Rohingya Conflict

Rohingya Conflict

ICJ ruling on RohingyasPriority 1


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : ICJ

Mains level : Rhohingya settlement issue


  • The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that Myanmar must take effective measures to protect its Rohingya Muslims, including protecting evidence relating to allegations of genocide.
  • It is important to note that these directions are “provisional measures” until the ICJ can finally decide if Myanmar has been committing genocide against the Rohingya. The final verdict could take years.

What is the case against Myanmar?

  • Last year, the Republic of the Gambia moved the ICJ against Myanmar over alleged violations of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
  • The Gambia urged the ICJ to direct Myanmar to stop the genocide, ensure that persons committing genocide are punished, and allow the “safe and dignified return of forcibly displaced Rohingya”.
  • The Gambia and Myanmar are parties to the Genocide Convention that allows a party to move the ICJ for violations.
  • Disputes between the Contracting Parties are settled according to Article 9 of the Genocide Convention.

How did Myanmar respond?

  • Myanmar asked the ICJ to remove the case from its list, citing lack of jurisdiction of the court.
  • Myanmar alleged that the proceedings before the court were instituted by the Gambia, not on its own behalf, but rather as a “proxy” and “on behalf of” the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
  • Gambia is a member of the OIC, which includes 53 Muslim-majority nations.
  • Myanmar cited the Gambia’s reliance on OIC documents to allege genocide and said the Gambia did not point to specific violations of the Genocide Convention.
  • The court refused to accept Myanmar’s argument and said the fact that the Gambia “may have sought and obtained the support of other States or international organizations in its endeavour” does not take away from its right to bring a case against Myanmar.

Does the ICJ ruling indict Myanmar?

  • Although a ruling against Myanmar dents its image internationally, the order of provisional measures does not translate into a finding against Myanmar.
  • While granting provisional measures, the court is not required to ascertain whether Myanmar violated the Genocide Convention.
  • The court found that it is sufficient at this stage “to establish prima facie the existence of a dispute between the Parties relating to the interpretation, application or fulfillment of the Genocide Convention”.
  • Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s personal appearance before the ICJ to lead the defence of the military, however, shows the great stakes her country had in the case.

Effects of non-compliance for Myanmar

  • For its part, Myanmar has denied that its military or paramilitary has participated in genocide of Rohingya and it is unlikely to alter its position.
  • Provisional measures are essentially a restraining order against a state when a case is pending and can be seen as, at most, a censure.
  • Provisional orders cannot be challenged and are binding upon the state.
  • However, limitations in enforcing decisions of the ICJ are widely acknowledged by law experts.

What are these limitations?

  • As per Article 94 of the Charter of the United Nations, all member states are required to comply with decisions of the ICJ.
  • However, any action by a state can be secured only through consent of the state in international law.
  • When a state fails to comply, the Security Council has the power to impose sanctions against it and ensure compliance when international security and peace are at stake.
  • So far, the Security Council has never taken a coercive measure against any country to get an ICJ ruling implemented.
  • Even with the stepping in of the Security Council, there are several hurdles in enforcement of ICJ decisions.
  • Any one of the five permanent members of the Security Council with veto powers can block the enforcement of an ICJ decision against itself or its ally.
Rohingya Conflict

[op-ed snap] Justice for the Rohingyaop-ed snap


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Rohingyas - Human Rights violations


Last week’s preliminary hearings at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) seeking guarantees of basic protection for Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims offer only symbolic hope to the community. 

Plight of Rohingyas

  • Camps – thousands of Rohingyas are forcibly exiled in refugee camps in Bangladesh. It is necessary to demand accountability from Yangon. 
  • OIC – Gambia, on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, brought the case pertaining to genocide in 2017 committed by the Myanmarese military. 
  • Armed Forces – The forces have insisted that their actions were in response to the armed insurgency by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army. 
  • UN highlights Human Rights – The UN and several rights groups have documented orchestrated incidents of torched villages, mass rape and other atrocities by the military, forcing over 700,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh.
  • Citizenship rights – Rohingya in Myanmar’s Rakhine state are particularly vulnerable due to the denial of citizenship and the reference by nationalist sections to them as illegal Bengali immigrants.
  • Suu Kyi – She asserted that the Army had acted proportionately in countering the rebels and accused Gambia of misrepresenting the situation.
  • Lack of testimony – the absence of an explicit reference to the Rohingya in her testimony is condemned. She has even been accused of choosing to argue the defence in person with an eye on the 2020 general election.


