March 22, 2019
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At least 57 Rohingyas flee India over deportation fears

Dhaka, Jan 8 (efe-epa).- At least 57 Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh from India in the last five days to escape deportation to Myanmar where they face persecution, Bangladeshi authorities said Tuesday.

"Since last Friday, 57 Rohingyas came here from India. We gave them food and necessary items before sending them to the UNHCR transit camp, where new arrivals are usually kept," Kutupalong refugee camp in-charge Rezaul Karim told EFE.

The Rohingyas told the Bangladesh authorities that "they fled India as they heard that Indian authorities were preparing a list to send them back to Myanmar," he said, adding that some of these Rohingyas had lived in India for years.

Shajahan Kabir, the officer in-charge of Brahmanpara police under Comilla district bordering Tripura in India, said his team detained 17 Rohingyas on Friday as they entered Bangladesh illegally.

"They told us they want to go to Rohingya refugee camp to live with the other Rohingyas. We sent them to Cox's Bazar," he said.

The influx of Rohingyas into Bangladesh from India started after the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said on Thursday that Indian authorities had deported a family of asylum seekers to Myanmar.

The family, handed over to the Myanmar authorities nearly a week ago, had been detained in the northeastern Indian state of Assam since 2013 for entering the country illegally.

In October last year, India sent back seven Rohingyas to Myanmar, in what was the first deportations from the country since a Supreme Court order in 2012 had temporarily halted the government's plan to deport nearly 40,000 Rohingyas, who have been illegally living in the country.

According to the UNHCR, the conditions in Myanmar were not conducive to the return of the the largely Muslim minority group who face state persecution in their home country.

Human rights group Amnesty International in a statement on Monday condemned India's deportation of the asylum-seekers.

"The expulsion of asylum-seekers and refugees amounts to a violation of India's obligations under customary international law, which prohibits governments from returning people to a territory where they are at risk of serious human rights violations," said AI India Senior Campaigner Abhirr VP.

More than 723,000 Rohingyas from Rakhine have fled to Bangladesh since Aug. 2017 to escape a military offensive that has been condemned globally for its human rights abuses.

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