There are high hopes for a more peaceful, stable, and safe Burma with the outcome of the 2012 elections held this month. However, despite increased optimism, the situation in Burma continues to be a neglected humanitarian crises in the international realm and we must take a look at and address the reality that this country and its people face. Currently, an estimated 100,000 Burmese are known to be living in India. An additional 40,000 to 50,000 are known to have sought refuge in nearby countries including Thailand and Malaysia. Well over a million Burmese are internally displaced. Overall, three million people over the decades of political unrest, ethnic rivalries, and economic stagnation are reported to have been displaced.
The UNHCR has been investigating the current situation of refugees in Mizoram, India and have found that the conditions there are extremely poor. It was found that the Burmese experience extreme social persecution for being immigrants. They are unable to obtain jobs, find shelter, and receive refugee status; thus, they continue to be without protection. Still, although the situation is very grim in India, the Burmese that were interviewed claimed that their current situation is far better than living in Burma.
Until the Burmese government meets the needs of their people, these refugees deserve protection, guidance, and the resources necessary for survival.
Refugees International Japan has been supporting Burmese refugees through the program “Human Rights Program from Burmese Refugees.” This program was developed to raise leaders that will promote and educate the community on human rights, which will then contribute to political change and social stability. Another RIJ-sponsored program, “Educational Support for Karenni Further Studies Program”will provide children and young adults to receive formal education in English, Maths, Science, Computer Operations and Social Studies, as well as other subjects like Leadership and Management to build their capacity to take up future leadership and managerial roles, and ultimately, rebuild their lives.
Donations to RIJ’s programs in Burma are greatly appreciated.
Click here to read Jane Best’s visit report of her trip to the Thai-Burma border in 2009
Article by Alisha
Edited by Kanako