Your Excellency High Commissioner of India to Malaysia
H.E.Mr B N Reddy
High Commission of India
Level 1, Wisma HRIH Lotus
No. 442 Jalan Pahang, Setapak
53000 Kuala Lumpur
RE: (I) Rising Islamophobia in India
(II) Breaches of UNHCR Resolution 16/18
We refer to the above matters.
Persatuan Peguam-Peguam Muslim Malaysia (PPMM) is an association of Muslim lawyers registered under Malaysian law, wherein we have been following, with utmost concern, the developments of increasing Islamophobic sentiments in India, which may have been fueled by discriminatory policies marginalising Muslim minorities in the country.
It was recently reported that the Karnataka state of India had banned Muslim female students from wearing the hijab in their colleges, which caused a Muslim female student, identified as Muskan Bibi Khan, be blatantly harassed by crowds of angry hardliners, just because she donned her hijab as part of her Muslim identity, in the college compound.
Not long ago, in December 2019, it was reported that the Indian Citizenship Amendment Act had glaringly allowed for the negative religious profiling of Muslims, while there have also been various reports of discrimination faced by Muslims in employment, education and housing, as well as widespread impunity of those who attacked Muslims.
It is in this regard that PPMM, being part of the international community, would like to remind your government’s responsibility of putting an end to Islamophobic policies and Islamophobia in general, in line with the United Nations Human Rights Council’s adoption of Resolution No A/HRC/RES/16/18 in the year 2011, entitled “Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons based on religion or belief.”
Paragraphs 6(a), (b) and (d) of the said Resolution 16/18 in particular called upon all States to “take effective measures to ensure that public functionaries… do not discriminate against an individual on the basis of religion or belief; [and] … to foster religious freedom… by promoting the ability of members of all religious communities to manifest their religion, and to contribute openly and on an equal footing to society; [as well as]… to make strong effort to counter religious profiling….”
We therefore urge your government to comply with India’s International obligation under the said United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution and to immediately take all the necessary measures in ensuring the safety and protection of all Muslim minorities in India.
Dato’ Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar
President of Persatuan Peguam-Peguam Muslim Malaysia
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