India to deport Rohingya refugees

No protection and no home (Press Release)

According to the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) the mass arrests of Rohingya refugees in India are to be seen as a gross violation of the principles of the Geneva Refugee Convention. "Members of the Muslim ethnic group were forced to flee from their home country Myanmar due to ongoing violence, mainly fomented by Buddhist nationalists," stated Jasna Causevic, STP expert on genocide prevention and the Responsibility to Protect. "Now, those who found refuge in India must try to escape the hatred of Hindu nationalists. But to where?" According to Causevic, they are not safe in their home country – not least because of the military coup and the violence that accompanied it. Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Malaysia, which together host nearly a million Rohingya, are not willing to accept any more refugees either. "These people are in a hopeless situation. Wherever they flee to, they are treated as illegals and invaders, and are driven away," Causevic criticized.

According to consistent reports from local media, the police forces in the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir arrested hundreds of Rohingya during the past two weeks, taking them to reception camps from where they are supposed to be deported to Myanmar. Apparently, there are pregnant women and children among the arrested. "This would be a serious human rights violation, even without the military coup. According to Causevic, both the military junta and the democratically elected government before it consider the Rohingya to be immigrant "Bengalis". After their deportation, they will most probably face even more violence and another displacement. The only solution would be to restore their citizenship, which Myanmar's military government had revoked from this group of people in 1982. "Until then, all states in the region, including India, have a humanitarian duty to protect the refugees. The religious affiliation of those in need must not play a role, not even for the Hindu nationalist government of India," Causevic emphasized.

The STP urgently appealed to the Indian Embassy in Berlin, the government in New Delhi, and the authorities in Jammu and Kashmir to cooperate with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to prevent the imminent deportations.