India deported seven Rohingya men to Myanmar on Thursday, despite warnings from the UN that sending the men back to Rakhine State could endanger the men.
The men had been held in an Indian prison since 2012 for illegal entry. They had reportedly fled persecution and violence in Myanmar.
“The Indian government has an international legal obligation to fully acknowledge the institutionalized discrimination, persecution, hate, and gross human rights violations these people have faced in their country of origin and provide them the necessary protection,” the UN’s Special Rapporteur on racism, Tendayi Achiume, said in a statement.
UN agencies have also said that conditions in Rakhine State are not conducive to the safe, dignified, and sustainable return of the Rohingya. Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh overwhelmingly refuse to return to Myanmar until they receive guarantees of security and citizenship.
Indian authorities, however, have been treating the country’s 40,000 Rohingya refugees as a security threat. The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered them deported last year.
On the day they were scheduled to be deported, India’s Supreme Court agreed to consider a petition to cancel their deportation, but the court ultimately rejected the petition, and the men were ultimately deported through the Moreh border gate and handed over to Myanmar authorities.
John Quinley III, a human rights specialist for Fortify Rights, said: “Rohingya in Myanmar have faced mass atrocities which amount to crimes against humanity and genocide. Rohingya need protection more than ever. Governments should ensure genocide survivors are granted protection, safety, and respect.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government should urgently protect Rohingya refugees and put an end to all forcible deportations of Rohingya to Myanmar.”