Rohingya Presentation for The LIRS Network

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Fact Finding Trip to India and Bangladesh:
Rohingya Refugees
By:
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

  1. 1. Fact Finding Trip to India and Bangladesh:Fact Finding Trip to India and Bangladesh: ~Rohingya Refugees~~Rohingya Refugees~ September 2009September 2009 Amy Marchildon—Lutheran Social Services of NEAmy Marchildon—Lutheran Social Services of NE Susan Anderson—Lutheran Family Services of ColoradoSusan Anderson—Lutheran Family Services of Colorado James Horan—Lutheran Family Services of ColoradoJames Horan—Lutheran Family Services of Colorado ““I have a small request, give our message to the world” –Rohingya refugeeI have a small request, give our message to the world” –Rohingya refugee
  2. 2. Brief History of the RohingyaBrief History of the Rohingya • Who are the Rohingya?Who are the Rohingya? • Why are they considered stateless?Why are they considered stateless? • Why they fled to BangladeshWhy they fled to Bangladesh • WhenWhen • Camps establishedCamps established • Difference between the official UNDifference between the official UN camps and the “unofficial” campscamps and the “unofficial” camps
  3. 3. Urban Refugees in DelhiUrban Refugees in Delhi Visit with UNHCRVisit with UNHCR  India has not ratified the 1951 UN Convention or the 1967 ProtocolIndia has not ratified the 1951 UN Convention or the 1967 Protocol • UNHCR states India has a history of giving shelter to refugee and asylum seekersUNHCR 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 residencyIf meet criteria, refugees and asylum seekers may be able to receive residency permitspermits  UNHCR states there are approximately 12,000 registered refugeesUNHCR states there are approximately 12,000 registered refugees in Delhiin Delhi •Unexpected increase from year before—number continues to increaseUnexpected increase from year before—number continues to increase •Afghan (of Hindu or Sikh faith)—have path towards citizenship if meet criteriaAfghan (of Hindu or Sikh faith)—have path towards citizenship if meet criteria •Burma populations—continue to increase in numbersBurma populations—continue to increase in numbers ChinChin KachinKachin BurmeseBurmese KarenKaren Rohingya (small number)Rohingya (small number) •SomaliSomali •PalestiniansPalestinians •IraqiIraqi •Eritrean, Iranian, SudaneseEritrean, Iranian, Sudanese  Asylum seekers---increase throughout the past few yearsAsylum seekers---increase throughout the past few years •Same populations as refugee groups, plus Tibetan and Sri LankanSame populations as refugee groups, plus Tibetan and Sri Lankan  Refugees resettled to Norway, Sweden, US and CanadaRefugees resettled to Norway, Sweden, US and Canada •Internal Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) was OPE in Delhi, now IOMInternal Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) was OPE in Delhi, now IOM
  4. 4.  India hasn’t “pushed back” on agencies helping refugeesIndia hasn’t “pushed back” on agencies helping refugees  India is struggling to help all people in needIndia is struggling to help all people in need  UNHCR works with partners to provide assistanceUNHCR works with partners to provide assistance  YMCA, Don Bosco, Socio Legal Information CenterYMCA, Don Bosco, Socio Legal Information Center  Housing assistanceHousing assistance  Minimal financial assistanceMinimal financial assistance  Access to health services and education resourcesAccess to health services and education resources  Youth ClubsYouth Clubs  Income generating activitiesIncome generating activities  Vocational trainingVocational training
  5. 5. UNHCR’s Refugee Women’s Protection ClinicUNHCR’s Refugee Women’s Protection Clinic  Funded by the Australian GovernmentFunded by the Australian Government  Established to help refugee women from BurmaEstablished to help refugee women from Burma  All different ethnic groups from Burma, but majorityAll different ethnic groups from Burma, but majority are Chinare Chin  Most women have suffered abuse and/or are widowsMost women have suffered abuse and/or are widows  Motto— “Every Voice Heard”Motto— “Every Voice Heard”  Safe space to talk about issuesSafe space to talk about issues  Concerned about their childrenConcerned about their children  Education, health, transportation and financialEducation, health, transportation and financial assistanceassistance  Vocational training and income generatingVocational training and income generating activities, e.g., weaving and selling foodactivities, e.g., weaving and selling food  Advocacy (help report abuse, fair wages,Advocacy (help report abuse, fair wages, discrimination)discrimination)
