In a press statement issued by its convenor Phulindro Konsam, CSCHR said, “The protection of right to life under article 21 of the Constitution of India is not confined only to the Indian citizens; but it is also available to ‘all persons’.”
Taking strong objection to March 26 directive by Secretary Home of Government of Manipur forbidding the district administration of border districts and even CSOs from opening any camp to provide shelter and food to the Myanmar nationals, the Civil Society Coalition for Human rights in Manipur and the United Nations (CSCHR) said India has moral, constitutional and human right obligation to protect those who are trying to enter/seek refuge in Manipur as a fall out of the events taking place in the neighbouring country.
In a press statement issued by its convenor Phulindro Konsam, CSCHR said, “The protection of right to life under article 21 of the Constitution of India is not confined only to the lndian citizens; but it is also available to ‘all persons’.” In a catena of judgements passed by the Supreme Court of India and High Courts, the human right to seek refuge has been well established and settled as the law of the land, it added.
The statement further said, “Even though, India is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention, Article 14 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly states that ‘Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution’.”
CSCHR urged the Government of lndia as well as the Government of Manipur to take a principled position as a democratic country upholding the rule of law and universally recognised human rights and come out with an open policy/decision to deal with the humanitarian crisis in the neighbouring country. “It will be in the long-term national interest of India as well as larger cause of humanity to respect the human rights of the persecuted Myanmar nationals by opening up temporary camps in the border areas and to provide food, shelter, basic health care and other amenities,” it said. This noble gesture will be lauded by the world and lndia will prove itself as a matured democracy, it added.
It may be noted that following the recent military coup in February 2021, the raging public protests have been met by unprecedented brutality by the military regime. The protests however did not dampen despite the repression. Understandably, the persecuted citizens are likely to seek refuge in the neighbouring states of India including Manipur. At least five Myanmar nationals are currently undergoing treatment of bullet injuries in government hospitals in lmphal.
According to reliable sources, thousands of Myanmar nationals have already sneaked inside Manipur through the porous international border. This is likely to continue as the situation is escalating on the other side of the border.Civil Society Coalition for Human rights in Manipur and the United Nations