Friday, 19 October, 2018

Supreme Court dismisses plea challenging deportation of seven Rohingyas

Immigration officials from Tamu district in Myanmar. Image courtesy Sunzu Bachaspatimayum India deports Rohingya Muslims, drawing U.N. ire
Charlie Simmons | 05 October, 2018, 07:13

The seven Rohingya men to be deported sit as Indian and Myanmar security officials exchange documents before their deportation on India-Myanmar border at Moreh in the northeastern state of Manipur, India, Oct. 4, 2018. In 2016, they requested that the embassy of Myanmar issue them documents to facilitate return, the Centre said.

"Even the country of their origin has accepted them as its citizens", Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S.K. Kaul and K.M. Joseph said, adding that they would not like to interfere with the government's decision.

The seven Rohingya from Rakhine state had entered Assam illegally and were detained by Assam police in 2012 for violation of the Foreigners Act.

Issue direction to officials of prison at Silchar Central jail in Assam and Union Home Ministry to "allow and facilitate the detenues in question as a well as other detenues on other prisons in Assam to approach the UNHCR in New Delhi to determine/ascertain if they are in need of global protection as refugees within its mandate and for grant of refugee identification cards", it said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist government, which regards them as illegal aliens and a potential security risk, has ordered that Rohingya living in small settlements and slums around the country be identified and deported.

The interim plea, seeking urgent measures to stop the proposed deportation of seven Rohingyas, was filed in a pending PIL.

The plea, therefore, was dismissed by CJI Gogoi's Bench on these grounds.

The fresh plea said that the decision to deport was in "grave violation" of India's global obligation and moreover, the situation in Myanmar was extremely unsafe for the Rohingyas to return and they are likely to be subjected to torture and even killed.

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The seven men deported on Thursday had been interred in a detention centre in India's Assam state.

He said that after the genocide which has happened in Myanmar in which over 10,000 people have died, lakhs of Rohingya have migrated to Bangladesh and India.

The UN special rapporteur on racism, Tendayi Achiume, said India risked breaching its global legal obligations by returning the men to possible harm.

Legal efforts to stymie their deportation failed when the Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a petition on their behalf and upheld their status as illegal immigrants.

Guwahati: Indian police said Wednesday that seven Rohingya detained in the country's northeast will be deported to Myanmar, which has been accused by the United Nations of waging a campaign of "genocide" against the Muslim minority. Under the 1982 Citizenship Law of Myanmar, they have been denied Myanmar citizenship as the Myanmar government claims that they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and since then they are stateless minorities.

The deportation exercise was carried out by the government despite the United Nations Special Rapporteur on racism flagging concerns that their "forcible return" could lead to "refoulement" - the forcible return of refugees or asylum seekers to a country where they are liable to be subjected to persecution - which is in violation of global law.

On August 2017, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army attacked 24 police posts in the northern Rakhine state of Myanmar, followed by which the military of Myanmar cracked down on the Rohingya Muslims.

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