Operation: Opération: India



Latest update of camps and office locations 21  Nov  2016. By clicking on the icons on the map, additional information is displayed.

Key Figures

2016 end-year results
95% of unaccompanied and separated children in Delhi benefited from best interest procedures
41% of refugee community leaders were women
3,100 individuals received livelihoods support
1,500 refugees and asylum-seekers, mainly in Delhi, Pune and Hyderabad, received UNHCR’s legal advice and counselling 
300 individuals had their cases submitted for resettlement
43 events were organized to enhance peaceful co-existence with host communities, benefiting 730 PoCs and host community members
2017 planning figures
1,000 refugees and asylum-seekers will be enrolled in formal national institutions for certified skills training
600 refugees and asylum-seekers will be provided with entrepreneurship / business training
500 refugees and asylum-seekers will be provided with guidance on business market opportunities
80% of local communities continue to support the presence of people of concern

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Decrease in
2016 207,070
2015 207,861
2014 205,012


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  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017

Working environment

In 2016, the protection environment in India remained stable. Some 3,700 refugees had their stay regularized, following the issuance of long-term visas, providing access to employment. In 2016, refugees and asylum-seekers continued to enjoy access to public services, including health and education; however some difficulties emerged for refugees without a national identity document which is a new requirement for accessing public services.   
The detention of people of concern to UNHCR – mostly of Rohingya asylum-seekers in border areas – continued to be reported. UNHCR continued to advocate with the Government to seek access to detainees and their release. 

Population trends

  • In 2016, India hosted over 33,800 refugees and asylum-seekers registered with UNHCR, with the vast majority coming from Afghanistan and Myanmar, as well as smaller numbers from the Middle East and Africa.
  • The number of new arrivals reached 7,100, an increase by 9.5 per cent compared to 2015. Afghans constituted the largest group of new arrivals (3,859) followed by Myanmarese (2,178). 69 Afghans repatriated voluntarily in 2016, a similar number as compared to 2015.
  • Voluntary repatriation of Sri Lankan refugees increased from 452 to 852 compared to 2015.

Achievements and impact

  • For the first time, UNHCR was granted access to conduct refugee status determination interviews with some Rohingya asylum-seekers in detention
  • UNHCR continued to provide training for border officials aimed at sensitizing, knowledge building and helping in identification of asylum seekers eventually leading to referral pathways.
  • Registration and on-site RSD were expanded to Jammu, Jaipur and Haryana, in order to reach out to vulnerable asylum-seekers who could not afford to travel to Delhi.
  • Continued advocacy with the Education Directorate in Delhi resulted in the issuance of a circular for facilitating admission of PoC children into schools based on UNHCR and long-term visa documents.
  • The first Regional Refugee and Statelessness Study centre was set up at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) with a focus on mapping of stateless population. 

Unmet needs

  • Outstation registration was conducted only in the locations with UNHCR’s partner presence, making it difficult for some asylum seekers who are unable to afford high travel cost to access UNHCR in Delhi.
  • Reliable access to public health care, birth certificates, education and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) prevention services remained limited outside of Delhi.
  • Child labour, child marriage and teenage pregnancy; inadequate access to information and services continue to be reported and community care arrangements remain largely informal and inadequate. 

Operational context and population trends

The number of refugees and asylum-seekers under UNHCR’s mandate in India continued to increase, rising from 30,939 people of concern in 2014 to 33,273 as of 1 November 2015. India hosts the following main population groups:
  • Approximately 110,000 Tibetans and 65,000 Sri Lankans recognized and assisted by the Government of India
  • 33,273 refugees and asylum-seekers registered with UNHCR, the majority of which originate from Myanmar (56 %) and Afghanistan (38 %). 
Of the new arrivals from Myanmar, most are Rohingya; Chin arrivals, by contrast, have continued to decrease, and now constitute less than 5 % of new arrivals. The number of registered new arrivals from countries other than Myanmar and Afghanistan, such as Yemen, Somalia and Iraq, is also on the rise.  

All refugees have access to government services, such as health care, education and birth registration and documentation.

Key priorities in 2016

Despite the increasing number of refugees residing in India, available resources have decreased substantially. As a result, the vast needs of new arrivals living outside Delhi will not be fully addressed in 2016 if additional funding is not secured. 

In 2016, UNHCR will continue to consolidate and reorient its protection and assistance programme in Delhi. The programme will be scaled down to a few locations and will target mainly new arrivals and people with specific needs. 

Existing programmes in Delhi such as bridge/tuition classes and day-care facilities, currently provided through partners, will be gradually reduced. Instead, UNHCR will focus on promoting and securing access to government and civil society services available to the urban poor and building and strengthening community capacities to meet their own basic needs.