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Rohingya Presentation for The LIRS Network



Fact Finding Trip to India and Bangladesh: ...

Fact Finding Trip to India and Bangladesh:
Rohingya Refugees
Amy Marchildon—Lutheran Social Services of NE
Susan Anderson—Lutheran Family Services of Colorado
James Horan—Lutheran Family Services of Colorado



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    Rohingya Presentation for The LIRS Network Rohingya Presentation for The LIRS Network Presentation Transcript

      • Fact Finding Trip to India and Bangladesh:
      • ~Rohingya Refugees~
      • September 2009
      • Amy Marchildon—Lutheran Social Services of NE
      • Susan Anderson—Lutheran Family Services of Colorado
      • James Horan—Lutheran Family Services of Colorado
      • “ I have a small request, give our message to the world” –Rohingya refugee
    • Brief History of the Rohingya
      • Who are the Rohingya?
        • Why are they considered stateless?
      • Why they fled to Bangladesh
        • When
        • Camps established
      • Difference between the official UN camps and the “unofficial” camps
    • Urban Refugees in Delhi Visit with UNHCR
      • India has not ratified the 1951 UN Convention or the 1967 Protocol
        • UNHCR states India has a history of giving shelter to refugee and asylum seekers
        • If meet criteria, refugees and asylum seekers may be able to receive residency
        • permits
      • UNHCR states there are approximately 12,000 registered refugees
      • in Delhi
        • Unexpected increase from year before—number continues to increase
        • Afghan (of Hindu or Sikh faith)—have path towards citizenship if meet criteria
        • Burma populations—continue to increase in numbers
          • Chin
          • Kachin
          • Burmese
          • Karen
          • Rohingya (small number)
        • Somali
        • Palestinians
        • Iraqi
        • Eritrean, Iranian, Sudanese
      • Asylum seekers---increase throughout the past few years
        • Same populations as refugee groups, plus Tibetan and Sri Lankan
      • Refugees resettled to Norway, Sweden, US and Canada
        • Internal Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) was OPE in Delhi, now IOM
      • India hasn’t “pushed back” on agencies helping refugees
        • India is struggling to help all people in need
      • UNHCR works with partners to provide assistance
        • YMCA, Don Bosco, Socio Legal Information Center
      • Housing assistance
      • Minimal financial assistance
      • Access to health services and education resources
      • Youth Clubs
      • Income generating activities
      • Vocational training
    • UNHCR’s Refugee Women’s Protection Clinic
      • Funded by the Australian Government
      • Established to help refugee women from Burma
        • All different ethnic groups from Burma, but majority are Chin
          • Most women have suffered abuse and/or are widows
          • Motto— “Every Voice Heard”
      • Safe space to talk about issues
        • Concerned about their children
      • Education, health, transportation and financial assistance
      • Vocational training and income generating activities, e.g., weaving and selling food
      • Advocacy (help report abuse, fair wages, discrimination)
    • Unaccompanied Refugee Minors
      • Have child expert to conduct BIDs during refugee registration process
      • Many from Burma (Chin ethnic group)
      • Pre-teens, but getting younger
      • Not exactly sure how they are getting to Delhi
    • Kutupalong Camps- both official and unofficial Nayapara Camp Leda Site Unofficial Camp
    • Life in the Camps “ Life is not well, we are just suffering well” Refugee woman from Nayapara Camp
    • Registered and Unregistered Refugees
      • Camps for Registered Refugees
      • ______________________
      • Nayapara I
      • Nayapara II
      • (combined approx. 17,000)
      • Kutupalong
      • (approx. 11,000)
      • Sites for Unregistered Refugees
      • ______________________
      • Leda
      • (approx. 13,000)
      • Surrounding area of official camps and scattered in villages throughout Cox’s Bazaar and Teknaf regions
      • (approx. 250,000)
    • Shelter
    • Shelter: Registered camps
      • GOB constructed temporary shelters for the first wave of refugees in 1991.
      • Today, most of the housing maintains its temporary nature and hardly withstands the monsoon season.
      • UNHCR recently began the Shelter Replacement Project to improve conditions.
      • Many refugees extend their small sheds with spare materials that they can find.
    • Shelter: Unregistered Sites “Allah runs the camps, I just build the buildings.” Head of Engineering, Leda Camp
      • Makeshift structures are built with bamboo, plastic sheets and tarp, and corrugated metal, etc.
    • Limited Space
    • Limited Space
      • There is much tension between the registered and unregistered refugees and between the locals and all refugees—much competition for resources.
      • GOB has leveled homes of the unregistered claiming they are getting too close to the official camps.
      • Overcrowding coupled with restrictions of staying within the confines of the camps contributes to low morale.
    • Security
      • Majee system: male refugee, selected by the Camp in Charge, who oversees security. Corruption is rampant.
      • There is much violence—UNHCR is trying to humanize the camps.
      • Women are subject to sexual violence, and even children are being raped.
      • Trafficking, and arranged marriages (described as syndicated) are big concerns.
    • Sanitation
    • Sanitation
      • GOB prohibits permanent structures, therefore latrines are in need of constant repair.
