Stateless in India

Institutionalizing Homegrown solutions

Authored by: Ipsita Sapra

The Routledge Handbook of Refugees in India

Print publication date:  March  2022
Online publication date:  March  2022

Print ISBN: 9780367531096
eBook ISBN: 9781003246800
Adobe ISBN:


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India has been grappling with refugee-related issues from the very beginning of its existence as an independent nation. It encountered one of the most violent episodes of movement of people post Partition. In the last 70 plus years, India has accommodated survivors of forced migration from several countries. India is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Convention and the subsequent 1967 Protocol and despite various attempts at articulation, does not have a Refugee Policy. Also, the approach has been non-uniform and the interest of several groups of refugees remain compromised. At the same time, several institutions, including the judiciary, have responded proactively and innovatively to use existing constitutional provisions and international commitments to safeguard the interest of vulnerable communities. Based on a review of literature, this chapter attempts to present a range of policy approaches that India has used to deal with the issues concerning refugees and asylum seekers. This chapter argues that it is critical to institutionalize and make uniform successful home-grown approaches. These can provide foundational frameworks to effectively and humanely engage with various dimensions of the refugee crises. This is of critical importance now, more than ever before, as political rather than humanitarian considerations are increasingly reshaping the contours of the debate.

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