Chin Refugee Committee Delhi

Advocacy and help for Chin refugees in Delhi

The update news and situations of Chin Refugees in Delhi

Posted by crcnewdelhi on June 26, 2010

The population of Burmese refugees in Delhi has been increasing hugely and rapidly day by day. In the past 2008 there were about 2,800 Burmese (Chin) refugees and asylum seekers in New Delhi, India. At the end of 2009 the numbers stood at about 6,500. Now, in the middle of 2010 it had been increased at about 8,070. Out of the total numbers of Burmese refugees and asylum seekers, 95% are the Chin people.  Among the 8070, less than half about 3500 were recognized refugees and the remaining of about 4576 are asylum seekers. All these people had left their houses, possessions, relatives and country in order to have safety and security for their life.  It may be questionable the reason why the rapid increment of the refugees and asylum seekers here in New Delhi. Therefore, according to the records and statistics of the CRC, we found out and highlighted the major reasons as follows;

  • More presentation of troops in Chin Hills;

Due to the upcoming 2010 general election, the security has been strictly arranged across the country; especially in boarder areas and the presentation of troops are more and more compared to the past years. When the presentations of military personnel are more, more force labors, porters, sexual abuses, rapes, shifting of villages, demand of foods materials and money etc subsequently followed. We were not only facing problems politically and economically but also religiously. The ruling military is trying to convert the Chin people into Buddhism by closing many churches, restriction of assembling or worshiping, destroying of many crosses and replaced by Buddhist temples and persecution of Christian workers etc.

Force labor and porter is the current system of military government in Burma to force the people to carry out labor and porter for their own convenience without paying a single coin to the people.  Whenever people build a camp, they become their workers, are also responsible for their food. Sometimes their entertainments also need to be arranged.  A chin refugee who recently arrived in New Delhi said, “I carried a soldier, putting him on my shoulder along with all his equipments, as he was so young, around 15 years old, unable to walk for a long distance.”  The people are just slaves under the ruling military.

So many rapes and sexual assaults compelled many Chin women into exile. Even widows and ladies were not exempt from force labor and porter. Sometimes due to financial difficulties or health problems many widows or ladies failed to take the order of force labor or porter. Then the soldiers approached them and took as opportunity to rape them. Our rights, freedom and dignity had been stolen by the military junta and we were victimized from different corners.

Forced gathering of people at a particular place is the best tactic practiced by the military to rule the people easily. These shifting of villages were mainly happened in northern Chin state of Kanpalet, Paletwa and Mindat Townships.  When people were shifted to a particular place they faced problems with their cultivation due to insufficiency of land and consequently poverty followed.

  • Famine;

As the world knew that the great famine had broke in Chin State, all the cultivated lands had been devastated and crops had been eaten up by the rodents. There is no supply from the government for our survival; while people need to work harder for their survival the military authority increased their bad practice of force labor and porter. Problems between the civilians and the military arising more and more and all these situation compelled us to flee from our own country.

  • Forced recruitment;

Recently the Myanmar government conducted forced recruitment at many villages of Chin State. They demanded at least ten youth from a village to participate the military training conducted by them. Many youth had fled in order to avoid this forced recruitment.

In New Delhi, India

Problems with the UNHCR and its IP’s;

The policy, the system or the procedure of handling the cases of refugees or asylum seekers had been changing time to time by the UNHCR. In previous years the Refugee Status Determination (RSD) process took only 4-6 months. But more recently some people have to wait for more than a year to two years to have their RSD interview. Even when a spouse, children, or siblings are added to the case of a refugee who has already been recognized by UNHCR, they may have to wait almost two years to have their RSD interview.  At this stage more than thousand applicants are waiting for their RSD interview. This period is the hardest in asylum seekers life because we are not financially assisted by the UNHCR or do not have any documents to support for legal safeties, securities and works. Even the informal sector demands the documents which only the Indian national could provide. The UNHCR certificate and the Residential Permit issued by the Foreigner Registration Office (FRO) are the only documents we can get to support for our live. For those who were not yet recognized as a refugee has minimal chance of survival.

