Ad Hoc Committee on Refugees and Stateless Persons, Second Session: Summary Record of the Thirty-Seventh Meeting Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, on Wednesday, 16 August 1950, at 3.00 p.m.
Chairman: Mr. LARSEN (Denmark)
Rapporteur: Mr. WINTER (Canada)
Belgium Mr. HERMENT
Brazil Mr. PENTEADO
China Mr. CHA
France Mr. JUVIGNY
Israel Mr. ROBINSON
Turkey Mr. NURELGIN
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Sir Leslie BRASS
United States of America Mr. HENKIN
Venezuela Mr. PEREZ PEROZO
Italy Mr. MALFATTI
Switzerland Mr. SCHÜRCH
Representatives of specialized agencies:
International Labour Organisation Mr. OBLATH
International Refugee Organization Mr. WEIS, Mr. KULLMAN
Representatives of non-governmental organizations:
Inter-Parliamentary Union Mr. De CLERY
World Federation of United Nations Associations Mrs. EVANS
Category B and Register
Catholic International Union for Social Service Miss de ROMER
Catholic International Union for Organizations Mr. KARLIKOW
Friends World Committee for Consultation Mr. BELL
International Co-operative Women's Women Miss ROSSIER
International Union of Catholic Women's Leagues Miss ROBB
Liaison Committee of Women's International Organizations Miss de ROMER
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom Mrs. BAER
Mr. Humphrey Director, Division of Human Rights
Mr. Giraud Legal Department
Mr. Hogan Secretary to the Committee
PROPOSED DRAFT CONVENTION RELATING TO THE STATUS OF REFUGEES (E/1618, E/1618/Corr.1, E/1703/Add.7, E/1818, E/AC.32/2, E/AC.32/6, E/AC.32/6Corr.1, E/AC.32/7, E/AC.32/L.3, E/AC.32/L.40 and E/AC.32/L.41) (continued)
The Committee continued consideration of the draft Convention contained in Annex I to its first report (E/1618).
Article 10: Right of Association (continued)
The CHAIRMAN reopened the discussion on article 10 and the relevant Austrian comment (E/AC.32/L.40, page 41). He reminded the Committee of the undesirability of again going over ground covered earlier in the year at Lake Success, since the object of the present second session was to discuss new ideas put forward since the draft Convention had been drawn up.
Mr. SCHÜRCH (Switzerland) regretted that he could not contribute very much to the work of the Committee. As his Government had only received the documents a few days before 1 May 1950, it had not been able to communicate its comments on the draft Convention. It had appreciated however the invitation to send an observer. He would confine himself to following the significance of the various articles of the draft Convention.
He would like to know whether article 10 also covered associations with definitely political aims and, if so, whether Contracting States could still ban such associations either under article 2 or perhaps under the general article proposed by the United Kingdom representative.
While it was naturally premature to state whether the Swiss Government would accede to the Convention under study or whether it would express any reservations, he could at any rate assure the Committee that Switzerland was greatly interested in all problems relating to refugees. In view of its traditional policy of granting asylum and of international collaboration in the field of relief to refugees, Switzerland would do everything in its power to improve their lot. In view if her special position, however, her overpopulation and the large number of aliens she already sheltered, there was however one principle the Swiss Government could not abandon, namely, that only first asylum could be offered to refugees. Switzerland would generally be obliged to ask refugees to seek another country of refuge where opportunities were less restricted. Exceptions had of course been made and, to a certain extent, would continue to be made in respect of refugees of the last war, but the principle could not be abandoned altogether. The problems which the Convention raised for Switzerland were therefore different from those for countries in a position to offer refuges a permanent asylum. That was a special aspect of the problem which might lead Switzerland to express reservations on particular articles of the draft Convention.
Switzerland was desirous of according refugees who had been given the right of permanent residence in its territory all the advantages offered by the text before the Committee, but it might not be possible for her to accord the same advantages to refugees not granted the right of permanent residence. It would perhaps be early enough to formulate such reservations when the final text of the Convention was submitted to the Federal Government.
The CHAIRMAN did not feel that he was called upon to give any authoritative interpretation of the provisions which had been agreed upon or would be agreed upon at future sessions by the Committee, nor did he feel that the representative of Switzerland intended to ask for such an interpretation of article 10 in its relationship to the necessity for certain security measures. To say how a text was to be interpreted in such a special case as the representative of Switzerland had cited was a matter for the experts who were called upon to apply regulations. Some indication, however, of the intentions of the Committee with regard to article 10 could doubtless be obtained form its summary records.
Though the matter had not been mentioned in the course of discussion, he was sure that the Committee had kept in mind the special problems which confronted countries like Switzerland which had common frontiers with those form which refugees came in large numbers. The geographical position of Denmark was not vastly different, so he himself was not unacquainted with the problem. He hoped that the representative of Switzerland would continue to comment on other articles with a view to ensuring that the Swiss Government could accede, even with reservations, to the Convention.
