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2,500 will get long-term visas,says UNHCR

Long-term stay visas will be granted to more than 2,500 asylum-seekers from Myanmar,the United Nations High Commission for Refugees announced on Tuesday.

Written by Sumegha Gulati | New Delhi | Published: May 16, 2012 3:49:13 am

Long-term stay visas will be granted to more than 2,500 asylum-seekers from Myanmar,the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) announced on Tuesday.

Many of the asylum-seekers have been staying near Sultangarhi mosque in Vasant Kunj since last Sunday.

The issue of granting them refugee-status,however,remained unaddressed.

In a meeting held between UNHCR’s Chief of Mission Montserrat Feixas Vihe and 10 representatives of the asylum-seekers from Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state,UNHCR announced that the “Government of India will be issuing long-term stay visas for asylum-seekers” registered with them. The visas will reportedly be issued from their places of residence in India by the local foreigner’s registration officers (FRO).

UNHCR also urged the asylum-seekers to return to their residences in various parts of the country “without delay” and begin applying for long-term visas. Leaders of the asylum-seeking community have been invited for another meeting in September.

Speaking to Newsline,UNHCR Assistant External Relations Officer Nayana Bose referred to Tuesday’s developments as “a huge step” and asserted that the asylum-seekers will be treated at a par with other refugees in India.

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