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Home > News > PTI

Govt to raise refugee issue with SAARC

August 08, 2006 15:37 IST

Government is in the process of taking a "final view" on a draft law on the refugee problem and will raise the issue with South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation countries to deal with the difficulties being faced by India, Home Minister Shivraj Patil told Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

"Keeping in view the existing domestic laws and national security considerations, action has been initiated for taking a final view on the draft law," he said during Question Hour. The draft model law on refugees and asylum seekers' protection was prepared by former Chief Justice of India P N Bhagwati to define people who could be called refugees, procedure for refugee status determination and their rights and duties.

Replying to members' queries, Patil said the total number of registered foreign refugees excluding Pakistanis was 2,15,869 as on December 31, last year. Asked about the action taken by government following a Supreme Court ruling on the right to life of refugees, the minister said India, one of the largest refugee receiving countries, was facing "certain difficulties" since its neighbours and members of SAARC were not having laws on dealing with the refugee problem.

India, he said, would take up with SAARC nations the refugees issue so that neighbouring countries could take them with the assurance that they will be treated in proper manner.

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