US Senators urge Mike Pompeo to impose “targeted sanctions” on India for its rising persecution of minorities

TCN News

Concerning the rising hate crimes against minorities in India, fourteen US Senators have written to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stressing US Government to consider federal commission’s recommendations on designating India among the Countries of Particular Concern (CPC).

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The letter, primarily endorsed by the Coalition to Stop Genocide in India (CSGI) has been signed by ten Republican senators and four Democratic senators, requesting the US Secretary of State that in case the Government decides not to accept the recommendations by United States Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), it must inform its reason in the US congress within a period of 30 days. The letter, also sent to US Ambassador for International Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, has said that both the State Department and USCIRF play important roles in sustaining the States’ leadership in religious freedom across the globe and therefore the annual report is “invaluable for Members of Congress, other governments and civil society groups,” other than “helping hold bad actors accountable.” The Senator’s letter also states that by making India a CPC, both the Government and USCIRF can “enable the international community to identify atrocities, encourage progress and develop solutions.”

The letter is a follow up of USCIRF’s annual report of 2019-2020 where it had designated nine countries as CPC – the countries being China, Korea, Burma, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and India. The CSGI, which is a united body of more than 100 US social welfare organizations and rights institutions, has repeatedly endorsed the inclusion of India in the list of countries of particular concern. It has also been consistently urging the State Department to accept the USCIRF’s recommendations owing to the escalating levels of persecution against religious minorities in India.

Further in the letter, the Senators have urged the US Government to hold India accountable “for engaging in and tolerating systematic, ongoing and egregious religious freedom violations, as defined by the International Religious freedom Act (IRFA).” They have also demanded that the US government must quickly move to impose “targeted sanctions” against Indian agencies and officials “responsible for severe violations of religious freedom by freezing those individuals’ assets and/or barring their entry into the United States.”

The CSGI, reiterating its support for the Senators letter to the US Secretary of State, has said that the concern reflected through the Senator’s letter shows that “there is a strong bipartisan Congressional support for holding India accountable for its escalating violence against its principal minorities, the Muslims and the Christians.”

Ahsan Khan from the IAMC added that “the US Government must designate India as CPC.”