Friday, March 23, 2018 | ePaper

UN rights body slams India for seeking deportation of Rohingyas

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TNN | Geneva / New Delhi :
India came under fire yet again from the UN Human Rights Council over its threat to deport 40,000 Rohingyas, cow vigilantism and the recent murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh . Earlier this year, the UN body had slammed India for rising communalism, caste violence and attacks on Africans besides criminalisation of same sex relationships. Kicking off the 36th session of the Council in Geneva on Monday, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein criticised New Delhi's current measures to deport Rohingyas "at a time of such violence against them". While New Delhi did not make any official comment, India believes it is taking a balanced approach to the Rohingya issue in Myanmar , which is much more than a humanitarian crisis. The current round of troubles began when Rohingya militants under the group ARSA attacked Myanmar security forces. India has promised large investments in development of the troubled Rakhine state, which is home to the Rohingyas. New Delhi feels there are serious national security implications to the Rohingya crisis. Zeid criticised the statement of the minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju that India can dispense with international law , together with basic human compassion, on the matter because it is not a signatory to the Refugee Convention. Zeid pointed out that "India cannot carry out collective expulsions, or return people to a place where they risk torture or other serious violations, by virtue of customary law, India's ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the obligations of due process and the universal principle of non-refoulement". The human rights chief also expressed
dismay over "a broader rise of intolerance towards religious and other minorities in India". He condemned the current wave of violent mob attacks in the name of cow protection, calling it "alarming". He also drew attention to the recent killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh. However, he said he was "heartened by the subsequent marches calling for protection of the right to freedom of expression, and by demonstrations in 12 cities".

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