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Ratna Talukdar wins second UNHCR-C-NES Media fellowship

New Delhi, May 23: Ms. Ratrna Bharali Talukdar, a freelance journalist from Assam, has been awarded the Second Media Fellowship on Refugee Issues sponsored by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and the Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research (C-NES) for her proposed study on the condition of Chakma and Hajong Rrefugees in Arunachal Pradesh to “raise a larger debate on the need for refugee specific legislation in India.”

Making the announcement today, Sanjoy Hazarika, C-NES Managing Trustee, said that the fellowship to Ms. Talukdar, which is to start in June 2008 and last three months, will focus on the need for national legislation that could cover the wide range of concerns and challenges which refugees face in this country, especially since there is no specific law that define official and non-official responses to them.

Ms. Talukdar’s application was “clear, detailed and comprehensive” and she is the second awardee of a UNHCR-C-NES fellowship from the North-east; the first fellowship on Chin Refugees of Myanmar was bagged by Mr. Nava Thakuria, a Guwahati-based reporter, in February 2008.

A set of three Fellowships were instituted in February 2008 as part of an effort to sensitize print journalists to refugee issues in India. Awardees are expected to travel for the project and write at least three in-depth articles on the topic in major print media.

The announcement was made after a meeting of the Selection Committee, comprising Mr. Hazarika, who is also a senior journalist and editor, Ms. Pamela Philipose of Women’s Feature Service and Ms. Nayana Bose of the UNHCR, reviewed the applications. There is one final fellowship remaining (September-November 2008) which will focus on Sri Lankan Refugees: “Away from Home across the Palk Straits.”

Sanjoy Hazarika, Pamela Philipose, Nayana  Bose

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