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Set up ‘compact’ camps for Myanmar nationals, Young Mizo Association tells Mizoram govt

The Young Mizo Association (YMA) has urged the state government to set up suitable relief camps in a compact area for around 30,500 Myanmar nationals.

Majority of around 30,500 Myanmar refugees including 11,798 children and 10,047 women are sheltered in over 156 camps in all the 11 districts in Mizoram while a large number of them took shelter in the relatives’ houses, community, centers, rented houses, government buildings and shelter houses set up by various NGOs including the YMA, northeast India’s one of the largest NGOs.

The YMA General Secretary Lalnuntluanga said that the organisation during a general conference held on Thursday adopted a resolution to approach the state government for the establishment of proper and compact relief camps for the Myanmar refugees to avoid their scattered living across the state.

He said that the delegates in the conference have observed that currently the Myanmar nationals are being kept and scattered in various relief camps, villages and different houses in all parts of the state and these might create serious problems in near future.

The military seized power on February 1 last year, detaining the country’s elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and members of her government. A one-year state of emergency has been declared in Myanmar where power is assumed by Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.

Union Home Ministry earlier had sent out an advisory earlier to four north eastern states — Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh that the states and Union Territories have no power to grant “refugee” status to any foreigner, and India is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention of 1951 and its 1967 Protocol.

The majority of those who have taken shelter belong to the Chin community, also known as the Zo community, who share the same ancestry, ethnicity and culture as the Mizos of Mizoram.

Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga had earlier urged the Centre to provide asylum to refugees fleeing Myanmar.

He had also opposed the Centre’s order to security forces to stop Myanmar citizens from entering the state and deport refugees.

The union home ministry in a communique to the chief secretaries of Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, and the director general of Assam Rifles on March 10 last year stated that there was a probability of large-scale illegal influx into the Indian territory due to the current internal situation in Myanmar. It had earlier issued an advisory to these states and the security forces to stay alert and take appropriate action to prevent a possible influx into Indian territory.

The union ministry had also said that state governments had no power to grant refugee status to any foreigners

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