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GENEVA April 2, 2019 – UN human rights experts* condemned the Indian Government’s decision to deport three more Rohingya to Myanmar and urged the authorities to stop such forced deportations which are prohibited under international law.
The three Rohingyas deported, a father and his children, had been imprisoned since 2013, on charges related to lack of documentation. On 3 January 2019, India separated and forcibly returned five other members of their family to Myanmar.
“We are dismayed by the decision of the Indian Government to continue forced returns of Rohingya to Myanmar, where they face high risk of attacks, reprisals and other forms of persecution because of their ethnic and religious identity,” said the experts.
Under international law, the principle of non-refoulement prohibits States from forcing individuals to return to countries when there are substantial grounds for believing that they would be at risk of persecution, torture, ill-treatment or other serious human rights violations.
The experts expressed their serious concerns with the Indian legal and administrative processes for refugee status determination. “The deportation of Rohingya to Myanmar speaks to a system of refugee status determination that fails to account for the ongoing, credible reports of ethnic and religious minority persecution in that country,” the experts said.
“We also remain concerned with the systemic use of indefinite detention of Rohingya in India, which is indicative of the unacceptable conditions of discrimination and intolerance they face in the country where they have sought refuge.”
The experts have relayed their concerns to the Indian authorities.
*The UN experts: Ms E. Tendayi Achiume, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance; Mr. Felipe González Morales, Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants; Mr. Seong-Phil Hong, Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Ms. Yanghee Lee, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar; Mr. Fernand de Varennes, Special Rapporteur on minority issues
Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.