India Abstains in UNGA on Pak Resolution on Islamophobia

News Excerpt:

The 193-member UN General Assembly adopted the resolution ‘Measures to combat Islamophobia’, introduced by Pakistan, with 115 nations voting in favour, none against and 44 abstentions, including India, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Ukraine and the UK.

Key highlights of the resolution:

  • The resolution condemned the incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence against Muslims as manifested in the increasing number of incidents of desecration of their holy book, attacks on mosques, sites and shrines and other acts of religious intolerance, negative stereotyping, hatred and violence against Muslims.
  • It requested UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to appoint a United Nations Special Envoy to combat Islamophobia.
    • India is “in principle” opposed to the creation of a Special Envoy post based on a single religion.
    • India pointed out that the substantial budgetary implications of establishing such a position “prompt us to pause and reflect on whether this is the most effective use of resources. 
  • Before adopting the resolution, the Assembly rejected two amendments to the draft introduced by Belgium on behalf of the EU. India voted in favour of both the amendments.
    • One amendment proposed changes in the resolution’s language to remove references to the desecration of the Quran.
    • The other amendment called for the appointment of a “United Nations focal point, within existing structures and resources, to combat anti-Muslim discrimination” instead of a UN special envoy.
  • The General Assembly adopted a resolution in 2022 proclaiming March 15 as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia in the wake of the 2019 mass shootings in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, that had killed over 50 people.

India’s stance:

  • India asserts that the prevalence of “religiophobia” against Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and other faiths facing violence and discrimination must also be acknowledged rather than singling out just one religion.
  • India stressed that the adoption of the resolution should not establish a precedent that could result in numerous resolutions centred on phobias tied to specific religions, potentially dividing the United Nations into religious camps.
  • India informed the UN General Assembly that it is crucial to recognise that Hinduism, with over 1.2 billion followers, Buddhism, with more than 535 million and Sikhism, with over 30 million followers worldwide, are all subject to religiophobia.
    • Contemporary forms of religiophobia are evident in the increasing attacks on religious places of worship such as gurudwaras, monasteries and temples, as well as the spreading of hatred and disinformation against non-Abrahamic religions in many countries.
    • The destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas, violations of gurudwara premises, massacres of Sikh pilgrims in gurudwaras, attacks on temples, and the glorification of breaking idols in temples all contribute to the rise of contemporary forms of religiophobia against non-Abrahamic religions.
    • The destruction of the giant Buddha statues of Bamiyan in Afghanistan by the Taliban in March 2001 led to global condemnation.
  • India stands against all forms of religiophobia, be it antisemitism, Christianophobia, or Islamophobia, as India stands against all anti-Hindu, anti-Buddhist, and anti-Sikh sentiments.

UN chief António Guterres’s views:

  • Guterres said that around the world, there is a rising tide of anti-Muslim hate and bigotry in many forms, such as structural and systemic discrimination, unequal immigration policies, unwarranted surveillance and profiling and restrictions in accessing citizenship, education, employment and justice.
  • The UN chief also voiced concern over “supremacist ideologies and attacks” against Jews, minority Christian communities and many others. 
    • Hatred of one group fuels hatred of another. 
    • Hate normalises hate. Hate destroys the fabric of our societies.

Book A Free Counseling Session