COVA-UNHCR Refugee Project
Understanding Refugees: Their Problems, Conditions and Needs
There are around 22,000 Refugees and Asylum Seekers living in India. In Hyderabad, around 400 Refugees live; few with families and most of them are alone. Families are headed by either father or mother; not knowing the where abouts of the other parent; some of whom may have even been killed in the conflict in their country. It is very rare to see a full family with both the parents. They flee to such countries which they feel are secure with the sole motive of saving their life. Many refugees do not have contact or the information of their dear ones living in their native land. They somehow try to survive in an alien land leaving their homes and dear ones with nurturing the hope of returning some day.
Who is a Refugee?
United Nation 1951 Geneva Convention on the status of Refugees and subsequent 1967 protocol’s article 1 lays down the definition of a refugee: “A person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.”
Miserable Condition of Refugees
Situation of leaving the native land in a distressed condition in order to save one’s life itself is a curse and the discrimination and deprivation faced in the country of Asylum makes their condition miserable. Adverse local conditions and unfamiliarity with the language and the market leaves them with no work. They live in cluttered premises and houses with insufficient amenities and facilities. Being in such miserable conditions, with improper diet on account of lack of finances, being fragile with less resistance they are prone to diseases. Especially, children are the worst affected with improper diet, schooling and Health care.
Under the Protection of UNHCR (United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees)
Only support they have from UNHCR, Delhi is they give one time grant of Rs 2,700 per adult and Rs 800 each for the dependant. They issue a Refugee cerficate which is the only protecting document for them, generally valid for 2 years and renewable in specific intervals.
Most of the Refugees are from war-torn countries like Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritriea, Sudan, and Asian countries like Iran, Iraq, Myanmar and Afghanistan and tend to live in groups in concentrated pockets of Hyderabad in Mahdipatnam, Tolichowki, Saleem nagar, Asifnagar, Mallepalli, Kishanbagh, Hafez Baba Nagar, Balapur, etc….
Vulnerabilities of Refugees
All the Refugees being alien people and on account of their special facial features are easily identifiable. The local job markets with scarce opportunities and intense competition amongst the natives who scramble for the limited openings thereby leave no chance for the Refugees. In this context, the situation of refugees is bad with regard to making a living and worse is of those who are with families and children. Most of them make a living by serving as domestic helps to the foreign students staying in Hyderabad; mostly from the African counties.
Position of Government of India on Refugees
It is well-known that India is an active member of UNO and aspiring for the position of permanent member in Security Council of UNO.Though India is not a signatory to the 1951 UNO convention of Geneva on status of Refugees, it is a member of the Executive Council of UNO.Government of India is allowing Refugees to come and live but not giving them work permits which raises a big question mark about their making a living in India. Now that India became the non permanent member of UN Security Council for a period of two years, let’s hope it would follow the mandate of UNHCR scrupulously ensuring a decent living for refugees during their stay in India.
Let’s be Good Hosts
Till getting viable solutions of Repatriation to their local land or local integration or resettlement to some other country, let’s support them in what ever possible way; in terms of giving education to their children or attending to their health issues or providing them with skills or any other way. In our traditions it is enshrined that a Host must be kind and generous to the guests and hence we should live up to our traditions and provide all help, affection and empathy for the refugees and asylum seekers who have taken shelter in our country to save their lives.
Refugee Facilitation Centre
Jahangirabad, Hyderabad. A.P. 500005
“There is no greater sorrow on earth than the loss of one’s native land” – Euripides
Adopt a Refugee
Appeal for Your Donation for Refugees: Adopt an elder,single, widow women, elder men and orphan refugees- Just Rs.15,000 Can Sustain them for a Year
Just as we are experiencing the blessings of this holy month, millions around the world are facing acute suffering due to the conflicts raging all around us. This is an appeal to you to think about them, pray for their release from misery, their safe return back to their countries and their homes. We also appeal for your personal support to the refugees through your Donations and Zakat- especially the widows, single mothers, orphans and the old aged.
The number of refugees in the world in mid 2014 has crossed 51 million. That is more than the number of refugees during World War II and highest number in history. Given the spread of armed conflicts in different parts of the world- especially the Middle East- these numbers are likely to go up further in the coming years.
India has been providing protection and humanitarian assistance directly to nearly 100,000 Tibetans and 100,000 Sri Lankan refugees (67,000 in camps). In addition, as of 30 November 2013, there are 22,164 refugees and 3804 Asylum Seekers registered with UNHCR in India from over 12 countries that include Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Myanmar, Somalia, Eritrea, Palestine and Yemen.
