Myanmar nationals taking refuge in India have right to humanitarian aid: NHRC

Myanmar nationals who are taking refuge in Mizoram and Manipur following the military coup in February, have right to humanitarian aid from the states under any circumstances, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) said on December 15.

“Article 21 comes to the rescue of all persons whose human rights are being violated, whether they are citizens or foreigners,” NHRC member Justice Mahesh Mittal Kumar told reporters at the end of the two-day “open hearing” of the commission in Shillong.

Rajya Sabha member K Vanlalvena on December 13 informed the Rajya Sabha that over 15,000 Myanmar nationals have taken refuge in Mizoram. He said majority of them taking shelter in 15 relief camps set up jointly by the government and civil society organisations while some are accommodated by their relatives.

“The stand of the Government of India on refugees is very clear. Buy there are international covenants. The doors of NHRC is open to any appeals from those concerned with these issues,” Justice Kumar said.

“Seeking asylum is a different process but for immediate humanitarian needs the NHRC is open to appeals. We ask any concerned to write to us and we will take it up with the government,” Justice Kumar said.

In his interaction with Myanmar nationals in Aizawl on December 13, Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga had assured that his government would try its best to assist them.

He said that his government has taken up massive efforts and will continue to do so in the future to help those Myanmar nationals.

Zoramthanga, who met prime minister Narendra Modi, said that he had also urged the Centre several times to provide political asylum to the Myanmar nationals.

“The prime minister assured me that they will make a plan to enable us to continue with our assistance to the Myanmar nationals. The central government is willing to help, but it cannot directly help the Myanmar refugees because India is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention of 1951 and its 1967 Protocol,” the chief minister said.

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