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Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 1992

Executive Committee Meetings

Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 1992

28 August 1992
General Assembly Official Records. Forty-seventh Session. Supplement No.12 (A/47/12). United Nations, New York, 1993


1. During the period covered by the present report, the global refugee situation again deteriorated - particularly in the Persian Gulf, the Horn of Africa, South-West Asia and Europe - despite far-reaching changes in the world order which, it was hoped, augured improved prospects for solutions. While progress was made in solutions to certain refugee situations, notably in Central America and South-East Asia, the world's refugee population remained at a staggering 17 million. The year under review has undoubtedly been one of the most difficult and demanding for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), has placed additional and considerable demands on the solidarity of the international community, and has posed daunting challenges to UNHCR and the United Nations system as a whole.

2. Not only do refugee movements continue to be a part of larger movements of people across borders, but human rights violations and conflict have displaced large numbers both internally and externally. The complexity, dimensions and speed of such displacement, as demonstrated by events in the Persian Gulf, the Horn of Africa and South-West Asia, have posed unprecedented protection and logistic difficulties. In some instances, delivery of much needed assistance must be carried out in a context of almost intolerable security risks. Furthermore, the past year witnessed the burgeoning phenomenon of internal displacement - over 1 million persons in Yugoslavia alone - and the continuing, bitter reality of south-south movements which place a cruel burden on the poorest of States. It is also increasingly evident that voluntary repatriation, the preferred durable solution to refugee problems, can not be stable and truly durable without meaningful reintegration rooted in national development and reconciliation. No one United Nations agency can face such myriad challenges alone. The adoption by the General Assembly of resolution 46/182 of 19 December 1991 on the strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian emergency assistance of the United Nations was a significant landmark, providing a framework for an appropriate response of the system to complex humanitarian emergency situations. The Office is working with the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator to explore ways whereby UNHCR might contribute its expertise to the handling of such complex emergencies.

3. While the period under review has been characterized by the emergence of new and urgent refugee situations, long-standing situations, such as that of Afghans in Pakistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran, and of numerous refugee groups in Africa, continue to require the attention of the international community and necessitate new and innovative measures. Central America and South-East Asia have proven fertile testing grounds for comprehensive regional approaches to achieve durable solutions for certain situations. In Central America, refugee camps, once a sad testimony to the suffering of almost a decade of conflict, have disappeared, in large measure as a result of the process set in motion by the International Conference on Central American Refugees (CIREFCA), in support of the regional peace plan known as Esquipulas II. Returnees in that region now outnumber refugees. In South-East Asia, the number of new arrivals of asylum-seekers has plummeted, as a result of the mechanisms set in place by the Comprehensive Plan for Action for Indo-Chinese Refugees (CPA). In the same region, Cambodian refugees and displaced persons have begun to return home after years in camps in Thailand and elsewhere.

4. Working in close cooperation with other United Nations agencies and programmes, and with the generous support of the international community, UNHCR continued to make a concerted effort to devise new approaches to meet these challenges and to seek durable solutions in furtherance of its mandate. Tripartite commissions or similar consultative mechanisms, regional approaches to refugee problems (CPA and CIREFCA) and other such efforts continue to be implemented. More generally, during 1991 and the first quarter of 1992, UNHCR charted a forward-looking strategy which focuses on emergency preparedness, prevention, and solutions and attempts to address the totality of the refugee problem, from exodus and relief to return and reintegration.

5. As part of this strategy, the emergency preparedness and response capacity of UNHCR has been improved through a number of measures detailed in the relevant section of this report, rendering the Office better able to address refugee emergencies world wide. Every opportunity for voluntary repatriation has also been pursued, increasingly in the context of political settlements negotiated under the auspices of the Secretary-General, and in close consultation with all relevant parties. In connection with repatriation, new approaches to reintegration assistance - such as "quick impact" projects for returnee communities being implemented in Nicaragua - may help to anchor returnee communities and fill a current gap in development-oriented assistance for returnee populations. The third prong of this strategy has been to promote preventive measures. The objective of prevention is not to prevent flows but to remove or reduce the factors which compel movement. Examples of this approach are the UNHCR humanitarian assistance programme for those displaced by the Yugoslav conflict, which seeks to promote dialogue on return and avoid further displacement, the UNHCR protection and assistance role in northern Iraq, and its growing involvement in the constituent Republics of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and in Central and Eastern Europe focusing on dissemination of refugee law, refugee law promotion with all relevant parties and monitoring.

6. A strategy aimed at achieving solutions while at the same time responding to emergencies is relatively costly to implement. Donors made available a total of $887 million during 1991, a large proportion of which went towards UNHCR programmes in the Persian Gulf. Now more than ever, UNHCR continues to depend on the solidarity of the international community in order to improve the speed and quality with which it is able to address the ever-evolving refugee situation. The international community must continue to play a dynamic role in encouraging the necessary humanitarian response and ensuring that the protection and assistance needs of asylum-seekers are adequately met. For its part, UNHCR will continue to contribute to peace and reconciliation through a determined pursuit of lasting humanitarian solutions adapted to meet the challenges of today's world.


A. Introduction

7. Ensuring that international protection is extended to refugees and other persons of concern to UNHCR and facilitating durable solutions to their problems are the primary functions of the Office. While the ultimate goal of protection - the provision of durable solutions - remains unchanged, the changing dimensions of the world refugee problem over the last decade in particular have led to a shift in the order of preference for the durable solutions of voluntary repatriation, local settlement and resettlement. Voluntary repatriation is increasingly the solution of choice. At the same time, the international community is increasingly willing to acknowledge and act upon the need to prevent the circumstances which force people to flee.

8. These developments have confronted UNHCR with new challenges. In addition to its traditional protection activities, such as prevention of refoulement and defending the rights of refugees and asylum-seekers in countries of asylum, the Office is becoming increasingly involved in activities in countries of origin with returning refugees, but also, on request, with internally displaced persons. Such activities in countries of origin may enable people to be protected and assisted closer to home and may encourage the voluntary return of those who have already been obliged to leave.

9. The international protection of refugees during the period under review was characterized by both encouraging and discouraging trends. Further progress was made in dealing with certain long-standing refugee situations in Africa, Central America and South-East Asia. However, while voluntary repatriation occurred or was being planned in many parts of the world, other refugee situations, such as in the Horn of Africa, continued to present major challenges, and new refugee flows continued to occur. In the Middle East, the Persian Gulf crisis presented novel protection challenges, as has most recently the situation in Central and Eastern Europe, where ethnic strife has resulted in the largest mass movement of persons since the Second World War. Details of these developments are considered in other parts of a present report.

10. The intractability of many refugee problems and the occurrence of new and complex refugee situations served to underline the importance of efforts to devise new approaches and tools for refugee protection. Towards this end, the Working Group on Solutions and Protection established by the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme (Executive Committee) submitted its report (document EC/SCP/64 of 12 August 1991) which considered seven categories of persons associated with the search for asylum and refuge. These categories were persons covered by the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (1951 Convention); persons covered by the Organization of African Unity (OAU) Convention governing the specific aspects of refugee problems in Africa (OAU Convention) or the Cartagena Declaration; others forced to leave or prevented from returning because of man-made disasters, persons forced to leave or prevented from returning because of natural or ecological disasters; or extreme poverty; persons who apply for refugee status and are found not to be in one of the four preceding groups; internally displaced persons; and stateless persons.

11. The report made 21 recommendations, including: promoting accession to and more effective implementation of refugee instruments; considering further the question of possibly applying a broader refugee definition on a global basis; strengthening protection of women and children; promoting measures to avert mass flows; encouraging State responsibility for preventive and curative measures and State action for safeguarding the right to seek and enjoy asylum; carrying out public information campaigns in countries of origin to dispel misinformation regarding prospects of application of asylum abroad and in countries of asylum to encourage positive public attitudes regarding refugees and asylum-seekers; supporting the return of those determined by a fair procedure not to be refugees; analysing the link between development and migration; identifying more clearly responsibilities within the United Nations for responding to the needs of internally displaced persons; linking development and rehabilitation efforts to relief aid; promoting accession to statelessness instruments; encouraging States to consider providing an increased number of places for resettlement; formulating broader and more flexible funding mechanisms; promoting and implementing international humanitarian and human rights law; developing a rapid response mechanism for mass flows; and improving early warning capacity.

12. Having considered the Working Group's report at its forty-second session, the Executive Committee requested the High Commissioner to convene such inter-sessional meetings of its Subcommittee of the Whole on International Protection as would be necessary to continue the constructive discussions on pending issues of the report of the Working Group, as well as on other relevant protection matters, and to seek consensus on appropriate action-oriented follow-up of the report, its recommendations, and other relevant matters. The Subcommittee held its first inter-sessional meeting in January 1992 to discuss the subject of change of circumstances and the cessation clause of the 1951 Convention; further meetings were scheduled for April and June to discuss voluntary repatriation, statelessness, protection of persons of concern to UNHCR who fall outside the 1951 Convention, and implementation of the 1951 Convention.

13. Effective implementation of the 1951 Convention was recognized by the Executive Committee as fundamental for refugee protection. To that end, the Executive Committee called on all States that have not done so to respond to the questionnaire on implementation which was submitted to them in May 1990. Because only 27 States have responded so far, only an interim report on implementation could be prepared for the forty-second session of the Executive Committee. The interim report noted that it would be premature to engage in extensive analysis or draw definitive conclusions in the absence of a more extensive response. It was noted, however, that the information submitted so far indicated both a high level of conformity with the basic provisions of the Convention, but also areas of disagreement or for improvement.

14. Going beyond the 1951 Convention and asylum as a focus of protection activities, providing international protection to individuals who do not enjoy such protection in their countries of origin also increasingly encompasses activities within these countries. Section B of this chapter examines several key protection concerns which arose during the period under review, with an emphasis on country of origin activities in the context of prevention and voluntary repatriation.

B. Rights of refugees

15. Securing respect for the rights of refugees is of the essence of protection. Contributing to efforts to strengthen observance of fundamental human rights is accordingly an important focus of UNHCR protection activities, contributing as it does to preventing the circumstances which cause refugees to flee, and to facilitating the conditions which will allow them to return. With this in mind, the UNHCR Executive Committee called upon the High Commissioner to continue to contribute to the deliberations of international human rights bodies, and to participate actively in preparations for and the proceedings of the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights.

16. UNHCR has, therefore, sought increased cooperation with the human rights bodies of the United Nations in order to draw their attention to issues relating to refugees and others of concern to the Office. Towards this end, the High Commissioner addressed the forty-eighth session of the Commission on Human Rights on 20 February 1992, on the theme of preventive protection, offering practical suggestions for strengthening the Commission's involvement with refugee issues. UNHCR also promoted an active working relationship inter alia, with the Human Rights Committee, the Torture Committee, the Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, the Preparatory Committee of the World Conference on Human Rights and the Subcommission's Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

17. The examples above give some idea of the scope of human rights concerns which are relevant to refugees and asylum-seekers. At the operational level in Yugoslavia, UNHCR has been requested by the Secretary-General to assist internally displaced populations inter alia, in order to prevent further displacements and to facilitate their return to their places of residence. It is therefore being led to monitor the treatment of minority groups in certain regions to oppose the practice of forced relocations and has called on all parties involved to respect human rights and humanitarian principles. The Office will need to examine and explore further what preventive strategies it could develop on the basis of this experience, which has also entailed close collaboration with other actors in the Yugoslav context, such as the European Community Monitoring Group, the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). In endeavouring to secure the right of the displaced to return to their respective Republics and regions of origin on a voluntary basis, it is necessary to protect displaced persons, minority groups and promote the fair treatment of all.

18. In Central and Eastern Europe, the Office has established an active presence and has undertaken a variety of protection activities, including promoting accession to the 1951 Convention and its 1967 Protocol, training, and providing advice on refugee legislation and status determination procedures. UNHCR has also advised on constitutional, refugee and citizenship provisions, the latter, inter alia, to avoid the creation of stateless persons, which could also, as the Executive Committee has observed again, reduce the potential for refugee flows. The Office is also collaborating with the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) to highlight refugee issues on its agenda.

19. Another major activity for UNHCR in countries of origin is monitoring the safety of those who have chosen to repatriate. The Office faces a particular challenge in this regard since many returns take place under less than ideal security, economic, and environmental conditions. UNHCR is also often involved in voluntary repatriation operations within the framework of comprehensive arrangements which include various other United Nations agencies. This has been the case during the period under review in Cambodia, El Salvador and Iraq. UNHCR protection activities in the country of origin in favour of returnees have, in certain such instances, been complicated by the fact that returns are taking place during an ongoing process of political settlement of the conflict.

20. Voluntary repatriation is not merely a question of transporting individuals to their countries of origin. Protection issues that arise include ensuring that adequate information is provided to the refugees so that they can make an informed decision, ascertaining the voluntariness of the return, negotiating guarantees or amnesties, obtaining clearances to return, arranging the modalities for a safe return and monitoring treatment upon return. In some repatriation operations, land mines must be located and removed. In others, the legal status of the newly independent State to which refugees are returning may be a complicating factor, as can the presence of ex-soldiers among the repatriants. Countries of origin often have difficulty in absorbing and reintegrating large numbers of returnees. Returnees are sometimes subject to arrest and detention. Monitoring difficulties are often greatest with spontaneous repatriation, but successful voluntary repatriation operations generally require mobilization of adequate resources and maintenance of conditions of security.

21. The Persian Gulf crisis challenged the international protection capacity of the Office in a number of important ways. As a result of the size and speed of the exodus and the return, UNHCR faced significant operational obstacles in protection and assistance. The fact that the Iraqi situation included refugee movements and internal displacement further added to the complexity of the situation. While in some instances during the Persian Gulf crisis refugees were not accepted at borders, certain countries in the region that had not previously been confronted with major refugee influxes also confirmed a basic commitment to the principle of non-refoulement.

