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Establishment of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
E/RES/672 (XXV)

ECOSOC Resolutions, 30 April 1958

The Economic and Social Council,

Having considered General Assembly resolution 1166 (XII) of 26 November 1957 concerning international assistance to refugees within the mandate of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees,

Noting that under the terms of the above-mentioned resolution the Council is to establish an Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme consisting of representatives of from twenty to twenty-five States Members of the United Nations or members of any of the specialized agencies, elected by the Council on the widest possible geographical basis from those States with a demonstrated interest in, and devotion to, the solution of the refugee problem,

1. Decides:

(a) To establish an Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to take the place of the Executive Committee of the United Nations Refugee Fund;

(b) That the Executive Committee of the United Nations Refugee Fund shall cease to exist after 31 December 1958 and that the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme shall take office on 1 January 1959;

(c) That the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme shall consist of twenty-four States,1 the membership being subject to review at the thirty-first session of the Council;

2. Decides further that the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme, being entrusted with the terms of reference set forth in General Assembly resolution 1166 (XII), shall:

(a) Determine the general policies under which the High Commissioner shall plan, develop and administer the programmes and projects required to help solve the problems referred to in resolution 1166 (XII);

(b) Review at least annually the use of funds made available to the High Commissioner and the programmes and projects being proposed or carried out by his Office;

(c) Have authority to make changes in, and give final approval to, the use of funds and the programmes and projects referred to in sub-paragraphs (a) and (b) of the present paragraph;

3. Requests the High Commissioner to submit to the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme, for its review at its first session, draft financial rules, to be drawn up in accordance with paragraph 8 of General Assembly resolution 1166 (XII), for the use of all funds received by the High Commissioner under the terms of that resolution;

4. Authorizes the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme to elect its own officers, to establish its own rules of procedure, and to set up such standing sub-committee or sub-committees as may be required for the execution of its functions;

5. Further requests the High Commissioner to attach to his annual report to the General Assembly the report or report of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme;

6. Further decides that from 31 December 1958 this resolution shall supersede Council resolutions 393 B (XIII) of 10 September 1951, 565 (XIX) of 31 March 1955 and 639 (XXIII) of 24 April 1957.

1019th plenary meeting,
30 April 1958

1 See "Other decisions taken by the Council during its twenty-fifth session", p. 7.




South Africa: Searching for Coexistence

South Africa is one of the few countries in Africa where registered refugees and asylum-seekers can legally move about freely, access social services and compete with locals for jobs.

But while these right are enshrined in law, in practice they are sometimes ignored and refugees and asylum-seekers often find themselves turned away by employers or competing with the poorest locals for the worst jobs - especially in the last few years, as millions have fled political and economic woes in countries like Zimbabwe. The global economic downturn has not helped.

Over the last decade, when times turned tough, refugees in towns and cities sometimes became the target of the frustrations of locals. In May 2008, xenophobic violence erupted in Johannesburg and quickly spread to other parts of the country, killing more than 60 people and displacing about 100,000 others.

In Atteridgeville, on the edge of the capital city of Pretoria - and site of some of the worst violence - South African and Somali traders, assisted by UNHCR, negotiated a detailed agreement to settle the original trade dispute that led to the torching of Somali-run shops. The UN refugee agency also supports work by the Nelson Mandela Foundation to counter xenophobia.

South Africa: Searching for Coexistence

Indigenous people in Colombia

There are about a million indigenous people in Colombia. They belong to 80 different groups and make up one of the world's most diverse indigenous heritages. But the internal armed conflict is taking its toll on them.

Like many Colombians, indigenous people often have no choice but to flee their lands to escape violence. Forced displacement is especially tragic for them because they have extremely strong links to their ancestral lands. Often their economic, social and cultural survival depends on keeping these links alive.

According to Colombia's national indigenous association ONIC, 18 of the smaller groups are at risk of disappearing. UNHCR is working with them to support their struggle to stay on their territories or to rebuild their lives when they are forced to flee.

UNHCR also assists indigenous refugees in neighbouring countries like Panama, Ecuador, Venezuela and Brazil. UNHCR is developing a regional strategy to better address the specific needs of indigenous people during exile.

Indigenous people in Colombia

Statelessness in Kyrgyzstan

Two decades after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, thousands of people in former Soviet republics like Kyrgyzstan are still facing problems with citizenship. UNHCR has identified more than 20,000 stateless people in the Central Asian nation. These people are not considered as nationals under the laws of any country. While many in principle fall under the Kyrgyz citizenship law, they have not been confirmed as nationals under the existing procedures.

Most of the stateless people in Kyrgyzstan have lived there for many years, have close family links in the country and are culturally and socially well-integrated. But because they lack citizenship documents, these folk are often unable to do the things that most people take for granted, including registering a marriage or the birth of a child, travelling within Kyrgyzstan and overseas, receiving pensions or social allowances or owning property. The stateless are more vulnerable to economic hardship, prone to higher unemployment and do not enjoy full access to education and medical services.

Since independence in 1991, Kyrgyzstan has taken many positive steps to reduce and prevent statelessness. And UNHCR, under its statelessness mandate, has been assisting the country by providing advice on legislation and practices as well as giving technical assistance to those charged with solving citizenship problems. The refugee agency's NGO partners provide legal counselling to stateless people and assist them in their applications for citizenship.

However, statelessness in Kyrgyzstan is complex and thousands of people, mainly women and children, still face legal, administrative and financial hurdles when seeking to confirm or acquire citizenship. In 2009, with the encouragement of UNHCR, the government adopted a national action plan to prevent and reduce statelessness. In 2011, the refugee agency will help revise the plan and take concrete steps to implement it. A concerted effort by all stakeholders is needed so that statelessness does not become a lingering problem for future generations.

Statelessness in Kyrgyzstan