Mr. PEREZ PEROZO (Venezuela) considered that the representative of Switzerland had raised a point which needed clarification, since the meaning of article 10, as of all the other articles of the draft Convention, must be clearly defined. It was common knowledge that some countries, according to the interpretation chosen, the article either would not apply at all, or it would mean that, as refugees were to receive the best treatment accorded to aliens generally, but as aliens generally were not allowed to engage in political activity, refugees would also be forbidden to engage in it. The non-profit-making associations to which article 10 referred might often be political in character.
A second question arising from article 10 concerned, in particular, the membership of trade unions. Some countries forbade trade unions to engage in political activity and in such countries any refugee who joined a politically active trade union and took part in its activities would be subject to the sanctions of the law of the country.
There was no need in any case to provide for most-favoured-nation treatment under article 10 since the privileges grated under that article would only very rarely be made subject to reciprocity, even more rarely to treaty reciprocity. He therefore proposed that the article be amended so as to guarantee to refugees with regard to non-profit-making associations and trade unions, not the most favourable treatment accorded to nationals of foreign countries, but the same treatment as was generally accorded to such nationals.
Mr. HERMENT (Belgium) said he supported the views expressed by the Venezuelan representative. The Belgian Government also wished to substitute the words "to aliens generally" for the words "to nationals of foreign countries" in article 10.
Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) emphasized that when the Convention gave refugees the same privileges as aliens in general, it was not giving them very much. He questioned whether, with regard to the right of association, most governments were really not prepared to grant better treatment to refugees than to aliens in general. He would like to know also whether, in fact, there was any difference between the general treatment accorded to aliens and the most favourable treatment accorded to aliens. The Committee would recall that at the previous meeting the representative of the International Labour Organization had proposed that refugees be granted even better treatment in connection with trade union membership than was laid down in article 10, that they should receive in fact the same treatment as was guaranteed to nationals, as was provided under the provisions of the Migration for Employment Convention. The representatives of Venezuela and Belgium were proposing to amend the article in the opposite direction. It might be possible to arrive at a compromise, but he hoped that more consideration would first be given to the proposal of the International Labour Organisation.
Sir Leslie BRASS (United Kingdom) said that article 10 was one of those about whose necessity the United Kingdom Government felt some doubt. Perhaps the Committee would consider whether he was right in supposing that the provisions of the article were already sufficiently covered by the various conventions of the International Labour Organisation. If the Committee agreed that the article was unnecessary, it would clearly be undesirable to write the same provisions into a number of conventions. If, on the other hand, it was thought necessary to included the provisions in the draft convention, consistency was essential. He hoped that the representative of the International Labour Organisation, in replying to the observations of the United States representative, would say whether, in his opinion, the provisions of article 10 were already sufficiently covered by the International Labour Organisation's conventions. He was not, however, suggesting that refugees should not receive the treatment proposed by the representative of the International Labour Organisation.
Mr. JUVIGNY (France) did not consider that the matter could be left to the International Labour Organisation alone since its activity in that domain did not entirely cover the field of application of article 10. The right to form a trade union and the right of association were two very different things. Trade union rights were derived from a more general right, that of association, but the purposes of a trade union and those of an association were different. All refugees, for instance, were not wage-earners, yet many national legislations reserved the term "syndicat" (trade union) for workers' associations. An association of refugees, on the other hand, might include members of he liberal professions or persons with no profession at all. The orbit of associations and that of trade unions did not therefore exactly coincide and in national legislations they were often governed by different laws. He did not consider it superfluous to make special mention of the right of association. Article 10 had its place in Convention.
Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) wished to add to the remarks of the representative of France by emphasizing the importance of making the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees as liberal and independent as possible, since he hoped that when finally approved by the General Assembly it would receive more ratifications than the International Labour Organisation's conventions had received in the past. In the hope that it would receive wide ratification, it was important that the Convention should cover all the rights which ought to be accorded to refugees, including some which were covered in other conventions.
Mr. WEIS (International Refugee Organization) thought that the right to from non-profit-making organizations, particularly in the case of refugees, was of the highest importance and should certainly be covered in the Convention. It was for the Committee to decide which particular treatment refugees should receive in that respect, but he hoped that the sort of considerations which he had outlined the previous afternoon would be borne in mind.
With regard to the relation between the Migration for Employment Convention and the Convention under consideration, the former covered only migrant workers. It was true to say that refugees were covered by that Convention in so far as they were migrant workers within the definitions of Convention. Many refugees did not, however, fulfil that condition and there was, therefore, still a need for regulating the question in the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.
