The Role of the SAARC: Way Forward
South Asia has been witnessing an earth-shattering humanitarian crisis of migration and forced displacement due to unparalleled global, regional and internal disturbances resulting in systematic and gross transgressions of the global human rights mandate, international humanitarian law obligations and climate change law norms. There are more than 3 million refugees in South Asia, and 90% out of them are victims and product of intra-regional migration. The SAARC jurisdictions are both refugee-producing and refugee-hosting nation-states. Pakistan has been hosting the most massive refugees of Afghan origin; India is home to the diverse groups of intra- and extra-regional refugees including latest addition of Rohingya refugees, and rest of the SAARC nations are also bracing the refugee crises in the region, and the crisis is further compounded by the returnees from the Global North countries. Among the SAARC jurisdictions, there is a problem of negative attitude towards refugees based on preposterous political indoctrination. The instant chapter examines the relevance of refugee crisis to regional collaboration and advocates for a regional institution to address the crisis while critically evaluating the role of the SAARC in protecting the rights of climate change-induced displaced persons. The needs of the SAARC countries have galvanized an understanding to address the complexity of the climate change migration by adopting a SAARC Climate Declaration and an Action Plan on Climate Change. Therefore, the SAARC is gradually ushering in the climate change field. However, the institution is structurally and politically weak. The matters get further dimmer as the position of countries in SAARC varies regarding climate change refugees with Maldives and Bangladesh expressing opinion in favour of their recognition and protection. Primarily, the chapter tries to identify the climate change consciousness and challenges in South Asia and climate law responses of the SAARC by espousing the hybrid integration of international legal norms with regional aspirations. It recognizes the need for regional trans-boundary cooperation to address the climate change displacement and migration and makes a case for the advocacy for an alternative regional regime on climate refugees.