PUCL Bulletin, Jan 2001

UNHCR rejects Th Muivah's application

The UNHCR rejected the NSCN (I-M) leader Mr. Muivah's application for refugee status on the grounds of his alleged involvement in "war crimes and non-political offenses". Recently we have learnt from highly reliable sources in the UNHCR head quarters in Geneva that apparently the High Commissioner's office and other senior officials concerned with protection at UNHCR's head office were not aware of this decision. We were told that the Branch Office of the UNHCR in Bangkok took the decision. This is rather strange. We know that Bangkok office of the UNHCR had sent the file containing Mr. Muivah's application, the interview reports as well as their assessment of the case to the UNHCR head office in the month of July 2000. The head office took nearly three months to send its advice to Bangkok. After that the Bangkok office communicated the rejection letter to Mr. Muivah without giving any details of the so-called crimes that were committed by him.

In his appeal to the UNHCR, Mr. has pointed out that this rejection on the basis of unsubstantiated charges is a violation of his right to fair trial and public hearing. He also pointed out that the HCR has cast aspersions on his reputation as well as that of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland of which he is the General Secretary. I need not emphasis on the seriousness of this development. Under these circumstances, it will be almost impossible to get Mr. Muivah resettled in a third country. There is an urgent need for this as we fear that the Thailand Government would soon deport him to India, as he has no passport.

We need to campaign against this decision of the UNHCR, which is obviously based on insufficient information and evidence. The UNHCR's Bangkok office and the head office have refused to explain as to why and how this decision was taken. They also seem to indicate that the "evidence" on the basis of which this decision was taken shall not be disclosed as it was a part of "internal process". This is very strange. The UNHCR is an organ of the UN. Yet it refuses to abide by some of the norms of justice set by the treaties of the UN.

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