Myanmar: 1000s of Rohingyas pushed into cheap labor in India

Thousands of Rohingya Muslims have been pushed into cheap labor in India after fleeing sectarian violence in Myanmar, Press TV reports.

Escaping the death and destruction in their own country, thousands of Rohingya are living in abysmal condition in Muslims in Jammu region of Indian-controlled Kashmi where they work as laborers.

Working in a walnut packaging factory is the only chance of survival for many of the refugees — young and old.

“They pay us hardly two dollars a day. Since our children have no school to attend, we bring them along and they also make some money by working at least 10 hours a day,” said Maryam Batool, a Rohingya refugee.

India is not a signatory to the United Nations convention relating to the status of refugees. Since there is no law that deals with foreign refugees, the government decides whether or not to grant the Rohingyas refugee status on a case-by-case basis.

Some 800,000 Rohingyas are deprived of citizenship rights due to the policy of discrimination that has denied them the right of citizenship and made them vulnerable to acts of violence and persecution, expulsion, and displacement.

The Myanmar government has so far refused to extricate the stateless Rohingyas in the western state of Rakhine from their citizenship limbo, despite international pressure to give them a legal status.

Rohingya Muslims have faced torture, neglect, and repression in Myanmar for many years.

Hundreds of Rohingyas are believed to have been killed and thousands displaced in recent attacks by extremists who call themselves Buddhists.

The extremists frequently attack Rohingyas and have set fire to their homes in several villages in Rakhine. Myanmar Army forces allegedly provided the fanatics containers of petrol for torching the houses of Muslim villagers, who are then forced to flee.

Myanmar’s government has been accused of failing to protect the Muslim minority.

Myanmarese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has also come under fire for her stance on the violence. The Nobel Peace laureate has refused to censure the Myanmarese military for its persecution of the Rohingyas, although, she recently condemned the decision by local officials in Rakhine state to enforce a two-child policy on Rohingya Muslims.

Rohingyas are said to be Muslim descendants of Persian, Turkish, Bengali, and Pathan origin, who migrated to Myanmar as early as the 8th century.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have issued separate statements, calling on Myanmar to take action to protect the Rohingya Muslim population against extremists.