Why India has neither signed nor ratified the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention or its 1967 Protocol? Justify the government stand.

Published: August 29, 2017

India is one of the few liberal democracies who did not sign, support or ratify the international convention which governs how nations should treat refugees. India is neither a signatory to 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention nor to its 1967 Protocol. However, despite the fact that we are not a signatory, India continues to host a large population of refugees, India has one of the biggest refugee populations in South Asia.
What is government stand?
The borders are porous and any conflict may result in a mass movement of people. This can put pressure not only on local infrastructure and resources, it can also upset the demographic balance. As per some scholars, another reason of not being signatory is that India has a degree of skepticism regarding the UNHCR, because of the stance of UNHCR during Bangladesh war of 1971. Another argument is that since India is already helping refugee, so there is no specific need to sign convention. Security dimension could also be a reason since any obligation to accept refugees may compromise the security of our country. Once India becomes a signatory, it will be bound by law not to repatriate refugee against their will.
The continuous influx of illegal immigrants cannot go on. Recently Centre communicated to the states that illegal immigrants like Rohingyas pose grave security challenges. Therefore the center asked the state governments to identify and deport them. Though we provide humanitarian support to refugees in distress, internal security can’t be compromised on any ground.

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