Operation: Opération: India



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Key Figures

2019 planning figures
4,500 women will receive sanitary materials
1,600 people of concern receive multi-purpose cash grants
1,300 children enrolled in accelerated learning programmes
200 people of concern provided with entrepreneurship/ skills training
2017 year-end results
95% of unaccompanied and separated children have had a Best Interest Determination or Assessment initiated or completed
30,300 people were registered using biometrics
3,300 people with specific needs received  cash grants
1,500 Sri Lankan refugees were facilitated a safe return
230 campaigns to promote peaceful co-existence with the local community were conducted

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Increase in
2018 207,848
2017 207,665
2016 207,070


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  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019

Year-end Overview

Operational context 

Although India is not yet a signatory to the international refugee instruments and does not have a national asylum procedure, it is a part of the Global Compact for Refugees (GCR). In 2018, India continued to host over 200,000 refugees and asylum-seekers, including 39,000 registered with UNHCR under its mandate, of which approximately 21,000 originate from Myanmar.
India strengthened its support to Bangladesh following the influx of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, mainly in providing food and non-food items. India is also supporting the government of Myanmar in socio-economic development, including construction of houses for the returning Rohingya from Bangladesh.
The protection environment for refugees and asylum-seekers decreased in 2018, tighter border security measures were implemented and deportations of people of concern were reported.

Population trends

As of the end of 2018, UNHCR had registered some 39,100 people of concern, comprising of 27,080 refugees and 12,020 asylum-seekers. This represents a 3% increase from 2017. Out of the registered refugees, Rohingya constituted the largest group (59%) followed by Afghans (26%).  Similarly to 2017, Afghans constituted the largest group amongst the newly registered.

Key achievements

In a challenging protection environment, UNHCR continued its core mandate activities of refugee status determination (RSD) and made efforts to fill the refugee protection and assistance gaps by working closely with its traditional partners, expanded its networks and coordination with non-traditional partners, civil society, UN Agencies, while increasing its advocacy and participation in inter-agency support to the Government.
With the limited funding available in 2018, UNHCR succeeded to prevent a significant drop in refugees’ access to basic services. A major achievement towards the end of 2018 was extension of cash-based interventions (CBI) to Rohingya refugees in support of institutional deliveries, girls’ education, those living with disability and older refugees, through which 216 people received cash grants. 
Progress in the area of community empowerment and self-reliance included the revision of the Livelihood Strategy; selection of a new NGO partner specialized in entrepreneurship; skills development and market linkages, which engaged with production groups formed by refugee women and successfully piloted several forms of support for their capacity development and income generation; increased female participation in leadership and management structures from 46% to 51%; numerous peaceful co-existence activities engaging refugees and their host communities.
Durable solutions were achieved through the naturalization of 68 Afghan Hindu/Sikh refugees; departure of 154 refugees to resettlement countries and another 979 under third-country solution; as well as the voluntary repatriation of 1,283 refugees to Sri Lanka and another 154 refugees to other countries.

Plan Overview

Operational environment

Although India is not party to the 1951 Convention, India participated in the Global Summit and was part of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants in 2016. India’s overall protection environment is expected to be conducive for the majority of refugees and asylum-seekers, while the national protection framework will remain informal. The government’s new policies requiring identity documents for accessing public services may have a negative impact on refugees’ access to education, health and financial services. However, more refugees in Delhi and in some locations outside Delhi are expected to regularise their stay with long term visas (LTV) which will improve their protection situation and livelihood opportunities. In 2018, India is expected to continue to receive and host refugees, both from neighboring countries and further afield. Refugees will reside in areas throughout India, with an increasing number seeking residence outside of New Delhi.
India continues to provide refugees access to public services, including health and education.
UNHCR, together with its partners and civil society, provides a range of services to support refugees and asylum-seekers in health, education, legal counseling, vocational skills and livelihoods. UNHCR works with several NGOs and is a member of the United Nations Country Team and participates in the United Nations Sustainable Development Framework for 2017-2021.

Key priorities

In 2018, UNHCR will continue to focus on protection through registration, refugee status determination, documentation and securing and protecting the rights of refugees and asylum seekers. UNHCR will prioritize community-based approaches that contribute to building self-reliance. 
Latest contributions
  • 11-OCT-2019
    European Union
  • Netherlands
  • Liechtenstein
  • 10-OCT-2019
  • 07-OCT-2019
    United States of America

    private donors

  • 03-OCT-2019
    United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • 02-OCT-2019
  • Germany
  • 30-SEP-2019

    private donors

  • United States of America

    private donors

  • Netherlands

    private donors

  • France

    private donors

  • Mexico

    private donors

  • Italy

    private donors

  • Spain

    private donors

  • Kuwait
  • Denmark
  • Philippines

    private donors

  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

    private donors

  • Republic of Korea

    private donors