South Asia, as part of SAARC treaty, comprising of nations such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka is not a part of any common system of governance in protecting refugee. These nations have developed their own preference of protection through their practices coupled with mysterious unwillingness to accept international obligations and responsibilities while choosing certain refugee groups to welcome and certain to refuse. Based on this, the article starts with the proposition that this kind of a preferential protection practice that these States have adopted largely, refers to a regime of calculated kindness that labelled refugee status and protection to ambiguity. The article investigates how the major refugee groups have been received in these countries and tries to unearth if there exists a common pattern in the State practices that can characterise a South Asian approach to refugee protection. The article results in establishing the proposition that the ‘kindness’ is calculated based on an ad-hoc measures of refugee protection based around religion, language and culture. Proceeding from this proposition, the article emphasises the need for a uniform refugee protection regime common or unique to all countries in South Asia for regulating refugee movements across South Asia.


  1. Books & Book Chapters

(a) Chimni B S, ‘Status of Refugees in India: Strategic Ambiguity’ in Refugees and the State: Practices of Asylum and Care in India, 1947–2000 edited by Ranabir Samadder, 443-471. New Delhi, :Sage Publications 2003

(b) Goodwin-Gill, Guy S. “The International Law of Refugee Protection.” The Oxford Handbook of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, edited by Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, Gil Loescher, Katy Long, and Nando Sigona .Oxford University Press, 2014. doi: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199652433.013.0021

(a) Islam Rafiqul M, and Bhuiyan Hossain Jahid , An Introduction to International Refugee Law, (The Netherlands, Brill Nijhoff, 2013)

(b) Karim, Bianca & Unissen, Tirza “Bangladesh”, in International Law and Domestic Legal Systems: Incorporation, Transformation, and Persuasion, edited by Dinah Shelton, 98. Oxford University Press, 2011

(c) Loescher, Gil, and Scanlan A John . Calculated Kindness: Refugees and America’s Half-Open Door, 1945 to the Present. New York:The Free Press 1986

(c) Pakrasi K B, The Uprooted: A Sociological Study of the Refugees of West Bengal, India, Calcutta, Editions Indian 1971.

  1. Journals & Periodicals

(a) Ahmed, Javeed “Tibetan Diaspora in India: Longing and Belonging,” The Tibet Journal 37 (2012): 33-36.

(b) Ahmad, Waseem, “The Fate of Durable Solutions in Protracted Refugee Situations: The Odyssey of Afghan Refugees in Pakistan”, Seattle J. Soc. Just. 15 (2017): 590-610

(c) Alam, Mayesha, “Enduring Entanglement: The Multi-Sectoral Impact of the Rohingya Crisis on Neighboring Bangladesh”, Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, 19(2018): 20

(d) Anand, J.P, “Refugees from Burma”, Economic and Political Weekly 13, no.27 (1978); 1100

(e) Ansar A., Md. Khaled Faisal Abu, . “From Solidarity To Resistance: Host Communities’ Evolving Response To The Rohingya Refugees In Bangladesh”. Int J Humanitarian Action 6,16 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s41018-021-00104-9 .

(f) Arif, Kamrul Hasan, “The Status of the Bihari Community in Bangladesh under Domestic and International Law”, International Journal on Minority and Group Rights 25, no.4 (2018): 664

(g) Askari Rizvi, Hasan, “Afghan Refugees in Pakistan: Influx, Humanitarian Assistance & Implications”, Pakistan Horizon 37, no.1 (1984): 45-46

(d ) Acharya Bhairav, 'The Future of Asylum in India: Four Principles to Appraise Recent

Legislative Proposals' 9 NUJS L Rev (2016) : 173-228.

