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General Conclusion on International Protection

Executive Committee Meetings

General Conclusion on International Protection
No. 21 (XXXII) - 1981

21 October 1981
Executive Committee 32nd session. Contained in United Nations General Assembly Document No. 12A (A/36/12/Add.1).

The Executive Committee,

(a) Reiterated the fundamental importance of international protection as the primary task entrusted to the High Commissioner under the Statute of his Office and noted with satisfaction the progress achieved in this field since the Committee's thirty-first session;

(b) Noted in particular the progress made as regards further accessions to the 1951 United Nations Convention and the 1969 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees and welcomed accession to these basic international refugee instruments by Angola, Chad, Egypt, Japan, Lesotho, Philippines, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe;

(c) Expressed the hope that further States would accede to the Convention and to the Protocol and that those States which still maintain the geographical limitation in respect of their obligations under the Convention will give active consideration to the possibility of withdrawing this limitation;

(d) Noted with satisfaction the measures taken by various States to ensure the effective implementation of their obligations under the Convention and Protocol, in particular as regards procedures for determining refugee status as described in document A/AC.96/INF.152/Rev.3 and expressed the hope that such measures be taken by all States parties to the international refugee instruments;

(e) Noted that despite an increasingly broad understanding of the principles of international protection, the basic rights of refugees had been disregarded in a number of areas in the world;

(f) Noted with particular concern that in certain areas refugees have been refused asylum, have been rejected at the frontier or subjected to measures of expulsion or forcible return in disregard of the fundamental principle of non-refoulement and that asylum seekers had been the victims of physical violence;

(g) Expressed its serious preoccupation that while a certain measure of progress had been achieved in this matter, asylum seekers at sea continued to be the victims of piracy attacks and called upon the High Commissioner, in co-operation with the International Committee of the Red Cross and other interested organizations and Governments to seek the support of the international community for the continuation and intensification of efforts to protect refugees from acts of violence at sea and to assist the victims;

(h) Noted with grave concern the inhuman military attacks on refugee camps in southern Africa and elsewhere, involving extreme and indescribable hardships to refugees and called upon the High Commissioner to examine the serious humanitarian problems resulting from military attacks on refugee camps and settlements which are the concern of UNHCR, and the need for special measures to protect and ensure the safety of such refugees, and to report thereon at the earliest possible date to the Executive Committee;

(i) Noted with renewed appreciation the work of the Sub-Committee of the Whole on International Protection which has greatly facilitated the High Commissioner's efforts to extend international protection to refugees and has contributed to a clearer formulation of the standards for their treatment, and noted with particular satisfaction the work of the Sub-Committee with regard to the question of temporary refuge in situations of large-scale influx;

(j) Welcomed the increasing understanding for the problems of international protection shown in governmental, non-governmental and academic circles and the continuing efforts undertaken by the High Commissioner to promote a wider knowledge of international refugee law.