Webinar date and time: 3 October 2022, 18:30 New Delhi time, 15:00 Geneva time, 09:00 Washington D.C. time
In India, incitement, disinformation and stigmatization of minority faith groups, including by senior political figures, have led to a surge of hate speech in social media, and increasing hostility and violence against religious minorities. Anti-conversion laws enacted in eleven states have put stringent limits on religious activity and undermined the right to freedom of religion and of assembly. The Citizenship Amendment Act excludes migrants from citizenship based on their religious affiliation and creates a religious test for Indian Muslims to prove their citizenship. Dalit Christians and Muslims minorities continue to face discrimination in affirmative action measures.
The World Evangelical Alliance, Open Doors International, the Indian American Muslim Council, Hindus for Human Rights, Justice for All, and the International Commission for Dalit Rights have formed the Coalition for Minority Rights in India. Our respective organizations have a vested interest in an inclusive, pluralistic and multifaith society. We are alarmed by the deterioration of the situation of minorities, the rule of law, and the overall health of India’s democracy. In March 2022, we submitted a coalition report for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of India to seek positive change for human rights and democracy in India. India’s UPR session is scheduled for November 2022.
Read our coalition report here.
In conjunction with the 51st session of the Human Rights Council, and ahead of the UPR session of India, our coalition is organizing a webinar on 3 October 2022 to discuss how the international community can support efforts towards a more inclusive and pluralistic India.
The webinar’s objective is to mainstream actionable recommendations, ahead of the UPR session of India in November 2022, for the fulfillment of human rights and the rule of law and the advancement of equality, freedom and protection of minority groups in India.
Specifically, the panelists will discuss policies to end legal discrimination against religious minorities, prevent hateful incitement and violence against minorities, strengthen the voice and participation in public life of minority groups and uphold freedom of religion or belief for all including minorities.
Dr Andrea Benzo, Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief Protection and Interreligious Dialogue, Italy
Dr Fernand de Varennes, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues
Dr Nazila Ghanea, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief
Mr. Garnett Genuis, Member of Parliament for Sherwood Park – Fort Saskatchewan, Canada
Ms. Sunita Viswanath, Executive Director, Hindus for Human Rights
Mr. Ajit Sahi, Advocacy Director, Indian American Muslim Council
Ms. Hena Zuberi, Director of Advocacy, Justice for All
Rev. Gideon Jibamani, Board of Directors, International Commission for Dalits Rights
The webinar is moderated by Mr. Peter Prove, Director, Commission of the Churches on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches.