10 January 2020
New Delhi: The United Nation's Special Rapporteur, on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, moved an intervention application before the Supreme Court in the matter connected with deportation of the Rohingya community from India.
Tendayi Achiume sought to assist the apex court by offering expertise on state parties' obligations under international law with regard to the prevention of racial discrimination against migrants, racial, ethnic and religious minorities, and populations otherwise perceived as "foreign".
"The submission seeks to bring the attention of the court to UN's findings on Myanmar's treatment of the Rohingya, including extensive evidence of crimes against humanity and the creation of more than a million refugees who are fleeing the certainty of death, rape, torture, cruel and inhuman treatment, and other forms of violence," said the application.
The rapporteur moved the top court in the matter of Mohd Salimullah v. Union of India, which challenges the government's order to conduct an en masse deportation of the Rohingya community from India.
The application cited Myanmar's treatment of the Rohingya ethno-religious minority, which represents a racially discriminatory, systematic project carried out with clear evidence of genocidal intent and it has been referred to by the UN as "a textbook example of ethnic cleansing".
The application said: "UN reports have confirmed that until Myanmar ceases these violations, the return of Rohingya to Myanmar will violate the principles of non-refoulement. Thus, the MHA's decision is incompatible with India's human rights obligations."
The application has also cited India's obligation under the international law. According to the counsel of applicant, the apex court has asked the Centre to examine this application.
The application said this case deals with the fundamental issue of India's obligations towards refugee protection, and applicant seeks to assist the top court through the expert opinion on India's human rights obligations to racial equality and non-discrimination in light of the international Conventions signed and ratified by India.
The Supreme Court said it will hear on March 18 the batch of petitions challenging the Centre's decision to deport illegal Rohingya Muslim immigrants to Myanmar. The top court is also seized of petitions which support the government's stand to deport over 40,000 Rohingyas.