Press Trust of india

USCIRF to hold hearing on citizenship laws next week

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Washington, Feb 25 (PTI) A US commission on international religious freedom will hold a hearing next week on how citizenship laws in countries like India and Myanmar are leveraged to deny the religious minorities legal protection, making them vulnerable to exploitation, discrimination and mass atrocities.

The announcement of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) came amidst the widespread protests in India against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the ongoing maiden official visit of US President Donald Trump to India.

According to the CAA, members of the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 following religious persecution there will get Indian citizenship.

The Indian government has been emphasising that the new law will not deny citizenship rights, but has been brought to protect the oppressed minorities of neighbouring countries and give them citizenship.

The USCIRF hearing is scheduled for March 4.

"Witnesses will discuss how citizenship laws are used to target religious minorities, particularly in Burma (Myanmar) and India, and will highlight the importance of the atrocity prevention framework for understanding the potential consequences of these laws," it said in a statement.

With widespread protests in recent months in India in response to the CAA and a proposed National Register of Citizens, however, citizenship laws as a tool to target religious minorities is receiving much needed international attention, the USCIRF said.

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