Aizawl: The Centre has assured the Mizoram government of measures to ensure that the latter provides assistance to thousands of Myanmar nationals, who have taken refuge in the state following the military coup in the neighbouring country in February, Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga said on Monday.

During his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi recently, Zoramthanga said that he (Modi) has assured him that the Central government would take measures so that Mizoram government continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the Myanmar nationals. He said that he had urged the Prime Minister to provide assistance to the Myanmar nationals, who fled their country due to a humanitarian crisis. 

“The Prime Minister assured me that they will make a plan to enable the Mizoram to continue with its assistance to the Myanmar nationals. Though the Centre is very willing on its side, it can’t directly help the Myanmar refugees because India is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention of 1951 and its 1967 Protocol,” Zoramthanga told reporters on Monday.

He said that more than 14,000 Myanmar nationals mostly from the Chin state are currently taking shelter in different parts of the state.According to the chief minister, representatives of Sweeden will visit Mizoram through International Red Cross to provide assistance and witness the ground situation.

He said that he had informed Modi that the Myanmar nationals are being provided with shelter, food, clothing and other requirements by the state government, NGOs, village authorities, churches and individuals.

Zoramthanga said that the Myanmar nationals still continue to trickle in and their number fluctuated on a regular basis as some used to return to their villages without the knowledge of officials.”As per our record, over 14,000 Myanmar nationals are currently taking shelter in Mizoram,” he said.

Zoramthanga had written several times to the Centre and sent delegations to Delhi seeking asylum and humanitarian aid for the Myanmar nationals.

Mizoram shares a 510km long international boundary with Myanmar. 

 Most of the Myanmar nationals, who entered the state since February end, are from the Chin state, who share ethnic ties with the Mizos.

While many live in relief camps or temporary shelters set up by villagers, others are accommodated by their relatives and some live in rented houses.

Mizoram is already home to thousands of Chin communities of Myanmar, who migrated to the state since the late 1980s fleeing the military junta in the neighbouring country. 

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