Rohingya in India seeks refugee status


Source from Kaladan Press, 07 May 2012

Chittagong, Bangladesh: Hundreds Rohingya men, women and children from Burma, belonging to Burmese Rohingya community – Muslim community- have made temporary sheds of polythene sheets by the rear compound wall of the UNHCR office in B-2 Block of Vasant Vihar in south Delhi since April 9, seeking refugee status, according to Mamoon Rafique, one of the protesters – originally a resident of Mangdaw district of Arakan region and now working as teacher in Jammu.

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Mamoon Rafique, an asylum seeker in India

“The UNHCR officials are discriminating against us because we are Muslims. Non-Muslim asylum-seekers – Chin, Rakhin, Kachin and others – from Myanmar get their refugee status card within months or even days but we are being kept waiting for years. Instead of proper refugee cards, we are being issued cards which say that we are ‘asylum seekers’ and even this card is issued without our father’s name and address.”

“The UNHCR cards which were given to us were no use as we could not seek admission into any school for our children or get employment for ourselves while in India.”

“We will not leave here till we are recognized as refugees,” said Shamsul Alam, another protester

“I came from Maungdaw. I fled from the Burmese government’s human rights abuses and formerly lived in Bangladesh. Later, we moved to India because we believed that this is a democratic country with sympathy and peace, where we can take refuge. If we cannot live here as refugees, we want to go to another country where we can live as refugees.”
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