The chiefs of mission from 43 African countries have called for an independent investigation by the United Nations Human Rights Council over a string of racially-motivated attacks against African students living in India, particularly in Greater Noida in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

The warning comes after the Association of African Students in India (AASI) threatened to lodge a formal complaint with the African Union (AU).

In a press release issued on 3 April, the African envoys of the Heads of African Mission to India, who include ambassadors and high commissioners from African countries with missions in India, said they "reviewed the previous incidents that have taken place in the past and concluded that no known, sufficient and visible deterring measures were taken by the government of India."

India condemned the 27 March attack on five Nigerian students who were accused of cannibalism and murder following the death of a local boy in Greater Noida. Minister for External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj, asked the local government to launch an investigation into the "isolated" incident, but failed to describe it as "racism".

In the communique, the Heads of African Mission to India said they "strongly condemn the incident and express their deep concern, and also take note that these reprehensible events (...) were not sufficiently condemned by the Indian authorities".

The envoys "unanimously agreed that those accumulated attacks against Africans are xenophobic and racial in nature."

Demanding "strong condemnation from the highest political level (both nationally and locally) of the government of India" as well as speeding up legal action against perpetrators, the envoys warned they would bring the case in front of international bodies.

The African officials threatened New Delhi with a "call for an independent investigation by the UN Human Rights Council as well as other human rights bodies, and also to comprehensively report the matter to the African Union Commission."

Commenting on the envoys' claims, the Indian foreign ministry rejected the allegations that authorities were not taking enough measures. Terming the claims "unfortunate", the Ministry of External Affairs explained that several arrests have been made in the cases and investigations were ongoing. It also added that the issue was strongly condemned by the government and discussed in Parliament.