India must help ethnic groups in Myanmar that have fallen into conflict, says Nandita Haksar

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India should provide humanitarian assistance to Myanmar’s ethnic groups affected by the armed conflict between the Myanmar junta and the Armed Ethnic Organizations (AEOs), said leading human rights lawyer Nandita Haksar.

Speaking at the India International Center on Monday, Ms Haksar urged the Government of India to take a proactive stand and reach out to affected communities and provide them with medical support. She argued that under international humanitarian law, New Delhi can provide such assistance without antagonizing Myanmar’s military junta.

Ms Haksar painted a grim picture, saying there are several parts of Myanmar, especially the Chin region which she described as “the most bombed area” of Myanmar, where innocent men, women and children are affected by the conflict.

“The women have no sanitary towels. Children need medical attention. Miscarriages happen. Some of them, whose hands and legs have been amputated, require artificial limbs. We need to urgently send humanitarian aid to Myanmar, or tell the government to do so,” Ms Haksar said.

Myanmar is embroiled in an armed conflict with dozens of AEOs and the junta’s forces at war. The Hindu had earlier reported that the armed groups have gained control of Myanmar’s international borders with its neighbors Bangladesh, India, China and Thailand, giving the junta control of the country’s major cities. Holding the border has given armed groups control over commercial routes vital to the country.

Comparing Myanmar’s tragedy to other ongoing crises, Ms Haksar said Myanmar’s internal strife has been raging at the same time as the wars in Ukraine and Gaza, and that the crisis has not yet attracted international media attention. in a similarly passionate way.

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Ms Haksar urged Indian authorities to recognize that refugees from Myanmar are “classic refugees fleeing persecution”, saying: “If they do not flee, they will be imprisoned and killed. Now the army just shoots them down. Refugees in India cannot get an Aadhaar card and cannot get a job. The Government of India maintains that India has not signed the 1951 UN Convention. Refugee women and men work in factories in Delhi for Rs 5,000 and Rs 7,000 per month. They do not have access to medical facilities.”

Ms. Haksar pleaded with the Indian government to reach out to the ethnic communities willing to go home in Chin, Sagaing and other regions and rebuild their lives.

“They need tractors and seeds to rebuild their lives. Why is China doing it and why is India not doing it,” Ms. Haksar asked, indicating that other countries have opened channels of communication with Myanmar’s rebel groups and are helping to deal with the humanitarian catastrophe.

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