Archive for August, 2006

Refugees in Capital

Mandakini Gahlot

New Delhi, August 26: *There are 9212 Afghani refugees in India, 8,500 amongst them are Hindus and Sikhs who fled from Afghanistan. Over 100 Afghani refugees have already become naturalized citizens.

*There are 1,800 Burmese refugees, 154 Palestinian refugees from Iraq, 154 Somalian refugees, 34 Iraqi refugees, and 72 refugees from other nationalities in India under the UNHCR Mandate.

* In July 2007, 284 asylum seekers registered with UNHCR, 33 asylum seekers were recognized as refugees and 38 were reinstated as refugees.

*In July 2007, 7 Afghani refugees were voluntarily repatriated to Afghanistan.

*The UNHCR received 177 submissions for resettlement in July and 26 refugees were resettled, 14 of who went to Australia and 12 to New Zealand.

*4 refugees became naturalised Indian citizens in July 2007.

*1,418 refugees were financially assisted by UNHCR in July 2007. Of these, 704 were medically vulnerable, 100 were physically or mentally handicapped, 66were elderly and 149 were vulnerable women, with or without family.

*The UNHCR gives Rs. 2245 to the principal refugee each month in the form of financial assistance, with upto 7 dependants getting Rs 750 each. This assistance is valid for a period of 6 months. Thereafter, the principal refugee gets Rs. 1400 and the dependants get Rs 600 each. This is subject to an annual evaluation.

*1960 refugee children attend school in India, out of which there are 1,018 boys and 942 girls.

*When a refugee arrives in India he first registers with the UNHCR where he is given a letter that his case is under consideration. 6-8 months after that the refugee appears for a refugee status determination interview done by a legal officer at the UNHCR.

*The result of the interview is usually declared within a month. If their interview is succesful then they are recognized as refugees and get a refugee certificate which lists their details. This usually works as an identification document.

*If they are rejected as refugees they have a right to appeal to the UNHCR within one month of the result.

ShahaidA Khalil, 27, was a doctor in Iraq, but after losing her father and brother in terrorist attacks, she fled to India with the rest of her family, her mother, younger brother and sister.

“We came to India because it is very far from Iraq and we were fed up of suffering for sins that weren’t ours,” she says as her family looks on.

She came to India in November 2006 and since then it’s been “one struggle after another” for her. Even though she got her refugee certificate recently, things haven’t improved.

“It’s still impossible for me to find a job, or provide decent education to my siblings. My job is to fix others’ lives but how can I do that when my own life needs fixing,” she asks.

She now hopes that the UNHCR will either help her find a job or resettle her in a different country.

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[ 9 Aug, 2006 1738hrs ISTIANS ]

KABUL: Pakistan has released an Afghan Sikh journalist who was arrested on the Pakistan-Afghan border and tortured on charges of being an Indian national, and also apologised over the ‘mistreatment’.

Spokesperson of the Radio and Television of Afghanistan, Anwar Wafadar Samandar, informed media persons in Kabul Wednesday that Pakistan had expressed its apology over the arrest of Dayal Singh Ganjana.

Ganjana was arrested by the Frontier Corps on the Pakistan-Afghan border at Spin Boldak while on his way to attend the International Conference on Pushto Literature in Quetta city of Pakistan. Samandar said Ganjana was handed over to the Pakistani intelligence agency. He was tortured. Their charge was that he was an Indian national.

“Pakistan must not have behaved in such a manner,” Samandar said.

Ganjana is a highly respected expert of the Pushto Service of the Afghan national broadcaster, Radio and Television of Afghanistan (RTA).

He was going to Quetta, capital of Balochistan, as a member of an Afghan delegation of journalists, poets and writers. The delegation had the official permission to attend the conference.

At the border post at Spin Boldak, a Pakistani officer allowed them to enter, but immediately on crossing in to Pakistan territory, their vehicles were seized and searched. The Pakistani militiamen behaved in an extremely rude and insulting manner.

The delegation protested and returned back to the Afghanistan side of the frontier check post. But, Ganjana was not allowed to go back by the Pakistani guards. He was handed over to the Pakistan intelligence agencies.

The National Radio and Television of Afghanistan had taken up the matter with the Afghan foreign ministry strongly. The Afghan Journalists Union had also protested.

Afghan Sikh scribe ‘detained’ by Pakistan
Posted by admin on 2006/8/8 1:22:34

Kabul, Aug 8 (IANS) An Afghan Sikh radio broadcaster was allegedly arrested in Quetta by Pakistani soldiers when he went there as part of his country’s delegation to a conference.

Dayal Singh Ganjana, an expert of the Pushto service of Afghanistan’s national broadcaster Radio and Television of Afghanistan, was arrested at the Spin Boldak border with Afghanistan.

Ganjana was on his way to the Balochistan capital as member of a delegation of journalists, poets and writers to attend a conference on the Pushto service.

A member of the delegation said a Pakistani officer allowed them to enter. But immediately their vehicles were seized and searched.

The delegation protested and returned back to the Afghanistan side of the frontier. But they found that the Pakistani authorities had detained Ganjana. They do not have any clue about his fate.

Demanding the immediate release of Ganjana, the delegation has also sought an apology from Pakistani authorities for their behaviour.

Afghanistan’s national broadcaster has urged its foreign ministry to take up the case strongly with Pakistan and get Ganjana released immediately.

The Afghan Journalists Union has taken strong exception to the Pakistani conduct.


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