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Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Executive Committee Meetings

Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

17 August 1983

United Nations
Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
General Assembly
Official Records: Thirty-Eighth Session
Supplement No.12 (A/38/12)
United Nations, New York, 1983


1. The period under review was marked by an evolution of existing refugee situations rather than by an upsurge of new emergencies. It will be readily understood that, although some programmes drew to a close during the year, the gravity of existing problems leaves no room for complacency and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) must remain constantly on the alert and ready to respond promptly to developments.

2. In the field of international protection, increasing attention has been given to problems arising from mass movements of people who are forced to seek refuge elsewhere as a result of serious civil disturbances of military conflict in their countries of origin. At the same time, attention continued to be given to the difficulties confronting individual refugees and asylum-seekers, as their situation in various parts of the world is frequently no less critical than that of the asylum-seeker in a large-scale influx.

3. In cases of both large-scale influx or individual asylum-seekers, UNHCR considers it of the utmost importance to enhance the principles of international protection developed since the establishment of UNHCR. Efforts have been firmly directed towards the promotion of accession to the international refugee instruments and the adoption of pertinent provisions in national legislation.

4. Another important point of concern for UNHCR relates to the physical safety of refugees and asylum-seekers. While UNHCR has neither the means nor the competence to provide refugees with direct physical protection, which remains the primary responsibility of the country where refugees find themselves, the Office has been instrumental in involving other States in providing assistance and support in the context of international solidarity and humanitarian concern.

5. The primary objective of UNHCR's assistance programmes continues to be the achievement of permanent solutions to the problems of refugees through voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to another country. Pending the attainment of such solutions, which may take considerable time, the current assistance programmes include, besides the necessary care and maintenance measures, projects designed to promote self-reliance of the refugees through income-generating and other activities, thereby also reducing the burden on the host countries. Throughout the year, measures were also taken to strengthen and improve UNHCR emergency preparedness and to advise on the management of actual refugee emergencies.

6. Total expenditures under the 1982 assistance programmes amounted to $407 million, of which $319 million were required for General Programmes and $88 million for Special Programmes. As in past years, the Special Programmes were mainly financed from contributions made in response to separate appeals to meet new situations or unforeseen developments. New programmes of assistance in 1982 were the ones established as a result of the events in Lebanon, on the one hand, and of a new influx into Rwanda, on the other. The programme in Pakistan continued as the largest single refugee situation in the world; the programme for Indo-Chinese in Thailand remained complex and demanding the situation in the Horn of Africa and the Sudan required, as in previous years, large-scale efforts and attention refugee problems in Central America continued unabated. Some operations were successfully concluded, notably the Chad repatriation, and the hand over to local government authorities of the Meheba settlement in Zambia.

7. In Africa, notwithstanding the achievement of durable solutions over past years, mainly through voluntary repatriation and local settlement, millions of refugees still need assistance. They are often in countries with very limited resources. The General Assembly on 18 December 1982, adopted resolution 37/197, in which it requested the Secretary-General to convene, in close co-operation with the Organization of African Unity and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, a second International Conference on Assistance to Refugees in Africa. This Conference will take place at Geneva from 21 to 23 May 19841 preparations for the Conference are progressing well. Projects providing for direct assistance to refugees of concern to UNHCR are being worked out, as well as assistance programmes, coordinated by UNDP, aimed at strengthening the infrastructure of the countries of asylum.

8. In response to the various resolutions concerning inter-agency co-operation adopted by the General Assembly and the Economic and Social council, members of the United Nations system have continued to make a major contribution to the task of providing international assistance to refugees. As the magnitude and complexity of refugee situations has grown, inter-agency collaboration has steadily advanced from exchange of information and general consultation to active participation in assistance activities for refugees through joint missions and project preparation or implementation. The expertise of the specialized agencies and programmes of the United Nations is thus being made widely available for the benefit of refugees.

9. In its resolution 37/196 of 18 December 1982, the General Assembly, recognizing the "great continuing need for international action on behalf of refugees and displaced persons of concern to the High Commissioner", decided to continue the Office of the High Commissioner for a further period of five years from 1 January 1984.


A. Introduction

10. Past reports of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to the General Assembly on developments in the field of international protection dwelt in large measure on the situation of the individual refugee or asylum-seeker fleeing persecution. To an increasing extent, current refugee problems are characterized by mass movements of people forced to seek refuge elsewhere on account of serious civil disturbances or military conflict within their countries of origin. This phenomenon has given rise to a number of new problems in the field of international protection, which are reflected throughout this report and more especially in the sections dealing with asylum and voluntary repatriation.

11. The international community has already provided certain responses to the problem of large-scale influx. As a result of successive resolutions of the General Assembly, the mandate of the Office of the High Commissioner has been extended to enable him to provide international protection and material assistance to groups of persons who have been displaced outside their country or origin due to man-made disasters. The Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme has also addressed the various problems arising from the phenomenon of large-scale influx and in a land-mark conclusion adopted at its thirty-second session1 identified the minimum standards of treatment which should be accorded asylum-seekers in such situations.

12. On the political plane, the international community has devoted increasing attention to the causes of trans-frontier flows and in so doing has placed special emphasis on the need for these causes to be avoided or alleviated. The High Commissioner has greatly welcomed these various endeavours. At the same time, in accordance with his mandate, his paramount concern has been to ensure that existing principles of international protection, which have been developed since his Office was established, are not undermined and that when trans-frontier flows occur these principles are duly applied to persons within his competence. This presupposes that the principles of international protection, and more especially the refugee definition, are applied in an even-handed and uniform manner in all regions of the world, irrespective of the country where the refugees find themselves and of whether that country borders directly on their country of origin.

13. The phenomenon of large-scale influx has focused particular attention on the question of durable solutions to refugee problems. The High Commissioner believes that in such situations voluntary repatriation is the optimum and indeed often the only practicable solution. The availability of this solution is frequently dependent upon action by the international community at the political level. UNHCR, however, may act as an intermediary between countries of asylum and of origin, and the present report notes a developing role for the office in this sphere. Where voluntary repatriation is not feasible, other solutions, either through resettlement in third countries or by local integration, must rapidly be sought in order to avoid the perpetuation of refugee situations.

14. While problems arising from the phenomenon of large-scale influx are indeed of an urgent nature, they should not detract attention from the difficulties confronting individual refugees and asylum-seekers. Despite the existence, and increasingly wider acceptance by States, of an international legal framework for their protection, the situation of individual refugees in various parts of the world is frequently no less critical than that of the asylum-seeker in a large-scale influx. The present report demonstrates that the need for observance by States of the principles of international protection is as urgent today as at any time in the history of the Office.

15. The High Commissioner's efforts to extend international protection to refugees, both individually and in large scale refugee situations, are aimed at ensuring that refugees receive asylum, that they are protected against refoulement, that their basic human rights are respected and that they are treated according to recognized international standards. When pursuing these aims, the High Commissioner must have recourse to the full range of action available to him, which may be of a legal or diplomatic nature or may involve the provision of material assistance and may also call for the establishment of a UNHCR presence in areas where critical problems exist. In extending international protection to refugees, the High Commissioner can in the final analysis act only through Governments whose good will and co-operation are of paramount importance.

B. International refugee instruments

1. The 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol

16. The universality of the international refugee instruments was considerably strengthened during 1982 with accession by the Peoples' Republic of China to the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention and 1967 Protocol. With accession by El Salvador and Guatemala in 1983, the number of States parties to these instruments now stands at 95.

17. The geographical scope of these refugee instruments is restricted in eight States parties to them: one in Africa, three in Latin America and four in Europe. On acceding to the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention, these States opted for the narrower geographical application clause restricting their obligations under the Convention to persons who became refugees as a result of events occurring in Europe before 1 January 1951. As part of its promotional efforts to obtain the widest possible application of the international refugee instruments, UNHCR has sought to encourage these States to withdraw the geographical limitation. During the reporting period, a draft law to this effect was under preparation in one country and the High Commissioner was encouraged to receive assurances from several other States that the withdrawal of the geographical limitation would be given sympathetic consideration.

18. The High Commissioner's activities in the field of international protection have been effectively supported by the adoption and acceptance by States of standard-setting instruments at the regional level. In Europe and Latin America, respectively, there exists an extensive framework of legal provisions relevant to refugees while, in Africa, the 1969 OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa has proved to be a particularly important instrument in resolving refugee problems arising in that continent. UNHCR follows with close interest progress made with regard to further accessions to these various regional instruments. A list of States parties to the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention, the 1967 Protocol and other intergovernmental legal instruments of benefit to refugees is to be found in annex 1 to this report.

2. Statute of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner2

19. The statute of the Office of UNHCR and subsequent General Assembly resolutions define the persons of concern to the High Commissioner and the action he may take on their behalf. During the reporting period, the High Commissioner frequently relied on his statute to identify persons falling within his competence. Determinations of this kind have been of special relevance in areas where refugee problems occur but where the international refugee instruments are not applicable. It is, however, to be noted that, while the persons so recognized as being of concern to UNHCR are entitled to benefit from international protection, their legal status is of a more restricted nature than that afforded to persons who have been recognized as refugees pursuant to the 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees3 In situations involving large-scale influx, a determination under the statute of the Office is frequently resorted to as a basis for UNHCR action. Determination of refugee status by UNHCR, however, cannot be regarded as a substitute for such action by individual States, and does not in any way detract from the importance of States acceding to the 1951 United Nations Convention and/or the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees.4

C. Determination of refugee status

20. The determination of refugee status is of fundamental importance to enable refugees to take advantage of the various rights and standards established by the international community for their benefit and to avail themselves of the international protection extended to refugees by the High Commissioner's Office. It is now generally recognized that determination of refugee status calls for the establishment of appropriate procedures or arrangements, the importance of which has been stressed on successive occasions by the Executive Committee.

21. During the reporting period, encouraging progress was made in a number of countries towards the adoption of procedures for determining the refugee status of individual applicants. In Peru, a Permanent Ad Hoc Committee on Refugees was established by ministerial Decree and, in Nicaragua, the determination of refugee status was formally entrusted to the National Refugee Office. An Eligibility Commission responsible for determining refugee status was established in the United Republic of Tanzania, while in Lesotho, Zimbabwe and the Central African Republic, legislation establishing procedures for determining refugee status is in preparation. In the Yemen Arab Republic, a law was adopted to implement that country's accession to the international refugee instruments and to institute a procedure for determining refugee status. All the procedures thus established during the reporting period provide for UNHCR participation either at the first instance or at the review level. During a consideration of its earlier conclusions on the determination of refugee status, the Executive Committee, at its thirty-third session, noted with satisfaction UNHCR's participation in various forms in procedures for determining refugee status in a large number of countries and recognized the value of UNHCR being given a meaningful role in such procedures.5

22. In a number of countries confronted with large numbers of individual asylum-seekers where determinations are made on an individual basis, a recent phenomenon is that of large numbers of abusive or manifestly unfounded claims by persons seeking to take advantage of asylum procedures in order to remain in the country. At its thirty-third session, the Executive Committee recognized the need for measures to meet this problem. it further recognized that a decision that a claim is manifestly unfounded or abusive should only be taken by or after reference to the authority competent to determine refugee status.6 Consideration should also be given to the establishment of procedural safeguards to ensure that such decisions are taken only if the application is fraudulent or not-related to the criteria for the granting of refugee status laid down in the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention. The question of manifestly unfounded or abusive applications for refugee status will be given further consideration by the Executive Committee at its thirty-fourth session.

23. It is apparent that the need for appropriate procedures or arrangements for determining refugee status exists, not only as regards individual applicants for refugee status, but also in large-scale influx situations. In the majority of States at present sheltering sizeable influxes of refugees, no formal arrangements exist for determining the status of the persons involved instead, recourse is had to an ad hoc assessment of the refugee character of the group, based on an objective evaluation of the situation in the country of origin. In Africa, where refugee movements have frequently been characterized by large-scale influxes, the Conference on the Situation of Refugees in Africa, which was held at Arusha in 1979, drew attention to the special problems of identifying refugees in such cases. Pursuant to a recommendation of that Conference, UNHCR, in co-operation with OAU, has defined the essential elements of procedures or arrangements for the determination of refugee status in large-scale influx situations, which it is hoped will be taken into account by African States when adopting legislation or administrative regulations relating to refugees.

