International efforts for Refugee Protection: Indian Perspective.


International Refugee Law has developed in noteworthy ways over the last fifty years, as it has been obligatory to acclimatize to new and changing refugee situations and humanitarian challenges. The removal of dateline and geographical limitations by virtue of 1967 protocol, have essentially transformed the 1951 Convention from a document fixed in a specific moment in history into a human rights mechanism which deals with modern-day forms of human rights abuses. The Preamble of the 1951 Convention calls on States ‘to assure refugees the widest possible exercise of [their] fundamental rights and freedoms', demanding an investigation of refugee law within the larger humanitarian and human rights context.
International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law appliances harmonize the safeguards for refugees specified in the 1951 Convention. Importantly these bodies of Law support the unbiased basis of international law in general, which affects the international refugee law in particular.
India has had an age old tradition of according humanitarian protection to refugees and asylum seekers. It has followed a very liberal refugee policy. However, the absence of a refugee specific legislation can be attributed to India's volatile situation in South Asian politics and the threat of terrorism faced by it. [ HYPERLINK "" \l "ftn3" 1 ] Even in such absence of a specific law, India has addressed the needs of refugees who have fled from their home country into its territory.
India hosted around 420,400 refugees, including some 110,000 from Tibet who fled since China's 1951 annexation. Another 102,300, mostly Tamil Sri Lankans, escaped fighting between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the Sri Lankan armed forces. There were about 36,000 Buddhist ethnic Chakmas and Hajongs from present-day Bangladesh who fled to Arunachal Pradesh after Muslim annexation of their land in 1964.

International Framework for refugee protection:

In the repercussion of World War II, the United Nations General Assembly created the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). UNHCR is authorized to defend and find long-lasting solutions for refugees. Its functions are based on a structure of international law and standards that consists of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the four Geneva Conventions (1949) on international humanitarian law, as well as an array of international and provincial accords and assertions, both obligatory and nonobligatory that expressly address the needs of refugees.
The Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees is the base of international refugee law. The Refugee Convention characterizes the term "refugee" and sets minimum standards for the treatment of persons who are established to meet the criteria for refugee status.
1951 Convention Relating To Status Of Refugees.
According to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, a refugee is someone who:
Has a well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her

Membership in a particular social group, or
Political opinion;

Is outside his/her country of origin; and

Is unable or unwilling to avail him/herself of the protection of that country, or to return there, for fear of persecution.
Now the word ‘persecution' was left open-ended by the framers of the convention as it was unfeasible to itemize in advance the countless outlines it might assume. But this oversight also gave states a large gauge of discretion, resulting in the deficiency of a ‘coherent or consistent jurisprudence'
1967 Refugee Protocol
The 1967 Refugee Protocol is autonomous of, though integrally associated to, the 1951 Convention. The Protocol takes away the time and geographic limits found in the Convention's refugee definition.
Together, the Refugee Convention and Protocol cover three main subjects:
The fundamental refugee definition, along with provisions for cessation of, and elimination from, refugee status
The legal position of refugees in their country of asylum, their rights and duties, including the rights to be guarded against forceful return, or deportation, to a country where their lives or freedom would be in jeopardy
States' obligations, including collaborating with UNHCR in the exercise of its purposes and smooth the progress of its duty of administering the appliance of the Convention.
By agreeing to the Protocol, States consent to affect nearly all of the articles of the Refugee Convention (Articles 2 through 34) to all people covered