On ‘International Day Of Peace’ 2018, India Divergent On Crossroads?

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As the world observes International Peace week, India ranks 137 out of 163 countries on the Global Peace Index. While the country remains the second-largest troop contributor to peacekeeping missions, the recent verdict of deporting 40,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees comes as an antithesis.

Every year, the world observes International Day of Peace on September 21, as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations.

This year, the international observance is focused on engaging and mobilising people to show support for refugees and migrants, with the theme honouring the spirit of TOGETHER – a global initiative by the United Nations (UN) to promote respect, safety and dignity of everyone forced to desert their homes.

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Together unites organisations of the United Nations System – 193 member states of the UN, the private sector, the civil society, academic institutions and individual citizens in support of diversity, non-discrimination and acceptance of refugees and migrants, which was initiated during the United Nations Summit for Refugees and Migrants in September last year.

On one hand, the country shows a strong commitment to multilateralism through its engagement in peacekeeping, on the other hand, its stand against the Rohingya Muslim refugees drew global criticism.

Recently, Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of the UN, appreciated India as the second-largest troop contributor to peacekeeping missions, currently deploying over 7,600 military and police personnel to UN peace operations in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Lebanon, Liberia, the Middle East, South Sudan, Sudan and the Western Sahara.

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On the contrary, as World Peace Day highlights solidarity with refugees and migrants and showcases shared-benefits of migration to economies and nations, while also acknowledging legitimate concerns of host communities; India declared deportation of ‘illegal’ immigrants including Rohingya Muslims settled in India.

After the pressure to serve humanity from the media and international bodies such as the Human Rights Watch (HRW) raised questions on India’s decision on the fate of the Rohingya Muslims that has taken refuge in the country, India defended its stand by stating that the country is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention that aims to protect the rights of the displaced.

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During the 36th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, the rise of intolerance towards religious and other minorities in India also found a mention, along with the increasing threat to those who have voiced their concern for fundamental human rights.

Though India has had a notable record of helping vulnerable populations displaced from neighbouring countries, including Sri Lankans, Afghans, and Tibetans, the country’s stand against Rohingyas remains under the spotlight of the HRW. A country known for its peace-loving stand has attracted a lot of criticism as the present government and its radical Hindu policies remains the point of debate. #KhabarLive