22. Protection is a particular challenge in situations of ongoing armed conflict or fragile security. Some of the most difficult problems in this respect occurred in the Horn of Africa. While opportunities for the solution of long-standing refugee problems arose, an aggravated state of civil strife and insecurity continued both to cause internal and external displacement of large populations of people as well as to hamper seriously the Office's ability to deliver measures of international protection and material assistance to persons of its concern. Furthermore, the safety of both refugees and the personnel of the Office was placed under unacceptable forms and levels of risk so that in some instances the Office was forced to suspend its operations altogether.

23. Pressures on asylum continued to manifest themselves in every region of the world. Instances of refoulement occurred in many countries despite widespread acceptance of the principle of non-refoulement. Refugees who are able to reach countries of asylum may be subject to threats to or violations of their physical security, detention, armed attacks on camps or individuals, or forcible recruitment. Women and children, the majority of the world's refugees, are particularly vulnerable. Other protection concerns include less than universal accession to the international refugee instruments and sometimes problematic implementation of them. Protection problems in status determination include absence of procedures, and procedures lacking guarantees of due process. These problems can be found in many countries.

24. Protection issues related to asylum are prevalent also in Western Europe, where large numbers of persons continued to seek asylum, including refugees, persons who are fleeing war and generalized violence, and migrants, with the result that status determination procedures were overburdened and public opinion has become increasingly negative. In a number of instances, refugees and asylum-seekers have been subject to violent attacks. In these countries UNHCR protection activities have included advising on possibilities for streamlining asylum procedures while maintaining necessary legal guarantees, participating in intergovernmental consultations aimed at harmonizing refugee law and procedures, and providing information on situations in countries of origin as a means of assisting in determinations of status. UNHCR also attempts to improve public understanding of refugees and asylum-seekers, and their need for protection.

C. Promotion of refugee protection

25. Romania, Poland, the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic and Honduras acceded to the Convention and Protocol during the reporting period, bringing the number of States parties to one or both instruments to 111. Other States are considering accession and it is hoped that they soon will become parties.

26. UNHCR undertook a variety of protection-oriented promotional activities on the occasion of the fortieth anniversaries of the Convention and of the Office, including over 30 refugee law training seminars for government officials and others on status determination procedures. Since protection is maximized by equitable and expeditious procedures and effective implementation of international standards in national legislation and administrative procedures, these subjects received the highest priority in promotional efforts.

27. The Centre for Documentation on Refugees further developed its services of refugee documentation, publication, library services and international networking of refugee documentation centres. The Centre continues to publish the quarterly bulletin Refugee Abstracts and bibliographies on refugees. Collaboration with the Oxford University Press in the publication of the International Journal of Refugee Law continued. The Centre maintains a bibliographic database on refugee-specific literature which currently contains over 9,000 items in English, French, German and Spanish. The Centre also maintains three databases containing, respectively, the full texts of national legislations relating to refugee status determination, asylum and nationality; the full texts of international instruments relating to the protection of refugees, together with the texts of declarations and/or reservations made by the parties thereto; and abstracts of judgements of national courts and tribunals relating to refugee status determination or to the rights of refugees. These databases contribute to the Office's capacity to monitor the implementation of the 1951 Convention. The Centre has also developed an internal database which contains the annual protection reports from UNHCR field offices. During 1991, on-line access was made available on an experimental basis to selected UNHCR field offices for the five databases.

28. On the recommendation of a UNHCR-NGO Consultation in April 1990, the International Refugee Documentation Network (IRDN), coordinated by the Centre, has also set up a pilot project called "IRENE" (International Refugee Electronic Network) which allows its members to use electronic mail and access bulletin boards on refugee information. In 1991, the Centre was charged with setting up a project for the systematic collection and storage of information on countries of origin which is already in the public domain for the use of UNHCR staff.


A. Major trends in assistance

1. Introduction

29. During 1991, UNHCR, in cooperation with concerned Governments and the international community, continued its efforts to meet the humanitarian needs of refugees throughout the world. In particular, it sought to enhance its emergency response capability. Wherever possible, the promotion of durable solutions to the plight of refugees was actively pursued through voluntary repatriation, local integration and resettlement programmes. Of these three durable solutions, particular emphasis was given to voluntary repatriation. In the absence of durable solutions, UNHCR was forced to maintain care and maintenance programmes for refugees.

30. While political developments over the last 12 months have opened the possibility for increased voluntary repatriation, the overall refugee situation has not improved. In addition to the still unresolved situation in the Middle East region, serious refugee situations exist in Bangladesh and in the Horn of Africa, with influxes of refugees also in Kenya. It is now estimated that there are some 17 million refugees world wide.

31. The response of the international community to the plight of refugees has been generous and unparalleled in the 40-year history of UNHCR. Total extra budgetary funds received by UNHCR during 1991 under both General and Special Programmes amounted to some $904 million. Obligations incurred during 1991 amounted to $862.5 million. In terms of volume of activity and related expenditure, 1991 exceeded 1990 expenditure by almost 60 per cent. Consequently, the attainment of programme objectives was not hampered by the financial constraints that UNHCR had experienced in previous years. UNHCR was thus able to respond more effectively to refugee emergencies, partly also on account of the increase in the UNHCR Emergency Fund by the Executive Committee in 1991 to $20 million.

32. In response to new needs, especially in Africa, the Executive Committee approved an increase in the 1991 General Programmes target from $355.5 million to $379 million at a special session on 28 June 1991. Actual General Programmes expenditure for the year subsequently amounted to $370 million.

33. With regard to Special Programmes (including Special Trust Funds, Refugee Aid and Development projects and programmes under funding appeals by the United Nations Secretary-General), expenditure reached $492.5 million. Some 45 per cent of this pertained to UNHCR participation in the Regional Humanitarian Plan of Action relating to the Persian Gulf crisis. Further important expenditures concerned the Comprehensive Plan of Action for Indo-Chinese Refugees (CPA) and Special Emergency Programmes in the Horn of Africa Area (SEPHA).

34. In addition to total voluntary funds expenditure related to 1991 activities of $862.5 million, administrative expenditure covered by the United Nations Regular Budget amounted to a further $20.4 million. Detailed information on expenditure levels for each country or area programme is given in tables I and 2.

2. Emergency relief

35. In 1991, as in previous years, there were frequent occasions where the use of the Emergency Fund was required to address new refugee situations throughout the world. The Emergency Fund enables UNHCR to react swiftly to new refugee situations. When the initial assistance proves insufficient to cover the wide range of needs caused by major refugee movements, often special appeals for financial assistance are made to the international community.

36. The total amount obligated from the Emergency Fund in 1991 was more than $18.5 million. Situations covered ranged from newly arrived Ethiopians in the Sudan ($4 million) to assistance to persons from Yugoslavia in Hungary ($2.9 million). The Emergency Fund was also resorted to on a large scale for Ethiopian refugees in Djibouti ($1.8 million), Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia ($1 million), Ethiopian and Somali refugees in Kenya ($1.2 million), Sudanese, Burundi and Rwandese refugees in Zaire ($1.1 million), Somali and Ethiopian refugees in Yemen ($0.7 million), and displaced persons in Yugoslavia ($1.05 million).

37. Emergency relief is but one aspect of the wide range of activities which UNHCR undertook on behalf of the world's refugees during the course of 1991. As mentioned above, UNHCR took special steps to enhance its emergency response capability in 1991. These are described in more detail in chapter III, section A, 5 (c). In relation to more complex and protracted man-made emergency situations, UNHCR's response capability will be available to the newly appointed United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator.

3. Care and maintenance

38. Following the phase of a refugee situation where emergency relief is required, the basic needs of refugees are met through care and maintenance assistance, pending the achievement of a durable solution. This form of UNHCR assistance has consistently taken a large proportion of the General Programmes budget. The year 1991 was no exception as $211.8 million was allocated for care and maintenance activities during the year.

39. Large care and maintenance programmes in Africa continued to be implemented in Ethiopia ($59.1 million), Malawi ($48.6 million), the Sudan ($16.1 million), Guinea ($15.7 million), and most recently in Kenya ($10.6 million). The situation in the Horn of Africa deteriorated dramatically during 1991 with a massive exodus of refugees into Kenya. With the mass movement of refugees and returnees in that region, the need to provide care and maintenance assistance was particularly acute in the Horn. In Malawi, the Mozambican refugee population continued to grow, rendering necessary an increase in the care and maintenance assistance in that country. In West Africa, pending a large-scale voluntary repatriation of the Liberian refugees, substantial assistance programmes needed to be continued. Increased care and maintenance programmes were also necessary elsewhere in Africa, such as in Zaire and the Central African Republic, where large influxes of Sudanese took place.

40. South-East Asia was also a major focus of UNHCR care and maintenance programmes in 1991. In Thailand ($29.5 million), Hong Kong ($18.7 million), as well as Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, assistance to Vietnamese asylum-seekers continued to be provided, pending their voluntary repatriation to Viet Nam or resettlement. The situation in Hong Kong remained the most difficult, as it received fully 90 per cent of the new arrivals of Vietnamese in the region going to that colony.

41 In South-West Asia, care and maintenance assistance to Afghan refugees in Pakistan remained the largest in the region ($36.6 million). Efforts towards durable solutions for the Afghan refugees, primarily in Pakistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran, remained a key element of UNHCR policy in the region

42. There were continued care and maintenance programmes in Latin America, most notably in Mexico ($3.7 million), where assistance has to continue to the Guatemalan refugees until such time as they choose to repatriate.

4. Durable solutions

43. Among the principal objectives of UNHCR activities is the pursuit of durable solutions to the situation of refugees. The three classical durable solutions are voluntary repatriation, the preferred solution, local integration in the country of first asylum and resettlement in a third country. In 1991, expenditure under both General and Special Programmes to promote the three durable solutions amounted to some $222.1 million.

(a) Voluntary repatriation

44. During 1991, $134.1 million was spent on voluntary repatriation, with major programmes mounted in Ethiopia ($23 million), Nicaragua ($14.4 million), the Sudan ($10.3 million), Viet Nam ($8 million), Pakistan ($6.6 million) and Hong Kong ($4.3 million).

45. Given the easing of political tensions in many regions of the world, the possibility of resolving many refugee situations through voluntary repatriation is now particularly promising. In the light of these developments, UNHCR is making a concerted effort to promote voluntary repatriation, wherever possible.

(b) Local settlement

46. There are still many countries where assistance towards local settlement has to be pursued because voluntary repatriation is not possible in the near future. During 1991, $70.2 million was spent on local settlement activities.

47. During the period under review, assistance for the establishment of rural settlement projects was provided in the People's Republic of China, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Ethiopia, Mexico, Senegal, Uganda, Zaire and Zambia. As refugees become increasingly self-sufficient through food and cash crop production and integration in local communities, UNHCR assistance is reduced accordingly.

48. In urban and semi-urban areas, assistance was given to individual refugees to promote their integration. Education, vocational training and counselling services were geared towards giving refugees access to employment opportunities, thus providing them with the means to become independent.

49. Socio-economic integration of refugees in host communities is also promoted through community development programmes aimed at refugee participation in the planning, implementation and self-management of projects. The linkage of refugee programmes to existing regional development programmes is another way of ensuring refugee integration in the surrounding socioeconomic life.

(c) Resettlement

50. Resettlement in third countries remains the only durable solution for refugees who cannot voluntarily return to their country of origin nor benefit from a secure and dignified future in the country of first asylum. A number of countries only afford asylum to refugees on a temporary basis on condition that they are resettled. Even in countries that do not impose this condition, local economic, political or ethnic factors may necessitate that an appropriate durable solution be sought in a third country.

51. In the absence of other options, the decision to resettle is normally taken when this durable solution is the only appropriate means of guaranteeing the legal or physical security of the individual. In other cases, resettlement is pursued by UNHCR when this solution represents the only measure for providing humanitarian protection for vulnerable groups of refugees, comprising the medically-at-risk, the physically or mentally disabled, women-at-risk and victims of torture.

52. In 1991, of the world's global refugee population of over 17 million, UNHCR sought resettlement for some 75,600 persons: much less than 1 per cent. Notwithstanding the success of resettlement under the Comprehensive Plan of Action for Indo-Chinese Refugees (CPA), of the overall number of refugees targeted for resettlement by UNHCR, the Office registered 33,000 departures, constituting a 40 per cent shortfall against projected needs. This is an improvement over the figure for 1990, during which a 65 per cent shortfall was registered. More departures might have been registered but for the fact that voluntary repatriation became possible for several refugee populations formerly identified for resettlement in 1991. Moreover, events in the Middle East disrupted the process of resettlement in that region for a number of months.

53. As has been the case in previous years, South-East Asia remained the principal focus of resettlement operations. While repatriation was sought for Cambodians and many Lao refugees, UNHCR has similarly pursued resettlement for those for whom voluntary repatriation is not possible. In 1991, resettlement of Indo-Chinese from the region, facilitated by the CPA, provided new homes for 25,720 individuals. By 31 December 1991, of the 49,220 persons belonging to the pre-cut-off-date group of long-stayers, as defined in the CPA, a total of 48,338 had been accepted and 46,500 had departed. In the course of 1991, 119 of those resettled were rescued-at-sea.

54. Refugees originating from the Middle East and South-West Asia continue to represent an important resettlement group for UNHCR, and requirements have naturally increased owing to the crisis between Iraq and Kuwait. In 1991, 3,525 refugees from the Middle East and South-West Asia were resettled. Following the pattern of 1990, a very high proportion had to be resettled on an emergency basis as a result of the conflict in the region. Nationalities resettled comprised mainly Iraqis, Iranians and a few Afghans.

55. In common with the Middle East and South West Asia, the number of refugees put forward for resettlement from Africa is but a minuscule proportion of the total refugee population hosted in the continent. In 1991, a total of 2,400 African refugees were resettled, principally to the United States of America and Canada.

