Protection of Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons

There are millions of people who are forced to leave their homes every year. There are many reasons like human rights violation, conflict, violence and natural disaster. The number of a displaced person increased more in 2018, it called for humanitarian assistance across the world. Around 43.1 million people were internally displaced at the end of 2018 according to the reports of the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC).


There are a specific class of migrants who under the International Law deserve specific protection by their state. In the Article 1[1] of the UN Convention, a refugee is a person who is under fear of being ill-treated for the reason of race, religion, nationality, of a particular group, because of such fear they need protection.

Several conditions to be considered as a refugee-

  1. The presence should be outside the home country.
  2. Fear of persecution
  3. Incapable to enjoy the protection of one’s own state.

There is a difference between refugee and asylum seeker. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR) said that asylum seeker is someone who says that he/she is a refugee but his/her claim has not yet been evaluated.


India is described as a Union of States. In India, Parliament deals with the subject of citizenship. No specific legislation has been passed which regulated the entry and status of the refugees in India, refugees are handled under the political and administrative levels. Refugees are treated according to the laws which are applicable in India, and if a special provision is made like, in the case of Ugandan refugees, it passed the Foreigners from Ugandan Order[2]. Registration Act, 1939, it deals with the registration of foreigners, entering or departing from India. Passport Act, 120 and Passport Act, 1967 deals and the government has the power to impose conditions and restrictions of passport for entry into India and departing from India of citizens of India. Constitution of India guarantees some of the Fundamental Rights to refugees, like Article 14 (Right to equality), Article 21 (Right to life and personal liberty), Article 22 (right to protection under arbitrary unrest), Article 20 (protection of conviction of offences), Article 25 (freedom of religion), Article 32 ( right to approach Supreme Court to enforce Fundamental Rights).

VISHAKA V. STATE OF RAJASTHAN[3], in this case, the solution was pointed out that to treat refugees with human dignity is to either ratify 1951 Convention or enact proper legislation which is especially for the refugees so that their fate is not to be decided by the judiciary or executive.


To find a durable solution to the internally displaced persons is a challenge. European Commission has adopted a new approach Communication- Lives in Dignity. It helps to strengthen the self-reliance of both the displaced persons and their host countries. This approach helps both the refugees and internally displaced persons to access education, health facilities, land, and livelihood support. It helps women, children, disabled persons so that they are able to protect them during displacements. They help them by providing basic necessities which are food, shelter, clothing and also safe water, education, sanitation.

There are some causes as well-

  • Discrimination- it is one of the main cause which leads to this. There are some countries which discriminate their citizens on the basis of caste, colour, particular group and these are against the International Law
  • State Succession- When a person moves from the country where he/she is born to another when the origin of the country disintegrates or when their country comes under the control of another country.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)[4] – It was adopted in 1948 with its main objective of providing basic human rights to every person and also to promote peace and harmony all over the nations. It consists of 30 Articles and a preamble, contains certain provisions which are related to life and liberty, protecting individuals from inhuman and tortuous treatment, prevention from slavery, etc.


European Commission adopted the Lives in Dignity: from aid dependence to self-reliance, which helps in the protection of the internally displaced persons. This new approach came in 2016 which helps to protect them so that they able to access the basic needs for their survival. It also adds and provides education, sanitation for the betterment of society.

European Union is also providing assistance to the internally displaced persons as they are making a difference in their lives.


  • East Punjab Evacuees Act, 2017 – Administration of property
  • Land Acquisition Act, 1948 – Rehabilitation of refugees
  • East Punjab Refugees Act, 1948


The matter related to the refugees and internally displaced persons are important and needs more attention. More acts and provisions should be added in every country for their protection. Effective approaches should be created to deal with such a serious matter.


[1] 1951 UN Convention

[2] 1972

[3] 1997

[4] 1948

This article is authored by Arpita Mukherjee, Second-Year, B.A. LL.B student at JIMS, School of Law, IPU, Greater Noida

Also Read – Refugee Crisis In The Modern Day World

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