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e-3981 (Foreign affairs)

Initiated by Taha Ghayyur from Mississauga, Ontario

Original language of petition: English

Petition to Government of Canada

  • The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has catapulted its exclusionary Hindutva ideology into the mainstream, empowering Hindutva radicals to threaten, harass and attack religious minorities with impunity;
  • Hate speeches by BJP officials and calls for genocide by Hindutva leaders have led to widespread economic boycott, mob lynchings and other acts of violence and discrimination against Muslims, Christians, and other minorities;
  • The degradation of institutions meant to preserve democratic order and hold the government accountable, including the media, the judiciary, and the parliament, has led to communal hegemony, systemic discrimination and widespread persecution of minorities; and
  • Laws establishing citizenship based on faith, criminalization of religious conversions and inter-faith marriages, have been enacted to persecute religious minorities.
We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to:
1. Acknowledge the Indian government’s discriminatory anti-minority laws, the rising threat of genocide against Muslims and persecution of Christians, Dalits and other minorities;
2. Include human rights experts in all trade and bilateral agreements with India to safeguard the freedom, justice, and human rights of persecuted minorities;
3. Invoke Magnetsky sanctions on Indian government officials responsible for, or complicit in, gross human rights violations against Muslims and other minorities in India; and
4. Develop a multilateral strategy for the Indian government to take immediate measures to protect its vulnerable minorities and repeal discriminatory laws and other acts targeting Muslim, Christian and Dalit minorities.

Response by the Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Rob Oliphant

Canada recognizes that India is a highly diverse country known for the democratic values enshrined in its constitution. The promotion and protection of human rights in Canada and abroad has long been an integral part of Canada’s foreign policy.

Canada and India have a shared tradition of democracy and pluralism, a common commitment to a rules-based international system and multilateralism, mutual interest in expanding our commercial relationship, and extensive and growing people-to-people connections.

Canada’s position on human rights in India was reiterated during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of India at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva in November 2022. Through its UPR submission, Canada recommended that India better protect freedom of religion by investigating all cases of religious violence and discrimination on religious grounds, including against Muslims, systematically and publicly condemning such cases and by sensitizing the public regarding religious tolerance. Canada also recommended that India strengthen media freedom by ensuring that all legislation, including the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, is compliant with India’s international legal obligations under human rights law.

On May 30, 2022, the Minister of Foreign Affairs spoke with Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, India’s External Affairs Minister. The ministers underscored the long-standing friendship of the two countries, built on strong commercial, cultural and people-to-people ties. The 1.4 million Canadians who claim Indian heritage form a deep bond between the two countries. The ministers emphasized areas of future collaboration such as tackling climate change, working towards a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, expanding the Canada-India Transport Agreement and creating opportunities for growth and ensure prosperity and a sustainable future. They affirmed the importance of a free and open Indo-Pacific region that is founded on respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations. The ministers agreed to deepen cooperation in all facets of the bilateral relationship.

On June 23, 2022, the Minister of Foreign Affairs also had the opportunity to meet with her Indian counterpart on the margins of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kigali. Both ministers discussed, among other things, the advancement of the strategic partnership and multilateral cooperation.

On November 12, 2022, the Minister of Foreign Affairs met with her Indian counterpart on the margins of the G20 in Bali. Canada will continue to build on our partnership with India, which is rooted in deep people-to-people ties and a shared vision of a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific.

Canada continues to monitor issues of human rights such as freedom of religion or belief and the protection of the rights of persons belonging to minority groups around the world. Canada will seek new opportunities to partner and engage with India in dialogues on areas of common interest and values. This includes discussing issues related to security, democracy and pluralism and human rights, and reinforcing and promoting these values across the Indo-Pacific.

Open for signature
May 17, 2022, at 3:41 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
July 16, 2022, at 3:41 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Blake Desjarlais (Edmonton Griesbach)
October 21, 2022 (Petition No. 441-00776)
Government response tabled
December 5, 2022
Photo - Blake Desjarlais
Edmonton Griesbach
New Democratic Party Caucus