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Rights Group Urges India To Investigate Police Abuse Against Burmese Refugees - 2003-12-03


A human rights group is urging India to investigate alleged police abuse against Burmese refugees during a recent protest in New Delhi.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said Tuesday that the Indian government should also make sure that none of the Burmese demonstrators is forcibly returned home.

The group says that on November 12th, Indian riot police used water cannon and electric batons to break up hundreds of Burmese nationals. The demonstrators were protesting a decision by the U.N. refugee agency to cut their monthly allowance.

Human Rights Watch says several hundred people were briefly detained and dozens were sent to jail and charged with rioting. Many were officially recognized as refugees while others were asylum seekers.

The group says 25 of the demonstrators were injured and that many had broken bones along with head and chest wounds.

A spokesman for the group (Brad Adams) says it is disturbing that India -- the world's largest democracy -- would repress people who have already been victimized in their own country.

The U.N. agency has given refugee status to some one thousand Burmese in New Delhi. Most are ethnic Chin Christians who fled to India following unrest in Burma in the mid-1990's.

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