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India tells UN will stand with refugees

The UN committee was told India has always responded readily and swiftly to any humanitarian crisis in its neighbourhood and beyond.

world Updated: Oct 05, 2017 19:38 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Mohammad Rofique, a Rohingya refugee, smiles after receiving an identity card from Bangladesh authorities at Kutupalong on October 1, 2017.
Mohammad Rofique, a Rohingya refugee, smiles after receiving an identity card from Bangladesh authorities at Kutupalong on October 1, 2017.(AP)

Recalling its long tradition of hosting refugees from around the world, India has informed the United Nations, without naming the Rohingyas, that New Delhi has stood by and will continue to stand with refugees despite development and security-related challenges.

The statement made by ambassador Virander Paul at the session of the executive committee of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva on Wednesday is significant in the context of the ongoing row over refugees from Myanmar.

Paul told the committee: “India has a long tradition of playing host to a large number of refugees from its neighbourhood and beyond. We continue to host them, entirely using our own resources. India is not a source of refugees. 

“India’s assimilative civilisational heritage and inherent capabilities as a responsible state gives it a rounded perspective for dealing with persons of concern. Our protection regime is based on the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution and other relevant legal provisions. We continue to refine our legal framework and administrative mechanisms for providing greater hospitality to refugees.”

The UN committee was told India has always responded readily and swiftly to any humanitarian crisis in its neighbourhood and beyond, and that the country has stood by and will continue to stand with refugees.

“I take this opportunity to renew India's commitment on protection of refugees and cooperation with UNHCR in discharging its core mandate under increasingly challenging and difficult circumstances,” Paul said.

India, he added, was among a number of countries that are not parties to international refugee instruments but have shown a generous approach to hosting refugees.

“We are witnessing in today’s world, an unprecedented level of human mobility including that of refugees. Developing countries, host to 86% of the world’s refugees, are disproportionately affected and their capacities are severely stretched. 

“The movement of refugees needs to be managed, in a humane and people-centered manner. This must take into account different national realities, capacities, existing contributions and levels of development and respect national policies and priorities. The states that receive large movements of refugees should be supported and their capacities strengthened,” Paul added.