THE HIMALAYAN TALK: INDIAN GOVERNMENT FOOD SECURITY PROGRAM RISKIER

http://youtu.be/NrcmNEjaN8c The government of India has announced food security program ahead of elections in 2014. We discussed the issue with Palash Biswas in Kolkata today. http://youtu.be/NrcmNEjaN8c Ahead of Elections, India's Cabinet Approves Food Security Program ______________________________________________________ By JIM YARDLEY http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/04/indias-cabinet-passes-food-security-law/

THE HIMALAYAN TALK: PALASH BISWAS CRITICAL OF BAMCEF LEADERSHIP

[Palash Biswas, one of the BAMCEF leaders and editors for Indian Express spoke to us from Kolkata today and criticized BAMCEF leadership in New Delhi, which according to him, is messing up with Nepalese indigenous peoples also. He also flayed MP Jay Narayan Prasad Nishad, who recently offered a Puja in his New Delhi home for Narendra Modi's victory in 2014.]

THE HIMALAYAN DISASTER: TRANSNATIONAL DISASTER MANAGEMENT MECHANISM A MUST

We talked with Palash Biswas, an editor for Indian Express in Kolkata today also. He urged that there must a transnational disaster management mechanism to avert such scale disaster in the Himalayas. http://youtu.be/7IzWUpRECJM

THE HIMALAYAN TALK: PALASH BISWAS LASHES OUT KATHMANDU INT'L 'MULVASI' CONFERENCE

अहिले भर्खर कोलकता भारतमा हामीले पलाश विश्वाससंग काठमाडौँमा आज भै रहेको अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय मूलवासी सम्मेलनको बारेमा कुराकानी गर्यौ । उहाले भन्नु भयो सो सम्मेलन 'नेपालको आदिवासी जनजातिहरुको आन्दोलनलाई कम्जोर बनाउने षडयन्त्र हो।' http://youtu.be/j8GXlmSBbbk

THE HIMALAYAN TALK: PALASH BISWAS LASHES OUT KATHMANDU INT'L 'MULVASI' CONFERENCE

अहिले भर्खर कोलकता भारतमा हामीले पलाश विश्वाससंग काठमाडौँमा आज भै रहेको अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय मूलवासी सम्मेलनको बारेमा कुराकानी गर्यौ । उहाले भन्नु भयो सो सम्मेलन 'नेपालको आदिवासी जनजातिहरुको आन्दोलनलाई कम्जोर बनाउने षडयन्त्र हो।' http://youtu.be/j8GXlmSBbbk

THE HIMALAYAN TALK: PALASH BISWAS BLASTS INDIANS THAT CLAIM BUDDHA WAS BORN IN INDIA

THE HIMALAYAN VOICE: PALASH BISWAS DISCUSSES RAM MANDIR

Published on 10 Apr 2013 Palash Biswas spoke to us from Kolkota and shared his views on Visho Hindu Parashid's programme from tomorrow ( April 11, 2013) to build Ram Mandir in disputed Ayodhya. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77cZuBunAGk

THE HIMALAYAN TALK: PALSH BISWAS FLAYS SOUTH ASIAN GOVERNM

Palash Biswas, lashed out those 1% people in the government in New Delhi for failure of delivery and creating hosts of problems everywhere in South Asia. http://youtu.be/lD2_V7CB2Is

Palash Biswas on BAMCEF UNIFICATION!

THE HIMALAYAN TALK: PALASH BISWAS ON NEPALI SENTIMENT, GORKHALAND, KUMAON AND GARHWAL ETC.and BAMCEF UNIFICATION! Published on Mar 19, 2013 The Himalayan Voice Cambridge, Massachusetts United States of America

BAMCEF UNIFICATION CONFERENCE 7

Published on 10 Mar 2013 ALL INDIA BAMCEF UNIFICATION CONFERENCE HELD AT Dr.B. R. AMBEDKAR BHAVAN,DADAR,MUMBAI ON 2ND AND 3RD MARCH 2013. Mr.PALASH BISWAS (JOURNALIST -KOLKATA) DELIVERING HER SPEECH. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLL-n6MrcoM http://youtu.be/oLL-n6MrcoM

Imminent Massive earthquake in the Himalayas

THE HIMALAYAN TALK: PALASH BISWAS CRITICIZES GOVT FOR WORLD`S BIGGEST BLACK OUT

THE HIMALAYAN TALK: PALASH BISWAS CRITICIZES GOVT FOR WORLD`S BIGGEST BLACK OUT

THE HIMALAYAN TALK: PALASH BISWAS TALKS AGAINST CASTEIST HEGEMONY IN SOUTH ASIA

Palash Biswas on Citizenship Amendment Act

Mr. PALASH BISWAS DELIVERING SPEECH AT BAMCEF PROGRAM AT NAGPUR ON 17 & 18 SEPTEMBER 2003 Sub:- CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT 2003 http://youtu.be/zGDfsLzxTXo

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Palash Biswas On Unique Identity No1.mpg

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Why India won’t sign Refugee Treaty In the absence of any domestic law or regional South Asianframework, India has desisted from taking its rightful regional leadership role in this increasingly critical matter Dipankar De Sarkar


Why India won't sign Refugee Treaty


In the absence of any domestic law or regional South Asianframework, India has desisted from taking its rightful regional leadership role in this increasingly critical matter

Refugee crises may be caused by any number of reasons but the most common are war (Bangladesh), domestic conflicts (Tibet, Sri Lanka), natural disasters (famine), environmental displacement, human trafficking and—this one will turn up at all our doorsteps soon—climate change. Photo: AFP

Refugee crises may be caused by any number of reasons but the most common are war (Bangladesh), domestic conflicts (Tibet, Sri Lanka), natural disasters (famine), environmental displacement, human trafficking and—this one will turn up at all our doorsteps soon—climate change. Photo: AFP

The refugee crisis arising from the Syrian conflict is only the latest reminder of the fact that  remains one of the few liberal democracies not to have signed, supported or ratified the international convention that governs how nations should treat distressed people who are forced to leave their homes under harrowing conditions.

