October 23, 2002
We, the Burmese asylum seekers, are organizing an indefinite demonstration in front of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Office in New Delhi until our appeal for refugee status is met. The demonstration is being taken place from Wednesday (23 October 2002) at UNHCR Office: No. 14, Jor Bagh, New Delhi-110003, India.
We left our homes, nears and dears due to human rights abuses committed by the ruling military junta in Burma. Although we have approached the UNHCR Office for the last several months, we still do not get the recognition and protection from the UNHCR. In some cases, UNHCR has rejected our appeals without careful consideration.
We are exceedingly disappointed over the rejection of our appeals without careful consideration on the information we provided during our interviews and over-delaying of further processing our cases without no proper grounds by the UNCHR.
We are badly concerned for our security because we do not have any legal document or refugee status (of UNHCR), which could lead us to the repatriation to the hands of military generals since India is not a signatory to the 1951 convention on Refugees.
As you are aware, Burma is now widely notorious through out the world for its gross violations of basic human rights under the military regime. The country is ruled by highly repressive, outrageous and authoritarian military regime. Since the armed forces took the State power in 1988 after killing thousands of Burmese peaceful demonstrators, who demanded the end of 26- year old Ne Win-led regime and bring about democracy and human rights in Burma, the gross violations of human rights against its civilians rampantly committed by the successive generals continuously unabated which resulted in thousands of Burmese peoples fleeing our own country.
The violations of human rights under their cruel policy of ethnic cleansing especially in Kachin and Chin areas include forced labor, pottering, forced relocations, extortion, systematic use of rape against women as a weapon of war, religious persecution, forced conversion from Christianity to Buddhism, harassment, torture and arrests of Christian leaders.
All these mentioned problems and the increased political turmoil inside Burma caused us fled our country in seeking a legal protection from UNHCR.
Therefore, we urge the UNHCR officials to consider the following appeals:
To immediately recognize us as we believe we fall under the mandate of refugee status enshrined in 1951 convention,
To speedily process our cases and declare our result soon,
To reconsider all rejected cases and arrange re-interviews soon
To treat us equal with respect by interviewing officials during our interviews and cease to intimidate us
To brief our date of interview, registrations and bring an end to over-delaying our cases from further processing.
If these demands are not met, we would take an indefinite hunger strike. We would like to request the people of India, international community and the media in particular to intervene with UNHCR urgently.
Burmese Asylum Seekers
New Delhi, India