NEW DELHI — The Supreme Court of India has been approached seeking its intervention to stop proposed deportation of seven Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar – the country they had to flee after mass killing of people from the minority community at the hands of Buddhist militants and Burmese soldiers in the last few years. Several thousand Rohingya refugees are said to be living in India.
An Intervention Application, filed by Mohammad Salimullah who is one of the petitioners in the ongoing case before the Apex Court against the deportation of Rohingyas, contends that imminent refoulment of the Rohingya men would be in grave violation of India’s international obligation to respect customary international law which is based on principle of non-refoulment.
“It is submitted that conditions in Myanmar are not conducive for safe repatriation and therefore, the government’s proposed decision to return the aforementioned men would amount to serious violation of human rights,” the petition, filed through senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan, asserts, according to LiveLaw.in.
The petition mentions a letter issued on 8th August 2017 reportedly by the Ministry of Home Affairs to all Chief Secretaries of all State Governments and Union Territory Administrations, raising concerns over the ‘increased number’ of “illegal immigrants” in India and the “grave security challenge” posed by them. The letter had stated: “Detection and deportation of such illegal immigrants from Rakhine State, also known as Rohingyas is a continuous process… All States/UT Administrations are, therefore, advised to sensitize all the law enforcement and intelligence agencies for prompt steps in identifying the illegal migrants and initiate the deportation processes expeditiously and without delay.”
The deportation proposed by this letter is contrary to Articles 14, 21 and 51(c) of the Constitution of India, says the petition. Moreover, it would be violation of the principle of non-refoulment which prohibits deportation of refugees to a country where they face threat to their life.