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On Rohingya refugees’ return, Home Ministry says one thing but MEA said another

India took a strong position in favour of non-refoulement as recently as July this year, at an international meet in Geneva convened by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Written by Nirupama Subramanian | Chandigarh | Updated: September 20, 2017 9:26 am
 Rohingya, Myanmar, Rohingya refugees, Rohingya refugee crisis, UN Rohingyas, India Rohingya, Home Ministry, External Affairs Ministry Rohingya, Aung San Suu Kyi, India news, Indian Express Rohingya refugees stretch their hands to receive aid distributed by local organisations at a makeshift camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. (Reuters)

On Monday, the Ministry of Home Affairs, responding to a petition by two Rohingya refugees who have challenged the government’s proposed move to deport them, informed the Supreme Court that the principle of non-refoulement — of not forcing refugees or asylum seekers to return to a country in which they are liable to be subjected to persecution — was not binding on it since India had not signed the 1951 Refugee Convention. In its affidavit, the MHA also said that though India was a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, its scope did not extend to non-refoulement.

Yet, contrary to the government stand in court, India took a strong position in favour of non-refoulement as recently as July this year, at an international meet in Geneva convened by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Held on July 10, the meeting was the first in a series convened by UNHCR to discuss a “global compact” on refugees. The meetings are being held following the 2016 New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, which all 193 UN members signed.

The states agreed that protecting those who are forced to flee and supporting the countries that shelter them are shared international responsibilities, to be borne “more equitably and predictably”.

Also read | At UN, India for restraint in Rakhine, praises Bangladesh

One of the 12 countries to make a statement at the July meet, India was represented by Anil Rai, Counsellor (Humanitarian Affairs) at the Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva. “We support the concept of Burden Sharing, including relocation of refugees on case to case basis, that too with the consent of the refugees. While doing so, we need to be cautious not to open the path for re-defining the Refugee Convention and its protocol, and in no case diluting the principle of ‘non-refoulement’,” Rai said in a statement, available on the website of the Ministry of External Affairs.

“Finally, we may like to point out towards growing trend of increasing the qualification bar for granting of refugee status by adopting of opaque mechanisms. This has led to disqualification of large number of applicants, making them irregular and unknowingly pushing them to greater degree of vulnerability. This approach needs a serious introspection,” Rai said.

The next thematic discussion at the UNHCR is in October. India’s participation at these sessions is consequent to it being a signatory of the the New York Declaration. The UNHCR says it covers all refugees, including those those who flee individual persecution, as well as those fleeing armed conflict or violence associated with one or more of the above-noted grounds. It includes those fleeing State and non-State actors and has been the basis for providing protection, among others, for those escaping war, conflict, human rights abuses, gang violence, domestic abuse and other forms of harm.

The Declaration also sets out the main elements of a Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework. According to the UNHCR, the framework presents a comprehensive response designed to ensure (a) rapid and well-supported reception and admission measures; (b) support for immediate and ongoing needs (e.g., protection, health, education); (c) assistance to national/local institutions and communities receiving refugees; and, (d) expanded opportunities for durable solutions.

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  1. R
    Raju
    Sep 20, 2017 at 4:53 pm
    why communal Violence in Hindus, Buddhist, Muslims, sure their religious teaching against God's will. Violence is defined as “physical force exerted for the purpose of violating, damaging, or abusing,” and sadly, violence is a part of everyday life.Bible says: Love Refugees As Yourself When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. (Leviticus 19:33-34) vite the Stranger In For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ (Matthew 25:25-36.God says: whatever you done for poor you done for me . Love Your Neighbor as Yourself For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:14).
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    1. R
      Raju
      Sep 20, 2017 at 3:46 pm
      why communal Violence in Hindus, Buddhist, Muslims, sure their religious teaching against God's will. Violence is defined as “physical force exerted for the purpose of violating, damaging, or abusing,” and sadly, violence is a part of everyday life.Bible says: Love Refugees As Yourself When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. (Leviticus 19:33-34) vite the Stranger In For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ (Matthew 25:25-36. Love Your Neighbor as Yourself For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:14).God Loves the Foreigner Residing Among You
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      1. K
        KP
        Sep 20, 2017 at 12:52 pm
        dont go by the statements or affidavits immediately press throat of Bengali mulla revealing threats and islams black history of killings silence these voices for ever these mullas have grown rogue and biggest threat for nation more than that of rohingyas no body is above nation first throttle their god fathers nation and its security is above all if need be silence political non senses first Omar the dalla most anti nationalist supports musalmans now rohinyas while he and congress r responsible for ousting Hindus from Kashmir entire security and Hindus wake up wake up see the ugly design of islamisation of India oust each and every musalman from India still is the time to save this nation it is their book which teaches them all non sense they are one for their Muslims shunt them out If Bengali mulla threatens of blood shed let it be it is to happen sooner or later so shed the blodof every anti national no soft policy no mercy crush them with iron hand including their every supporter
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        1. U
          United
          Sep 20, 2017 at 12:15 pm
          40,000 rohingyas. already setteld in Delhi. indians themselves have no job who will give them job. ANd if unemployed everyone knows what they will do. 1) Kashmiri pandits --- No media coverage 2) Sikh migration from afghanistan during USA attack --- No media coverage 3) Tamil Hindus killed in the name of LTTE terror -- No Media coverage. 4) Kashmiri RADICALS call Indian army jawans "Kallu" due to black color. WILL THEY ACCEPT BLACK ROHINGYAS> 5) WHy the Saudis and Pakis who claims to be Mu sl im messiah never accepted Syrian refugees or Rohingya refugges. 6) All chirstians killed or wiped out of Syria 7) All yezeidis killed raped or wiped out of Syria 8) Why no muslim country comes forward to ACCEPT ROHINGYAS GERMANY GOT SYRIAN MUSLIM REFUGEES WHY NO muslim countries take them like Indonesia, malaysia etc. WAKE UP WAKE UP WAKE UP
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          1. Nitin Deolekar
            Sep 20, 2017 at 12:50 pm
            Indian Must learn from Berma !! Suu-Tai, the Living Gandhi, also oppose Muslim Terror !! Apply China Family Planning Law: 1-family-2-children to All Minority Brotherhood who did not go to Pak-Bangla after independence and opted to stay in India. That shall help minorities to prosper Like China ISIS shall reduce automatically!! Reverse Pseudo-Secular Civil Code: Apply 1-wife Law for minority brothers for next 70 years!! Allow 2-shadi written Talak for Hindu, After 70 years try to do common civil code. Stop Hindu Pathshala Maradasa schools, educate only in Govt schools!! Teach Tennis in Schools from Sania Mirza!! Gift hem reservation in BC Quota in place of Leader Rich Ambedkar caste?
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          2. M
            Madarchod mohammad
            Sep 20, 2017 at 11:38 am
            Rohingya Muslims are not only security threats, also demographic threats . If allowed, they will create multiple j K, Assam and Bengal . So we need to be prudent, in stead of raising moral question . Gandhi always raised moral question, but we know a practical guy named Jinnah took away the trophy and we are suffering because of Gandhian b er . The nation of Chanakya and Patel should not close its eyes to future .
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