D. Principles of international protection and refugee rights

1. Asylum

24. At its thirty-second session, the Executive Committee noted that asylum-seekers forming part of large-scale influxes included persons who are refugees within the meaning of the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention or who, owing to external aggression, occupation, foreign domination or events seriously disturbing public order in either part of or the whole of their country of origin or nationality, are compelled to seek refuge outside that country.7 The Executive Committee further considered that in situations of large-scale influx asylum-seekers should be admitted to the State in which they first seek refuge, and if that State is unable to admit them on a durable basis it should always admit them at least on a temporary basis, and in all cases the principle of non-refoulement - including non-rejection at the frontier - must be scrupulously observed. This conclusion was subsequently endorsed by the General Assembly at its thirty-sixth session.

25. During the reporting period, countries in various parts of the world opened or continued to open their borders to asylum-seekers and refugees. In certain countries - China, Djibouti, Honduras, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan and Thailand - the granting of asylum involved mass movements, sometimes numbering hundreds of thousands or even millions of persons. Individual asylum-seekers falling within the "wider' category of persons referred to by the Executive Committee were also permitted to remain in certain countries pending a stabilization or clarification of conditions in their country of origin.

26. There has been a growing trend for States to view asylum as involving only the grant of temporary admission. On an increasing scale, States, while admitting refugees, have pursued restrictive policies with regard to the granting of a durable solution within their own borders. In almost all parts of the world, UNHCR was confronted with requests for the resettlement of refugees who had been admitted temporarily to countries of asylum pending the finding of a durable solution elsewhere.

27. Problems relating to the identification of the State responsible for examining an asylum request acquired a certain prominence during the reporting period. This problem arises when an asylum-seeker has passed through one or more countries before arriving in the State where he or she wishes to submit an asylum request. In such situations, the authorities may refuse to consider an application for asylum on various grounds including the fact that protection was, or could have been, obtained elsewhere. When this occurs, the asylum-seeker is frequently turned away and becomes what has been called a refugee 'in orbit'.

28. At its thirtieth session, the Executive Committee considered that an effort should be made to resolve the problem of identifying the country responsible for examining an asylum request by the adoption of common criteria. Among the factors identified by the Executive Committee as being of relevance in this regard were the duration and nature of any sojourn of the asylum-seeker in other countries, the existence of a connection or close links with another State and the intentions of the asylum-seeker as regards the country in which he or she wishes to request asylum.8 When confronted with asylum requests from persons coming from or having transited another country, States have not always taken these various criteria fully into account.

2. Non-refoulement

29. The fundamental importance of the principle of non-refoulement and the need for its scrupulous observance has been repeatedly stressed by States in international fora. For the first time at a meeting held at the intergovernmental level, the Executive Committee at its thirty-third session recognized that this basic principle is progressively acquiring the character of a peremptory norm of international law. It is encouraging to note that, in the practice of States, the principle of non-refoulement is now almost universally respected although a limited number of cases in which the principle was disregarded came to the Office's attention during the reporting period.

30. The principle of non-refoulement applies not only to refugees but also to asylum-seekers who should not be forcibly returned to their country of origin without being given an opportunity to explain their case. The application of the principle of non-refoulement to asylum-seekers is based on the consideration that when their case is examined they may prove to be refugees. It is encouraging to note that this view is now widely accepted, although some incidents involving the forcible return of individual asylum-seekers or small groups are known to have occurred. The Office has, therefore, continued to co-operate with Governments to ensure that asylum-seekers are admitted at least for the period required to determine their refugee character. In one country, a UNHCR presence has been established for this specific purpose in critical border areas in agreement with the authorities concerned.

3. Expulsion

31. Measures of expulsion, even though not involving refoulement, may have serious consequences for a refugee. The 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention prohibits the expulsion of refugees, except in circumstances where factors of national security or public order are involved. It is of equal importance that asylum-seekers, as distinct from formally recognized refugees, should not be subjected to arbitrary measures of expulsion taken without regard to their particularly vulnerable situation. Measures of expulsion are frequently taken in respect of asylum-seekers on account of their irregular entry into the territory of a State or on the ground that the State concerned does not consider itself responsible for examining the asylum request. Cases of this kind continued to occur during the reporting period.

32. Cases of mass expulsion or displacement of aliens which could have involved refugees occurred during 1982. In one of these cases, the Office received assurances from the authorities of the expelling country that persons of concern to UNHCR would not be affected. In another instance involving the forced internal displacement of some 85,000 persons, a large number of refugees were uprooted and compelled to flee from their homes. The circumstance that, despite long years of residence, these refugees had not been fully integrated and given the nationality of their asylum country was undoubtedly a contributing factor.

4. Physical safety of refugees and asylum-seekers

33. Ensuring the physical safety of refugees and asylum-seekers continued to be a critical problem in many parts of the world. In certain regions, UNHCR was compelled to become closely involved in questions relating to the actual physical protection of persons of its concern. It will be clear that UNHCR has neither the means nor the competence to provide refugees with direct physical protection, which remains the primary responsibility of the countries where the refugees find themselves. Where, however, the authorities do not have the means at their disposal to protect refugees within their territory, it may be necessary to involve the assistance of other States in the context of international solidarity and humanitarian concern. The High Commissioner for his part has the competence - and the moral obligation - to seek to ensure that the basic human rights of refugees and, in particular, their right to life and to safety from physical attack, are fully safeguarded. In his endeavours to do so, the High Commissioner has recourse to the full range of action at his disposal to encourage the States concerned or the relevant political organs of the United Nations to assume their respective responsibilities in this field.

34. During the reporting period, refugee camps were once again the scene of death and injury as a result of attacks by military forces. The cruel and inhuman attacks on refugee camps and settlements in Lebanon in September 1982 were of particular gravity and shocked the public conscience throughout the world. Military attacks on refugee camps or settlements where refugees were accommodated also took place in Central America and South-East Asia, while in Lesotho refugee groups living in local communities fell victim to military incursions by neighbouring armed forces.

35. At its thirty-third session, the Executive Committee focused particular attention on this issue and considered a preliminary report submitted by, Ambassador Felix Schnyder, a former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, containing a survey of the various aspects of the problem. On that occasion the Committee expressed the hope that the work undertaken by Ambassador Schnyder 'would lead to the adoption of measures which would make refugee camps and settlements safer from military attacks than they have so far been".9 The Sub-Committee of the Whole on International Protection met in April 1983 to examine Ambassador Schnyder's final report containing a detailed analysis of the measures that might be adopted by States to protect refugees from military attacks and to prevent their occurrence, and the text of a draft Declaration which could if appropriate be submitted to the General Assembly for consideration. This important humanitarian question will be further discussed at the thirty-fourth session of the Executive Committee.

36. Refugees confined to camps were vulnerable to other forms of violence during the reporting period. In certain regions, allegations were made of brutality and ill-treatment of refugees by camp guards, and in one instance, of complicity in their abduction. The physical safety of individual refugees who were not accommodated in camps but who had been integrated or who had resided in local communities was also endangered or threatened. In one region, refugees in several countries were caught up in incidents or mob violence and proved a ready target of anger and resentment against foreigners in general.

37. In the South China Sea, asylum-seekers continued to fall prey to pirate attacks. While a perceptible statistical improvement can be recorded since the inception in 1982 of a UNHCR/Royal Thai Government anti-piracy programme, figures collated during the reporting period continue to reveal a picture of rape, abduction and murder. Since the phenomenon of piracy attacks affects not only asylum-seekers but also merchant shipping and fishing craft in general, UNHCR has taken up contact with the Office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations with a view to stimulating a more global response to this problem.

5. Detention

38. In the High Commissioner's previous report to the General Assembly,10 it was observed that the practice of States to detain refugees and asylum-seekers on account of their illegal entry or presence was increasing. This trend continued in 1982. While refugees should in principle seek formal admission to the territory of a State where they wish to request asylum, a refugee may be compelled to resort to irregular methods of entry. This circumstance is recognized in the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention, article 31 of which exempts refugees from penalties on account of their illegal entry or presence provided that they, inter alia, present themselves without delay to the authorities and show good cause for their illegal entry or presence. The article also specifies that Contracting States shall not apply to the movements of refugees restrictions other than those that are necessary and such restrictions shall only be applied until their status is regularized or they obtain admission into another country.

39. In a number of countries, persons entering the territory in an irregular manner in order to request asylum are automatically placed in detention by reason of their unlawful presence. In one country, a new rule came into force during the reporting period providing, subject to certain exceptions, for the detention of aliens if they present themselves without appropriate documentation and would appear to be inadmissible. This rule would also extend to asylum-seekers and in principle would require their detention while their asylum claim is being examined. In other countries, in line with article 31 of the Convention, asylum-seekers may be released once the bona fide character of their request has been established.

40. In addition to reasons of illegal entry or presence, refugees and asylum-seekers were detained in other grounds during the reporting period. Thus, in several countries, refugees who had already been present for a certain period were detained because they were not in possession of documentation attesting to their refugee status. In these situations UNHCR intervened with the authorities to secure the refugees' release. It is evident that such action presupposes the knowledge by the Office that persons of its concern have been detained. In Portugal, an administrative instruction was issued during the reporting period providing for UNHCR to be notified of the detention of a recognized refugee.

6. Economic and social rights

41. The range of economic and social rights available to refugees and asylum-seekers will necessarily depend on the conditions of their admission and the type of status accorded. In so far as the situation of recognized refugees is concerned, the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention envisages a range of economic and social rights aimed at facilitating their integration in the host country. As regards access to wage-earning employment, recognized refugees in many countries may compete on the same basis as nationals. Recently, however, refugees have encountered difficulties in obtaining employment, either because legal access to the labour market is restricted to aliens, including refugees, or because, in practice, preference is given by employers to nationals. Widespread recessionary trends have exacerbated these difficulties encountered by refugees in many parts of the world.

42. The practice of a majority of States with regard to permitting refugees access to educational facilities is as a rule generous, and in most countries refugees may enter primary and secondary institutions on the same basis as nationals. During the reporting period, provisions were introduced in Portugal and the United Kingdom assimilating refugees to nationals with regard to their medical treatment.

43. With regard to social security, UNHCR welcomed the adoption of Convention 157 concerning the Establishment of an International System for the Maintenance of Rights in Social Security by the International Labour Organization in June 1982. Some of the main provisions of this Convention are specifically extended to refugees and stateless persons.

44. It should be added that where the State concerned is not a party to the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention, or has entered a reservation to the relevant articles of this Convention, the situation of the refugee is considerably less favourable and is indeed often precarious. With regard to asylum-seekers as distinct from recognized refugees, a certain range of economic and social rights were until recently often available to them. Thus, in a number of countries, asylum applicants were permitted to work while their status was being examined and could there fore become self-supporting. Trends in these countries are, however, now more restrictive in that asylum applicants are no longer permitted to seek employment and other economic rights such as entitlement to certain forms of public assistance have been restricted or withdrawn. Asylum applicants in many parts of the world are therefore now dependent on UNHCR assistance or on the charity of private organizations.

45. Asylum-seekers forming part of a large-scale influx admitted on a temporary basis are often accommodated in camps. These conditions for their admission generally have a limiting effect on the range of economic and social rights available to them. At its thirty-second session, the Executive Committee identified minimum standards of treatment to be accorded to persons forming part of a large-scale influx. These standards are designed, inter alia, to ensure a basic level of existence for asylum-seekers until a durable solution can be found for them. While these standards are largely applied in various regions of the world where large groups of asylum-seekers are to be found, in other areas the standards of treatment enjoyed by asylum-seekers still call for considerable improvement.

7. Documentation

46. The special situation of the refugee, whether individual or forming part of a large-scale influx, requires that he or she be in possession of some valid form of identity paper. Such a document is necessary to enable refugees to take advantage of the rights established for their benefit and to be protected from such measures as refoulement or arbitrary expulsion. As far as the authorities of the country of asylum are concerned, the issue of proper identification papers to refugees is useful in that it facilitates the keeping of an orderly account of refugees and asylum-seekers within its territory and may also assist in the process of integration.

47. The general trend has been for States to recognize the importance of refugees being issued with appropriate documentation. During the reporting period, a number of countries accommodating large numbers of refugees within their borders issued or decided to issue them with identity papers. In Somalia, UNHCR co-operated with the authorities in working out arrangements for documenting some 5,000 refugees. In the United Republic of Cameroon, refugees from Chad who did not elect to return to their country of origin in the course of the recent repatriation operation were issued with identity papers. In Honduras, all refugees are to be documented as a result of a recent Government decision. UNHCR printed a total of 75,000 refugee identity cards at the request of various Governments and also contributed to the cost of producing such cards in several other countries.

48. The need for appropriate documentation also exists with regard to persons who have made applications for asylum. In certain countries, asylum applicants are issued with a permit or visitor's pass, which affords a certain protection while their status is being established. In the Federal Republic of Germany, the Law of Asylum Procedure which recently came into effect provides for the issue of a special residence permit to persons in the refugee determination procedure. In countries where UNHCR determines refugee status under the statute, persons so recognized are issued with a document indicating that they are under the protection of UNHCR.

49. As regards travel documentation, it is encouraging to note that in line with the relevant provisions of the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention, States have generally been willing to issue Convention Travel Documents (CTDs) with return clauses having a sufficiently long period of validity. The Office's assistance, however, continues to be sought in cases where CTDs have been issued without a return clause or with a return clause of insufficient duration, or where the non-renewal of CTDs created difficulties for refugees who are outside the issuing country.

50. The Office has continued to print CTDs to be made available to Governments on request and some 16,000 were provided to various Governments during 1982. These documents are now produced in bilingual and trilingual combinations of Arabic, English, French, Kiswahili, Portuguese, Rwandese and Spanish.

8. Acquisition by refugees of a new national

51. The acquisition by refugees of the nationality of their host country signals the end of refugee status and their formal legal integration into that country. As in past years, refugees in a number of countries have been able to benefit from provisions that facilitate their naturalization by reducing the period of residency that is normally required to obtain citizenship, by waiving other formal requirements and/or by reducing naturalization fees. Special provisions of this kind do not, however, exist in many countries where refugees are only able to secure naturalization under the same, sometimes strict, conditions as ordinary aliens.

52. It should be noted that, where refugees have resided in countries of asylum for long periods of time, the fact that naturalization is not available can prove a serious obstacle to their integration. During the reporting period, one large group of refugees for whom naturalization was not available was exposed to measures of forced internal displacement by local authorities.

53. Measures to facilitate the naturalization of individual refugees and the granting by States of their nationality to large groups of refugees within their borders are therefore greatly to be welcomed. As regards measures for the large-scale naturalization of refugees, mention should be made of the recent naturalization of some 36,000 former Rwandese refugees in the United Republic of Tanzania and, during the reporting period, of the naturalization of about 4,000 Afghan refugees in Turkey.

E. Voluntary repatriation

54. Voluntary repatriation whenever feasible is generally recognized as being the most desirable solution to refugee problems. Its importance has been stressed on repeated occasions by the Executive Committee and also by the General Assembly. The promotion of voluntary repatriation, in co-operation with Governments, is of course one of the basic tasks entrusted to the High Commissioner under the statute of the Office.

55. During the period under review, the large-scale repatriation operation for refugees from Chad, which had begun during the previous reporting period, was largely completed as remaining groups in the United Republic of Cameroon, Nigeria, the Central African Republic and Sudan returned home. Some 200,000 persons, including internally displaced persons, received assistance from UNHCR under this programme. In Latin America, sizeable numbers of Bolivian refugees returned to their home country following political changes during the reporting period and UNHCR Branch Offices in the region provided assistance to such persons when it was requested. In South-East Asia, a programme for the voluntary repatriation of Laotian refugees in Thailand, which began in September 1980, gained a certain momentum during 1982 with some 1,800 persons having availed themselves of UNHCR assistance to date. The Governments of Kampuchea and Laos reached agreement on the voluntary return of a group of refugees to their home province in Kampuchea, while, from Viet Nam, return movements of sizeable numbers of Kampucheans to their country of origin were reported. Negotiations for the voluntary return of Kampuchean refugees in Thailand continued.

56. In pursuance of its task of promoting voluntary repatriation, UNHCR may act as an intermediary between the country of asylum and the country of origin. It was in this capacity that the Office participated in a tripartite commission, which was convened during the reporting period following an initiative of the High Commissioner to discuss measures for promoting the voluntary repatriation of Ethiopian refugees in Djibouti.

57. At its thirty-first session, the Executive Committee, in examining the various questions connected with the voluntary return of refugees, identified certain measures that could be followed by States to facilitate voluntary repatriation.11 One measure so identified was the provision by countries of origin of formal guarantees for the safety and non-penalization of returning refugees. During the reporting period, measures of this kind in the form of amnesties were adopted in Bolivia, Colombia and Mozambique while the period of validity of earlier amnesties was extended in Chad and Ethiopia.

F. Family reunification

58. The circumstances in which refugees leave their country of origin frequently give rise to their separation from close family members, which inevitably causes hardship and suffering, and may often delay the refugee's integration in his or her new country of settlement. A major component of UNHCR activity in many parts of the world is the reunification of separated refugee families. This task frequently involves démarches with the respective authorities in order to obtain the departure of the remaining family members from the country of origin and their admission into the refugee's country of permanent settlement. Requests of this nature are generally received and acted upon by the States concerned with sympathy and understanding for the situation of the persons involved. In one region, however, the restrictive approach which was reported in the High Commissioner's previous report to the General Assembly continued to prevail.

59. In situations of large-scale influx where the resettlement of refugees in third countries provides a durable solution, the principle of family reunification has played a major role. During the reporting period, a programme of orderly departure from Viet Nam, in which the principle of family reunion figures was an important factor, proceeded at an accelerated rate. Problems were, however, encountered in countries of first asylum, in the same region, with the introduction by some major countries of resettlement of individual refugee status determination for persons whose request for resettlement might otherwise have qualified on grounds of family reunification. UNHCR intervened with the authorities of these resettlement countries when, as a result of these policies, the reunification of close family members could not be realized.

60. The plight of refugee children separated from their parents or close family members in the course of flight is a particularly tragic one, and has been highlighted by the situation of unaccompanied minors and young children in countries of first asylum in South-East Asia. Sizeable groups of unaccompanied minor children are currently accommodated in UNHCR camps in the region. The guiding principle of UNHCR action on behalf of such children is to promote the best interests of each individual child. In practical terms, this may mean the return of the child to its parents in the country of origin, where this is feasible, or recourse to other solutions, i.e., resettlement or local integration, according to whichever is available and is deemed to be in the best interests of the child. During the reporting period, 44 minors of Laotian origin were voluntarily reunited with their parents in the country of origin with UNHCR assistance.

G. Promotion, advancement and dissemination of principles of international protection and of refugee law

61. In recent years UNHCR's activities, involving the promotion, advancement and dissemination of principles of international protection, have assumed an increased prominence. During the reporting period, the Office continued an active programme in this regard.

62. Collaboration between UNHCR and the various regional organizations has been steadily developed over the years. The Council of Europe continues to provide an effective forum for the discussion at both the parliamentary and intergovernmental level of problems relating to the legal status of refugees on that continent. Relations with OAU remain close and have been consolidated through follow-up action of the 1979 Arusha Conference on the Situation of Refugees in Africa. In Latin America, UNHCR and the Organization of American States have been closely co-operating in a comparative study of national legislation on the legal status of refugees in the region. This study is one outcome of the Colloquium on Asylum and the International Protection of Refugees, held in Mexico in May 1981, which recognized the need for inter-American concepts of asylum and refugee status to be coalesced with those adopted at the international level. The Office also maintains close relations with the Asian-African Legal Consultative Committee which included an item on the status and treatment of refugees on its agenda.

63. The Office has also co-operated with States at the national level in the training of government officials concerned with the admission and determination of refugees in the principles of international protection. Workshops or seminars for this purpose were held in Canada, Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, Sudan, the United States of America, Zaire and Zambia during the reporting period. In Honduras, UNHCR briefed military staff in various parts of the country on the basic principles of international protection. Co-operation of this kind is to be welcomed in that it enables the Office to share with Governments the expertise in the field of international protection accumulated in the 30 years of UNHCR's existence.

64. An initiative of a similar kind but larger in scale was the bringing together of government officials from 27 countries for a two-week lecture course. This Refugee Law Course held in co-operation with the International Institute of Humanitarian Law was the first of its kind and was welcomed by the Executive Committee at its thirty-third session.

65. The Office continued its close and fruitful co-operation with the International Institute of Humanitarian Law in San Remo. During the reporting period, the Institute organized a series of meetings of experts to discuss matters of relevance to the onward development of principles of international protection. At the Eighth Round Table on Current Problems of International Humanitarian Law, one of the subjects on the agenda was "The Protection of Refugees in Armed Conflicts and Internal Disturbances". A Working Group of Experts on Mass Expulsion organized by the Institute in April 1983 was convened to consider this phenomenon, which is also clearly of relevance to the refugee situation.

66. The promotional activities of the Office are of particular importance in countries which are not party to the international refugee instruments. In these countries, UNHCR seeks to establish a climate of opinion that is both understanding of the problem of refugees and favourable to the acceptance of the international instruments that have been established for their benefit. In such endeavours, human rights bodies, academics, members of the legal profession and law associations are often the office's natural partners. In various parts of the world, UNHCR has sought to co-operate with such persons in order to promote, advance and disseminate the principles of international protection.


A. Introduction

67. During 1982, UNHCR, in co-operation both with Governments of countries giving asylum to refugees and with the international community at large, pursued the search for appropriate and durable solutions to refugee problems. While the promotion of durable solutions remains the primary objective of assistance activities, UNHCR had to continue to respond to requests for relief assistance for new arrivals under emergency conditions or for refugees for whom no immediate solution was available and care and maintenance support was still required. Wherever possible, relief measures have been coupled with activities aimed at assisting refugees towards self-sufficiency.

68. Following a time during which the Office had to cope with dramatic refugee influxes in South-East Asia, in the Horn of Africa and in South-West Asia, the period under review marked a relative stabilization. Most major assistance programmes - with the exception of those in Central America - have now developed beyond a strictly emergency phase. This has enabled the Office to pursue with renewed vigour its efforts to improve the management of assistance programmes.

69. Guidelines on procedures for project planning, monitoring and evaluation are now largely established and familiar to UNHCR personnel in the field and at Headquarters. Emergency preparedness has been strengthened and attempts have been made at finding innovative approaches to refugee assistance.

70. The relative stabilization of activities mentioned above is also reflected in levels of expenditure on UNHCR assistance programmes. In 1982, a total of $406,960,000 was obligated, including $318,883,800 under General Programmes and $88,076,200 under Special Programmes. This total of some $407 million compares with $474 million in 1981, and $497 million in 1980. The decrease is due mainly to a substantial reduction of expenditures under Special Programmes. During the same period, expenditures under General Programmes have in fact increased. This change in proportionate expenditures between the two types of programmes also reflects an evolution away from purely emergency operations.

71. The paragraphs below provide an overview of the major areas of UNHCR assistance. This is followed by a review of major developments and activities in the geographical areas covered by each of the four UNHCR regional bureaux. Detailed information concerning the level of expenditure in 1982 for each country or area programme is given in tables 1 and 2 of annex II to this report.

B. Major trends in assistance

1. Emergency response

72. Emergency situations requiring immediate action can result from new influxes into a country of asylum, or from a deterioration of conditions within existing situations. In 1980, the Executive Committee recommended, and the General Assembly approved, an increase of the ceiling for allocations from the Emergency Fund from $2 million to $10 million. This fund gives the High Commissioner the necessary authority to respond without delay to requests for emergency assistance. In 1982, some $5.8 million were obligated for these purposes. Most of these funds served to assist persons of concern to UNHCR within Lebanon, and needy Lebanese who had been forced to leave Lebanon for nearby countries and Europe. A total of $2,250,000 was allocated for the provision of immediate relief to persons affected by the events inside Lebanon, while almost $2.1 million were used to cover the short-term emergency relief requirements of needy Lebanese who had left Lebanon for neighbouring countries or for Europe. By the end of 1982, many of the refugees outside Lebanon had returned and little financial assistance was therefore required in 1983.