  • Not genocide – Lawyers representing Myanmar said that, though violent crimes were committed during the conflict, motives of genocide against the community could not be imputed against the authorities. 
  • The ICJ has handed down guilty verdicts in a few cases relating to crimes of genocide. It didn’t pin the blame directly upon states as in the 2007 ruling on the Bosnian war of the preceding decade.
  • Proof of genocide – The challenges of establishing conclusive proof of the intention to extirpate entire communities underlies this caution. 
  • The decision regarding genocide relating to the atrocities against the Rohingya is not expected immediately. 

Way ahead

The more urgent concern before the court is Gambia’s petition seeking an injunction that the violence against the community cease forthwith and the government guarantee immediate protection.

Rohingya Conflict

[op-ed snap] Wrong on the Rohingyaop-ed snap


Mains Paper 2: International relations| Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Basic knowledge of Rohingya refugee issue.

Mains level: The news-card analyses the issues with India’s refugee law w.r.t recent deportation of a group of Rohingya refugees, in a brief manner.


  • In January, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) called for a report from India on the deportation of a group of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar in October 2018.
  • India’s repatriation of the refugees contravenes international principles on refugee law as well as domestic constitutional rights.


  • Refugee law is a part of international human rights law.
  • In order to address the problem of mass inter-state influx of refugees, a Conference of Plenipotentiaries of the UN adopted the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees in 1951.
  • This was followed by the Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees in 1967.

Principle of non-refoulement

  • One of the most significant features of the Convention is the principle of non-refoulement.
  • The norm requires that “no contracting State shall expel or return a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.”
  • This idea of prohibition of expulsion lies at the heart of refugee protection in international law.

Non-refoulement principle binding on all States including India

  • It is often argued that the principle does not bind India since it is a party to neither the 1951 Convention nor the Protocol.
  • However, the prohibition of non-refoulement of refugees constitutes a norm of customary international law, which binds even non-parties to the Convention.
  • According to the Advisory Opinion on the Extraterritorial Application of Non-Refoulement Obligations, UNHCR, 2007, the principle “is binding on all States, including those which have not yet become party to the 1951 Convention and/or its 1967 Protocol.”

Constitution imposes an obligation on the state to respect international laws

  • Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides that everyone has the right to seek and enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
  • Moreover, Article 51 of the Constitution imposes an obligation on the state to endeavour to promote international peace and security.
  • Article 51(c) talks about promotion of respect for international law and treaty obligations.
  • Therefore, the Constitution conceives of incorporation of international law into the domestic realm.
  • Thus the argument that the nation has not violated international obligations during the deportation is a mistaken one.

Domestic obligations

  • The chapter on fundamental rights in the Constitution differentiates citizens from persons.
  • While all rights are available to citizens, persons including foreign citizens are entitled to the right to equality and the right to life, among others.
  • The Rohingya refugees, while under the jurisdiction of the national government, cannot be deprived of the right to life and personal liberty.

Rohingya: world’s most persecuted people

  • The Rohingya are “among the world’s least wanted and most persecuted people,” according to a BBC report.
  • In Myanmar, they are denied citizenship, the right to own land and travel, or to even marry without permission, says the report.
  • According to the UN, the Rohingya issue is one of systematic and widespread ethnic cleansing by Myanmar.
  • Therefore, the discrimination that the Rohingya face is unparalleled in contemporary world politics.

State is bound to protect the life and liberty of every human-being

  • In National Human Rights Commission v. State of Arunachal Pradesh (1996), the Supreme Court held: “Our Constitution confers… rights on every human being and certain other rights on citizens.
  • Every person is entitled to equality before the law and equal protection of the laws.
  • So also, no person can be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.
  • Thus the State is bound to protect the life and liberty of every human-being, be he a citizen or otherwise…”

India lacks a specific legislation for refugees

  • India lacks a specific legislation to address the problem of refugees, in spite of their increasing inflow.
  • The Foreigners Act, 1946, fails to address the peculiar problems faced by refugees as a class.
  • It also gives unbridled power to the Central government to deport any foreign citizen.
  • Further, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill of 2019 strikingly excludes Muslims from its purview and seeks to provide citizenship only to Hindu, Christian, Jain, Parsi, Sikh and Buddhist immigrants persecuted in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
  • The majority of the Rohingya are Muslims.
  • This limitation on the basis of religion fails to stand the test of equality under Article 14 of the Constitution and offends secularism, a basic feature of the Constitution.