  6. 6. Unaccompanied Refugee MinorsUnaccompanied Refugee Minors  Have child expert to conduct BIDs duringHave child expert to conduct BIDs during refugee registration processrefugee registration process  Many from Burma (Chin ethnic group)Many from Burma (Chin ethnic group)  Pre-teens, but getting youngerPre-teens, but getting younger  Not exactly sure how they are getting toNot exactly sure how they are getting to DelhiDelhi
  7. 7. Kutupalong Camps- both official and unofficial Nayapara Camp Leda Site Unofficial Camp
  8. 8. Life in the CampsLife in the Camps ““Life is not well, we are just suffering well”Life is not well, we are just suffering well” Refugee woman from Nayapara CampRefugee woman from Nayapara Camp
  9. 9. Registered and UnregisteredRegistered and Unregistered RefugeesRefugees Camps for RegisteredCamps for Registered RefugeesRefugees ____________________________________________  Nayapara INayapara I  Nayapara IINayapara II (combined approx. 17,000)(combined approx. 17,000)  KutupalongKutupalong (approx. 11,000)(approx. 11,000) Sites for UnregisteredSites for Unregistered RefugeesRefugees ____________________________________________  LedaLeda (approx. 13,000)(approx. 13,000)  Surrounding area ofSurrounding area of official camps andofficial camps and scattered in villagesscattered in villages throughout Cox’s Bazaarthroughout Cox’s Bazaar and Teknaf regionsand Teknaf regions (approx. 250,000)(approx. 250,000)
  10. 10. ShelterShelter
  11. 11. Shelter: Registered campsShelter: Registered camps  GOB constructed temporary shelters for the firstGOB constructed temporary shelters for the first wave of refugees in 1991.wave of refugees in 1991.  Today, most of the housing maintains itsToday, most of the housing maintains its temporary nature and hardly withstands thetemporary nature and hardly withstands the monsoon season.monsoon season.  UNHCR recently began the ShelterUNHCR recently began the Shelter Replacement Project to improve conditions.Replacement Project to improve conditions.  Many refugees extend their small sheds withMany refugees extend their small sheds with spare materials that they can find.spare materials that they can find.
  12. 12. Shelter: Unregistered SitesShelter: Unregistered Sites “Allah runs the camps, I just build the buildings.” Head of“Allah runs the camps, I just build the buildings.” Head of Engineering, Leda CampEngineering, Leda Camp  Makeshift structures are built withMakeshift structures are built with bamboo, plastic sheets and tarp,bamboo, plastic sheets and tarp, and corrugated metal, etc.and corrugated metal, etc.
  13. 13. Limited SpaceLimited Space
  14. 14. Limited SpaceLimited Space  There is much tension between the registeredThere is much tension between the registered and unregistered refugees and between theand unregistered refugees and between the locals and all refugees—much competition forlocals and all refugees—much competition for resources.resources.  GOB has leveled homes of the unregisteredGOB has leveled homes of the unregistered claiming they are getting too close to the officialclaiming they are getting too close to the official camps.camps.  Overcrowding coupled with restrictions ofOvercrowding coupled with restrictions of staying within the confines of the campsstaying within the confines of the camps contributes to low morale.contributes to low morale.
  15. 15. SecuritySecurity  Majee system: male refugee, selected by theMajee system: male refugee, selected by the Camp in Charge, who oversees security.Camp in Charge, who oversees security. Corruption is rampant.Corruption is rampant.  There is much violence—UNHCR is trying toThere is much violence—UNHCR is trying to humanize the camps.humanize the camps.  Women are subject to sexual violence, and evenWomen are subject to sexual violence, and even children are being raped.children are being raped.  Trafficking, and arranged marriages (describedTrafficking, and arranged marriages (described as syndicated) are big concerns.as syndicated) are big concerns.
  16. 16. SanitationSanitation
  17. 17. SanitationSanitation  GOB prohibits permanent structures,GOB prohibits permanent structures, therefore latrines are in need of constanttherefore latrines are in need of constant repair.repair.  Placement of latrines and bath-houses doPlacement of latrines and bath-houses do not consider gender and culturalnot consider gender and cultural sensitivities.sensitivities.  Limited space makes it difficult to buildLimited space makes it difficult to build new latrines and bath-houses.new latrines and bath-houses.  Erosion over the years is a major concern.Erosion over the years is a major concern.
