South Asia

Operational information on the South Asia subregion is presented below. A summary of this can also be downloaded in PDF format. This subregion covers the following countries:

Subregion: South Asia


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

  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017

Budgets and Expenditure in Subregion South Asia

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2016 {"categories":[2012,2013,2014,2015,2016],"budget":[46.67074881,38.83990516,38.01255843,40.155756026,31.13609019],"expenditure":[26.37420412,21.59224672,20.09817583,21.52481164,15.50899342]} {"categories":[2012,2013,2014,2015,2016],"p1":[36.20433892,30.53528496,31.38118692,30.414702728,29.54724963],"p2":[1.50142108,1.59597114,2.33688426,2.015722658,0.79978432],"p3":[1.411101,4.25807955,3.0300486,2.52347713,null],"p4":[7.55388781,2.45056951,1.26443865,5.20185351,0.78905624]} {"categories":[2012,2013,2014,2015,2016],"p1":[20.5353762,18.64725819,18.17582881,15.66072641,14.42512168],"p2":[0.8580438,0.77786737,0.46339643,0.47847665,0.50810053],"p3":[0.623778,1.21656801,0.49188202,0.49332446,null],"p4":[4.35700612,0.95055315,0.96706857,4.89228412,0.57577121]}
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People of Concern - 2016

[["Refugees",223704],["Asylum-seekers",9867],["IDPs",39730],["Returned IDPs",12445],["Returned refugees",1054],["Others of concern",849]]
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Response in 2016 

In 2016, Nepal concluded the large-scale resettlement programme for refugees from Bhutan, which resulted in approximately 108,000 refugees resettled to eight different countries by the end of the year. UNHCR worked to identify solutions for the remaining 11,000 refugees living in camps, with increasing focus on self-reliance initiatives and projects that benefitted both refugees and the host community in the spheres of education, health, livelihoods, renewable energy and protection.

UNHCR Nepal also engaged in advocacy to ensure legal identity and promote the registration of persons of concern. Building upon positive legislative reforms in 2015, UNHCR partners provided legal advice to bring citizenship and civil registry provisions closer in line with international standards. The Office also facilitated protection and supported greater self-reliance for approximately 600 urban refugees and asylum-seekers originating from 12 different countries. 
Refugees and asylum seekers in India continued to have access to government services such as health and education. However, some challenges were observed during 2016 as refugees are not necessarily issued with a national identity document which is a new prerequisite for accessing public services. Reliable access to public health care, birth certificates, education, and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) prevention and response services remained limited outside Delhi, where an increasing number of people of concern to UNHCR are residing.
Partnerships between the Government of Sri Lanka and the UN, as well as development partners, donors, civil society and local communities were further strengthened, particularly in the areas of reconciliation, land, peace and sustainable development. General improvements were observed in the return environment, including continued land release, availability of certain forms of the government assistance and more welcoming messaging from the Government, resulting in a larger number of voluntary repatriation of Sri Lankan refugees. The Government adopted the National Policy on Durable Solution for Conflict-Affected Displacement, with support by UNHCR through the UNCT. With this milestone, UNHCR concluded its IDP related work following 28 years of engagement.
166 Number of personnel (international and national)
5 Number of offices
31.1 million Overall funding requirements in USD (ExCom-approved 2016 budget)

Operational Environment and Strategy

Although they are not signatories of the 1951 Convention, the Governments of India, Nepal and Sri Lanka continue to offer asylum to a considerable number of refugees. UNHCR cooperates with the Governments of these countries, as well as with NGOs and other stakeholders, to protect, assist, and find durable solutions for refugees and other people of concern.
The main populations of concern to UNHCR in the subregion include more than 207,000 refugees and asylum-seekers of various origins living in India (of whom over 32,000 are registered with UNHCR); over 35,000 refugees and asylum-seekers in Nepal, including approximately 18,000 refugees from Bhutan living in two camps; and nearly 1,400 refugees and asylum-seekers and more than 54,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returnees in Sri Lanka.
Sustainable livelihoods, reliable community-support networks, and access to specialized services for people with specific needs are some of the main challenges faced by refugees in the three countries. In India, poverty remains a key challenge for the majority of refugees and asylum-seekers. The quality of public health and education in the refugee camps in Nepal has been adversely affected by the departure of skilled refugee workers who have been resettled. In Sri Lanka, many people of concern including refugees, refugee returnees and IDPs still struggle to meet their basic needs, although positive steps have been taken by the Government since the beginning of 2015 to address this issue.
In close coordination with Governments in the South Asia subregion, UNHCR continues to fill gaps in protection and assistance, with a focus on the most vulnerable, including women, children, the elderly, survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, and people with specific needs. Through stronger partnerships with the concerned Governments and non-governmental partners in 2016, UNHCR aims to enhance protection and opportunities for solutions, including through: community outreach; strengthening self-reliance and livelihoods; and identifying and facilitating solutions through voluntary return, resettlement and local integration. 

Response and Implementation

In India, in 2016 UNHCR will continue to extend its support to urban refugees to include those residing outside of Delhi, targeting the most vulnerable who are living in difficult conditions. The Office will also continue to strengthen protection outreach to cover all areas where refugees are concentrated, and facilitate a transition from individual assistance to community-based protection. UNHCR will further enhance its engagement with civil society, decision-makers and the media in its efforts to improve public perceptions and understanding of the plight of refugees.  
In Nepal, UNHCR will focus on finding durable solutions for the remaining refugees from Bhutan in coordination with the concerned Governments. The Office will also continue to provide protection, assistance and solutions to urban refugees, and to advocate for persons of concern with respect to documentation.
In Sri Lanka, UNHCR will continue dialogue with the Government on enhancing the asylum space for urban refugees and asylum-seekers. UNHCR will also be pursuing responsible disengagement from the IDP operation by the end of 2016. The Office will facilitate the voluntary return of Sri Lankan refugees in safety and dignity and advocate with the Government and development partners to ensure the sustainable reintegration of IDPs and Sri Lankan refugee returnees.

2016 Budget and Expenditure in South Asia | USD

Operation Pillar 1
Refugee programme
Pillar 2
Stateless programme
Pillar 3
Reintegration projects
Pillar 4
IDP projects
India Budget
Nepal Budget
Sri Lanka Budget
Total Budget

2016 Voluntary Contributions to South Asia | USD

Earmarking / Donor Pillar 1
Refugee programme
South Asia overall
United States of America 05,900,000 5,900,000
South Asia overall subtotal 05,900,000 5,900,000
Private donors in Japan 651,0000 651,000
India subtotal 651,0000 651,000
Canada 0187,266 187,266
European Union 834,8350 834,835
Private donors in Canada 38458 442
Private donors in Italy 627192 819
Private donors in Japan 122,0780 122,078
Private donors in Spain 1,5890 1,589
Private donors in Switzerland 097 97
Private donors in the Netherlands 638,7420 638,742
Spain 01,497 1,497
United States of America 87,3220 87,322
Nepal subtotal 1,685,577189,110 1,874,687
Total 2,336,5776,089,110 8,425,687