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Mizzima: UNHCR to resume payment on

UNHCR to resume payment on 28 August

New Delhi, August 25, 2000
Mizzima News Group (www.mizzima.com)

UNHCR office in India yesterday informed the refugees that it would
resume the monthly Subsistence Allowance to refugees for the month of
August on coming Monday. Mr. Augustine Mahiga, Chief of Mission in the
UNHCR office in Delhi informed this in a meeting with delegation of
refugees from Burma.

Yesterday, about three hundred refugees from Burma along with their
supporters from India staged a demonstration in front of UNHCR office on
Lodhi Road, New Delhi with regard to hardships and problems refugees are
undergoing due to delay of subsistence allowance for this month.

Shouting slogans ?We want self-respect?, ?S.A Cut- Unjustified?,
?Inhuman treatment ? Down, Down?, the refugees staged a protest against
the UNHCR office for more than four hours. While the demonstration was
going on, a five-member delegation of the refugees met the UNHCR
officials, including Chief of Mission, to submit their three-page
memorandum and presented their grievances.

Mr. Augustine Mahiga said that UNHCR globally is in a very bad financial
condition, almost in bankruptcy, due to 21% drop in donation for this
year and UNHCR Geneva has circulated notice to all the offices to cut
the expenses by 25%. ?Till yesterday, it (UNHCR India) has money to run
only for five days?, said Mr. Mahiga.

According to him, UNHCR headquarters in Geneva had authorized Delhi
office to resume the Subsistence Allowance for the refugees on 28th
But, he said UNHCR can make payment only for the month of August and the
amount is Indian rupees 1,400 per person, which the refugees have been
complaining loudly for being inadequate to cover their basic needs.

There are about 15,000 refugees from various countries, in Delhi who
have been recognized by UNHCR and these include about 600 refugees from

Citing the reason ?no funds?, UNHCR has withheld all the payments
including monthly allowance, which itself was reduced from Indian rupees
1,550 to 1,400 two months ago.