Ad Hoc Committee on Statelessness and Related Problems, First Session: Summary Record of the Twentieth Meeting Held at Lake Success, New York, on Wednesday, 1 February 1950, at 2.30. p.m.
Chairman: Mr. CHANCE Canada
Mr. CUVELIER Belgium
Mr. GUERREIRO Brazil
Mr. CHA China
Mr. LARSEN Denmark
Mr. ORDONNEAU France
Mr. ROBINSON Israel
Mr. KURAL Turkey
Sir Leslie BRASS United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Mr. HENKIN United States of America
Mr. PEREZ PEROZO Venezuela
Representative of a specialized agency:
Mr. WEIS International Refugee Organization (IRO)
Consultants from non-governmental organizations:
Mr. STOLZ American Federation of Labor (AF of L)
Mr. LEWIN Agudas Israel World Organization
Mr. BERNSTEIN Co-ordinating Board of Jewish Organizations
Miss BAER Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
Mr. HUMPHREY Representative of the Acting Secretary-General
Mr. HOGAN Secretary of the Committee
INTERNATIONAL STATUS OF REFUGEES AND STATELESS PERSONS; DRAFT CONVENTION RELATING TO THE STATUS OF REFUGEES (E/AC.32/2, E/AC.32/L.3, E/AC.32/L.15, E/C.2/242) (continued)
1. The CHAIRMAN requested the Committee to take up the discussion of article 24, relating to expulsion and non-admittance. There were two drafts before the Committee, one submitted by the Secretariat (E/AC.32/2), the other by the French delegation (E/AC.32/l.3, article 19), and an amendment by the Danish delegation (E/AC.32/l.15) proposing the addition of three paragraphs to whatever text was adopted. In addition, the Committee had before it a text proposed by the Agudas Israel World Organiszation in a communication (E/C.2/242) transmitted in accordance with rule 81 of the rules of procedure of the Economic and Social Council.
2. One of those drafts might conveniently be chosen as the working paper.
3. Sir Leslie BRASS (United Kingdom) proposed that the draft submitted by the Augudas Israel World Organization should be taken as the working paper. That text, in his opinion, presented the question of expulsion and non-admittance in a more logical form than did the others.
4. Mr. ROBINSON (Israel) was in full agreement with the United Kingdom representative.
5. The CHAIRMAN (proposed that the text submitted by the Agudas Israel World Organization should be taken as the working paper. He asked the representative of France whether he had any objection, in view of the fact that the French translation of the draft in question had not yet been distributed.
6. Mr. ORONNEAU (France) said that he would raise no objection, on the distinct understanding that he was making that concession simply and solely in order to avoid impeding the work of the Committee and that his conciliatory attitude would not be taken as a precedent.
The Committee decided to consider the draft submitted by the Agudas Israel World Organization (E/C.2/242), paragraph by paragraph.
7. Sir Leslie BRASS (United Kingdom) proposed that the works "to the frontiers of territories" should be substituted for the phrase "to the frontiers of their country of origin, or to territories...". The amendment would not alter the purport of paragraph 1.
The amendment proposed by the United Kingdom representative was adopted.
8. Mr. ORDONNEAU (France) drew attention to the fact that paragraph 1 of the text under discussion was practically the same as paragraph 3 of the text proposed by the French delegation, the only difference being that in the French proposal the paragraph ended with the stipulation "provided these opinions are not contrary to the principles of the United Nations as set forth in the Preamble to the United Nations Charter".
9. It would be worth considering whether paragraph 1 of the text under discussion should not be completed in some such manner.
10. Sir Leslie BRASS (United Kingdom) wondered whether it would it not be well to stipulate in the text of paragraph 1 that the provisions it contained would not have to be applied when national security was involved.
11. National security was a consideration which should take precedence over all others. States should not, of course, invoke that principle except when circumstances absolutely justified their doing so; but it must be recognized that such circumstances could arise and provision must be made for them.
12. He therefore proposed that the following phrase should be added at the end of the paragraph: "unless the said measures are dictated by reasons of national security".
13. Mr. CUVELIER (Belgium) thought that the addition of phrase proposed by the United Kingdom representative would nullify the desired effect of paragraph 1.
14. He pointed out that if ever it was absolutely essential to refuse admittance to a refugee for reasons of national security, for example, it would always be possible to direct him to territories where his life or his freedom would not be threatened.
15. Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) supported the Belgian representative's view. Even when there were urgent reasons of national security, a State could easily avoid turning back a refugee to a territory in which he would be in danger.
16. Mr. ROBINSON (Israel) drew the United Kingdom representative's attention to the provisions of paragraph 4, which permitted States to apply whatever measures they deemed necessary with regard to refugees, when, for example, their national security was at stake.
17. If the amendment proposed by the French representative was adopted, he thought that the words "as set forth in the Preamble to the United Nations Charter" should be deleted, since the principles of the United Nations were outlined chiefly in Article 2 of the Charter and not in the Preamble.
18. Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) did not think it would be really wise to adopt the French amendment. It was unlikely that any country would in reality refuse admission to a person obliged to leave his own country on account of opinions which were not wholly in accordance with the United Nations Charter. The reservation proposed by the French representative was therefore unnecessary and might even be dangerous.
19. Mr. ORDONNEAU (France) pointed out that his amendment did not entail the compulsory refusal of refugees. It merely authorized the High Contracting Parties to turn back persons who did not appear worthy of consideration in view of the fact that their political opinions were in conflict with the principles of the United Nations. There was no reason to grant such persons any privileges.
20. Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) drew the French representative's attention to the fact that article 1 of the draft convention excluded from the benefits of the convention any persons who had committed acts contrary to the principles of the United Nations. It therefore seemed unnecessary to repeat the same idea in article 24, in a different form and in relation to a specific question.
21. Mr. WEIS (International Refugee Organization) pointed out that the Agreement of 15 October 1946 included the principle stated in paragraph 1 but did not include the reservation proposed by the French representative.
22. The CHAIRMAN asked the French representative whether he would agree to withdraw his amendment.
23. Mr. ORDONNEAU (France) said he would find it difficult to do so. If the Committee decided against the adoption of the reservation he had proposed, he would of course accept that decision. In that event he would ask for a statement to be included in the Committee's report to the effect that the reservation he had proposed had not been included in paragraph 1 of article 24 for the sole reason that, in the opinion of the Committee, it was clearly stated in article 1.
24. Sir Leslie BRASS (United Kingdom) said that he would not insist upon his amendment but reserved the matter.
25. The CHAIRMAN proposed that paragraph 1 of the text under discussion should be adopted, as amended by the United Kingdom proposal that had been accepted.
It was so decided.
26. The CHAIRMAN read the text of paragraph 2 of the draft.
27. Speaking as the representative of Canada, he said that in his country expulsion orders were issued by the administrative and not by the judicial authority, even when the first decision was subject to appeal. The individuals concerned always had the right of legal representation before the competent administrative authority. When a writ of habeas corpus had been obtained, the judge dealing with the case decided whether the expulsion order had been legal or not; in the event of his declaring it illegal, it was necessary for expulsion proceedings to be initiated anew before the administrative authority.
28. In order to cover every case, it would be advisable to amend paragraph 2 to read "the decision of a judicial or administrative authority"/
29. Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) felt that the adoption of such an amendment would deprive the refugee of the safeguards which every individual was entitled to expect from the judicial authority. He would be left to the discretion of police measures.
30. As he had already emphasized on a number of occasions, the problem did not arise in the United States of America. He nevertheless felt bound to draw the Committee's attention to the fact that the proposed amendment might weaken the scope and usefulness of article 24 and of the convention as a whole.
31. Mr. KURAL (Turkey) thought that the misgivings of the United States representative were groundless, since paragraph 3 contained provisions which enabled refugees to protect themselves against arbitrary action. Since the refugee had an opportunity of being represented before the authority competent to issue expulsion orders, he must be considered to be adequate protected.
32. He supported the amendment proposed by the Canadian representative, particularly in view of the fact that in many States it would be difficult for expulsion orders to be issued except by the administrative authority.
33. The CHAIRMAN, speaking as the representative of Canada, proposed the following alternative for the final phrase of paragraph 2: "in pursuance of a decision reached by due process of law."
34. Mr. ORDONNEAU (France) stated that it was impossible to give the judicial authorities sole powers with regard to measures of expulsion; in many countries, such as France, for example, that was a matter for the executive authorities. The administrative authorities who would be required to issue expulsion orders were generally of a very high rank; in France such measures could be taken only by the prefects or the Ministry of the Interior.
35. He gave his unqualified support to the Canadian proposal.
36. Mr. CUVELIER (Belgium) agreed with the representative of France. He asked whether it would not be possible to state specifically that the decision to expel the refugee should be without appeal: that would be equivalent to saying that the refugee could not be expelled except by a decision of the highest competent authority.
37. Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) could accept the last solution proposed by the Chairman. He agreed with the representative of Belgium that it would be well to state specifically that it was to be a final decision.
38. Mr. PEREZ PEROZO (Venezuela) stated that he would find it difficult to support article 24 if the idea of public order was not mentioned in it. He recalled that one of the essential prerequisites for the success of the draft convention was that it should be couched in such terms as to obtain the greatest possible number of signatures. Article 24 was one of the most important articles in the draft.
39. States were not all in the same position. There were certain young countries which had not yet reached the institutional maturity of countries whose history went back many years. Such young countries were subject to internal upheavals and revolutions which resulted in changes in the government or the constitution, sometimes achieved by violence. Those countries were very much concerned with the question of public order, which was closely linked to the stability of their institutions. They sometimes found themselves in exceptional situations which obliged them to take emergency measures which might involve the suspension of constitutional guarantees. The convention should not give refugees guarantees and privileges which would not be enjoyed by the nationals of the country concerned in the exceptional circumstances to which he had referred.
40. The new countries of which he had spoken would become focal points for refugees; it would therefore be contrary to the interests of the refugees themselves if the draft convention contained provisions that would make it difficult for those States to sign and ratify the convention.
41. Venezuela had experienced disturbances, accompanied by violence, in which refugees from various countries had taken part; the people of Venezuela had suffered a great deal during and following those upheavals and they would not accept a convention for refugees which contained any provisions that would prevent them from defending their own institutions. It should be possible to expel all aliens, whether refugees or not, from the territory of a State immediately public order in that State was threatened.
42. He recalled that during the second part of the Third Session of the General Assembly, when the draft Convention on Freedom of Information had been discussed in the Third Committee, the United States delegation had proposed that censorship should be permitted only for national military security but, by the adoption of an amendment submitted by the United Kingdom delegation, the Committee had agreed that States should have the right to suspend the application of the Convention in time of war or national emergency, namely when it was a question of public order. It did not seem that that idea could be ignored in so far as refuges were concerned as they might be involved in matters of public order.
43. In conclusion, he stressed that there should be some reference to public order in the article on the expulsion or non-admittance of refugees and some provision to ensure that the protection granted to refuges under the convention would not apply in certain exceptional circumstances.
44. Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) wondered whether the representative of Venezuela wished the reference to public order to be inserted in paragraph 1, which had already been adopted in principle, or in paragraph 2, which was under discussion and which dealt simply with a procedural question of expulsion. He pointed out that the Committee had already agreed that even for reasons of national security and public order refugees should not be turned back to countries where their life or liberty was threatened.
45. Mr. CUVELIER (Belgium) wondered whether the representative of Venezuela's proposal would not restrict the rights of States. The idea of public order could only be included in paragraph 2 in the form of a restrictive clause and the result would be to state that refugees could not be expelled except for reasons of public order or national security.
46. Mr. ORDONNEAU (France) pointed out that the question to which the representative of Venezuela had drawn the Committee's attention had been in the minds of the authors of the Secretariat draft and the French draft, when they had decided that it was necessary to leave Governments certain discretionary powers in the matter of expulsion, based on the idea of national security and pubic order. It was important to mention that the idea at the very beginning of the article under discussion. The most logical course wold be to insert paragraph 1 of the Secretariat draft or of the which dealt French draft which dealt with the general question of expulsion and non-admittance of refugees and which contained the particular reservation concerning national security and public order, at the beginning of the article.
