India has criticised the United Nation General Assembly (UNGA) for its bias and selectivity. During the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on ‘Culture of Peace’ in Geneva (Switzerland), India exercised its “Right of Reply” and spoke on the “selectivity” of the UN resolutions passed last month.
Ashish Sharma, a First Secretary in India’s UN Mission, called on the General Assembly to take a direct stand against Hinduphobia and violent bigotry targeting the Sikhism and Buddhism as it has for those belonging to Abrahamic religions such as- Christianity, Islam or Judaism.
Condemning the body for its failure to acknowledge the rise of hatred and violence against Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism Sharma said: “We fully agree that anti-Semitism, Islamaphobia and anti-Christian acts need to be condemned and India firmly condemns such acts.” Referring to the draft resolution on the Freedom of Religion or Belief he added, “this August body fails to acknowledge the rise of hatred and violence against Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism.”
Ashish Sharma expressed concerns that the resolution on such an important issue, concentrates exclusively on these three Abrahamic religions. “Why this selectivity?“, queried Sharma, highlighting various instances where followers of Indic or Dharmic religions have also been persecuted.
India recalls violence by Islamist fundamentalists, slams Pakistan for violating the earlier resolution passed last year
Sharma recalled the breaking of the iconic Bamyan Buddha by fundamentalists in Afghanistan. He also mentioned the terrorist bombing of a Gurdwara in the war-torn country in March, where 25 Sikh worshipers were killed, and the destruction of Hindu and Buddhist temples and minority cleansing of these religions by countries.
Addressing the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, he tore into Pakistan for driving away their minorities by threat, coercion, conversion and killing.
“Pakistan has already violated the earlier resolution on Culture of Peace passed last year by this very assembly. Last month, Pakistan arbitrarily transferred the management of the Sikh holy shrine – Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara, from Sikh Community body, to the administrative control of a non-Sikh body. If Pakistan changes its current culture of hatred against religions in India and stops its support of cross-border terrorism against our people, we can attempt a genuine culture of peace in South Asia and beyond“, said Sharma, furthering: “till then we will only be mute witnesses to Pakistan driving away their minorities by threat, coercion, conversion and killing. Even people of the same religion are not spared due to encouragement given to sectarian killing.”
Culture of peace cannot be only for Abrahamic religions: India to UNGA
Overall, Hinduism has more than 1.2 billion, Buddhism has more than 535 million, and Sikhism around 30 million followers but seldom any UN resolution has talked about the persecution of these communities, the Indian diplomat said, strongly stating that it was about time that attacks against these religions are also added to the earlier list of the three Abrahamic religions when such resolutions are passed.
“Culture of peace cannot be only for Abrahamic religions” opined the diplomat, adding that the UN is not a body which should take sides when it comes to religion.
The UN’s draft resolution that named only the three Abrahamic religions was approved last month by the Third Committee of the General Assembly at its sixty-ninth session, which deals with social, humanitarian and cultural issues.
The draft resolution said the General Assembly recognises with deep concern the overall rise in instances of discrimination, intolerance and violence and specifies only cases motivated by Islamophobia, anti-semitism and Christianophobia. It also includes a phrase referring to only prejudices against persons of other religions or beliefs giving the impression that members of non-Abrahamic religions do not face intolerance or persecution.
Slamming the UN resolution, Sharma said: “Culture of peace cannot be only for Abrahamic religions. And as long as such selectivity exists, the world can never truly foster a culture of peace.”
India home for millions of those persecuted on foreign land: First Secretary during the 75th Session of UNGA
Sharma told the General Assembly session that India was not just the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, but was also the land where the teachings of Islam, Judaism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism had taken strong root and where the Sufi tradition of Islam has flourished.
“Today, every one of the world’s major religions has a home in India,” he said.
Sharma furthered that India had provided shelter to waves of those persecuted in foreign lands and allowed them to thrive in India. India is not just a culture, but a civilisation in itself,” he added.
India on Wednesday co-sponsored a resolution presented by Bangladesh titled, ‘Follow-up to the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace’. The resolution reiterates that the objective of the effective implementation of the Programme of Action is to strengthen further the global movement for a culture of peace. It invites member states to continue to place greater emphasis on and expand their activities promoting a culture of peace at the national, regional and international levels and to ensure that peace and non-violence are fostered at all levels.