  • The deportation of refugees by India is not only unlawful but breaches a significant moral obligation.
Rohingya Conflict

India hands over first 50 houses built for Rohingya refugees in MyanmarPriority 1


Mains Paper 2: IR | India & its neighborhood- relations

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: Need for immediate repatriation of Rohingyas


  • India has handed over to Myanmar the first 50 houses built by the country for the displaced minority Rohingya Muslims in the restive Rakhine province.

Concerns for India

  1. Illegal Rohingya immigrants are staying mostly in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Telangana, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam, Karnataka and Kerala.
  2. There is no accurate data regarding the number of such migrants living in the country.
  3. Moreover they have fraudulently obtained Indian identity documents like Aadhaar card, PAN card and even passports.

Measures for Repatriation

  1. India is building 250 houses in Rakhine province as part of a developmental project.
  2. The housing units were handed over during the President’s held delegation-level talks and decided to step up bilateral ties.
  3. India signed a development programme for Rakhine State in Myanmar late last year which was designed to assist the Myanmar government in Rakhine State to build housing infrastructure for displaced persons.
  4. This move was appreciated not just by the government of Myanmar but also by the United Nations and other agencies.
Rohingya Conflict

[op-ed snap] Myanmar and the limits of pan-Islamismop-ed snap


Mains Paper 2: IR | Effect of policies & politics of developed & developing countries on India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Role of the west in global muslim solidarity


Rohingya crisis

  1. Since Myanmar’s latest bout of violence against the Rohingya began in 2012, there has been a slow uptick of outrage in the Muslim world
  2. Once international observers described what was happening there as an ethnic cleansing, the Muslim concern became more vocal than protests in Europe or the U.S.
  3. Bangladesh, Turkey, Malaysia, Indonesia and Pakistan have been at the forefront of international demands to stop the flight of refugees from Myanmar and alleviate their suffering

Reasons for Rohingya support

  1. There are a number of causes, from the humanitarian, political and economic emergency created by the influx of refugees among Myanmar’s neighbours, to growing Muslim protests around the world at the treatment of the Rohingya
  2. The Rohingya cause represents the return of states to leadership roles within the Muslim world, and it has made Islamic unity possible for the first time since the sectarian bloodletting of the Syrian war
  3. All over the world, bar Afghanistan and Somalia, states are triumphing over their religious critics to champion Islamic causes long held by the latter

Muslim victimisation

  1. Non-state groups had been among the first to promote a narrative of Muslim victimisation
  2. Jihadis, as well as liberals, drew up a familiar humanitarian repertoire in which suffering demands an immediate and therefore violent response
  3. Humanitarianism today is premised upon a distrust of politics, which is blamed for every crisis humanitarians seek to resolve
  4. And it is the humanitarian or anti-political character of Muslim outrage that has allowed states such as Bangladesh and Turkey to appropriate it, just as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State had done before them for very different reasons

Differentiated response based on western imperialism

  1. The narrative of Muslim victimisation is arbitrary in its application
  2. Palestinians, Bosnians and now the Rohingya might enjoy global attention as victims of this kind, but not Uighurs, Somalis, Yemenis or Chechens
  3. Only a crisis that can be attributed to western imperialism, or Zionism understood as its surrogate, is a candidate for global Muslim solidarity
  4. Muslim outrage over the persecution of the Rohingya follows a familiar script

How does the west interfere?

