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Mizzima: Eminent personnel of India

Eminent personnel of India appeal for support to Burmese refugees

New Delhi, August 24, 2000
Mizzima News Group

Some eminent personnel of India have appealed to the people of India and
non-governmental organizations to extend emergency assistance to the
refugees from Burma, who are in immediate need of basic rations. About
eight hundred refugees from Burma, who are living in New Delhi are
facing economic hardship due to a delay in the monthly subsistence
allowance being paid to them by the office of United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in India. These Burmese refugees have
been in exile in India since 1988 after the military coup in Burma.

Though it is 24th today, UNHCR office has not paid the monthly
allowance, which in itself was reduced from Indian rupees 1,550 to 1,400
(US $ 32) two months ago. Among the eight hundred Burmese refugees in
Delhi, there are at least a hundred children.

In the appeal letter, the signatories have said that it is shocking to
see the refugees from Burma who are victims of one of the worst human
rights violations in history should be denied even this paltry
humanitarian assistance.

"They have no possible alternative means of buying basic rations or
paying for the rent of their house", said the appeal letter. The
landlords evict some refugees while children cannot pay their due fee on
time and there are even families who are starving, as they have no
support whatsoever.

The prominent personnel of India have appealed to all individuals and
organizations that are committed to the values of democracy and human
rights to donate generously to the refugees from Burma.

These include noted journalist and Member of Parliament Mr. Kuldip
Nayar, well-known Gandhian Ms. Nirmala Deshpande, noted social activist
Swami Agnivesh, eminent socialist leader Mr. Surendra Mohan, journalist
Mr. Gautam Navalakha, and Ms. Jaya Jaitly, women rights activist and
president of Samata Party, which is a partner in the ruling coalition
government in India.