18,000 Rohingyas currently living in India: UNHCR

18,000 Rohingyas currently living in India: UNHCR

Agency News

Geneva, Oct 7: There are about 18,000 Rohingya refugees and asylum-seekers, living in different locations, who have registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office in India, said an UN official.

Speaking on the recent deportation of seven ethnic Rohingya Muslims to Mayanmar, Andrej Mahecic-spokesperson for UNHCR told mediapersons at UN Office at Geneva. “[We] continue to seek clarification from the authorities on the circumstances under which these individuals were returned to Myanmar.”

UNHCR issues identity cards to the registered refugees and documents to asylum-seekers, which helps them prevent arbitrary arrests, detention and deportation. It works with the state legal services, authorities and a network of partners to provide legal support to persons of concern in detention in India.

The deportation of Rohingya refugees took place as the UN Secretary General Antonio Guteress was visiting India last week. Prior to their return, the men were moved from Silchar prison in Assam province, near the border with Bangladesh - where they had been in detention since 2012 - to the province of Manipur, bordering Myanmar.

“On learning of their detention and the planned return, and based on credible reports that the seven men are Rohingya, UNHCR requested the Indian authorities to grant access to this group, to assess their need for international refugee protection,” said Mahecic.

According to the UNHCR spokesperson, the UN agency did not receive a response to its request and was unable to secure access for a lawyer from a state legal service. (UNI)