(d) Bhattacharjee Saurabh, ‘India Needs a Refugee Law’ Economic and Political Weekly 43 no.9 (2008): 71-75

(e) Centlivres Pierre & Centlivres-Demont Michelline, "The Afghan Refugee in Pakistan: An Ambiguous Identity", Journal of Refugee Studies 1, no.2 (1988): 141-152

(f ) Chimni, B.S,, The Legal Condition of Refugees in India, Journal of Refugee Studies 7(1994): 378-383

(g) Clark Tom & Crepeau Francois, “Mainstreaming Refugee Rights - The 1951 Refugee Convention and International Human Rights Law”, NETH. Q. HUM. Rts. 17 (1999) 389-410

(f) Das Gupta, Malabika, “Refugee Influx,” Economic & Political Weekly 2 (1986): 1665-1668

(g) Hossain, Sanjeeb.M, “Bangladesh’s Judicial Encounter with 1951 Refugee Convention”, FM Review 67(2021): 59- 61

(h) Hussain, Ijaz, “Pakistan’s International Law Practice on Afghan Refugees”, Pakistan Horizon 38(1985): 83-88

(i) Jacobsen, Karen “Factors Influencing the Policy Responses of Host Governments to Mass Refugee Influxes”, The International Migration Review, 30, no.3 (1996): 655-678

(j) Jayshawi, Vijay Prasad, “Locating the Position of Nepal in Refugee and Statelessness Governance: An International Law Perspective”, NJA Law Journal 11(2017):230- 251

(k) Karad, Beena, “Migration And Security In South Asia”, World Affairs: The Journal of International Issues 20, no.1 (2016): 70-83

(l) Kaufman, Eileen, “Shelter from the Storm: An Analysis of U.S. Refugee Law as Applied to Tibetans Formerly Residing in India,” Georgetown Immigration Law Journal 23 (2009):479- 530.

(m) Manohari, Velamati “Sri Lankan Tamil Migration and Settlement: Time for Reconsideration,” India Quarterly 65, no. 3 (2009): 270-275.

(n) Marsden, Peter, “Afghans in Pakistan: Why Rations Decline”, Journal of Refugee Studies 5(1992): 289.

(o) Meng Wei, Lim-Kabaa, “Migratory Movement and Refugee Protection in South Asia”, ISIL Yearbook of International Humanitarian and Refugee Law 2 (2002): 58

(p) Nair Ravi “Refugee Protection in South Asia”Journal of International Affairs 51 (1997): 201-220

(q) Naser, Mostafa Mahmud & Afroz, Tanzim, “Protection of Refugees in Bangladesh: Towards a Comprehensive Legal Regime”, (2007) 18(1) Dhaka University Law Journal 18, no.1 (2007):107-112

(r) Noor, S, “Afghan Refugees After 9/11” (2006) 59(1) Pakistan Horizon 59, vol.1(2006):59-64

(s) Nygh Peter,“The Future of the UN 1951 Refugee Convention,”Australian International Law Journal 1 (2000): 1-24

(t) Patnaik, Dabiru Sridhar and Siddiqui, Nizamuddin Ahmed, “Problems of Refugee Protection in International Law: An Assessment through the Rohingya Refugee Crisis in India,” Socio Legal Review 1 (2018): 8-29.

(u) Raheja Natasha, “Neither Here nor There: Pakistani Hindu Refugee Claims at the Interface of the International and South Asian Refugee Regimes,” Journal of Refugee Studies 31 (2018): 334-352

(v) Sagar, Arun and Ahmed, Farrah, “The Model Law for Refugees: An Important Step Forward?,” Students Bar Review 17 (2005): 73-76.

(w) Sarker Shuvro Prosun , “Bangladeshi Undocumented Migrants (Refugees) in India: A Humanitarian Problem, Requiring A Humanitarian Solution”, Journal of Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Law 26 (2014) :165

(x) Schrijvers, Joke “Fighters,Victims and Survivors: Constructions of Ethnicity, Gender and Refugeeness among Tamils in Sri Lanka,” 12 Journal of. Refugee Studies 12(1999): 307- 310

(y) Sen, Sumit, “Stateless Refugees and the Right to Return: The Bihari Refugees of South Asian- Part 2”, International Journal of Refugee Law 12(2000):41- 44

(z) Oberoi Pia “Regional Initiatives on Refugee Protection in South Asia” International Journal of Refugee Law 11 (1999): 193-201