      • Placement of latrines and bath-houses do not consider gender and cultural sensitivities.
      • Limited space makes it difficult to build new latrines and bath-houses.
      • Erosion over the years is a major concern.
    • Water
    • Water
      • Challenges
      • Short supply of water in the tanks
      • Water taps are not open long enough
      • Water pumps are too far away
      • Insufficient containers
      • Alternatives
      • Refugees try to get to a water source outside of the camp
      • Refugees try to dig a pond within the camp
      • Get water from other refugees
      • Get water from villagers
    • Recreation
    • Recreation
      • There are few opportunities for recreation.
      • Women’s and Men’s centers have been established for support groups and activities.
      • Message boards are a place to congregate.
      • Many refugees do not feel useful as they are forced to stay within the confines of the camp and cannot work.
    • UNHCR’s Work in the Camps
      • Bangladesh has not ratified the 1951 UN Convention or the 1967 Protocol
      • UNHCR has an understanding (MOU?) with the Bangladesh Government to help refugees
      • Conducts refugee interviews in each official camp
      • Only allowed to assist registered refugees
        • Able to provide limited assistance, including medical care
        • Government of Bangladesh closed refugee registration in 1992 after 230,000 refugees repatriated to Burma (refoulment) and then fled again to Bangladesh.
      • Work to create structure and stability in the camps
        • “ We try to humanize camps” Stephan Sinclair-Louitt, Head of Sub-Office
      • Programs in camps (work with NGOs)
        • Vocational trainings, health care assistance, counseling, education for children (UNICEF), nutritional assistance, computer lab
          • Centers for both woman and men
    • NGO’s working with the Refugees
      • NGO’s have a fragile relationship with the Government of Bangladesh
        • Some NGOs have been asked to leave Bangladesh and/or refugee camp area when they advocated for change in the refugee situation.
          • Bangladesh is a poor county that needs NGO assistance
      • Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders)
        • Has been serving the Rohingya and the local community since 1992
        • Largest MSF operation
        • Operate a clinic outside of the Kutupalong camp
          • Therapeutic Feeding Center, limited medical care, emergency room, laboratory, immunization for children, impatient care if needed
            • With only 3 doctors and 2 nurse practitioners!
      • “ If we are quiet, no one will know”
      • – Grace, MSF project coordinator at MSF clinic outside of Kutupalong
      • World Food Program
        • In the official camps
        • Provides rice, lentils and cooking oil
          • once or twice a month to
          • each household
      • Islamic Relief/Muslim Aid
        • Helps the unregistered refugees
        • Operates the Leda Camp
          • Shelter, education, medical care, sanitation, water, education, therapeutic feeding center
      • Action Aid
        • Donor agency
        • Works with both refugees and the host community
        • Provides skill training and income generating projects
      • ACF International—Action Against Hunger
        • Works with the unregistered refugees
        • Works closely with MSF
        • Work to provide clean water and sanitation
          • Only allowed to put up temporary structures
        • Provide food
        • Provide counseling
    • Thoughts on Resettlement When We Were There
      • Many NGOs asking the question- --- Where do refugees go from here?
        • Where will the Rohingya be in 10 years?
      • Many refugees being told lies regarding resettlement—fueling hope
        • Locals will say— “give me money and I can get you to become a registered refugee”
      • UNHCR stated they referred 300 refugees to PRM---many cases were not approved for resettlement
        • approval rates have recently changed
        • Voluntary repatriation is not a current option for refugees
      • UN resettled Rohingya to Canada, Australia, and a small number to Ireland.
      • Bangladesh Government is nervous that high numbers of people being resettled will encourage more refugees to flee into Bangladesh.
      • The discussion of resettlement with the Government has been very slow
      • UNHCR continues to work on “bigger picture” solutions to the Rohingya---e.g., encourage Burma to allow the Rohingya citizenship, work with other counties in the region to have influence on Burma.
    • Current Situation
        • GOB is still resistant to registering the unregistered Rohingya.
        • GOB does not promote resettlement for fear that it will be a pull factor for more refugees.
        • GOB placing more restrictions on refugees such as banning cell phones.
        • More and more refugees are indiscriminately being put in prison.
        • Desperate refugees are becoming ‘boat people’ to Malaysia.
        • The U.S. plans to resettle a small number of Rohingya—the most medically needy are being prioritized. Families are coming out of Malaysia and some from Bangladesh may surface in the pipeline.
    • Links to Reports
      • MSF-- http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/publications/article.cfm?id=4270&cat=special-report
      • UNHCR---- http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/page?page=49e487546
      • RCUSA---Refugee International Field Report http://www.rcusa.org/uploads/pdfs/RI%20Rohingya,%20December%202008.pdf
      • USCCB: Report on the Rohingya http://www.usccb.org/mrs/COM_India_Bangladesh_Delegation_TripReport.pdf