Mr. HERMENT (Belgium) wished to emphasize that his Government's reservation referred precisely to non-profit-making associations other than trade unions. If only trade unions were in question, it was quite clear that the Belgian delegation would approve of the provision but there were other associations involved whose activities might give rise to legitimate concern.
The CHAIRMAN feared that the Committee was reopening questions discussed at the first session, when a proposal of the French delegation to allow, in providing for freedom of association, for the possibility of forbidding political activities had found small favour as it had been felt that article 2 covered the point sufficiently. Many delegations moreover, remembering that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights imposed no conditions on the right of association, had thought that in some countries, especially those proud of their democratic institutions, the Committee might be suspected of a desire to limit actions which were certainly legal, and perhaps even desirable on the grounds that if refugees were to be assimilated they should become full members of the political community as soon as possible.
The comments put forward since the Committee had adopted the article had left him unconvinced of the need for any change in the wording. However, it would be necessary to give consideration to the views advanced by the representatives of Venezuela and Switzerland, and he hoped that the discussion of those views would not be unduly lengthy.
Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) suggested, in view of the comments made by the representative of the International Refugees Organization and the representative of Belgium, that the Chairman should ask the opinion of the Committee on the rights which should be accorded to refugees with regard to joining trade unions and with regard to other non-profit-making associations, taking the two questions separately.
The CHAIRMAN approved the suggestion of the United States representative and proposed to take a vote, firstly on the desirability of according to refugees lawfully in any territory the most favourable treatment accorded to nationals of foreign countries with regard to non-profit-making associations. If it proved that the Committee did not think that such treatment should be accorded, there would be a further vote on the desirability of according the treatment given to aliens generally. Finally, similar votes would be taken with regard to trade unions.
He accordingly put to the vote the proposal that for article 10 the Committee should adopt a text guaranteeing to refugees in any country the most favourable treatment accorded to nationals of foreign countries as regards non-profit-making associations.
The proposal was adopted by 7 votes to 4, with no abstentions.
The CHAIRMAN put to the vote the proposal that for article 10 the Committee should adopt a text guaranteeing to refugees in any country the most favourable treatment accorded to nationals of foreign countries as regards trade unions.
The proposal was adopted by 7 votes to none, with 4 abstentions.
The CHAIRMAN concluded that the article as it stood had been approved.
Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) took the votes as an indication that the Committee did not share the view of the representative of the International Labour Organisation that refugees should receive the same treatment as the nationals of their country of residence, with regard to rights of association. Should some delegation embody that view in a formal proposal, he would support it, but thought that other countries more immediately concerned in the problem must take the principal role in deciding. He hoped that if any Governments were more anxious to restrict the privileges of refugees with regard to other non-profit-making associations than with regard to trade unions, they would keep their reservations down to the necessary minimum.
The CHAIRMAN, elaborating the last remarks of the United States representative for the benefit of members who had not been present at the previous session, explained that it was the general feeling of the Committee that countries wishing to make reservations with regard to any article should not do so with regard to the whole article when a partial reservation would meet the purpose.
He suggested that discussion of article 10 could be closed.
It was so agreed.
Article 11: Access to Courts
The CHAIRMAN drew the attention of the Committee to article 11 and the relevant comment of the Austrian Government (E/AC.32/L.40, pages 41 and 42).
Having ascertained that no representatives wished to speak on article 11, he suggested that the Committee go on to article 12.
It was so agreed.
Article 12: Wage-earning Employment
The CHAIRMAN pointed out that comments on article 12 had been submitted by the Governments of Austria, France, Italy, the United kingdom (E/AC.32/L.40, pages 42, 43 and 44) and by the Government of Australia (E/1703/Add.7). Those comments recalled the discussions at Lake Success, where the Committee had been anxious not to accept a standard which would be only so high as to be generally acceptable. It had, of course, been realized that the inclusion of provisions which, without representing ideals to strive for, were too generous for some Governments to accept, would lead to their making reservations, but it had been thought that such a course might in the long run have a good effect even on Governments which felt themselves unable to accord the treatment prescribed in the Convention immediately upon signing it. Other such cases had arisen in the past where refugees and those who had the interests of refugees at heart had addressed appeals to Governments applying low standards, pointing to the higher standards applied by other Governments, and so had gradually produced an improvement in their policies.
With regard to natural resources, Denmark was in much the same position as Austria and France, having only the soil, already intensively cultivated, and no oil, iron or coal. To start new industries would be impossible. Nevertheless, he would rather see article 12 signed by Denmark with reservations than recommend a lowering of the general standard of treatment prescribed.