(aa) Rashid, Umar “UNHCR in Pakistan: Analyzing the Global Governance Regime - Repatriation of Afghan Refugees from Pakistan”, LUMS Law Journal 6(2019): 31-35

(bb) Zahed MD, ‘A Theoretical Analysis of Stranded Biharis in Bangladesh: Seeking for nationality since four decades’,International Journal of Advanced Research 1 (2013): 429-435

  1. Legal Documents

Domestic Legislation

(a) The Asylum Bill, 2015, [334 of 2015, Lok Sabha] < https://prsindia.org/mptrack/16-lok-sabha/shashitharoor;>

(b) The Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019, see <https://mha.gov.in/sites/default/files/PRESSRELEASE_08012019.pdf>

(c) Foreigners Order 1948

(d) The Foreigners Act 1948

(e) Model National Law on Refugees http://www.worldlii.org/int/journals/ISILYBIHRL/2001/19.html>

(f) The National Asylum Bill, 2015, [342 of 2015, Lok Sabha] < https://prsindia.org/mptrack/16-lok-sabha/ferozevarungandhi; >

(g) The Protection of Refugees and Asylum Seekers Bill, 2015, [290 of 2015, Lok Sabha]

(h) Sri Lanka: Immigrants and Emigrants Act No. 20 of 1948 [Sri Lanka], 1 November 1949,


(a) Hans Muller v. Supt., Presidency Jail, AIR 1955 SC 367

(b) Mohd. Salimullah v. Union of India, Writ Petition (Civil) No. 793 of 2017

(c) Muhammad Ershad v Bangladesh 21 BLD (AD) (2001) 69

(d) Muhammad Rashid v. Government of Nepal, 49 NKP F 765 (2008)

(e) Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) v Government of Bangladesh Writ petition no. 10504 of 2016, Bangladesh: Supreme Court, 31 May 2017

(f) State v. Ashfaq Ahmad, 1960 SCC OnLine All 93

  1. Web Sources

(a) “Bhutan’s Dark Secret: The Lhotshampa Expulsion,” accessed June 20, 2022, https://thediplomat.com/2016/09/bhutans-dark-secret-the-lhotshampa-expulsion/.

(b) Inter-Parliamentary Union and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, “A Guide to International Refugee Protection and Building State Asylum Systems”, accessed 22 September 2021 ,https://www.unhcr.org/3d4aba564.pdf

(c) UN Archives Geneva. League of Nations Refugees Mixed Archival Group (Nansen Fonds)” accessed June 20, 2022. https://archives.ungeneva.org/refugees-mixed-archival-group-nansen-fonds.

(d) United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, “Refworld | UNHCR Submission for the Universal Periodic Review – Maldives – UPR 36th Session (2019),” Refworld, accessed June 20, 2022, https://www.refworld.org/docid/5e17493b2.html.

(e) The Wire, “Refoulement, Rohingya and a Refugee Policy for India”, accessed 19May 2022, https://thewire.in/government/refoulement-rohingya-and-a-refugee-policy-for-india

(f) World Bank, “Refugee Population by Country or Territory of Asylum - Bhutan | Data,” accessed June 20, 2022, https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SM.POP.REFG?locations=BT.

  1. Other Documents

(a) J. N. Saxena, ‘Proposal for a Refugee Legislation in India’ (1997) 2 (No 2A) Bulletin on IHL & Refugee Law (Indian Centre for Humanitarian Laws and Research, New Delhi)

(b) M. P. Singh, ‘Positions of Aliens in India’ ,Legal Position of Aliens in National and International Law, (paper presented at the Heidelberg Colloquium, Heidelberg, Germany, August 28-30, 1985)

(c) R Abrar Chowdhury, “Issues and Constraints in the Repatriation/ Rehabilitation of the Rohingya and Chakma Refugees and the Biharis”, Paper presented to the Conference of Scholars and other Professionals Working on Refugees and the Displaced Persons in South Asia, Rajendrapur, Dhaka, Bangladesh, February 9-11, 1998