Don’t Preach to India: Rijiju Adamant on Rohingyas’ Deportation

A petition has been filed to stop the Government from deporting Rohingya Muslims back to Myanmar.

Updated
India
3 min read
Rohingya refugees  in Bangladesh.
i

Rohingyas are illegal immigrants and stand to be deported, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju said, asserting that nobody should preach to India on the issue as the country has absorbed the maximum number of refugees in the world.

"I want to tell the international organisations whether the Rohingyas are registered under the United Nations Human Rights Commission or not. They are illegal immigrants in India," Rijiju said.

The minister of state for home said that since they are not legal immigrants, "they stand to be deported".

As per law, they stand to be deported because they are illegal immigrants. We are a nation with great democratic tradition. India has absorbed maximum number of refugees in the world so nobody should give India any lessons on how to deal with refugees.

Taking a strong position on the reported criticism of the government's stand on the issue, Rijiju said, "We are following the legal path then why have we been accused of being inhuman."

He said that the Centre has instructed all state governments to start the process of their deportation.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on 4 September heard a petition filed by Rohingya refugees who seek restraint of the Central government’s plan to deport all Rohingyas in India back to Myanmar, including those registered as refugees with the United Nations.

The bench, headed by CJI Dipak Misra, asked the Centre to respond to the petition by 11 September 2017 (next Monday), to clarify the government’s position on the matter.

The judges refused to pass any interim relief during this period, and reportedly said they would assess whether Rohingyas as a class were entitled to stay in India as refugees after receiving the government’s response.

Also Read: Will the SC Stop the Government From Deporting Rohingya Refugees?

What is the Petition About?

On 1 September, the Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud agreed to hear the petition on an urgent basis.

The petitioners, represented by advocate and activist Prashant Bhushan, have argued that the Rohingya refugees have fled severe human rights violations in Myanmar, and returning there would endanger their life and liberty.

Consequently, it is argued that the Centre’s plan to deport all 40,000 Rohingya present in India would violate international law (and the Constitution of India) which forbids sending refugees back to their home country if their lives and freedom would be under threat there.
There have been various UNHCR special reports on the persecution of Rohingya refugees in Myanmar... Deporting Rohingyas in these circumstances is against the Constitutional guarantees to refugees in India as well as the against the principle of non-refoulement which is a principle of customary international law and is a part of various conventions that India has ratified or is a signatory to. 
Prashant Bhushan

On 18 August, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had issued notice to the Centre over its plan to deport the Rohingya immigrants, who are residing in various parts of India.

The Rohingyas, who fled to India after violence in the Western Rakhine state of Myanmar, have settled in Jammu, Hyderabad, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi-NCR and Rajasthan.

How it Began With Kiren Rijiju’s Statement

Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju had said in Parliament on 9 August that according to available data, more than 14,000 Rohingyas, registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), were staying in India.

He added that around 40,000 Rohingyas were staying in India illegally.

In a communique to all states, the Union Home Ministry had said that the rise of terrorism in the last few decades has become a serious cause for concern for most nations as illegal migrants are prone to getting recruited by terrorist organisations.

The Centre had directed the state governments to set up a task force at the district-level to identify and deport illegally-settled foreign nationals.

Nearly 400 Die as Myanmar Army Steps up Crackdown

Nearly 400 people have died in fighting that has rocked Myanmar's northwest region for a week, new official data shows, making it probably the deadliest bout of violence to engulf the country's Rohingya Muslim minority in decades.

Around 38,000 Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh from Myanmar, United Nations sources said, a week after Rohingya insurgents attacked police posts and an army base in Rakhine state, prompting clashes and a military counteroffensive.

(With inputs from PTI and Reuters)

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