Monday, March 1, 2010

Waiting on the Margins

"The steep mountain chains and deep valley gorges in Burma’s northwestern Chin State is the homeland of some 1.5 million ethnic Chin. Due to ongoing human rights abuses, severe restrictions on basic freedoms, and widespread poverty within Chin State, only 500,000 ethnic Chin remain in Chin State. More than two-thirds of the Chin population have fled to other parts of Burma and neighboring countries in a quest for protection and survival. 
Some 100,000 Chin are currently living in uncertain conditions in India’s northeastern state of Mizoram, which shares a border with Burma’s Chin State. Another 4,200 Chin have made their way to Delhi with the hope of obtaining protection from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Another 30,000 Chin have fled to Malaysia also with the hope of finding some form of protection and security.
This report examines the lack of protection and adequate living conditions of Chin refugees and asylum-seekers in Delhi. As India is not a party to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees or its 1967 Protocol, few protections are available to Chins living in Delhi. Although UNHCR is currently registering and recognizing refugees in Delhi, the Chin face long wait times due to processing delays. Resettlement is unduly slow and opportunities are limited. Although the Indian government allows UNHCR-recognized Chin refugees to obtain residential permits to stay in Delhi, the process to obtain such permits is complicated by redundant documentation requirements, corruption, and unnecessary delays."