47. Mr. CUVELIER (Belgium) reminded the Committee that to justify the deletion of paragraph 1 of the Secretariat draft, Mr. Lewin, the representative of the Agudas Israel World Organization, had asserted that it was only a repetition of paragraph 4. There was in reality a difference between those two paragraphs which could not be overlooked: paragraph 1 concerned expulsion or non-admittance orders enacted by application of police measures, whereas paragraph 4 referred only to expulsions carried out in pursuance of judicial decisions. In the first case, the expulsion of a refugee could take place only for reasons of national security or public order; in the second case, it could be ordered on any grounds whatsoever. It was the linking together of those two paragraphs, which dealt with different cases, that had created the confusion in the Committee and had impelled members to propose that judicial expulsion should be restricted to those cases involving national security, whereas the two concepts were incompatible.
48. Mr. ROBINSON (Israel) attempted to clarify three principal factors of the rather complex problem facing the Committee.
49. The first lay in the exceptional limitation of the sovereign right of States to turn back aliens to the frontiers of their country of origin. That was the purpose of paragraph 1 of article 24 proposed by the Agudas Israel World Organization.
50 The second factor was the expulsion of refugees to territories where neither their life nor their freedom would be threatened. Paragraph 2 of the same article provided a purely formal guarantee in favour of the refugee in such cases: the measure of expulsion should be decreed only after regular procedure. Such a safeguard did not, however, appear to be sufficient, for a refugee could then be expelled in due and proper form for even a slight offence. States would have to undertake not to resort to the ultima ratio of expulsion except for very grave reasons, namely, actions endangering national security or public order. Thus the refugee would be protected both in the matter of procedure and in that of grounds, which was not the least important consideration.
51. Finally, refugees who did not come within the framework of the convention were the third factor in the question. It was they, and they alone, whom non-admittance measures should concern. It could be asked, however, whether it was necessary to include those measures in a convention which was to apply only to refugees authorized to reside regularly in the reception country. It did not seem so, yet paragraph 1 of both the Secretariat draft and the French draft dealt precisely with the question of turning back refugees admitted to residence, which seemed contrary to the very purpose of the convention, namely, the maintenance and the stabilization of the status quo of those refugees. For that reason there should either be no mention of non-admittance in the article, or, if it was considered necessary to retain the provision, it should be made clear that it would not apply to the refugees referred to in the convention, but only to those who had not been regularly admitted to residence.
52. The CHAIRMAN noted that in the case of paragraph 1, as well as of paragraph 2, the Committee was confronted with a dilemma. If it wished to grant the greatest possible number of guarantees to refugees, it met with resistance from delegations which had the greater good of their Governments at heart. If, on the other hand, it tried to safeguard the sovereign rights of States to the greatest possible extent, it was liable to draw up a convention which would be unfavourable to refugees. The solution obviously lay in finding the lowest common denominator in those opposing interests.
53. Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) fully shared the Chairman's point of view.
54. The Committee had, it was true, decided to delete the chapter on admittance, considering that the convention should not deal with the right of asylum and that it should merely provide for a certain number of improvements in the position of refugees. It did nit, however, follow that the convention would not apply to persons fleeing from persecution who asked to enter the territory of the contracting parties. Whether it was a question of closing the frontier to a refugee who asked admittance, or of turning him back after he had crossed the frontier, or even of expelling him after he had been admitted to residence in the territory, the problem was more or less the same.
55. Whatever the case might be, whether or not the refugee was in a regular position, he must not be turned back to a country where his life or freedom could be threatened. No consideration of public order should be allowed to overrule that guarantee, for if the State concerned wished to get rid of the refugee at all costs, it could send him to another country or place him in an internment camp.
56. Paragraph 1 should therefore apply without reservation to all refugees, whether or not they had been regularly admitted to residence. In order that there should be no doubt on the matter, he proposed that the words "undertakes not to expel or turn back" should replace the words "undertakes not to turn back".
57. Concerning paragraph 2, Mr. Henkin fully understood the problems which arose in that connexion in the countries to which the representative of Venezuela had referred, which were sometimes obliged to apply particularly severe measures to certain aliens who abused their hospitality. Those measures, however, were certainly taken in accordance with a regular procedure provided by law. Consequently the guarantee to refugees contained in paragraph 2 was safeguarded.
