TODAY -

Repatriation done according to immigrants' choice, asserts CSCHR
Rights body sets record straight
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, May 15 2024: The Civil Society Coalition for Human Rights in Manipur and the United Nations has categorically stated that the recent repatriation of 77 Myanmar Nationals was done in accordance to their choice.

Responding to the concerns raised by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) on the human rights situation in Manipur (Indo-Myanmar borderland), the CSCHR wrote a letter to the ICJ today.

It said that the ICJ's conclusions on the issue of illegal immigration, and periodic exodus from Myanmar to Manipur may be based on misinformed or unauthenticated sources, as they do not align with the ground reality.

"We, as a group within CSCHR comprising organizations working under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) for several decades, have been closely monitoring and addressing the issue of immigration due to instability in our neighbouring countries.

However, we have never observed any instance where competent agencies dealing with the matter have breached or violated fundamental principles of human rights protection", it said.

The recent repatriation of 77 Myanmar Nationals was conducted by the district administrations on both sides of the border, and it was their own choice to return to their respective villages as the situation in the area returned to normal.

They expressed desire to resettle in their native villages, and there were no lapses or intentions of forcible deportation, the CSCHR clarified.

Since the eruption of violent conflict in Myanmar, thousands of Myanmar Nationals have fled their homes and entered territory of India in Manipur and Mizoram sectors since 2021.Initiatives have been taken by the Government to identify them, and several shelter homes have been built as temporary shelters.

However, the majority of the immigrants or refugees have shown reluctance to stay in these camps and have opted to build permanent cottages in the area illegally, it said.

According to a survey conducted by a Government-appointed Cabinet sub-committee headed by Tribal Affairs Minister Letpao Haokip, the majority of the immigrants or refugees protested against staying in the shelter camps and instead began building permanent cottages inside the Gamphajol areas, planning to settle permanently without undergoing any due citizenship processes under established law, it pointed out.

In spite of this, to date there have been no instances of forcibly deporting any of the refugees or immigrants who entered Indian territory, and neither the Government nor civil society organizations have any intention of mistreating these unfortunate people who fled their homes to save their lives, said the letter.

Till May 7, 2024, 5457 illegal migrants have been detected in Kamjong district and there have been 329 cases of repatriation to Myanmar voluntarily.

No FIR cases were registered against any of the illegal immigrants Elected representative of the area, Leishiyo Keishing wrote a letter to the Chief Minister on May 9, 2024 highlighting an alarming situation with deep concern over the increase in criminal activities, where local law enforcement agencies are finding it difficult to apprehend and control the situation.

The immigrant population has outnumbered the local indigenous inhabitants in the said area, as reported by the MLA concerned.

The situation is indeed alarming as the immigrant population has been continuously engaging in various serious illegal activities such as illicit drug and small arms trafficking from across the border, massive opium poppy cultivation in encroached immigrant population infiltrated areas, massive deforestation, and the establishment of 996 illegal villages solely by the immigrant population.

Additionally, immigrant armed groups have been involved in the recent violence since May 3, 2023, putting the indigenous population of the region in jeopardy, the CSCHR's letter asserted.

"We appreciate ICJ's concern for the people who have been suffering under the guise of political instability and geopolitical interests in the region.

However, we urge ICJ to ensure that any future statements or actions are based on accurate information and a comprehensive understanding of the situation on the ground", added the rights body.


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