As the government prepares to deport seven Rohingya Muslims back to Myanmar, a United Nations expert on Wednesday said forcing their return could “constitute refoulement which violates international law,” ANI reported.
“The Indian government has an obligation to refer Rohingyas under their custody to the UN refugee agency so their protection needs can be assessed and proper information provided to them about their rights,” the expert added.
On Wednesday, the seven Rohingyas were taken in a bus from the prison to the border town of Moreh in Manipur state. According to police, the seven were arrested in 2012 for entering India illegally and have been held in an Assam state prison. Police said the seven are likely to be handed over to Myanmar border guards on Thursday. India has obtained travel permits for them from Myanmar authorities.
The government had last year directed authorities to identify and deport Rohingyas and other illegal immigrants. About 700,000 other Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh to escape a brutal campaign of violence by Myanmar’s military. An estimated 40,000 Rohingya have taken refuge in various parts of India. Less than 15,000 are registered with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
(With agencies inputs)