58. The question whether it was necessary to supplement that guarantee with the one recommended by the representative of Israel and limit cases of expulsion to those dictated by reasons of public order was a delicate matter, for various countries, such as the United States and Canada, imposed expulsion on the perpetrators of certain crimes which did not endanger national security.
59. The essential thing was that it should not be possible to expel refugees other than in accordance with a regular procedure provided by the law, whether administrative or judicial.
60. Mr. ROBINSON (Israel) fully appreciated the remarks of the United States representative, which completed his own statement and made it more specific. The fact was that it was extremely difficult to consider the different paragraphs of the article independently; thus in considering paragraph 1 alone, the Committee had not been able to grasp the real meaning of the article. The article must, in fact, apply to all refugees, whether or not they were admitted to residence; it must deal with both expulsion and non-admittance, and must grant to all refugees the guarantees provided in paragraph 1 of the Secretariat draft and the French draft.
61. The Committee had already settled the humanitarian question of sending any refugee whatever back to a territory where his life or liberty might be in danger. The strong humanitarian traditions by which it was animated would undoubtedly lead it to a satisfactory solution for paragraph 2, which dealt with the expulsion of refugees lawfully admitted to residence.
62. Mr. ORDONNEAU (France) was willing to accept the United States amendment to paragraph 1. It should, however, be pointed out that the paragraph was concerned with a special case, namely the expulsion or the turning back into a territory where the refugee's life or liberty was in danger. The general case was that of expulsion to any country other than that in which the refugee would be threatened by the dangers mentioned in paragraph 1. The difficulty lay in the fact that the paragraph which dealt with special cases was placed at the head of the article, whereas the general case as dealt with in the following paragraph, which was illogical.
63. Furthermore, Mr. Henkin had been correct in emphasizing that the expulsion of refugees could not be regulated without dealing at the same time with the question of refusal of admittance, which raised a serious legal and humanitarian problem. Nothing, however, was provided for in that respect in the text of paragraph 2 which had been submitted for the Committee's consideration. On the other hand, the Secretariat and the French delegation had taken care to deal with that question in paragraph 1 of their drafts.
64. In short, to be complete and clear, the article should include a first paragraph dealing with non-admittance in general, a second on expulsion in general, a third on non-admittance at the frontier and expulsion to territories where the life and liberty of the refugee might be threatened, and a last paragraph on the special measures to be applied in connexion with refugees unable to obey the expulsion order.
65. Sir Leslie BRASS (United Kingdom) stated that it was difficult for him to agree that the provisions of paragraph 1 should be extended to cover the question of expulsion. Naturally, the Government of the United Kingdom would always strive to avoid sending refugees to countries where their life or liberty might be endangered. But when a refugee obstinately refused to abide by the laws of the country which had granted him hospitality, public opinion would not care to see the Government deprived of the right to expel an individual who openly rebelled against authority. If no other country was willing to receive such a delinquent, he would perforce have to be sent to the only territory which would admit him, and which was, in fact, the country where his life or liberty might be in danger. The Government would take care that such extreme measures were applied only in very rare instances, but it must have the right to take such measures, were it only to inspire a healthy fear among other refugees who might be tempted to follow the bad example of a truculent guest and who might thus cause trouble difficult to handle. Further, threat to freedom was a relative term and might not involve severe risks.
66. Mr. ORDONNEAU (France) thought that there were methods of dealing with the intractable refugee other than sending him to certain death in his country of origin. It would suffice to apply the measures indicated in paragraph 4, which were intended to meet cases of that kind.
67. Sir Leslie GRASS (United Kingdom) objected that the measures laid down in paragraph 4 seemed to him to be inadequate. The prospect of imprisonment would not have the same deterrent effect as the risk of being expelled to the country of origin.
68. Mr. CUVELIER (Belgium) remarked that certain delegations wished to bring up again the question of the text of paragraph 1 although it had already been adopted. If it was desired to revoke the advantages laid down for refugees as a matter of principle and if Governments were to be given a free hand in the matter, then it would be simpler to say that article 24 should be deleted.
69. The CHAIRMAN realized that the presence of particularly intractable refugees might cause serious difficulties in certain reception countries. Nevertheless, it was for the governments of those countries to find the means of making reservations to meet special cases, while accepting the principle, which applied to all civilized nations, of not expelling refugees to territories where they would meet certain death.
