UNHCR Position on Some Decisions taken on 1 June 1993 by the EC Ministers Responsible for Immigration
1. UNHCR fully shares the concerns of the Ministers while expressing their abhorrence at the attacks on immigrants and applicants for asylum, which have taken place in several Member States and is ready to cooperate with States in enhancing acceptance of refugees, asylum-seekers and immigrants through public information activities.
2. UNHCR welcomes the adoption by the Ministers, further to their Conclusion of December 1992, of a new resolution on the standards of treatment of refugees from the former Yugoslavia in need of protection. The basis for this policy has been led at the International Conference in Geneva on 29 July 1992 to render protection and assistance to the extent possible in the region, while at the same time, allowing admission to safety of specifically vulnerable groups and spontaneously arriving persons in need.
3. It is encouraging that"...the EC Member States will, in this regard, be motivated by the tradition of respect for the rights of the individual on which the European Community is built...".
4. The resolution explicitly refers both to "...persons whose admission has been organized directly by the Member States and of those who make their own way to national territory...". UNHCR urges Governments to take full account of and overcome the increasing difficulties for the latter to effectively get admission to safety.
5. The resolution recognizes the necessity of family reunion. Given the protracted period of stay, family reunion is another token of humanitarian policy towards those who benefit of temporary protection, and UNHCR appeals to Governments to apply this principle generously.
6. UNHCR has also taken note of the general resolution adopted on family reunion and in particular of the intention of the EC Member States to study family reunion of persons recognized as refugees at a later stage, since this resolution does not relate to this category of persons for whom some States have a more favourable policy.
7. UNHCR assumes that the EC Member States, as they agreed in December 1992, will ensure that their policies and practice with regard to expulsion are fully consistent with their obligations under the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol. It is in particular noted, that the adopted recommendation when referring to expulsion of persons who are "found to have failed definitively in an application for asylum and to have no other claim to remain", explicitly recognizes the possibility of allowing them to remain in case of "compelling reasons, normally of a humanitarian nature".
8. UNHCR will closely monitor how the measures agreed upon by the EC Member States will be implemented.
9. UNHCR welcomes the decision of the Ministers to engage in exchanging public domain information between CIREA and the Centre for Documentation on Refugees of UNHCR.