Pandemic Exclusions

Assam has been a site of contested ethnicities and claims of irregular migration on mass scale. Anti-foreigner movements and campaigns have given rise to discrimination against minorities, particularly those who live on the margins such as people living in the char areas, river islands and people of districts on the border with Bangladesh.

This history and conflict in society has given rise to misplaced subjective notions of who is a citizen and who is not. These notions and prejudices have a grave impact on access of people at risk of statelessness to social security and government response to humanitarian emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

There have been several reported cases where persons who have been “declared foreigners”, or excluded from the National Register of Citizens in Assam, or are currently “Doubtful or Dubious” voters gave been arbitrarily denied access to basic human rights and COVID-19 related humanitarian aid, however dire their need.   

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Inherent biases stemming from the perceived notions of an individual’s citizenship status lead to large scale discrimination, factors that should not even be considered in administering humanitarian aid and relief.

This campaign calls upon the government, policy makers, officials, volunteer groups and NGOs to adopt policies in line with International Standards on humanitarian aid and relief in making sure that no individual or group is discriminated again.

This page will be updated with new information, outcomes and data as the campaign progresses.