70. Mr. CHA (China) thought that, in order to ensure an orderly debate, the Committee should examine the draft article paragraph by paragraph.
71. The CHAIRMAN pointed out that such was his proposal when the consideration of paragraph 2 of the Agudas Israel World Organization's draft had led to a general debate on the article as a whole.
72. Mr. WEIS (International Refugee Organization) fully understood the meaning of the United Kingdom objection to the inclusion of the question of the expulsion of refugees in paragraph 1. He wondered, however, whether it was advisable, through consideration of some concrete cases which were completely exceptional, to undermine a generally acceptable principle. The turning back of refugees to their country of origin, if considered from extreme angles, would, moreover, raise a question of a legal nature. It was certain that the country of origin world only accept a refugee who was one of its nationals. It was true that an international protocol of 1930 stipulated that in the case of a destitute person or a criminal, the country of origin must receive the expelled person even if he had renounced his nationality. That protocol had however never come into effect.
73. The CHAIRMAN, speaking as the representative of Canada, unreservedly approved of the principle contained in paragraph 1 as already adopted. He saw no objection to the adoption of paragraph 2, as in his country all expulsions were ordered only in pursuance of a decision reached by due process of law. Paragraph 3 could also be accepted by Canada without difficulty. Finally, paragraph 4 did not seem likely to raise any serious obstacles for Canada. The adoption of that article would, on the whole, allow Governments a fair amount of latitude except in cases where refugees had to be returned to territories in which their life or liberty might be in danger.
74. He called upon the Committee to continue the consideration of paragraph 2.
75. Mr. LARSEN (Denmark) was not satisfied with the text, as it should be made clear that an expulsion order against a refugee could be issued only on grounds of national security or public order, and that social considerations, such as destitution, should not come under the heading of public order.
76. The CHAIRMAN pointed out that if there were so few reasons for expulsion, the position of refugees would be better than that of foreigners in general, who could be expelled from a country for bad behaviour or for becoming a burden on the community.
77. Mr. CUVELIER (Belgium) pointed out that a refugee who broke the laws of a country also undermined public order; it should, therefore, be possible to expel a refugee in the same way as any other foreigner in similar circumstances. On the other hand, it was naturally impossible to expel a refugee for economic reasons, as in the case of destitution he could not be returned to his country of origin as could an ordinary emigrant. If that was the correct interpretation of the reservation regarding national security and public order, introduced into paragraph 2, his delegation would accept that paragraph as it stood.
78. Mr. ORDONNEAU (France) agreed with the Belgian representative. The draft convention should merely state that a refugee could be deported only for reasons of national security.
79. Mr. LARSEN (Denmark) reminded the Committee that the 1933, 1936 and 1938 Conventions all contained the same restrictions, and it would be a pity not to mention that fact in the draft convention.
80. The CHAIRMAN said that the Committee should be very careful not to incorporate anything likely to run counter to public opinion. Practically speaking. There was nowhere where a refugee could be sent. Even without paragraph 1 the reception country would perforce have to keep such a refugee, as it could not possibly return him to a country in which his life would be in danger.
81. Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) reminded the Committee that his Government had reserved its position on the draft convention as a whole, as the problem of refugees did not arise as such in the United States. A person ceased to be a refugee the moment he set foot on United States soil. For humanitarian reasons, however, and in order to conform with the principles of the United Nations Charter, his country was anxious to ensure the maximum of protection for refugees arriving in its territory. That was why refugees were eligible for public assistance, unemployment benefits etc.
82. He was in favour of the addition suggested by the Danish representative.
83. Sir Leslie BRASS (United Kingdom) was prepared to accept the words "save on grounds of national security or public order" which met his own views and those of the Chairman. In the United Kingdom deportations were ordered on grounds of national security or public order only, which included offences against the law. There was no reason why refugees should be accorded better treatment than other foreigners in connexion with deportation.
84. The CHAIRMAN agreed with the United Kingdom representative that only considerations of national security and public order need be mentioned. He therefore suggested that paragraph 2 should be amended by the addition of the following words: "save on grounds of national security or public order and in pursuance of a final decision reached by due process of law."
