STORY HIGHLIGHTS


Rohingya refugees face uncertain future

CNC
Added On September 13, 2017

When anti-Muslim violence erupted in Myanmar's Rakhine state in 2012, the authorities rounded up men from the Muslim Rohingya minority, many of whom never came home. 
 
The recent violence in Myanmar, and the thousands attempting to escape it, has once again brought the Rohingya community into the headlines. 
 
For more, CNC travelled to meet some who have made it to India.
 
 
As Rakhine's Rohingya villages are burning again— thousands of Rohingya refugees have been forced to flee into India. 
 
Figures show there are over 40,000 Rohingya refugees living in different parts of India.
 
41-year old Mohammad Ilyas is one of them.
 
Ilyas came to Delhi two years ago along with his wife and three kids. His siblings and other relatives are still back home.
 
A few days ago, Ilyas recieved the news that his younger brother had been shot dead. 
 
Since then, he has been cursing his decision to flee. And his head is filled with childhood memories with his brother.
 
With watery eyes, he tells stories of what unfolded back home.
 
SOUNDBITE 1 (Rohingya): MOHAMMAD ILYAS, Rohingya refugee 
"They chase them away. They beat them up with sticks and they shoot them too.... In recent days, they have shot 10-20 people in that vicinity. One of them was my younger brother.... If they escape that place, they can save their life, otherwise, only God can save their life."
 
With the help of locals, Rohingyas started collecting garbage from nearby homes and industries and selling them to a local junk-dealer.
 
18-year old Mahabur Alam arrived India last year. Although, the safety and security for his five-member family was his top priority, he is pleased to be earning as well.
 
Mahabur said this is a new life for him as well as his family after a long dark spell back home. 
  
SOUNDBITE (Hindi): MAHABUR ALAM, Rohingya refugee 
"They are beating people. My brother and my uncle somehow hid in the upper hills to save themselves. I somehow escaped that place and walked miles on foot till Monglo and then we sailed through river. Then we took a bus and arrived in Kolkata."
  
Mahabur has already been given a UNHCR card which he says helps a lot while dealing with local authorities. 
 
SOUNDBITE (Hindi): MAHABUR ALAM, Rohingya Refugee 
"Police catch illegal refugees. But we have been given UNHCR cards. It helps us."  
 
The Indian government believe the true number of Rohingya Muslims sheltering in India is far higher.
 
New Delhi has now decided it does not want the Rohingya — declaring its intention to deport them all. 
 
However, Rohingyas argue that end of violence and restoration of peace back home in Myanmar should be a prerequisite for any such move. 
 
SOUNDBITE1 (Rohingya): MOHAMMAD ILYAS, Rohingya Refugee 
"If the peace is restored then we can go back. And if the same situation continues and they keep killing us, how can we go back?... Wherever UNHCR takes us along, we will go there."
  
India never signed the UN Refugee Convention, which spells out the rights of refugees and the responsibilities of countries.
 
Meanwhile, the UN Refugee Agency is concerned about India's intent to deport Rohingyas but said it hadn't received official notice of such plans.
 
STANDUP (English): ASHWANI UPADHYAY, CNC correspondent 
"They have been tortured. They have been killed. They have no land of their own...quite literally...Rohingyas are today not just homeless but stateless too. Now when the Indian government is exploring all options to deport Rohingyas from India, they are left again with no option."