Monthly Archives: September 2014

Refugees angry with UNHCR over paucity of help

Source Asianage, 17 Sept

Rohingya children at Madanpur KhadarRohingya children at Madanpur Khadar

Foreign refugees in India have a long list of complaints against the UNHCR on various grounds such as issuance of I-cards, financial assistance, differential treatment between refugees and neglect.

On refugees, the UNHCR and the Indian government have a division of labour, says the UNHCR chief of mission in India, Dominik Bartsch.

Rohingyas are critical of the agency for its better treatment of Chins (Myanmarese Christians who are relatively well-off in Delhi) vis-à-vis health, education and financial aid.

Somalians pillory it for corruption and neglect. Kassim, a Somalian blogger and freelance journalist, claims that the UNHCR has been a mute spectator to the privations of his compatriots, who are starving to death for want of financial assistance in India.

At Madanpur Khadar in New Delhi, almost no Rohingya family get any subsistence allowance, reveals a UNHRC source. Initially, they were given around Rs 1,000-2,000 per month, depending on their vulnerability, the source adds.

On the issue of subsistence allowance, Mr Bartsch notes that around 10-20 per cent of the UNHCR-assisted refugees get monetary help. “You have to recognise that we have not been able to provide support in a wholesome manner to all the refugees. We are only able to provide direct assistance to those who are most vulnerable. It is a small minority, around 10-20 per cent, who receive direct assistance from the UNHCR and get something tangible. For the majority, our support is around livelihoods, including vocational training with our partners to prepare refugees for jobs.”

When asked about differential treatment between Chins and Rohingyas, Mr Bartsch says the term was an emotive one and denied discrimination by the UNHCR.

“Chins and Rohingyas are living in different circumstances. The former have been living in India for long; hence, they have a strong community network. When it comes to Rohingyas, many of them are recent arrivals and they are not all residing in Delhi. We have not been able to reach all of them in the various sites outside Delhi,” he explained.

Hitting out at the UNHCR, a Rohingya mocks, “If the UNHCR is not able to reach out to non-Delhi refugees how can they claim to cover the whole world?”

Rohingyas also claim that the agency does nothing to prevent human trafficking, bonded-labour and prostitution.

“Our compatriots are languishing in Kolkata jails. If the (refugee) agency strives to get them freed, the jail authorities will listen to it; but it has no will-power in this regard,” complains a Rohingya source.

Another UNHCR official reveals that six Rohingyas girls (aged 18-21) were trafficked four months ago for sex trade in Delhi, of which two died during a gangrape. The version could not be authenticated independently.

Similar modern-day slavery cases are rampant in India. “When Rohingya slaves from far-flung areas come to Delhi for UNHCR cards, they tell their harrowing tales to the agency. It means that the UNHCR is familiar with sex trade and slavery cases. But it does nothing to improve the situation,” the source added.

Another thorny issue is related to visa overstay penalties on refugees. “How can Indian government charge us for visa overstay especially when we are uncertain about our next meal?” is an oft-repeated complaint.

“Legislation is needed to define the status of refugees and make it compatible with the Foreigner’s Act, which is in black and white: A person has either arrived legally in the country or illegally; there is no provision for someone to explain why he was obliged to run away,” notes Mr Bartsch.

Tarnishing of Rohingya in theSundaily news

By Admin: The writter of the below article has no idea that in deed no one utilize own identity in such nature. it is just some group mis-using to tarnish the name ‘Rohingya’.


Rohingya ransom racket

Posted on 1 September 2014 – 09:22pm

Months after his horrific ordeal, the victim remains scarred and traumatised. SUNPIX

WHILE most Rohingya asylum-seekers in Malaysia are bona fide, some have taken to crime, including kidnapping for ransom. At times, the targets are their own Myanmar countrymen, as CHARLES RAMENDRAN found out after an exclusive interview with one of the victims.

KUALA LUMPUR: When Myanmar refugee Hung Za (not his real name) stepped out for lunch on Aug 20, little did he know that his life would later literally be hanging by a rope.

The lean and small-built foreigner was snatched by a group of kidnappers, comprising his own countrymen.

