World Refugee is held every year on June 20. It aims to raise awareness on the state of refugees in the world who have been forced to leave their homes due to war, terror, or violence. The theme for this year is ‘Every Action Counts’. Around 80 million women, men, and children have been forced to flee their homes as refugees.
According to the UN data, every minute 20 people are displaced, leaving everything behind to escape war, persecution, and terror. Refugees are among the most vulnerable people in the world.
The 1951 Convention contains several rights and highlights the obligations of refugees towards their host country. The cornerstone of the 1951 Convention is the principle of non-refoulment. According to this theory, a refugee should not be returned to a country where he or she faces serious threats to his or her life or freedom.
The rights contained in the 1951 Convention include:
• The right not to be expelled, except under certain, strictly defined conditions;
• The right not to be punished for illegal entry into the territory of a contracting State;
• The right to work;
• The right to housing;
• The right to education;
• The right to public relief and assistance;
• The right to freedom of religion;
• The right to access the courts;
• The right to freedom of movement within the territory;
• The right to be issued identity and travel documents.
India is not part of the 1951 convention. There are over 2,00,000 refugees in India, and this does not include people who are displaced to the on-going Covid-19 pandemic.