No response from India on Rohingiyas: UN body

his is the second such incident since October 2018, when India returned seven Rohingya to Rakhine state in Myanmar, where conditions are not conducive for return," the UN body said in a statement. (DH file photo for representation)

Regretting repatriation of five Myanmarese Rohingiyas from Assam, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNCHR) on Saturday said India did not reply to its requests for access to such detainees.

"Despite repeated requests, UNHCR did not receive a response from the authorities in India regarding requests for access to individuals in detention to ascertain their circumstances and to assess the voluntariness of their decision to return. This is the second such incident since October 2018, when India returned seven Rohingya to Rakhine state in Myanmar, where conditions are not conducive for return," the UN body said in a statement. 

Five Rohingiyas, who were caught in 2014 for illegally entering Assam, were repatriated through India-Myanmar border at Moreh in Manipur on Thursday. They were lodged in a detention centre inside Tezpur jail in North Assam, from where they were taken to Moreh and handed over to Myanmarese officials. Assam police officials claimed they wished to go back to their homes after the expiry of their jail terms.

The five have been identified as Mohammad Ayas, Mohammad Riyas, Ahmed Hussain, Toyaba Khatun and Azida Begum. They are Rohingyas and residents of Buthitang area in Myanmar.

The UNHCR had also criticised repatriation of seven Rohingiyas from Assam in October last year saying the situation in Myanmar was not conducive for the return of the refugees. The seven were similarly deported from Assam while the Supreme Court refused to interfere into a petition to stop their deportation. They were lodged in Silchar jail in South Assam. 

Hundreds and thousands of Rohingya Muslims had fled Myanmar following the ethnic clash, the latest being exodus of 7.20 lakh in August 2017, who are still taking shelter in neighbouring Bangladesh. Many such refugees infiltrated into India's Northeast through the India-Bangladesh borders.

There are 15 other Rohingiyas from Myanmar still lodged in different jails in Assam and the official process was underway for their deportation, said a police source in Assam. According to a recent statement of union home ministry, nearly 40,000 Rohingiyas are living in India at present and are residing mainly in Jammu, Hyderabad, Kanpur and outskirts of New Delhi. 
 
There are an estimated 18,000 Rohingya refugees and asylum-seekers registered with UNHCR in India, the UNHCR statement added.
 

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No response from India on Rohingiyas: UN body

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