56. In 1991, as a result of the International Conference on Central American Refugees, Returnees and Displaced Persons (CIREFCA) and other possibilities for regional solutions, the number of refugees resettled from Latin America under the auspices of UNHCR continued to decline, with only some 160 departures recorded by the Office.

57. In the wake of historic changes in Eastern Europe, the volume of resettlement of persons originating from the region continued to diminish. In 1991, a total of 1,100 Europeans departed for resettlement.

58. Of the total of 960 cases accounting for approximately 3,360 persons falling within the UNHCR vulnerable groups category, comprising the disabled, the medically-at-risk and victims of torture/violence, 183 cases involving 439 persons were resettled during 1991.

59. In 1991, some 275 cases (825 persons) in the women-at-risk category were resettled under special programmes created for these individuals, as well as under regular programmes.

60. It is important to note that during the Decade for Disabled Persons, 1981-1991, some 8,160 cases (28,570 persons) were identified for resettlement. Of these, some 3,360 cases (11,770 persons) were offered resettlement under special programmes created for this vulnerable group of refugees. In addition, approximately 2,000 cases (7,000 persons) in this category were assisted by resettlement countries under the regular annual resettlement quotas in the context of family reunification. Thus, the total number of disabled cases resettled throughout the decade is 5,360 (18,770 persons). Of these, an average of 60 per cent suffered from physical disabilities and/or ailments while 40 per cent presented mental disorders, retardation or psychosomatic consequences of torture.

(d) Refugee aid and development

61. At the forty-second session of the Executive Committee, the High Commissioner was encouraged "to continue with her advocacy of greater inter-agency cooperation and in particular to undertake, with the UNDP Administrator, steps to bring to fruition joint activities in development fields aimed at benefiting refugees, returnees, displaced persons and their host communities" (A/AC.96/783, para. 33 (b)). Guidelines on refugee aid and development, prepared by UNHCR and based on discussions on the subject at the Consultative Committee on Substantive Questions (Operational activities) (CCSQ (OPS)) since 1990 were approved by the Organizing Committee (OC) of the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC) in March 1992. Major agencies involved in humanitarian development activities will circulate the Guidelines to their Headquarters and field offices with necessary instructions on their application and monitoring. A progress report on the implementation of the Guidelines will be made to the autumn session of the ACC through the OC.

62. The impending return of hundreds of thousands of refugees to their countries of origin poses a very specific and urgent development challenge. A joint UNDP/UNHCR meeting held in January 1992 discussed the demarcation of roles and responsibilities of the two organizations in relation to voluntary repatriations. UNHCR has also established a Working Group on Returnee Aid and Development whose main objective is to prepare appropriate directions for the Office. Joint UNDP/UNHCR missions to prepare repatriation and reintegration programmes were undertaken to Cambodia and Mozambique.

63. A refugee aid and development programme component amounting to some $10 million was jointly prepared in October 1991 by UNHCR and UNDP in Malawi, within the framework of the fifth UNDP Country Programme, to address the environmental and development requirements deriving from the impact of refugees in the hosting areas.

64. Technical planning for Phase III of the "Income-Generating Project for Refugee Areas" in Pakistan, executed by the World Bank, has been completed. Pending the payment of pledged funds for Phase III of the project, activities are currently being undertaken in a bridging period which is expected to last until June 1992. Implementation of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)/UNHCR "South Khorasan Rangeland Rehabilitation and Refugee Income-Generating Activities Project" in the Islamic Republic of Iran has started on a reduced scale pending additional funding. In Central America, of the 59 projects presented by the seven CIREFCA countries, 34 have received complete or partial funding totalling $65 million and are now being implemented. A second International Meeting of the CIREFCA Follow-up Committee was held in April 1992. This meeting considered 52 project proposals with a total cost of $241 million.

65. An African Development Bank/UNHCR meeting held in March 1992 discussed possible areas of cooperation and agreed to undertake joint action in the fields of programme identification, preparation and implementation in refugee and returnee areas. UNHCR, in collaboration with UNDP and Governments, is actively preparing a plan of action for the integration/reintegration of Rwandese refugees/returnees as a follow-up to a Regional Summit Conference of Heads of State of Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania and the Prime Minister of Zaire. Feasibility studies in the various countries are currently being carried out and projects prepared.

5. Programme management and implementation

(a) General

66. Efforts to improve the general management of projects continued, especially in the light of audits conducted by the United Nations Internal and External Auditors, evaluation reports and programme review missions, and technical inputs provided by the Programme and Technical Support Section of UNHCR.

67. The UNHCR Programme Management System (PMS), which was implemented from 1979 onwards, was substantially reviewed and evaluated in 1990, resulting in the issue in December 1991 of a final version of the relevant chapter of the UNHCR Manual; this chapter provides complete instructions on programme and project management for Headquarters and offices in the field.

68. An improved version of the field component of the Financial and Management Information System (FMIS) was distributed to all offices during the second half of 1991, and this has facilitated project planning, monitoring and control. Over 100 such offices are now using this system which, allows them to carry out more detailed budgeting and monitoring of projects.

69. Efforts continue to be made at all levels to address the needs of refugee women and children in a substantive way and to focus on the integration of such issues within overall programming. The revision of the Programme Management System has taken this into account and it continues to be a point of emphasis in training courses.

(b) Evaluation

70. Evaluation activities carried out during the year concentrated on comprehensive evaluations of major UNHCR emergency operations and regional policy issues. During the past year evaluations have covered a wide range of organizational and operational issues. These have included the extent and adequacy of UNHCR involvement and strategy in Western Europe; an overall review of UNHCR logistic activities; an analysis of lessons learned from the repatriation from Zaire of Angolans; the efficiency and impact of UNHCR operations in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka and Uganda; and an extensive study of UNHCR capacity to respond to emergency situations, mainly reviewing recent experiences in the Persian Gulf region, but also the experience accumulated by UNHCR over the past 10 years.

71. These evaluations reviewed a variety of policy and protection issues, and made a thorough assessment of the material assistance being provided to refugees. In addition, due attention was given to arrangements with implementing partners, organizational structures and staffing levels. Whenever possible, lessons were identified that could be incorporated into UNHCR training activities, and issues covering women and children were given systematic and special attention.

72. Comprehensive evaluations are intended to assist the High Commissioner and senior managers to improve and reshape operational activities as necessary. Evaluation procedures are now well established in UNHCR, and enable maximum benefit to be drawn from the evaluations. An Evaluation Committee, composed of UNHCR senior managers, selects operations or activities to be evaluated and reviews the conclusions and recommendations. The Committee provides a mechanism for the implementation of recommendations and ensures that recommendations concerning organizational policies are taken into account at the appropriate level.

(c) Emergency

73. In the light of recent experiences with emergencies, particularly during 1991, the High Commissioner has established as one of her main priorities the enhancement of UNHCR capacity to respond to emergency situations. A number of proposals related to emergency preparedness and response were submitted to the forty-second session of the Executive Committee. With the Executive Committee's strong endorsement of these proposals, UNHCR has made efforts to ensure their expeditious implementation under the guidance of an Emergency Task Force created by the High Commissioner in October 1991.

74. As part of the enhancement of the response capacity of UNHCR to emergencies, a certain degree of standby capacity must be assured. Initiatives were undertaken during the second half of 1991 and beginning of 1992 which focused on the establishment of standby capacity in the areas of emergency staffing, relief supplies, needs assessment and emergency programme implementation.

75. In regard to emergency staffing, internal UNHCR staff resources for emergencies have been strengthened through the appointment of five Emergency Preparedness and Response Officers (EPROs), who act as UNHCR's first-line response in the event of a refugee emergency and who ensure that essential preparedness measures are initiated during non-emergency periods. To support the EPROS, Emergency Response Teams (ERT) have been established for each regional area and an Emergency Roster of additional standby staff has been set up. To complement the internal staffing arrangements for emergencies, UNHCR has also entered into special agreements with the Danish Refugee Council and the Norwegian Refugee Council to provide UNHCR with standby capacity in the form of seconded staff. UNHCR has also been discussing a similar arrangement with the United Nations Volunteers.

76. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the Swedish Rescue Services Board in December 1991 to make available personnel and material support to the UNHCR Emergency Response Teams so as to ensure their rapid mobilization and deployment, and to allow them to become immediately operational as soon as they reach an emergency area. The Board is also maintaining other equipment for UNHCR on a standby basis, including vehicles.

77. UNHCR continues to place great emphasis on staff preparedness through its Emergency Management Training Programme (EMTP). Begun in 1985, over 1,200 staff of UNHCR, non-governmental organizations, Governments and other United Nations agencies have participated in 33 workshops worldwide. Over the past 12 months, EMTP courses have been held in Madison, Wisconsin (United States of America), the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, Poland, Hungary and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Future workshops will focus on comprehensive regional training courses, in order to make EMTP available to a larger number of staff, including local personnel. Regional EMTP workshops for 1992 are planned in the Middle East, the Horn of Africa and Eastern/Central Europe.

(d) Refugee women

78. During the reporting period, UNHCR continued to make progress in implementing its Policy on Refugee Women, with increased emphasis on implementation at the field level. The UNHCR Guidelines on Protection of Refugee Women were introduced to provide practical guidance to field workers in identifying the specific protection needs of refugee women and introducing due sensitivity to such needs in programme planning and implementation. The gender training programme, "People-Oriented Planning", was expanded to include new case studies on emergency and repatriation operations and has been translated into French and Spanish. Courses were held at Headquarters in 1991 and one was specifically designed for emergency coordinators. In addition, expanded field gender training is a priority in 1992 and trainers have been prepared for this purpose. Protection training has included sessions on gender-based persecution and interviewing techniques for female asylum-seekers. Gender-specific issues are also being integrated into most training modules and are already included in procedures manuals.

79. Several initiatives have also been taken at the field level to implement the Policy on Refugee Women and introduce gender-sensitivity in project planning and implementation. One of the most noteworthy, carried out within the framework of CIREFCA, was the Central American Regional Forum on Refugee, Uprooted and Returnee Women (FOREFEM), held in Guatemala in February 1992. Preceded by six months of preparatory meetings, bringing together the affected women, Government officials and non-governmental organizations, FOREFEM called attention to the situation of uprooted women in the region and made far-reaching recommendations for improving programme delivery. An integral part of FOREFEM is its attempt to generate awareness of the legal impediments faced by uprooted women and to promote initiatives for self-help.

80. Staff members with specific responsibility to ensure inclusion of refugee women's concerns at the field level were deployed in Malawi, Thailand and Ethiopia, the latter two with regional responsibilities. Their role is to assist field staff in implementing the Policy on Refugee Women by identifying opportunities for greater participation, linking up with efforts to mainstream women in development activities, assisting in gender training, and adapting existing programmes to be more responsive to the needs of women. They will also develop pilot work-plans for implementation of the policy with a view to their replication in other regions.

81. Finally, the UNHCR internal annual reporting exercise has revealed a large number of initiatives that have been taken by field offices to identify and respond to women's needs. These have included, inter alia specific protection training aimed at potential returnees, socioeconomic research on female-headed households to improve programme delivery, pro-active efforts to encourage retention of girls in school and identification of particular activities in support of returning female-headed households. It is expected that with the firm policy foundation and training programme now established there will be incremental progress in meeting refugee women's needs in the future.

(e) Refugee children

82. An increasing awareness within the international community that over 50 per cent of the 17 million refugees of concern to the High Commissioner are children and young people of school age has also been reflected within the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme. General efforts on behalf of all refugees with respect to protection, material assistance and durable solutions are being complemented with resources and programmes to identify and meet the particular needs of children in order that they may grow and develop normally.

83. The UNHCR approach is to improve planning and implementation of programmes in order not to marginalize children and their care-givers, but rather to mainstream efforts on their behalf, especially the pursuit of durable solutions. Refugee children constitute a human investment in the future. In view of the magnitude of the problems faced by refugee children, it is evident that preventive measures, legal and physical protection, and assistance based on psycho-social as well as physical development, remain the basic principles for intervention by UNHCR. Activities in their favour, be they operational, advocacy or public information, are carried out in cooperation with donor, host, and country-of-origin Governments, as well as non-governmental, intergovernmental, and United Nations partners. During the reporting period, collaborative efforts have focused in particular on areas such as protection and public information, as well as education, physical and psycho-social needs and advocacy.

84. UNHCR continued to provide guidance on protection matters, specifically concerning detention and statelessness of refugee children. The Office has also participated in numerous inter-agency meetings and activities for the promotion and implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Particular attention has been given to the issue of adoption of refugee children in the context of the Hague Conference of Private International Law, where States are currently working on a Draft Convention on Inter-Country Adoption.

85. Particular efforts have been made recently by UNHCR in the area of creating greater public awareness of the situation of refugee children and to assist field staff in addressing the needs of refugee children. These included a 12-minute video entitled "Make a Little Difference" (English/French) and two training videos. One is entitled "A Promise to Keep" and seeks to draw attention to the Guidelines on Refugee Children, and encourage UNHCR and operational partner staff to make effective use of their contents. The other video, entitled "Pieces of Dreams", is set in Zambia and concerns the care of traumatized refugee children; it focuses on a project for Mozambican refugee children, showing how to detect symptoms of trauma and proposing a variety of simple measures to overcome its ill effects.

86. In response to the recommendation of the 1991 session of the Executive Committee, and in a collaborative exercise with the Norwegian Refugee Council, financially supported by the Norwegian Government, a Senior Coordinator on Refugee Children has been appointed who took up her functions in May 1992. Her responsibilities will include, inter alia, the development and promotion of a coordinated policy on refugee children.

