New Delhi, India – They cannot legally work, nor send their children to school. They are at risk of exploitation, abuse – even caning. They are the 80,000 asylum seekers and refugees who have fled their homeland for India.
Harassed by police and pushed into the shadows, there are harrowing tales of months spent in detention with little food and water, the threat of violence ever present.
The immigrants are met on daily the different mistreatment of refugees in India has sparked a parliamentary debate and an investigation by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
The documentary – INDIA’S Unwanted – exposed allegations of abuse of refugees by Indians authorities and claims of corruption within the UNHCR.
The different Refugees experienced detention centre, where refugees were chained and handcuffed. Refugees said they had been beaten, starved and exploited by authorities.
“The hardest thing I faced in jail was being forced to take my clothes off and then being beaten, slapped and kicked in front of others,” Mahad detainee said.
In India, refugees have no legal protection because the country has not signed the UN Convention recognizing refugees. This means they can be arrested at any time and taken to one of the country’s detention centers. New Delhi has one of the world’s largest urban populations of refugees and asylum seekers, with about 80,000.
The documentary also unearthed claims that UNHCR staff was involved in corrupt dealings. An illegal trade in UNHCR registration cards perpetrated by local UNHCR representatives was discovered. UNHCR said it was investigating the allegations.
UNHCR said it had long been concerned about allegations of mistreatment of asylum seekers in immigration detention centers. It said these issues were being raised directly with the Indian government in bilateral discussions. UNHCR said closer cooperation between the agency and the Indian government was needed.
The most sad of the Refugees when they need in intensive care and they can not entering the Hospital without identity and some hospitals does not recognized the Refugees card, even in India you cannot make it rental agreement and if you come from Africa it is very difficult to get a rental house in India.
|The Indian immigration police see us as just refugees, not human|
At least 80,000 asylum seekers and refugees who have fled their homelands for India But instead of finding sanctuary, all too often what awaits them is abuse and exploitation – even at the hands of authorities.
Pursued by government intent on stemming the influx of migrants, refugees say the UN’s refugee agency is also failing them.
India has refused to sign the UN Convention on Refugees, meaning that those who come here must register with the UNHCR and have their claims of asylum certified before they can join long waiting lists to move to another country.
Often it can take a decade. They live in fear of the police, who they say regularly demand money in exchange for not hauling them off to detention centers notorious for abuse.
Forbidden from working or sending their children to school, it is a fragile existence for many as they struggle to survive in society’s shadows.
By:Kassim Isse Dhuhulow (Mr.blackgold),
Freelance Journalist and advocate for Somali Community in India.