  18. 18. WaterWater
  19. 19. WaterWater ChallengesChallenges  Short supply of waterShort supply of water in the tanksin the tanks  Water taps are notWater taps are not open long enoughopen long enough  Water pumps are tooWater pumps are too far awayfar away  Insufficient containersInsufficient containers AlternativesAlternatives  Refugees try to get toRefugees try to get to a water sourcea water source outside of the campoutside of the camp  Refugees try to dig aRefugees try to dig a pond within the camppond within the camp  Get water from otherGet water from other refugeesrefugees  Get water fromGet water from villagersvillagers
  20. 20. RecreationRecreation
  21. 21. RecreationRecreation  There are few opportunities for recreation.There are few opportunities for recreation.  Women’s and Men’s centers have beenWomen’s and Men’s centers have been established for support groups andestablished for support groups and activities.activities.  Message boards are a place toMessage boards are a place to congregate.congregate.  Many refugees do not feel useful as theyMany refugees do not feel useful as they are forced to stay within the confines ofare forced to stay within the confines of the camp and cannot work.the camp and cannot work.
  22. 22. UNHCR’s Work in the CampsUNHCR’s Work in the Camps  Bangladesh has not ratified the 1951 UNBangladesh has not ratified the 1951 UN Convention or the 1967 ProtocolConvention or the 1967 Protocol  UNHCR has an understanding (MOU?) with theUNHCR has an understanding (MOU?) with the Bangladesh Government to help refugeesBangladesh Government to help refugees  Conducts refugee interviews in each officialConducts refugee interviews in each official campcamp
  23. 23. •Only allowed to assist registeredOnly allowed to assist registered refugeesrefugees •Able to provide limited assistance,Able to provide limited assistance, including medical careincluding medical care •Government of Bangladesh closedGovernment of Bangladesh closed refugee registration in 1992 afterrefugee registration in 1992 after 230,000 refugees repatriated to230,000 refugees repatriated to Burma (refoulment) and then fledBurma (refoulment) and then fled again to Bangladesh.again to Bangladesh.
  24. 24.  Work to create structure and stability inWork to create structure and stability in the campsthe camps  ““We try to humanize camps” Stephan Sinclair-We try to humanize camps” Stephan Sinclair- Louitt, Head of Sub-OfficeLouitt, Head of Sub-Office  Programs in camps (work with NGOs)Programs in camps (work with NGOs)  Vocational trainings, health care assistance,Vocational trainings, health care assistance, counseling, education for children (UNICEF),counseling, education for children (UNICEF), nutritional assistance, computer labnutritional assistance, computer lab  Centers for both woman and menCenters for both woman and men
  25. 25. NGO’s working with the RefugeesNGO’s working with the Refugees  NGO’s have a fragile relationship with theNGO’s have a fragile relationship with the Government of BangladeshGovernment of Bangladesh  Some NGOs have been asked to leaveSome NGOs have been asked to leave Bangladesh and/or refugee camp area whenBangladesh and/or refugee camp area when they advocated for change in the refugeethey advocated for change in the refugee situation.situation.  Bangladesh is a poor county that needs NGOBangladesh is a poor county that needs NGO assistanceassistance
  26. 26.  Medecins Sans Frontieres (DoctorsMedecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders)without Borders)  Has been serving the Rohingya and the localHas been serving the Rohingya and the local community since 1992community since 1992  Largest MSF operationLargest MSF operation  Operate a clinic outside of the KutupalongOperate a clinic outside of the Kutupalong campcamp  Therapeutic Feeding Center, limited medical care,Therapeutic Feeding Center, limited medical care, emergency room, laboratory, immunization foremergency room, laboratory, immunization for children, impatient care if neededchildren, impatient care if needed  With only 3 doctors and 2 nurse practitioners!With only 3 doctors and 2 nurse practitioners! ““If we are quiet, no one will know”If we are quiet, no one will know” ––Grace, MSF project coordinator at MSF clinic outside of KutupalongGrace, MSF project coordinator at MSF clinic outside of Kutupalong
  27. 27. •World Food ProgramWorld Food Program •In the official campsIn the official camps •Provides rice, lentils and cooking oilProvides rice, lentils and cooking oil once or twice a month toonce or twice a month to each householdeach household •Islamic Relief/Muslim AidIslamic Relief/Muslim Aid •Helps the unregistered refugeesHelps the unregistered refugees •Operates the Leda CampOperates the Leda Camp •Shelter, education, medical care,Shelter, education, medical care, sanitation, water, education, therapeuticsanitation, water, education, therapeutic feeding centerfeeding center
