India Saved Millions From Massacre, Humanitarain Response Has Been Land Of Refuge To Those Who Have Faced Persecution In Foreign Lands

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New Delhi: Speaking at the UNSC briefing by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), TS Tirumurti, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, on Tuesday said that India had stepped in and welcomed millions of refugees when West Pakistan unleashed genocide on East Pakistan and saved them from a massacre.

He had stated that be it Tibetans or our brothers and sisters from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Myanmar, India has always responded with compassion and understanding, reported ANI.

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“In contemporary history, India’s hospitality, and assistance for refugee communities from the neighboring countries is well recorded and appreciated.”

He stated that India’s humanitarian response to the refugee issue from Bangladesh was one of the most sophisticated and empathetic in contemporary history. The Ambassador pointed out that throughout history, India has been a land of refuge to those who have faced persecution in foreign lands.

“This may well have represented one of the first instances of the UN’s concept of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’. If judged by today’s standards of human rights and international humanitarian law, the perpetrators should have received a drastically different fate,” Tirmurti added.

“India’s humanitarian response to the refugee issue, particularly those facing persecution, has always been driven by the ideals of compassion and empathy. Zoroastrians and Jews, when faced with persecution centuries ago, found a ready home in India. If not for India, the Zorastraian faith may not have survived. Now, both are very much part of India’s proud pluralist culture and heritage,” he stated.

He also stated that India has used its own resources to host a large number of refugees and the programs to assist them. He apprised India’s concern on the surge of the number of refugees and internally displaced persons under the mandate of UNHCR that reached over 91 million people. He said India is committed to facilitating a dignified, safe and sustainable return of refugees to their homelands.

Tirumurti further said, “India assists refugees elsewhere as well notably through partnering UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for the Palestine Refugees in the Near East since long. India continues to remain supportive of UNRWA’s role in human development and delivery of humanitarian services. We have enhanced our contribution further in recent years.”

Ambassador Tirumurti said preventing armed conflicts, countering terrorism, building and sustaining peace through facilitating sustainable development and good governance will prevent people from being forced to leave their homelands.

“We firmly believe that the principles of humanity, impartiality and neutrality must be upheld in dealing with refugee matters. This is crucial to maintain the credibility of the international refugee protection mechanism. The Member States and UNHCR must remain committed to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and avoid politicization of the humanitarian work,” he said.

The Ambassador said the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing humanitarian challenges and refugees are majorly exposed to the socioeconomic impact of this crisis.

“We strongly believe that determined action, solidarity and multilateralism are more needed than ever to address the refugee issue,” he said.

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