At the end of June 2022, an Independent International Panel of Experts (the Panel), composed of three renowned experts in international law, including Sonja Biserko, Marzuki Darusman and Stephen Rapp, launched its report on serious human rights violations against Muslims in India since 2019. The panel concluded that there is credible evidence to suggest that a wide range of international human rights of Muslim communities have been violated by Indian authorities. According to the evidence reviewed, federal and state authorities “have enacted a wide range of laws, policies, and conduct that directly target Muslims or disproportionately affect them.” With respect to violations perpetrated by non-state actors, the state failed to take the necessary steps to prevent, effectively investigate, and prosecute the acts. The Panel further concluded that some of the violations may constitute crimes against humanity, war crimes and incitement to commit genocide.
The Special Group was established examine the available evidence and determine whether there was enough credible information to demand an independent international investigation into the situation of Muslims in India. The Committee has reviewed reliable sources for information, including reports from independent media, civil society organizations and academic institutions.
The Group has found credible evidence suggesting that several human rights are perpetrated against Muslims throughout India, and in particular in Assam, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh, including “arbitrary deprivation of life, arbitrary detention, torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading acts”. gender-based treatment, violence and discrimination, incitement to discrimination, hostility and violence, discrimination in laws and policies, including nationality and representation, violations of freedom of religion or conviction, violation of freedom of expression, association, assembly, violations of rights to a fair trial and violation of economic, social and cultural rights”.
The Panel concluded that the following incidents may constitute crimes against humanity, as defined in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court: “the crackdown on protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (December 2019 – June 2020) in Uttar Pradesh” and “the government’s crackdown on human rights defenders, journalists and activists in Jammu and Kashmir at the following the change of its special autonomy regime status in August 2019.
The Panel has declared that the killings and torture of civilians in the context of the ongoing non-international armed conflict in Jammu and Kashmir may constitute war crimes.
Finally, the Panel found that a number of public speeches delivered by prominent political or religious leaders in Delhi, Chattisgarh, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh between December 2019 and April 2022, calling on their audience to kill Muslims or rape Muslim women and girls, could amount to direct and public incitement to commit genocide. According to the Group, “some executives [made] clear references to the eradication, elimination or destruction of the nation’s religious community. The Panel emphasized that such statements warrant further investigation by an independent body. Furthermore, urgent action is required to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.
The Panel found that most abuses and violations were not addressed by national institutions, leaving victims without effective remedy. No steps were taken to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators, allowing impunity to flourish.
The Group called on the United Nations Human Rights Council to establish an independent investigative body to investigate human rights violations against Muslims in India and a territorial mandate of special rapporteur on religious minorities in India. He further called on the Government of India to amend the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019, remove discriminatory provisions and ensure effective, independent and impartial investigations into the atrocities among others. Finally, the Group called on social media companies to take proactive measures against hate speech and, among other things, to launch an early warning system to protect vulnerable minorities.