  1. All global mobilisations, whether prompted by the victimisation of fellow believers or Islam itself in alleged insults to its prophet, these demonstrations of solidarity are midwifed in the West
  2. It is only books, cartoons, speeches or desecrations in Europe and America that give rise to Muslim protests globally, with similar publications or events in other places possessing merely local significance
  3. Similarly, it is only those wars and humanitarian crises receiving either positive or negative attention in the West that end up as Muslim causes worldwide

Way forward

  1. Global forms of Muslim solidarity are not only prompted by calls for humanitarian relief in the West but also favour the kind of military intervention whose deployment by western powers Muslims otherwise criticise
  2. The paradox of Muslim solidarity is that its global character remains dependent on the West conceptually as well as politically, even and especially when it is explicitly anti-western in form
Rohingya Conflict

[op-ed snap] The Rohingya Reversalop-ed snap


Mains Paper 2: Governance | mechanisms, laws, institutions & Bodies constituted for the protection & betterment of these vulnerable sections

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: UNHCR

Mains level: Rohingya migrant issue and India’s measures to deal with it


Deportation of Rohingya refugees

  1. At the annual session of the executive committee of the UNHCR held in Geneva, India stated, “We are a responsible state with a functional democracy and rule of law”
  2. On the same day, seven Rohingya men were being taken to the Indo-Myanmar border for a scheduled deportation
  3. Ironically, they had no access to legal counsel, courts or the UNHCR, which is mandated by the government to conduct refugee status determination of Myanmar nationals
  4. The men had entered Assam in 2012 without documentation and were prosecuted for illegal entry under the Foreigners Act

NHRC v. State of Arunachal

  1. In NHRC v. State of Arunachal, the Court extended protection under Article 14 and 21 to refugees
  2. Further, various high courts have upheld the customary international law principle of non-refoulement in deportation cases and have referred the detainees to UNHCR
  3. In view of these principles, the deportation of Rohingya refugees is in contravention of India’s obligations both under the Constitution and international law

Why deportation is illegal?

  1. With regard to the argument that the men were “illegal immigrants”, it should be noted that, given the circumstances that cause them to flee, refugees often cross borders without prior planning or valid documentation
  2. If anything, this should reinforce their status as “refugees”
  3. In the present case, given the overwhelming evidence to show that the Rohingya deported to Myanmar are at risk of being tortured, indefinitely detained and even killed, the deportation potentially violates Article 21, and India’s international obligations

Plight of Rohingyas

  1. Refugees frequently, though not always, are citizens of the state they are fleeing from
  2. The root of the plight of the Rohingya is the denial of citizenship
  3. In Myanmar, they are being issued the controversial National Verification Card which does not recognise their religion or ethnicity — and definitely does not confer citizenship

Way forward

  1. In the absence of a domestic law for refugee protection, it has been up to the judiciary to extend minimum constitutional protection to refugees
  2. By allowing this deportation, the SC has set a new precedent that is contrary to India’s core constitutional tenets
  3. By this verdict, the judiciary has stepped back from its own principles
Rohingya Conflict

U.N. agrees first-ever global compact for migrationIOCRPriority 1


Mains Paper 2: IR | Important International institutions, agencies & fora, their structure, mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the compact

Mains level: Problem of illegal migration


“Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration” is underway

  1. For the first time ever, United Nations member states, except the U.S., have agreed on a deal to better manage international migration, address its challenges, strengthen migrant rights and contribute to sustainable development.
  2. The agreement will be formally adopted by world leaders in Morocco in December 2018.
  3. It held more than a year of discussions and consultations among member states, local officials, civil society and migrants themselves.
  4. It does not encourage migration, nor does it aim to stop it. It is not legally binding.
  5. This comprehensive framework comprises a range of objectives, actions and avenues for implementation, follow-up and review, all aimed at facilitating safe, orderly and regular migration while reducing the incidence and impact of irregular migration.

The new horizon of multilateralism

  1. It reflects the shared understanding by governments that cross-border migration is an international phenomenon and that effective management of this global reality requires international cooperation to enhance its positive impact for all.
  2. It also recognises that every individual has the right to safety, dignity and protection.
  3. It does not dictate. And it fully respects the sovereignty of States.
  4. This compact demonstrates our ability to come together on issues that demand global collaboration, however complicated and contentious they may be.
  5. The implementation of the Compact will bring safety, order and economic progress to everyone’s benefit.
Rohingya Conflict

[op-ed snap] The imperative to offer refugeop-ed snapPriority 1


Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Various declarations for protecting refugees mentioned in the newscard

Mains level: The newscard emphasizes the need to codify a bill for Asylum Seekers in the ambit of global Compact on Refugees.


