Prelims level : IR, Polity & Governance, Policies Mains level : GS-II- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
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  • Context: Former Maldives Vice-President Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Ghafoor is seeking asylum in India.

What Is Asylum Seeking?

  • According to the UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, asylum seekers are individuals who have sought international protection and whose claims for refugee status have not yet been determined, irrespective of when they may have been lodged.

Does India Have A Uniform Law on Asylum Seekers and Refugees?

  • India has one of the largest refugee populations in South Asia, but is yet to enact a uniform law that addresses the issue of asylum.
  • Neither is the term ‘refugee’ mentioned in any domestic law.
  • India has not signed the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention on the Status of Refugees, or its 1967 Protocol that stipulates the rights and services host states must provide refugees.
  • India does, have an informal refugee regime broadly in line with international instruments.
  • While it has no formal asylum policy, the government decides on granting asylum on an ad hoc and case-to-case basis.

What Is Non-­Refoulement?

  • Non­refoulement is a fundamental principle of international law that forbids a country receiving asylum seekers from returning them to a country in which they would be in likely danger of persecution based on “race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion”
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