There are hundreds of the most difficult people in refugee community like widows, widowers, unhealthy, elders (above 60 yrs) those who could not support themselves for their survival; they were previously assisted financially by the UNHCR but more recently more than half were not assisted anymore. Generally, until the end of 2009 the subsistence allowance (SA) has been provided to every recognized refugee for the period of six months but since the beginning of 2010 it had been reduced to three months. The SA provided by the UNHCR through the YMCA had been delaying every month since September 2009 until today despite of sending several requests and complaints to them. Our chance of survival is harder and harder.

Recently, the UNHCR was primarily focusing on education and health care, they open several pre-school or crèches through the YMCA for children below five years old. For the children above 5 years they open the door of the government school with free of cost. We appreciated this latest development in education but due to discriminations, oppressions and attacks etc most of the refugee children refused to go to the government school and consequently many minor girls and boys turn to general workers at the local company with very low wages, prostitute slathering at night times, drunkards and drug addicted. And almost all the Chin refugee children become illiterate. In health care, due to discrimination or poor medical service provided by the YMCA as well as the government, we got so many difficult problems. It was also really unfortunate that we got some expired medicines from the YMCA. Due to ignorance of case a refugee got blindness, who was severely attacked by the local people in his way back from work place. If he were treated properly from the beginning he would not become blind.

Problems with the Foreigner Regional Registration Office (FRRO);

This problem stills a major problem of Burmese (Chin) refugees. When a person becomes recognized refugee, he/ she needs to apply for the residential permit at the FRRO. Which is compulsory to do for every individual of refugee and also a very important document to support for our jobs and security problems. After September, 2008 the staff workers at FRRO started to demand a huge amount of money for this document. The amount demanded ranging from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 50,000 saying that the amount is calculated based on the length of time between arrival in India and issuance of the refugee certificate by the UNHCR, in reality the demand differs from one person to another even if this length of time is the same. But after having so many advocacies and interventions by The UNHCR, international NGO, local NGO and refugee community the amount had been reduced up to Rs. 7,450 per certificate. It was still a heavy burden for refugee who can earn only Rs.2, 000 per month.

Legal problems;

Unlike previous years, security is one of the concerned issues since the beginning of 2010. We had recorded more than 12 serious cases and more than 20 minor cases from January- June, 2010. These cases included sexual violence, rapes, attacks, robs, etc. About seven FIR and complaints had been lodged to the police station but unfortunately not even a single case was solving until today. It seems that we are more targeted by some local residence by knowing that the police were unable to take proper action even when they did crimes to us. Even the UNHCR and its IP’s cannot help us much. We were fleeing from our country hoping to get peace and security but we are again return to the nightmare of living in exile.

Livelihoods problems;

Due to limited financial supported by the UNHCR and low income we are facing severe poverty. As we mentioned earlier the UNHC is providing financial assistance only for three months amounting to Rs. 3,000 per month. (The SA is continuing only to a few targeted refugees) And approximate wage of a refugee in the local factory is Rs. 2,000 per month. In the same time, the price of room rents, foods and commodities are raising. For a normal refugee family of having five members, we will need to pay at least Rs. 3,000 per month for room rent; foods, medicines and daily basic needs are extra. So, it is almost impossible to survive for the bigger family with having many minor dependents. Because of these limited income refugees used to come out at very late at night to buy for cheaper vegetables and to collect some waste vegetables thrown by the vendors. (It was always cheaper late at night). We are becoming prone of being attack, molest, rob etc. Therefore most of refugees live on only food without curry. We drink salty water that causes sicknesses. Many persons tightly live in small room.

There are countless numbers of problems in refugee community; we cannot help ourselves to solve the problems or to get out from these difficult situations. So we are appealing globally to help us to find peace, security and normal living condition for our future.

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