Mr. HENKIN (United States of America), while recognizing that the problems of his country were different form those of the counties which, for reasons which were perhaps justified, required foreign workers to possess work permits, wished to stress that without the right to work all other rights were meaningless. Without that right no refugee could ever become assimilated in his country of residence. In view of that he felt that perhaps the provisions of article 12 did not go quite far enough. He hoped, therefore, that the Committee would bear in mind the fundamental nature of the right to work when the question of redrafting and of possible reservations arose. He realized, as he had stated, the special position of the countries that had submitted comments on the article, but apart from those special cases, he was sure that the treatment proposed in the article was not so idealistic that it could not be grated by most States.
Paragraph 2 of the article referred after all only to refugees who had already established some ties with a country. If the standard of treatment to be accorded was lowered, the refugee would receive nothing, for that, frequently, was what the treatment accorded to aliens in general with regard to the right to work amounted to. He hoped that the Committee would adhere to the principles by which it had been guided in first drafting the article and that most countries, even Austria, would find themselves able to apply the provisions to a great extent.
With regard to particular questions raised in the various comments, the United Kingdom comment was not so much of a reservation as might at first appear. Perhaps the representative of the United Kingdom would explain why the operation of the principle in paragraph 2 (c) would be "quite capricious" in countries whose nationality laws were based on the jus soli. The provisions of the paragraph were based on the principle that a refugee should have some roots in a country, whatever might be the basis of those roots under the nationality laws of that country.
With regard to Australian comments, paragraph 2 (a), as stated, would constitute no problem, for the reason, he believed, that Australia regularly accorded the treatment prescribed in the article after the two-year work contract which was a condition of entry had expired. Whether paragraphs 2 (b) and 2 (c) set any real problem was doubtful. Few refugees going to Australia would be likely to have Australian spouses or children when they arrived and if they married in the country their right would generally be covered by the two-year work contract and the freedom to seek employment granted after the expiry of the contract.
With regard to the question raised in the Italian comment on the definition of the word "lawful", he thought the intention of the Committee had been that the word should be taken in its regular sense and could not apply to the cases cited in the comment.
Mr. JUVIGNY (France) wished to add a few observations to supplement those submitted by his delegation and reproduced in the document before the Committee. He would also like to offer some appeasement to the United States representative. If article 12 remained as it stood, France would be obliged to express a reservation with regard to that part of paragraph 2 beginning with the words: "or who fulfils one of the following conditions:", because of existing labour regulations. First there was the law of 1932 which authorized the fixing of a maximum percentage of aliens employable in each branch of activity. Then there was a fairly flexible regulation issued in 1946 concerning aliens' identity cards - temporary, ordinary, or permanent, according to circumstances each type of which laid down different conditions on which the holder might accept employment. Those provisions, enacted in 1932 in view of the economic situations, and in 1946 in order to regulate the labour market, did not have the effect of denying refugees the right to work. He agreed that, should the Convention included only a single article on the question, it should be the one relating to wage-earning employment, since it applied to the greatest number of persons. France had no intention either under the regulation mentioned or under any reservations she might make when signing the Convention, to deny refugees the right to work. All she desired was to be able to control the movement of labour, and the refusal to permit a refugee to take employment in any overcrowded branch of activity in which there were already thousands of French subjects unemployed did not amount to a denial of the right to work. It was simply an invitation by the French Government to refugees to try to settle in a less congested sector.
To judge from the Chairman's remarks, Denmark felt the same misgivings as Austria and France. They were perhaps less acute but existed nonetheless. It had not been the wish of the Committee to take as its working text the minimum treatment to be accorded by all, and the French delegation shared that point of view. On that particular point the only question which arose was whether the Committee had the impression that the majority of States likely to accede to the Convention had any labour regulations or not. If it was thought that x States would accede and that x-2 States would express reservations with regard to paragraph 2, it would be preferable to modify paragraph 2. If, on the other hand, the majority of States would accept article 12, including paragraph 2, without any reservations, it would be better to retain the article. Any State which so desired could then formulate reservations. Such an estimate was clearly a difficult one to make and he would like to know the feeling of the Committee on the point.
The question was whether to retain paragraph 2 of article 12, and thereby run the risk of having a considerable number of reservations, or whether to delete the paragraph and leave those States which were more favourably placed some latitude to go further than the Convention.
Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) agreed with the representative of France that an article to which all or most countries made reservations would be pointless. However, if only some countries, even four or five, made reservations, those reservations would not all be equal in their nature and scope. It should be ascertained whether the article appeared acceptable in principle to most countries.
He recognized that the law to which the representative of France had alluded was one of general application, but he wished to reiterate an opinion he had voiced at the first session, that the mere fact that the provisions of a convention required a change in the existing laws of any country was not a valid argument against them. If all national laws were to remain unchanged, why should there be a convention?
Sir Leslie BRASS (United Kingdom) reminded the Committee of the statement in his Government's comment that it would consider sympathetically the possibility of relaxing conditions upon which refugees were admitted to the United Kingdom and thought that fact that since the comment had been made conditions had been so relaxed was evidence of the Government's goodwill. Further relaxations might be possible, but the article as a whole could still not be accepted without some reservations.
