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Conclusion on International Protection

Executive Committee Meetings

Conclusion on International Protection
No. 90 (LII) - 2001

5 October 2001
Executive Commitee 52nd session. Contained in United Nations General Assembly document A/AC.96/959 and document no. 12A (A/56/12/Add.1)

The Executive Committee,


(a) Notes that the year 2001 marks the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, which together with its 1967 Protocol, has continuously served as the cornerstone of the international refugee protection regime;

(b) Notes with satisfaction that one hundred and forty-one States are now party to one instrument or both, encourages States and UNHCR to strengthen their efforts to promote broader accession to these instruments and stresses the importance of their full application by States parties, consistent with their commitments and obligations;

(c) Re-emphasizes that the protection of refugees is primarily the responsibility of States, whose full and effective cooperation, action and political resolve are required to enable the Office of the High Commissioner to fulfil its mandated functions, inter alia, to promote and facilitate the admission, reception and humane treatment of refugees and to ensure protection-oriented solutions, in accordance with international law and international standards;

(d) Recognizes that some countries of asylum, in particular developing countries and countries in transition which host large numbers of refugees and asylum-seekers carry a heavy burden;

(e) Recognizes the positive contributions that refugees make to host countries;

(f) Reiterates its strong commitment to international solidarity, burden-sharing and international cooperation to share responsibilities; stresses also the national and international responsibilities of countries of origin; and reaffirms UNHCR's catalytic role in assisting and supporting countries receiving refugees, particularly developing countries, and in mobilizing assistance from the international community to address the impact of large-scale refugee populations;

(g) Welcomes the initiative of UNHCR to launch the Global Consultations on International Protection which provide an important forum for open discussion on complex legal and operational protection issues;

(h) Affirms the intention to pursue, with broadly based participation, follow-up activities stemming from the Global Consultations, which would be set out in a joint Executive Committee and UNHCR Agenda for Protection and could include, as appropriate, the development of Executive Committee conclusions, the holding of further expert consultations, or other processes;

(i) S tresses the importance of according special attention to the protection needs of vulnerable refugees, including women, children and the elderly, in the application of the international refugee instruments and related protection standards;


(j) Emphasizes that the ultimate goal of international protection is to achieve a durable solution for refugees and commends States that continue to facilitate these solutions, notably voluntary repatriation and, where appropriate and feasible, local integration and resettlement, while recognizing that voluntary repatriation in conditions of safety and dignity remains the preferred solution for refugees;

(k) Commends in particular efforts made by States and by UNHCR to ensure the diverse uses of resettlement as an important tool of international protection, as a durable solution to be used strategically along with the other two durable solutions, as appropriate, as part of a comprehensive approach to enhance protection, and as an expression of international solidarity and a means of burden or responsibility sharing, particularly in countries of asylum coping with large numbers of refugees or protracted refugee situations;

(l) Acknowledges that resettlement is a process beginning with the identification and assessment of refugees requiring protection and ultimately resulting in a durable solution leading to their successful reception and integration; and in this context takes note of the principles on the development and implementation of reception and integration practices developed by the International Conference on the Reception and Integration of Resettled Refugees convened in Norrköping, Sweden, from 25 to 27 April 2001;1

(m) Encourages initiatives directed at diversifying resettlement opportunities by further increasing the number of resettlement countries, thereby sharing resettlement needs more widely, and meeting increased resettlement needs; acknowledges that capacity-building is essential to develop and sustain the necessary conditions for successful integration of resettled refugees in emerging resettlement countries, and underlines the important catalytic role which UNHCR should play in this regard; acknowledges the important role that regional arrangements have played in certain regions in supporting diversified resettlement opportunities;

(n) Recognizes the importance of further strengthening tripartite partnerships, and of strategically enhancing a consultative and collaborative approach to resettlement and notes that further efforts are needed to ensure more responsive and speedy processing, better identification of urgent needs, and coordination; and urges further UNHCR efforts to ensure the integrity of the processing of the resettlement caseload and encourages States and UNHCR to continue to pursue a strategic and systematic approach to the problem of attempted fraud or other abuse;


(o) Notes the global dimension of statelessness, welcomes UNHCR's efforts within its mandate to broaden its activities both geographically and substantively, and encourages States to cooperate with UNHCR in identifying measures to reduce statelessness and in devising appropriate solutions for stateless persons who are refugees, as well as for stateless persons who are not;

(p) Reiterates its call for States to consider accession to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness and encourages UNHCR to continue to promote further accessions to and full implementation of both instruments by the States concerned;

(q) Encourages UNHCR to continue to make available its technical and advisory services to avoid and reduce cases of statelessness and, in this regard, to strengthen partnerships with regional and other international organizations working in this area;

(r) Takes note with particular concern that problems of statelessness can impact disproportionately on women and children, due to the particular operation of nationality and birth registration laws; underlines the importance, notably for women, of identity documentation and proper registration of births and marriages; and calls upon States to adopt all necessary measures in this regard;

(s) Strongly condemning the trafficking of persons, especially women and children, which represents a grave violation of their human rights; expressing concern that many victims of trafficking are rendered effectively stateless due to an inability to establish their identity and nationality status; calls upon States to cooperate in the establishment of identity and nationality status of victims of trafficking so as to facilitate appropriate resolutions of their situations, respecting the internationally recognized human rights of the victims.

1 See EC/51/SC/INF.4., Annex