India has recommended Canada to strengthen its framework to prevent "misuse of freedom of expression" for triggering violence, attacks on places of worship and racial minorities, and address hate crimes and speeches. KS Mohammed Hussain, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of India put forth the recommendations while addressing the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) review meeting in Geneva last week.
Hussain, leading the Indian delegation, noted in his address that India "welcomes and thanks the delegation of Canada for the presentation of their national report" to combat human trafficking. "We note the enactment of National Housing Strategy Act, 2019; Accessible Canada Act; and the National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking 2019-2024," he said.
"In the spirit of constructive dialogue, India recommends the following to Canada - one, further strengthen the domestic framework to prevent misuse of freedom of expression for inciting violence and disallow activities of groups which are promoting extremism. Two, effectively prevent attacks on places of worship of religious and racial minorities, strengthen legislative and other measures to address hate crimes and hate speech," Mohammed Hussain said at the UNHRC meeting.
India also recommended Canada to eradicate the "structural discrimination against children belonging to indigenous groups" and "address disparities in access to services by all children".
India's recommendation came close on the heels of a UN report that criticised Canada for "modern slavery". The report expressed concern over Canada's foreign worker programmes, describing these as a "breeding ground for contemporary forms of slavery". The UN human rights body urged Canadian authorities to "do more" to protect workers, tackle discrimination that also enables exploitation, and "offer a clear pathway to permanent residency for all migrants".
Meanwhile, India's recommendation to Canada comes after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's fresh remark on the diplomatic ties between the two countries over Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar's killing. He reiterated his allegation of India's involvement in the murder of Nijjar in Canada, and said that his country will "always stand up for the rule of law".
Trudeau also criticised India's move to evacuate 40 Canadian diplomats in the wake of the worsening diplomatic relation between the two countries, saying it was a breach of the Vienna Convention. Calling Nijjar's killing "very serious", he said that he reached out to India "to get into the bottom of this matter" and to allies, including the US, to investigate Canada's claims.
Diplomatic tension between India and Canada has been ripe since September when Trudeau alleged a "potential" involvement of Indian agents in the June killing of Nijjar in the Canadian province of British Colombia. Nijjar was the chief of the banned Khalistan Tiger Force, and was wanted in India.
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