Other States

Rohingya children to get UNHCR cards in Bengal

The West Bengal government will distribute identity cards issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to Rohigya children lodged in the juvenile justice homes of the State.

The move comes at a time when there are reports that the Union government is planning to deport Rohingyas refugees.

The UNHCR has issued identity cards to the Rohingyas in India so as to shield them from harassment and arbitrary arrests.

The UNHCR says some 16,500 Rohingya from Myanmar are registered with it in India. The UNHCR issues ID cards to registered refugees and documents to asylum-seekers which help to prevent arbitrary arrests, detention and deportation. “The government issues long-term visas to refugees which ease their access to public services and employment in the private sector. Because of some recent changes to the documentation processes, some refugees have reportedly been facing challenges in accessing public services and opening bank accounts... It is important for refugees to have access to employment and basic services. The UNHCR advocates that the long-term visas and refugee cards continue to be recognised to facilitate their access to these services,” the UNHCR India office said in response to questions from The Hindu.


“The UNHCR refugee cards will be given to 24 juveniles who are staying in government homes. Twelve of them are at SMM Home in Liluah,” Ananya Chatterjee Chakraborti, chairperson of the West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights, told The Hindu.

While there are no fixed settlement of Rohingyas in West Bengal, most of them are in prisons. The data available for the period till August 2015 show that 83 Rohingyas, including women and children, are lodged in prisons and 27 had completed their term.

‘Rohingyas: The Emergence of a Stateless Community,’ a report compiled by the Calcutta Research Group and released in February 2016, states that the Rohingyas crossing over to India from Bangladesh preferred the camps in Jammu, Hyderabad and Delhi.

UNHCR representatives had written to West Bengal prison officials on granting refugee cards to the Rohingyas lodged in the prisons. However, this time, it was the State government that approached the UNHCR for providing cards to children kept in juvenile justice homes.

The State government planned to distribute UNHCR “refugee cards” to Rohingya children at SMM Home at Liluah on August 30. But the event was cancelled at the last moment as Minister for Department of Women and Child Development Sashi Panja did not turn up.

Roshni Sen, Secretary of the Women and Child Development Department, refused to comment.

Ms. Ananya Chatterjee Chakraborti said the cards would be distributed in the next few days.

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Printable version | Sep 26, 2021 9:54:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/rohingya-children-to-get-unhcr-cards-in-bengal/article19604066.ece

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