INDIA: Expulsion Chin-Burmese asylum seekers puts many lives in danger


Urgent Appeal Case: UA000816
ISSUES: Refugees, IDPs & Asylum seekers,

AHRC UA Index: 000816 16 August 2000 
UA 31/00: Expulsion Chin-Burmese asylum seekers puts many lives in danger 

INDIA: Failure to protect safety of refugees; lack of proper judicial process 

Following is an Urgent Appeal from South Asian Forum for Human Rights regarding the expulsion of Chin-Burmese refugees (asylum-seekers) from India back to Burma – an action which puts their lives in grave danger. 
Many others may be expelled soon, so please write letters to the Indian authorities and UN High Commissioner for Refugees as outlined below. 

Dear Friends, 

On August 8 we warned people about the arrest of several hundred CHIN-Burmese asylum seekers in Mizoram state of India’s north East. We were worried that these asylum seekers would be forcibly expelled and handed over to the Myanmar (Burmese) Army by Indian authorities. 

We have just learnt from reliable sources that on August 6, the police of Mizoram state handed over 85 Chin-Burmese nationals to the Myanmar army. On August 8 another 25 Chin-Burmese asylum seekers were similarly handed over to Myanmar army. We have no information about the fate of these 105 Chin-Burmese. However we know that in 1997 several Chin-Burmese asylumseekers similarly handed over to Myanmar army by Mizoram police were shot dead inside Myanmar border. 

We have also learnt that 1005 Chin-Burmese asylum seekers are currently being detained at various places in Mizoram. These persons have so far not been produced before any judge or a magistrate which is a requirement under the Foreigner’s Act, which these persons are supposed to have 
violated. We fear that Mizoram police will forcibly deport them in near future without a judicial process. This is a violation of Indian constitution as well as case law established by Indian Supreme court. Under the Constitution of India, Indian state is bound to protect the \”right to life\” of all persons within its territory. The Indian Supreme Court in the past has prevented such forcible eviction on the grounds that the repatriation to hostile situation might jeopardise the right to life of the 
persons being expelled. 

We request you to appeal to the India Prime Minister and the Home Minister of India. We also request you to write to the Indian diplomatic missions in your country requesting that the forcible eviction of Chin-Burmese asylum seekers must be immediately stopped. 

Thanking you for your cooperation. 

Tapan Bose 
Secretary General 
South Asia Forum for Human Rights 
Kathmandu, Nepal 

Earlier Message from SAFHR: 


We are concerned that since 25 July 2000 there has been a series of actions against refugees in the Mizoram state of India. We have learnt from reliable sources (re-confirmed by the newspaper reports) that arrests and detention of hundreds of refugees in the border state of Mizoram are being carried out very vigorously. 

On July 28, Mr. U. Than Sein, an exiled member of Myanmer Parliament of the NLD party and two other activists of All Burma Students Democratic Front were arrested. Though they were released on July 29, the fate of Mr. U than 
Sein,s son and daughter-in-law who were arrested along with him is still unknown. 

Though the number of arrests have not been released by the police to the public, it is estimated to be around a thousand. This number may increase in the coming days. It is reported that most of the arrested Chin Burmese refugees have been charged with illegal entry into India under the \”Foreigner’s Act\” and that they wuld be deported to Myanmar (Burma). 
Mizoram state borders the Chin state in Myanmar and about 40,000 to 50,000 Chin refugees have taken shelter in the Mizoram state due to military repression and the civil warlike situation in the Chin areas. Majority of the Chin ethnic people are Christians. There are several incidents and reports of desecration of places of worship by the army controlled by SPDC who are predominantly Buddhists. There are instances, of forced conversions, mass instances of slave labour, looting of homes, rape of women by the Myanmar army has created an exodus of Chins crossing into 
Mizoram state in India. 

The increased activities of identifying Chin Burmese nationals in Mizoram state, their arrests and detention has to be seen in the wake of hectic parleys between military heads in India and Burma to work together on border issues. Government to government strategic relationship between Burma and India cannot compromise the real issue of refugees who have fled 
for their lives in to neighbouring country (India). 

According to information received, the arrests and detention of hundreds of people has taken place especially in Aizwal and five police stations have been identified where the refugees are being held. The names of the police stations where the refugees are kept after arrests are: Babutlang, 
Bawngkawn, Vaiwakawn, Kulikawn & Luangmual. About 200 people are in these police stations. We also have reports that due to lack of space in the five police stations, central jail in Tandril is also being used. 

The refugees have been denied permission to see the relatives nor have they been allowed to take their belongings. There is a threat of forcible repatriation into Myanmar (Burma) which means the Indian army and Mizoram police will hand over these Chin-Burmese refugees to Myanmar (Burmese) 
army. This heightens the danger of imprisonment, torture and even death in Myanmar if they are handed over to them. Though the arrests and detentions have been happening since 25 July 2000, there seems to be no positive 
intervention to protect the rights of the refugees by UNHCR or the Indian government. 

Human rghts activists of India and other South Asian countries are concerned about this situation and seek the intervention of human rights defenders from all over the world to stop the forcible detention and expulsion of the Chin Burmese refugees from the Mizoram state of India into 
Myanmar (Burma).We request you to urge The Government of India to intervene and protect the rights of refugees on humanitarian grounds. We also request you to urge the UNHCR to take positive steps in this regard and provide 
protection to the refugees who are under the threat of deportation. 

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER



I am very concerned about the fate of the 105 Chin-Burmese asylum seekers who have been expelled back to Burma. Their lives are in grave danger, as will the lives of any others who may be expelled similarly. The Indian government has a constitutional and international obligation to protect the 
lives of those in its borders, particularly refugees escaping an extremely violent and oppressive regime. 

The lack of proper judicial processes for the 1005 others still being detained in Mizoram prisons is also disturbing. These people who have suffered so much at least deserve the basic rights afforded in the Indian law and the UN Conventions. 

Please protect the lives of these people. 



Please write to; 
1. Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee 
Prime Minister of India 
South Block 
New Delhi 110001 
Fax: +91-11-301 9817 
Salutation: Dear Prime Minister 

2. Mr. L. K. Advani 
Home Minister of India 
North Block 
New Delhi 110001 
Fax: + 91-11-3015750 
Salutation: Dear Minister 
3. Justice A. N. Varma 
National Human Rights Commission of India 
Sardar Patel Bhawan 
Parliament Street 
New Delhi – 110001 
Salutation: Dear Justice Varma 

4. Mrs. Sadako Ogata 
High Commissioner for Refugees 
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 
C.P. 2500, 
1211 Geneva 2, 
Salutation: Dear High Commissioner 

Issued by South Asia Forum for Human Rights (SAFHR) 
Kathmandu, Nepal 

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA000816
Countries : India,
Issues : Refugees, IDPs & Asylum seekers,