B. Regional development in Africa

87. The trend, pattern and overall magnitude of refugee movements in Africa remained comparatively stable during the period under review. However, the influxes into Malawi from Mozambique continued unabated. Events in Somalia, Ethiopia, the Sudan, Burundi, Zaire and Sierra Leone beginning in early 1991, led respectively to further influxes of refugees into Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Zaire, the Congo and Guinea. The new exoduses rendered necessary the initiation of emergency assistance programmes as well as the strengthening of the UNHCR field presence to respond more effectively to these complex refugee situations.

88. Throughout the period under review, the root causes of population movements and refugee flows in Africa continued to be both natural and man-made. In the case of refugees, some of the problems which triggered movements arose from the legacies of colonialism. The majority, however, were a result of internal conflict, ethnic strife, abuse of human rights, lack of political accountability and democracy, extreme poverty, structural adjustment, heavy debt-servicing, the existence of weak systems and institutions for managing the economy and policies, environmental degradation, drought and famine, all of which have combined to undermine the collective self-reliance, confidence and security of African countries.

89. African Governments have continued to grapple with these intricate social, economic and political problems which have perpetuated the movement of populations from one African country into another in search of safe haven and a more dignified life. In this connection, the "New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s" recommends specific actions to African countries and the international community to tackle the critical economic situation in Africa. Among the areas covered are: the achievement of sustainable economic growth and development; promotion of regional and subregional economic cooperation and integration; intensification of the democratization process; intensification of human resources development and institution-building; effective environmental and population management; rural agricultural development and food security.

90. It is gratifying to note that prospects are brighter for addressing root causes and preventing the outflow of refugees in Africa through the democratization of political systems and observance of human rights. Adherence to the African Charter on Human and People's Rights is gaining momentum. The issue of root causes has continued to be discussed in various forums including the OAU Council of Ministers and the OAU Summit of Heads of States and Governments. In this context, the OAU Commission of Fifteen visited several African countries during the period under review to promote and facilitate voluntary repatriation. In addition, several States have declared general amnesties and have enacted laws to enable refugees to return in conditions of safety and dignity.

91. As in the past, the great majority of refugees in Africa have found asylum in countries facing major economic problems, and often in the most remote and least developed areas of those countries. The impact of successive emergencies affecting millions of drought victims, refugees, returnees, internally displaced persons and demobilized military personnel in the Horn of Africa, Angola, Mozambique, Liberia and the Sudan, coupled with competing demands for resources, was particularly severe. These countries are unable to absorb the extra burden as adequate services for their own nationals are often lacking. Regrettably, substantial financial support was not provided for the inter-agency consolidated appeal for the Special Emergency Programme for the Horn of Africa (SEPHA) nor for viable development projects that would both lighten the burden on nationals and promote lasting solutions in refugee-affected areas. The impact of the drought in southern Africa on water resources, food availability, medical infrastructure and supply, including the attendant logistical difficulties, could threaten the region's capacity to carry out some of the landmark democratic reforms vital to longer-term development. UNHCR has begun to coordinate its response to the serious food deficits for refugees through the World Food Programme (WFP), in close consultation with the United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs. To avert a major loss of life, there must be continuing efforts on the part of all international donors and the affected African countries to deal with this crisis.

92. There are grounds for hope, however, that some long-standing internal and regional conflicts can be resolved and conditions created to allow the launching of large-scale repatriation operations. This is the only realistic solution for Africa's refugees and is the primary objective of UNHCR. For large-scale repatriation to be successful, the international community should ideally assist Governments of origin to reabsorb their nationals. Unless this is done, those who have repatriated may leave their homes once again because of their inability to meet their minimum needs upon return.

93. During the reporting period, the West African subregion was again confronted with a number of internal conflicts, among which was the intensification of the armed conflict in the south-eastern provinces of Sierra Leone. This culminated in the internal displacement of hundreds of thousands of Sierra Leoneans and also caused another 172,000 to seek asylum in Guinea (160,000) and Liberia (12,000) beginning in April 1991. The security situation in this area still remains very tense and there are still reports of new arrivals in Guinea. Emergency relief assistance was provided to the Sierra Leonean refugees from the ongoing care and maintenance project in Guinea.

94. Efforts to resolve the Touareg problem in Mali have also been stalemated. In addition to Touareg refugees in Mauritania and Algeria, over 1,000 urban cases have been registered in the capitals of Burkina Faso and the Niger through end March 1992. Most recently, some 300 Senegalese refugees from the Casamance region sought asylum in the Gambia.

95. Attempts to find a peaceful and lasting solution to the Liberian crisis have been unsuccessful, forcing over 665,000 persons to remain in exile in neighbouring countries where they benefit from UNHCR assistance. A joint donor/United Nations agency, WFP/UNHCR and non-governmental organization mission was fielded at the end of 1991 to the three main countries hosting Liberian refugees (Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea and Sierra Leone), as well as Liberia, to review the food situation. Although contingency plans have been drawn up for organized, large-scale voluntary repatriation to Liberia, the security situation is not yet propitious for the promotion of such a movement.

96. Despite the political turmoil in May 1991 which resulted in the breakdown of law and order and significant losses of camp infrastructure and project property, the 1991 assistance programmes in Ethiopia succeeded in strengthening and consolidating relief assistance to both Somali and Sudanese refugees, particularly in the transport/logistics, health and water sectors. Some notable achievements in 1991 included expansion of warehousing capacity, delivery of reasonable quantities of food to refugee sites amidst security constraints, reduction of malnutrition rates to acceptable levels and successful drilling of three boreholes in the Jerer Valley near Jijiga. In view of the prevailing difficult circumstances, UNHCR was primarily concerned with life-sustaining activities. While only 72 per cent of food was delivered to Somali refugees in the eastern camps because of security constraints, it is gratifying to note that Sudanese refugees nevertheless received an equivalent of 2,223 calories/person/day, as compared to the WHO recommended minimum daily allowance of 1,900 calories. Another achievement was the maintenance of satisfactory health and nutritional levels for the majority of Somali and Sudanese refugees, with crude mortality rates of less than 1 per 10,000 and malnutrition rates of less than 10 per cent, except in Kebribeyah, Tefer Ber and Daror camps in eastern Ethiopia, where continuous influxes aggravated the rate of malnutrition.

97. There were few activities designed specifically for refugee women, as priority was given to life-saving or life-sustaining activities in the transport, water and health sectors. Women and children were, however, the principal beneficiaries of the improved water supply, health-care services and supplementary feeding programmes.

98. Since the collapse in January 1991 of the former Government in Somalia, the majority of the Issak Somali refugees have expressed their wish to repatriate to northwestern Somalia, subject to the availability of food, rehabilitation of damaged basic infrastructure and peaceful conditions. Indeed, due to poor security in eastern Ethiopia, an estimated 100,000 Issak Somali refugees have spontaneously returned to north-western Somalia during the reporting period. It is believed that if land-mines were to be cleared end peaceful conditions were to prevail in north-western Somalia, large-scale voluntary repatriation would be a feasible durable solution. On the other hand, given the spontaneous return to southern Sudan of the majority of Sudanese refugees, UNHCR, in collaboration with other united Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations, is transforming Dimma camp into a viable settlement for the remaining 4,300 Sudanese refugees.

99. Some 300,000 out of an estimated 550,000 Ethiopian returnees from Somalia were paid $10.6 million in travel grants and were dispersed to their home villages where they will receive 12-month food rations through the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission. The previously proposed rehabilitation grant of approximately $420 per family will now be used for quick impact projects in the areas of veterinary services, water improvement, health clinics, credit schemes and other locally identified, small-scale projects. These projects, which will benefit both returnees and local communities, will be implemented either by line Ministries or competent NGOs. Within the framework of the voluntary repatriation operation, in July 1991 UNHCR undertook a successful repatriation airlift for 53,000 ex-soldiers from Kassala in the eastern Sudan to Addis Ababa and 102 civilians from the southern Sudan to Jimma in western Ethiopia. Another group of 550 persons was airlifted from Djibouti to Dire Dawa and Addis Ababa in October 1991. Civilian returnees were provided with a cash grant totalling approximately $66 per person, whereas a special assistance programme was being implemented by the Government for ex-soldiers, in collaboration with donors and other United Nations agencies.

100. Owing to its position as a crossroad of the Horn of Africa, Djibouti has been particularly affected by the political changes and subsequent instability in neighbouring countries during 1991. With a national population of over half a million, Djibouti was host at the end of April 1992 to some 91,500 refugees of Somali origin and 13,000 Ethiopian refugees. The country was also contending with a severe drought and a surge of internal disturbances in its northern regions. Within the context of the UNHCR Annual Programme and SEPHA, assistance has been provided in the form of food aid, health and water services and the strengthening of logistic services - port and railroad - enabling cost-effective delivery of emergency relief supplies to Ethiopia.

101. As a direct result of the changed political climate in Ethiopia, the voluntary repatriation of Eritreans has become a possibility. Discussions with the Government of the Sudan and the Provisional Government of Eritrea have commenced in order to establish the modalities for the registration, transportation, reception and rehabilitation in Eritrea of some 250,000 Eritreans who have been in the Sudan over a period of two years. As the role of UNHCR in the rehabilitation process can only be limited, many needed rehabilitation-related activities in different sectors, such as health, education, agriculture and potable water, will have to be assumed by developmental programmes and agencies, whether bilateral or multilateral. It is hoped that the repatriation operation can commence in July 1992. UNHCR opened a liaison office in Asmara on 1 November 1991 to assist the Provisional Government in establishing the relevant UNHCR assistance programme for returnees and monitor its implementation.

102. Throughout 1991 and the first quarter of 1992, UNHCR has continued its care and maintenance programme for Ethiopian refugees in the Sudan at a total cost of $9.9 million. Furthermore, food was provided (through WFP) to all refugees living in UNHCR-assisted camps and settlements. Full food rations were also given to drought-affected settlements which, in principle, should have been self-sufficient in food.

103. In a related development, the Sudanese refugees accommodated in the Gambela region of western Ethiopia were forced to flee their camps in May 1991 and return involuntarily to their country of origin. Some 200,000 to 250,000 persons arrived in the Nasir-Pochala area in the south-east Sudan, often after very long walks in bad health conditions. Emergency assistance was provided through Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) to this extremely isolated area, which is only accessible by air during the rainy season. With the arrival of the dry season and the large-scale military offensive by the Sudanese Government, most of the returnees have gradually left the Nasir area either to their villages of origin or to the south, to the Kapoata area. Of particular concern is a group of 12,000 minors (boys) who were originally accommodated in special camps in Ethiopia, but as of April 1992 were moving to Kapoata in search of safety. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been extending basic assistance to these minors. UNHCR has contributed $1,365,400 to OLS to cover the purchase of relief items and the leasing of an airplane in connection with assistance to these returnees. It has also seconded technical staff to OLS in Nasir.

104. During the reporting period, two voluntary repatriation operations from the Sudan were prepared and one of them, of some 2,700 Ugandans by air to Entebbe, was successfully completed in January 1992. The other, involving the repatriation of 12,000 Chadians at present residing in UNHCR-assisted settlements near El Geneina is expected to be completed by June 1992.

105. Kenya has also been severely affected by events in the Horn of Africa. The fall of the Siad Barre regime in Somalia and the subsequent onset of civil war in southern Somalia led to a continuing large-scale outflow of refugees both to the coastal area between the border and Mombasa, as well as to the Liboi area in Garissa district. At the end of March 1992, the reception centre at Liboi together with the camps in Ifo and Utange accommodated some 122,000 Somalis. As this influx is expected to continue with 200 to 400 new arrivals per day, new sites are being identified both on the coast and in the Ifo area. The main problem has been to identify areas which can provide sufficient water for an average of 30,000 persons. UNHCR provides funds for all necessary related assistance, including health, water, transport, sanitation, shelter, and so on. The programmes are implemented by non-governmental organizations and UNHCR directly, with the support of the Kenyan Government. WFP is providing basic food.

106. Ethiopian refugees, both civilian and military, also began to arrive in Kenya in substantial numbers in June 1991, reaching a maximum of 8,000, and were accommodated in Walda camp. Most of them later repatriated throughout the remainder of 1991, most spontaneously. However, in February 1992, inter-ethnic fighting broke out in southern Ethiopia leading to a new influx of some 1,500 to 2,000 refugees per day. UNHCR has made its best efforts to provide emergency assistance to this new group of refugees. In April 1992, new camp sites were being identified, and non-governmental organizations mobilized.

107. In view of the present rate of new arrivals, it can be expected that by the end of June 1992 the refugee population in Kenya will stand at approximately 327,000, not including a potential caseload of Sudanese as a result of the civil war in the southern Sudan. To meet the needs of this group, UNHCR would require an estimated amount of $15 million, as compared to the originally budgeted amount of $12.5 million, excluding WFP food.

108. Drought has posed a major problem in Kenya as the country is unable to cover its own food needs, let alone those of refugees. Kenya is, therefore, obliged to import food for its own population while WFP has done so for refugees. Considering the lead time to import such large quantities of food, a continuing flow of new arrivals will pose serious logistic problems for UNHCR and WFP.

109. As a result of the civil war in the southern Sudan, Sudanese continued to arrive in northern Uganda at a rate of 800 to 1,000 per month as at end March 1992. UNHCR, in coordination with the Ugandan Government and Non-governmental organizations, continued to provide necessary care and maintenance assistance. In April 1992, discussions were taking place with the Ugandan Government to explore the possibility of providing sufficient land to the refugees to allow them to become self-sufficient in food production.

110. In cooperation with the Ugandan Government and UNDP, within the framework of the Plan of Action for Rwandese Refugees, UNHCR is making efforts to improve the economic infrastructure of the Rwandese refugee settlements in south-west Uganda.

111. In March 1992, some 30,000 Zairians arrived in western Uganda as a result of clashes between the Zairian military and anti-Government forces. UNHCR is assisting the Government to move this group away from the border and provide care and maintenance assistance through non-governmental organizations.