A case which had arisen recently would answer the question of the United States representative. A woman who had come to the United Kingdom with a permit to engage in one particular sort of employment had given birth to a child two days after her arrival. If the United Kingdom accepted article 12 with no reservations, such a woman would be free of all the restrictions imposed by her work permit since her child would be a citizen of the United Kingdom. That was why it was fair to say that in countries whose nationality laws were based on the jus soli the principle in paragraph 2 (c) would operate very oddly.
The CHAIRMAN wondered whether that was the fault of the draft Convention or of jus soli.
Sir Leslie BRASS (United Kingdom) said he had expected that question.
Mr. HERMENT (Belgium) wondered whether the example quoted by the United Kingdom representative was well chosen. The lady in question had a labour contract and, after the birth of her child, the authorities might have insisted on the contract being respected.
The Belgian Government considered the right to work as one of the fundamental rights to be accorded to refugees and, despite the amount of unemployment in Belgium, it accepted article 12. With regard to the first paragraph, he would, however, like to express a reservation relating to countries members of a regional union.
The CHAIRMAN thought that little further discussion of article 12 was necessary. Most of the remarks made at the present meeting had been made at the first session, but nevertheless a majority of the Committee had found the draft before it acceptable. The few Governments which had made comments since the drafting of the article had failed to make clear the necessity for any change. If the Committee could hear the views of the forty odd Governments which had not commented, it might find that the present formulation was the best. Article 12 was, he thought, identical with the corresponding articles in the Conventions of 1933 and 1938, and the Committee should take care not to admit standards lower than had been adopted in former conventions.
Mr. WEIS (International Refugee Organization) suggested that many countries which might be hesitant to commit themselves with regard to possible future influxes of refugees might nevertheless feel able to grant the treatment laid down by article 12 to refugees already in their territories. He hoped, like the United States representative, that any reservations such countries found it necessary to make would be specific and not apply to the article as a whole.
The CHAIRMAN wondered whether countries that had not adopted the jus soli would be willing to grant to persons born in their territories, and even to their parents, a special status not enjoyed other aliens; he thought they probably would not.
Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) noted, since the question had been raised, that one of the results of jus soli was that any person born in a country with such nationality laws was a citizen of that country with such nationality laws was a citizen of that country whatever the nationality of his parents might be. The capriciousness of the provision in question, however, was not as real as it might appear, since, in the United States of America at least, the same principle was followed with regard to other matters than the right to work. For example, a woman who had given birth to a child in the United States of America had a specially favourable status with regard to immigration. As regards the right to work itself, it was clearly in the national interest that the mother of a citizen of the country should have some means of sustenance.
Sir Leslie BRASS (United Kingdom) insisted that if paragraph 2 (c) was not deleted the United Kingdom would be obliged to make a reservation with regard to it. It was hardly necessary to point out that to relieve a woman, who entered the country and later gave birth to a child, of all restrictions with regard to employment might be an inducement to such conduct.
Mr. CHA (China) said that, since the laws of his country were based on the jus sanguinis system, it would be difficult for China to accept any provisions in the draft Convention which would restrict its freedom of action as far as benefits to nationals were concerned. He would prefer an amendment to the present wording of article 12, but should the majority of the Committee wish to retain it, his Government might have to make a reservation to it.
The CHAIRMAN, summarizing the debate, said that the question was whether article 12 should remain unchanged, thereby risking numerous reservations, or, with a view to obviating reservations, whether an attempt should be made to restrict the provisions concerning wage-earning employment to a minimum.
Mr. HERMENT (Belgium) was in favour of the first alternative.
Mr. ROBINSON (Israel) suggested that since the present Committee, consisting of representatives of eleven countries, was not in a position to ascertain the reaction of some forty-six Members of the United Nations, it would be wiser to leave the wording as it stood. To present a less liberal text would not improve the status of refugees, and the matter should be left to the decision of the next General Assembly.
Mr. JUVIGNY (France) did not think that the problem took quite the form given it by the Israeli representative. Paragraph 2 was not intended to apply to States with very liberal laws with regard to wage-earners. It was only paragraphs 1 and 3 which affected such States. As far as paragraph 2 was concerned, the important question was whether a majority of the States which had national labour protection laws were in favour of retaining the paragraph.
He wondered whether a way out could not be found by slightly altering the paragraph. The first idea expressed could be retained and the sentence ended at "for the Contracting State concerned". The refugees covered by the provisions of the Convention would, in a sense, possess acquired rights. The French delegation would be prepared to accept the obligations contained in the first sentence of the paragraph. The article could then continue: "The Contracting States shall consider the possibility of according the benefits of the same regime," that was to say, the regime of exemption, "to the refugees fulfilling the following conditions:". The rest of the paragraph would remain unchanged.
