Target: Akhilesh Yadav, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh
Goal: Secure aid and compensation for refugees displaced from their hometowns due to riots
For months, refugees in Uttar Pradesh have been living in tents after fleeing riots in their hometowns. But in the wake of media attention, the government has tried to dissolve the camps, leaving refugees with no place to go. Remind the government of Uttar Pradesh of its responsibility to its citizens–sign the petition demanding aid and compensation for the victims of the Muzaffarnagar Riot.
According to both human rights groups and inhabitants of the refugee camps, authorities in Uttar Pradesh have been slow to respond to the issues raised by the Muzaffarnagar Riot, which took place in September 2013. The violence there claimed the lives of over 60 people after a clash between Hindus and Muslims led to inflammatory anti-Muslim sentiment. People from more than 150 villages were displaced. Many feel they will never be able to return to their homes, largely because the government has not done much to prosecute those involved in the violence. For many refugees, returning to their villages feels like a death sentence.
Meanwhile, the government’s promised compensation for relocation has not come. The government has offered 500,000 rupees (about $8,123 US) “to 1,800 families from nine villages,” Human Rights Watch reports–an average of a mere 278 rupees ($4.50) per family. Many refugees claim that the government has tried to shoo them out of refugee camps after the media caught wind of the story–and that the compensation they were promised never came.
The government of Uttar Pradesh has a responsibility to keep its citizens safe, and it is obligated to honor their most basic human rights. Sign the petition and tell the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh to ensure the safety and security of refugees by providing them with shelter, food, potable water, sanitation, and other basic necessities; prosecuting those responsible for the violence that displaced them; and honoring the government’s promise of compensation.
Dear Chief Minister,
Although the Muzaffarnagar Riot happened several months ago, thousands of refugees continue to languish in camps–and those are the lucky ones. Many others have been abruptly kicked out of refugee camps–the only homes they have–by government officials who are apparently ashamed of the media attention the camps have been attracting. Still others have been denied the compensation they were promised by the government. I urge you to address this dire situation immediately.
Refugees of the Muzaffarnagar Riot have been deprived of their homes in more ways than one. Driven away from their villages by violence, they no longer have physical spaces of their own. But for many people, the idea of “home” has been shattered as well, as many people feel they can never return to the villages they left. They still fear violence at the hands of those who participated in the riots–an understandable fear, as the government has done very little to apprehend and prosecute the individuals involved. How can people be asked to return to a place where they fear violence from their own neighbors?
I therefore remind you of your obligations to your citizens under international human rights laws, and urge you to provide refugees with adequate shelter, food, potable water, effective sanitation, and other basic necessities. I demand that those who instigated or participated in the violence of the Muzaffarnagar Riot be brought to justice, and I demand that the government offer proper compensation to those who require it.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection via Flickr