Chin Refugees from Myanmar – UPSC GS2

Mizoram and the Indian government are taking a different stand on the current issue of refugees from Myanmar.
  • After the coup in Myanmar, at least, 1,000 people from the adjoining Chin State of Myanmar crossed the Border into Mizoram.
  • Since the Chins are ethnically related to the Mizos, The Mizoram government favours providing refuge to the Chins.
  • But the (Ministry of Home Affairs) MHA issued few directives to the States and UTs for taking measures against influx. 
  • Further, The MHA directives advised Mizoram that India is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention of 1951 and its 1967 Protocol. 
Challenges in India-Myanmar Border management:
  • Most of the borders are without fence: The Assam Rifles at the India-Myanmar border is facing challenges in maintaining strict vigil.
  • Close people to people ties: There are more than 250 villages with almost 3,00,000 populations living within 10 km of the India-Myanmar border. In 2018, both Indian and Myanmar agreed to streamline the movement of people within 16 km of the border.
Mizoram’s stand on refugee:
  • Mizoram’s government issued a standard operating procedure (SOP) to Deputy Commissioners of border districts to facilitate the entry of refugees and migrants.
  • Further, the Mizoram government mentioned giving medical care, relief and rehabilitation, and security to the refugees.
Indian government stand on Mizoram:
  • The central government expressed displeasure to the Mizoram government. However, the Mizoram government revoked the SOPs later.
  • The North East Division of the MHA issued a letter to chief secretaries of India-Myanmar border states and Director General of Assam Rifles. In that, the MHA directed few important suggestions like,
    • Not to allow refugees from Myanmar and take appropriate action as per law.
    • The state governments have no powers to grant ‘refugee’ status to any foreigner.
Mizoram’s response to Central government:
The Mizoram government mentions that they share close ethnic ties with the people of Myanmar and they don’t want to provide full-time citizenship or employment to the refugees. Instead, they want to provide refugee status until Myanmar returns to normalcy.

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