In that way, the second part of paragraph 2 would be transformed into a recommendation. The amendment was simply in the nature of a suggestion, but one which would enable France to accept article 12 without reservation, when signing the Convention.
Mr. ROBINSON (Israel) contended that the Committee was neither competent nor sufficiently informed to be able to answer the fundamental question raised by the previous speaker. He appealed to the representative of France not to insist on a change of wording at the present stage, but to postpone his objections to paragraph 2 of article 12 until after the next General Assembly by which time it would be possible to arrive at a true assessment of the situation. There was nothing to prevent the French delegation from making reservations pertaining to the particular situation in France.
Mr. JUVIGNY (France) said he had only suggested such a wording in order to find a basis for agreement, and he willingly accepted the suggestion of the Israeli representative. As the latter had pointed out, the discussions in the General Assembly would show clearly which States were affected by those provisions and which ones, although affected by them, could not fully undertake the obligations they created.
Mr. PEREZ PEROZO (Venezuela) said that article 12 was of no direct concern to his country, which adopted a most liberal policy in connection with an alien's right to work and where refugees as well as immigrants could register in employment exchanges under their various occupations. The only restriction in force provided that certain branches of production should use a given percentage of national manpower. While his delegation was prepared to vote in favour of article 12, it would be guided by the views of other delegations in the matter.
Sir Leslie BRASS (United Kingdom) though that the general sense of the meeting was that article 12 should remain unchanged. The United Kingdom delegation, however, could not accept paragraph 2 (c) which was too simple a way of avoiding labour restrictions. He formally proposed that the clause "He has one or more children possessing the nationality of the country of residence" should be deleted.
Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) said that his delegation would certainly consider it proper that the parent of a citizen be granted privileges in regard to the right to work. He indicated that the United Kingdom might make a reservation in the event of his amendment being rejected.
The United Kingdom amendment to delete paragraph 2 (c) of article 12, namely the words "He has one or more children possessing the nationality of the country of residence", was put to the vote and rejected by 6 votes to 2, with 3 abstention.
The CHAIRMAN thought that the definition of such phrases in article 12 as "nationals of a foreign country", "in the same circumstances", etc., could safely be left to the Drafting Committee, and might possibly be covered by a general article in the draft Convention containing definitions for such terms.
It was so agreed.
Article 13: Self-employment
Mr. JUVIGNY (France) said that, as far as the comments of the French delegation on articles 13 and 14 were concerned, he would like to refer to those he had made on articles 4 and 8. The French Government was quite prepared to accept the text of articles 13 and 14 to the extent that by the expression "treatment ... accorded generally to aliens" was understood "the ordinary law treatment of aliens", but not to the extent that, by the operation of a reciprocity clause, "treatment ... accorded generally to aliens" would be held to imply that France would be bound to extend to refugees in general the reciprocity agreed upon with one or more countries on a particular point. For the French delegation therefore, the words "treatment ... accorded generally to aliens" meant the ordinary law treatment of aliens.
Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) suggested that unless there was any proposal to increase the minimum protection given under article 13 regarding the right to engage in agriculture, industry, etc., the Committee should proceed to consideration of the following article.
It was so agreed.
Article 14: Liberal professions
Mr. THEODOLI (Italy) wished to reiterate the observations submitted and the reservations expressed by the Italian Government with regard to granting permission to refugees lawfully resident in Italian territory to accept employment. The Italian Government could not agree to a clause which might aggravate the existing internal situation caused by over-population and unemployment. His Government had to grapple with the problems raised by the yearly excess of births over deaths and by the existence of 2 million unemployed, and it could accept no recommendations on that question. The economic and demographic position of Italy was familiar to members of the Organization for European Economic Co-operation. The foundations had just been laid in Paris of a plan to enable the over-populated countries of Europe, including Italy, to send their surplus manpower to countries of final reception. Should the plan meet with success, it would be due to the Economic Co-operation Administration. That being so, it would be illogical for such outstanding efforts to be made on the one side to reduce unemployment in Italy, and, on the other, for unemployment to be aggravated as a result of obligations arising from Chapter III of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.
In existing circumstances, the Italian Government was unable to accept the provisions in question. It could, however, accept a clause enabling the right to work to be applied as soon as unemployment fell to the average level it had reached during a number of years - to be defined - prior to the second world war.
The CHAIRMAN observed that the comments on article 14 were similar to those in connection with articles 12 and 13. While some Governments might be obliged to make reservations, that was no reason for re-wording the article, which in any case afforded only a minimum standard of protection to refugees.
The discussion on article 14 was closed.
Article 15: Rationing
Mr. ROBINSON (Israel) explained that his Government's observations (E/AC.32/L.40, page 10) referred to drafting changes necessary to remove any disparity between article 15 and the Committee's comments on it. He asked to be allowed to raise the matter directly in the Drafting Committee.
