Afghan refugees in the capital of India are struggling financially to save themselves from starvation during the COVID-19 lockdown in Delhi.
Far away from their homes, most Afghan refugees are daily wage earners, working multiple jobs to survive with their families.
Many work as translators for tourists from Afghanistan, Iran and Tajikistan. However, since international flights are banned, they have been left unemployed for over three months. Those who worked as waiters of chefs at smaller eateries were let go off once stores closed.
There were the more well-connected Afghans, who would receive remittances from relatives living elsewhere, either in the U.S. or U.K. Now even those have stopped.
Neither are they able to begin earning due to the restrictions, nor do they have enough savings to tide them over till the market opens up again.
Landlords have begun harassing them for rent, even after a Central government ruling that tenants be given a one-month relaxation for payment.
However, the Afghan refugee community lacks these basic rights since India is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol that establish a framework for refugee protection and lays down rules so that they are not forcefully repatriated.
While the Delhi government does provide rations to the financially weaker communities, most of the refugees have not received any aid yet, not even from the UNHCR.