73. Another new situation involved the exodus of Rwandese refugees and other ethnic Rwandese from their places of asylum or residence in Uganda. Some $1,400,000 were made available to provide emergency assistance at relief and relocation sites in Uganda and in camps established in Rwanda. In all, up to 35,000 refugees and displaced persons were aided in Uganda while approximately 44,000 affected persons were given assistance in Rwanda. This emergency programme in Rwanda involved groups of refugees of both agricultural (70 per cent) and pastoralist (30 per cent) backgrounds. The latter brought with them many thousand head of cattle, most of which were saved from starvation. UNHCR coordinated the emergency programmes in both countries and, at the request of the Secretary-General and the Governments involved, was and is active in negotiations to provide a more durable solution to the problem.

74. Emergency preparedness of the Office was increased in 1982. Among these preparedness measures was the completion of rosters of technical experts who could help assess the needs of refugees in new emergency situations and assist in organizing prompt relief action. A UNHCR Handbook on Emergencies was finalized, based on comments from staff in the field and at Headquarters as well as on observations made by outside experts after their detailed review of the provision revision.

75. Not all emergencies were the result solely of new refugee situations. Large increases in arrivals created problems of emergency proportions in southern Sudan and in Honduras. Special measures were undertaken in both countries by the UNHCR field offices and Headquarters, aided by advice and assistance from the Emergency Unit. Temporary reinforcement of the UNHCR field presence by experienced staff produced prompt results in both cases. The additional financial resources needed to cater for both situations were made available from the 1982 General Programmes Reserve. By the end of 1982, exceptional measures were no longer needed and the situations were under control.

2. Care and maintenance activities

76. While the securing of individual or group self-reliance and an appropriate durable solution remains the longer-term objective of all UNHCR assistance activities, such solutions are not always readily obvious nor easily formulated. Physical, environmental or socioeconomic factors, or even the sheer numbers involved, often impede the rapid identification of an appropriate durable solution which would render refugees self-reliant and permit UNHCR assistance to be withdrawn. In such circumstances, and at the request of Governments, UNHCR provides intermediate aid in the form of care and maintenance, including, inter alia, the provision of food, shelter, clothing, household utensils and equipment, water, health and sanitation services, education and vocational training and social services.

77. Such intermediate aid in 1982 accounted for about 59 per cent of the total General Programmes budget, a reduction from the 63 per cent spent in 1981. This reflects the progressive evolution of programmes from emergency aid to intermediate assistance and then to more durable solutions. Efforts continue each year to reduce this percentage wherever possible or at least to incorporate income-generating and other self-sufficiency activities in the programme.

78. In 1982, as in the previous year, the programme for Afghan refugees in Pakistan remained the largest single UNHCR care and maintenance programme, requiring funding of up to some $69 million under the UNHCR General Programmes and $25 million under Special Programmes. Funds were provided for such necessities as supplementary food, storage for WFP-provided basic foodstuffs, shelter, health, clothing, quilts, cooking fuel, water supply, and veterinary services.

79. A large care and maintenance programme was also implemented in Somalia for a planning figure of 700,000 refugees in 35 camps. This aid amounted to some $29 million under General Programmes to meet the continued needs of the refugees in such sectors as food, water, shelter, camp construction, transport and logistics, education and community development.

80. Some $60 million were obligated under the 1982 General Programmes for care and maintenance activities for Indo-Chinese refugees residing in several South-East and East Asian countries while they awaited more durable solutions.

81. Although progress continued in Central America toward the formulation of programmes providing for more long-term solutions, significant care and maintenance programmes were still necessary for a majority of refugees in the region.

3. Self-sufficiency activities

82. Even in its care and maintenance programmes, UNHCR seeks to include income-generating and other activities leading to the partial, and eventually, the total self-sufficiency of the refugees. This policy of encouraging and promoting self-sufficiency is due in part to the desire to reduce the financial burden on the host Government and the international community for the continued care of the refugees. At the same time, this policy also reduces the dependency syndrome often associated with refugee situations by encouraging refugees to assume responsibility over as much of their daily lives as possible. Self-sufficiency activities may be geared to groups of refugees or to individuals, depending on their needs and on local opportunities for such activities.

83. In all of the major care and maintenance programmes mentioned above, self-sufficiency activities began and were expanded in 1982. In Pakistan, skills training projects and vocational training centres were established, the former to enhance skills for easier entry into the existing job market, while the latter included instruction in carpet weaving, embroidery and mechanical trades. In addition, although outside the normal General Programmes, the World Bank has identified several projects which, if adequately financed, could provide job opportunities also for refugees during the next few years. In 1982, the ILO also undertook a survey at UNHCR's request, to identify further the possibilities for income-generating and other self-reliance activities for refugees in Pakistan.

84. In Somalia, A UNHCR-sponsored workshop was held in March 1982 to encourage the further expansion of existing self-sufficiency schemes, especially in agriculture, and to formulate projects for additional income-generating activities.

85. In South-East Asia and in Central America, some progress towards the introduction of self-reliance activities was made in 1982.

86. Examples of self-sufficiency activities undertaken in 1982 include water distribution schemes in Somali camps by donkey cartmen who, for a small fee, reduce the time required for collection of water at central distribution points while producing an income for themselves. In some countries, UNHCR has set up chicken-breeding projects by providing funds for a moderate infrastructure, chicks and some feed. The fully grown birds provide eggs and meat to replace part of the food provided from outside and also to provide an income from sale. As part of an attempt to promote income-generating activities, a small group of refugees in Khao I Dang, Thailand, are engaged in producing a limited range of basic household goods made from materials provided by UNHCR. Finished products are distributed in the camp.

4. Durable solutions

87. The primary objective of all UNHCR assistance activities is the achievement of durable solutions, through which refugees become wholly self-sufficient and no longer require international support. The three classic durable solutions are voluntary repatriation, local integration into the country of first asylum, or when these are not feasible, resettlement to another country. In 1982, over $80 million, or some 25 per cent of the resources obligated under the General Programmes went directly to the promotion of one of the three durable solutions. To this percentage should be added some $12 million made available under Special Programmes for rehabilitation assistance to returnees in their country of origin. These figures, however, do not reflect total expenditures for such activities as they do not include the financial inputs or donations in kind such as land and personnel contributed by host Governments, bilateral donations given to the country of asylum, or the direct contributions of non-governmental, and intergovernmental agencies. In addition, if amounts obligated under the General Programmes for legal assistance, education, counselling, and aid to special groups were added to the amount directly spent on the promotion of durable solutions, the UNHCR General Programmes resources attributable to these purposes would increase to some 29 per cent.

88. Repatriation: Voluntary repatriation remains the preferable durable solution. Repatriation efforts for groups and for individuals were continued during 1982. Activities undertaken and expenses incurred in connection with such repatriation are charged to the UNHCR General Programmes. Limited rehabilitation projects are sometimes undertaken for returnees once they have returned to their countries of origin. These fall under Special Programmes.

89. At the beginning of 1982, some 150,000 Chadians had repatriated from nearby countries. Of these, some 66,000 returned with UNHCR assistance while another 84,000 repatriated independently. At the request of the Secretary-General, another 50,000 displaced Chadians in N'Djamena were included in the UNHCR programme of limited assistance for rehabilitation of returnees. As a result, over 200,000 persons received aid from UNHCR.

90. This rehabilitation programme, due to end in March 1982, was extended to June 1982 in order to accomplish fully its objectives and to ensure the distribution of late supplies. By July, following political changes in Chad, over 5,000 additional refugees had repatriated from Cameroon, from Nigeria and from the Central African Republic. In late 1982, some 13,000 new returnees were benefiting under an expanded UNHCR assistance programme. Some $5.07 million were obligated in 1982 for these rehabilitation activities in Chad.

91. During 1982, the Government of the Lao People's Democratic Republic held bilateral talks with the Phnom Penh authorities regarding the possibility of repatriation of Kampuchean refugees. In November 1982, the return of these refugees was authorized and, subsequently, a Lao-Kampuchean joint committee was set up to work out the practical modalities of such a movement. A total of 2,524 persons have been registered for repatriation to Stung Treng and Rattanakiri provinces by the Lao authorities.

92. During 1982, the Lao Government reconfirmed its policy of allowing virtually all Lao to return to the Lao People's Democratic Republic. During the year, 1,069 persons returned from Thailand, bringing to 1,802 the total number of repatriates under UNHCR auspices since the programme began in September 1980. Other refugees repatriated spontaneously. UNHCR continued its programme of assistance to repatriates through the provision of resettlement kits and rice rations. The planning of small-scale integrated self-sufficiency projects was also continued. Repatriation is now diversified to several ethnic groups (Lao, Hmong, Yao, etc.) and to several provinces.

93. A general amnesty for Bolivian exiles was decreed by the Bolivian Government in 14 May 1982. Developments thereafter encouraged the return to Bolivia of several hundred refugees, both from Europe and other Latin American countries. In response to a request from tile Bolivian Government, the High Commissioner circulated an appeal to a number of agencies for financial support to be channelled through tile "Secretario de Estudios Sociales de la Conferencia Episcopal Boliviana".

94. The High Commissioner launched an appeal on 30 April 1982 for financial support to an expanded special programme of assistance for returnees to Ethiopia. The programme, valued at some $20 million included $6 million worth of donated food commodities as well as cash requirements of $14 million designed to provide limited relief and rehabilitation assistance for spontaneous returnees to Ethiopia. The programme is implemented under the joint responsibility of the Ethiopian Relief and Rehabilitation Commission and UNHCR, with the League of Red Cross Societies acting as UNHCR's operational partner. The first phase of the programme, which consisted mainly of procurement of necessary relief items including food, domestic items, medicines, dispensary equipment, seeds and fertilizers as well as essential transport vehicles, was implemented during 1982. The second and third phases will stress the rehabilitation aspects of the programme. This rehabilitation component includes the agricultural projects in Kelafo and Mustahil in Hararghe region and Aliguider in Eritrea region. Self-sufficiency packages for agriculturalists and pastoralists, small-scale cottage industries and a project for fishermen in Massawa are also foreseen. In addition, substantial progress has been made in contacts leading to an agreement between the Government of Djibouti and Ethiopia on the voluntary repatriation of refugees in Djibouti.

95. In addition to these larger repatriation programmes, individuals seeking UNHCR assistance to facilitate their voluntary repatriation were assisted under various country programmes. In 1982, some $657,000 were obligated for such individual repatriation assistance.

96. Local settlement and local integration: If voluntary repatriation of refugees is not feasible within the foreseeable future and refugees are allowed to remain in their country of asylum, all efforts are made to promote rapid local settlement and, where possible, integration of the refugees with the local population. Local settlement assistance is given both to individuals or small groups of refugees and to large groups, the latter mainly in agricultural settlements, the former in urban or semi-urban settings. The objectives of such projects will have been realized when the refugees have achieved self-sufficiency to a level comparable to that of the local population. In most instances, self-sufficiency cannot be achieved within the normal one year duration of UNHCR projects. Therefore, whenever possible, projects are planned for several years ahead, while funds are made available on an annual basis.

97. In 1982, almost $66 million, or some 20 per cent of the total General Programmes expenditure, was used to finance local settlement activities. Planning for such programmes often involved technical advice from consultant experts within the United Nations system or outside, or from UNHCR's own small cadre of specialists. In addition, the Unit further promoted local settlement efforts in various countries by holding workshops, with participants from Governments and, where appropriate, non-governmental and intergovernmental agencies involved in the implementation of projects.

98. Major local settlement programmes undertaken in 1982 covered continued assistance to agricultural settlements in Africa, notably large programmes in the Sudan, the United Republic of Tanzania and Zaire, and smaller initial projects in Central America, in Belize, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama. A successful local large-scale settlement programme for Indo-Chinese refugees in China had reached the final stages of implementation. Substantial settlement assistance to individuals and smaller groups was given to Indo-Chinese refugees in Argentina and in Europe, in Greece, Portugal and Spain.

