The UN slammed India’s decision to deport Rohingya Muslims back to Myanmar despite indications they could face persecution by the military. The UN refugee agency said it was “greatly concerned” for the safety and security of the seven Rohingya men who were returned to Myanmar from India.
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The Rohingya Muslims, who had been in detention for immigration offences since 2012, were handed over to Myanmar authorities at a border crossing in India’s northeast state of Manipur. UNHCR voiced concern that the Indian government did not respond to its request that they evaluate the men’s rights for an international refugee in the country.
“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,” agency spokesman Andrej Mahecic told reporters in Geneva.
“UNHCR continues to seek explanations from the Indian government on the circumstances under which these individuals were deported to Myanmar,” he said. He said the UN agency was “concerned that they did not have access to legal counsel, were not given the chance to access asylum processing and have their claims assessed in India.”
The Rohingya are detested by many in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, who decline to recognise them as citizens and labels them illegal immigrants. They were concentrated in Rakhine state, the epicentre of a Myanmar military offensive that over the past year has driven some 720,000 Rohingya Muslims into Bangladesh.
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