Nearly 150 Rohingya refugees in Kathmandu got into homeless and desperate situation following the destruction of their camp by the landlord and call for urgent help.
About 350 Rohingya refugees survive in the huts nestled in the hillsides in Kapan neighbourhood on the northern outskirts of Kathmandu leasing orally land plots from a local shopkeeper, where they, on their own expenses, set up the huts constituting four small camps.
Last week, the landlord unexpectedly ordered the lessees in Plot-2 to move out and destroyed the makeshifts.
They were forced to leave and tried to pitch similar huts in another location but they were not allowed. “We were setting up temporary huts in another place in Kapan. They were destroyed before completion and we were strictly forbidden to build up any structure.” a man reported.
Finally, they got into homeless situation and currently are sheltered by their fellow refugees in their huts which are not roomy enough to accommodate even their own family members.
A host family head said, “My own hut is not enough for my family consisting of four members. So, it is tough to provide space for about 150 brothers and sisters. Yet we have to embrace them.”
A victim said “We approached to the UNHCR but we didn’t get any positive response.”
Rohingya refugees in Nepal are mostly registered by the UNHCR, but they are not legally allowed to work with the card provided by the UN Refugee Agency, as the country does not recognize Rohingya as refugees on the grounds that it is not a signatory to a 1951 United Nations convention on refugees, nor is it party to the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees.
The Rohingya refugees are very grateful to the Nepali government for ignoring them working with UN Cards and to the local community for hiring them for odd jobs to survive day-to-day.
These refugees are not allowed to get formal employment of any kind, thus ruling out any possibility of earning a livelihood. Whatever work they can do, such as carpentry, plumbery, construction, etc. has to be irregular, informal and under the radar. So, they do not earn the minimum daily wage.
In addition, they are cheated, exploited and hired at rates significantly lower than the local counterparts.
Because of this situation, they are not able to rent flats or houses like other urban refugees.
UNHCR cut their $40 monthly allowance in 2015 citing lack of funds, forcing them to quit their rented houses because a rent of around 4,000 Nepali rupees is unaffordable by them.
Rohingya refugees are also very grateful to the host country as it gives refugee children access to public education.
According to a refugee, UNHCR used to give every refugee student study aid, but that of Nursery, LKG (Lower Kindergarten) and UKG (Upper Kindergarten) students is cut, and of other students reduced, and by next year, it will be totally stopped as said by the Agency. This is what makes they refugees worry more.
There are approximately 350 Rohingya refugees living in hastily constructed tin-roofed shelters in Kathmandu, many of whom live in Kapan, where during monsoon season, they fear landslides, downpours and storms, and brace themselves for leaking roofs. They face harsh winter for months without any heating system.
Sources state that some 600 are scattered across Nepal whose exact number is almost impossible to confirm.
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