Skip to main content

Muslims in India "compelled" to leave their homes, migrate to slums where other Muslims live: UN official

By Our Representative
United Nations (UN) special rapporteur Leilani Farha has taken strong exception to “discrimination” against minorities in housing in India's big cities, pointing towards how “private landlords, real estate brokers, and property dealers will often refuse to rent to someone who is Muslim, or impose unfair conditions.”
“Under international human rights law, there is an obligation by all Government authorities to ensure protection from discrimination by private actors, such as for example private landlords and developers”, the top UN official, who was in India between April 11 and 22, visiting Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, underlined.
Pointing out that Muslims represent 14% of India's population, Farha, a lawyer and an anti-poverty activist from Ottawa who took up the UN job in 2014, said, in some parts of India, “Muslims have felt compelled to leave their homes and migrate to places where other Muslims are living, often in slums.”
Coming on Government of India invitation, the UN special rapporteur, however, did not refer to the 2002 Gujarat riots in which large number of Muslims were forced to leave their houses and low in make-shift ghettos.
In a preliminary report based on her visit, Farha, who is special rapporteur with the UN's Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, also said that Dalits, particularly manual scavengers, and tribals face similar discrimination.
“Scheduled castes and tribes comprise 22% of India’s population but are over-represented amongst the poor”, she said, adding, “Despite affirmative action programs and 'reservations', these groups continue to be stigmatized and discriminated against. Manual scavenging, though outlawed many years ago, continues to be a reality for some with implications for their housing status.”
With a special mandate to look into issues of “adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living and on the right to non-discrimination in this regard”, Farha said, “The majority of those who are homeless or are residing in slums with the worst housing conditions are members of these and other vulnerable groups.”
In her recommendations, Farha asked the government to “enact legislation to curb all forms of de facto housing discrimination against any individual or groups, especially religious and ethnic minorities, women, Dalits and migrants, both for rental and house ownership.”
She also advised the government to “survey and recognize all existing slums, including those where Muslims or other religious minorities reside, and provide to the best of ability in-situ upgrading and rehabilitation, with secure tenure for all inhabitants.”
The special rapporteur noted, “India continues to struggle with the legacy of deeply entrenched and centuries-old social exclusion and discrimination of particular groups of people, such as Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and women.”
Agreeing that India is “a flourishing economy, with estimates of real GDP growth rate at over 7.3 per cent for 2016”, she also said, the country has the largest number of urban poor and landless people in the world”, even as quoting from the 2011 census to say that “approximately 13.75 million households or approximately 65 -70 million people reside in urban slums.”
Suggesting that these slums are part of the woes of urbanization, the special rapporteur said, “Still often referred to as 'encroachers', or people illegally occupying lands, homeless people living on the pavements are commonly regarded as 'outsiders' because so many are rural migrants.”
“As such they are often not welcomed by governments. These discriminatory attitudes are not just part of common parlance in policy circles, but have also found their way into legal judgements, making it increasingly difficult for vulnerable groups to win injunctions against forced evictions”, she insisted.
Referring to the plight of the so-called ‘pavement dwellers’, she said, “All homeless people live in extremely poor conditions and exposed to many forms of brutality, violence and health hazards. Mortality rates are 6 or 7 times higher than for non-homeless populations.”
---
Click HERE for full report

Comments

TRENDING

Green revolution "not sustainable", Bt cotton a failure in India: MS Swaminathan

Counterview Desk
In a recent paper in the journal “Current Science”, distinguished scientist PC Kesaven and his colleague MS Swaminathan, widely regarded as the father of the Green Revolution, have argued that Bt insecticidal cotton, widely regarded as the continuation of the Green Revolution, has been a failure in India and has not provided livelihood security for mainly resource-poor, small and marginal farmers.
Sharply taking on Green Revolution, the authors say, it has not been sustainable largely because of adverse environmental and social impacts, insisting on the need to move away from the simplistic output-yield paradigm that dominates much thinking. Seeking to address the concerns about local food security and sovereignty as well as on-farm and off-farm social and ecological issues associated with the Green Revolution, they argue in favour of what they call sustainable ‘Evergreen Revolution’, based on a ‘systems approach’ and ‘ecoagriculture’.
Pointing out that Evergreen Revol…

Rejoinder: Inescapable to have Central Water Commission as strong technical body in India

By BN Navalawala*
This is with reference to Counterview Blog (December 5, 2018), "Modi govt 'shelves' water reforms report, shows 'no interest' in its recommendations", below mentioned are my comments/observations thereon:
A committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Dr. Mihir Shah, Former Member, Planning Commission, for restructuring of Central Water Commission (CWC) and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) for optimal development of water resources in the country in the backdrop of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

Some Hindu bodies in US defending BJP-RSS' divisive, violent activities: Agnivesh

Counterview Desk Last week, Washington DC saw speakers at a religious freedom roundtable, chaired by the US Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, express concern over "eroding" space for religious freedom in India. Dr Mike Ghouse, executive director, of the Center for Pluralism in Washington DC, referring to the roundtable, said in an email alert that Indian-Americans have "a moral duty to prevent India from being labeled as a Country of Particular Concern by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)".

Preventing childhood deaths: India performs worse than Bangladesh, "equals" Pakistan

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released study, “The Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report 2018”, prepared by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has identified India among 15 other countries which are still far off the mark in achieving the targets of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD).

Karnataka: NGO Akshay Patra "not sensitive" to nutrition demands of school children

Counterview Desk
Well-known civil rights organizations, Right to Food Campaign and Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, have sent a letter to the Union minister of human resource development, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, other concerned ministers and officials of the state expressing concerns regarding the mid-day meal (MDM) to school children, insisting, all contracts to the Akshay Patra for supply of MDM should be immediately terminated.

India's rewritten textbooks talk of demerits of democracy, praise Hitler, underrate Mughals

Counterview Desk
A detailed, 3,800-word review of the books rewritten under directions of the BJP rulers across India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014 has suggested that one of aims of the books is to instill a sense of doubt about India’s democratic polity among the country’s young minds. Reviewed in the prestigious US journal, “The New York Review of Books”, in its latest issue (December 6, 2018) by Alex Traub, the scrutiny insists, the effort has also been to paint Indian history from the angle of “Hindu triumphalism”, even as creating “Islamophobia”.

Govt of India "tarnishing" NGO reputation, dossier leaked selectively: Amnesty

Counterview Desk
Amnesty International India has said that a deliberate attempt is being made to tarnish its reputation by leaking a dossier, supposedly made by investigating agencies, to media without giving it access to any such information. The high profile NGO’s claim follows a Times Now report about proceedings launched by investigative agencies, including Enforcement Directorate (ED) against the rights body for “violations” of rules pertaining to overseas donations.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Four children die after poor UP Dalit, Muslim families forced to flee to forest area: PVCHR

Counterview Desk
Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) has said that the forest department police’s crackdown, allegedly without any prior notice, on Dalit and Muslim households in Dakhin Tola, Churk Bazaar, Sonbhadra district, Uttar Pradesh, beating up “children and old people, women, and men in an inhuman way”, has led to “forced displacement, starvation and discrimination”. This has reportedly affected about 350 people.

Vedanta is out but corporate loot continues in Odisha: Local activists tell NAPM yatra

By Our Representative
Lok Shakti Abhiyan leader Prafulla Samantara, winner of the Goldman Environmental (also known as Green Nobel) Prize in 2017, has regretted that though Sundergarh in Odisha, like other forest areas, is a fifth schedule area, where Forest Rights Act (FRA) and Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) is applicable, but these laws are being “outrightly violated to facilitate corporate loot.”