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Detention of ‘Foreigners’ in Assam

  • 04 May 2019
  • 3 min read
  • Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) has expressed concerns over the apex court’s remark on the detention of ‘foreigners’ in Assam.
    • As per the body, the remark defies India’s constitutional and international obligations.
  • The concern is in reference to Chief Justice of India’s admonition of Assam Chief Secretary for proposing a methodology for the release of a handful of foreign prisoners who have been in detention beyond their term of sentence for illegal entry.
    • The bench referred that Assam has only 900 detainees despite lakhs of illegal foreigners being identified. Most of them have already intermingled with the local population.
    • The CJI said that the stand of the Government of India and the State of Assam should be that foreigner detenues should be deported as soon as possible.
  • CHRI has argued that detainees languish in jail in inhumane conditions, in violation of their human rights, referring to Article 21 of the Constitution that says that no person in India can be deprived of her/his right to life and liberty without due process.
    • International law lays down that deportations can take place only with the consent of the country of origin and India has no such agreement with Bangladesh. Also, Bangladesh has consistently refused to accept that its citizens migrate in large numbers to India.
  • Currently, the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise is going on in Assam.

Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)

  • The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) is an independent, non-partisan, international non-governmental organisation, headquartered in New Delhi, working for the practical realisation of human rights across the Commonwealth.
  • The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 53 independent and equal sovereign states.
    • It is one of the world’s oldest political associations of states. Its roots go back to the British Empire when some countries were ruled directly or indirectly by Britain. Some of these countries became self-governing while retaining Britain’s monarch as Head of State. They formed the British Commonwealth of Nations.
    • In 1949, the Commonwealth came into being. Since then, independent countries from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Pacific have joined the Commonwealth.
    • Membership today is based on free and equal voluntary cooperation. The last two countries to join the Commonwealth - Rwanda and Mozambique - have no historical ties to the British Empire.
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