GUWAHATI, Dec 26 - As many as 28 persecuted Myanmarese nationals (Rohingya Muslims), who are presently in Assam, including those languishing in detention camps, have decided to formally seek asylum in India through the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
These persecuted Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar, who were apprehended in the State in the last few years for illegally entering the country following persecution, include women and children, official sources confirmed.
The UNHCR is now working on the legal nitty-gritty so that the �victims� are interviewed and granted refugee status.
Sources at Dispur informed this newspaper that the UNHCR has already engaged its legal partner, Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), to study the merits of the case and act accordingly.
As per the information gathered by the HRLN, they have come across 28 such nationals from Myanmar, including 22 of those languishing in detention camps in Golapara, Kokrajhar, Jorhat, Silchar, Dibrugarh and Tezpur.
�The other six are at different stages of legal process,� sources divulged.
�Once the matter is taken up by the UNHCR, the 28 Myanmarese nationals would be given refugee status, subject to the approval of the Ministry of Home Affairs. As India is signatory to various UN treaties, granting of refugee status to them should not be a problem,� sources stated.
A team of HRLN is also working on the case of two Rohingya Muslim minor girls, which is presently being fought in the Juvenile Justice Board, Guwahati.
�Like other persecuted Rohingyas, the minor girls do not want to go back to Myanmar fearing threat to their lives. They want to be in Jammu and Kashmir to join thousands of Rohingyas that have already settled there following tensions in the neighbouring country in recent years. By way of granting refugee status, we can facilitate their legal stay in India,� sources pointed out.
�If there are no legal complications, I do not think the State Government will be averse to the idea. The process has just started,� a senior official at the Assam Accord implementation department said.
While confirming that the UNHCR is taking a keen interest in the Rohingya Muslims presently in Assam, he said the State Government, too, is studying the probable legal implications.
An official of the UNHCR told this reporter that its legal partners have been asked to find out more about the issue before it can go ahead with the necessary documentation and other related matters.
�If the court allows them to travel to New Delhi, we would register and interview them for refugee status,� sources added.