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Myanmar people have been given a ‘safe way’ to Delhi to seek protection at the UN | Refugee Stories


Information, Manipur, India – Seven people from Myanmar, including three journalists from a news conference in Yangon, are due to travel to New Delhi to meet with the Indian office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) after a court hearing northeast of Manipur their passage Monday.

Seven people from Myanmar were “hiding” in Moreh, a border town in Manipur in Tengnoupal state, for several weeks before arriving at the Imphal state capital on April 21 to follow a court order for temporary protection.

The seven are among hundreds of Myanmar nationals, including police, soldiers and lawmakers, who are seeking refuge in India’s Manipur and Mizoram camps after fleeing a terrorist attack on February 1 this year.

Many of those who fled were members of the anti-coup Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM), which has been protesting against the return of civilian government to Myanmar.

More than 750 demonstrators have been killed in the operation, according to reports, although armed groups continue to clash with the military government.

In their ruling on Monday, judges in the Manipur Supreme Court distinguished between migrants and refugees.

“They did not enter our country with the intent and intention of violating our domestic laws. They have fled the country from which they risked their lives and their rights,” the judges said.

Based on media reports from Myanmar, the judges said there was no doubt that the people of Myanmar, affiliated with the Mizzima Media Organization, could be at risk for their lives and be relieved if they returned “.

“The Court considers it appropriate and appropriate to provide protection under Article 21 of the Constitution for these seven Myanmarans and to allow them to travel to New Delhi for protection at the UNHCR,” he said, urging governments in New Delhi and Manipur to assist in their visit.

Senior human rights lawyer Nandita Haksar filed the request on behalf of seven Myanmar nationals, saying they could return to their homeland of Myanmar with the Assam Rifles, a militant group defending the Indian-Myanmar border.

Among them are Sit Thau Aung, a 43-year-old filmmaker, Chin San Lun, a webmaster, Pau Khan Thawn, a webmaster, his wife and three children.

Haksar also cited a March 10 letter issued by the Indian Interior Ministry to the border between Myanmar and the Assam Rifles, urging them to monitor the number of “migrants” from Myanmar.

The letter states that India has not signed the United Nations Refugee Convention of 1951 or its 1967 protocol and has therefore not been compelled to provide Myanmar citizens with accommodation.

On Monday Haksar told Al Jazeera that he would soon board a flight to New Delhi.

“They wanted to go to Delhi and we hope they will get a UNHCR certificate,” he said, adding that the agency is pushing for the availability of city registrants to meet their demands.

A Myanmar citizen in an undisclosed location in Mizoram province in India [File: Sadiq Naqvi/Al Jazeera]

Thawn and his wife fled to India in 2007 during the Saffron Revolution in Myanmar, at Haksar’s request, and court orders. He returned after a change of heart in Myanmar.

The saffron revolution was a series of demonstrations in 2007, triggered by rising oil prices but which soon became a movement against the military. Buddhist monks were at the forefront of the protests, so the name saffron came from their costumes.

In March this year, when things went awry in Myanmar and the military began seizing rival journalists, Thawn, along with his family and friends, packed their bags to flee.

After a two-day bus journey and a short trek through the mountains, the seven crossed the border and arrived in Moreh on March 22.

“There was a ban on journalists. The military had begun arresting journalists, “Aung told Al Jazeera, explaining how he had survived. He also said he was part of a group of soldiers who wanted journalists and said there was a right to be considered.

Aung and his friends wrote about what happened in February. Aung said: “We were worried about it.”

On March 8, the military revoked Mizzima’s license to publish and broadcast.

“They shot our headquarters in Yangon on March 9 and took everything they found,” Soe Myint, founder of Mizzima, told an email in Al Jazeera where it was not immediately known.

Myint said he was also active in the 1988 struggle for democracy against the military government, which had brutally crushed them. In 1990, he was one of the two for a Thai Airways flight that was diverted to the Indian city of Kolkata.

The pair asked the police to allow them to speak at a press conference to tell the world what was happening in Burma (Myanmar’s old name).

Myint later founded a publishing house in Mizzima in 1998 in New Delhi where he lives as a refugee.

Myint said three Mizzima journalists were arrested in February and March, while three others who had worked, including a fellow founder and wife of Myint Thin Ain Aung, were abducted on April 8.

A group of Myanmar citizens claiming to be police in an undisclosed location in Mizoram [File: Sadiq Naqvi/Al Jazeera]

Meanwhile, Moreh, a small town on the border, continues to dominate more than 1,000 Myanmar citizens, mostly from the Sagaing Division where violent clashes between rivals and the military took place.

Tamu, a town near Moreh, has been quiet for the past few days, according to Jangman Haokip, president of the Hill Tribal Council, an organization representing the tribal section of the region based in Manipur.

“But people are still afraid. They don’t want to go back, ”he said. “The government and the government need to take action on behalf of the people.”

Locals complain that the federal government has not provided any assistance and has left it to local agencies to care for Myanmar citizens.

In nearby Mizoram, Myanmar’s asylum seekers have grown to more than 3,000, according to local agencies.

Manipur’s Supreme Court order has boosted the hopes of many Myanmar residents to flee to India.

Bernard L Chhangte, President of the United for Democratic Myanmar NGO, an umbrella group of more than 20 international organizations involved in helping Myanmar’s citizens in Mizoram, said they were learning what the court had ordered and deciding what to do.

“We can also note that although India does not have clear laws to protect refugees, it does provide refuge for many refugees from neighboring countries. India often honors UNHCR recognition for those seeking refuge, especially those from Afghanistan and Myanmar, “the Supreme Court in Manipur said.

Haksar hopes India will provide security for “real refugees”.

“The significance of the law is that the high court differentiated between refugees and refugees. This is the most important difference. Anyone who is a refugee should apply the law, ”he said.


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