“Myanmar refugees” can approach UNHCR: Manipur HC

What is the News?

Seven Myanmar nationals entered illegally and stayed in Manipur. They demanded a safe passage to New Delhi to get protection from United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR). Recently the Manipur High Court has allowed them to seek protection from the UNHCR in New Delhi.

About Myanmar refugees and the recent case

  • After a military coup in Myanmar, the country is facing many challenges. There are many Myanmar citizens who started fleeing their country. Of them, seven Myanmar citizens fled from Myanmar and entered India illegally.
  • The Centre has directed authorities in North-Eastern states to check the flow of “illegal migrants” coming from Myanmar.
  • Recently, a petition was filed in the Manipur High Court. The petition stated that the central government directions failed to differentiate between a migrant and a refugee.
  • Hence, the petitioner requested the court to allow the safe passage for seven Myanmar Citizens to approach the UNHCR at New Delhi for protection.
  • Recently the Manipur High Court permitted the safe passage of these 7 Myanmar citizens.

Court observation on Myanmar refugees

  • Firstly, the court said that the Myanmarese individuals in question are not ‘migrants’ as normally understood. Instead, the Manipur HC mention them as ‘asylum seekers.
  • Secondly, India is not a party to the UN Refugee Conventions said the court. However, India is a party to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966.
  • Thirdly, apart from that, certain protections are guaranteed under Articles 14 and 21 of India’s Constitution that is applicable to foreigners also.
  • Fourthly, protections under Article 21 (right to life and personal liberty) of the Indian Constitution will also include the right of non-refoulement for asylum seekers. This was interpreted by the Supreme Court in several of its judgements.
    • Non-refoulement: It is the cornerstone of the 1951 Refugee Convention is the principle of non-refoulement. According to this principle, a refugee cannot return to a country where he or she faces serious threats to his or her life or freedom.
  • Hence, the court has allowed the Myanmar nationals to travel to New Delhi to seek protection from the UNHCR.

Source: The Hindu

Print Friendly and PDF