The seven Rohingya men India handed over to Myanmar on Thursday had expressed their willingness to be repatriated, the Ministry of External Affairs has said. Myanmar identified them as its citizens and issued them certificates to facilitate their travel to their hometowns in Rakhine state, the ministry added.

The men were in Silchar central prison in Assam since 2012 for illegally crossing the border in violation of the Foreigners Act. In 2016, they requested that the embassy of Myanmar issue them documents to facilitate return, the Centre said.

Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court refused to interfere in the Centre’s decision to send them back after the government said Myanmar has accepted them as its citizens. The Assam Police handed them over to Myanmar authorities at the Moreh border post in Manipur.

The Assam government arranged for their repatriation “with the full concurrence of the government of Myanmar, in accordance with established procedures and laws”, the Ministry of External Affairs said.

On Tuesday, a United Nations human rights expert expressed alarm at the government’s decision to send back the seven men. Tendayi Achiume, the UN special rapporteur on racism, said their forcible return could constitute violation of international law.

In August 2017, India announced that it was planning to deport all 40,000 Rohingya refugees in the country. The Supreme Court is still hearing a petition against that order. The court has said no Rohingya refugee should be deported until it decides on the matter.