Mr.Ubais Sainulabdeen is an Independent Human Rights Activist hailing from Manakkad, Trivandrum, Kerala.
• A refugee rights activist, rehabilitator (since 1988)
• Regional coordinator of Global Citizenship Union
• Registered member, Amnesty International
• International Peace Builder
• Chairman, Charity on wheels, Kerala
• Director of Social Service Cooperative Society
• Consultant, Disaster Rescue, and Rehabilitation.
Ubais Sainulabdeen- A Brief Note.
Ubais Sainulabdeen is an independent human rights activist, based in India since 1988 focusing his service to the refugee communities in India. He is working for refugee communities who have sought refuge in different parts of India, along with those internally displaced in the country. Ubais is a life member at Amnesty International. He also holds positions such as Regional Coordinator of Global Citizenship Union, Consultant at Disaster Rescue and Rehabilitation and Director at Social Service Co-Operative Society.
He today titles all his works under the organization founded by him, Ubais Sainulabdeen Peace Foundation (USPF).
Ideas And Values
Ubais Sainulabdeen, a believer in the forces of good and evil, strongly upholds the Indian values of Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu and Athithi Devo Bhava. Thus, being a true secular Indian, the philosophy of the guest being equal to God in his perspective is applied in the case of those who seek refuge in India. A person who believes in reward for each good deed and punishment for each bad for the humankind, Ubais aspires for a world where people are free from sufferings and are centered in happiness and joy. His specific concern for the refugee communities derives from his understanding that those are the people who are most subjected to the exploitation of man by man. Thus, this man chants the Indian values of Athithi Devo Bhava at all possible instances, not through words, but by action.
Ubais Sainulabdeen involves in various methods in his work for the rehabilitation of the displaced from basic like providing aid and support on a daily basis to leading the legal work for securing their rights bound by our constitution. A very brief note on the various fronts he involves in is the one below:
• Reporting the ground realities from the refugee/displaced camps
• Providing the displaced with basic amenities like ration, clothes, blankets, educational resources for children, etc. and thus supporting them in their daily lives.
• Providing them legal assistance when they are found to be under threat by the violation of their Human rights and constitutional guarantees.
• Initiating and assisting them in procuring UN identity cards and other documents which helps them secure and maintain their legal rights.
• Inviting the attention of social and political leaders, Authorities including MPs and urging them to visit the refugee camps, which in turn helps in them raising the issue in the Parliament, which instills empathy in them for these people and makes them do their best for these people.
• Reporting and aiding them with the help of his team, in any case of an emergency such as break out of a fire, etc. and bringing the issue into the limelight.
• Raising the refugee issues in the international platforms such as UN, UNHCR by constantly involving in any open discussions.
HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISM – Beginning
Ubais Sainulabdeen hails from a family which is known for exquisite leather business at Manakkad, Trivandrum. As a traditional lineage, the rulers of Trivandrum employed this family for their turban for centuries. The family also owned a production unit of their own, that was dependent on the raw materials from Tamil Nadu. At times of shortage of such materials, traveling to Tamil Nadu to procure them was the only option. Sainulabdeen, one of the descendants of this family, was very passionate about traveling. He was very enthusiastic to explore places like Nagarkovil, Madurai, and Chennai when his family needed him to gather resources for their business. It was Subhayyan, who was brought to their family unit by Ubais’ uncle after seeing him work at a hotel in his tender age, and who by time became a good friend of Ubais, who often accompanied him at these places.
They wander around at places like Nagapatnam and
Velanganny during their trips. It was at one such trip, that they came across a group of people, most of whom were children, who were
locked inside a fence stonewalled by C.R.P.F guards. Ubais and Subhayyan were disheartened to see small children having a hard time inside the fence, who seemed to have been starving for weeks. Out of
desperation of that scene, Ubais purchased a loaf of bread and gave it to those locked inside mercilessly, hoping for some light in their eyes. But Ubais wasn’t let to see that. His act of benevolence was returned with a mighty blow with a gun, by one of those C.R.P.F guards. Ubais, who fell unconscious by that, was taken to a hospital. But by that time, some questions had already taken over his mind, upsetting. He was driven by anger and was determined enough to help those people again. Ubais, after returning from hospital bought bread for all that he and Subhayyan had with them, and gave it to those same people, helping of whom resulted in him being blown with a gun. But this time, owing to the big crowd that witnessed such a selfless act, the guards resorted to silence. And this time, finally, Ubais felt their unconditional love, amid their abject living.
