Readers of this blog may know that India has been seeking to sign a Joint Interpretative Statement for Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) with Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, China, Colombia, Finland, Iceland, Jordan, Kuwait, Laos, Latvia, Libya, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mexico, Mozambique, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sudan, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, and Turkey. I have covered this at length here.
It was reported in October 2017 that India and Bangladesh have signed Joint Interpretative Notes for the India-Bangladesh BIT (JIN). While considerable time has passed since then, I still want to discuss this development for the benefit of those who may have missed it.Read More »
“No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
– Article 3; European Convention on Human Rights
“Get them back.”
– Tony Blair in Youseff v Home Office [EWHC (QB) 1884] at 15
Two States and a Stateless People
The origin of Rohingya’s is in dispute, artificially though. In Burmese military perception, they are virtually all immigrants from Bangladesh or what later became Bangladesh. Rohingya peoples on the other hand claim that they are the descendants of Muslims who came to this part of Burma long ago, perhaps of Persian and Arab traders, and are not Bengalis. The cruel reality however is that Rohingyas are now living in limbo, even though they lived in Burma’s Rakhine State for generations. The Burma Citizenship Law of 1982 has denied their right to a nationality, and thereby removed their freedom of movement, access to education and services. In addition, they are subject to frequent forced labor, arbitrary taxation and sexual violence and land confiscations.Read More »
The Indian subcontinent shares a land border with Bangladesh, exceeding over 4000 kilometers, making the border with Bangladesh the longest amongst all the neighboring countries. The border is for most parts largely unfenced and porous making it easy for undocumented migrants to easily pass through the two countries. Ever since the creation of East Pakistan and subsequently Bangladesh after the historic war of 1971, Bangladeshi nationals have been attracted by the allure that the Indian state provides. This has led to a constant influx of immigrants from Bangladesh to India. While initially, India did manage to absorb most of these nationals and provide them with citizenship, their growing numbers has a posed a steady challenge to India.
The influx of these immigrants brings to the fore a number of practical challenges and difficulties for India. The ethnic clashes in the North East between the local Bodo population and the immigrants a majority of whom are Muslim, the demand for citizenship rights of new immigrants, etc. are compounded by the inability of India to put in place an effective mechanism for deportation of the incoming immigrants.Read More »
At the stroke of midnight, as the clock struck 12, on the 31st of July 2015, a few more people in the already independent countries of India and Bangladesh tasted the air of legal and political independence. In a post earlier, we had in detail discussed about the issue of India-Bangladesh land border dispute with respect to enclaves; an issue which culminated on the 31st of July with the agreement finally becoming official. 14,000 people who were de-jure a part of Bangladesh were not in all capacities a part of India, factually and legally. These 14,000 people are spread over 51 enclaves which belonged to Bangladesh earlier and have become a part of India now. With respect to Bangladesh, there are about 37000, spread over in 111, enclaves who have now become a part of Bangladesh, factually and legally.Read More »
The 4 decade long India-Bangladesh enclave saga has been concluded by the monumental 119th Constitutional Amendment Bill (100th Constitutional Amendment in effect), which was passed by the Indian Parliament on 7th May. While there are 198 enclaves in total (106 Indian and 92 Bangladeshi), the agreement which was put in effect by the Constitutional amendment settles the position of 162 enclaves. Out of these 162 enclaves, India gets 51 Bangladeshi Enclaves, constituting an area of around 7,110 acres, while Bangladesh gets 111 Indian enclaves, constituting an area of around 17,160 acres.
What is an enclave?
Colloquially speaking, an enclave is a island land of one country surrounded by the land of another. An enclave under international law is generally understood to be a part of the territory of a state that is enclosed within the territory of another state whose inhabitants are culturally and ethnically distinct. A prominent example of this is the Vatican City, which is territorially surrounded by Italy. As one can see, their existence is rare and abnormal in the international scheme of state order as they defeat the very idea of contiguity of territoriality of a nation state. They usually pose difficulty in governance and even have the potential to threaten international peace, which is why states prefer to either dispose of the contentious land by agreement or sale or by an international accord.
The issue of enclaves, though complex in itself, is not as simple as its definition seems to be. Enclaves often have counter-enclaves, which is an enclave in an enclave. Say there are two countries, A and B. Country A has an enclave in Country B, say en-A. Now, a counter enclave would be an enclave of country B in this en-A. Still confused? Take a look at this diagrammatic representation.Read More »