[Washington D.C., London, Geneva] 5 July 2022.
Minorities in India are on the edge of a precipice as their rights and freedoms have eroded in the face of a growing violent majoritarian ideology, said the World Evangelical Alliance jointly with an interfaith coalition in new report submitted to the upcoming Universal Periodic Review (UPR) 41st session, which will take place in November 2022 at the United Nations in Geneva.
In its submission, the coalition, consisting of Hindus for Human Rights, Indian American Muslim Council, International Commission for Dalit Rights, Open Doors International, Justice for All, and World Evangelical Alliance, draws attention to the challenges India’s minorities face.
Its report details how the Indian government has fostered violence and legal discrimination against India’s religious and social minorities. The stakeholder report describes the confluence between state and non-state actors that encourage human rights violations in India. The coalition is alarmed by the deterioration of the situation of minorities, the rule of law, and the overall health of India’s democracy.
The UPR is a unique process that involves a periodic peer review of the human rights records of all United Nations Member States at the Human Rights Council in Geneva. The last review of India took place in May 2017.
Given this situation and the Indian government’s shortcomings in implementing UPR recommendations that the government expressed support for in the previous cycle, the group fears for the future of minorities in the country.
The coalition urges the United Nations to consider the concerns addressed in the stakeholder report released in June. The coalition hopes that the stakeholder report’s concerns will be included in the UPR’s recommendations made by the Member States to India and that the Indian government will implement those recommendations.
Stakeholders joint submission to the UPR of Algeria
The WEA also submitted a joint stakeholder report to the UPR of Algeria, in March 2022. The joint submission was made in coalition with the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches, the Protestant Church of Algeria (EPA), and Middle East Concern.
The submission reported on violations of the right to freedom of religion or belief in Algeria, focusing on violations against the Protestant Christian community. The report emphasizes on the current situation of churches affiliated to EPA being forcibly closed and sealed by local authorities, violating their right to peacefully gather to worship God with their fellow brothers and sisters.
Since 2018, at least 16 Protestant churches affiliated with the EPA have been forcibly sealed, and four other of its affiliated churches have been ordered to close. Several other Protestant churches, not affiliated with the EPA, are also facing same issues.
In its report, the coalition calls on the government of Algeria to grant permission to all forcibly closed churches to re-open and grant permission to EPA affiliated churches to continue to use rented premises as places of worship, to withdraw all closure orders and current proceedings against churches, and overturn the convictions recorded against individual Christians.
About us: The World Evangelical Alliance is a network of churches in over 140 nations that have each formed an evangelical alliance and over 100 international organizations joining together to give a world-wide identity, voice, and platform to more than 600 million evangelical Christians worldwide.
Contact: Wissam al-Saliby, Advocacy Officer, World Evangelical Alliance, Geneva Office [email protected]