Rohingya Refugees: Threat of Deportation In India


    The Rohingya and other Muslim minorities in Jammu and Kashmir face mass deportation as India begins crackdowns against refugees. In April 2022, India began withdrawing cases filed against members of the Rohingya community, so that they could be deported. Over 5,000 Rohingya currently reside in Jammu, after fleeing the genocide in Myanmar in 2017.

    Over the past few years, India has repeatedly arbitrarily detained Rohingya in Jammu, threatening to deport them back to Myanmar. Therefore, the Rohingya claim to face mass discrimination by the Hindu-majority Indian government. The government consider Rohingya as “parasites,” and “illegal,” and accuse them of being a threat to Indian national security. This threat of deportation by India violates international human rights law and threatens its relationship with neighbouring Bangladesh.

    Key Judgement 1: It is highly likely that India will violate international humanitarian law by mistreating Rohingya refugees in Jammu over the next 12 months.

    • In 2021, the Supreme Court of India rejected Rohingya refugees’ constitutional right to remain in India. As a result, the court called for their deportation.
    • Consequently, refugees were deported. However, the Chief Justice acknowledged that Rohingya who are deported back to Myanmar may “be slaughtered.” (source)
    • While India is not party to the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention and does not have federal legislation on refugee rights, it is a signatory to several other international conventions which includes statutes on non-refoulment, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. India must not remove a person from its borders who is at risk of irreparable harm. (source)

    Key Judgement 2: It is likely that India will threaten to deport and detain other religious minorities residing throughout the country over the next 12 months.

    • Amidst the rise of anti-Muslim policies and Hindu nationalism in India, the discrimination against the Rohingya raises concerns.
    • The rhetoric used by the Indian government to describe the Rohingya is similar to the language used to describe other Muslim minorities in the country. For example, pro-Hindutva government officials and groups have falsely blamed these minority groups for terrorist attacks. Similarly, they have accused minorities of conspiratorial criminal activity. (source)
    • India’s existing immigration policies include the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens. However, this legislation has instilled a fear of deportation in Muslim populations throughout the country who do not possess documentation. (source) (source)

    Key Judgement 3: It is likely that India’s treatment of the Rohingya will cause many to flee to Bangladesh, which may cause a point of contention between the two nations over the next 12 months.

    • In June 2022 alone, over 3,000 Rohingya refugees fled Jammu to Bangladesh. (source)
    • Bangladesh’s Home Minister has stated that he has “informed the Indian government about the development,” and in addition has directed border guards to forcefully “push” the refugees back to India. (source)
    • In addition, Bangladeshi authorities have repeatedly discussed the massive burden the large population of Rohingya refugees is causing on the country’s environment and resources. Therefore, as India’s hostile treatment of Rohingya causes an influx of refugees into Bangladesh, this may cause a strain on their relationship. (source)

    Intelligence Cut-Off Date: July 30, 2022

    Taylor Huson
    Taylor Huson
    Taylor is a graduate student obtaining a Master’s degree in Human Rights and Politics at the London School of Economics. She previously graduated with a Master’s degree in International Security from George Mason University and is interested in the intersection of military technology, global security, and human rights.

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