Get it on Google Play

United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees (UNHCR)

United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees (UNHCR):

The High Court of Manipur has ordered safe passage to seven Myanmar nationals, stranded at a border town in Manipur, to travel to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in New Delhi.

  • The seven nationals entered India secretly after the military coup in Myanmar.
  • The coup returned Myanmar to full military rule after a short span of quasi-democracy that began in 2011, when the military, which had been in power since 1962, implemented parliamentary elections and other reforms.

Observation made by Manipur HC:

  • Although India has no clear refugee protection policy or framework, it does grant asylum to a large number of refugees from the neighboring country.
  • India usually respects UNHCR’s recognition of the status of such asylum seekers, mainly from Afghanistan and Myanmar.
  • Though India is not a party to the UN Refugee Conventions, it is a party to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966.
  • Article 21 of the Constitution encompasses the right of non-refoulment.
  • Non-refoulement is the principle under international law that states that a person fleeing persecution from his own country should not be forced to return to his own country.

Free Movement Regime (FMR):

  • A Free Movement Regime (FMR) exists between India and Myanmar.
  • Under FMR, every member of the hill tribes, who is either a citizen of India or a citizen of Myanmar and who is resident of any area within 16 km on either side of the Indo-Myanmar Border (IMB) can cross the border with a border pass (with one-year validity) issued by the competent authority and can stay up to two weeks per visit.

Recent Influx of People from Myanmar:

  • India already has a lot of Rohingya migrated from Myanmar.
  • Rohingyas are ethnic Muslims of Myanmar living in Rakhine province in the Arakan region.
  • About 1,68,000 Rohingyas had fled Myanmar since 2012 when clashes with Buddhists erupted in the trouble-torn Arakan region.
  • Since the Myanmar Army seized power on 1st February 2021, there has been an influx of people into India’s north-eastern states.
  • Many of them are democracy activists belonging to the Chin ethnic group, or policemen who said they disobeyed orders to shoot at protesters.
  • India has welcomed refugees in the past, and to date, nearly 3,00,000 people here are categorized as refugees. But India is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention or its1967 Protocol. Nor does India have a refugee policy or a refugee law of its own.
  • This has allowed India to keep its options open on the question of refugees. The government can declare any set of refugees as illegal immigrants — as has happened with Rohingya despite the UNHCR verification — and decide to deal with them as trespassers under the Foreigners Act or the Indian Passport Act.
  • The closest India has come to a refugee policy in recent years is the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019, which discriminates between refugees on the basis of religion in offering them Indian citizenship.
Get it on Google Play

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *