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Daily Current Affairs – 2020

Topic: For Prelims and Mains

Refugee convention 1951

World Refugee Day- June 20th

Who is a refugee?

A person who has been forced to flee his/her country because of persecution, war, or violence

Other important terms:

  • Migrant: Migrants are people who move to another place or country attracted by better life prospects.
  • AsylumSeeker: Persons who seek the protection of the government however the claim of refugee is not yet determined. The government is therefore not obligatory to provide rights enjoyed by refugees.
  • IllegalMigrant: Illegal migrants are those people who have either entered the country with fake passports, or have stayed after the expiration of their visa.

Refugee Convention 1951:

  • It is a United Nations multilateral treaty that defines who is a refugee, and sets out the rights of individuals who are granted asylum and the responsibilities of nations that grant asylum.
  • The UN Refugee Convention (1951) grants certain rights to people fleeing persecution because of race, religion, nationality, affiliation to a particular social group, or political opinion.
  • India not a member
  • The Convention also sets out which people do not qualify as refugees, such as war criminals.
  • The Convention also provides for some visa-free travel for holders of travel documents issued under the convention.
  • The Convention builds on Article 14 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognizes the right of persons to seek asylum from persecution in other countries.
  • A refugee may enjoy rights and benefits in a state in addition to those provided for in the Convention.
  • The 1967 Protocol included refugees from all countries as opposed to the 1951 Convention that only included refugees from Europe.
  • Today, the 1951 United Nations Convention and the 1967 Protocol together remain the foundation of refugee protection, and their provisions are as relevant now as when they were drafted.

Important conventions/Protocols/Regulations related to Refugee:

Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, 1967:

  • Under the 1951 Convention, mainly Europeans involved in events occurring before 1 January 1951 could apply for refugee status.
  • The 1967 Protocol removed these geographical and temporal restrictions
  • Important Note: India is not a signatory to 1951 UN refugee convention, or its 1967 Protocol.

The 1954 Convention:

The 1954 Convention is designed to ensure that stateless people enjoy a minimum set of human rights. It establishes the legal definition of a stateless person as someone who is “not recognized as a national by any state under the operation of its law.”

Simply put, this means that a stateless person is someone who does not have the nationality of any country.

  • There were 83 States party to the 1954 Convention in November 2014 when teams at UNHCR launched the Campaign to End Statelessness in 10 Years.

The 1961 Convention:

The 1961 Convention aims to prevent statelessness and reduce it over time. It establishes an international framework to ensure the right of every person to a nationality.

  • There were 61 states party to the 1961 Convention in November 2014 when teams at UNHCR launched the Campaign to End Statelessness in 10 Years.

Non – refoulement:

Non-refoulement 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”.

 

Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)

Why in news?

The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has approved the creation of a chief of defence staff (CDS).

About the CDS:

He will be the single-point military adviser to the government as suggested by the Kargil Review Committee in 1999.
CDS oversees and coordinates the working of the three Services.

Conditions:

He will be a Four-star General.

  1. Not eligible to hold any Government office after demitting the office of CDS.
  2. No private employment without prior approval for a period of five years after demitting the office of CDS.

Roles and functions:

CDS will provide “single-point military advice” to the government, inject synergy in planning, procurements and logistics in the armed forces.

It will ensure integration of land-air-sea operations through the eventual setting up of theatre commands.
The CDS will also function as the military advisor to the PM-led Nuclear Command Authority, as also have direct command of tri-Service organizations to handle the new warfare domains of space and cyberspace.

Practice so far:

India has had a feeble equivalent known as the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC); but this is a toothless office, given the manner in which it is structured.

The senior-most among the three Service Chiefs is appointed to head the CoSC, an office that lapses with the incumbent’s retirement.

  • However, CoSC arrangement is seen as “unsatisfactory”, and its Chairman as a “figurehead”.
  • The post did not further tri-service integration, resulting in inefficiency and an expensive duplication of assets.
  • The CoSC system is a leftover from the colonial era, with only minor changes being carried out over the years.

What is the case for having a CDS?

The first proposal for a CDS came from the 2000 Kargil Review Committee (KRC).

Although the KRC did not directly recommend a CDS — that came from the GoM — it underlined the need for more coordination among the three Services, which was poor in the initial weeks of the Kargil conflict.

Present challenges:

  1. The KRC Report pointed out that India is the only major democracy where the Armed Forces Headquarters is outside the apex governmental structure.
  2. It observed that Service Chiefs devote most of their time to their operational roles,“often resulting in negative results”.
  3. Long-term defence planning suffers as day-to-day priorities dominate.
  4. Also, the Prime Minister and Defence Minister do not have the benefit of the views and expertise of military commanders,in order to ensure that higher level defence management decisions are more consensual and broadbased.
  5. The CDS is also seen as being vital to the creation of “theatre commands”, integrating tri-service assets and personnel like in the US military.

Significance:

The charter of the CDS, if implemented properly, will prepare the 15-lakh strong armed forces for the wars of the future.

The CDS is mandated to ensure the Army, Navy and IAF, which often pull in different directions, truly integrate to slash wasteful expenditure amidst the ongoing severe fund crunch for military modernization because of the ballooning pay and pension bills.

 

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