Burmese refugees in India PDF Print E-mail
From The Search for Protection: Resettled refugees reflect on seeking asylum in Asia and the Middle East. A report from the Refugee Council of Australia, June 2009, page 7

An estimated 60,000 to 80,000 Chin refugees from Burma live in the Mizoram hills in India. UNHCR does not operate here, so many refugees travel to New Delhi to be registered. Like the Malaysian government, the Indian government is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention or the 1967 Protocol, and there is no procedural mechanism for providing legal protection or benefits to refugees. Indian law does not distinguish between undocumented migrants and refugees, and can arrest, detain and deport any undocumented migrant. Refugees in India are not entitled to work.

The UNHCR has a presence in New Delhi and undertakes the registration and resettlement of refugees. UNHCR provides a short term assistance allowance for newly recognised refugees; however, in 2003, this was phased out by cutting amounts by half after six months, and cutting them again after one year. This shift in policy has made it very difficult for refugees to meet their daily survival needs.

From Refugee International 2006

The majority of Burmese refugees in Delhi are from the Chin ethnic group in western Burma. The others are from Kachin, Rahkhine and Burman ethnic groups. The predominantly Christian Chin refugees have been fleeing to India for more than a decade citing religious and cultural persecution and human rights violations by the Burmese military regime. Currently there are 50,000 Burmese in India, largely from the Chin group in Mizoram, and on average 35-45 asylum seekers have been arriving in Delhi per month during 2006. An estimated 1,800 Burmese refugees and asylum seekers in New Delhi, India are living in over-crowded housing, often facing sudden evictions, and are struggling to earn money for basic survival. Burmese refugees in New Delhi are encountering verbal and physical harassment on the streets, and are misunderstood by other communities (Refugee International 2006).

Last Updated ( Nov 20, 2009 at 08:35 AM )