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Supreme Court hears pleas challenging Centre’s decision to deport Rohingya refugees

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The Supreme Court of India on Friday heard a bunch of pleas challenging the Union government’s policy to deport Rohingya Muslims, who have taken refuge in India due to a fear of persecution in Myanmar.

A batch of petitions filed by Rohingya immigrants about their living conditions in India was heard by a three member bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, Justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant.

The bench said that the issue might have a profound effect on Citizenship Amendment Act, which was passed last year.

“Since Myanmar has decided to welcome back its Rohingya refugees, India is under no obligation to offer refugee status to them,” said a counsel in the hearing today.

India is not a signatory to the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention or its 1967 Protocol. However, India has accommodated a large population of refugees since independence.

Deportation of the refugees will be a violation of the principle of ‘Non-Refoulement’ which forbids a country from sending back asylum seekers or refugees to a country where they face persecution and is seen as binding on all countries, irrespective of not being a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention.

Rohingyas are a small ethnic minority community from Rakhine province of Myanmar have faced violent persecution at the hands of the Myanmar government, military and Buddhist nationalists. Lakhs of Rohingyas had fled their home country in the recent past to seek shelter in neighbouring countries.

According to Minister Jitendra Singh, over 40,000 Rohingya have been living in India since 2016. The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in India has granted refugee identity cards to 14,000 Rohingya Muslims living in India.

 

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