112. In Central Africa, as in other regions of the continent, the solution to refugee problems requires the emergence of conditions allowing people to remain in their countries of origin or to return in safety to their homes. Ongoing conflicts in southern Sudan have, once again, led to new refugee influxes into northern Zaire and the Central African Republic. What began as an emergency situation in Haut-Zaire in February and December 1990, progressively turned into a major care and maintenance programme for UNHCR at a cost of $2.5 million in 1991. The largest portion of the assistance budget went towards logistic expenditures to ferry relief assistance to the refugee area. As a consequence, the main needs of 110,000 Sudanese and Ugandans in Zaire and 15,000 Sudanese in the Central African Republic could not be fully met.

113. Despite events in Zaire beginning in September 1991, it is gratifying to note that there was no substantial outflow of Zairian refugees into neighbouring countries. About 100 Zairians who fled into Burundi from the Ruzizi plain returned to their homes when the situation had calmed down. Burundi is already assisting spontaneous returnees, mainly repatriated from the United Republic of Tanzania, whose numbers had reached 20,402 by 31 March 1992.

114. The Dar-es-Salaam Declaration signed on 19 February 1992 entrusted to the OAU and UNHCR the drawing up of a Plan of Action for durable solutions to the 30-year-old problem of Rwandese refugees. Technical studies have been carried out in Rwanda for the reintegration of returnees, and In the United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda for the integration of those who do not wish to repatriate. Similar missions are planned for Burundi and Zaire. Implementation of the humanitarian aspects of the Plan is entirely dependent on the establishment of a durable cease-fire and implementation of confidence-building measures that would enhance the democratic process.

115. The Peace Accord signed between the Government of Angola and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) has paved the way for a durable cease-fire, creating the potential for Africa's largest organized voluntary repatriation of some 300,000 Angolan refugees, mainly from Zaire and Zambia. Preparations are under way in the host countries and in Angola for safe return to commence during the second half of 1992.

116. The number of Mozambican refugees in Malawi increased by over 70,000 during the reporting period, to a total of almost 1 million by end March 1992. UNHCR continued to assist the Government and people of Malawi to meet the burden resulting from the presence of a large number of refugees. UNHCR assistance programme is intended to meet the basic needs of the refugees pending their voluntary repatriation - the only durable solution possible for them. Drought had an adverse impact on the Office's ability to deal effectively with problems related to food shortages, water supply, health services, inadequate logistic capacity and storage systems, road maintenance, education and steps to reverse the ecological degradation created by the presence of nearly 1 million refugees.

117. Assistance to over 140,000 Mozambicans in Swaziland, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe continued during the reporting period. Simultaneously, however, some voluntary repatriation to Mozambique, both .spontaneous and organized, took place during the period under review. The UNHCR assistance programme in Mozambique continued to meet the needs of these returnees, estimated at some 253,000 as at the end of 1991. Funding problems, however, limited the scope and level of this assistance.

118. With regard to the Republic of South Africa, negotiations between the Government and UNHCR which had begun in 1990 finally led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on the Voluntary Repatriation and Reintegration of South African Returnees on 4 September 1991. The operative Agreement Governing the Status of UNHCR in South Africa was also signed on 2 October 1991.

119. On 18 October 1991, an appeal for repatriation to South Africa in the amount of $28.4 million was launched to assist 30,000 beneficiaries (6,000 in the country and 24,000 outside) with appropriate transport and reintegration assistance for six months. By February, over $27 million had been raised. The first flights carrying returnees from the United Republic of Tanzania to Johannesburg and Durban in mid-December 1991 arrived amidst much jubilation, but political and economic constraints, particularly high unemployment and lack of shelter, appear to be discouraging many South Africans from deciding to return home at this time. By mid-March 1992, 6,613 of the earlier returnees had been registered for material assistance, while 6,355 refugees (5,555 in neighbouring African countries and 800 elsewhere) had filled in Voluntary Repatriation Forms requesting clearance from the Government of the Republic of South Africa and transport assistance from UNHCR. Fewer than 3,000 persons had been cleared and had arrived under the UNHCR programme by the end of March 1992.

120. Furthermore, the optimistic start to constitutional reform and political change signalled by the successful opening of the first Congress for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) in December 1991 was somewhat dampened by a February by-election set-back for the National Party and the President's subsequent call for an all-white referendum to determine whether negotiations should continue.

121. During 1991, UNHCR voluntary funds expenditure in Africa totalled $290.9 million, of which $185.2 million was under General Programmes and $105.7 million under Special Programmes. The largest amount spent under these programmes was for care and maintenance, namely $182.9 million.

C. Regional development in Asia and Oceania

122. Intensive preparations were made for the repatriation of some 370,000 Cambodian refugees and displaced persons in Thailand, following the signing in Paris on 23 October 1991 of the Comprehensive Political Settlement of the Cambodian Conflict. Responsibility for the coordination of international assistance was entrusted to UNHCR and the operation is being conducted under the overall authority of the Secretary-General and his Representative to Cambodia. On 2 November 1991, the Royal Thai Government, the Supreme National Council of Cambodia and UNHCR signed a tripartite memorandum of understanding which details the responsibilities of the three parties and establishes that they will cooperate to ensure the voluntary character of the repatriation. The memorandum also ensures that there will be no residual cases remaining in Thailand.

123. Since the signing of the memorandum of understanding, UNHCR has taken specific steps to implement the key components. The registration of potential returnees to Cambodia was conducted by UNHCR between October 1991 and January 1992 and an information campaign was intensified. As at April 1992, three staging areas had been constructed in Thailand at Site 2, Site B and Site 8, and a fourth was nearing completion at Khao-i-Dang, a UNHCR-managed camp. In Cambodia, access roads and earthworks were completed at six reception centre sites in Phnom Penh, Sangke, O'Taki, Sisophon and Siem Reap. Longhouses, latrines, kitchens, clinics and administration blocks were constructed to ensure a minimum combined capacity of 9,600 persons. Under ideal circumstances, this will allow the passage of up to 330,000 returnees through these centres over a period of nine months, with a maximum stay of one week in transit at the centres. Wells are being dug at each centre by UNICEF.

124. Up to four additional transit/processing facilities may be constructed in other areas if UNHCR conditions concerning the voluntariness of return, security from mines and banditry, economic viability and freedom of access and movement can be met in these areas.

125. Reception and transit facilities will be operated by non-governmental organizations with a continuous UNHCR presence. Simple cooked meals will be provided at reception centres based on WFP rations and locally purchased supplements. Medical supplies and equipment will be purchased for provision of basic health services at reception centres.

126. A land identification mission and an initial survey of the presence of mines took place in November 1991, and follow-up missions dealing with both of these crucial issues were carried out in the field. Satellite imagery and maps compiled as part of the November exercise now form the basis of a land-identification and mine-verification process which is essential to the success of the repatriation operation.

127. A framework for a multisectoral Rural Integration Strategy has been developed and is outlined in a memorandum of understanding between UNDP and UNHCR signed on 10 and 14 January 1992. The agreed Rural Integration Strategy combines short-term, quick impact projects in such sectors as water, health and farming aid, with area development projects designed to upgrade services and improve rural infrastructure in areas of returnee concentration. The internally displaced population and demobilized soldiers should benefit from these projects along with the local Population. UNDP will chair a coordinating body to be known as the Joint Support Unit. Input would be expected from other United Nations agencies such as UNICEF, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), as well as from bilateral aid programmes. Non-governmental organizations are encouraged to assume implementation responsibility for quick impact projects within this framework. In this connection, UNDP has organized an inter-agency mission to develop a portfolio of quick impact and area development projects.

128. Throughout the planning phase, UNHCR has been mindful that mines and unexploded ordnance pose a serious obstacle to repatriation. In the Secretary-General's appeal of 1 October 1991, a budgetary provision of $2 million was included for mine surveys. A British non-profit agency, Halo Trust, was commissioned to do a survey of the mine problem in the areas of potential returnee settlement. Their findings were released to interested Governments and were the subject of a thorough review by a working group of experts which was convened at Geneva on 2 and 3 January 1992.

129. On I November 1991, the management of the United Nations Border Relief Operations (UNBRO), which since 1982 has been responsible for the care and maintenance of the border population, was transferred to UNHCR. The transfer was intended to streamline the management structure for the repatriation and fully utilize UNBRO resources for this purpose. The High Commissioner is deploying the staff necessary at the field level and has designated a senior Special Envoy to supervise the operations in the region.

130. The Cambodian repatriation operation began on 30 March 1992 with a first group of 527 persons who returned to Sisophon reception centre. A second group of 401 persons returned on 31 March to Otaki reception centre.

131. Considerable progress was made in 1991 in implementing the Comprehensive Plan of Action (CPA) adopted at the International Conference on Indo-Chinese Refugees (ICIR), held at Geneva in June 1989. A total of 28,612 Vietnamese asylum-seekers arrived in Hong Kong and in countries in South-East Asia in 1991, compared with 39,079 in 1990. Arrivals during the first two months of 1992 totalled 231, the majority of whom arrived by land in Thailand. The mass information campaign, the joint UNHCR/European Community (EC) announcements in September 1991 that the level of cash assistance would be reduced for all asylum-seekers arriving in countries of first asylum after 27 September 1991, and the bilateral agreement between the United Kingdom-Hong Kong and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam on 29 October 1991 on a programme of orderly return of non-refugee Vietnamese contributed to this substantial drop in the arrival rate.

132. In 1991 UNHCR, with the assistance of the relevant ministries of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, continued to strengthen contacts with the Vietnamese media in order to expand the mass information campaign to south and central Viet Nam. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and Vietnamese communities in resettlement countries are further important components in the mass information campaign. Consequently, UNHCR organized familiarization visits to Viet Nam of representatives of various non-governmental organizations in May and December 1991.

133. The Orderly Departure Programme (ODP) from the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam offers the best alternative to clandestine departures. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) assumed full responsibility for the ODP, including the operational and administrative aspects of the programme previously handled by UNHCR. In 1991, a total of 64,870 Vietnamese departed from Viet Nam under the ODP, bringing total departure since 1980 to 317,630. Departure under the ODP in the first two months of the current year totalled 13,760.

134. Since the implementation of refugee status determination procedures, considerable improvements have been made, both with regard to procedural matters and the application of refugee criteria. During 1991, a total of 24,518 persons received first instance decisions, of which 6,102 were positive. Through the end of 1991, a total of 53,730 persons had received first instance decisions since 1988.

135. Notable progress continued to be made in the resettlement of Vietnamese under the CPA. By end December 1991, a total of 46,596 pre-cut-off date Vietnamese refugees had been resettled since 1989, leaving a total 1,710 pre-cut-off date Vietnamese refugees awaiting resettlement acceptance. The main problems relating to the remaining pre-cut-off date Vietnamese refugees are the equitable sharing among resettlement countries of cases with a criminal or narcotics-abuse background, the pursuit of family unity where links exist between pre- and post-cut-off date groups and the significance of family links for the unaccepted caseload. As for the post-cut-off date Vietnamese refugees, by end December 1991 a total of 9,468 persons left for resettlement since June 1989.

136. Efforts to promote the repatriation of both Vietnamese and Lao asylum-seekers continued in 1991. A total of 12,109 Vietnamese repatriated voluntarily in 1991, while 3,729 did so during the first three months of 1992. Therefore, since 1989, a total of 23,056 Vietnamese had returned. A total of 87 non-refugee Vietnamese, including "double backers", were returned in November and December 1991 under the agreement concluded between the United Kingdom-Hong Kong and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam on 29 October 1992.

137. In 1991, repatriated Vietnamese continued to receive initial reintegration assistance upon their return. Prospective returnees who arrived in first-asylum camps before 27 September 1991 will receive financial assistance up to the equivalent of $30 per month for a 12-month period. They are also assisted through reintegration programmes set up by the European Community and non-governmental organizations which focus on job creation, small business loans, vocational training, education and health care. Of those who arrived in countries of first asylum from Viet Nam after 27 September 1991, only cases deemed to be in need will receive up to $50 upon their return.

138. From January to December 1991, some 2,300 Lao repatriated from Thailand while another 800 repatriated from January to March 1992, bringing the cumulative total since 1980 to some 10,000. Approximately 64,000 still remain in the camps in Thailand. In addition, a total number of 1,500 Lao, including spontaneous returnees, returned to the Lao People's Democratic Republic from the People's Republic of China from July 1991 to March 1992. Two tripartite meetings were held in 1991 to promote the repatriation of the Lao. One was held in Yunnan Province in July 1991, with the participation of the People's Republic of China, the Lao People's Democratic Republic and UNHCR and the second was held in Luang Prabang, Lao People's Democratic Republic, in June 1991 with the participation of Thailand, the Lao People's Democratic Republic and UNHCR.

139. Immediate assistance in the form of carpentry tools, rice and a cash grant of $80 per person upon departure and $80 per person upon departure and $80 per person upon arrival, will be given to the returnees. In addition, there are reintegration projects to assist the highland Lao returnees.

140. In the People's Republic of China, local settlement assistance continued to be given to 285,000 Vietnamese refugees settled on state farms in five provinces in the south. Activities relating to income generation, crop production, vocational training and education were further expanded under existing projects.

141. In Papua New Guinea, three border camps located in West Sepik Province were closed down in June 1991. Some 120 Irian Jayan refugees were relocated to the East Awin local settlement site, while some 330 opted for repatriation to Irian Jaya. A group of 390 refugees returned to Indonesia during 1991, bringing the cumulative number of returnees since 1984 to 2,810.

