06/15/2021 India (International Christian Concern) – Over the weekend, a meeting of the G7 took place in Cornwall, the United Kingdom. This year’s theme was “Build Back Better.” The main topics of discussion were global recovery from COVID, trade, climate change, and “Championing shared values and open societies.”
The G7 is comprised of the United States, Britain, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, and Japan. Representatives from the European Union, South Korea, South Africa, and Australia joined. Additionally, India, who was an invited guest, showed up virtually.
India plays a critical part in U.S. foreign policy in terms of security and economic partnership. However, awareness and action are needed around the topic of religious persecution in India.
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) 2021 annual report recommended India as a country of particular concern for “engaging in and tolerating systematic, ongoing, and egregious religious freedom violations, as defined by the International Religious Freedom Act.”
USCIRF additionally reported that, “despite India’s constitutional protections for religious freedom, approximately one-third of India’s 28 states limit or prohibit religious conversion to protect the dominant religion from perceived threats from religious minorities.”
In India, religious persecution can look like anti-conversion laws, disinformation incitement of violence targeting religious minorities, and social pressures from the government.
Throughout 2020, India’s national and state governments’ perpetration and toleration of these systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations led to increasing repression of religious freedom and a growing climate of hostility and violence toward religious minorities, human rights advocates, and others speaking out against such violations.
The Indian government has largely ignored the international community’s condemnation and the U.S. State Department’s most recent report, which highlighted in detail the persecution faced by Muslims, Christians, and others.
The lack of attention from the international community on these issues is concerning. A partnership between India and the G7 countries should not inhibit the ability of G7 leaders to call attention to the decline of religious freedom in India, which could lead to further restrictions of other freedoms. The world needs to take a greater notice and call on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to protect the fundamental rights of all Indians.
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