Refugee crises may be caused by any number of reasons but the most common are war (Bangladesh), domestic conflicts (Tibet, Sri Lanka), natural disasters (famine), environmental displacement, human trafficking and—this one will turn up at all our doorsteps soon—climate change.

India has signed neither the 1951 United Nations Refugee Conventionnor its 1967 Protocol, which has 140 signatories, an overwhelming majority of the world's 190-odd nations. However, India continues to host a large population of refugees. In the main, they are treated kindly.

Clearly, India has stood up and been counted when it comes to accepting refugees. It has one of the biggest refugee populations in South . But it is precisely the large numbers that enjoin upon India the duty to enshrine in law how these refugees will be treated. In the absence of any domestic law or regional South Asian framework, India has desisted from taking its rightful regional leadership role in this increasingly critical matter.

Why won't India sign the Convention or the Protocol? The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) won't officially say why, but the reasons are chiefly security-related. The line of argument is that borders in South Asia are extremely porous and any conflict can result in a mass movement of people. This can have two results: first, a strain on local infrastructure and resources in countries that are poorly equipped to deal with sudden spikes in population.

Second, it can upset the demographic balance, a tinderbox in South Asia.

Another argument is that India already does its duty, so where's the need to sign this piece of paper? It mostly doesn't even take UN money to look after the refugees.

India is home to diverse groups of refugees, ranging from Buddhist Chakmas from the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh, to Bhutanese from Nepal, Muslim Rohinygas from Myanmar and small populations from Somalia, Sudan and other sub Saharan African countries. According to the UNHCR, there were 204,600 refugees, asylum seekers and "others of concern" in India in 2011. They were made up of 13,200 people from Afghanistan, 16,300 from Myanmar, 2,100 from various other countries and the two older populations of around 100,000 Tibetans and 73,000 Sri Lankan Tamils. The UNHCR financially assisted 31,600 of them.

A third reason offered by some scholars is that India retains a degree of scepticism about the UNHCR. This apparently flows from the Bangladesh war of 1971.

At the time, UNHCR played a stellar role in helping devise India's administrative response to the 9.8 million Hindu refugees who poured in from Bangladesh. It also helped to mobilize huge international finances to pay for Indian bills (and it wasn't even the West's war). And when it came to repatriation of the refugees, then again the UNHCR helped roll out an orderly return journey.

But India was upset that the UNHCR began talking about the need for repatriation of refugees—something India had emphasized from the very start of the Bangladesh crisis—only in June 1971, just around the time Pakistani atrocities were causing millions more to flee to India. New Delhi felt talk of repatriation at that particular point in time gave the wrong signals to the world.

Additionally, India was far from pleased by a visit to Bangladesh (then East ) by the UNHCR high commissioner, Sadruddin Agha Khan, on the invitation of Pakistani president Yahya Khan. This was seen as an endorsement of Pakistani propaganda that its eastern territory was normal.

So what would ratifying the Convention mean for India? Would it be better or worse off for signing it? I believe pitching your lot with other liberal democracies on an important ethical and humanitarian issue can only be to India's good. But there will be many commitments India will have to take on.

For instance, it will be bound by law not to repatriate a single refugee against their will. It's known as the non-refoulement principle—no forcible repatriation. According to academic Shreya Sen, a researcher on South Asian issues, India in any case is bound by this principle because it is contained in the 1984 Convention against torture, to which India is a signatory.

Article 3 of the Torture Convention states: "No state party shall expel, return (refouler) or extradite a person to another state where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture."

It's not as if India habitually forcibly repatriates refugees—indeed it is commended for its restraint. However, back in the late 1980s, and then following the assassination of prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991, a large number of Sri Lankan Tamils were repatriated from camps in . There has never been any evidence this was forced repatriation, but some academics and refugee workers think it was a blot on India's record.

Where problems have arisen in the absence of any policy framework on the treatment of refugees is when vulnerable refugees try to find work or when they are exploited by unscrupulous businessmen because they remain unintegrated.

In 1985, working as a reporter in India, I helped unearth a settlement of bonded labourers in Tamil Nadu made up entirely of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees. They had been put to work in a vast rubber plantation located in a forest, around half-a-day's walk from the nearest bus stop in the scenic Western Ghats.

Guided by a machete-wielding sadhu, who certainly knew his way around the forest, I didn't expect to see what I did—a slave camp. Hundreds of Tamils ran out of the settlement, mistaking us for humanitarian workers bringing supplies of water and food—it had been raining. It was a shocking moment.

Powerful vested interests were at work here. The local Indian Administrative Services officer, an uncompromising Sikh, carried a gun in his car.

In 2015, amid the biggest refugee crisis in the West since World War II, none of the reasons listed above justifies India's continuing refusal to sign the Refugee Convention. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is fond of quoting ancient Sanskrit sayings: one of them is Atithi Devo Bhava. Guests are like God.

http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/bePZQScFIq1wEWv9Tqt4QO/Why-India-wont-sign-Refugee-Treaty.html

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