Friday, February 28, 2014

Urban Profiling of Refugee Situations in Delhi. Refugees from Myanmar, Afghanistan and Somalia and their Indian Neighbours: A Comparative Study

Ishita Dey

In 2013, Joint IDP Profiling Service, the Feinstein International Centre (Tufts University) and UNHCRconducted a study on urban refugees in Delhi. The profiling study was based on a combination of methods and was limited to refugees that concern UNHCR – refugees from Myanmar, Afghan refugees ( Hindu Sikh Afghan refugees were excluded and Somalian refugees. The profiling work was carried out to identify specific areas that needed attention to design futures programmes and advocacy work- particularly to work towards self-reliance of the refugees. Hence, the study not only focussed on the refugee groups but their Indian neighbours as well.

The study focussed on five areas :
1)Demographic and household characteristics in terms of age, ethnicity, sex, ethnicity and household consumption
2)Migration patterns
3)Livelihood opportunities
4)Human and social capital including education and other skills required
5)Access to education among refugee children

The report highlighted that though Government of India has recently allowed UNHCR registered refugees to apply for long term visas which will allow them to seek employment in formal sector, the report brings to the forefront the harassment and discrimination faced by refugee children in Government schools. The report highlights that though access to government schools is not a problem the discrimination reported by Myanmarese and Somali children in these schools need special attention. There is a need to generate awareness campaigns in neighbourhoods with refugee population and to identify schools to improve the educational environment. The report feels that the intra-community networks and cultural exchanges between refugees and Indians is one of the ways to ensure cordial relationship with local communities. Refugees from Myanmar and Somalia reported harassment from all quarters (school, landlords and locals) in their neighbourhoods and the report feels such the ties between the local and refugee community should be strengthened. The profiling report could be a useful tool for institutions working on programmes regarding strengthening livelihoods and also calls for strengthening dialogue between the local population and refugee communities.

For detailed report:-; Accessed on 10 January 2014

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