TODAY -

Regarding Statement on Human Rights Situation in Manipur (India-Myanmar Borderland)
- 15th May 2024 : Civil Society Coalition for Human Rights in Manipur and the United Nations (CSCHR) -

*



The President/Secretary
International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)
Rue des Buis 3
P.O. Box 1740
1211 Geneva 1, Switzerland


Subject: Concerns Regarding Recent Statement on Human Rights Situation in Manipur (India-Myanmar Borderland)

Dear President,

We hope this letter finds you well. We, the Civil Society Coalition for Human Rights in Manipur and the United Nations (CSCHR), are writing to express our concerns regarding the recent statement issued by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) concerning the deportation of 77 Myanmarese immigrants from Manipur to Myanmar.

While we appreciate ICJ's acknowledgment and concern for the human rights situation in the Western Southeast Asian region (WESEA), particularly in Manipur (India) and Myanmar, we feel compelled to bring to your attention some discrepancies in the information presented in your recent statement.

It seems 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 that we have observed and worked with over the years.

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 neighboring countries. However, we have never observed any instances where competent agencies dealing with the matter have breached or violated fundamental principles of human rights protection.

For your information, 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 a desire to resettle in their native villages, and there were no lapses or intentions of forcible deportation.

Since the eruption of violent conflict in Myanmar, thousands of Myanmar nationals have fled their homes and entered the sovereign 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.

According to a survey conducted by a government-appointed cabinet sub-committee headed by Minister Letpao Haokip, upon arrival at the site of inquiry, 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.

Despite this, we have been urging the government to provide assistance for all immigrants and allow them to stay in the identified camps set up by the government until they are willing to return to their respective native places.

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.

For your reference, the following is the brief data regarding illegal immigrants detected in Kamjong District as of 07-05-2024:

o Total cumulative cases of detection of illegal migrants: 5457.
o Total biometrics captured of such detected cases: 5173.
o Total deported cases which were moved back voluntarily to Myanmar: 329.
o No FIR cases registered for any of the illegal immigrants to date.

The recent letter dated 9th May 2024, written to the Chief Minister by the concerned elected representative of the area, Mr. Leishiyo Keishing, has indicated 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 concerned MLA.

This phenomenon is not unique and rare, as many European countries are already experiencing such alarming situations due to immigrants. However, in Manipur, it is even more concerning 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 expansion 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.

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.

We are ready to extend necessary cooperation and coordinate with ICJ to uphold the principle of basic human rights and deliver justice to those who need it the most. However, we caution against drawing conclusions without thorough investigation.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to your response and continued collaboration in promoting human rights in our region.

Yours sincerely,
(Phulindro Konsam)
Convenor
Civil Society Coalition for Human Rights in Manipur and the United Nations
Imphal


* This info was provided to e-pao.net by Civil Society Coalition for Human Rights in Manipur and the United Nations (CSCHR)
This article was posted on 16 May 2024 .



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