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India opposes introducing a ‘special envoy’ to combat Islamophobia at UN

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United Nations, March 16

Calling India “a proud champion of pluralism,” India’s Permanent Representative Ruchira Kamboj opposed the establishment of the post of “special envoy” on a special religion at the United Nations today.

This comes as the UN General Assembly adopted the Resolution on “Measures to Combat Islamophobia” which, inter alia, calls for the appointment of a UN Special Envoy to combat Islamophobia.

Explaining India’s position during the adoption of the resolution, Ambassador Kamboj said that while the issue of Islamophobia is undoubtedly significant, one must acknowledge that other religions are also facing discrimination.

“Crucial to acknowledge that phobias extend beyond Abrahamic religions…anti-Hindu, anti-Buddhist, anti-Sikh elements…increasing attacks on Gurudwaras, monasteries, temples..” the Indian envoy to the UN said.

“The destruction of Bamiyan Buddha, violation of Gurudwara premises, massacre of Sikh pilgrims, attacks on temples, glorification of breaking idols in temple contribute to rise of contemporary form of religio-phobia against non-abrahamic religions.”

Ambassador Kamboj added that it is crucial to recognise that Hinduism, with over 1.2 billion followers, Buddhism more than 535 million, and Sikhism, with over 30 million followers worldwide, are all subject to religion-based phobia.

“It is time we acknowledge the prevalence of religious phobia rather than just single out one,” she added.

Further, the envoy said: “Allocating resources solely to combat Islamophobia, while neglecting similar challenges faced by other kinds might inadvertently perpetuate a sense of exclusion and inequality.”

The resolution was reportedly facilitated by Pakistan on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The country’s chief diplomat at the UN, Ambassador Munir Akram, had said that Muslims around the world face discrimination, and “bold and decisive actions are needed to counter and combat Islamophobia.”

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