99. Resettlement: As in previous years, the Office continued to seek resettlement opportunities in cases where repatriation or local integration were not feasible. International assistance was also given to refugees travelling to other countries to join their families, to disabled refugees and their families who were granted treatment and permanent residence in third countries, and to other refugees who, for legal or political reasons, were not in a position to remain in the country of first asylum.

100. During 1982, a total of some 109,000 Indo-Chinese were resettled in third countries of whom 78,000 were Vietnamese, 21,509 Kampuchean and 9,288 Lao. Another 10,057 Vietnamese joined their families abroad after departing directly from Viet Nam under the Orderly Departure Programme. These figures reflect a decrease in the admission of Indo-Chinese refugees by countries of resettlement. During 1982, only four countries maintained a general programme for the resettlement of refugees. Other countries generally admitted only Indo-Chinese rescued at sea by their vessels or certain categories of family reunion cases. UNHCR has continued to urge Governments to broaden their family reunion criteria to the maximum extent possible.

101. Although only three countries implemented a resettlement programme for the benefit of European refugees, a number of other countries made available a special quota in 1982 and the problem of this refugee group was reduced considerably. An increased number of refugees from Africa was resettled, however,-although fortunately the numbers of African refugees in need of resettlement remained small as UNHCR continued to work with Governments on the continent of Africa to encourage repatriation or local integration. Only a few countries have formal programmes for the resettlement of refugees from the Middle East and South West Asia. As a special gesture, Turkey admitted almost 4,000 refugees who had previously found refuge in Pakistan. Individual refugees with family or other links, found resettlement places in a number of countries in Western Europe.

102. The majority of refugees in Central America are permitted to settle in the region. A resettlement solution is sought when a refugee finds himself in a country where a durable local solution is not possible, or for reasons of family reunion.

103. The Office has found resettlement opportunities for more than 500 refugees and their families who were disabled and could not be admitted under regular resettlement programmes. The majority of these refugees were physically handicapped but a small number suffered from severe mental disabilities. Expenditures incurred by UNHCR for the promotion of resettlement and for transportation of refugees to countries which are not in a position to assume the costs of their transportation amounted to some $14.2 million under General Programmes.

5. Social services to refugees in pursuit of durable solutions

104. Community services counselling: During 1982, counselling services were provided through 53 projects in 46 countries. In view of the continuing problem facing urban refugees of attaining self-sufficiency, the efforts of counselling services were principally directed towards assisting in the establishment of employment and self-employment opportunities. This was done through identifying both local and international resources as well as by providing counselling and social support services to the refugees concerned. Development of counselling and community services for refugees in rural areas continued to be emphasized. Para-professionals were trained to work in rural as well as urban areas in Somalia, while community development workers in Honduras, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Belize participated in social services in-service training activities.

105. Education: During 1982, UNHCR continued to provide essential educational assistance to refugees. Refugee children were given access to elementary education, sometimes in local primary schools, sometimes in specially established schools in the area of settlement or in the camps where they awaited a durable solution. Non-formal education was also made available. This usually took the form of skills training, but also included literacy and numeracy skills, pre-school and parent education, language training and health education. Assistance was also authorized to enable 12,717 refugee students to pursue their studies at secondary and tertiary levels. This was an increase of 52.3 per cent over those reported as assisted for 1981. Expenditures for the 1982 educational assistance programme were some $11.9 million, of which about $6.4 million were spent under General Programmes, and $5.3 million under Special Programmes. Approximately 18 per cent of the students undertook technical training courses while 67 per cent attended secondary school and 15 per cent the university. Renewed emphasis was laid on the counselling of students for technical training, as more likely to lead directly to employment.

106. Aid to handicapped refugees: Assistance to handicapped refugees increased appreciably during 1982, both as a consequence of activities undertaken as a follow-up to the International Year of Disabled Persons and the establishment of a new Trust Fund for Handicapped Refugees with the proceeds of the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the office in 1981. Specific assistance measures for handicapped refugees financed under this Trust Fund and under General Programmes have benefited a total of 1,858 individual refugees. Assistance was given to meet the costs of surgery, physiotherapy, prosthetic devices, wheelchairs, equipment for physiotherapy, psychiatric help and psychological counselling.

107. In view of the availability of medical or surgical facilities in Nairobi and Cairo, special arrangements were made in these two cities for the treatment of disabled refugees from various countries in Africa. In order to cut down on the waiting period and related expenses, a physician was retained in Nairobi to examine the dossiers of handicapped cases referred from other African countries and to facilitate their admission to hospitals. Similarly, a team of psychologists and psychiatrists was also retained in Nairobi to assist mentally disturbed refugees. Steps were taken to establish a similar arrangement in Dakar for francophone handicapped refugees. A survey of handicapped refugees was completed in Zaire, and steps were taken to initiate a similar but more detailed survey of handicapped refugees in Pakistan. Guidelines for assistance to handicapped and other refugee groups with special needs were finalized in 1982. Projects for assistance to refugees suffering from trauma as a consequence of persecution and dislocation were continued in Spain and Venezuela. A project for assisting children with mental problems and facing difficulties in their studies was established on an experimental basis in Costa Rica and produced appreciable results. A project established in the United Republic of Tanzania identified and assisted a large number of disabled refugees and also initiated the training of physiotherapists. In 1982 a total of $473,340 was obligated from both general and special programmes for the treatment and rehabilitation of handicapped and elderly refugees.

6. Phasing out of assistance

108. Once one of the three durable solutions has been successfully attained, international assistance provided through UNHCR ceases and responsibility for further assistance to refugees rests with the host Government. This normally involves the provision of services to refugees at the same level as to nationals in surrounding villages or towns. During 1982, there were several major Accomplishments concerning the phasing out of UNHCR assistance. Most important was the successful conclusion of the voluntary repatriation programme to Chad, which aided some 200,000 persons in N'Djamena, including returnees and internally displaced persons. Since large numbers of refugees repatriated, the success of this programme made possible significant reductions in the size of planned projects in the United Republic of Cameroon and in Nigeria for the local settlement of Chadian refugees.

109. Attention is paid by the UNHCR to handover dates for local settlement projects. These dates mark the planned transfer of responsibility for self-sufficient refugees to the host Government. Along the same lines, increased attention is paid during initial project planning to ensuring that the objective of projects includes elements of self-sufficiency even within care and maintenance programmes. The emphasis on self-sufficiency promises to lessen the burden imposed by refugees on host Governments, while also allowing for reductions in international relief support.

110. In addition to the successful conclusion of the Chad repatriation programme accomplishments in other countries promise significant future reductions of UNHCR assistance. In the Horn of Africa, a Tripartite Commission composed of representatives of the two Governments of Ethiopia and Djibouti and the UNHCR has been established to examine ways and means of facilitating the voluntary repatriation of Ethiopian refugees in Djibouti. To the extent that Ethiopian refugees voluntarily opt for repatriation, reductions in the burden on Djibouti will occur. In Zambia, the Meheba settlement for 11,000 refugees has reached an adequate level of self-sufficiency and so became the responsibility of the Government in April 1982. Sufficient progress was made in the Los Angeles rural project at Guanacaste in Costa Rica during 1982 for a phase out of UNHCR assistance in 1983 to appear feasible. The local integration of more than 260,000 refugees is being successfully pursued in China. With economic integration now achieved for many of the refugees, reductions in the level of UNHCR assistance nave already been made, and further reductions are likely. Efforts to assist refugees in Sabah, Malaysia, continued with the implementation of housing, promotion of self-sufficiency and access to education projects. Progress in these areas is a step towards eventually minimizing assistance required by this group.

C. Regional developments in Africa

111. In 1982, UNHCR obligated a total of some $134.7 million for its assistance in Africa, of which $103.5 were under General Programmes, and $31.2 million under Special Programmes. Details relating to expenditures by country and area are given in tables 1 and 2 of annex II to this report.

112. During 1982, UNHCR continued to promote self-reliance projects, self-help activities and income-generating schemes in major assistance programmes in Africa. This has been made possible through increased co-operation between UNHCR, Governments, other United Nations agencies and implementing partners in the formulation and planning of suitable projects and schemes. Joint programme review missions and feasibility studies by technical experts have been undertaken, workshops and seminars have been held, all resulting in constructive developments in the orientation of programmes towards more durable solutions.

113. Foremost among UNHCR's objectives is voluntary repatriation. This was evidenced in 1982 through the conclusion of the repatriation programme for Chad refugees and the extension of the assistance programme for Ethiopian returnees. Furthermore, preliminary discussions with Governments on the creation or expansion of returnee programmes raised prospects for the voluntary repatriation of Ugandans from Zaire, Ethiopians from Djibouti and persons in Rwanda who left Uganda in October 1982.

114. The need to assist countries of origin in the rehabilitation of returnees and countries of asylum with the additional burden that the presence of refugees represents for their economies, was cited by the General Assembly in its resolution 37/197 of 18 December 1982, convening a second International Conference on Assistance to Refugees in Africa in 1984. This resolution calls upon the Secretary-General, OAU and UNHCR:

"(a) To review thoroughly the results of the Conference held in 1981 as well as the state of the progress of projects submitted to it;

(b) To consider the continuing need for assistance with a view to providing, as necessary, additional assistance to refugees and returnees in Africa for the implementation of programmes for their relief, rehabilitation and resettlement;

(c) To consider the impact imposed on the national economies of the African countries concerned and to provide them with required assistance to strengthen their social and economic infrastructure to cope with the burden of dealing with large numbers of refugees and returnees,".

115. The programmes of UNHCR in Africa focus on assistance to refugees in the Horn of Africa, the Sudan, Zaire and Angola and in a number of other countries, notably in southern Africa.

116. In Somalia, the Sudan, Djibouti and Kenya, refugees total almost 1,200,000. In Somalia, following an inter-agency mission on guidelines for medium-term assistance and policy objectives in February 1982, UNHCR, the Government and voluntary agencies progressively shifted the programme from care and maintenance to income-generating and self-help activities especially in the agricultural sector. In early 1982, the Government of Somalia decided to allocate 1,000 square metre plots to a number of refugee families and authorized them to retain 100 per cent of their crops. This change was complemented by the improvement and consolidation of irrigation systems. These two factors generated increased participation by refugees in agricultural projects.

117. In late 1982 and early 1983, steps were taken towards the decentralization of technical responsibility for the implementation of projects in the agriculture, water and education sectors to the appropriate ministries, with the National Refugee Commission for Somalia retaining overall coordinating responsibility. This is expected to result in the greater assimilation of UNHCR objectives into national plans and a consequent improvement in the local integration and settlement prospects for refugees.

118. The 1982-1983 programme for refugees in eastern Sudan has as its objectives the consolidation of settlements through an expansion of the more viable ones, the transfer to them of refugees and the provision or upgrading of basic infrastructure at all settlements.

119. In the rural land settlements of eastern Sudan, agricultural production is encouraged through the provision of adequate land, farming machinery and the distribution of tools and seeds. Until they can support themselves, refugees receive World Food Programme food rations and other basic assistance. In 1982, wage-earning settlements, the least viable agricultural settlements and suburban settlements were the subject of a study by the International Labour Office, undertaken at the request of UNHCR and the Sudanese Government, to review the labour market and refugee skills. It is anticipated that several income-generating projects will result from the study.

120. In southern Sudan, the process of establishing refugee settlements has been slower and relief assistance had to be continued throughout 1982. The persistence of an emergency situation was partly due to the gradual movement of refugees from the border areas into the settlements and transit centres, initially created for the purpose of temporarily accommodating new arrivals.

121. Limited economic opportunities and the scarcity of land, water, education and employment make prospects for the local integration of refugees in Djibouti very poor and their voluntary repatriation seems to be the only feasible long-term solution. Pending the outcome of consultations between UNHCR and the Governments of Djibouti and Ethiopia on the prospects for repatriation, UNHCR continued its care and maintenance programme during 1982. Refugees in Kenya are mostly individuals or small family groups relying on UNHCR subsistence allowances. Increasing efforts are being made by UNHCR to improve local integration through assistance in job placement, primary education, language and vocational training. Details concerning the ongoing special programme of assistance to returnees in Ethiopia are given in section B.4 above.

122. Early in 1982, the emergency phase of the assistance programme for refugees in Upper Zaire was concluded and the transfer of refugees into organized rural settlements continued throughout the year. Extensive infrastructural development was undertaken in the settlements as well as the allocation of agricultural plots to all refugee families. Food production is steadily increasing, cue to effective extension work and land preparation and the favourable climate which resulted in two crops per year. It is envisaged that a gradual phase-out of care and maintenance assistance can be attained over the next two years. The eventual voluntary repatriation of refugees would also reduce assistance needs substantially.

123. Following events in the Mbarara district of Uganda in October 1982, approximately 44,00 persons left for neighbouring Rwanda, while 35,000 others moved within Uganda, mainly into the existing refugee settlements of Oruchinga and Nakivale. The High Commissioner responded to requests by the Governments concerned for emergency assistance to the groups of persons involved. A successful care and maintenance operation was mounted rapidly in Rwanda, using both the Emergency Fund and contributions received following a special appeal by the High Commissioner. In Uganda, assistance was provided in co-ordination with other United Nations agencies. Steps were taken in 1983 to continue and expand this assistance while the status of the persons concerned was being determined and durable solutions explored.

124. Over 75,000 Namibian refugees were assisted by UNHCR in 1982. Some 70,000 are in Angola and 4,700 in Zambia. The remainder are in various countries in Africa, some on UNHCR-financed scholarships, others being assisted as individual cases.

125. The 1982 UNHCR programme for refugees in Angola was a continuation of short-term relief or care and maintenance measures. Nevertheless, longer-term objectives evolved during the year, particularly in the construction sector. One major project was started in 1982 and several more are in the planning stage. Substantial progress with construction projects is the major objective of the 1983 programme.

126. The Nyango Health and Education Centre in Zambia, which accommodates a large number of students and school-age children, was provided with basic subsistence during 1982. Similar needs of Namibian refugees in the Dukwe settlement in Botswana were also met in 1982, although these needs will diminish as the settlement becomes productive and self-reliance increases.

127. In the eight countries of first asylum, Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Swaziland, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, there are more than 20,000 South African refugees assisted by UNHCR. South African refugees in various other countries in Africa receive scholarship or subsistence assistance.

128. Projects in 1982 ranged from continued assistance for the 5,400 South African refugees in the Ndzevane rural settlement in Swaziland, with self-sufficiency as an objective, to the monthly subsistence allowances provided to destitute South African refugees on an individual basis. A common feature of UNHCR projects in Lesotho, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zimbabwe during 1982 was the construction of reception or transit centres to temporarily accommodate newly-arrived South African refugees and assist them through professional counselling. Farming centres in Angola, Zambia and the United Republic of Tanzania were also provided with agricultural inputs.

D. Regional developments in the Americas and Europe

129. In 1982, the major refugee problem in the Americas continued to be in the Central American isthmus, where the total number of refugees exceeded 300,000 persons by the end of the year, of which an estimated 80,000 were being assisted by UNHCR. The major influxes of asylum seekers occurred in Honduras and Mexico, where a significant portion of UNHCR's assistance was increasingly concentrated.

130. Assistance programmes were also implemented in Central America for refugees in Belize, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama. Refugees in the Dominican Republic were also assisted. In South America, where the refugee situation remained stable, assistance measures were continued on behalf of a relatively small caseload of European and Latin American refugees. Some 1,400 Indo-Chinese families that resettled in Argentina in 1980 also received limited assistance.

131. During 1982, UNHCR obligations for the region were over $29.6 million, including approximately $23.9 million for Central America. Details concerning expenditures by country are given in the relevant section of tables 1 and 2 of annex II below. By the beginning of 1983, the number of refugees in the region had stabilized, except for a continued influx of refugees into Mexico and smaller numbers requesting asylum in Honduras and in Costa Rica.

132. The objectives of UNHCR in the region were twofold: first, to meet the immediate needs of newly-arriving groups of refugees and second, where assistance was consolidated, to pursue and initiate local integration measures for all groups of refugees in the countries of the region.

133. Within this general framework, emergency assistance in the sectors of food, water, shelter, health care and domestic supplies was provided to newly arrived groups of refugees in Honduras and in Mexico. Smaller groups of new refugees in Costa Rica and in Nicaragua also received basic relief assistance.

134. The degree of success achieved in streamlining care and maintenance following the actual emergency phase has enabled UNHCR, in co-operation with Governments in the region, to pursue efforts to promote the self-reliance of some refugee groups. The development of rural settlements for refugee groups in Belize, Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua, as well as the rural integration of refugees in Honduras, were continued and, on the whole, have shown encouraging results. In order to improve implementation, a number of adjustments were undertaken, notably through increased technical inputs. In the case of Costa Rica, there are prospects for phasing out UNHCR assistance to the Los Angeles rural settlement in 1983. Several groups of refugees in Nicaraguan co-operatives have reached self-sufficiency.

135. Other local integration projects for smaller groups of Central American refugees, mainly in urban areas, have also been completed, notably in Mexico and in Costa Rica. Relative success was also achieved in the local integration of individual refugees in South American countries, in addition to other durable solutions implemented through resettlement and repatriation. However, plans to develop local integration schemes for some large groups of refugees in Honduras and Mexico have not yet materialized and care and maintenance programmes have had to be continued.

136. The major development in Europe during 1982 was the increased number of asylum-seekers from the Middle East and South West Asia, in addition to the continuing arrival of refugees from other regions. Many other European countries also received hundreds of newly asylum-seekers. In some countries, restrictive admission criteria led to asylum-seekers becoming stranded, which often required repeated interventions on the part of UNHCR in order to establish legitimate asylum.

137. The obligations of UNHCR in Europe totalled over $12.3 million in 1982. Details of expenditures by country are given in the relevant section of tables 1 and 2 of annex II below. Of this sum, approximately $1.4 million came from the Emergency Fund to assist needy Lebanese.

138. The character of UNHCR assistance varies from north to the south of Europe. in countries in the north, responsibility for assistance to asylum-seekers, and for their local integration is almost entirely assumed by the Government. Nevertheless, UNHCR contributions in this area continue to play an important role in catalyzing government and voluntary agency funding and action by concentrating largely on legal and counselling assistance activities. In the south, Greece, Italy, Turkey and Yugoslavia are traditionally countries of first asylum, from which a majority of refugees are then resettled to other countries. UNHCR assistance therefore focuses on care and maintenance pending departure, and the promotion of resettlement. In Spain and Portugal, however, the majority of refugees are accepted for local settlement and UNHCR assistance is, therefore, geared towards local integration. An important development in assistance to refugees was the decision of the Government of Portugal to take over the financing of supplementary assistance as of January 1982, with UNHCR contributing to the establishment of an emergency reception centre.

139. During 1982, the world-wide economic recession made itself felt in the situation of refugees throughout Europe, but the effects varied in different areas. As overall resettlement programmes slowed down, the number of refugees awaiting resettlement in southern Europe increased. Appropriations for the promotion of resettlement and for care and maintenance in Italy, Greece, Turkey and Yugoslavia were consequently increased, and the allocation in Greece was augmented to provide more accommodation facilities to meet the slower rate of departures. In Spain, the increasing number of asylum-seekers made it necessary to double the care and maintenance appropriation, while legal assistance obligations more than trebled. In addition, funds were made available under the Education Account to enable refugees in Spain to receive training and thus become more competitive on the labour market. The majority of asylum-seekers who arrived in Austria during 1981, were granted local settlement or were resettled in third countries during 1982.

140. A particularly gratifying development was the acceptance by Turkey of 3,815 refugees previously residing in Pakistan in the summer of 1982. UNHCR made a contribution towards the group's travel and initial settlement, while expenditures relating to their final settlement were borne by the Turkish Government.

E. Regional developments in East and South Asia and Oceania

141. During 1982, a total of some $103.2 million was obligated for assistance to refugees in East and South Asia and Oceania. Of that amount, $88.4 million were financed under General Programmes, and $14.8 million from Special Programmes. Details of expenditures by country and area are given in tables 1 and 2 of annex II below.

142. Refugees of Indo-Chinese origin continued to constitute the largest refugee group in the region. Their number in temporary camps was estimated at some 204,600 by the end of 1982. In addition, a group of 272,100 refugees from Indo-China were assisted to settle in the People's Republic of China. Approximately 28,000 refugees were assisted in the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and 3,500 in the Lao People's Democratic Republic.

143. Among countries offering temporary asylum to Indo-Chinese refugees, Thailand received the largest number with a total of over 168,900. Other countries and territories in the region offering temporary asylum to significant numbers of Indo-Chinese included Indonesia, Japan, Hong Kong, Macao, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore. Two Refugee Processing Centres, one in Indonesia and one in the Philippines, sheltered 16,500 Indo-Chinese refugees awaiting departure after selection for resettlement.

144. Resettlement in third countries continues to be the most viable durable solution for most Indo-Chinese refugees. However, UNHCR continues to support voluntary repatriation to the Lao People's Democratic Republic and the possibility of eventual voluntary repatriation of Kampucheans from Thailand.

145. As a result of diminishing resettlement opportunities, Indo-Chinese refugees are generally spending longer periods in camps. This in turn has meant that care and maintenance assistance had to be provided over a longer average period of time. To cope with problems resulting from the prolonged residence of refugees in a camp environment, greater emphasis had to be placed on counselling, mental and physical health programmes, language and vocational training and small-scale self-reliance projects. In certain places where refugees were formerly permitted to find employment, more restrictive policies have been introduced and UNHCR has consequently had to increase its level of funding for care and maintenance.

146. In Thailand, following the Royal Thai Government's decision to consolidate refugee camps, their number was reduced from 13 to 6 during the course of 1982.

147. In the People's Republic of China, an estimated 72,900 refugees in need of assistance benefited from a programme for the settlement of Indo-Chinese refugees on State farms during 1982. Assistance geared towards the promotion of integration has benefited some 14,000 Kampuchean refugees in the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and another 3,500 in the Lao People's Democratic Republic.

148. The programmes for refugees in Sabah, east Malaysia, benefited some 2,500 most needy refugees out of a total population estimated at up to 90,000. Assistance was provided in the form of modest housing, primary school expansion and counselling with a view to promoting their social integration and access to employment.

149. Individual refugees in several countries received subsistence allowances, medical care, counselling or education assistance. This was particularly the case in India, but also for a growing number of Iranians seeking asylum in various countries of the region.

F. Regional developments in the Middle East and South West Asia

150. While UNHCR's largest single programme in the region continued to be that for refugees in Pakistan, where the authorities have registered 2.9 million refugees, developments in Lebanon during 1982 and their repercussions in neighbouring countries necessitated an emergency response from the Office. UNHCR also continued to act as Co-ordinator of the United Nations Humanitarian Assistance Programme providing comprehensive assistance to displaced persons in Cyprus. Total obligations in the region amounted to $108,135,800, of which some $72 million were funded from General Programmes and $36 million from Special Programmes. Almost $94 million of that total had to be obligated for programmes in Pakistan. Details of expenditures by country and area are given in tables 1 and 2 of annex II below.

151. During 1982, the Assistance programme for 2.2 million refugees in Pakistan continued along similar lines as in previous years. The main emphasis of the programme in Pakistan was on care and maintenance, as exemplified by the provision of shelter material, water and health care. Considerable improvements were recorded in education. Attendance figures indicate a strongly increased willingness amongst the refugee families to enrol their children in formal education courses. The enrolment figures now compare favourably to those of the local population in rural Pakistan.

152. A notable development during 1982 was the gradual stabilization of the refugee population in Pakistan. The number of refugees did not increase as dramatically as in previous years, and the majority of the refugee villages took on a more settled look, as reflected by a definite shift away from tents to more durable mud-houses constructed by the refugees themselves.

153. With the aim of increasing employment opportunities for refugees in Pakistan, a UNHCR/World Bank project was planned to repair damage caused by refugees and their livestock to forest areas and to improve irrigation systems and roads. The project also aims at providing employment opportunities for the refugees. With the similar intent of increasing employment, UNHCR requested ILO during the latter part of 1982 to look into the possibility of projects to promote skill-training amongst the refugees as well as generate income. Some of the projects recommended by ILO were incorporated in the 1983 UNHCR programme.

154. The Government of Pakistan has decided that part of the refugee population currently in North-west Frontier Province will have to be relocated in the Punjab. A site was selected on the right bank of the Indus River in Mianwali District. The move to the new site began on 15 December 1982. The target for the site in the Punjab was originally fixed at 40,000, but government authorities wish to increase this number and intend to select other sites during the course of 1983.

155. Following the June 1982 events in Lebanon, the emphasis of the UNHCR assistance programme in the Middle East was shifted to emergency assistance. This assistance concerned mainly internally displaced persons in Lebanon and over 20,000 others who left Lebanon to find temporary asylum in the Syrian Arab Republic. UNHCR emergency assistance in Lebanon first consisted mainly in the provision of relief goods such as medicines and blankets. At a later stage, UNHCR directed its assistance towards the rehabilitation of social and medical institutions - schools, orphanages, old-age homes and hospitals - for vulnerable groups, as well as the repair of fishing boats and replacement of fishing equipment. In Syria, UNHCR provided relief assistance to persons leaving from Lebanon who included Lebanese nationals and Palestinians not registered by UNRWA.

156. Although UNHCR's resources in the Middle Last were predominantly used for victims of the events in Lebanon, the Regional Office in Beirut has been able to carry out, often under difficult circumstances, its traditional tasks for mandate refugees in the area, including the pursuit of resettlement, and the provision of education, counselling, local settlement and supplementary aid.


A. Co-operation between UNHCR, the United Nations and other members of the United Nations system

157. In accordance with the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly concerning inter-agency co-ordination, UNHCR has continued to intensify its efforts towards closer co-operation with other members of the United Nations system.

158. Its participation in the work Of the Administrative Committee on Co-ordination and related subsidiary bodies has provided UNHCR with an opportunity to raise aspects of its activities which are of common interest to other members to ACC. The Office has also actively participated in inter-agency meetings and consultations dealing with various issues such as emergencies, rural settlement and development, as well as conditions of service for United Nations staff serving away from their headquarters.

159. There has thus developed within the United Nations system a growing awareness of the complex needs of refugees and of the wide range of skills and resources required to meet those needs. Bilateral relationships between individual agencies and UNHCR have consequently grown considerably. In general, collaboration with agencies has taken the form of either direct participation within the framework of UNHCR programmes of assistance or the provision of technical advisory services and expertise by a number of United Nations agencies.

160. As in previous years, the World Food Programme has continued to meet most of the basic food needs of refugees. Between January and June 1982, WFP expended approximately 64 per cent of its total budget for emergency operations for refugees/returnees in Chad, Pakistan, Somalia, Indonesia and Central America. WFP contributions have also helped UNHCR to promote self-sufficiency among refugees within the context of local integration projects. Apart from continuing its role as food aid coordinator in Pakistan, Somalia and Thailand, where UNHCR is engaged in major care and maintenance operations, WFP has provided logistical support for certain UNHCR programmes in Zaire.

161. In fields related to health, education and community development, UNICEF has provided assistance to various refugee programmes in African countries such as Angola, the United Republic of Cameroon, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Swaziland and Uganda. In Pakistan, Djibouti and Somalia, UNICEF has collaborated with UNHCR in the implementation of projects for the supply of drinking water to refugees. UNHCR has also co-operated with UNICEF in Lebanon to provided emergency relief assistance following the June 1982 events in that country.

162. The United Nations Development Programme continues to provide regular support to UNHCR, notably in those countries where UNHCR is not represented. Both UNDP and UNHCR are currently studying means of facilitating and further improving their co-operation. A meeting between representatives of both agencies held in June 1982 resulted in firm conclusions regarding the basis on which co-operation could be strengthened in situations calling for longer-term assistance to refugees in the context of development activities in the country of asylum. Regular visits of UNDP representatives to UNHCR headquarters have allowed for a better understanding and co-ordination of issues of mutual concern. Under the United Nations Volunteer programme, some volunteers have been assigned to Indo-Chinese refugee programmes in Hong Kong, Malaysia', the Philippines and Thailand. Volunteers are regularly assigned to the Somalia programme, and UNHCR offices in Djibouti and Kenya also benefited from the services of volunteers. UNHCR participated in the symposium on volunteer service held in Yemen in March 1982. At the time of reporting, a total of 36 volunteers were working in eight different countries in programmes financed by UNHCR, and 18 others were being recruited.

163. Close contacts have been maintained with the Office of the United Nations Disaster Relief Co-ordinator, in order to ensure inter alia, a complementarity of efforts. Together with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, UNHCR and UNDRO are collaborating in a project to produce model rules for disaster relief. The UNDRO and UNHCR programmes in Chad were closely coordinated and information was also exchanged on a number of other programmes.

164. Co-operation with ILO has increased and is centred around the establishment of vocational training and income-generating activities in refugee settlements. UNHCR and ILO are also engaged in project activities related to the establishment of post-primary technical centres, the development of small enterprises, and the utilization of solar energy in refugee camps. Studies to promote income-generating activities for refugees in eastern Sudan are being made as a follow-up to a joint UNHCR/ILO mission. The project, financed principally by UNHCR, has also benefited from a contribution from ILO. Together with WHO and UNHCR, ILO also participated in an inter-agency mission to Burundi to evaluate the most urgent needs of certain refugee settlements. Possibilities of greater collaboration are being explored in relation to other countries such as Pakistan and various Latin American States. Co-operation between ILO and UNHCR has now reached a point where both organizations believe that it is necessary to formulate joint instructions for their respective staff members.

165. While the World Health Organization continues to provide medical supplies for refugee populations, there is continuing exchange of information and sharing of responsibilities, between UNHCR and WHO, with regard to the health needs of refugees, notably during emergency relief operations. Both organizations have collaborated not only in the establishment of a WHO/UNHCR list of essential drugs for refugees but also in the preparation of a manual of the health needs of refugees. WHO has also made available the services of senior health coordinators who currently serve with UNHCR in Somalia, Thailand and Pakistan. The co-operation of WHO was particularly valuable in the preparation of the UNHCR Handbook for Emergencies.

166. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has provided experts for UNHCR programmes in the Sudan and contributed substantively to a workshop, held in Somalia, on income-generating activities for refugees. The expert services provided by FAO contributed to the commencement of a current programme aimed at creating appropriate infrastructure to support a pastoralist group and their cattle in Nasho, Rwanda. The United Nations Environment Programme took part in a mission to Somalia which focused on improving the environment of refugee settlements. The International Civil Aviation Organization provided the services of an expert to advise on the continued operation by UNHCR of a small aircraft in Somalia.

167. Apart from the provision of consultancy services on an annual basis, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has also made available to UNHCR the services of its associate experts. These experts now serve in Dakar, Nairobi and at headquarters. In addition, UNESCO has continued to provide educational material for refugee holding centres in Thailand.

168. The United Nations Centre for human Settlements and UNHCR have established a framework for co-operation in the area of refugee settlements and joint missions have been fielded to Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia, the Sudan and Uganda. UNCHS will shortly be providing UNHCR with the services of a physical planner and a construction engineer.

169. The United Nations Research Institute for Social Development has presented to its Board a proposal for research into the social processes of integration of refugees. Some studies concerning African refugees have already been prepared, one of them on Somalia. A similar study on Pakistan is under consideration. The United Nations Educational and Training Programme for Southern Africa and the United Nations Trust Fund for South Africa have continued to offer scholarships and other forms of assistance to refugees from southern Africa.

B. Relations with other intergovernmental organizations

170. During the period under review, UNHCR's close co-operation with OAU was maintained and strengthened. OAU participated as an Observer at the thirty-third session of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme in October 1982. UNHCR, for its part, participated in the meeting of non-governmental organizations and OAU which was held in Arusha from 21-26 March 1983, and also co-operated in the preparations for that meeting. UNHCR has furthermore continued to put into effect the recommendations of the Conference on the Situation of Refugees in Africa, held at Arusha in May 1979, for which OAU and UNHCR are jointly responsible.

171. The office continues to co-operate with the Intergovernmental Committee for Migration (ICM) in all regions, particularly in the field of transportation of refugees accepted for resettlement in third countries. A joint project designed to promote dissemination of information and materials on refugee resettlement and integration is being implemented together with ICM and the Geneva-based International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA).

172. In the context of development of UNHCR's co-operation with the Organization of American States, a joint OAS/UNHCR research project was launched in 1982 for the study of legal problems related to the presence of refugees and "asilados" in the Member States. The Director of International Protection participated at the 9th International Law Course held in Rio de Janeiro in August, which was sponsored by the Interamerican Juridical Committee. UNHCR was also present at the General Assembly of OAS in Washington in November 1982. Regular contacts with OAS headquarters are maintained by the UNHCR Office in Washington.

173. Relations with the Arab League and with the Organization of the Islamic Conference have been intensified during the period under review. A permanent contact is maintained with these two organizations and regular exchanges of view have taken place on ways of further developing existing co-operation for the benefit of refugees.

Co-operation with European institutions

174. The United Nations Centre for human Settlements has continued to maintain close contacts with the European Community and the Council of Europe. The European Community has again contributed considerably to UNHCR's assistance programmes by providing some $59 million in cash and kind in 1982. Approximately $40 million were contributed in cash and some $19 million in kind. Humanitarian resolutions and fact-finding missions adopted by the European Parliament have enhanced the overall awareness of refugee needs, both on the Community level and in the individual member countries. In the context of the European political co-operation, the member countries have given diplomatic support in some areas of UNHCR's concern.

175. It is also noteworthy that the Resettlement Fund of the Council of Europe has decided to support a project for a refugee transit centre in Portugal.

C. Co-operation with liberation movements

176. As in previous years, UNHCR has continued to maintain close working relationships with the liberation movements recognized by both OAU and the United Nations. This co-operation has been in accordance with the relevant resolutions on liberation movements adopted by the General Assembly; they have regularly participated as observers in the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme.

D. Relations between UNHCR and non-governmental organizations

177. Some 250 non-governmental organizations have continued to provide support to UNHCR's activities for the benefit of refugees. Many of these organizations act as UNHCR's implementating agents in the field where they work directly with the refugees and provide specialized personnel for UNHCR projects. In the donor countries, non-governmental organizations help to sensitize the public to refugee issues and play an important advocacy role with Governments.

178. The Office has maintained close contact with the International Red Cross, i.e., the International Committee of the Red Cross, the League of Red Cross Societies, and the National Red Cross Societies. The League acts as the operational partner of UNHCR in certain major operations, notably in the Programme of Assistance to Returnees in Ethiopia. UNHCR participates in the monthly meetings on disasters and emergencies, hosted by the League, which bring together the major non-governmental organizations and United Nations agencies involved in relief assistance.

179. A number of umbrella organizations have continued to co-operate closely with UNHCR. These organizations include the All Africa Conference of Churches, the American Council of Voluntary Agencies for Foreign Service, Australians Care for Refugees, the British Refugee Council, Caritas Internationalis, the Committee for Co-ordination of Services to Displaced Persons in Thailand, the Danish Refugee Council, the Finnish Refugee Council, the Middle East Council of Churches, the Norwegian Refugee Council, the Standing Conference of Canadian Organizations Concerned for Refugees, the World Alliance of Young Men's Christian Associations, the World Alliance of Young Women's Christian Associations and the World Council of Churches. UNHCR maintains particularly close contact with the International Council of Voluntary Agencies in Geneva) more than halt of ICVA's 66 members are involved in refugee work.

180. In co-operation with the non-governmental organizations concerned, UNHCR has been implementing the recommendations of the UNHCR/NGO Consultation, held in May 1981 at Geneva. Follow up included, inter alia, UNHCR/NGO meetings on specific refugee issues, the expansion of counselling services, counsellor training workshops in the field and consultations on international protection.

181. The Office participated in the OAU/NGO Conference held at Arusha in March 1983, and will be involved in the implementation of recommendations of the Conference. Within the context, particular emphasis will be given to collaboration with local non-governmental organizations in Africa.