India over the ‘Refuge culture’

  1. India is host to over 200,000 refugees like her who have been forced to flee conflict and persecution in their home countries.
  2. On World Refugee Day (June 20), there is a need to reassess India’s approach to refugee protection, particularly in light of the regional refugee crisis after the mass exodus of the Rohingya from Myanmar.
  3. Traditionally, India has hosted several persecuted groups such as Tibetans and Sri Lankans.
  4. While it is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention and has no domestic asylum law, it has reiterated its commitment towards the protection of refugees at various international fora, including the UN General Assembly.
  5. One of the most significant affirmations of this commitment was demonstrated by India becoming a signatory to the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, which was adopted by 193 countries in September 2016.

Indian context

  1. India iterates that protecting refugees and supporting the countries that shelter them are shared international responsibilities that must be borne more equitably.
  2. Although India has hosted refugees of varying nationalities for decades, the country has done little beyond providing asylum. There have been some attempts to introduce a refugee law in the country, the latest being the Asylum Bill 2015, introduced as a private member’s bill by Shashi Tharoor.
  3. Given that most refugees have been unable to return to their countries, leading to protracted refugee situations, there is an urgent need for the government to develop a uniform framework for their management during their stay in India.

The global move to handle Refugees – the GCR

  1. The NY Declaration sets the stage for a new framework for refugee protection — the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR).
  2. The Compact is a coordinated effort to strengthen international response to protracted refugee situations and comprehensively addresses all stages of refugee protection, from reception to long-term solutions.
  3. Two of its key objectives are to ease pressures on host countries and enhance refugee self-reliance.
  4. The GCR recognises that certain refugee situations can last for decades and acknowledges that the burden is borne largely by developing countries, that now host over 80% of the refugee population in the world.
  5. It also seeks to establish forums to enable expertise-sharing to promote economic opportunities, decent work and job creation not just for refugees but also for the host community.

UNHCR to intervene

  1. Since the Declaration was adopted, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has been engaging with member states, UN bodies, and non-governmental organizations to develop a plan for its practical implementation.
  2. This will be finalized by the end of 2018.

Problems faced by Refugees

  1. Due to their unclear legal status and lack of uniform documentation, refugees have limited access to essential services and almost no avenues for livelihood.
  2. While some refugees have been able to generate income by working in the informal sector, many of them are at the mercy of touts and traffickers even within their own community.
  3. At best, they are forced to rely on income from odd jobs which is an unsustainable livelihood option that often leaves them exposed to exploitation.

Solutions for Refugees Problem

  1. The solution to this may lie within the GCR, which calls for States to identify gaps and opportunities for employment and income generation for refugees in a bid to enhance their self-reliance.
  2. Moreover, it specifies the need to include the host community in enabling mapping skills, vocational training and capacity-building among refugee populations, thereby fostering understanding and cooperation among the communities and paving the way for a socially cohesive approach.

Way Forward

  1. India’s commitment to refugee protection under the GCR is evident in its active participation in ongoing GCR consultations, where it has emphasized the need for a clear mechanism for the refugee response regime.
  2. Therefore this is an opportune time for India to reassess the need for a national asylum policy which is compliant with the principles laid down in the GCR.
  3. This will not only re-establish India’s place as a democratic regional power committed to core humanitarian principles but will also provide refugees such as Nargis a chance to give back to the country that has adopted her.
Rohingya Conflict

[op-ed snap] The crimes of a few condemn the fate of manyop-ed snap


Mains Paper 2: IR | India and its neighborhood- relations.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Rohingya Crisis, Rakhine Province and adjacent areas sharing boundary

Mains level: India-Myanmar relations


Amnesty International to intervene

  1. Amnesty International (AI) released a briefing that revealed that a Rohingya armed group had committed serious human rights abuses by Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) in northern Rakhine State in Myanmar.
  2. As a movement that campaigns to end human rights abuses against all people, AI aims to uncover all cases of human rights violations without bias, regardless of who the perpetrators are and where the violations are committed.
  3. The earlier briefing follows AI’s earlier reports documenting military attacks on the Rohingya that led to more than 693,000 people fleeing from their homes to other countries.

