- On the other hand, however, this argument, if used in the South Asian context, could be a problematic proposition for India too.
- And yet, this lop-sidedness is something New Delhi has traditionally highlighted, and justifiably so, as a reason for its non-accession to the treaty.
- The West’s lopsided obsession with civil and political rights at the cost of economic rights is a convenient excuse with little moral backing.
- Second, as a scholar B.S. Chimni has argued, “India should not accede to the 1951 convention at a time when the North is violating it in both letter and spirit.
- India should argue that their accession is conditional on the Western States rolling back the non-entrée (no entry) regime they have established over the past two decades.
- The non-entrée regime is constituted by a range of legal and administrative measures that include visa restrictions, carrier sanctions, interdictions, third safe-country rule, restrictive interpretations of the definition of ‘refugee’, withdrawal of social welfare benefits to asylum seekers, and widespread practices of detention.”
- In other words, India must use its exemplary, though less than the perfect, history of refugee protection to begin a global conversation on the issue.
New domestic law needed
- The answer perhaps lies in a new domestic law aimed at refugees.
- The CAA, however, is not the answer to this problem primarily because of its deeply discriminatory nature:
- What is perhaps equally important is that such a domestic refugee law should allow for temporary shelter and work permits for refugees.
Way forward: –
- It is morally untenable to have a discriminatory law to address the concerns of refugees who are fleeing their home country due to such discrimination in the first place.
- More fundamentally, perhaps, the CAA is an act in refugee avoidance, not refugee protection.
- This is crucial because, in the absence of proper legal measures, refugee documentation, and work permit, refugees may end up becoming illegal immigrants using illicit means.
- Put differently, the absence of a refugee law incentivizes illegal immigration into the country.
- New Delhi must also make a distinction between temporary migrant workers, illegal immigrants, and refugees and deal with each of them differently through proper legal and institutional mechanisms.
- Our traditional practice of managing these issues with ambiguity and political expediency has become deeply counterproductive: It neither protects the refugees nor helps stop illegal immigration into the country.
The Rohingya crisis could be seen as merely symptomatic of modern Myanmar being long mired in internal conflict. Discuss.