Threatened in Myanmar and unprotected in India


New Delhi, India – “We could be subsequent, but we fear retaliation if we return”, says forty four-12 months-antique Sang Par, voicing the plea of several hundred participants of the Chin network from Myanmar crammed into one-bedroom flats in Chanakya Place, one in every of New Delhi’s most densely populated neighborhoods.

As the Supreme Court of India deliberates the government’s plan to deport heaps of Rohingya refugees scattered across the united states of America, different stateless Burmese ethnic organizations worry a comparable fate.

Last week, Bangladesh signed a memorandum of understanding, which would pave the way to repatriate 650,000 Rohingya refugees who fled atrocities in Myanmar.

A decade in the past, Sang Par’s circle of relatives additionally fled their place of origin in Than Hang, in Myanmar’s northwestern Chin nation.

“The navy used to whip us with belts till we lost focus. They additionally killed the livestock so that villagers starve”, remembers Par’s husband, forty four-12 months-antique Mang Hmung, bedridden because of a persistent belly ailment.

Their five kids receive loose training at Don Bosco, an organization with which the UNHCR has partnered, however numerous delays in higher payments have created tension with their landlord, who has threatened them with eviction.

Since the try to make Buddhism the nation faith that preceded the 1962 coup in Burma, minorities have confronted state violence, which includes the indigenous inhabitants of the largely mountainous Chin nation.

They slightly quantity half of a million human beings, simplest one percent of us of a’s populace – 90 percent of whom are Christian.
Increasing militarization and “Burmanization” after the 1988 statement of martial law brought about decades of arbitrary arrests and repression at some point of Myanmar.

A truth-finding document [PDF] published with the aid of Physicians for Human Rights in 2011 said that more than 90 percent of the surveyed households inside the Chin state suffered compelled labor even as 15 percent said torture through authorities infantrymen, who are also accused of rape.

The further famine of their homeland compelled the Chin community into exile. Some fled to Malaysia. But as much as 100,000 reportedly [PDF] sought to cross into the neighboring northeastern Indian nation of Mizoram; in which they suffered discrimination, detentions and massive deportations distinct by using Human Rights Watch.

Although India hosts considered one of the biggest refugees populations in South Asia, its government isn’t always a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention or the 1967 Protocol. Nor does it have any national regulation relating to refugees, selecting rather to class them, asylum seekers, and different non-citizens all underneath the umbrella time period ‘foreigner’.

The modern range of Chin refugees in India is contested. According to the UNHCR workplace in New Delhi, there are 21,000 registered refugees and asylum seekers from Myanmar but simplest about 3,300 of them belong to the Chin network.

However, the Delhi-based totally Chin Human Rights Organisation (CHRO) counts 20,000 residing in Indian soil, of whom four,500 are settled in the capital.

Although India allows the presence of the UNHCR in its soil, their agreement isn’t guaranteed by law so the safety of refugees is regularly difficulty to overseas policy objectives and home public opinion.

Due to recent government changes, refugees face challenges in gaining access to public services and financial institution accounts.

“While new documentation processes are being advanced, we recommend that lengthy-term visas and UNHCR documents are recognized via authorities to facilitate their persevered get right of entry to simple offerings and possibilities” explains Elsa Sherin Mathews, a spokesperson for the UNHCR in India.

The UNHCR problems refugee playing cards with which beneficiaries are eligible to apply for long-term visas, but only a few correctly conquer the hurdles of India’s bureaucratic gadget.

We cannot even open financial institution bills with it, and our children can’t go to school without the required Indian ID.


“Local institutions don’t accept the refugee card,” says the 37-yr-vintage mom of 3, Manu Long Kan.

“We can not even open bank bills with it, and our youngsters can’t pass to school without the required Indian ID.”

A survey [PDF] carried out through the Jesuits Refugee Service (JRS) indicates the rate of illiteracy amongst Chin youngsters in New Delhi is better than that of their dad and mom.

Lacking reputable recognition, the Chin are exploited inside the casual quarter whilst risking steady evictions.

“We haven’t any rights. Employers fire us if we fall ill and can’t paintings”, says Kan’s 39-yr-vintage husband, Salai Hnai Thang, regarding his wife’s health.

Absent from work for few days because of troubles in her uterus, Manu Long Kan become in no way readmitted in her factory.

In the absence of UNHCR economic help for her medical treatment, Thang’s monthly revenue of five,000Rs ($77) in an e-book factory slightly covers his spouse’s drug treatments and the desires in their three kids.

“Chin refugees protest in front of UNHCR [office] every 12 months, searching for legal protection and soliciting for suitable assistance but the device remains the equal. Overall, they’re no longer satisfied with the UNCHR and its companions” says Salai Cung Dawt, director at the CHRO brunch in New Delhi.

The UNHCR in India does not appropriately shield refugees within its jurisdiction as it is overly sensitive to the unwritten restrictions located by the government


With its headquarters in Rangoon and price range from NGOs which includes, the Open Society Foundation, National Endowment for Democracy, and Canadian InterPares, the CHRO reports human rights violations of the Chin community and has provided them with criminal help in India considering the fact that 1995.

Through associate establishments, the UNHCR offers livelihood opportunities and subsistence allowances to refugees, the latter of which is provided on a great basis to vulnerable refugees.

However, the South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre (SAHRDC) has claimed that these jobs pay below the minimum salary, and has also denounced UNHCR’s sexually discriminatory guidelines for the reason that helping stipend is simplest given to husbands, making girls financially structured.

“The UNHCR in India does now not safely protect refugees inside its jurisdiction as it’s far overly sensitive to the unwritten regulations located by the authorities,” explains Ravi Nair, govt director at the SAHRDC.

“It has additionally didn’t sell practical long lasting answers.

“These failings are compounded through the manner in which the UNHCR workplace and its employees have handled the refugee network.”

Responding to those allegations, UNHCR’s Elsa Sherin Mathews says: “UNHCR and partners aid the Government of India in defensive refugees and asylum-seekers as a whole lot as feasible. […] Wherever possible, UNHCR tries to discover long-time period solutions for refugees by way of facilitating their voluntary return, nearby integration or resettlement for a few inclined refugees with serious safety desires.

“Given the situation in many nations of beginning, lengthy-term solutions aren’t easily available for lots refugees at present.”

Racism and sexual violence
Both the Chin refugees and assisting establishments have said racist assaults and sexual violence at the palms of locals. The JRS’ survey bills that greater than ninety-two percentage of Chin households in New Delhi felt unsafe in their neighborhoods whilst 80 percent of them experienced evictions and physical attacks.

“My husband cannot paintings seeing that he was badly overwhelmed by using locals. Two of my daughters have also been attacked,” forty nine-year-old Ngun Sui Men complains.

Although they have got said racist attacks to UNHCR’s social unit, no prison motion turned into taken because as they in no way filed a police report.

People may think that Myanmar has changed but it is still controlled by the army and it is now not safe to stay there. So better die right here than going again.


“We didn’t file to the government due to the fact we’re terrified of retaliation from locals”, she explains.

In order to meet the fee of their rent, Ngun Sui Men’s family used to earn an additional 7,000 Rupees ($109) by way of shipping conventional Chin dry fish to contributors in their community living overseas.

Earlier this 12 months, even though, her family became threatened with eviction by way of neighbors because of the stench.

Ngun Sui Men as soon as was hoping to go back domestic after the victory of Aung San Suu Kyi-led National League for Democracy.

“People might imagine that Myanmar has changed however it is nonetheless controlled by way of the army and it’s now not safe to live there,” she explains.

“So higher die here than going back.”