The Democratic Youth Federation of India has approached the Supreme Court, challenging the deportation of Rohingya children and demanding basic amenities for the Rohingya refugees in India.
The Petition contends that deportation of children would be violative of provisions of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989. It submits that the Convention mandates protection of a special class of children, which includes children from the minority, the disabled and refugees.
It, thereafter, submits, “Thus, Union of India is bound to treat all children, including those who do not belong to the Indian nationality, with all rights guaranteed under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989. Being signatory to the Convention, the State is bound to protect the children against all forms of discrimination.”
The Petition also alleges violation of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India, highlighting the fact that Tibetans, the Chakmas of Bangladesh, Afghans and ethnic Tamil from Sri Lanka have been given refuge in India. There is, therefore, no rationale in discriminating against Rohingyan refugees, it contends.
Moreover, it demands better facilities for the refugees, bringing to the notice of the Court the plight of the children in the refugee camps. It contends that they are not provided with any protection and are “subjected to various kinds of abuses, tortures, cruelties, diseases, violence, threats and anxieties”.
It further points out, “They have no access to adequate sources of food or other supplies. The children in the camps suffer from various kinds of diseases and are left without any proper medical aid. There are instances of Rohingyan children dying with snake bites and innumerable kinds of diseases. The shelters are not weather proof. The Central Government has failed to protect the Rohingyan children in the camps as mandated by Article 2 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989.”
It also relies on the ‘principle of refoulement’, which prohibits forcible return of refugees to a place where they face persecution or threats to their life or freedom. It, thereafter, submits, “Any decision supporting to deport the Rohingyan Refugees to death will be a deep ‘U turn’ without a comeback from the noble principles upheld through this decision. If the Union of India decides to deport these innocent Rohingyas who are persecuted elsewhere, we will be ‘exporting’ death with an everlasting guilty consciousness in the ‘Balance of Payment of International good will.”