Monday, 24 July 2023
London, UK – The Burma Human Rights Network is alarmed by ongoing reports of traffickers moving Rohingya from Bangladesh to India. While far fewer Rohingya are trafficked to India than Malaysia and Indonesia, it remains an overlooked area of concern. India’s treatment of Rohingya and other refugees is also a serious concern, with refugees staging protests, including hunger strikes, inside Hiranagar Jail, Kathua, Jammu and Kashmir. Eight refugees were reportedly injured when authorities intervened to stop the peaceful protest.
BHRN calls on authorities in India to facilitate dialogue with Rohingya refugees and grant them full human rights. Refugees should be afforded the opportunity to work, go to school, and move freely. Furthermore, the international community should directly challenge the discriminatory policies of Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party.
“The Rohingya are shuffled like merchandise all over the world by callous traffickers taking advantage of their desperate situation. India should end the indefinite detention of the Rohingya and other refugees and uphold its commitment to international legal obligations,” said BHRN’s Executive Director, Kyaw Win.
Indian media is reporting an increase in Rohingya being trafficked into the country. The most recent arrest took place on 18 July, when Assam police arrested a man named Partha Sen in connection to the trafficking of 14 people, including four Rohingya. Rohingya trafficked from Bangladesh are frequently men looking for work or women trafficked for marriage because their families can’t afford a dowry.
Rohingya, Bangladeshis, and immigrants in India are frequently referred to as ‘intruders’ and shown contempt by the government and many of the nationalists within the country. Much of the animosity towards the Rohingya intersects with the country’s widespread Islamophobia. India has a history of poor treatment of Burmese refugees, detaining them in poor conditions, and has sent some back to Burma in violation of the principle of nonrefoulment. Since 2017 India has repeatedly sought to send the Rohingya back to Burma, despite the genocide against them and ongoing conflict in the country.
Political parties and media in India must address their use of incendiary language against migrant populations. Anti-Muslim rhetoric in India has created a deep division in the country, resulting in frequent targeted violence against minorities. The situation needs to be addressed and corrected for the sake of the Rohingya, minorities in India, and the country as a whole.
BHRN is based in London and operates across Burma/Myanmar working for human rights, minority rights and religious freedom in the country. BHRN has played a crucial role in advocating for human rights and religious freedom with politicians and world leaders.