in the proceedings.

“No doubt that UN’s intervening application is a case of unwarranted interference in our matters,” Patel said in a tweet.

“But who is to blame for this mess? The Government of India for creating a window for such interference by enacting a law which breaches global standards on human rights,” the Congress treasurer said.

The plea, filed on behalf of Michelle Bachelet Jeria, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has sought to intervene as an amicus curiae (non-party offering assistance to court) in the matter by virtue of mandate to protect and promote human rights and to conduct necessary advocacy in that regard.

India has sharply criticised the move, saying the CAA is an internal matter of the country.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi, in response to the development, said “the larger question is being missed” in such a reaction by the government.

“We are all proud, patriotic Indians and we all speak proudly in support of our nation everywhere in the world and on every inch of global soil. But the Home Minster and the MEA must answer why we are today being looked at with suspicion and finger pointing by not one, but, 20, 30, 40 nations across the world?” he said.

“Has he (External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar) answered that question, when you travel to Europe, when you travel to America, when you travel to South America, Africa? We stand up stoutly and fight for India. But does it mean that we should be like ostrich in the sand, ignoring those questions?” Singhvi asked.

It is very rare for an organization to file a petition on its own, he said, adding that the UN body would have intervened possibly because refugee issues are its direct domain.

“So, I humbly with folded hands request the government to start looking more at messages and less at picking up an AK-47 in shooting the messenger,” Singhvi said.

Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said he has repeatedly urged the government to pass an asylum/refugee law that applies international standards to India’s humanitarian practices and protects all who fear persecution for their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.

“It’s not too late,” he said in a tweet.

“This (OHCHR chief moving SC) is an unprecedented step and arguably an extreme one for a UN body to take. But then India was a respected upholder of human rights in the past so no UN agency would have needed to consider doing such a thing,” he said.

Earlier, Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said the UN move was a matter of embarrassment for the government.

By PTI Updated: Mar 03, 2020 11:38:00 pm