142. In Sri Lanka, UNHCR initiated a programme of limited assistance to earlier returnees from India who had again been displaced after the fresh outbreak of armed conflict in June, as well as to other displaced persons who would otherwise have been forced to seek refuge in India. Under this programme, UNHCR assisted in the operation of two Open Relief Centres (ORC), respectively on the island of Mannar and at Madhu. UNHCR transported government-provided food to Madhu and financed the operation of both centres. As a consequence of the continuing strife in the area, the vast majority who were accommodated in the two centres were unable to return home. At the end of March 1992, the population at Madhu ORC stood at 28,006 and at Mannar 1,200. In January 1992, an operation was launched for the repatriation of refugees in India who were willing to return to Sri Lanka under a bilateral arrangement between the Governments of India and Sri Lanka. By the end of the first quarter of 1992, some 13,000 refugees had returned under the bilateral arrangement.

143. Since the second half of 1991, an increasing number of refugees from the Arakan State of Myanmar entered the Cox's Bazar District of Bangladesh. By the end of March 1992, the registered refugee population reached 190,000. Attempts to resolve this problem on a bilateral basis were unsuccessful, and in mid-February 1992, the Government of Bangladesh sought the intervention of the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner. The High Commissioner issued an appeal in March 1992 for $27.4 million to cover the estimated needs of 150,000 refugees throughout 1992. The UNHCR Office at Dhaka has been strengthened, a sub-office opened in Cox's Bazar, and funds were released from the High Commissioner's Emergency Fund to meet immediate care and maintenance programme requirements. In the initial phase of emergency assistance, WFP, UNICEF, WHO and local as well as international non-governmental organizations were mobilized to assist the Government of Bangladesh. The provision of assistance has been hampered by a shortage of land rendering it possible to provide adequate shelter for only 54 per cent of the population by 31 March 1992.

144. Afghans constitute 92 per cent of UNHCR beneficiaries in India, totalling 10,600 persons, which is the largest group of urban refugees assisted by UNHCR. Repatriation from India to Afghanistan in 1991 was insignificant - only 794 left with UNHCR assistance. A total of some 210,000 Tamils reside at Tamil Nadhu, of whom 130,000 receive governmental assistance in camps. Some 13,000 Tamil refugees were repatriated from Tamil Nadhu to Sri Lanka under bilateral arrangements between the Governments of India and Sri Lanka.

145. Refugees from the Kingdom of Bhutan began to arrive in Nepal in early 1991 and the influx gradually grew to 250 a day from early 1992 onwards, bringing the total number to nearly 30,000 by the end of the first quarter of 1992. The refugees were accommodated in two camps at Maidhar and Timai, in the Jhapa district in eastern Nepal, but the camps had become extremely overcrowded by the end of 1991. As at March 1992, the Government was in the process of allocating new sites for the construction of additional camps to relocate the refugees from the flood-prone site at Maidhar and to accommodate more recent arrivals. The UNHCR assistance programme is being revised to meet the needs of the increasing number of refugees. In addition to providing food, UNHCR is also providing shelter, medical care and water and covers camp maintenance. WFP has been requested by the Government of Nepal to allocate more food to meet the needs of an estimated 35,000 refugees throughout 1992.

D. Region developments in Europe and North America

146. Following the fundamental changes affecting Central and Eastern Europe, UNHCR substantially increased its activities in the area during the period under review. During 1991, Poland, the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic and Romania acceded to the 1951 Convention and its 1967 Protocol, and most countries in the region not yet parties have indicated their interest to follow suit. At the same time, UNHCR increased its promotion of refugee law and advisory activities to assist Governments, both in practice and legal terms, to address an increasing, albeit still limited, flow of asylum-seekers. The management of mass flows triggered by the Persian Gulf crisis (into Turkey and back to Iraq) and by events in Yugoslavia proved to be particularly difficult in view of budgetary and staffing constraints. Beyond the emergency operation being implemented at the request of the United Nations Secretary-General in Yugoslavia in favour of more than 600,000 displaced persons, UNHCR has opened an office in Moscow and placed liaison officers in all Central European capitals. At the same time, UNHCR has carried out a thorough evaluation of its activities in Western Europe with a view to reassessing its presence and priorities in light of developments in Central and Eastern Europe.

147. In Western Europe, the number of asylum-seekers continued to increase in 1991, reaching an estimated total of 545,000, as compared to 420,000 in 1990 and 320,000 in 1989. Substantial numbers of these arrivals came from outside the region, while asylum-seekers from south-eastern Europe constituted a significantly higher proportion than in previous years. The continuously increasing influx of asylum-seekers over the past year has created large backlogs of asylum applications, placing a severe strain on reception facilities and public and private relief efforts. At the same time, high rejection rates suggest that asylum procedures are often used essentially for what would appear to be ordinary migratory movements. These trends are compounded by an increase in xenophobic and racist attitudes of a certain segment of the population, with a high incidence of violent attacks on reception centres for asylum-seekers and refugees.

148. As a result of these developments, many Governments in the region have introduced legislation and practical measures to speed up the determination process. They have also made efforts to harmonize their asylum systems and prevent unsuccessful applicants from lodging successive claims in the same or other countries. In addition, countries have moved closer to establishing common entry requirements and increased border controls, visa regulations, and carrier sanctions for bringing in undocumented aliens. While such measures are targeted at foreigners in general, in the case of asylum-seekers they tended to increase the risk of refoulement. European agreements on these issues, such as the Supplementary Schengen Agreement and the Dublin Convention, have been followed closely by UNHCR.

149. At the same time, UNHCR continued to participate actively in a variety of forums where asylum problems and possible remedies are being discussed, such as the European Community, the Council of Europe, the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), and the Informal Consultations carried out among 16 Governments in Europe, North America and Australia.

150. In the Commonwealth of Independent States, the new Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) and in Central Europe, UNHCR focused on emergency preparedness activities, and refugee law training. In addition, missions have been undertaken to all countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States to gather information on existing and potential population displacements, particularly from conflict zones. Related to this, UNHCR is identifying areas where preventive measures could be taken by the international community with a view to addressing potential displacements at their roots.

151. As in the past, Canada and the United States of America were major resettlement countries. During 1991, some 6,924 refugees were resettled in Canada and 15,720 in the United States. In the same year, approximately 31,000 persons requested asylum in Canada and 115,000 in the United States.

152. During 1991, UNHCR voluntary funds expenditure in Europe and North America totalled $24.6 million, of which $21.5 million was under General Programmes. Under the special humanitarian operation in Yugoslavia, UNHCR spent $1.5 million in 1991 and $14.3 million during the first three months of 1992.

E. Regional developments in Latin America and the Caribbean

153. Throughout 1991 and the first two months of 1992, the CIREFCA process has enabled further progress to be achieved in promoting durable solutions for Central American refugees. Voluntary repatriation continued, especially from Costa Rica to Nicaragua (12,666), from Mexico to Guatemala (2,326) and from various countries of the region to El Salvador (2,663). In Costa Rica, the Government's dual policy of promoting voluntary repatriation while permitting local integration resulted in the closure of all refugee camps in the country during 1991. Similarly, on 31 March 1992, the Mesa Grande camp in Honduras, Central America's last remaining refugee camp, was officially closed. In Mexico, Costa Rica and Belize, the region's three principal asylum countries, assistance was provided to a total of some 58,479 registered refugees during 1991.

154. In order to facilitate the voluntary repatriation of Guatemalan refugees who have expressed their wish to return home, the High Commissioner and the President of the Republic of Guatemala signed a Letter of Understanding in November 1991 in which, inter alia, the Government of Guatemala guarantees the security of returnees and personnel of the United Nations and non-governmental organizations working in returnee areas. The Letter also contains a number of commitments by the Government relating to the returnees' freedom to choose their destination in Guatemala, freedom of movement within the country, non-discrimination for formerly having been refugees and full enjoyment of rights as citizens. Negotiations continued between Guatemalan refugee representatives and the Government of Guatemala regarding certain conditions requested by the refugees prior to collective, voluntary return. These negotiations, which have included direct meetings between the Government and the refugees, were initiated under the aegis of a Mediating Group comprised of UNHCR, the Government's Special Commission for Refugees, Returnees and Displaced Persons (CEAR), the Human Rights Ombudsman, the Episcopal Conference of Bishops and the Human Rights Commission. In addition, a Tripartite Commission (UNHCR and the Governments of Mexico and Guatemala) formally reconvened in September 1991 to discuss practical and logistic arrangements for a potential, large-scale voluntary repatriation. UNHCR has formulated a Plan of Action covering the repatriation movement and returnee aid. Within the framework of this Plan, the UNHCR office in Guatemala was strengthened in April 1992 through the opening of four new field offices and assignment of additional staff.

155. Voluntary repatriation movements are expected to continue throughout 1992, especially to El Salvador, where the January 1992 Chapultepec Peace Accords are likely to encourage the repatriation of some 4,500 refugees in 1992, and to Guatemala, where the Plan of Action for Repatriation contemplates the repatriation of 10,000 refugees during 1992. The immediate rehabilitation needs of returnees continued to be met in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala during the reporting period. In Nicaragua, the reintegration of returnees was also supported through the implementation of quick impact projects in communities of returnee concentration.

156. Guatemalan refugees residing in the Mexican states of Campeche and Quintana Roo continued to benefit from the multi-year local integration programme. A new training project was initiated in November 1991 to prepare refugees for the transfer to them at the end of 1992 of responsibility for the programmes. In Chiapas, refugees continued to receive basic assistance and some refugees benefited from income-generating projects. A literacy and training project for refugee women also commenced in April 1992.

157. Following the overthrow of Haiti's President Aristide on 30 September 1991, UNHCR encouraged all countries in the region to respect the principle of non-refoulement and offer Haitian arrivals temporary asylum pending negotiation by UNHCR of a regional burden-sharing framework, in coordination with the Organization of American States (OAS), and the stabilization of the situation in Haiti. A few countries in the region agreed to accept a quota of Haitians on a temporary basis (Honduras, Suriname and Venezuela). Direct arrivals were reported in other countries, such as the Bahamas, Cuba and Jamaica. Through 31 March 1992, 18,000 Haitian boat people were interdicted on the high seas by United States Coast Guard vessels. A total of 6,614 were found to have a plausible claim to asylum in the United States of America. The total number of Haitians screened out and involuntarily returned by the United States was 9,134 as at 31 March 1992. A total of 715 returned voluntarily to Haiti: 417 from Guantanamo Bay and 298 from third-country safe havens (the Bahamas, Honduras, Jamaica and Venezuela). A total of 1,100 Haitians voluntarily repatriated from Cuba during the first week of April 1992.

158. Within the framework of the Tripartite Commission (France-Suriname-UNHCR) and following a marked improvement in the situation in Suriname, the voluntary repatriation of 2,500 Surinamese in the French Overseas Territory of Guiana commenced during March 1992. Reintegration assistance for this group as well as for some 500 spontaneous returnees will continue through 1992. Similarly, assistance is being provided to a small group of Haitians who arrived in Suriname. Voluntary repatriation of Chileans both from neighbouring countries as well as from Eastern Europe and Australia also continued during 1991 and the first quarter of 1992.

159. Honduras acceded to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol in March of 1992. In August 1991, the Parliament of Belize passed the Refugee Act which implements the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol, to which Belize acceded in June 1990. During the last quarter of 1991, the Belizean Refugee Department was created and three sub-offices of the Department were opened in areas with concentrations of unregistered refugees.

160. From 19 to 21 February 1992, the First Regional Forum on Uprooted Women (FOREFEM) was held at Guatemala City under the auspices of UNHCR and UNDP. FOREFEM is a new initiative within the CIREFCA framework and is an ongoing process which draws upon country-specific assessments of the situation of uprooted women and a gender-based analysis of UNHCR activities in the region to generate specific models to include women in programmes designed and implemented for the region's uprooted populations.

International Conference on central American Refugees (CIREFCA)

161. At the invitation of the United Nations Secretary-General, 36 member and observer States, 18 intergovernmental organizations and 62 non-governmental organizations attended the Second International Meeting of the CIREFCA Follow-up Committee, held on 7 and 8 April 1992 at San Salvador, El Salvador. The Meeting was convened by the five Central American countries, Belize and Mexico and organized jointly by UNHCR and UNDP.

162. The main objective of the Second International Follow-up Meeting was to inform the international community of progress achieved in the implementation of the CIREFCA Plan of Action, adopted in May 1989 at Guatemala City, and to assess the future direction of the CIREFCA process beyond its current three-year time-frame. In addition, the convening countries sought to elicit financial support from donors for programmes benefiting uprooted populations. In this regard, a total of 65 projects were presented, with external financial requirements of $255,375,783.

163. The Meeting resulted in the adoption of a Declaration (CIREFCA/CS/92/11) which, inter alia 4, recognized the overall contribution to the regional peace process made by CIREFCA as well as the specific policies adopted by the convening countries to improve the treatment of uprooted populations. In order to permit fulfilment of the objectives of the CIREFCA Plan of Action, the Meeting further decided to extend the time-frame of the process for an additional two years, until May 1994. Significant pledges of financial support were also made, totalling $82.67 million. Of this amount, $51.55 million was in support of CIREFCA activities presented at the Meeting.

164. The Second International Meeting underlined the continuing contribution of the CIREFCA process to the consolidation of peace in the region through dialogue, coordination and concerted action among the various concerned parties. Fulfilment of this objective is facilitated by the various follow-up mechanisms at the national and regional level contained in the Plan of Action, and through the ongoing support of UNHCR and UNDP, especially through the work of the UNHCR/UNDP CIREFCA Joint Support Unit.

F. Regional developments in South-West Asia, North Africa and the Middle East

165. Renewed positive signs of a resolution of the Afghan conflict became visible in 1991, as evidenced by the United Nations Secretary-General's proposal of 21 May 1991 of a framework for a settlement which was widely supported by the majority of Afghan parties and all countries involved. Developments during the first three months of 1992 provided further positive indications.