It was so agreed.
Article 16: Housing
Mr. JUVIGNY (France) drew attention to the French text of document E/AC.32/L.40, which contained a rather serious mistake in translation, involving an error of substance. The French text said "le traitement le plus favorable accordé aux réfugiés résidant régulièrement sur leur territoire". He did not believe that was what was meant. He thought the correct translation of the English "shall accord the refugees lawfully in their territory treatment as favourable as possible", should be translated "accorderont aux réfugiés résidant régulièrement sur leur territoire un traitement aussi favorable que possible". The wording used in the French text at the beginning of article 13 should be reproduced in article 16 instead of the existing wording. As it stood, the article was meaningless.
The CHAIRMAN said that the point was one for the Drafting Committee. Any disparity in the French version of article 16 should be removed to bring it into conformity with the English text.
Mr. JUVIGNY (France) said there was still a question of substance to be settled. Since the French and English versions of article 16 did not mean the same thing, it was essential that the Committee should know which was the one proposed by the Secretariat as a working text. It should be possible to discover that from the records of the previous session. He maintained that there was a serious difference of substance between the two texts.
The CHAIRMAN stated that the English text was the basic one.
Mr. JUVIGNY (France) said that, now that it had been made clear that the basic text was the English one, he could see that it was merely a question of adapting the French text, and that was a matter for Drafting Committee.
Article 16 was referred to the Drafting Committee.
Article 17: Public Education
Sir Leslie BRASS (United Kingdom) said that his Government could not agree to a commitment that all refugees should have the most favourable treatment accorded to aliens as regards higher education, dealt with in paragraph 2. Higher educational facilities had already been granted to Polish nationals and special arrangement might be made in the near future by which nationals of certain foreign States could obtain special education facilities in the way of scholarships in the United Kingdom.
Mr. HERMENT (Belgium) had to make a number of observations similar to those made by the United Kingdom representative. His Government could not accord the most favourable treatment accorded to aliens where secondary and university education were concerned. The question involved was that of admission to studies which were conditional on previous studies having been completed; the latter had to be verified before the person concerned could be admitted to certain secondary schools or universities. To that end his Government would sign conventions with certain countries but could not accord that treatment to refugees in general.
Mr. CHA (China) called attention to a minor drafting point in the second paragraph of article 16 where the words "national of a foreign country" did not coincide with the term "aliens" used throughout the draft Convention.
Mr. PEREZ PEROZO (Venezuela) said it was essential to decide the kind of treatment to be granted to refugees. For his part he could not agree that they should be given the most favourable treatment in regard to higher education or to diplomas: Venezuela granted certain facilities in those respects to a number of neighbouring countries, the so-called "Bolivar countries", with which it was linked by ties of history and consanguinity; those facilities it would probably be unable to extend to refugees.
The CHAIRMAN noted that the United Kingdom, Belgium and Venezuela would be obliged to make reservations and asked if there were any other comments on the article.
Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) suggested that the wording should remain as it stood at least at the present stage of discussion. His Government would abide by the wish of the majority of those countries which had the highest number of refugees in need of protection.
Mr. WEIS (International Refugee Organization) felt that the treatment which had been referred to by the representative of Venezuela was preferential treatment, namely that accorded to nationals of countries which had the same educational system or were bound by particularly close ties. Of course, a reservation could be made to make it clear that preferential treatment was not meant to be covered in the most-favourable-treatment clause.
Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) challenged the interpretation given to the most-favourable-treatment clause. It had been recognized that reservations could be accepted especially if based on preferential treatment. But he did not think that preferential treatment had been excluded from the most-favourable-treatment clause and would not like that interpretation adopted. If the Benelux countries, for example, were not prepared to accord their special treatment to refugees, he would prefer it to be stated in the form of a reservation.
The CHAIRMAN agreed with the views expressed by the representative of the United States of America. He added that ample opportunity would be given during the second reading for further discussion and for the amendment of texts if that was considered necessary.
Mr. JUVIGNY (France) approved the United States representative's remarks. To reassure those who had expressed serious misgivings, he added that to speak of most favourable treatment as regards the award of scholarships in particular, did not mean that all children of refugees would be given scholarships, since their award, even in the case of nationals, was subject to supervision. The automatic nature of the financial burden to which that clause gave rise should not be exaggerated. He obviously had no intention of taking back with one hand what he was giving with the other.
Mr. HERMENT (Belgium) stated, in reply to the French representative, that his own reservation did not apply to the question of scholarships, but to the question of access to education. In Belgium, admission to a secondary school or university was very strictly regulated and it was chiefly for that reason that he had to make a general reservation.
