Q & A About the Chin Refugees
Posted by crcnewdelhi on September 17, 2011
1. The number of Burmese/Chin Refugees in the last few years has drastically increased. What could be the reason behind it?
Militarization in ethnic areas, Bamboo flowering famine which took place in Chin state in 2008, forced military recruitments have shoot up the numbers of Chin Refugees in the recent past.
2. What is the estimated figure of the Chin refugees around the world?
More than 11,500 in Delhi, 70,000 in Mizoram, India, 45000 in Malaysia,
3. What are the main problems faced by the refugees?
(a) Protection ( Rape, Sexual harassment, Physical assault, Eviction by Landlords, Exploitation by Employer)
(b) Livelihood ( Unemployment, Low income, Wages discrimination and exploitation, lack of work permit)
(d) ( discrimination, physical assaults and humiliation by local classmates at government schools)
(e) ( YMCA’s outreach centre and DBA classes are substandard, very informal , without proper teachers ) , out of 2400 children in 2010 , only 200 children go to school,
(f) ( We do not have access to higher studies )
(g) Health : ( no proper health care centre and clinic for refugees services run by UNHCR and its IPs)
4. What do you see in the future for Chin Refugees in India?
We do not see any genuine change taking place in Burma anytime soon. Hence the inflow of Refugees can only increase. On the other hand we have witnessed several deportations of Chin Refugees from North Eastern states of India. And we believe that Refugee figures in Delhi can only get bigger due to these two factors. Even with the current population, things are very difficult. With this expected rise in Refugee numbers, things can only get worse if we do not get timely intervention and help.
5. There have been talks about Chin Refugees being economic migrants and that their stay in India is just a transit point before they are resettled to the third country. What would be your reply on this?
The military rule motto “One race, one language, one religion” has been the bane of all these suppressions and tortures inflicted on the ethnic people. (Chins do not enjoy the right to religion………) Under such treatments, one cannot stay back but flee the country and seek protection else where.
People terming India as only a transit for the third country for Chin refugees are just accusations and baseless. Uncountable evidences have proved over and over again that as long as the military is holding onto its power, refugee influx will not stop whether refugees are resettled to the third country or not.
6. We hear that the Chin refugees in Delhi are hoping for resettlement only?
Our wish is to return to Chin State, Burma. But the political situation does not allow us to return yet. If we are safe and can enjoy basic human rights in India, we would be willing to stay here but we have realized and witnessed over a period of time that we are not safe and cannot enjoy basic human rights in India.
7. News about people making up stories for Refugee status benefit have been doing round. Is it so?
According to the situations that we have been going through as ethnic people in Burma would automatically speak for us and it also turn us into Refugees once we cross the border. But the incidents that forced us to leave the country vary from individual to individual.
8. What is the role of CRC?
CRC is the only community based social organization in Chin community. And it is the main organization who has always worked for the betterment of Chin Refugees with its best abilities with other existing organizations to raise awareness of Chin refugees’ plight.
9. What do you think the government should do more for refugees in India?
The government of India should see the sufferings of the refugees in its territory and should be a party to 1951 UN convention on refugees.
10. What are your views on the new civilian Government in Burma?
The new President U Thein Sein has mentioned about National Reconciliation in his inaugural speech. But after six months of its new rule, we have witnessed the new so-called Civilian Government attacking Ethnic resistance Groups. Resistance groups such as Kachin Independent Army (KIA), Karen National Union (KNU), Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), Shan State Army (SSA) are attacked recently within the past two months. And gross human right violations on ethnic people by the Burmese army have not stopped under this so-called civilian government.
11. What is your view on Indo- Burma relationship?
It appears that India is more concerned about its own economic benefits than the sufferings of the people of Burma at the cost of its democratic principle and value
12. What are your expectations from the civil society in India?
The civil society in India can lend us their helping hands and be with us throughout our struggle with all their resources and man power.
13. Do you think Government of India is doing enough to support the refugees in India / and according to you what more can be done?
We have to be grateful to the government of India for opening their doors to Chin refugees. But it has not been doing enough for Refugees. To say the least, while applying for residential permit, refugees have to pay thousands in cash, which is a big task for the refugees and many cannot attain RP due to this very reason. The amount demanded varies from case to case. This clearly points out that there is no proper administration on Burmese Refugees for their registration in Foreigners registration Office.
14. Are you satisfied with the role of UNHCR and social organizations working with the refugee communities?
The UNHCR is doing its best within its role and capacities. But there are still many who can not enjoy the benefit of their services.
There are some social organizations who are effectively working for the refugee. And we desperately need more such organizations like them to come forward.
15. Does the UNHCR treat Chin refugees differently?
We are not sure about the policy, but we witness that we have been treated differently than others. (Security guards would handle Burmese Refugees without any concern, some IP staff do not give proper attention to the request and concerns by the refugees), plights and complaints addressed to them ( YMCA, SLIC, DBA) are being transferred to and fro without taking proper action and concerns.
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