Emerging Dynamics of Refugee Situation in India
Never since the World War II have more people found themselves driven from their homes due to conflict or persecution than was recorded in 2016. From Syria to Afghanistan to D R Congo to Myanmar, violence and wartime excesses have swelled the number of refugee-seekers worldwide. The number of displaced people globally roughly equals the population of the UK. South Asia and Myanmar have had their own share of refugees and internally displaced people.
India has hosted fairly large number of refugees since independence. The Partition of India created a huge refugees problem immediately after India’s independence in 1947. According to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there were around 200,000 refugees living in India in 2014. India’s Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju, said that in March 2016, a total of 289,394 refugees were living in India from 28 different countries. It didn’t include the numbers of Rohingyas and Bangladeshi migrants living illegally in India. Today, also around 100,000 Tibetan refugees live in India and they are scattered across the country.
People have come to India mostly from the neighbouring regions. Ironically, India doesn’t have a clearly defined refugee policy. It has no national refugee law and no regional agreement on the matter exists. Since India is not party to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the subsequent 1967 Protocol, India doesn’t have international, regional or national obligation to refugee populations on its soil. The proliferation of refugees and internally displaced people exposes the dualisms that while the world profits from globalization and the movement of people but refuses to accept responsibility for the ever growing number of refugees and displaced people. The scale of the refugee and internally displaced people is acquiring alarming dimension but the regional and global response seems inadequate and haphazard.
Therefore, the purpose of organizing this conference is to have a discourse on the need to sensitize policy-makers, aid agencies and civil society groups about the need to work towards solutions that will reduce the drivers of mass displacement. It is also to create awareness about the gap between unprecedented scale of the refugee crisis and the growing shortfalls in the global/regional response. In view of India’s position on refugees and to understand the overall status of refugees residing in India, the one day conference on “Emerging Dynamics of Refugee Situation in India” will deliberate on Burmese refugees and the dynamics of internally displaced people in Myanmar as also how India has sought to deal with the refugee issue.
Venue: Institute of Social Sciences, 8, Nelson Mandela Road, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi - 110 070