10/08/2011, 00.00
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Rapes and exploitation: the daily drama of 10 thousand Chin refugees in Delhi

The Burmese ethnic minority, which fled from the military repression, is a victim of abuse and harassment, without access private health care and education. A report by the Chin Refugee Committee tells of 35 cases of violence. The Presidents’ demands: visas and more aid from the Indian government needed.
Delhi (AsiaNews) - Torture, death threats, physical violence, exclusion and exploitation in the workplace, lack of medical care. These are just some of the many daily difficulties faced by Chin refugees - an ethnic group of Myanmar, that fled the repression of the Burmese regime - refugees in Delhi, India, in search of a better life. On 5 October, the Chin Refugees Committee (CRC) released a report entitled: "The life of Chin refugees in Delhi: case studies", which describes the main issues related to the persecuted minority. According to statistics, there are about 10 thousand Chin refugees in Delhi, most of whom live in inhuman conditions without protection, security, human rights and basic necessities including food, clothing, education and medical care.

The Chin State is located west of the Union of Myanmar, bordering the region of Assam in India and with Mizoram in Bangladesh. The territory is characterized by an almost entirely mountainous area, very few roads that lead to isolation from the rest of the nation. Having fled in search of a better life, for Chin refugees it is a challenge every day for survival. The report documents the "daily life" of at least 35 people and denounces cases of violence, harassment of landlords or employers, rapes and justice denied.

AsiaNews spoke with Bo Nai, president of CRC, who escaped the former Burma in 1988, for years he has devoted time and resources to the defence of the ethnic minority in Delhi. "The militarization in areas where ethnic minorities live - says the activist - the bamboo flower famine in 2008, the forced recruitment of civilians have led to an upsurge of Chin refugees in recent years." The slogan promoted by the military, "One race, one language, one religion," has given way to repression and torture of ethnic minorities. "In Burma – he continues - the junta [military regime replaced a few months ago by a civilian government but supported by the army, ndr] has ruled with cruelty, imprisoned and denied the principle of religious freedom. Only for even mentioning the word democracy, we'd go to jail ... That is why we had to flee to India. "

Bo Nai explains that today in the Chin State, the Burmese government denies basic rights including education, roads, infrastructure and hospitals, but demands payment of taxes and duties. "Poverty in the Chin State has reached extraordinary levels - stresses the CRC president – so much so that India has donated 6 million dollars" to meet the emergency. Among the refugees in Delhi, however, there are still cases of sexual violence, attacks, expropriation of small property that they own, exploitation in the workplace that "pays little or nothing." The problem is "the lack of residency visas," says the activist, and many refugees are also "denied access to primary education or higher education." The Indian government, Bo Nai concludes, should "look at the plight of refugees on its territory" and the Indian civil society support us "in our struggle." (NC)
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