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India: Protect Rohingya Refugees From Forced Return To Myanmar


Indian Supreme Court rules Rohingya refugees can be
returned to Myanmar

(Cox’s Bazar, April 9,
2021)—The Government of India should protect Rohingya
refugees and prevent their forced return to Myanmar, Fortify
Rights said today. On April 8, the Supreme Court of India
denied a petition challenging the arbitrary detention of
Rohingya refugees in northern India. The court further ruled
that the refugees could be returned to Myanmar, where
Rohingya have faced mass
atrocity crimes
by Myanmar security forces for
years.

Since a February 1 military coup
d’état
, the Myanmar military and police have killed
more than 600 men, women, and
children.

“India has a responsibility
under international law to protect refugees from being
forcibly returned to a place where their lives or freedoms
are threatened,”
said Amy Smith, executive director of
Fortify Rights. “The same military responsible for the
ongoing genocide against the Rohingya is now violently
carrying out a military coup in
Myanmar.”

On March 6, Indian
authorities in Jammu and Kashmir detained more than 160
Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, according to media reports.
Two refugees petitioned the Supreme Court last month,
seeking the release of the detained refugees and an order to
prevent their return to Myanmar.

On April 8, the
Supreme Court of India rejected the petition, paving the way
for the forced return of the refugees to Myanmar. In a
six-page interim order reviewed by Fortify Rights, the court
said, “we cannot comment upon something happening in
another country” regarding the petition’s claims that
returnees would face persecution should they be returned to
Myanmar. “It is not possible to grant the interim relief
prayed for,” the order said.

Under customary
international law, the principle of non-refoulement
prohibits a state from returning any person on its territory
or under its jurisdiction to a country where they face
persecution. Article 3 of the U.N. Convention against
Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or
Punishment, to which India is a party, states: “No State
Party shall expel, return (‘refoule’) or extradite a
person to another State where there are substantial grounds
for believing that he [or she] would be in danger of being
subjected to
torture.”

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