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India rejects UN human rights chief's criticism on Rohingyas

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Geneva: India today strongly rejected the criticism by the UN human rights chief over its handling of Rohingya Muslim refugees, human rights situations in Jammu and Kashmir and observation relating to the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh, saying it was "perplexed" at the remarks.

UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, in his comments at the 36th Session of the UN Human Rights Council yesterday, had criticised India on the issue of deportation of Rohingyas as well as on religious intolerance and threat to rights activists.

In a strong reaction, India said it was surprised that individual incidents are being "extrapolated" to suggest a broader societal situation.

"We are perplexed at some of the observations made by the High Commissioner in his oral update. There appears to be inadequate appreciation of the freedoms and rights that are guaranteed and practised daily in a vibrant democracy that has been built under challenging conditions," Ambassador Rajiv K Chander said.

Chander, India's Permanent Representative to the UN, Geneva, made the statement in response to Hussein's comments.

Rejecting the observations by Hussein, Chander said, "Tendentious judgements made on the basis of selective and even inaccurate reports do not further the understanding of human rights in any society."

Like many other nations, India is concerned about illegal migrants, in particular, with the possibility that they could pose security challenges, he said, adding that enforcing the laws should not be mistaken for lack of compassion.

Some 40,000 Rohingyas have settled in India, and 16,000 of them have received refugee documentation, the UN estimates.

India's Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju, on September 5 had said Rohingyas were illegal immigrants and stand to be deported.

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