Saturday, July 13, 2024

GNF appeals Nagaland Govt to provide humanitarian aid to Myanmar refugees

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Dimapur, March 31: The Global Naga Forum (GNF) has urged Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, and Nagaland Government, to provide humanitarian aid to Myanmar refugees (among whom are Nagas) fleeing the military junta and are in desperate need of food, shelter, and safety.

In a letter to the Chief Minister on Wednesday, the forum asserted that regardless of the “complex political alignments going on at the national, regional, and global levels since the tragic turn of events began in Myanmar mid-February”, they were writing about a most urgent non-political issue.
“As you know, Myanmar citizens who participated in the Civil Disobedience Movement for restoration of democracy are being forced to flee their country because they face a minimum of ten years imprisonment or the death penalty. Among those wanted for such cruel and inhuman punishment are Nagas, including elected Naga members of parliament, who are forced to hide in the jungles. During times of desperation like they are in now, we don’t need to recite the historical and cultural reasons to help fellow Nagas in solidarity, as well as other refugees. Not to come to their aid would be simply unconscionable on the part of any government on the Indo-Myanmar border,” the letter read.
The inaction of the Indian government in this case is painful and inhumane, it stated while maintaining that political relation with another country is one thing and humanitarian obligation to people fleeing for their lives, quite another.
India may not be a signatory to the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees, but as a signatory to UN treaties on human rights, it has the moral and international civic obligation to respect and protect the human rights of people confronted with torture and cruel and inhuman treatment for political reasons, the GNF stated.
In the past, India has welcomed hundreds of thousands of refugees from several countries in the region – Tibetan, Chakma, Hajong, Burmese and Afghan refugees, it pointed out.
“Further, as human rights lawyers have successfully argued, these same human rights are also protected by the Indian constitution under Articles 14 & 21 applied in tandem. On this count, the decision of the Mizoram government to provide temporary shelter to the refugees at its border is admirable. This is what self-respecting, responsible governments do in civilized societies of the world. In short, in light of UN sanctioned human rights, which are consonant with provisions in the Indian constitution, as well as the ‘non-refoulement’ provision under international refugee law, we fervently and urgently appeal to your good offices to facilitate the safety of refugees from Myanmar at our border by providing temporary refuge on humanitarian grounds,” the forum appealed.
(Page News Service)