85. Mr. ORDONNEAU (France) had two observations to make. On the one hand, he had not grasped the exact meaning of the words "final decision". In France an expulsion order was issued by the Prefect, and no administrative authority could usurp his right. His order was therefore final. It was always possible to appeal to the Council of State which could countermand the order, but that took time and, in any case, an appeal did not stay execution.
86. The CHAIRMAN explained that the word "final" had been inserted in the text in order to avoid the possibility of a person being expelled on the decision of a mere policeman, for example.
87. Mr. ORDONNEAU (France) then made his second point. Although the current text seemed better than the earlier one, he was obliged to reserve his Government's position. It appeared from the preceding discussion that the expression "public order" was not interpreted in all countries in the same way. In France, for example, it was certainly given a different definition than in the United Kingdom. Consequently the inclusion of that expression would not, in Mr. Ordonneau's view, restrict the right of expulsion to any considerable extent. He therefore preferred the expression "national security" which was more precise in meaning. He regretted that the Committee did not seem prepared to go along with him on that point.
88. Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) suggested that the words "for violation of the law" or some similar expression might be added to the text.
89. Mr. PEREZ PEROZO (Venezuela) preferred that a reference should be made to public order. Agreeing that in French law the concept was a very broad one, he stressed that in his country, "public order" was synonymous with internal order, while "national security" implied "international order", for the two ideas complemented each other and were closely linked.
90. Mr. HENKIN (united States of America) assumed that if the Committee adopted the words "public order", the clause would be applied in a country where aliens were expelled for violation of the law; if that were done, "in accordance with the law of the country", there would be an effective safeguard.
91. Mr. ROBINSON (Israel), in order to allay the Venezuelan representative's fears, proposed the adoption of the words "internal and external national security" as the words "public order" could in fact give rise to different interpretations.
92. Sir Leslie BRASS (United Kingdom) objected to the introduction of new, and hitherto unknown, terms. At any rate, neither the Chairman nor he himself could accept them, as they both had criminal offences in mind.
93. Mr. WEIS (International Refugee Organization) advised the Committee that if it had in mind criminal offences, it should say so clearly. The appropriate phrase would then be something like the following: "For reasons of national security or if the refugees concerned have been convicted of a criminal offence."
94. Mr. PEREZ PEROZO (Venezuela) and Mr. KURAL (Turkey) preferred the phrase "on grounds of national security and public order". Those were the traditional terms used in international documents and had the advantage of being clear.
95. Mr. CUVELIER (Belgium) shared that point of view. He asked that the discussion should be recorded in the summary record of the meeting so as to make clear what the Committee understood by the concept of public order.
96. The CHAIRMAN then read out the amended text:
"A refugee whose expulsion has been ordered shall be entitled to submit evidence to clear himself, and to be represented before the competent authority in accordance with the established law and procedure of the country.
The text was adopted.
97. The CHAIRMAN remarked that the paragraph was somewhat similar to the text of paragraph 4 of the French proposal.
98. Sir Leslie BRASS (United Kingdom) did not fully agree with the provisions of the paragraph. In the United Kingdom aliens could not appear before the Home Secretary, nor be represented before him. The latter did not decide on their case until he had assembled all the relevant material so that, if necessary, his action could be justified in the House of Commons. That in itself was a safeguard, as the refugees had many friends in the British Parliament who actively defended their interests. Sir Leslie proposed therefore that either the second part of paragraph 3 should be deleted, or that such words as "like all other aliens" should be added.
99. The CHAIRMAN, having stressed the diversity of the existing systems in the field, Mr. CUVELIER (Belgium) proposed that the phrase "in conformity with the existing provisions regarding aliens in general" should be added to paragraph 3.
100. Mr. ORDONNEAU (France) remarked that the text, part of which was taken from the text which he himself had proposed, had a slightly different meaning in the view of the French delegation. It provided, in fact, for the case of a refugee who had already received an expulsion order and who was contesting the action taken against him and had grounds for so doing.
101. Mr. LARSEN (Denmark) expressed some doubt as to the effectiveness of paragraph 3 in affording protection to refugees.
