The Government has dismissed a recent statement by five United Nations human rights experts condemning deportation of three more Rohingyas from India to Myanmar last week.
The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday stated in New Delhi that the Rohingyas had been repatriated to Myanmar in accordance with the directions of the courts of India. It also made it clear that the government would continue to take such actions if it was necessary to implement the laws of the land as directed by the judiciary of India.
Three Rohingyas, a father and his children, were deported to Myanmar via Moreh in Manipur on March 29. They had been detained in Assam in 2013 and had since been held in a prison in Tezpur in the north-eastern state for illegally entering India.
Five UN human rights experts issued a statement on April 2, condemning the decision of the Government of India to deport three more Rohingyas to Myanmar and urged the authorities to stop such forced deportations, which were prohibited under international law.
"The interpretation made of the facts of the case, as portrayed in the statement (by the UN experts), are misleading and incorrect," Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, said in New Delhi.
“We are dismayed by the decision of the Indian Government to continue forced returns of Rohingya to Myanmar, where they face high risk of attacks, reprisals and other forms of persecution because of their ethnic and religious identity," said the UN experts.
India had deported two groups of five and seven Rohingyas to Myanmar in October and January.
"The repatriation of illegal immigrants to their country of origin is in accordance with Indian laws. These actions are being taken in response to the instructions of India's Courts, which have required Government at the State and Union levels to detect, detain and deport illegal immigrants," said the MEA spokesperson. "In this sense, Government will continue to take actions as may be necessary in implementation of Indian laws, and as directed by our Judiciary."
Sending back refugees not allowed under international laws
India is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees, however, holds that the "principle of non-refoulement" (or not sending back refugees to a place where they face danger) was considered “part of customary international law and therefore binding on all states no matter whether they have signed the Refugee Convention or not”.
The UN experts expressed “serious concerns” over the legal and administrative processes in India for determination of refugee status. “The deportation of Rohingya to Myanmar speaks to a system of refugee status determination that fails to account for the ongoing, credible reports of ethnic and religious minority persecution in that country,” they said.
“We also remain concerned with the systemic use of indefinite detention of Rohingya in India, which is indicative of the unacceptable conditions of discrimination and intolerance they face in the country where they have sought refuge.”
The UN experts, who issued the statement, are Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, E Tendayi Achiume; Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Felipe González Morales; Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Seong-Phil Hong; Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, and Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Fernand de Varennes.