UN chief concerned about India’s plans to deport Rohingyas 

In Picture, United Nation Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (AP Photo) Related News

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is concerned about India’s plans to deport Rohingya refugees to Myanmar, his spokesperson Farhan Haq said. “Obviously we have our concern about the treatment of refugees. Once refugees are registered they are not to be returned back to the countries where they fear persecution,” Haq said while responding to a question about reports that India was going to send back Rohingyas.

Guterres, who was the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), is deeply attached to the cause of refugees. Haq said on Monday that the UNHCR office would take up the issue with the Indian government. He reminded India of a UN dictum against deporting refugees.

“You are aware of our principle of non refoulement,” he said, referring to the doctrine in the UN Convention on the Status of Refugees. According to the principle, refugees cannot be returned to a place where their life or freedom would be “threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion”.

India has not signed the UN convention on refugees. Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju told the Lok Sabha last week: “According to UNHCR there are 13,000 Rohingya migrants registered. But we have also got figures from IB (Intelligence Bureau) which show they have migrated to India in large numbers.

“Steps are being taken to ensure that we do not get uncontrolled influx of migrants in the country, which creates lots of social, political and cultural problems. “At the same time we want to ensure the demographic pattern of India is not disturbed,” Rijiju had said.

He said a “concentration camp of Rohingyas has come up” in Jammu and Kashmir and later clarified that it was only a detention camp and not a “concentration camp” like those in Nazi Germany. Subsequently, a Home Ministry official was quoted as saying that India was in touch with Myanmar and Bangladesh to deport 40,000 Rohingyas illegally in India. UNHCR office in India has reportedly issued refugee IDs to about 16,500 Rohingyas in India.

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