UNHCR Global Appeal 1999 - Regional Overview: South Asia
While no major refugee flow occurred in the region during 1998, the voluntary repatriation of 65,000 Chakma refugees from India to Bangladesh was completed under a bi-lateral agreement between the two countries. Some 95,000 Bhutanese refugees remain in camps in Nepal and require continued assistance until durable solutions to their problems can be found.
Since the repatriation of some 21,000 Rohinga refugees from Myanmar, now living in Bangladesh, cannot be completed during 1998, UNHCR's care and maintenance activities will continue in 1999. Arrangements are underway to design and implement a United Nations integrated development plan for Northern Rakhine State in Myanmar. Such a plan would allow UNHCR to phase out its assistance activities by the end of the year 2000. In Sri Lanka, continued hostilities between the authorities and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam have not permitted the repatriation of an estimated 67,000 Sri Lankan refugees living in camps and 35,000 dispersed outside camps in southern India. Fighting has also resulted in the repeated displacement of tens of thousands of persons within Sri Lanka. Yet increasing numbers of internally displaced persons are returning to the Jaffna Peninsula in the north of the country. UNHCR's programme in Sri Lanka is therefore being reoriented to promote durable solutions for internally displaced persons and to foster community-based assistance to help prevent population flight.
Protection and assistance
Protection and assistance will be provided to some 18,000 urban refugees, mainly from Afghanistan, in India and to small numbers in Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Care and maintenance will also continue for an estimated 2,000 refugees from the Tibet region who are expected to transit Nepal in 1999. UNHCR will also help complete the legal documentation for some 20,000 refugees from the Tibet region who settled in Nepal prior to 31 December 1989. UNHCR will continue to promote refugee law throughout the sub-region during 1999. Training activities in refugee and humanitarian law are conducted for law faculties, bar associations and professional bodies as well as for government officials and police.
Informal consultations on Refugee and Migratory Movements in South Asia, established in 1994, in the form of an eminent persons group from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, will continue with a meeting in Nepal in 1998. These consultations address ways to increase awareness of refugee issues in the region and have resulted in the preparation of model national legislation on refugees. Since none of the countries in the region is signatory to international refugee treaties, the eminent persons group is encouraging Governments to consider the adoption of national refugee legislation on the basis of this model law.
The budget does not include costs at Headquarters.
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