ABSTRACT

In September 2009, in response to the particular problems refugees face in finding protection and safety in cities, UNHCR released a significantly updated Urban Refugee Policy. The policy sets out a clear framework to guide UNHCR’s operations in urban areas. This chapter explores the utility and relevance of the updated policy in the context of the risks faced by refugee women and men from Burma living in New Delhi, India. Drawing on research findings collected over six years with over 300 refugees, it describes the living conditions and a range of human rights abuses that the refugees face in this large urban centre. It includes a particular focus on risks for women and girls, including the appallingly high levels of rape and sexual violence that they continue to face in every aspect of their lives. It explores the legal and protection environment in India and while acknowledging the significant ongoing challenges, discusses some of the positive progress made by UNHCR and partners to address the problems.