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India, Africa can’t be excluded from UN Security Council: Sushma Swaraj

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New Delhi: Sushma Swaraj takes charge as the Minister of External Affairs at South Block in New Delhi on Wednesday. PTI Photo by Atul Yadav(PTI5_28_2014_000014B)

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday said India and Africa can no longer be excluded from the permanent membership of the UN Security Council.

She said the 70th session of the UN General Assembly was an opportune moment to achieve concrete results on this long pending issue.

Speaking at the ministerial meeting of the Third India-Africa Forum Summit here, the minister said that unless there were more democratic global governance structures, a more equitable international security and development framework will continue to elude the world.

She said more democratic global structures were essential for the collective peace and prosperity of the world and there can no longer be pockets of prosperity in vast areas of underdevelopment and insecurity.

“India and Africa can no longer be excluded from their rightful place of the permanent membership of the UN Security Council,” she said.

“How can we expect legitimacy from a governance structure that excludes the entire African continent and a country, which represents one-sixth of humanity?

“The 70th session of the UN General Assembly is an opportune moment to achieve concrete results on this long pending issue,” she added.

The minister said India welcomed the progress achieved during the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly under the leadership of Sam Kutesa towards commencing text-based negotiations.

“We look forward to working together in an active negotiating process to take this forward,” she said.

The minister said that the world has just celebrated the 70th year of the establishment of the United Nations.

“Although Indians and Africans comprise nearly 2.5 billion people, our nations continue to be excluded from appropriate representation in the institutions of global governance,” she said.

Referring to UN peacekeeping, she said it is another area where India and Africa have a long history of cooperation.

The minister said that over 180,000 Indian troops have participated in UN peacekeeping missions – more than from any other country.

The minister said that greater involvement of the troops contributing countries in the decision making process, including formulation of mandates and provision of adequate resources, is essential for the success of such endeavours.

She said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced last month that India will further scale up its participation in UN peacekeeping operations, including by providing training for African peacekeepers at facilities in India and in the field.

“Our all-female formed police unit to the UN Mission in Liberia, a first in UN history, has proved to be an inspiration for women everywhere. However, the new international security environment and the evolving nature of conflicts are posing new challenges to the effectiveness of traditional peacekeeping missions,” she said.

(IANS)

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Assam’s Citizen Register Raises Concern of U.N. Human Rights Expert

Assam, a state of 33 million people known for its lush tea estates, has for decades been racked by violence between indigenous tribes and settlers.

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Assam
A woman, whose name is left out in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) draft, stands in a a line to collect forms to file appeals at a NRC Sewa Kendra (NSK) in Guwahati, Aug. 11, 2018. VOA

Three United Nations human rights experts expressed “deep concern” Thursday over a controversial citizens register in India’s Assam state, warning it could inflame ethnic tensions in an already fractious region.

A new draft Register of Citizens (NRC) in the northeastern state announced in July left off four million people, leaving them potentially stateless and facing an uncertain future.

Critics say it is the latest move by the right-wing party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bolster India’s Hindu majority at the expense of minorities. India will hold a national election next year.

assam
Bakrapara, Assam

The policy was introduced by the state government, which is controlled by the same BJP party in power nationally.

“We are… seriously concerned about the lack of clarity regarding what will happen to those left out of the finalized NRC,” said a joint statement from the UN special rapporteur on religious freedoms, Ahmed Shaheed, the rapporteur for minority rights, Fernand de Varennes and an expert on arbitrary detentions, Seong-Phil Hong.

“There is a risk that persons not part of the NRC could become stateless, be at risk of deportation, or be subject to large-scale migration detention,” they said.

The deadline to provide the necessary documents to be included on the register has been set for December 31.

Assam
Indian Muslim men shout slogans during a protest against tensions in India’s northeastern state of Assam, in New Delhi, India, Aug. 8, 2012.
Source:VOA

The current register includes only those who were able to prove they were in the state before 1971, when millions fled Bangladesh’s war of independence into the state, and their descendants.

Also Read: Firefighters of India Battle Air Pollution In The Country’s Capital

Assam, a state of 33 million people known for its lush tea estates, has for decades been racked by violence between indigenous tribes and settlers.

“It is feared that this entire process is increasing inter-ethnic tensions in a region that has already experienced a tumultuous history of identity-based conflicts,” de Varennes said. (VOA)