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Ask UN to protect Indian Minorities

The Honorable António Guterres,
Secretary General
The United Nations,
New York, NY 10017

Dear Mr. Secretary General:

Muslim girls in India are facing a deep crisis. They are being forced to choose between their education and their faith. This is contrary to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Charter, as well as the Indian Constitution.

Banning Muslim girls from attending school is the latest attack on Muslim women in India. This is part of an ongoing campaign to demonize, harass, and assault Muslim women. The threat is evident by the creation of two notorious apps designed to “auction off” Muslim women leaders, journalists, and scholars by depicting them as prostitutes.

As a twin strategy, the Indian government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) passes discriminatory laws against Muslims while their mother organization, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) uses vigilante groups to physically attack Muslims who peacefully protest those laws with the police support and judicial silence.

Recently, this minority repression was painfully evident in the Indian state of Karnataka where the BJP Government banned Muslim girls with head-scarves from attending school. At the same time the RSS used its militia to attack girls who were still going to classes. The police willfully failed to protect Muslim girls.

The same thing happened in February 2020 when the BJP-RSS government passed laws aimed at taking away Muslim citizenship. The BJP-RSS militias organized vigilantes to attack peaceful Muslim protesters, resulting in an anti-Muslim massacre.

Because the Indian judiciary is largely ineffective in protecting minorities, we believe the United Nations should intervene to protect Muslims and other minorities in India. The UN must protect their right as equal citizens.

The dire situation of minorities, especially that of Muslims, has reached such an alarming level that the New York Times and other media sources are quoting genocide scholars to describe the crisis. In December 2021, a Hindu Parliament of Monks declared they would replicate the Burmese military model of Rohingya genocide in India. In a horrifying move, they offered a 10 million Indian rupee award to recruit suicide bombers with the goal of killing 2 million Muslims. All streamed live and documented thoroughly. It is important to note that the United Nations determined that a major strategy used by the Burmese military to perpetrate the Rohingya genocide was the rape of Rohingya women. The language being used by BJP-RSS extremists against Muslim women is full of similar threats.

The UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide calls for the prevention of genocide; the United Nations has an office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, as well as a Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief and a UN Women organization; and you, as the Secretary General of the UN, regularly raise your voice for Afghan women’s rights; which is why we ask that you take the following urgent actions:

  • Publicly declare that hijab rights are human rights protected by the Universal Charter of Human Rights
  • Unequivocally condemn religious discrimination in India, which is a violation of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • Ask UN Women and the United Nations and Human Rights Council to examine and issue a report on the protection, education and religious rights of Indian women
  • Appoint a special UN Rapporteur on Indian minorities, Dalits and indigenous Adivasi people
  • Direct the UN Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect to urgently investigate open calls to genocide of Muslims in India

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HijabRights Petition 2022-02

The Honorable António Guterres,
Secretary General
The United Nations,
New York, NY 10017

Dear Mr. Secretary General:

Muslim girls in India are being forced to choose between their education and their faith. This is contrary to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Charter, the Indian Constitution and the customary practice that Muslim girls have always been allowed to observe hijab in schools.

Banning Muslim girls from schools is the latest attack on Muslim women in India. There is a concentrated campaign to demonize, harrass Muslim women as evident by the creation of two notorious apps designed to “auction off” Muslim women leaders, journalists, and scholars, depicting them as prostitutes.

As a twin strategy, the Indian government led by Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) passes discriminatory laws against Muslims while their mother organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) uses vigilante groups to physically attack Muslims who peacefully protest.

This minority repression was evident recently in the Indian state of Karnataka where BJP Government asked schools to ban Muslim girls from schools while RSS used its street power to intimidate school going girls. Police beat up the peaceful protestors.

The same thing happened in February 2020 when the BJP-RSS government passed laws aimed at taking away citizenship of Muslims, and the BJP-RSS incited vigilantes to attack peaceful Muslim protesters, creating an anti-Muslim program.

As the Indian judiciary is largely ineffective in protecting minorities, and human rights organizations like Amnesty International have been forced out of India, we believe the United Nations should do more to protect Muslims in India, especially working to protect the right of girls to practice their faith and pursue education.

The situation of minorities, especially of Muslims, has reached such an alarming level that the New York Times and other media sources are quoting genocide scholars about the crisis. The BJP-RSS-supported Hindu Parliament of Monks in December 2021 announced they would follow the Burmese military model of Rohingya genocide in India, announcing an award of 10 million Indian rupees to recruit suicide bombers to kill 2 million Muslims.

We, the undersigned, appreciate that you, as the Secretary General of the UN, regularly raise voice for Afghan girls rights to education. We, therefore, ask that you take the following urgent actions:

We urge the UN to:

Publicly denounce the attacks on Indian Muslim female students
Unequivocally condemn religious discrimination in India, which is a violation of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 25 of the Indian constitution.
Ask the Indian government protect these vulnerable students
Ask women bodies at the United Nations and Human Rights Council to examine and issue a report on the education and religious rights of Indian women

Copied to
Amina J. Mohammed,
Deputy Secretary General Ahmed Shaheed,
Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief Executive Director,
United Nation Women India Multi-Country Office C-83 Defense Colony New Delhi 110024,
INDIA Sima Sami Bahous UN Women United Nations Secretariat 405 East 42nd Street New York, NY 10017-3599

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