Noting that around 40,000 Rohingyas had settled in India, including 16,000 who have received refugee documentation, top U.N. human rights official Zeid Ra‘ad al-Hussein said, ‘I deplore current measures in India to deport Rohingyas at a time of such violence against them in their country’.
Taking into account India’s obligations under international law, he added, “India cannot carry out collective expulsions, or return people to a place where they risk torture or other serious violations.”
Last year Zeid’s office issued a report, based on interviews with Rohingya who fled to Bangladesh after a previous military assault, which he said on Monday had “suggested a widespread or systematic attack against the community, possibly amounting to crimes against humanity”.
Communal tensions appeared to be rising across Myanmar on Monday after two weeks of violence in Rakhine state that have triggered an exodus of about 300,000 Rohingya Muslims, prompting the government to tighten security at Buddhist pagodas.
“We have received multiple reports and satellite imagery of security forces and local militia burning Rohingya villages, and consistent accounts of extrajudicial killings, including shooting fleeing civilians,” Zeid told the Geneva forum.
Just three days after Prime MInister Narendra Modi’s visit to Myanmar in which he refrained from condemning the ongoing persecution against Rohingya Muslims in the country, India voiced its concern over violence in Rakhine.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), in a statement issued on Saturday, said that India is “deeply concerned” about the situation in Rakhine.
The MEA urged Myanmar to handle the situation in the Rakhine state with "maturity and restraint".
The sudden shift in the Indian stand came just a day after Dhaka envoy met Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar demanding to put pressure on Myanmar government to end violence in Rakhine thus stop the flow of Rohingya refugees into Bangladesh.
Nearly 300,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmars Rakhine state since August 25 when the fresh wave of violence erupted.