African envoys seek UNHRC probe

Diplomats criticise Indian govt for attacks on Nigerians in Greater Noida

African envoys seek UNHRC probe

Envoys of African nations in New Delhi on Monday called for a probe by the United Nations Human Rights Council into attacks on people from their countries in India.

They issued a statement criticising the India for not sufficiently responding to the recent attacks on Nigerians at Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh. They said New Delhi had not taken any deterring measures even after a series of “xenophobic and racial attacks” on Africans.

The statement was issued from the office of Alem Tsehaye Woldemariam, Eritrea ambassador to India, who also holds the office of the dean of the African Group Heads of Missions – an organisation of top diplomats representing the African countries in New Delhi.

They agreed to comprehensively report the series of incidents to the African Union Commission.

The envoys met in the wake of the recent assault on four Nigerian students in Greater Noida. They were attacked as some local residents blamed the Africans studying and living in the city for the death of a local youth, apparently due to narcotics abuse.

After reviewing the previous attacks on the citizens of their countries in India, the African envoys concluded that “no known, sufficient and visible deterring measures were taken by the Government of India”.

“As regards the recent unfortunate incident in Greater Noida, the African Heads of Missions strongly condemn and express their deep concern and also take note that these reprehensible events, both outstanding and unresolved cases against Africans, were not sufficiently condemned by the Indian authorities,” read the statement, which was issued on Friday, but released in public domain on Monday.

After the assault, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had tweeted about her talks with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

“I have spoken to Yogi Adityanath ji, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, about attack on African students in Greater Noida. He has assured that there will be a fair and impartial investigation into this unfortunate incident,” Swaraj had posted on the micro-blogging site on March 28.

Though she refrained from condemning the incident, her ministry had issued a statement terming the incident “deplorable”.

The MEA has so far refrained from terming the assault a racial attack and maintained that such categorisation could be done only after completion of the police probe. Several people have been arrested in connection with the incident.

MEA rejects demand for investigation

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Monday rejected the demand of the African envoys for a probe by United Nations Human Rights Council into the attacks on people from their countries in India, DHNS reports from New Delhi.

The MEA said: “It is unfortunate that a criminal act triggered following the untimely death of a young Indian student under suspicious circumstances has been termed as xenophobic and racial.”

It said the government is committed to ensuring safety and security of all foreign nationals in India, including “African nationals, who remain our valued partners. Strong Indian institutions are adequate to deal with aberrations that represent act of a few criminals”.

Investigations into the death of an Indian teenager in Greater Noida and the subsequent incident is underway, the ministry said in response to a joint statement by the African envoys earlier in the day.

The MEA said the government had condemned and described as unacceptable the incident of attack on a few Nigerian nationals in Greater Noida. It pointed out that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had told Parliament about the action being taken in this regard. The MEA also noted that Sushma had spoken to UP CM.

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