  28. 28.  Action AidAction Aid  Donor agencyDonor agency  Works with both refugees and the host communityWorks with both refugees and the host community  Provides skill training and income generating projectsProvides skill training and income generating projects  ACF International—Action Against HungerACF International—Action Against Hunger  Works with the unregistered refugeesWorks with the unregistered refugees  Works closely with MSFWorks closely with MSF  Work to provide clean water and sanitationWork to provide clean water and sanitation  Only allowed to put up temporary structuresOnly allowed to put up temporary structures  Provide foodProvide food  Provide counselingProvide counseling
  29. 29. Thoughts on Resettlement When We Were ThereThoughts on Resettlement When We Were There  Many NGOs asking the question-Many NGOs asking the question-------Where doWhere do refugees go from here?refugees go from here?  Where will the Rohingya be in 10 years?Where will the Rohingya be in 10 years?  Many refugees being told lies regardingMany refugees being told lies regarding resettlement—fueling hoperesettlement—fueling hope  Locals will say— “give me money and I can get you toLocals will say— “give me money and I can get you to become a registered refugee”become a registered refugee”  UNHCR stated they referred 300 refugees toUNHCR stated they referred 300 refugees to PRM---many cases were not approved forPRM---many cases were not approved for resettlementresettlement  approval rates have recently changedapproval rates have recently changed  Voluntary repatriation is not a current option forVoluntary repatriation is not a current option for refugeesrefugees
  30. 30.  UN resettled Rohingya to Canada, Australia, andUN resettled Rohingya to Canada, Australia, and a small number to Ireland.a small number to Ireland.  Bangladesh Government is nervous that highBangladesh Government is nervous that high numbers of people being resettled willnumbers of people being resettled will encourage more refugees to flee intoencourage more refugees to flee into Bangladesh.Bangladesh.  The discussion of resettlement with theThe discussion of resettlement with the Government has been very slowGovernment has been very slow  UNHCR continues to work on “bigger picture”UNHCR continues to work on “bigger picture” solutions to the Rohingya---e.g., encouragesolutions to the Rohingya---e.g., encourage Burma to allow the Rohingya citizenship, workBurma to allow the Rohingya citizenship, work with other counties in the region to havewith other counties in the region to have influence on Burma.influence on Burma.
  31. 31. Current SituationCurrent Situation • GOB is still resistant to registering the unregisteredGOB is still resistant to registering the unregistered Rohingya.Rohingya. • GOB does not promote resettlement for fear that itGOB does not promote resettlement for fear that it will be a pull factor for more refugees.will be a pull factor for more refugees. • GOB placing more restrictions on refugees such asGOB placing more restrictions on refugees such as banning cell phones.banning cell phones. • More and more refugees are indiscriminately beingMore and more refugees are indiscriminately being put in prison.put in prison. • Desperate refugees are becoming ‘boat people’ toDesperate refugees are becoming ‘boat people’ to Malaysia.Malaysia. • The U.S. plans to resettle a small number ofThe U.S. plans to resettle a small number of Rohingya—the most medically needy are beingRohingya—the most medically needy are being prioritized. Families are coming out of Malaysia andprioritized. Families are coming out of Malaysia and some from Bangladesh may surface in the pipeline.some from Bangladesh may surface in the pipeline.
  32. 32. Links to ReportsLinks to Reports  MSF--MSF-- http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/publications/arhttp://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/publications/ar  UNHCR----UNHCR---- http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/page?page=49http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/page?page=49  RCUSA---Refugee International Field ReportRCUSA---Refugee International Field Report http://www.rcusa.org/uploads/pdfs/RI%20Rohingya,%http://www.rcusa.org/uploads/pdfs/RI%20Rohingya,%  USCCB: Report on the RohingyaUSCCB: Report on the Rohingya http://www.usccb.org/mrs/COM_India_Bangladesh_Dhttp://www.usccb.org/mrs/COM_India_Bangladesh_D

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