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4 October, 2018 12:57:07 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 4 October, 2018 10:48:26 AM
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UN alarmed by Indian move to deport Rohingyas

Put pressure on Myanmar, support Bangladesh, UN chief asks India
Diplomatic Correspondent
UN alarmed by Indian move to deport Rohingyas

A UN human rights expert has expressed alarm at the Indian government’s plan to deport seven Rohingya men to Myanmar, saying their forcible return could constitute refoulement which violates international law.

The Rohingyas from Kyauk Daw Township in central Rakhine state face deportation on October 3, said a news release forwarded by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.

They have been held at the Silchar central prison in Cachar district of Assam since 2012 on charges of irregular entry.

“Given the ethnic identity of the men, this is a flagrant denial of their right to protection and could amount to refoulement,” said the UN special rapporteur on racism, Tendayi Achiume.

“The Indian government has an international legal obligation to fully acknowledge the institutionalised discrimination, persecution, hate and gross human rights violations these people have faced in their country of origin and provide them the necessary protection," she said.

“I am also appalled over the length of their detention,” the expert added. “Prolonged detention of this kind is prohibited. It could be considered arbitrary, and could even fall under the category of inhuman and degrading treatment,” said Achiume.

She said it was unacceptable that the men have not received adequate legal counsel.

The Indian government has an obligation to refer Rohingyas under their custody to the UN refugee agency so their protection needs can be assessed and proper information provided to them about their rights, she added.

The planned deportation follows a previous order by the government of India on 8 August 2017 to return Rohingyas. The Supreme Court of India is still considering a petition challenging the 2017 order on the grounds it was unconstitutional.

The UN expert expressed concern that close to 200 Rohingyas were known to be detained in India on charges of irregular entry. “We urge the Government of India to abide by the international norm of non-refoulement and protect the rights of asylum seekers and refugees including Rohingyas,” she said.

Meanwhile, United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres has called upon India to put pressure upon Myanmar to take back hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas, who had to take shelter in Bangladesh to escape the atrocities orchestrated by the military, local Buddhist mobs and people from different ethnic groups in Rakhine.

The chief of the global body also asked India, an ally of Myanmar, to support Bangladesh in helping these persecuted people, according to Indian media.

He also warned that in this kind of situation efforts of the terrorist groups to recruit might be successful which might threaten the whole region including India.

“What can India do now? First, support Bangladesh with the huge humanitarian problem it faces now. It is unacceptable that countries like Bangladesh have to accept a million refugees. Generosity is inversely proportional to richness, I think,” Guterres, who is now in India, said while responding to a question after a lecture on Tuesday night.

“Second, India must put pressure on Myanmar, not just in reconstruction of Rohingya villages, but in creating the environment for these people to go back. These people will not go back in present circumstances,” he said.

“Fortunately, there aren’t many Rohingyas who have been recruited, and we have been able to avoid the situation so far, but discrimination and unresolved problems facilitate terrorist groups,” he added.

“I have never seen a community so discriminated in the world as Rohingyas,” said the UN chief.

“There should be accountability to those crimes. To keep a population in such a discriminatory situation is an invitation for terrorist groups,” he said.

Guterres said that the Rohingyas do not have access to health and education and there was a deep-rooted feeling of racism against them in society in Myanmar.

Guterres recalled his visit to Myanmar as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, saying that at that time the president of Myanmar had asked him to resettle Rohingyas in some other countries.

“To make them refugees is not my role. My role is to solve the problem of refugees. This shows how deeply-rooted is the negative perception of the Rohingya,” he said.

“This was intensified by some hate speech by some monks on social media. There are over one million people in Bangladesh. They were people burnt, raped,” he added, placing great emphasis on a political reconciliation to ensure repatriation of the Rohingyas to their homes.

SR

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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