May 22, 2024, Comment off

Mizoram Government likely to Implement biometric data collection for Myanmar refugees


In discussing the issue of refugees, the Mizoram Chief Minister said that the Biometric Enrollment Portal for collecting the Biometric data of Myanmar refugees has been created and will be implemented soon, reports All India Radio News.

On May 15, Chief Minister Pu Lalduhawma met with the leaders of the Central Young Mizo Association(CYMA) at his office. They discussed the issues related to undocumented residents, drugs, and refugees in the state of Mizoram.

In that meeting, the CYMA leaders highlighted attempts by non-citizens to obtain Aadhaar cards, ID cards, and birth certificates, which only Indian citizens have the right to possess. They emphasized their commitment to addressing this issue.

Mizo Zirlai Pawl (lit. Mizo Students’ Association) Champhai also issued a notice dated April 23, 2024 regarding proof of residency. It declared that since the refugees are not Indian citizens, documents such as Voter ID, Aadhaar Card, Birth Certificate, and Ration Card, which are only for Indian citizens, should not be issued to them.

The Indian Central Government ordered the collection of biometric information from Myanmar refugees in Mizoram. However, the Mizo National Front (MNF) government, led by former Chief Minister Pu Zoramthanga, refused to comply.

After the Pu Lalduhawma-led Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) government came to power in Mizoram State, the central Indian government again pressed for the collection of biometric data.  Mizoram’s Chief Minister, Pu Lalduhawma, proposed to the Indian central government that if the Myanmar refugees were assured that they would not be sent back, they would agree to the collection of biometric data..(Khonumthung news- 15 May, 2024)

On May 10, 2024, the International Committee of Jurists (ICJ), an international human rights organization based in Geneva, Switzerland, requested the Indian government to suspend the plan to return Myanmar refugees who have taken refuge in the Indian state of Manipur.

On May 2,out of the 77 people who were released after serving their fixed sentences in Manipur state and verified as Myanmar citizens, the first batch of 38 people were sent from Moreh to Tamu. Salai Do Khar, the founder of India for Myanmar, pointed out that 39 men from the same batch will be transferred if the situation continues.

The ICJ stated that the plan to return Myanmar refugees violates the international agreement on non-refoulement.(VOA-May 12, 2024)

According to the Mizoram Ministry of Home Affairs, there are currently more than 34,000 Myanmar refugees taking refuge in Mizoram. However, local NGOs believe there may be as many as 60,000 Myanmar refugees in the state.

Caption – Officials from both countries exchanged citizens at one Indo-Myanmar border. (Photo: Khonumthung)