182. Certain non-governmental organizations are particularly well equipped to provide social services to refugees with whom they have direct and regular contact. UNHCR now has over 400 social workers in the field, many of whom are recruited locally through the non-governmental organizations. Within the social services, special attention is being given to the needs of vulnerable groups such as the elderly, the handicapped, women and children. In response to the United Nations Decade for Women, UNHCR and its non-governmental organization partners are making a special effort to provide refugee women with training in nutrition, hygiene, and income-generating skills. Other non-governmental organizations are funding counselling services for women who are victims of violence. Numerous non-governmental organizations have provided refugees with educational assistance in the form of scholarships) some of these scholarship programmes are financed by UNHCR and administered by non-governmental organizations. UNHCR has participated in the meetings of the Standing Committee on Scholarships for African Refugees which was formed by ICVA in 1982.

183. Many of UNHCR's non-governmental partners are active in various stages of the resettlement process. one of the major non-governmental organization resettlement activities is to obtain sponsorships for refugees. In the country of first asylum they provide the refugees with intensive language training and cultural orientation courses, while in the country of resettlement they assist refugees in finding educational facilities, housing and employment. At a time of increasingly restrictive resettlement quotas, many non-governmental organizations have made a significant effort to defend the need for continuing resettlement possibilities for specific groups of refugees.

184. Through co-operation in the field of public information, UNHCR and non-governmental organizations can create public awareness of refugee issues and needs. UNHCR maintains a continuous information flow to all of its non-governmental organization partners and invites non-governmental organizations to contribute to the "NGO Forum" in its monthly publication, Refugees. A number of film and television co-productions have been undertaken by UNHCR and non-governmental organizations in various countries. In 1982, some 70 non-governmental organizations contributed $US 9.6 million in cash and kind to UNHCR. UNHCR received substantial support for non-governmental organizations such as Stichting Vluchteling, Das Diakonisches Werk/Brot für die Welt, Lutheran World Relief, AUSTCARE and the Nordic Refugee Councils. In addition to their direct financial input to UNHCR programmes, non-governmental organizations make a substantial contribution to refugee assistance through their own programmes. This direct involvement of non-governmental organizations on behalf of refugees is a valuable supplement to UNHCR assistance.

E. United Nations Decade for Women

185. Pursuant to General Assembly resolution 35/135 of 11 December 1980 on refugee and displaced women, the High Commissioner designated a focal point for matters relating to refugee and displaced women. As reported last year, measures were taken to ensure adequate protection of refugee women, involve them in administration and operation of camps and increase their participation in skills training and income-earning activities.

186. A consultant was engaged to develop guidelines for the development of programmes. On behalf of UNHCR, ILO has also conducted feasibility studies in Pakistan and Sudan on income-generating activities for women, among others. Counselling and health services to victims of rape and physical violence were continued in Malaysia and Thailand as were also the social and psychological services for refugee women and children victims of torture in Venezuela.

187. In preparation for participation in the World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of the United Nations Decade for Women in 1985, an inter-sectional Co-ordinating Committee has been set up at Headquarters charged with responsibility to review the situation of refugee and displaced women and UNHCR assistance programmes benefiting them, in order to develop a comprehensive programme to meet their special needs.

F. United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons

188. The activities initiated by UNHCR in the context of the International Year of Disabled Persons, 1981, were continued and consolidated within the context of UNHCR participation in the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons. A focal point established in UNHCR headquarters is responsible for initiating surveys in certain countries for identification and assessment of the needs of disabled refugees. Based on the findings, projects are being prepared for implementation during 1983. In addition to the two global projects administered from headquarters, one under the General Programme and the other under the Trust Fund for Handicapped Refugees established with Nobel Peace Prize money, several projects were established at country levels to assist specific groups of refugees. Guidelines on assistance to disabled refugees have been prepared and circulated to the field. UNHCR has participated in the WHO consultation on community-based rehabilitation and has agreed to be a co-publisher of the WHO Manual: "Training the Disabled in the Community". This aspect of assisting disabled refugees has also been emphasized in the forthcoming UNHCR handbook on Social Services to Refugees.

189. Efforts were intensified towards resettlement of handicapped refugees, especially of those suffering from severe problems and with no possibility of receiving treatment and attaining self-sufficiency in their countries of asylum. The response received from several resettlement countries has been encouraging. Some countries have also accepted, over and above their normal quota, a number of handicapped cases who were in need of urgent medical intervention in order to save their lives. Articles were also published in the UNHCR tabloid on the conditions of and assistance to disabled refugees.

G. World Assembly on Aging

190. The Office took an active part both in the preparations and in the World Assembly on Aging itself, in July-August 1982. A background paper entitled "The Older Refugees" was made available to delegates at the Assembly. UNHCR was represented by a two-member delegation headed by the Director of assistance who also addressed the Assembly on the situation of elderly refugees and on UNHCR's programmes of assistance for them.

191. A workshop on elderly refugees was organized in Cairo in November 1982. It reviewed the situation of elderly refugees and made recommendations for further improving their conditions. UNHCR made a contribution towards the establishment of a home for aged and disabled persons in Yugoslavia which was opened in December 1982. A review was made of the situation of elderly refugees in Latin America and steps were taken to ensure adequate service and assistance to this vulnerable group of refugees, many of whom have been in their respective countries of asylum for many years but have been unable to obtain naturalization and are now without pension or retirement benefits. Several articles depicting the situation of elderly refugees were published in the UNHCR tabloid.

H. Nansen Medal Award

192. The Nansen Medal for 1982 was awarded to Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Sonja of Norway, in recognition of her dedication to the cause of the uprooted and of the impressive results she has achieved in promoting the work of international assistance to refugees. The Award Committee also wished to honour the Norwegian people and Government for their generous humanitarian aid to refugees. H. R. H. Crown Princess Sonja decided that the $50,000 Nansen Prize attached to the award should be used for the construction of schools for refugees at the Katumba settlement in the United Republic of Tanzania.


193. In 1982, UNHCR voluntary funds expenditures were reduced for the second consecutive year. Expenditures amounted to $407 million as compared to $474.2 million in 1981. For General Programmes $319 million were required and $88 Million under major Special Programmes and Other Trust Funds. The international community responded generously and following an additional General Programmes Appeal in mid-year, the 1982 programmes were fully financed. A total of 84 Governments provided contributions, while non-governmental organizations assisted through contributions in cash and in kind valued at $9.6 million. Intergovernmental organizations provided contributions in cash and in kind amounting to $59.5 million.

194. Urgent needs which arose in the course of the year obliged the High Commissioner to issue special appeals for additional funds. It should be noted that these were fewer in number than in previous years and that the total volume of additional funds requested was considerably reduced. The establishment of a programme for assistance to returnees to Ethiopia required a special appeal in April, and later in the year it became necessary to reiterate the need for additional funding for the Programme of Orderly Departures from Viet Nam. Towards the end of the year, a new refugee situation developed in Rwanda and the international community responded generously to the special appeal issued.

195. During 1982, the Executive Committee members and interested donors were regularly informed of the funding requirements and financial situation of the Office through the issuance of periodic information letters by the Director of External Affairs. Reports on major UNHCR programmes (e.g. in Pakistan, Sudan and Somalia) were also issued to keep donors up-to-date on the progress of assistance activities and related expenditures.

196. At its thirty-third session, the Executive Committee approved a target of $371,256,500 for General Programmes in 1983. Together with requirements under currently identified Special Programmes (notably for returnees to Ethiopia and to Kampuchea, the Refugee Education Account and the Orderly Departures Programme), this target figure implies, according to present estimates, that total voluntary contribution requirements in 1983 should be in the region of $400 million. Total contributions in 1983 for both General and Special Programmes as of 31 March 1983 amounted to $130.2 million.

197. Table 3 of annex II to this report shows contributions to UNHCR General and Special Programmes for the years 1982 and 1983 which were paid or pledged as of 31 March 1983.

198. The High Commissioner is aware of the considerable demands for financial resources that he is obliged to request from the international community and of the budgetary problems faced by donors. The response to identified refugee needs has been both prompt and generous. The High Commissioner depends on donors to maintain such understanding and generosity so that refugees may be assisted effectively and in the scope approved by the Executive Committee.


199. Throughout 1982, the Public Information Section continued its efforts to promote greater public awareness of the problems of refugees through the production and distribution of information materials and through direct co-operation with information sources and outlets. In preparation for the second International Conference on Assistance to Refugees in Africa, UNHCR has planned a multi-faceted information project. This will include publications, radio, filming, co-productions with TV channels, photographic material and posters, as well as media itinerant seminars.

200. The tabloid-style newspaper Refugees is published each month in English and French. In September 1982, a quarterly supplement, the 48-page Refugees magazine was introduced. other publications included refugee situation sheets, press releases, a public information catalogue, a world refugee map and calendar.

201. The monthly Refugees continued to provide up-to-date information on a vast spectrum of refugee situations and refugee issues around the world. Refugees magazine has focused each issue on a particular region: Central America, Pakistan and South-East Asia, respectively, in its first three issues. The situation sheets give specific information in outline form on the refugee situation in a given country or region and are regularly updated. Press releases are issued as warranted by events.

202. The photo-library distributed some 60,000 photographs (black and white and slides) to media, schools and non-governmental organizations. Requests for photographs have constantly increased over the year. In addition to servicing external demand, the photo-library provides support for all the Section's publications and arranges exhibitions.

203. The film department completed and distributed three documentary films on refugees which have reached a wide audience: Sanctuary: an African Epic, Nueva Esperanza, and Rwanda Influx. UNHCR has also intensified its co-productions with main television companies who produced several films on various refugee situations around the world. The UNHCR co-production agreements, which contain provisions that films must be shown at prime time and the footage given to UNHCR for non-commercial use, proved useful. UNHCR also approached some major film distribution agencies, in order to enlarge its audience. A 52-minute film dealing with refugees in a changing international environment is under preparation and will be ready by October 1983. Some television companies have already expressed their interest in this subject.

204. The office has produced and distributed a considerable number of radio programmes either directly to radio stations around the world or via regional disseminators such as the United Nations Radio Transcription Services. These methods, together with direct contact with radio stations in Europe and North America and their accredited correspondents in Geneva, provided ongoing coverage.

205. Public information materials in the form of films, photos, posters, printed material, calendars and education kits were provided to voluntary agencies to support their fund-raising projects and information campaigns.

206. In order to assist the world media to develop and sustain an interest in refugee problems, the Section had regular contacts with the press, radio and television, while Public Information officers maintained a network of contacts with the world media, responded to numerous inquiries and gave interviews to interested journalists. UNHCR representatives and Public Information officers in the field continued to keep the press in their respective countries informed, and requests from journalists and television crews for UNHCR assistance in reporting on various situations around the world continue to increase. Four itinerant seminars were held in Central America, the Horn of Africa and Sudan, Pakistan and South-East Asia.

207. The year saw continued co-operation with the Department of Public Information of the United Nations Secretariat, both in Geneva, New York and the field, and with other United Nations information sections represented in the Joint United Nations Information Committee.

(Note: Financial and statistical data tables not included in this online version. See your nearest UN Depository Library.)

1 See Official Records of the General Assembly, Thirty-sixth Session, Supplement No.12A (A/36/12/Add.1), para. 57 (2) II.

2 Adopted by the General Assembly on 14 December 1950 as the annex to resolution 428 (v).

3 United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 189, No. 2545, p. 137.

4 Ibid., vol. 606, No. 8791, p. 267.

5 Official Records of the General Assembly, Thirty-seventh Session, Supplement No. 12A (A/37/12/Add.1), para. 70 (4) (e).

6 Ibid., para. 70 (4) (d).

7 It should be noted that the definition of persons within the second category corresponds almost word for word to the wider definition of the term "refugee" in art. I, para. 2, of the OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa.

8 Official Records of the General Assembly, Thirty-fourth Session, Supplement No. 12A (A/34/12/Add.1(, para. 72 (2) (h) (ii), (iii) and (iv.).

9 Ibid., Thirty-seventh Session, Supplement NO. 12A (A/37/12/Add.1), para. 70 (3) (d).

10 Ibid., Supplement No. 12 (A/37/12), para. 28.

11 Ibid., Thirty-fifth Session, Supplement No. 12A (A/35/12 /Add.1), para. 48 (3) (a)-(j).