166. Monitoring by UNHCR of return routes in Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as of areas of origin and Guest Houses within Afghanistan, has confirmed that the number of spontaneous returnees during 1991 may be estimated at 200,000 persons. Other repatriation-related activities of UNHCR continued at a modest level, in the form of support to cross-border projects to facilitate the reintegration of the returnees, data collection and transport assistance to returnees from the Islamic Republic of Iran. The main activity of UNHCR in Afghanistan was its continued support to the Guest Houses through the upgrading of facilities in Mazar-i-Sharif, Herat, Jalalabad and Lashkargar and the provision of food rations to 30,000 returnees.

167. Despite the absence of an overall settlement, refugees in Pakistan continued to apply to UNHCR for assistance to repatriate. The Repatriation Grant Project in Pakistan provided each family surrendering its ration card with $130 and 300 kilogrammes of wheat. Since the inception of the project in July 1990, a total of 56,000 families (approximately 300,000 persons) have benefited and it is expected that at least an equal number will do so during 1992.

168. During 1991, the Government of Pakistan and UNHCR undertook a thorough reassessment of assistance policy. The number of refugees remaining in the refugee villages was also reviewed in the light of repatriation to Afghanistan and internal movements within Pakistan. The current programme focuses on assistance to vulnerable groups, continued consolidation of services to refugees with those provided to nationals, as well as the reduction of administrative and technical support staff. Considerable progress in achieving some of these objectives was made during 1991 through the retrenchment of 2,400 administrative and project staff employed by the Government of Pakistan and further progress has already been made during the first quarter of 1992. Effective 1 April 1992, food assistance in Baluchistan was reduced from a coverage of 740,000 to 450,000 persons.

169. According to government statistics, the Islamic Republic of Iran hosts approximately 3 million Afghans and 1 million Iraqis. During 1991, UNHCR provided, inter alia, assistance in the health, water, sanitation, construction, education and logistics sectors. The appropriation for the Islamic Republic of Iran for 1991 was $12,654,200, of which $5,298,500 was targeted for refugees from Iraq. The rate of implementation was affected in 1991 by the Persian Gulf crisis, which prompted the reallocation of staff and logistical resources to the new emergency.

170. The deadline stipulated in the Foreign Act, which gave to all foreigners in Kuwait until 31 December 1991 to regularize their stay in the country, was extended through 31 May 1992. While awaiting Kuwait's authorization to establish an adequate UNHCR presence in the country, UNHCR is continuing to assist in identifying durable solutions for the several tens of thousands stateless persons, Palestinians and Iraqis who are in need of protection. In this context, particular mention should be made of the closure on 11 October 1991 of the Abdalli Camp, which was erected during the Persian Gulf conflict to accommodate stateless persons (588 Bidoons). A number of former camp inhabitants were allowed to return to Kuwait City with new residence permits, 59 Iraqi and Jordanian nationals returned voluntarily to their countries of origin, 43 Iraqi women with children were allowed to join husbands and/or fathers who are either stateless or Kuwaiti nationals and 22 recognized refugees were resettled in third countries.

171. Negotiations continued with the Saudi Government during the first quarter of 1992 with a view to establishing a UNHCR presence in Saudi Arabia, through the opening of a branch office in Riyadh and two field offices in Rafha and Artewiyah. Following several incidents in late 1991 and early 1992, the presence of UNHCR in Saudi Arabia (particularly in Rafha and Artewiyah), was temporarily strengthened by the dispatch of a mission whose primary objective is to identify appropriate durable solutions, in full collaboration with the Saudi authorities, diplomatic and United Nations missions, for the 35,000 refugees and former prisoners of war who are located in the two camps. According to Saudi Arabian records, more than 4,000 Iraqis were sent back to their home country without UNHCR involvement. UNHCR voiced its concern regarding the detention and refoulement of new arrivals from Iraq. Sporadic, tense conflicts occurring among refugees at Rafha and Artewiyah also rendered necessary close UNHCR monitoring of living conditions and continuous, active negotiations with the authorities. During the period under review, UNHCR also intervened with the authorities on behalf of other refugees, mainly from Somalia and Ethiopia.

172. Regional resettlement options continued to be pursued, particularly the Islamic Republic of Iran's offer to accept an initial 1,500 persons with existing links to that country. By end March 1992, some 300 persons had been flown from Rafha Camp to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Saudi Arabia has stated its readiness to fund this airlift, beyond its substantial assistance to the refugee population in the camps. An initial Saudi contribution of $300,000 for the airlift has already been received by UNHCR.

173. In addition to several thousand urban refugees, the Syrian Arab Republic received approximately 5,000 Iraqi refugees in the aftermath of the Persian Gulf crisis. As at April 1992, these refugees were located in the El Hol camp, where UNHCR has opened a field office. The Syrian authorities have agreed, in principle, to the opening of a UNHCR branch office at Damascus which will be adequately staffed during 1992. Care and maintenance assistance has been provided in coordination with the Syrian Red Crescent Society, while food, educational facilities and health assistance have been provided directly by UNHCR. In addition to refugees at El Hol, UNHCR is providing assistance in the health care and education sectors for a small number of urban refugees.

174. In the Republic of Yemen, the number of Somali and Ethiopian refugees increased considerably during the reporting period to nearly 25,000 by April 1992. The country continues to face a flow of arrivals, mainly by boat into the port of Aden. The refugees are located in a transit centre and will be moved into two camps near Aden and Taiz. A large number of refugees claiming to be of Yemeni origin are mainly settled in villages and towns.

175. In June 1991, UNHCR began implementing an emergency project in the amount of $710,025 to assist the Yemeni authorities and the Red Crescent to cope with the influx. With this allocation, the authorities have set up two camps near Aden and Taiz and provided basic emergency food assistance to the newcomers. The UNHCR office in Sanala has been reinforced to face the emergency situation. In addition to this new caseload, the Annual Programme continues to cover the needs of two groups of refugees: approximately 1,000 Eritreans who have been living in El Khaukha camp since 1977 and some 600 urban refugees, mainly located in Sana'a, who are being provided health care assistance.

176. Within the parameters of the United Nations peace plan, UNHCR has completed its preparations for the Western Sahara repatriation programme. Vehicles, computers, telecommunication equipment and staff housing have been secured. An operations plan, based on the assumptions defined by the United Nations, has been readied. Staffing plans and deployment schedules have been established and can be modified at any moment if requested by New York. As at April 1992, funding for the commencement of operations had reached some $18.6 million in pledges (of which more than $11 million had been paid), against total requirements which remained at $34.5 million. UNHCR programme obligations were approximately $3 million as at April 1992. Given the very significant pledge of contributions in-kind by the Government of Algeria and pledges from other sources, no additional contributions are currently being sought. Should assumptions relating to the operation change as a result of continuing negotiations, UNHCR could rapidly modify its planning and budgeting, and advise donors of any changes in total requirements.

177. In view of the delay in the calendar for the Western Sahara referendum, an assessment of the needs of Sahrawi refugees in Algeria was conducted and revealed the need for emphasis in certain areas including health/nutrition, shelter and transport. Budget requirements for this programme were estimated, at $3.4 million of which $2.4 million has been obligated.

178. In Mauritania, the influx of refugees from Mali beginning in June 1991 continued during the latter part of the year. By end March 1992, some 5,600 families (approximately 28,000 individuals) were receiving assistance. Due to the isolated location and harsh climate of the three refugee sites in south-eastern Mauritania at Bassikounou, Aghor and Neré, considerable effort is necessary to ensure that basic needs are met and to avoid the spread of contagious diseases which are endemic during the dry season. Budget requirements for this programme are estimated at $3.2 million, of which $1.9 million had been obligated by April 1992.

179. The number of refugees in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya continued to increase in the latter part of 1991 with arrivals from various African countries including Cameroon, Chad, Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, and the Sudan. A sudden influx of some 400 Somali refugees coming from Saudi Arabia took place in October and November 1991, rendering necessary an urgent response for vulnerable cases. Thanks to the outstanding help and cooperation of the Libyan authorities, UNDP and donor embassies, the basic needs of this group were met. By April 1992, a significant number of these refugees had expressed a desire to repatriate to Somalia and steps were being taken to expedite the process, when conditions permit. In addition to the above-mentioned group of refugees, during 1991 the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya witnessed a sizeable influx of refugees from the Persian Gulf region, particularly Iraqis and Palestinians.

180. Prior to the dramatic events of February and March 1991 in the Persian Gulf, there were some 65,000 Iraqi refugees in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Jordan, the Syrian Arab Republic and Turkey. The swiftest refugee influx in 40-year UNHCR history began to unfold in the first week of April 1991 in the Islamic Republic of Iran and Turkey. In April 1991, the new Iraqi refugee population grew from 50,000 to 700,000 in the Islamic Republic of Iran and from 7,500 to 250,000 in Turkey. By May 1991 the figures had reached 1,410,000 and 400,000, respectively.

181. The United Nations Plan of Action was revised on 9 April 1991, designating UNHCR as lead agency. The estimated budget was set at $400 million, of which $238.5 million were earmarked for UNHCR. The largest emergency air transport operation in the history of UNHCR was launched in April 1991, in conjunction with a massive emergency procurement operation at Geneva Headquarters. In May 1991, there were an average 10 flights daily to the Islamic Republic of Iran transporting some 300 metric tons per day. In total, during the emergency some 259 flights to the Persian Gulf region during the emergency transported some 10,000 metric tons of supplies.

182. At the beginning of May 1991, with the initiatives on the political front being taken by the international community, the first signs of large-scale repatriation were noted. This was the start of the fastest repatriation movement in UNHCR history. By the end of May, some 250,000 refugees had returned to specific areas in Iraq from the Islamic Republic of Iran and Turkey and over 65 international staff had been flown to Baghdad. Staff from Turkey had to begin cross-border operations at Dohuk following a massive relief operation initiated by the coalition forces. By the first week of June, UNHCR sub-offices had been opened at Dohuk, Erbil and Suleimaniyah, with a number of field offices in these three governorates and in Basrah. In July 1991, over 150 international staff were in position in Iraq.

183. By December 1991, only 45,362 Iraqis from the 1991 caseload were left in the Islamic Republic of Iran and some 10,000 in Turkey. Over 90 per cent of the 1991 caseload had repatriated to their places of origin. In northern Iraq, UNHCR launched an unprecedentedly large shelter-construction programme. Over 1,500 villages, out of some 4,000 which had been destroyed, were rebuilt with the assistance of UNHCR and non-governmental organizations between October and December 1991. An estimated 500,000 persons benefited from this programme which supplied 21,800 cubic metres of lumber, 5,400 metric tons of corrugated iron sheets, 128,000 tools as well as other shelter items transported in some 2,000 trucks.

184. Between January and December 1991, the UNHCR budget for the Persian Gulf emergency operation was $220 million. Of this budget, $62 million was spent on shelter, $40,300,000 on domestic items, $37,500,000 on transport, and $25,900,000 on health and water in Iraq and other countries in the region affected by the influx. Between January and June 1992, the UNHCR budget was $33,550,000, bringing the total UNHCR Persian Gulf Emergency budget to $253,550,000.

185. As the relief phase of the operation has been completed, the reconstruction/rehabilitation phase is scheduled to begin in May 1992. Following a joint UNICEF/WHO/UNHCR assessment mission to northern Iraq in March 1992, hand-over procedures by UNHCR have begun. UNHCR is expected to scale down its operation while other United Nations agencies will take over the operation by 30 April 1992.


186. The year 1991 was an exceptional year during which the international community was challenged as never before to secure adequate funding for UNHCR programmes. Total voluntary funds expenditure amounted to $862.5 million which, compared to 1990, represented an increase of $318.5 million. UNHCR spent $370 million under General Programmes and $492.5 million under Special Programmes and Other Trust Funds.

187. Donor support was exceptionally strong and most of the traditional major donors increased their total contributions by up to 60 per cent in absolute terms (see table 3). Private sector donor support was also marked by an extraordinary increase of $18 million over 1990 contributions.

188. Apart from regular appeals and submissions to cover the approved budget, several special appeals had to be issued in 1991 for new situations requiring an urgent response. Among the most prominent were the massive exodus of over 1 million Iraqi nationals into neighbouring countries and their subsequent return to northern Iraq, the emergency in the Horn of Africa, the Comprehensive Plan of Action for Indo-Chinese Refugees (CPA), the repatriation of South African refugees and exiles, the preparatory phase of the voluntary repatriation to Cambodia and the humanitarian assistance programme in Yugoslavia.

189. At its forty-second session in October 1991, the Executive Committee approved a target of $373.1 million for 1992 General Programmes, including $20 million for the Emergency Fund. The total voluntary contributions needed in 1992 to cover General Programme requirements, as well as Special Programmes, were estimated to be $630.1 million. However, by March 1992, the projected needs for 1992 were then estimated at $886 million. This increase was due mainly to new emergencies in Bangladesh and Kenya and ongoing and new voluntary repatriation programmes such as Angola, Cambodia and Ethiopia.

190. In 1992, UNHCR opened the year with a $49.7 million carry-over of funds under General Programmes. As at 31 March 1992, total contributions, both paid and pledged, for General and Special Programmes amounted to $297.5 million, as detailed in table 3. The announcement of pledges in the first quarter of 1992 for the year's General Programmes ($209.3 million as at 31 March 1992) showed, however, a slight downward trend compared to the 1991 figures for the same period ($317.9 million for General and Special Programmes, of which $251.4 million for General Programmes).

191. As in 1991, important developments continue to occur in the political and economic spheres on an international level, resulting in profound transformations in the world order. Contrary to the positive expectations thereby generated, the global refugee situation deteriorated in an unprecedented manner. With the events in the Persian Gulf, the Horn of Africa, and in Central and Eastern Europe, UNHCR is faced with complex situations that continue to require the sustained support of the international community. Early contributions by donor Governments are especially important to enable the office to carry out the tasks with which it has been entrusted.


