Rohingya Infant’s Death a Symptom of India’s Flawed Detention Policy

Rohingya activists in India have reported the death of a five-month-old Rohingya girl following the use of teargas by Indian authorities. The teargas was used against Rohingya seeking to escape indefinite detention at a detention center in Jammu and Kashmir. An estimated 270 Rohingya have been held at the center for more than two years and have been protesting through a hunger strike.

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

“Refugees International is extremely concerned by the reports from Rohingya activists of the death of a five-month-old girl following the use of teargas against escaping Rohingya detainees in India. While Indian authorities deny teargas as the cause of death, the incident, and presence of a child in detention, speak to a larger flawed policy. In short, the death is the symptom of a broader highly problematic detention policy by India and a failure to provide basic protections to a community of survivors of genocide.

Despite international commitments and domestic legal obligations to protect Rohingya and other refugees, India has been arbitrarily and indefinitely detaining hundreds of Rohingya and threatening them with forced return to the perpetrators of genocide from which they fled. As Refugees International and The Azadi Project called for in a recent report, India’s National Human Rights Commission should work with the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights to carry out an investigation of detention centers in India.

Rather than re-targeting and re-victimizing Rohingya refugees, India should be offering legal residence, expanded access to education and livelihood opportunities, and exit visas to those already accepted for third country resettlement.”

For more information on the challenges faced by Rohingya in India and recommendations, please see Refugees International and The Azadi Project’s recent report “Shadow of Refuge: Rohingya Refugees in India,” based on extensive research and interviews with Rohingya in India.

To schedule an interview, please contact Refugees International’s Vice President for Strategic Outreach Sarah Sheffer at