Certificate Courses

Certificate Course on Refugee Law and Policy and Issues of Contemporary Refugee Protection in India: In association with Migration & Asylum Project (M.A.P), an initiative of the Ara Trust, New Delhi: March-April 2020

Introduction

We are delighted to inform your good self that Symbiosis Law School, NOIDA in association with Migration & Asylum Project (M.A.P), an initiative of the Ara Trust, New Delhi will offer 'Certificate Course on Refugee Law and Policy and Issues of Contemporary Refugee Protection in India' in March-April 2020.

Background

India is currently host to more than 200,000 refugees, who come from regions severely affected by conflict. The majority of refugees, around 170,000, are from Tibet and Sri Lanka. These refugees along with others from neighbouring countries (except Myanmar) are directly supported and issued documentation by the Government. The remainder are mainly from non- neighbouring countries such as Afghanistan, Myanmar, Somalia, DRC, Iraq etc., that are currently experiencing conflict. This group is supported and issued documentation by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in New Delhi. However, in spite of these numbers, India has not signed the Refugee Convention of 1951, nor does it have a clearly- defined body of asylum law; thus, its refugee policy consists of several disparate executive and judicial decisions.

Against this background, Migration and Asylum Project (M.A.P.) is India’s first and only refugee law centre. Established in 2013, it aims to adopt innovative methods to expand the protection space available for forced migrants and refugees, mainly women and children, through programmes focusing on four thematic areas: legal empowerment, women & girls in conflict, research & policy, and advocacy & outreach. As their first point of contact in India, M.A.P. helps its clients navigate the complex asylum procedures and access basic protection services. It is the only organisation that has been authorized by the UNHCR to represent asylum cases before it.

Over the last few years, M.A.P has implemented a number of initiatives with the primary objective of bringing about systemic change in the current policy landscape for refugee protection in the region. For instance, its financial inclusion project seeks to constructively engage with government and other relevant authorities for refugees’ economic integration in the Indian financial system. M.A.P was also the Indian partner in a multi-jurisdictional project headed by the University of York, which sought to chart refugees’ legal engagement across four countries, namely India, Egypt, Hong Kong and Malaysia, and use the findings as a tool to improve refugees’ access to justice. 

Learning Objectives

The absence of a formal body of refugee law has translated to a lack of expertise in the legal community on the subject, as well as low levels of general knowledge about the refugee populace. However, in recent years, the global refugee crisis and various related developments in international as well as domestic law and policy on the subject have led to a marked increase in interest on the issue amongst legal practitioners as well as law students. In light of this, this course will provide an initial overview of the historical and contemporary context of international refugee law, before embarking on an analysis of the various protections available to refugees and ‘forced migrants’ under India’s domestic legal framework as well as the Indian government’s arrangement with the UNHCR.

As students progress through the course, they will gather the tools and knowledge of how refugee status is determined as well as the circumstances under which a person ceases to be a refugee. The course will also touch upon gender dimensions as well as other considerations such as the special needs of individuals vis-a-vis access to the asylum procedure and standards of treatment. The methodology adopted for teaching theoretical aspects of the course will involve a detailed literature review of existing guidelines and procedures, analysis of judicial decisions in the field of refugee law, and a compilation of executive decisions. The practical component will be addressed through a combination of various methods including simulated status determination interviews and role play as well as interactive discussions using contemporary teaching aids including documentary films and books on the subject of refugee experiences.

The end result of the course will be to establish a Refugee Law Clinic at the University. M.A.P’s objective is to ensure that the clinic is student-led and operated; thus, the details of the tasks undertaken by the clinic will be decided based on the interest shown by the students.

The proposed Centre envisions three main areas in which students will be involved: Assistance to Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) Survivors; Conducting Training Sessions; Assisting M.A.P. in representing asylum seekers.

M.A.P. will recruit up to 6 interns each year from the Law Clinic, for a minimum duration of eight weeks each. M.A.P. will also have a dedicated staff member who will coordinate M.A.P.’s work with that of the Clinic, will organise training sessions and work allocation, and will coordinate with the faculty focal point to ensure the smooth running of the clinic and its efforts. This staff member will also be available to assist students with casework at the Clinic.  

Impact

The proposed Course will bring about immense positive change in the landscape of refugee protection in India.

Firstly, it will inform the students about the refugee law framework providing the opportunity to study and engage with refugee law and the principles of refugee protection. We will generate academic awareness of, and interest in, refugees, in a way that is far-reaching, but also sustainable and scalable.

Secondly, the resulting Refugee Law Clinic run by the students will also involve and engage with the legal and judicial community in refugee protection, which is crucial for long-term positive change.

Thirdly, the focus of the Course will be on law students and thus, the final result of the Course will be to influence and shape the thoughts of the future framers of Indian law and policy, in a way that gives the humanitarian principles of refugee protection their due importance. 

Teaching Tools

Lectures: The course will comprise of 6 lectures of 4 hours each. Each lecture will be divided into two parts – theory and practical. The practical portion of the lecture will comprise of simulation exercises and case studies. 


Workshop: The course will also have one workshop of 6 hours towards the end that is designed to develop skills in respect of Refugee Status Determination, running of the Refugee Clinic and situational analysis. 


Assessment: The students will be divided in groups and will be assessed on their performances in the simulation exercises. 

Lecture outline
Lecture Topic
Lecture 1 Introduction to International Refugee Law, UNHCR and Other Relevant Actors
Lecture 2 Historical Perspective on Refugee Protection in India
Lecture 3 Indian Law and Jurisprudence on Refugee Protection
Lecture 4 Attempts to Codify the Asylum Law and the Executive Framework of Refugee Protection in India
Lecture 5 Refugee Status Determination - Inclusion (Credibility, Well-Founded Fear, Grounds, Persecution)
Lecture 6 Refugee Status Determination – Cessation, Cancellation and Revocation – Case Study of Burmese Chins
Lecture 7 Women and Children in Conflict
Lecture 8 Failures of International Protection
Workshop Modalities of Establishing and Operating a Refugee Law Clinic
Schedule of the Workshop
Session Day and Date Timings
I Thursday, March 12, 2020 12:30pm – 04:30pm
II Thursday, March 19, 2020 12:30pm – 04:30pm
III Thursday, March 26, 2020 12:30pm – 04:30pm
IV Thursday, April 02, 2020 12:30pm – 04:30pm
V Thursday, April 09, 2020 12:30pm – 04:30pm
VI Thursday, April 16, 2020 12:30pm – 04:30pm
Workshop To be announced soon  
Venue

Seminar Hall,
Third Floor, Academic Block,
Symbiosis Law School, NOIDA 

Contact Person

Mr. Nitin Kumar,
Assistant Professor & Head – Training and Placements, Training and Placement Cell

Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Ms. Meera Mathew,
Assistant Professor & Head – Administration, Research and Publication Cell

Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  

Route Map