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General Conclusion on International Protection

Executive Committee Meetings

General Conclusion on International Protection
No. 16 (XXXI) - 1980

16 October 1980
Executive Committee 31st session. Contained in United Nations General Assembly Document No. 12A (A/35/12/Add.1).

The Executive Committee,

(a) Noted that while a measure of progress had been achieved in regard to international protection since the Committee's thirtieth session, there were a number of serious problems which still remained unresolved;

(b) Noted with appreciation the work of the Sub-Committee of the Whole on International Protection as representing an important contribution to improving the legal situation of refugees;

(c) Stressed the fundamental importance of the principles established in regard to international protection and the need for these principles to be scrupulously observed in refugee situations existing in different areas of the world;

(d) Stressed further that while there was a need to develop legal concepts relating to international protection in the light of the special conditions prevailing in different regions, this should not detract from the absolute character of the fundamental principles already established in this field;

(e) Expressed serious concern that there were still cases in which the fundamental principle of non-refoulement had been disregarded or in which refugees had been exposed to physical danger or violence;

(f) Reiterated its condemnation of inhuman military attacks on refugee camps in southern Africa and the need for effective protection and humanitarian assistance to be accorded to the victims of such attacks;

(g) Noted that while an increasing number of States had become parties to the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention and to the 1967 Protocol, there was an urgent need for further States to accede with a view to the provisions of these instruments acquiring universal application;

(h) Noted with appreciation that further States had adopted measures to implement the provisions of the Convention and the Protocol, especially as regards procedures for determining refugee status, and stressed the need for increased co-operation between Governments and UNHCR in this matter;

(i) Recognized the value of examining problems of international protection in a regional context with a view to arriving at appropriate solutions;

(j) Noted with appreciation the work of the Round Table of Asian Experts which met in Manila from 14 to 18 April 1980 and the Declaration on the International Protection of Refugees and Displaced Persons in Asia and the Declaration on Pirate Attacks on Refugees and Displaced Persons adopted by the Round Table;

(k) Reiterated the importance of promoting a wider knowledge and understanding of refugee law in increasing the effectiveness of international protection, and noted with satisfaction the progress achieved in this matter as described in document A/AC.96/INF.162;

(l) Recognized the need - in the light of its increased range of activities in the field of international protection - for the Office to be provided with the necessary protection staff to enable it effectively to carry out these functions in various parts of the world.