Mizoram Refuses To Collect Biometric Data From Myanmar Refugees, Citing Rights Concerns

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Posted in Featured, Mizoram, Northeast
NET Web Desk

Mizoram, September 28, 2023: In a significant and principled move, the Mizoram government has taken a firm stand, declining to collect biometric data from Myanmar refugees currently residing within the state. The decision is rooted in concerns about potential rights violations that could arise from such data collection.

The refugee population in Mizoram, numbering over 30,000 individuals, has sought refuge in the state amidst the political turmoil in Myanmar, which was triggered by a military coup in February 2021.

The proposal for a pilot project aimed at collecting biometric data across all 11 districts of Mizoram, primarily from those residing in relief camps, faced strong opposition from the state government. Chief Minister Zoramthanga expressed deep concerns about the implications of such data collection on the already distressed refugees, emphasizing the importance of safeguarding their rights.

This development comes in the wake of an initial directive from the Ministry of Home Affairs, instructing both Manipur and Mizoram to undertake the collection of biometric information from individuals believed to be illegal immigrants from Myanmar. The deadline for this exercise was set for September 30, 2023.

However, Mizoram faced delays in implementation due to the need for adjustments to the original data collection format to accommodate specific information pertaining to Myanmar nationals.

It is worth noting that prior to this directive, the Mizoram government had independently initiated efforts to profile Myanmar nationals and had issued identity cards to them.

The refusal to collect biometric data marks a significant stance by the Mizoram government, highlighting its commitment to protecting the rights and privacy of the Myanmar refugees currently seeking shelter within the state’s borders. This decision is expected to generate discussions and debates surrounding the delicate balance between security concerns and humanitarian considerations in the context of the ongoing refugee crisis.

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