CRC President Speech in World Refugee Day
Posted by crcnewdelhi on September 17, 2011
by-Ral Kap Tluang
20 June 2011
I feel honored to be standing here today, on World Refugee Day to share about our Chin issue. First of all, I would like to thank all my Chin brothers and sisters, all the respected leaders, individuals and my colleagues for making this event come into shape.
On behalf of all my Chin brothers and sisters, I would like to express our gratitude to the Government of India for opening its doors for us. We shall never forget the kindness shown to us. I would also like to extend our gratitude to the UNHCR for playing our parental figure and providing their service to us.
The estimated figure of Chin Refugees in New Delhi is believed to be more than 11,500. And the figure is expected to increase in the coming days. And majority of the Refugee population in Delhi is formed by Chin refugees from Chin State.
As we all know, a new civilian Government has taken place into Burma’s political scene. But we do not see any genuine transition taking place in Burma. The recent attacks on ethnic resistance groups such as Kachin Independent Army (KIA), Karen National Union (KNU), Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), Shan State Army (SSA), clearly indicate the new Government takes on its people, where even chemical weapons are used. Gross Human Rights violations are still taking place in Chin State as ever.
If one takes a look at the Chin state and its people, one can learn that the Chins are peace loving and law-abiding citizens who depend on agriculture as the sole source of their income. Blessed with the resourceful land, culture influenced we, the Chins do not have the hearts to leave our land and bear discriminations, assaults, and harassments and to embrace statelessness for nothing. Being suppressed and our rights being violated consistently for more than half a century in Burma, we have nothing but to run away from pains and sufferings.
All the Chin Refugees are denied of our rights back in Burma and some of us are tortured to the extent that once we land on the other side of the border; we cannot relieve our nightmares even through verbal expressions. Having denied of proper education, many of us, while still in Burma are brain-washed by the Regime not to be able to realize our Rights being violated. According to PHR (Physicians for Human Rights) report in early 2011, “Life under the Junta: Evidence of Crimes against Humanity in Burma’s Chin State”
Of the 621 households interviewed, 91.9% reported at least one episode of a household member being forced to porter military supplies, sweep for landmines, be servants, build roads, and do other hard labor. The Burmese military imposed two-thirds of these forced labor demands; they also accounted for all reported rapes. Government soldiers tortured or beat ethnic Chins (reported by 14.8% of households), and killed and abducted civilians with impunity. One out of eight Chin households was forcibly displaced (most to find food), and one-third of all forcible conscriptions were of children under 15.
Militarization is one of the main factors behind the recent increase of Chin refugees to India. The inflow of Refugees into India is expected to rise in the coming days. On the other hand, we have witnessed several deportations of Chin Refugees from North Eastern states of India. And we believe that Refugee figure in Delhi can only get bigger due to these two factors. Even with the current population, the situation that we are in is difficult. It is important to note that India is neither a signatory to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugee or the 1967 Protocol nor does she has any domestic law to deal with the huge refugee population that she hosts.
On top of being refugees, our different Physical appearances and Language Barriers expose us to severe discriminations and assaults.
Police inaction and lack of intervention in Chin Refugees legal complaints have worsened our security concerns in India. Sources from one association functioning in our community claim that none of the (15) Police complaints lodged against Local Indians in the past three months have been responded or taken action on till date. Lack of proper legal protection for the Chin refugees in India, the largest Democracy in the world, is a big concern and it is a grave matter for all the citizens of India as well.
Most of us are forced to work in Informal Sectors where we faced severe exploitations, sexual exploitation, discrimination, harassment, assaults. Being denied of Work Permit by the Indian Government, Informal Sectors are our only available option. However, job opportunities even in these sectors are rare and many of Chin Refugees are unemployed. Hundreds of refugee children are being forced at work instead of studying and doing hard labor job with extremely low wage without any protection at workplace.
Education has been our major problem since we fled the country. Currently we have two study centers provided by UNHCR in our community. However, since the numbers of Chin Refugees are increasing drastically over the past few years, these services can no longer accommodate all of us. YMCA has been helping a few Chin refugee children in getting into several Government schools but the poor infrastructures and severe discriminations that the children faced in these schools have forced them to discontinue their education. As the President of Chin Refugee Committee, I personally would like to express my grave concern about the threats that we are facing, the danger of losing our Chin young generation to illiteracy.
With the expected rise in Refugee numbers, things can only get worse if we do not get timely intervention and effective help. UNHCR has cut down some of its services to the refugees here in India and we are in a crisis now. Hence we felt the need to come out and raise our voices and issues. We are lucky to get a chance to get together as one to raise our issues on World Refugee Day, a day celebrated for the strength of Refugees around the world.
Through this rally, we would like to once again remind the UNHCR, the Government of India, International communities, Indian Civil society about our existence in New Delhi and the crisis that we are in. We would like to request for the introduction of proper legal protection mechanism and more assistance. And also we would like to request for the introduction of more appropriate durable solutions to our problems.
As the main organization of Chin Refugees in New Delhi, Chin Refugee Committee have been working hard for the betterment of Chin Refugees in every possible way and she will continue to do her best for the Chin refugees. Let us also hope that with more assistance coming from all the concerned individuals and organizations, our lives will get easier.
Thank you so much to everyone for your presence here today. Your support and your contribution will not be forgotten. Let us all work together as one and we hope our problems will see some solution in the future.
May God bless you.
May God bless Chin State.
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