A. Cooperation between the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees other members of the United Nations system

192. The framework for cooperation between UNHCR and the other members of the United Nations system is found in numerous resolutions of the General Assembly, and decisions of the UNHCR Executive Committee (ExCom), and the UNDP Governing Council. The latest General Assembly action was resolution 46/182 on coordination and timely response to humanitarian emergencies. Recognized in these various resolutions and decisions is the urgent need for inter agency collaboration in integrating relief assistance to refugees, returnees and displaced persons with wider developmental initiatives and activities for hosting countries and communities. This framework has been significantly reinforced by the adoption of the United Nations system-wide Guidelines on Refugee Aid and Development by the first 1992 session of the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC). The Guidelines, prepared by UNHCR and incorporating the main conclusions of the discussions undertaken by the Consultative Committee on Substantive Questions (Operational Activities) on the subject, will provide guidance to relevant agencies on the need and manner to link humanitarian with development assistance activities on behalf of refugees, returnees, displaced persons and their host communities.

193. During 1991 and early 1992, the international community experienced unprecedented emergencies in various parts of the world, including the Persian Gulf and the Horn of Africa. Furthermore, dramatic changes in the world's political order and international relations presented unique opportunities for finding solutions, mainly through voluntary repatriation, to numerous long-standing refugee problems. These situations called for an immediate humanitarian response from the international community and reinforced coordination within the United Nations system. In this regard, UNHCR has worked closely with the Department of Humanitarian Affairs, the Department of Political Affairs and the Department of Peace-keeping Operations.

194. Enhanced operational relationships, especially at field level, between several development, humanitarian and disaster relief agencies, such as UNDP, UNICEF, WHO, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Office of the United Nations Disaster Relief Coordinator (UNDRO), were realized through provision and exchange of expertise and resources in programme areas of returnee rehabilitation and reintegration and regional development endeavours to encourage voluntary repatriation and/or prevent new outward migratory flows. Sectoral level cooperation includes immunization and health planning and care; supplementary feeding, basic education and vocational training, water supply and sanitation; household security; family planning and mother/child medical welfare and reafforestation.

195. The working relationship between UNHCR and WFP, long recognized as one of the best within the United Nations system, was further reinforced. On 1 January 1992, new working arrangements between the two organizations, supported by major donors, came into effect. Under such arrangements WFP assumed the role of lead agency for the mobilization of all resources required in terms of all basic food aid commodities, plus salt and sugar, as well as for all related external and internal transport, storage and handling (ITSH) costs. WFP will gradually assume the actual operational arrangements for ITSH. Finally, WFP will continue to strengthen with UNHCR the procedures for the joint monitoring of resource mobilization (including funds for ITSH) and the delivery of food aid to the beneficiaries.

196. UNHCR actively participated in major forums and meetings organized by the United Nations and its agencies and programmes. Particular support was made available to major international meetings which took place or are being prepared, such as on the environment and sustainable development (United Nations Conference on Environment and Development), population, the advancement of rural women, nutrition, the disabled, and women and children. UNHCR also assisted with the arrangements and participated in several seminars on United Nations collaboration mechanisms, including the very successful ACC-sponsored Training Seminar for Senior Field Officials.

197. Present and future challenges to the United Nations in the areas of emergency response to complex, man-made and natural disasters, alleviation and eradication of poverty, and addressing the needs of uprooted populations, require new and innovative approaches. UNHCR, in cooperation with other United Nations agencies and programmes such as WFP, UNDP, UNICEF, IFAD and financial institutions such as the World Bank, having an interest in the various dimensions of these problems and challenges, will continue to cooperate and attempt to institutionalize periodic consultations with a view to achieving better coordination and improving the response of the United Nations system as a whole.

B. Other intergovernmental organizations

198. UNHCR continued to enhance its cooperation with other intergovernmental organizations, especially through advocating the consideration of refugee-related issues in the policies, plans and activities of these organizations.

199. The Organization of American States (OAS) and UNHCR have continued their cooperation on the assessment of legal provisions relating to refugees in key countries of Latin America. UNHCR participated in the twenty-first Regular Session of the OAS General Assembly held at Santiago, in June 1991, where a resolution entitled "Legal situation of refugees, repatriated and displaced persons in the American hemisphere" was adopted (AG/DOC.2768/91).

200. UNHCR maintained and intensified its traditional cooperation with the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in the various fields of humanitarian assistance for refugees and returnees in Africa. The Dar-es-Salaam Declaration (February 1991) entrusted both UNHCR and the OAU with the responsibility of drawing up a Plan of Action leading to durable solutions for Rwandese refugees and joint OAU/UNHCR consultative meetings on this Plan were held at Geneva in May 1991 and February 1992. Regular consultations on other important refugee/returnee situations took place, notably in relation to the Horn of Africa, Liberia and South Africa. The High Commissioner participated in the fifty-fifth session of the Council of ministers of the OAU, held at Addis Ababa in February 1992.

201. Within the framework of cooperation between the United Nations system and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), UNHCR strengthened its relations with the OIC in all matters related to the assistance to refugees within the Muslim world. The High Commissioner participated in the Sixth Islamic Conference held at Dakar, in December 1991.

202. UNHCR signed a cooperation agreement with the Islamic, Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) on 23 May 1991 and participated in the Fourth General Conference of ISESCO held at Rabat, in November 1991. A joint technical meeting will be convened in April 1992 to programme cooperation activities.

203. UNHCR conducted new initiatives in order to widen its cooperation with financial institutions. A cooperation agreement is being finalized with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and, following a joint meeting held at Geneva on 30 and 31 March 1992, a programme of work is being established between the African Development Bank (ADB) and UNHCR.

204. Cooperation with the Commission of the European Community (EC) has been further reinforced. UNHCR participated in the Follow-up Meeting of European Ministers on Migrations, the Conference on Racial Equity in Europe, the Ministerial Conference on the Movements of Persons from Central and Eastern European countries, and the Committee of Migrations, Refugees and Demography organized by the Council of Europe. In addition UNHCR took part in the Euro-African dialogue, and the Task Force on Western Sahara organized by the European Parliament and the Donors' Consultation on Albania, organized by the EC. The EC continued to be one of the major contributors to UNHCR programmes.

205. Relations have been further developed with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). UNHCR participated in the Working Group on Migration held at OECD Headquarters in June 1991, and discussions were held with the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) as well as the OECD Development Centre on future joint activities.

206. The existing coordination between UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) continued and IOM's cooperation in refugee/returnee transportation has been very important. Regular consultations on matters of common interest have also continued both at Headquarters and in the field.

207. UNHCR maintained its coordination with the Regional Economic Commissions for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), for Africa (ECA), and for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) on various themes of common interest and, in particular, within the framework of preparations for UNCED.

C. Humanitarian cooperation with liberation movements

208. During 1991 and 1992, UNHCR continued to maintain its traditional and cooperative relations with the National Liberation Movements recognized by OAU, namely the African National Congress (ANC) and the Pan African Congress of Azania (PAC). Since 1990, the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO), with whom UNHCR had also enjoyed cordial working relations, won the general elections in Namibia and formed the Government of this newly independent State. This relationship was based, as in the past, on an understanding of strict non-political and humanitarian role of UNHCR.

209. Following the inception of the ongoing process of political change in South Africa in early 1990, the Office initiated discussions with all concerned parties including the national liberation movements which culminated on 4 September 1991 in the conclusion of an overall legal and political agreement by all the principal actors in respect of the organized voluntary repatriation of South African refugees and exiles.

210. On 13 December 1991, the United Nations General Assembly adopted by consensus resolution 46/79 A entitled "International efforts towards the total eradication of apartheid and support for the establishment of a united, non-racial and democratic South Africa". This resolution created a new framework for cooperation between the national liberation movements, the South African authorities and the National Coordinating Committee for Repatriation (NCCR). UNHCR has extended all necessary humanitarian assistance to ensure the successful implementation of the repatriation programme. However, in view of the need to achieve the reintegration of returnees and other disadvantaged sectors of the South African society, the international community should expand, in a concerted manner, the scope of assistance provided inside South Africa, particularly in the areas of housing, health, education, employment and social welfare.

211. The provision of humanitarian assistance to the refugees under the care of the ANC and PAC, either through Governments of host countries or directly through these organizations acting as implementing partners, continued during the period under review. Such assistance covered care and maintenance needs, education, vocational training and, where feasible, support towards local integration.

D. Relations with non-governmental organizations

212. UNHCR continued its efforts to maintain and expand its partnership with the community of non-governmental organizations. A primary objective was to ensure that complementary activities were being pursued in a concerted manner in order to achieve a common objective, that is protection and durable solutions for refugees.

213. Following a consultation process involving some 200 non-governmental organizations world wide from July 1990 through October 1991, UNHCR issued internal guidelines on 24 February 1992 entitled "UNHCR/NGO Partnership". The guidelines define certain basic pre-requisites for constructive UNHCR/non-governmental organization partnership, summarize the outcome of the UNHCR/non-governmental organization consultation and list the criteria for selection of non-governmental organization operational partners by UNHCR. The guidelines also provide practical references, such as the institutional framework of this collaboration as well as the results of consultations in previous years in a number of important areas such as emergency measures, protection of refugee women, information, refugee food aid coordination, education for refugees, uprooted people and development and refugee children. While reaffirming the need to continue the Office's traditional collaboration with non-governmental organizations, the guidelines also call for closer cooperation in new areas, such as advocacy. Following their wide dissemination within UNHCR, these guidelines were shared with non-governmental organizations through the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA), to encourage stronger UNHCR/non-governmental organization partnership.

214. The emergency in the Persian Gulf region throughout 1991 provided an opportunity to reinforce cooperation between UNHCR and non-governmental organizations. A focal point was established within the UNHCR Gulf Emergency Task Force in order to facilitate collaboration between UNHCR and operational partners and handle various requests from the non-governmental organizations relating to the emergency. Furthermore, following implementation of measures to enhance the Office's own emergency response capacity, UNHCR held consultations with non-governmental organizations in January 1992 to explore areas of potential cooperation through stand-by arrangements and other mechanisms. In light of the favourable response received from non-governmental organizations, further consultations will be held during 1992 to define cooperation modalities.

215. With the purpose of enhancing cooperation between UNHCR and development-oriented non-governmental organizations, UNHCR continued to participate in the Sponsors' Group of the United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (NGLS). A special insert on refugee aid and development was published in the February 1992 issue of the "GO Between", the NGLS newsletter, to sensitize development-oriented non-governmental organizations to the need to link refugee assistance to development programmes.

216. UNHCR, working in cooperation with the Development Centre of the Committee of OECD and HURIDOCS (a network on human rights information and documentation), and in association with IOM, is preparing a directory of non-governmental organizations active in the field of development and refugee, migrants' and human rights in OECD countries. The directory is scheduled to be published in early 1993 and will be distributed to developing-country non-governmental organization partners. A database on non-governmental organizations working with refugees world wide is currently being established.

217. In October 1991, UNHCR held its annual consultation with some 140 non-governmental organizations on the theme of "mass movements and refugees: need for innovative approaches". The meeting was opened by the High Commissioner. The traditional Consultation on Protection was held in May 1991 with a group of 40 non-governmental organizations. A total of 25 meetings were held throughout 1991 with non-governmental organization partners on a range of issues of common interest, such as regional refugee situations.

218. UNHCR published an information booklet in December 1991 which highlights areas of UNHCR and non-governmental organization partnership. The booklet is available in English, French and Spanish and was widely disseminated. UNHCR also encouraged staff of non-governmental organizations to participate in its training activities both at Headquarters and in the field. Emergency management workshops, which took place in Central and Eastern Europe throughout 1991, highlighted the role of non-governmental organizations in the international relief system.

219. The Nansel Medal was awarded to Mr. Paul Weiss, posthumously, for his contribution to refugee law and to Mrs. L. Amathila, the first African woman to receive the distinction, for her long service to refugee children.

220. UNHCR has continued to encourage greater sensitivity of non-governmental organizations to the special situation and needs of refugee women and children. UNHCR participated in numerous consultations, seminars and training programmes on this theme and provided editorial support in the production of books by UNHCR and non-governmental organizations and documents on refugee women and children and subsequently assisted in their dissemination.


221. UNHCR public information activities were thoroughly reviewed during 1991 owing to the very scarce financial resources available and the need, as indicated in last year's report, to communicate the plight of refugees to a wider audience. The review conducted by the Office also took into consideration the results of the study on UNHCR public information activities conducted in early 1991, as requested by the UNHCR Executive Committee.

222. The UNHCR Public Information Section has been restructured into four interdependent units: publications, video, public relations and administration. This has allowed for a significant increase in the number of press releases issued, production and distribution of information bulletins on major UNHCR operations, speedy replies to media queries, and the production and timely distribution of short videos and/or footage to major television networks.

223. Changes were also made in the format, content (now oriented to UNHCR operations and the debate of refugee-related issues) and frequency of publication of Refugees magazine, prompting a significant reduction in the annual production costs. As a result, in 1991 there were three issues in German and Japanese, four in Italian and six in English, French and Spanish. During 1992, Refugees will be issued quarterly in all language versions and will continue to be distributed free of charge.

224. Over 300 events in more than 100 countries were organized last year to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of UNHCR. They included roundtables, seminars, television programmes, concerts, the issuance of commemorative stamps, special publications and photo exhibits. A small-scale public awareness campaign is planned for the second semester of 1992.

225. During 1991, UNHCR devoted some $3.5 million to public information activities, excluding staff and travel. In order to help generate income while increasing UNHCR visibility, the Office started, on an experimental basis, to sell items with the UNHCR name and logo.

(Note: Statistical and financial tables not included in this online version. See your nearest UN Depository Library.)

1 Annual programme and the Emergency Fund.

2 Excluding North Africa which is included in 5: South-West Asia, North Africa and the Middle East.

3 Excluding expenditure for programme support and administration.

4 Including assistance to returnees in countries of origin.

5 Excluding North Africa which is included in 5: South-Asia, North Africa and the Middle East.