Friday 20 September 2019

India's top court delays decision on possible eviction of Rohingya refugees

Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh (AP)
Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh (AP)

India's Supreme Court has postponed a decision on whether the government can evict about 40,000 Rohingya Muslims who have taken refuge in the country, a lawyer said.

Prashant Bhushan said the court had been expected to issue its ruling on Friday, but delayed the decision until November 21, saying it wants more time to hear a petition on behalf of his clients, two Rohingya challenging the government's deportation plans.

The petition argues that deportation would violate their human rights.

An estimated 40,000 Rohingya Muslims have settled in various Indian cities, including many who fled persecution in Burma in 2012.

The government has said some are extremists who pose a threat to India's security.

In a new wave of migration, more than 500,000 Rohingya have fled Burma to Bangladesh since a renewed military crackdown began on August 25.

The Supreme Court said the Rohingya Muslims' possible eviction was a very important matter involving issues of national security as well as the human rights of the people, many of whom are women, children and old people.

"Therefore, the court will need to hear this matter at length," the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

The Rohingya approached the Supreme Court after India's junior home affairs minister, Kiren Rijiju, told Parliament in August that state governments had been asked to identify and deport people who entered the country illegally, including Rohingya.

Mr Rijiju said India would deport all Rohingya refugees, including some 16,500 who have been registered by the UN refugee agency as refugees.


PA Media

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