India, Don't deport Rohingya refugees

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On August 9, 2017, the Indian MOS for Home Affairs, the Hon. Kiren Rijiju, informed the Parliament that “the government has issued detailed instructions for deportation of illegal foreign nationals including Rohingyas,”; he further noted that around 40,000 are living in India.

It is an accepted fact that the Rohingyas are facing persecution and systemic abuse in Burma, by Burmese officials and the state security apparatus. According to a UN report: "the following types of violations were reported and experienced frequently in that area: Extrajudicial executions or other killings, including by random shooting; enforced disappearance and arbitrary detention; rape, including gang rape, and other forms of sexual violence; physical assault including beatings; torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; looting and occupation of property;
destruction of property; and ethnic and religious discrimination and persecution."

In such a scenario, deporting the Rohingyas is nothing short of condemning them to hell. While the Hon. Minister is right that India is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention, customary International law mandates not forcibly returning refugees to a place where they face a serious risk of persecution.

I'm just a common Indian citizen, and have always been very proud of my country; not least because India has always provided a safe haven to persecuted people from all over the world. Right from the Jews (from Spain, Portugal, Iraq, Pakistan), the Parsees from Persia, and in recent times, people from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan. Do we not learn from our heritage, our culture, that it is a sin to drive away a 'sharanagati', a refugee?

Please help me convince the Indian Government that providing a safe haven to the persecuted is nothing less than our duty.



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