102. The CHAIRMAN and Sir Leslie BRASS (United Kingdom) shared those doubts.
103. Mr. ORDONNEAU (France) agreed with regard to the situation in the United Kingdom, but had some reservation regarding countries where the procedure was not similar and which did not, for example, grant aliens the right to be represented or to lodge claims.
104. Mr. ROBINSON (Israel) considered that the fears expressed by Sir Leslie were groundless. Paragraph 3 applied, in fact, solely to those countries which allowed an appeal to be made against an expulsion order. That was the case in France, for example, where it was possible to appeal to the Council of State. If the appeal was not allowed, then paragraph 3 would not in any case apply.
105. Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) asked whether the wishes of the United Kingdom representative would be met if the following words were added at the end of paragraph 3, in accordance with the views expressed by the Israel representative: "in accordance with the established laws and practices of the country concerned."
The proposal was adopted.
106. The CHAIRMAN, after reading out the paragraph, said that it would be advisable to lighten it by deleting all the text after the word "territory".
107. Mr. LARSEN (Denmark) supported that idea. It could happen that a refugee might be prevented from complying immediately with an expulsion order for reasons other that the more or less legal reasons given in paragraph 4: for example, a pregnant wife or a sick child. The Governments concerned should be allowed to interpret such a situation. If they were actuated by goodwill, the clause which it was proposed to delete would be superfluous. In the contrary case, it would not be of any use anyway.
108. Mr. ORDONNEAU (France) stated that he had been going to make a similar proposal for the same reasons and also because paragraph 4 applied also to the cases provided for in paragraph 1. It had, in fact, been agreed that a refugee could not be sent back to a country where his life would be threatened. But a refugee who had been expelled from one country had little chance of being admitted elsewhere. The Committee had decided that paragraph 4 would apply in that case, which was the most frequent. It was regrettable that the three last lines of that paragraph were limited in scope.
109. Mr. CUVELIER (Belgium) thought that, in the circumstances, it would be as well to delete the whole paragraph as it afforded no guarantee to refugees, and left governments free to act as they pleased, in so far as the refugees were concerned.
110. Mr. WEIS (International Refugee Organization) felt that on the contrary a practical measure was involved and that paragraph 4 should stipulate that the High Contracting Parties should delay the application of internal measures until the refugee received permission to proceed to another country.
111. The CHAIRMAN feared that temporary detention might constitute a punitive measure for deported refugees who could not proceed elsewhere.
112. Mr. WEIS (International Refugee Organization) thought that a refugee would not regard a period in prison or in an internment camp as a punitive measure, as he might otherwise run the risk of being sent back to a country where his life would be threatened.
113. Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) stated that, in practice, before a foreigner was expelled from the United States of America, he was generally given the option of leaving voluntarily or of being interned until he found another reception country. The benefit of such measures might also be extended to refugees.
114. Mr. WEIS (International Refugee Organization) said that so far the High Commissariat for Refugees or the non-governmental organizations concerned had been kept informed regarding expulsion orders, which enabled them to help the refugees find another reception country. That fact explained the provision in the part of paragraph 4 to which objection had been raised, and which had been so drafted on account of the present incertitude as to the exact powers of the future High Commissariat.
115. Mr. LARSEN (Denmark) pointed out that, in practice, most countries were not eager to welcome foreigners and especially refugees, who had been expelled from other countries. It should not therefore be feared that a State would affix the word "expelled" on an expelled refugee'' passport which might prevent the person concerned from finding refuge elsewhere and would oblige the country which wished to expel him to keep him on its territory. On the contrary, that country would try to get rid of him in the most discreet way possible. Consequently, the Chairman's amendment suggesting that paragraph 4 should be shortened by one-half would not have any grave practical consequences.
116. Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) asked whether the Committee thought it advisable to include in article 24 certain words which, without placing any obligation on the High Contracting Parties, would express the hope that any refugee regularly residing in a country which was a signatory to the Convention and who might be under an expulsion order, would have the opportunity of trying to obtain legal admission into another country before the expulsion order was put into effect. In the meantime, the High Contracting Parties could take the appropriate national measures in his case.
117. The CHAIRMAN asked Mr. Henkin to submit his proposal in writing at the following meeting.
The meeting rose at 4.40 p.m.