G20 Summit and India’s Treatment of Rohingya 

Statement from Refugees International Director for Africa, Asia, and the Middle East Daniel P. Sullivan

“As India hosts the world’s most powerful leaders for this year’s G20 Summit, those leaders should ask what India has done to address a genocide in its own neighborhood.  

Decades of persecution and genocidal attacks by Myanmar’s military against the Rohingya people in 2017 have caused more than 1 million refugees to seek refuge in neighboring countries, including an estimated 40,000 in India. Despite its growing global influence and the relatively smaller Rohingya population within its borders, India has done disproportionately little either to hold Myanmar’s military leadership accountable or to provide true refuge to those fleeing.

Rather it has limited assistance and threatened Rohingya with arbitrary detention, family separation, and forced deportation back to the genocidal leaders from which they fled. Rohingya in India lack legal protection and access to basic needs and services including livelihoods, education, and healthcare. Last month, a five-month-old Rohingya girl died in a detention center in India when authorities used tear gas at the facility.  

Improving its treatment of Rohingya refugees would not take much for the Indian government, but could go a long way to enhancing their lives and exhibiting some true and laudable global leadership. 

For more on the treatment of Rohingya in India see Sullivan’s report, “Shadow of Refuge: Rohingya Refugees  in  India.” 

To schedule an interview, please contact Refugees International’s Vice President for Strategic Outreach Sarah Sheffer at ssheffer@refugeesinternational.org.