The CHAIRMAN asked If Belgian universities accepted a foreigner who had studies abroad and whose studies were equivalent to the courses given in Belgian universities.
Mr. HERMENT (Belgium) stated that in his country there was the distinction that study abroad qualified the candidate for admission to schools of a certain grade, only if such study was recognized by an examining board as being equivalent to Belgian elementary or secondary education.
The CHAIRMAN said in that case the point was one not of nationality but rather of qualifications.
Mr. HERMENT (Belgium) replied that the regulations were the same for Belgians in some branches of education, but not in others.
The CHAIRMAN said that the point raised by the Belgian representative was covered under article 17.
After a further exchange of views, the CHAIRMAN noted that no amendments had been submitted and suggested that if any delegations wished to make reservations they should do so rather than change the whole wording of the article.
Mr. HERMENT (Belgium) remarked that obviously there were two ways of looking at it. Reservations should be avoided, even if it meant having to adopt a régime which was less favourable but did nevertheless constitute a basic statute for refugees. If a more far-reaching text were adopted, reservations would become so numerous that in the end the statute would not be the only text. There was the danger that the final result of the reservations would be that Governments would accord to refugees less than the minimum treatment provided for in the Convention. He wondered whether it was desirable for the Convention to provide for the best possible treatment while allowing States to make reservations. That was a matter of opinion. If the wording had been "accorded generally to aliens" there would have been no reservations.
Mr. JUVIGNY (France) said he did not wish at the point to discuss the very general problem to which the Belgian representative had referred and which was causing great concern to Governments. In the particular case of article 17, the instances cited by the Belgian representative were of minor importance and an explicit reservation would not in any way reflect badly upon the country making it. It had been his impression that in some cases it was a question of comparative standards. In all faculty regulations, however, there were comparative standards which did not necessarily derive from international agreements. Faculty boards could allow a student who had obtained a given diploma of a given faculty in a given country to continue his studies. In France, generally speaking, there were two types of diplomas, some of which - not, admittedly, of the same value - were reserved for holders of certain specified foreign diplomas.
The Belgian reservation was not a very serious one and the French delegation, for its part, was prepared to accept article 17 as it stood.
Mr. HERMENT (Belgium) saw no objection to retaining article 17, subject to reservations. He felt that what the French representative had said was not altogether accurate, in that although an educational board might grant a foreign student the right of admission to a university, that student would receive a degree which would not allow him to practise his profession.
Mr. JUVIGNY (France) thought that the two questions should not be linked together, since the practice of a profession was dealt with in other articles. A scientific standpoint had to be adopted in the present case, whereas the question of exercising a profession should be decided on a non-scientific basis. The fundamental purpose of article 17 was to prevent the son of a refugee from being forbidden to enter a given faculty. For example, a student who became a refugee after completing two years of medical studies should be allowed to continue those studies.
Mr. PEREZ PEROZO (Venezuela) said that diplomas recognized in the Latin American group of countries to which he had referred gave the right to practise a liberal profession in any one of them. On the other hand, for refugees to practise those professions Venezuela would probably require them to fulfil the formalities provided for in the relevant legislation.
The CHAIRMAN said that the point raised by the representative of Venezuela was covered under article 14 since article 17 dealt only with the question of public education.
Mr. HERMENT (Belgium) said that the two articles were closely interconnected. The words "recognized diplomas" had been used, but if a refugee were admitted to a university without any confirmation that his previous education was such as to enable him to derive the maximum benefit from a university education, he would certainly receive a degree, but would not be able to practise his profession. In most cases a refugee studied at a university in order to create a position for himself in the country in which he was resident. It was precisely for that reason that paragraph 2 of article 17 was so important. It was a question of according the refugee all the rights of a national as regards the results of higher education, and not allowing him to acquire a degree which would not entitle him to practise his profession.
The CHAIRMAN pointed out that it was necessary to make a distinction between the right to get an education and perhaps a degree on the one hand, and the right to exercise a profession on the basis of such a degree on the other hand. In the case mentioned by the representative of Belgium, it would seem to him an unhappy solution if the State of residence were to refuse a refugee the right to obtain an education only on the ground that he would be unable as an alien to practise his profession. He might wish to get an education merely for his private scientific enjoyment, or he might wish to emigrate to another country and there to practise his profession. It was also possible that a person studying some science was not eligible for citizenship at the time when he was a student, for instance because he was not able at that time to support himself; but he might nevertheless be interested in getting an education and a degree, hoping to be naturalized afterwards, whereupon he would be able to use the degree. So, in any event, the question of education and degrees covered by article 17 should not be combined with the question of the exercise of liberal professions dealt with in article 14.
Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) maintained that in any case it was better to allow an opportunity for study to a refugee, even if afterwards he could not practise a liberal profession, rather than prevent him from obtaining that education at all.
The meeting rose at 5.50 p.m.