Today, almost some three decades after the incident, social activist, Ubais see that event as a calling that changed the whole narrative of his life, forever. The young Ubais had so many questions for which he needed answers ever since that episode. He wanted to know about those people and the reason behind their existing turmoil. He finally came to know that they were refugees from Sri Lanka, who ran with their lives when ethnic attacks became severe in their nation. Ubais started to visit them often despite that the government was keeping a watch over those who had relations with those helpless refugees on the account of national security.
Ever since that day, Ubais’ days and life are filled with humbleness derived with the tussle in defining the needs and rights refugees in India from all parts of the world, irrespective of caste, creed, religion, or any social, manmade identities. His campaign, which began with Sri Lankan deserters, followed by Pakistani Hindu refugees from Sindh region of Pakistan in 2000. Lately, this humanitarian is engaged in his work for the Myanmar Rohingya refugees in India.
Ubais’ Work With Different Communities – A Brief.
Ubais Sainulabdeen has worked with several refugee communities who have sought refuge in India, with the ultimate aim of their rehabilitation and legal security of their rights. Following are some of those communities that he has worked with:
Ubais started his career as a human rights activist with working for Sri Lankan Tamilian refugees in Tamil Nadu, after the aforesaid incident that changed his life.
The Sri Lankan Tamilians started seeking refuge in India since the time ethnic attack on the Tamilians in Sri Lanka started to take place. Ubais, then a young man in 1988, worked for their rehabilitation and for their legal rights. A notable work of his was the facilitation of establishment of a rubber estate named RCP, in the Kollam district of Kerala.
Ubais Sainulabdeen has also worked with the Pakistani Hindu Refugees and the Kashmiri Pandits since 2000. It was Ubais and his team that reported live from the location when the fire broke out at the Pakistani Hindu refugee camp. He has implemented the various projects carried on under him for the Pakistani Hindus, such as distributing ration for widows under his scheme of You are not alone, and providing children with educational resources, an act constituted under the School of Humanity project.
Rohingyas; The Most Persecuted Minorities.
Ubais currently focuses his service to the Rohingya community that have sought refuge in the various parts of India; Delhi, Chennai, Jammu etc. Rohingyas, to say the least, are the most persecuted minority community in the known history. Such a consideration was given by the United Nations in 2013 when the attacks against them became most intense. Inhumane persecution but does continue to this day, at times, more intensely, despite condemnation at the international platforms.
Born in the regions under the nation of Myanmar, Rohingyas, most of whom belonging to the Muslim community and some of whom, Hindu and Christian, are but not recognized as the citizens of the country, on the alleged accounts that they are modern immigrants who at the time of British Colonialism in Indian sub-continent were brought to the country. It is deeply disturbing that it is despite such considerable long history of living that they are still today considered to be immigrants. It is at such instances one comes across the menace done by the nationalist movements, at least at some parts of the world, like these. What is even more disheartening is the fact that such inhumane practices are being carried on in a country where the majority are Buddhists, ( and hard to say, under the supervision of Buddhist army) a way of living familiar to us through scholars like Dalai Lama, whose consideration for humankind goes unsaid.
Attacks against Rohingyas can be seen all through the contemporary history, which, as said, at times get disturbingly intense, forcing them to leave the nation without any option. Today, after the 2017 crisis, there are more Rohingyas outside to Myanmar than in the Myanmar state. Most of the Rohingya refugees today are concentrated in Bangladesh, where there are almost 900,000 people at different camps, followed by India, Indonesia, China etc.
The condition of Rohingyas in India as elsewhere is deeply paining. Rohingyas have set up makeshift camps in various parts of India. Faridabad, Kalindi Kunj, Nuh, Jammu, Chennai are some of them. Ubais, who have served refugees communities, and who have visited all the said camps of Rohingyas, from experience recalls that never had he encountered such people, who have come after horrifying experiences. The same is the reason that he had decided to focus his work on their community. Ubais is also very humbled that there is a lot that he could do so far, even while believing that there is a lot more to do. With continuous effort from him apart from supporting them for their daily needs, Ubais could help them obtain UN Cards, could raise their concern in the Parliament through MPs, which in turn had had a big impact.
Ubais, however, isn’t genuinely happy with how far he has come with them, and thus still is involved in the struggle for them, with them.