Manipur HC directs State to provide safe passage to seven Myanmar refugees

Refugees Law Insider
Refugees Law Insider

Kashish Jain

The Manipur High Court directed the State Government to make arrangement for the safe passage of 7 Myanmar nationals, seeking shelter in Moreh, to Imphal.

The Division Bench comprising Sanjay Kumar and Lunasungkum Jamir, who have issued the directive.

The Court has also stated that no coercive step be taken against the nationals seeking refuge. This adverse action may be by the Central or the State Government.

While granting them interim relief, the Division Bench has observed,

“The principle against refoulement, i.e., the forcible return of refugees to a country where they are liable to be subjected to persecution, can prima facie be read into Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.”

The plea was filed by Nandita Haskar who sought a direction to the State of Manipur to provide a safe passage so as to place them to seek protection from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The petitioner has stated that the nationals seeking refuge include 4 adults and 3 children.

The Court has also stated,

“This is conscious of the fact that India is not a signatory to the Geneva Refugee Convention, 1951, or the New York Protocol of 1967. However, it is a party to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and also the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. That apart, the protection afforded by Article 21 of the Indian Constitution is not limited to citizens and can be availed by non-citizens also.”

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