Humanitarian crisis looms large over Myanmar’s Muslim refugees in Delhi: UNHCR’s discimination based on faith


Source from TwoCircles.net, 14 May 2012

With no water, food and toilet, Delhi Police have kept them in a jungle area of Vasant Kunj
New Delhi: Dildar Begum was around 13 when her parents with many others from their community and locality set out for India two years back as the cruelty of the military regime became unbearable. Miles and miles they walked on foot through the jungle on the India-Myanmar border to reach India. But two years later today, Begum, now 15, and several hundreds of the Muslim refugees of her country are still in jungle – now not on border, but in the national capital of Delhi.

The Delhi Police have kept them in a jungle area of Vasant Kunj locality on Mahipalpur Road in South-West Delhi. They have no access to water, food and toilet. There could a humanitarian crisis in a few days as the police are not allowing any relief to them.
Sucheta, Students Union president of Jawaharlal Nehru University, has been trying to provide them with some health aid. But the Delhi Police have denied them access to the refugees. “When I asked them to show the order, they just pushed us out of the Vasant Kunj Police Station,” Sucheta told TCN.

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These Muslim refugees of Myanmar have been staying in different parts including Jammu & Kashmir of India for last several years. But a few months back they moved to Delhi collectively – they are around 3 thousand in number – to put pressure on the UN office that looks into the cases of refugees. They want official status of refugees. They have met UN officials but they are giving date after date. Next date of meeting is on 15th May.

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Naseeruddin, a young refugee, said “they (UN officers) are just holding meetings. They are not granting us refugee status.” Narrating the cruelty of the military regime in Myanmar he said: They had capture our property. They would use us as bonded labor. They took us to camps for hard labor and returned in the evening without money. When we reach home we found our women have faced their cruelty at home. In that situation we decided to leave our country.”
Dildar Begum says “not only Muslims, some other communities including Hindus have come to India, and they have been granted refugee status, but they are discriminating against us as we are Muslims.”

TCN told Naseeruddin that government is changing in Myanmar. Democracy is returning there. So he should think to return to his own country. He said: “Yes, we will go but only after the new government returns our property and all the communities who have migrated from Myanmar are ready to come back.”
Sucheta of JUN says humanitarian crisis is looming large here. “Last night when I came here I saw a woman refugee with a newborn baby was crying for help to reach hospital. I do not know whether her baby is alive or not. They have no access to water, leave alone medical facilities.” She demands the UN and Indian government that they should be given refugee status without any further delay.

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