Relating the incident to theSun, the 26-year-old United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) status holder, who arrived here a decade ago and speaks fluent Bahasa Malaysia, was heading to a restaurant in Jalan Tun Tan Siew Sin at about 1pm when two men grabbed him and pushed him into a car.

"There were two others, the driver and another passenger in the car. I was stunned but I struggled to escape. Then I felt a strong electric shock running through my whole body. I tried to shout for help but my voice froze. They were using a stun gun and used it over and over again until I turned numb. Then they tied my hands, blindfolded me and drove around for hours while punching and kicking me repeatedly. As they spoke in our Myanmar language, I knew they were Rohingyas," said the soft-spoken Myanmar, who is a Christian and lay leader of a Myanmar church in Pudu.

After nightfall, the men met another accomplice. Hung Za was moved into another car and taken to a wooden house where his blindfold was removed and he was beaten up again.

He was then bundled into a third car and taken to another location where his ordeal got worse. He was led into a dimly-lit room and this was where Hung Za felt he was going to die.

"I could barely walk and my face was badly swollen. I believe it was a factory and the kidnappers probably worked there as they could access the place. I was shocked when I saw another two Myanmar men who were blindfolded and had their limbs bound. They were also badly beaten and bleeding. I was taken into a room where they kicked me to the ground and pushed a face towel into my mouth until I felt it lodging in my throat. Then one of them put a noose around my neck.
He flung the other end of the rope over a beam in the ceiling and pulled on it very hard. My body was tugged upright. I was choking and I thought it was the end. Then he eased the rope and I fell to the ground. He repeated this many times over the next few hours. They were high on drugs and they never slept a wink throughout. They looked scary and moved around like zombies," said Hung Za, who works in a restaurant.

As the torture continued, an assailant called the victim’s cousin, also a UNHCR refugee here, and demanded a ransom of RM10,000.

Several calls were made and each time the men would assault him to have his cousin hear his cries. It was close to midnight but his cousin telephoned several church members and related what had happened. About 20 friends chipped in and the ransom was raised within an hour.

They were then told to leave the cash at a given location. However, Hung Za’s cousin went with a few friends. The kidnappers, who watched from afar, played it safe and kept away. For that, Hung Za suffered more beatings.

The men told him that they were sparing his life because of his ethnicity. They showed him a blood-soaked bedsheet, claiming they had killed the two other victims Hung Za had seen earlier.

"We slit their throats and cut up their bodies. This is what we do for a living. You are lucky you are a Chin and not a Rakhine Buddhist (or else) we would have killed you like the other two. You should know we Rohingyas love eating human flesh," said an assailant.

Hung Za said he never saw the other two Myanmar victims again.

The next morning, the victim’s cousin was told to deposit the cash into a bank account, after which Hung Za was released in the city.

The victim was so traumatised that he remained in his room for three days before seeking treatment. At the hospital, police learned of Hung Za’s case and promptly recorded his statement.

"I was in immense pain. My jaw and face were so swollen that I could not even talk properly. I was just too scared to go out. The assailants seemed to know everything about us and our movements. They forced me to reveal my address and other personal details at knife-point and warned me they would return to kill me if I reported this to the police," he said.

It took hours of persuasion and reassurance by a Malaysian friend before he agreed to seek medical treatment at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital, where he was warded for his injuries and discharged a day later.

Five arrested

Within a day after recording Hung Za’s statement, a police team led by Dang Wangi district CID chief DSP M. Gunalan swung into action, arresting a 22-year-old female suspect in Penang.

It was the bank account of this Malaysian woman that the suspects had used for the ransom payout.

She led police to the arrest of three main suspects.

They were all picked up in Selayang and several other locations in the city.

Police also arrested the Myanmar wife of one of the suspects in Penang.

It is learnt that one of the male suspects nabbed was allegedly behind at least two murder cases that occurred in Selayang a few months ago.

However, the Myanmar who was armed with a stun gun during the abduction remains at large.

Dang Wangi acting police chief ACP Rasdi Ramli said the suspects are under a remand order for investigations.

"We are tracking down the last suspect and hope to capture him soon," he said.

Investigators believe the gang was involved in more than a dozen cases of crimes on foreigners but many may have gone unreported.

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