It’s about people

  1. We should be calling for better protection for survivors fleeing persecution in accordance with international human rights law. We should be calling for justice, truth and reparation for victims and their families.
  2. Nations should call for unfettered access to the northern Rakhine State for independent investigators.
  3. The debate has deteriorated to unfairly and unreasonably attributing the condemnable actions of the some to all Rohingya people.

Rohingyas in India

  1. The Rohingya have been labelled as “illegal immigrants” — even those recognised as refugees by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in India.
  2. In fact, in August last year, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs proposed return to Myanmar all the 40,000 Rohingya refugees in India. The Ministry claimed that the Rohingya are a threat to national security.

No attempt for alternatives by Myanmar

  1. There have been no attempts to consider alternative measures to distinguish people who actually pose a threat from people in dire need of protection.
  2. The mass expulsion of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar would be an abject dereliction of India’s obligations under international law.
  3. In the past, AI India has advocated that the most effective way for the Indian government to address security concerns is to conduct fair and efficient refugee determination proceedings.

A straightforward solution by Amnesty

  1. The UN Refugee Convention provides a straightforward solution to deal with the potential security concerns involving asylum seekers.
  2. Article 1F of the Convention excludes protection for those involved in serious crimes.
  3. Therefore, if India acceded to the Refugee Convention, it would be able to effectively assess Rohingya asylum applications and deny protection to those who might fall under Article 1F exceptions, such as members of ARSA who participated in the August 2017 violence.

The Way Forward

  1. Indian authorities have outsourced refugee status determination to the UNHCR, which follows a rigorous process.
  2. However, this is largely meaningless as India refuses to officially recognise Rohingya people identified as refugees by the UNHCR.
  3. These people are left in a state of limbo with neither the UNHCR nor the Indian government providing them effective protection.
  4. Even though India is not a party to the Refugee Convention, it has always had a longstanding tradition of providing shelter to those seeking protection.
Rohingya Conflict

Rohingya issue of great magnitude, state has big role: Supreme Court

Image source


Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Role of external state & non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Rohingyas, their origin country

Mains level: Rising problem of illegal migrants and solutions to it


SC view on Rohingya issue

  1. The Supreme Court said that the Rohingya refugee problem was of a “great magnitude”
  2. The state would have to play a “big role” in striking a balance between national interests and human rights while dealing with the contentious issue
  3. During the hearing, the bench observed that aspects of national security, economic interests, labour interests as also protection of children, women, sick and innocent persons would come up while dealing with the matter
  4. The bench said there cannot be an “iota of doubt” that humanitarian issue is involved, but it also has to keep in mind the national interest
  5. The top court also said that “constitutional ethos makes us lean sympathetically towards humanitarian issues.”
  6. The role of the state in such a situation has to be multipronged

Rohingyas in India

  1. The Rohingyas, who fled to India after violence in the Western Rakhine State of Myanmar, have settled in Jammu, Hyderabad, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi-NCR and Rajasthan

Rohingyas to be deported

  1. Government has decided to deport Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar
  2. In a communication to all states, the union home ministry had said the rise of terrorism in last few decades has become a serious concern for most nations as illegal migrants are prone to get recruited by terrorist organizations
  3. It had directed the state governments to set up a task force at district level to identify and deport illegally- staying foreign nationals
  4. The apex court has decided to give a detailed and “holistic hearing” from November 21 on the government’s decision

SC suggestion to government on deporting Rohingyas

  1. A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra suggested to the Centre not to deport the Rohingya refugees
  2. Additional Solicitor General (ASG) requested to court that it should not be written in the order as anything coming on record would have international ramifications


Rohingya Conflict

On Rohingya refugees’ return, Home Ministry says one thing but MEA said another

Image result for Rohingya refugee crisis

Image source


Mains Paper 2: IR | India and its neighborhood- relations.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: Rohingya refugee crisis



  • Two Rohingya refugees who have challenged the government’s proposed move to deport them

View of Ministry of Home Affairs

  1. Ministry of Home Affairs informed the Supreme Court that the principle of non-refoulement  was not binding on it since India had not signed the 1951 Refugee Convention.
  2. MHA said though India was a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, its scope did not extend to non-refoulement.

