EU parliament can hardly lecture India on human rights

Does the Parliament of the European Union have the moral authority to pass an anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act resolution against India for discriminating against Muslims from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh? Or has a section of the Indian press exaggerated the pitfalls of the European Union Parliment standing in judgment of India?

559 members drawn from five groups of the 751-member European Parliament have moved resolutions that slam the CAA-
which was passed by the sovereign Indian Parliament. If the Modi government fails to bring pressure to bear upon the European Union the resolutions will be put to vote on Jan 29 and 30. One of the resolutions moved by the liberal Renew Europe Group states the CAA “is fundamentally discriminatory in nature” and constitutes a “dangerous shift” in the way citizenship is determined in India. As a consequence, it is argued that the resolutions could end up creating the “largest statelessness crisis in the world causing immense human suffering”.

The driving force behind the resolution is Shaffaq Mohammed, a Briton of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) origin who represents Yorkshire and the Humber constituency in the European Parliament.

Now Shaffaq Mohammad deserves special mention. This European parliamentarian is a member of the British Liberal Democrat party but has never fulminated against Pakistan for virtually condemning hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees to their deaths by coercing them to return to their conflict-ridden homeland.

Neither has he ever tweeted a word against Pakistan for its fundamentally discriminatory role in converting PoK into what is widely recognized as an open prison, where people live in perpetual purgatory under a puppet leader who masquerades as an elected prime minister of the region. This is perhaps because Mohammad is a great friend of this puppet PM, who goes by the kingly name of Raja Muhammad Farooq Haider Khan. The two have routinely shared a stage from where they rail against India.

Mohammad has also kept quiet on the seminal contribution made by the British Home Office in causing “immense human suffering” to asylum seekers in England.

Those who concern themselves with the facts may be interested in knowing that Britain’s Conservative government has doggedly refused to receive refugees. A quick check reveals that Britain received only 3% of the total asylum applications filled in by refugees seeking asylum in Europe. Is this because even the most desperate are put off by Britain having earned the odious distinction of being the only European country to imprison asylum seekers indefinitely in removal centres?

Pakistan and Britain aren’t the only accomplices in this great travesty being perpetuated upon asylum seekers. Europe, which is under the thrall of center-right governments, is itself guilty of building formidable policy walls to exclude refugees.

Nothing has exposed this racist Euro-centrist attitude to its problem with immigration more than the heart-breaking picture of a lifeless 3-year-old Syrian child who was washed up on a beach in Turkey in 2015. The boy belonged to a family of Kurdish-Syrian refugees who tried to unsuccessfully navigate the treacherous Mediterranian waters that had been roiled by a cold-hearted policy titled, without irony, the ‘hotspot’ system. This policy cemented deals with Turkey and Libya to specifically keep the so-called ‘refugee problem’ confined to camps on their soil and consequently at arms-length from mainland Europe.

Did European Parliamentarians who have signed up to deliver India a warning against making a “dangerous shift” in determining citizenship ever hold their own conscience to account over these omissions? No.

Furthermore, did it ever pass a resolution against America for passing the Frank Lautenberg-Specter amendment which makes the same reasonable classification as the CAA? Again, no.

What it has shockingly done instead is to recently vote against a plan to step up search and rescue operations for refugees and immigrants bobbing about in dinghys in the Mediterranian. In other words, these bleeding hearts have withdrawn a crucial lifeline to those fleeing religious persecution and other untold privations in the Middle East and North Africa. What makes matters worse is the fact that 8 EU Members of Parliament from the UK’s Liberal Democratic Party that would have voted in favour of continuing the lifeline absented themselves from the House to attend a conference. Their absence is the difference between life and death for the persecuted condemned minority refugees of West Asia and North Africa.

This abdication of duty to humanity is in stark contrast to the Indian state that has invoked compassion to rescue condemned minorities from the clutches of ethnic cleansing in three neighbouring Islamic nations. Given the hypocrisy at the heart of the issue, the Indian government is well within its right to feel umbrage against the cheek of the European Parliament.

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.

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