United Nations: The issue of India repatriating seven Rohingyas to Myanmar saw the Secretary-General Antonio Guterres standing behind the UN refugee agency (UNRA)’s expression of concern as per the statement made by his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric yesterday.
The Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said this during a daily briefing to a question that he stands behind the agency after reading out an abbreviated version of a statement issued earlier in Geneva by the UNRA. The UNRA is a body of United Nations dealing with refugee issues worldwide.
“The UN refugee agency is greatly concerned for the safety and security of seven Myanmar nationals who were returned from India to Myanmar on Thursday,” its spokesperson Andrej Mahecic said in Geneva.
The spokesperson said that the office of UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi requested that the Indian authorities to get access to the seven Rohingyas detained by India since 2012, he said.
UNHCR “regrets that the agency did not receive a response to this request and was unable to secure access for a lawyer from a state legal service.”
“UNHCR continues to seek clarification from the authorities on the circumstances under which these individuals were returned to Myanmar,” he added.
The attempt by prominent lawyer, Prashant Bhushan to stop the deportation by filing an appeal in the Supreme Court was turned down earlier by the top court.
As per the statement issued by Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, the government here had reconfirmed the seven Rohingyas’ “willingness to be repatriated” before arranging their return.
“Forcing any Rohingya back to Myanmar now puts them at grave risk of oppression and abuse,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, the South Asia director of Human Rights Watch (HRW).
“The Indian government has disregarded its long tradition of protecting those seeking refuge within its borders,” she added.
As per the HRW, a total of 32 Rohingyas refugees, including seven minors are presently held in detention in Assam.
“They are mostly believed to be from the Rakhine state in Myanmar and were apprehended in 2014 by the railway police,” it said.
All the seven had come to India before the violence outbreak in August last year in Rakhine state that resulted in more than 7,00,000 Rohingyas fleeing the country of Bangladesh and now they are all living in squalid camps. All the seven Rohingyas were deported by India.
Due to the attacks by Myanmar security forces, several thousands of Rohingyas were killed and their villages were destroyed leading to the exodus.