Home News US religious freedom body calls on India to repeal anti-conversion laws

US religious freedom body calls on India to repeal anti-conversion laws

The report said anti-conversion laws "worsen religious freedom conditions in India which are already poor”

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) called for the repeal of anti-conversion laws in force in 12 Indian states.

The US federal government entity empowered to monitor and to recommend freedom of religion policies across the world says in a March 14 report that the anti-conversion laws violated international human rights laws.

“India’s state-level anti-conversion laws violate international human rights law’s protections for the right to freedom of religion or belief,” read the report.



“They impermissibly limit and punish an individual’s right to convert and right to persuade or support another individual to convert voluntarily,” it added.

It said the anti-conversion laws “also worsen religious freedom conditions in India which are already poor.”

The report said the anti-conversion laws lead to harassment, vigilante violence, and discrimination against religious minorities, as well as crackdowns on civil society organizations.

The panel has also recommended the US Department of State to designate India as a country of particular concern under the International Religious Freedom Act.

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It has also stressed the repeal of India’s state-level anti-conversion laws as necessary to comply with the international human rights law for the right to freedom of religion or belief and to help prevent the country’s religious freedom conditions from further deteriorating.

“The US panel report on India’s anti-conversion laws reflect the reality in India,” said Father Cedric Prakash, a Jesuit rights activist priest based in Gujarat state in western India.

“India should not shy away from according religious freedom to its people as it is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other International Convents on Civil and Political Rights,” Father Prakash told Matters India.

Read the full story on Matters India

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