New Delhi. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on Monday said he deplored the Indian government’s plans to deport Rohingya refugees at a time of such violence against them in their country.
UN official Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein specifically mentioned a statement by the Minister of State for Home, Kiren Rijiju, in his speech at the UN Human Rights Council’s 36th session in Geneva. The Indian government has not reacted to the statement. Al Hussein said India “cannot carry out collective expulsions” and return people to a place where they face persecution.
“I deplore current measures in India to deport Rohingyas at a time of such violence against them in their country. Some 40,000 Rohingyas have settled in India, and 16,000 of them have received refugee documentation. The Minister of State for Home Affairs has reportedly said that because India is not a signatory to the Refugee Convention, the country can dispense with international law on the matter, together with basic human compassion.
However, by virtue of customary law, its ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the obligations of due process and the universal principle of non-refoulement, India cannot carry out collective expulsions, or return people to a place where they risk torture or other serious violations.” Rohingyas have fled to India and Bangladesh after army action against them in the Rakhine state of Myanmar. Many of them have settled in Jammu and Kashmir.
Rijiju had recently said that nobody should preach to India about allowing in refugees as the country has absorbed the maximum number of them. “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 had said.
Al Hussein’s comments are the strongest by an international diplomat against India regarding Rohingya refugees.