Why United Nations cannot force India to change its stand on Rohingya deportation


Last week, Kiren Rijiju, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the Union, made clear India’s position on the deportation of Rohingyas Muslims.

“I want to tell the international organizations whether the Rohingyas are registered under the United Nations Human Rights Commission or not, they are illegal immigrants in India,” Rijiju said, adding that they are deported.

Rijiju’s comments came as Prime Minister Narendra Modi landed in Nay Pyi Taw, the capital of Myanmar, to begin his two-day visit to the country.

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed concern over violence in Rakhine state during his speech in Myanmar, India later called for “restraint” by the country’s government.

“India remains deeply concerned about the situation in Rakhine state in Myanmar and the exit of refugees from that region,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.


Today, a senior United Nations official, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, criticized India for taking steps to “deport the Rohingyas at a time of violence against them in their country.”

According to the UN office in Bangladesh, more than 3 lakh Rohingyas have fled Bangladesh from Myanmar since the outbreak of violence in Rakhine on 25 August.

In India, about 40,000 Rohingya Muslims remain illegally, while another 14,000 have been registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Most of these illegal immigrants Rohinya have settled in Jammu, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Hyderabad, Delhi-NCR and Rajasthan.

The Center has said that illegal immigrants such as Rohingyas pose serious security challenges, as they could be recruited by terrorist groups and targeted states to identify and then deport them.


As international organizations ask India not to deport Rohingyas, India can back up its position on deportation by declaring that it is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and has not signed its 1967 Protocol. A total of 148 countries have signed any of the two protocols that clarify the rights of refugees and help protect them.

As early as May of this year, India had not ratified the United Nations Convention against Torture despite being a signatory to the Convention in October 1997.

Article 3 of the Convention against Torture stipulates that “no Party shall expel, return or extradite another person to another State when there is a well-founded reason to believe that it would be in danger of being subjected to torture.”

It further states that “in order to determine whether such grounds exist, the competent authorities shall take into account all relevant considerations, including, where appropriate, the existence in the State concerned of a pattern of flagrant violations of rights.”

India, however, has yet to make a law on it to ratify the convention.