TODAY -

ICJ misled on human rights situation: CSCHR
Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, May 26 2024: The Civil Society Coalition for Human Rights in Manipur and the United Nations (CSCHR) has submitted a letter to the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), expressing concern over the latter's recent statement regarding the deportation of 77 Myanmarese immigrants from Manipur to Myanmar.

The letter, dated May 15, and signed by CSCHR convenor Phulindro Konsam, also clarified discrepancies and provided more accurate account of the situation on the India-Myanmar border.

In the letter addressed to the President of ICJ, CSCHR acknowledged ICJ's con-cern for human rights in the Western Southeast Asian region (WESEA), specifically in Manipur and Myanmar.

However, CSCHR argued that the conclusions drawn by ICJ regarding illegal immigration and the periodic exodus from Myanmar to Manipur may be based on "misinformed or unauthenticated sources" .

The letter said that CSCHR, comprising organisations working under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), has been closely monitoring immigration due to regional instability.

Asserting that they have not observed any human rights violations by the agencies handling these matters, the latter stated: "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" .

The letter emphasised that these individuals expressed a desire to resettle in their native villages, and there were no instances of forcible deportation.

Additionally, government initiatives include construction of temporary shelter homes for immigrants, although many have chosen to build permanent cottages illegally.

A government-appointed cabinet sub-committee, headed by minister Letpao Haokip, found that many immigrants protested staying in designated shelter camps and instead built permanent structures in areas like Gamphajol.

Despite these challenges, CSCHR has urged the government to continue providing assistance and allow immigrants to stay in identified camps until they can return home voluntarily.

CSCHR also provided specific data to support their claims which include detection of 5457 illegal immigrants, biometrics captured for 5173 illegal immigrants, deportation of 329 illegal immigrants (voluntarily returned to Myanmar), and no FIR cases registered against illegal immigrants to date.

It also quoted a letter dated May 9, 2024, from local MLA Leishiyo Keishing to the chief minister highlighting a deeply concerning rise in criminal activities.

The MLA reported that local law enforcement agencies are struggling to control the situation along with pointing out that the immigrant population in the area is in excess of the local indigenous inhabitants, further complicating law enforcement efforts.

This phenomenon is neither unique nor rare, as many European countries are also facing similar alarming situations due to immigration.

However, in Manipur, the situation is particularly concerning.

The immigrant population has been continually involved in serious illegal activities, including illicit drug and small arms trafficking across the border, extensive opium poppy cultivation in areas they have encroached upon, massive deforestation, and the expansion of 996 illegal villages.

Additionally, since May 3, 2023, immigrant armed groups have been implicated in ongoing violence, putting the indigenous population of the region in jeopardy, elaborated the letter.

While appreciating ICJ's concern for those suffering due to political instability and geopolitical interests, CSCHR urged ICJ to base future statements on accurate information and a comprehensive understanding of the ground reality.

The coalition also expressed readiness to cooperate with ICJ to uphold human rights and deliver justice, but cautioned against conclusions drawn without thorough investigation.

In conclusion, CSCHR called for continued collaboration with ICJ in promoting human rights in the region and emphasised the importance of basing actions and statements on verified information.

The coalition looks forward to ICJ's response and hopes for ongoing support in addressing human rights concerns in Manipur and the broader WESEA region, it conveyed.


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