APRRN Statement: Stop the Eviction of Rohingyas in Jammu
17 March 2017
Stop the Eviction of Rohingyas in JammuThe Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) urges the Government of India to act immediately to provide protection to Rohingya refugees living in Jammu. Since November 2016, Rohingya living in Jammu have increasingly been subject to a campaign of negative propaganda and actions by local right wing Hindu political party leaders and residents. This includes forced evictions, slow genocidal and hate campaigns, demonstrations, and restrictions on Rohingya attending their places of work.
APRRN recognises and commends India for being a kind host to refugees for centuries, providing them a place of safety and protection. Not only has India provided sanctuary, but it has also played a vital part in enabling and empowering them to contribute to their local communities. It is in this context however that the recent ill-treatment of Rohingyas living in Jammu is very disturbing.
It is well known that the Rohingya are one of the most persecuted groups on earth and have faced decades of ongoing ethnic hate. As a disadvantaged ethnic group in Myanmar, they have fled their country because of severe and targetted ethnic discrimination and have sought safe haven in India. In Jammu, there are currently close to 6000 Rohingyas, with most living in squatters and temporary shelters in deplorable conditions. They are forced to take up difficult, dangerous and poorly paid jobs simply to make ends meet.
On November 26th 2016, a fire in Jammu’s Narwal refugee settlement destroyed several houses and four people including three children died. This incident was the trigger for politicians to put the issue of the Rohingya and their supposed association with militancy into the spotlight despite their being no substantive evidence. Since then, there has been a systematic campaign in Jammu to malign the Rohingya by criminalising them and branding them as a community of lawbreakers and illegal migrants. Under the pretext of local job protection, the Rohingya community are continuously being hounded and evicted from their squatters. Some of them have even been imprisoned and detained under the Public Safety Act without trial or due process. In addition, some radical right wing organisations have also started a villification campaign called “Quit Jammu” that has created an environment of fear and traumatisation.
APRRN raises serious concerns about these developments in Jammu and calls upon the State Government of Jammu and Kashmir and the Government of India to provide necessary protection to this vulnerable population.
APRRN makes the following call for action to the Government of India and the State Government of Jammu and Kashmir:
- Provide protection to all Rohingya living in Jammu and Kashmir and take concrete actions to thwart the malicious campaigns by radical groups.
- Provide safe accommodation for Rohingya in order to prevent fundamentalist groups using the Rohingya population as easy targets.
- Extend the welfare programs of the state that are available for the most vulnerable to the Rohingya as done in some other states in India.
- Immediately release refugees who have been detained under the Public Security Act and are being held without trial.
- Take complete responsibility to provide workshops, pre-employment jobskills training and education to empower the Rohingya population within their borders.
For media enquiries, please contact:
Julia Mayerhofer, Interim Secretary General, Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network