Chin Refugee Committee Delhi

Advocacy and help for Chin refugees in Delhi

What the UNHCR calls for Local-integration, we call local-tribulation.

Posted by crcnewdelhi on January 7, 2011

The refugee community in Delhi has fascination for fictional nightmares. That’s why it’s time to raise some of the main issues facing by the refugees from Burma. There is disbelief that difficult to believe that the more refugees enter into the Indian society the more crimes exposed in the surface. Why do such horrifying crimes often occur in urban areas? How could those educated people involve in such brutal act? What could it be the identity for the refugee from Burma in India society?

The nature of crimes recorded includes (1) Sexual Assault, (2). Beating by locals, (3). Harassment by locals, (4) Harassment by landlords, (5) Harassment by employers, (6) Rape ( 7) Vulgar remarks, (8) Robbery, ( 9) Eve-teasing, (10) Police harassment, ( 11) Murder.

We have heard many stories that refugee from Burma are beaten, women are raped, they are mocked, people pass lewd remarks and girls are treated as whore, some boys are even raped, they suffer ethnic slurs. They are always so scaring, they cannot stay alone, they are crying, they are always threatened by those local people. Reiterating that being a refugee from Burma being treated differently with contempt way of behaviors cannot be countenanced in a civilized society. It is very sad that why should the situation be so bleak for the refugee from Burma in a country which has one of the world’s largest educated population and is a fast growing economy?

Do the Indian people have a mediaeval mindset? The employers cast out the refugees from job at anytime, at any condition, even without paying single money. The Landlords do the same casting out refugees mercilessly, increase the rent-payment always and treating them as they like. The landlords are not happy with our lifestyles. People treat us like animal because we have a different food habit. Women are harassed at their workplace, in the neighborhood. People pass comment on our looks and we experience eve- teasing. And everywhere, we are taunted with some slang words. Refugees are raised apprehension of threat to being harmed and abandoned once taking step forward to getting the workforce in the struggling of Local-integration. It is apt to note that human right is a basic right, a natural right and it cannot be crucified or brought to a state of comatose.

It is not a shocked or a surprised because we have seen cases like ‘hour killing’, murder, suicide stories especially among the Indian middle class people where the families did not  accept inter-caste and inter-religion marriages and it ended in a death. ‘When it comes to women we are still living in mediaeval times’, an Indian social activist says. What worse for a refugee to get entering into Indian society. Crimes against refugee are on the rise and most of the cases are not even reported.

Once at a meeting with refugee from Burma over the complaint made regarding the huge barriers between UNHCR and the refugee, the Chief of Mission made a clear comment that ‘we make gap between the refugee and ourselves for some important reasons. Because’, she continues, ‘it is danger to stay close with refugees for we faced severe persecution and even some of our staffs were killed at Pakistan’. Equally true with the same terrible experience the refugee facing is that crime against the refugees generally and beating and rape in particular are on the increase and ironically society appear to be unconcerned, we are being deserted, showing little or no concern for honor of refugee from Burma. It is in this background that we say what the UNHCR calls for local-integration, we call local-tribulation.

Loyalty to family, clan and caste is considered important in India, so it can be fatal for the refugee seeking to become one of them. In many cases, even neighbors and friends get involved in the beating. It shows a communal mentality that has no respect for the refugee community.

The solution for this problem is that refugees are to be treated by constructing new categories that truly define them. Refugee fall into being trapped with economic and social categories which is needed addressing the root cause of inequality and discrimination. Counting on the basis of socio-economic category is very important to address the root cause of the problem. Refugee falls in economically disadvantaged populations – the poor or the landless or the jobless. The freedom to choose how we are defined – to be who we want to be, and to become who we want to become – is fundamental to democratic politics.

None of the refugees is completely free to choose to become a refugee in a foreign land. We as human being with democratic instinct want the freedom and dignity. But to choose whether we want to be defined our identities as being treated less than a human being and like a stranger is the issue here. We thought ourselves free but we are being trapped in culture shocked and apprehension of threat to our lives is genuine. What hope can the refugee from Burma claim regarding their status?

It is important to collect more data by the UNHCR which could then be aggregated differently for different policy purposes at different levels of government. It is unthinkable to construct uniform national wide aggregates. Different aggregation could well employ different categories.

The more date allow the analysis of refugee’ category specifically to construct local integration in conjunction with other categories, the better one will do both in addressing the root cause of inequality and discrimination and in preserving  or providing the fact of self-definition for refugee from Burma. Unless the question is raised by the prospect of Burmese refugee’s local integration, what the UNHCR calls for local- integration, we call local tribulation.

And the second solution is inevitably resettlement program increment. Western culture may have its flaws but the way the status of women and disadvantage group have evolved in the pas decades, uplifting society as a whole. Anyone can choose to live on their own if what’s feel rights. With women emancipating themselves, young men have adjusted their behavior accordingly. Amongst the younger generations, relationships between race, sexes, and religions have become more balanced, fairer and healthier. People are respected as they play their own roles. And the roles have become less rigid, less stereotyped and more flexible. We the refugees from Burma want free society where people are respected. And such society that the refugees dream of can be experienced in the third countries is testified by the people already resettled in the third country.

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