NHRC to plead against deportation of Rohingyas on “humanitarian grounds’ and for fear of persecution if they are sent back. Centre to submit its affidavit on the issue in the Supreme Court on Monday.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) will oppose the government’s plans to deport 40,000-odd Rohingya Muslim refugees living illegally in the country, when the Centre submits its affidavit on the issue in the Supreme Court on Monday. The rights body will plead against their deportation on “humanitarian grounds’ and for fear of persecution if they are sent back.
The ministry of home affairs (MHA) is set to file the affidavit on deportation of Rohingyas whose stay has been termed as “illegal, a security threat and strain on India’s resources”. NHRC chairperson and former CJI Justice H L Dattu told TOI, “We will intervene in the matter on human grounds. We are a human rights body and if these persons (Rohingyas) are deported back to their country, we see it as a violation of human rights.
The rights body is also likely to cite various orders of the SC in which it has held that fundamental right to life and liberty enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution applies to all, irrespective of whether they are Indian citizens or not, said sources. Earlier, while issuing a notice to the home ministry last month and criticising its decision to deport Rohingyas, NHRC had stated that “India has been home to refugees for centuries. It has continued to receive a large number of refugees from different countries”.
“Even though India is not a signatory to the 1951 Convention on Refugees and also the 1967 Protocol, it is a signatory to a number of United Nations and world conventions on human rights. Till today, the country has evolved a practical balance between human and humanitarian obligations on the one hand and security and national interests on the other,” it had stated.
Home minister Rajnath Singh on Friday confirmed that the government will file its affidavit on Rohingyas on September 18. While the MHA refused to share details on its official stand, sources said it will be more or less the same as mentioned in the advisory sent to states recently, in which it was claimed that Rohingyas posed grave “security threat”. The government had asked states to identify Rohingya refugees and initiate the process of deporting them.
Two Rohingya immigrants — Mohammad Salimullah and Mohammad Shaqir— who are registered as refugees under the United Nations High Commission of Refugees (UNHCR), had filed a plea in the apex court, claiming they have taken refuge in India after escaping from Myanmar due to widespread discrimination, violence and bloodshed against the community there. They challenged their deportation on several grounds, including violation of international human rights conventions.