‘Protect Rohingyas, don’t deport them’ - FORUM-ASIA


Rohingya Muslim men from Myanmar look on as they offer prayers at a refugee camp on the outskirts of Jammu, the winter capital of Kashmir, India, 05 April 2017. Photo: Jaipal Singh/EPA

The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) has lashed out at Indian plans to deport 40,000 Rohingyas back to Myanmar. 

"In the face of allegations of gross human rights violations against Rohingya Muslims in Burma/Myanmar, this decision is not only a serious violation of customary international human rights law but also morally unpalatable," the Forum-Asia statement said Wednesday,

Certain right wing parties like Shiv Sena have been demanding the deportation of the Rohingya since the beginning of the year, while some Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators also raised this demand in legislative assemblies.

The Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju, on 9 August confirmed that “the government has issued detailed instructions for deportation of illegal foreign nationals including Rohingyas," 

16,500 Rohingyas registered with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) are also to be deported, Rijjuju had said. Justifying the government’s stance, Rijiju deems these registrations to be irrelevant as India is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention.

Non-refoulement, a fundamental principle of international refugee law, states that no person should be returned to a country where they face persecution. 

The said standard is accorded the status of Customary International Law, therefore, binding in nature regardless of its ratification. 

"FORUM-ASIA urges the Government of India to abandon any measures that would result in the deportation of vulnerable communities, like Rohingyas facing animminent threat to their life and liberty, and respect international customary laws on ‘non-refoulement’. FORUM-ASIA encourages the Government of India to ratify the 1951 UN Convention relating to the status of refugees, as recommended during the Universal Periodic Review of India, and reiterates that India maintains a refugee policy in conformity with international law standards," the statement said.

It called upon India, as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, to support the Council’s resolution for an international fact-finding mission to Burma/Myanmar, which was initiated in part after assessing the risks to Rohingyas in the country.

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