Destination Delhi: A Review of the Implementation of UNHCR's Urban Refugee Policy in India's Capital City

Morand, M. & Crisp, J.
Publication language
Date published
01 Jul 2013
Programme/project reviews
Gender, Needs assessment, Forced displacement and migration, Targeting, Identification and Profiling, Urban


This review was undertaken by two members of PDES, one of whom was the co-author of the 2000 review, Evaluation of UNHCR’s policy on refugees in urban areas: A case study review of New Delhi and the lead author of the 2009 UNHCR’s policy on refugee protection and solutions in urban areas. The other team member co-authored, The Implementation of UNHCR’s Policy on Refugee Protection and Solutions in Urban Areas: Global Survey – 2012. Their methodology included: the examination of programme documents relating to UNHCR’s urban refugee activities in India; a review of secondary literature on this issue; and the results of the urban refugee implementation survey.
3. In addition, members of the team conducted face-to-face meetings with a wide range of stakeholders, including: Persons of Concern to UNHCR, local communities in which refugees are accommodated; urban service providers and employers; law enforcement authorities; as well as the representatives of civil society organizations. The team made particular efforts to speak with refugees and service providers in their neighborhoods throughout New Delhi. The team interviewed staff at six refugee centres, one legal aid centre, and one registration centre in addition to meeting with the Deputy Commissioner of Police for South Delhi.
4. Ad-hoc focus groups with women were conducted at two of the refugee centres. The authors also conducted three home visits and attended one inter-agency meeting. The team took every opportunity to speak directly with individual or groups of refugees and asylum seekers. The interviews were conducted mostly in English and when there were exceptions, refugees translated for each other or the staff of the centres translated.
5. Other than traversing the crowded streets of New Delhi to reach refugee neighborhoods on different sides of the city, there were no obstacles to conducting the review. This logistics and agenda for this evaluation were arranged with remarkable efficiency by the UNHCR New Delhi Office. The warm welcome the evaluation team received throughout New Delhi was clearly based on the positive, constructive relationships the Office has nurtured at all levels of civil society. The current positive reputation of the UNHCR Office was noteworthy and came forward often. The team would like to thank all the people who contributed to the review, in particular, the national staff who accompanied the team during long days and translated and answered endless questions with intelligence and grace. Most of all,