South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

Border Issues

South Asians share a common history, culture and affinity but unfortunately the borders of the region are one of the most volatile in the world. A number of issues, that has serious human rights implications, spring up when we think of all the countries of South Asia and their inter-state relations.

Recently issues relating to conflict and detention of fishermen in Indian and Sri Lankan seas have received much publicity in the media. There are several contentious issues between India and Pakistan, and one issue which rarely makes news is that of the fishermen taken in as prisoners on the India-Pakistan nautical border. Obtaining visas for entry into each other’s country for citizens of India and Pakistan has been the biggest hurdle in people-to-people contact. People from Afghanistan not only have a problem in traveling around the world but also in the South Asian region. During Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh’s Bangladesh visit in September 2011, New Delhi and Dhaka signed the historic agreement on demarcation of land boundaries – the two countries agreed to resolve the status of 8 enclaves and adversely possessed areas. We are yet to see the implementation of the agreement while residents of these enclaves on either side of the border continue to live with a feeling of statelessness and lack of access to basic services.

Given the above context, SAHR feels it is important to conduct a comprehensive study to understand the complexities of situations relating to border issues in terms of maintaining peace and ensuring peoples civic and political rights. The report will cover conflict situations across the region and the responses by states and inter-state negotiations that take place in relation to finding solutions to border issues. The report will ensure that reliable material is available that can be used for advocacy work. The report will be a valuable tool that can be used for advocacy via the regional networks /platforms in the region and in lobbying for action through SAARC.