SC to consider refugee status for illegal migrants

The petitions, filed in the Supreme Court, submitted that the 40,000-odd Rohingya were registered and recognised by the UNHCR in 2016 and granted refugee identity cards.
The pleas said their deportation would violate India’s commitment to international conventions that recognise the ‘Principle of Non-Refoulement’. This principle of customary international law prohibits the deportation of refugees to a country where they face a threat to their lives.
During the hearing, Justice Aniruddha Bose, on the Bench, asked if there were any formal guidelines, legal norms or policy decisions to determine a refugee. Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, for the petitioners, said the UNHCR conducted intensive questioning of the immigrants to determine whether they had fled persecution or if they had crossed across for sheer economic interests. If the former, they were granted refugee status. “Sixty to seventy per cent of Rohingya have got to be refugees,” Mr. Gonsalves submitted. The UNHRC report of 2016 on rights violations and abuses against Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar had noted successive patterns of serious rights violations.

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