Guwahati: Following the exclusion of more than 19 lakh people from the final list of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi recently expressed concern over the publication of the NRC saying that it may put large numbers of people in the state at risk of becoming stateless.
“It is too early to say what the nationality status of those left off the national register, some 1.9 million according to the authorities, may ultimately be. UNHCR is concerned, however, that many are at risk of statelessness if they do not possess another nationality,” Grandi said.
Any process that could leave large numbers of people without a nationality would be an enormous blow to global efforts to eradicate statelessness, Grandi said.
Grandi has appealed the government of India to ensure that no one is rendered stateless by this action, including by ensuring adequate access to information, legal aid, and legal recourse in accordance with the highest standards of due process.
“While India has a sovereign right and authority to establish who is an Indian national, UNHCR urges the government to take steps that mitigate the risk of any individual being left stateless as a result of the NRC update in Assam or similar processes that may take place in other states in India, and calls on the authorities to refrain from detaining or deporting anyone whose nationality has not been verified through this process,” Grandi added while reiterating its offer of support to the government of India to determine people’s nationality and avoid statelessness in accordance with its mandate and international standards.
Earlier on Sunday, Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar clarified that the NRC was an exercise monitored and mandated by the Supreme Court of India. He also categorically stated that some commentaries on the final list of the NRC, which appeared in a section of foreign media, are not correct.