Most refugees lead a life of abject poverty and deprivation facing multiple problems and challenges from police authorities and security forces on the issue of proper documentation (no passports or visas), shelter, civic amenities (no proper housing, water, electricity or sanitation facilities), education, health and challenges of day to day survival due to difficulty in getting employment or financial support from others. The situation is further complicated due to indifferent or hostile reception from the local communities and no certainty about the future.
Refugees in Hyderabad: There are approximately 2200 refugees/asylum seekers from Myanmar, Somalia and 9 other countries residing in Hyderabad (as in May 2014). This includes Rohingyas from Myanmar (over 1800) Somalis (350) and around 50 refugees from 9 other countries that include Eritrea, Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Palestine and Yemen. It is expected that the number in Hyderabad may go up to 2500 by the end of 2014 and cross 3000 by 2015.
COVA, that is working as a Partner of UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), seeks to ensure that all refugees/asylum seekers in Hyderabad have access to legal protection through registration as refugees or asylum seekers, harmonious relationships with local authorities/communities and access to essential government/charitable services pertaining to survival, education, health and livelihoods.
Situation of Elders and Widows: For any refugee, survival itself is a mammoth every day challenge with no idea or hope for the future but in case of destitute like elders (above 65 years), widows, single women, single mothers and orphans the situation is even worse with extreme and daily deprivations in the most basic requirements like food, shelter, healthcare and security (especially for women).
There are about 128 destitute refugees (119 from Myanmar and 9 from Somalia) residing in Hyderabad that include 49 elders, 56 widows, 15 single mothers, 4 single women and 4 orphans. These people are unable to do any sustained work for livelihood due to old age, illness or social constraints for young widows and single women. Many of them are dependent on the doles and charity from others. As most of their neighbours are themselves refugees, they are themselves deprived and unable to share much or consistently. As a result, most of these destitute people starve and even when they get something to eat, it is generally insufficient and irregular.
Proposal: Adopt a Destitute Refugee
A contribution of Rs. 15,000 per year through Zakat or other contributions can ensure proper food and clothing to one destitute person / family for a year. It is proposed to provide a nutrition kit costing Rs.900 every month that would contain rice, dal, oil and other essentials for a month along with Rs. 300 in cash for purchasing cooking fuel, vegetables etc. The remaining Rs.600 from the contribution of Rs. 15,000 will be used to provide 2 pairs of clothes to the selected person / family.
Profiles of Destitute Refugees in Hyderabad: Brief profiles of some destitute refugees in Hyderabad are attached to provide an idea of their pathetic life situations. Your may adopt any specific family or families or contribute to the common pool to support those that are in most need.
Please click the link to view some profiles – https://drive.google.com/
Please contribute your Donations and Zakat generously and adopt as many Destitute Persons as Possible. Please also forward this appeal to all your contacts for their personal donations and zakat.
You can send your contributions in cash, cheque or through bank transfer. Receipts will be issued for all contributions. Indian citizens can avail tax exemptions as COVA is registered under Sec. 80(G) of the Income Tax Act, Government of India.
COVA BANK ACCOUNT DETAILS
FOR INDIAN DONATIONS
|Account Title||COVA INDIAN FUNDS|
|Account No.||3031 201 0086363|
|Account Type||Savings Bank|
|Branch||Shah Ali Banda|
|Address||20-4-194/7, Near Asha Talkies, Shah Ali Banda|
FOR FOREIGN DONATIONS
|Account Title||CONFEDERATION OF VOLUNTARY ASSOCIATIONS|
|Account No.||3031 201 0063285|
|Account Type||Savings Bank|
|Branch||Shah Ali Banda|
|Address||20-4-194/7, Near Asha Talkies, Shah Ali Banda|
NOTE: Donations in Indian Funds Account will get the 50% Tax Exemption Under Section 80 G of Income Tax Act for Indian Citizens.
About COVA Refugee Facilitation Center:
COVA is a national network of organisations, based in Hyderabad, Telangana, dedicated to promoting social harmony, peace and justice through direct programme implementation and by networking with other civil society organizations. Since October 2010 COVA has worked with UNHCR, as its implementing partner and has established a `Refugee Facilitation Centre’ (RFC) to enhance protection and well- being of refugees/asylum seekers. The RFC facilitates access of refugees and asylum seekers living in Hyderabad to government as well as non-governmental services with respect to legal protection, registration, legal aid, health/nutrition, education, vocational trainings, jobs and recreational/cultural opportunities, interacting with local population and assistance during medical and personal emergencies etc