- Asylum — Non-refoulement — Regional co-operation — Regional organizations
This chapter examines some of the ongoing challenges in the South Asian region and demonstrates the lacunae that persist with respect to conceptualizing displacement there. It explores protection mechanisms that have been established in the region as ad hoc alternatives to hegemonic protection norms, given the lack of a formal institutional approach there. The chapter provides some insights into whether a consistent and comprehensive regional approach to refugee protection can be identified based on past practices. As will be evident throughout, a South Asian regime for refugee protection can be conceived largely through individual State practice and through bilateral agreements. In fact, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation has construed refugee movement as a matter of bilateral or trilateral relations, and has regarded international agreements as constricting States’ freedom of action. The chapter then considers refugee movements in the region, discussing the ‘Eurocentrism’ of the global refugee regime that led to the establishment of a de facto framework of subcontinental defiance. It assesses UNHCR’s operational presence in South Asia and its impact on refugee protection. Finally, the chapter examines how national constitutional provisions have been interpreted in a way that provides some protection to refugees.
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