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India: Rohingya deportation case: SC to examine key question on refugee status

Thursday 11 July 2019, by siawi3


Rohingya deportation case: SC to examine key question on refugee status

Written by Sabrangindia

Published on: July 9, 2019

The Supreme Court has agreed to examine a key query by the centre about the refugee status of illegal immigrants. This was while the SC was hearing petitions filed by two Rohingya men against the deportation of over 40,000 people back to Myanmar.

Photo: Rohingya refugees scramble for aid at a camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh September 24, 2017. Image Courtesy: The Hindu

Ever since anti-Rohingya violence broke out in Myanmar, over 1 million people have fled their homes and sought refuge across the world. While the largest number of Rohingya refugees still live in Cox Bazaar in one of the world’s largest refugee camps, many have been granted the opportunity to stay in India. They have been rehabilitated in rehabilitated in Jammu, Hyderabad, Delhi NCR, Haryana and Rajasthan. Rohingyas have faced violence in three waves in 1978, 1991-92 and 2015 and are one of the largest ethnic groups in the world to face relentless persecution and displacement.

However, in wake of the Indian government’s decision to deport them back to Myanmar, where many people fear they will meet violence persecution and certain death, two Rohingya men moved court. The grounds for the petitions were the Indian commitment “to protect the life and liberty of every human being, whether citizen or not.” The petitions argue that deportation would violate India’s commitment to international conventions that recognise ‘Principle of Non-Refoulement’ i.e custom against deporting refugees to a country where they face a threat to their lives. According to their petitions 40,000 Rohingya were registered and recognised by the UNHCR in 2016 and granted refugee identity cards.

Senior Counsel Colin Gonsalves who appeared for one of the petitioners submitted that 60-70 percent of the Rohingya in India had already been given refugee cards and the rest were pending determination. However, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta insisted that it was important to decide if illegal immigrants can be granted refugee status before stopping the proposed deportation and allowing them community rights under the international law.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and justice Aniruddha Bose were hearing the cases. The SC has agreed to examine the issue and the case has been adjourned to August.

The entire order may be read here