View of Ministry of External Affairs

  1. Contrary to the government stand in court, India took a strong position in favour of non-refoulement this year, at an international meet in Geneva convened by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  2. The states agreed that protecting those who are forced to flee and supporting the countries that shelter them are shared international responsibilities, to be borne “more equitably and predictably”.
  3. The UNHCR says it covers all refugees, including those those who flee individual persecution, as well as those fleeing armed conflict or violence associated with one or more of the above-noted grounds.


Principle of Non-refoulement

  1. It is a fundamental principle of international law which forbids a country receiving asylum seekers from returning them to a country in which they would be in likely danger of persecution based on “race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion”
  2. Unlike political asylum, which applies to those who can prove a well-grounded fear of persecution based on certain category of persons, non-refoulement refers to the generic repatriation of people, including refugees into war zones and other disaster locales.

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

  1. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights was adopted by the UNGA in 1966.
  2. It guarantees fundamental freedoms including the right to self-determination and free and regular elections.
  3. China is also a signatory but it has never been ratified.
  4. However, though ICCPR is just a treaty for other countries, it is binding in Hong Kong due to the special nature and circumstances surrounding the province
Rohingya Conflict

[op-ed snap] Rohingya Muslims being persecutedop-ed snap

  1. Background: Humanitarian crisis in Myanmar after the military crackdown on “Islamist jihadists” in the Rakhine State, home to more than one million Rohingya Muslims
  2. A new wave of migration of Rohingyas to neighbouring countries has begun since then
  3. How: Army denies targeting civilians, but satellite images taken after the start of the crackdown indicate that hundreds of buildings were burnt down
  4. Reports suggest that those who tried to flee the country were shot dead
  5. The migrants are not welcome in Myanmar’s neighbourhood either
  6. Why: Many in the Buddhist-majority country call Rohingyas illegal immigrants from Bangladesh though they have been living in Rakhine for generations
  7. The operation in Rakhine shows the change of government hasn’t brought any meaningful difference to Myanmar’s most disadvantaged sections
  8. The army still remains a powerful institution. It controls the security, defence and border ministries besides wielding considerable economic power
Rohingya Conflict

Bangladesh seeks peaceful solution to Rohingya crisis

  1. What: Bangladesh has expressed “great concern” over the ongoing crisis in Myanmar’s Rakhine State
  2. Reason: A military operation against “Islamist jihadists” has triggered a humanitarian emergency
  3. Bangladesh’s has handed a formal letter to Myanmar asking the authorities to intervene so that the Rohingya Muslims fleeing the conflict-zone can return to their homes
  4. Tension has been rife on the Myanmar-Bangladesh border
  5. Militants allegedly linked to Aqa Mul Mujahidin group launched attacks on Myanmar’s border police and the army
  6. The Myanmar Army has since been conducting operations in Rakhine, home for the country’s over a million Rohingya people
  7. The UNHCR on Nov 18 urged Bangladesh to keep its border with Myanmar open for the Rohingyas
Rohingya Conflict

MHA to hold meet on Rohingya Muslims

  1. Meeting will be attended by the Principal Secretaries (Home) of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Assam, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.
  2. According to MHA estimates, over one lakh Rohingya Muslims have settled in these States.
  3. There are reports suggesting that radical groups may make an attempt to recruit some members of the community, which is a cause of concern.
Rohingya Conflict

Rohingya refugees: The identity crisis

  1. Rohingya came to Myanmar in the 19th century when the British ruled all of what is now India, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
  2. In 1982, the Rohingya were stripped of their citizenship by the government of Myanmar.
  3. They are Muslim people who live in northern Rakhine (Arakan) of Myanmar & are one of the most persecuted minority groups.
Rohingya Conflict

Up to 6,000 Rohingya, Bangladeshi migrants stranded

  1. Attacks on members of the religious minority, have in the past 3 years left up to 280 people dead and forced 140,000 others from their homes.
  2. Around 800,000 Muslim Rohingyas live in Burma with around 80% living in the western state of Rakhine.
  3. Most of them have been denied citizenship by the Burmese government.
  4. The United Nations consider the Rohingya one of the world’s most persecuted minorities.
Rohingya Conflict

What is the Rohingya conflict?

  1. Rohingyas are the muslim people who live in the state of Rakhine (Arakan) in western Myanmar.
  2. According to the UN, they are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.
  3. The Rohingya conflict is one of the longest conflicts between the majority Buddhist Burmese and the minority Muslims in Myanmar.

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