The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Although 83rd amendment of the Constitution of India recognizes the right to education as a fundamental right, the Chakma and Hajong children of Arunachal Pradesh have been denied the right to education. The state government in an order in 1994... withdrew all the 49 pre-primary schools (Anganwadis) solely because of their ethnic origin. Both the National Human Rights Commission and the Central government have failed to direct the state government of Arunachal Pradesh to restore the school facilities.

Anti-terror laws and juvenile justice: Many children have been arrested and detained as alleged terrorists under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002, often for the alleged offences committed by their parents or merely being present at the wrong place at the wrong time...

Children in armed conflict situations: Despite 14 out of 28 states being afflicted by internal armed conflicts according to the annual report 2002-03 of the ministry of home affairs, in its first periodic report government of India remains silent on the issue as if there are no armed conflicts in India. Children in armed conflict situations face serious problems including risks to the security of their lives. The law enforcement personnel subject them to arrest, detention, torture, rape, disappearances, extrajudicial executions etc. The armed opposition groups and government-sponsored vigilantes are also responsible for serious abuses against children...Under section 19 of the Human Rights Protection Act, 1993, the armed forces are treated as “beyond the reach of the law” and kept out of the purview of the National Human Rights Commission. The difference between the law enforcement personnel and the armed opposition groups has become blurred.

Refugee children: “Refugees” and “foreigners” are not synonymous. Yet, the government of India in its periodic report uses “refugees” and “foreigners” as synonymous terms. There is no word called “refugees” in Indian law. The grant of refugee status is an ad hoc decision taken after considering the political exigencies. While the Sri Lankan Tamils have been granted refugee status, about 80,000 Chins from Burma have been denied refugee status by the government of India, having destroyed their camps at Saiha, Mizoram in 1995. Over 5,000 Myanmarese asylum seekers were refused between July 20 and August 19, 2003 after the state government of Mizoram abdicated the responsibility for dealing with crimes to Young Mizo Association.

The condition of the refugees under the care of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is worse. There is no transparency in the decision making of UNHCR on the grant of refugee status. The UNHCR never provides the justification in writing as to grounds for rejection of asylum to the concerned applicants. The UNHCR acts as judge and jury on its decisions. Its appeal mechanisms are neither transparent nor meet the international standards of due process of law.

In addition, the UNHCR provides absolutely inadequate subsistence allowance and promotes sexist policy by making wives automatically dependants of their husbands. The UNHCR encourages illegal work by the refugees by promoting vocational training programmes in the absence of lack of work permit for the refugees. The UNHCR also provides inadequate educational and medical facilities for refugees. The UNHCR also provides inadequate educational and medical facilities for refugees and their children.

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