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Ad Hoc Committee on Refugees and Stateless Persons, Second Report of the Drafting Committee on Articles of the Draft Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (E/AC.32/L.40 and E/1703/Add.7)

Ad Hoc Committee on Refugees and Stateless Persons, Second Report of the Drafting Committee on Articles of the Draft Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (E/AC.32/L.40 and E/1703/Add.7)

22 August 1950

Article 19 Labour legislation and social security

1. The Contracting States shall accord to refugees lawfully in their territory the same treatment as is accorded to nationals in respect of the following matters:

(a) In so far as such matters are governed by laws or regulations or are subject to the control of administrative authorities; remuneration, hours of work, minimum age for employment, apprenticeship and training, women's work and the work of young persons and the enjoyment of the benefits of collective bargaining;

(b) Social security (legal provisions in respect of employment injury, maternity, sickness, disability, old age, death, unemployment, family responsibilities and any other contingency, which, according to national laws or regulations, is covered by social security scheme), subject to the following limitations:

(i) There may be appropriate arrangements for the maintenance of acquired rights and rights in course of acquisition;

(ii) National laws or regulations of the country of residence may prescribe special arrangements concerning benefits or portions of benefits which are payable wholly out of public funds, and concerning allowances paid to persons who do not fulfil the contribution conditions prescribed for the award of a normal pension.

2. The right to compensation for the death of a refugee resulting from employment injury or from occupational disease shall not be affected by the fact that the residence of such beneficiary is outside the territory of the Contracting State.

3. Contracting States whose nationals enjoy the benefits of agreements for the maintenance of acquired rights and rights in the process of acquisition in regard to social security, shall extend the benefits of such agreements to refugees subject only to the conditions which apply to national.

4. Contracting States will giver sympathetic consideration to extending to individual refugees so far as possible the benefits of similar agreements which may have been concluded by such Contracting States with the country of the individual's nationality or former nationality.

Article 20 Administrative assistance

1. The Contracting States in whose territory the exercise of a right by aliens would normally require the assistance of the authorities of his country of nationality shall arrange that such assistance be afforded to refugees by an authority or authorities, national or international.

2. The authority or authorities mentioned in paragraph 1 shall deliver or cause to be delivered to refugees such documents or certifications as would normally be delivered to other aliens by their national authorities.

3. Documents or certifications so delivered shall stand in the stead of and be accorded the same validity as would be accorded to similar instruments delivered to aliens by their national authorities.

4. Subject to such exceptional treatment as may be granted to indigent refugees, fees may be charged for the services mentioned herein, but such fees shall be moderate and commensurate with those charged to nationals for similar services.

5. The provisions of this article shall be without prejudice to articles 22 and 23.

Article 21 Freedom of movement

The Contracting States shall accord to refugees lawfully in their territory the right to choose their place of residence and to travel freely within their territory, subject to any regulations applicable to aliens generally in the same circumstances.

Article 22 Identity papers

The Contracting States shall issue identity papers to any refugee in their territory who does not possess a valid travel document issued pursuant to article 23.

Article 23 Travel documents

1. The Contracting States shall issue, on request, to a refugee lawfully resident in their territory, a travel document for the purpose of travel outside their territory; and the provisions of the Schedule to this Convention shall apply with respect to such document. The Contracting States may issue such a travel document to a refugee not lawfully resident in their territory.

2. Travel documents issued to refugees under previous international agreements by parties thereto shall be recognized and treated by the Contracting States in the same way as if they had been issued pursuant to this article.

Article 24 Fiscal charges

1. The Contracting States shall not impose upon refugees in their territory duties, charges or taxes, of any description whatsoever, other or higher than those which are or may be levied on their nationals in similar situations.

2. Nothing in the above paragraph shall prevent the application to refugees of the laws and regulations concerning charges in respect of the issue to aliens of administrative documents including identity papers.

3. The Contracting States reserve the right to impose upon refugees a special duty, of a moderate amount, payable either on identity cards, or residence permits or on travel documents. Revenue accruing from this duty shall be wholly applied to charities for the relief of refugees.

Article 29 Naturalization

The Contracting States shall as far as possible facilitate the assimilation and naturalization of refugees. They shall in particular make every effort to expedite naturalization proceedings and to reduce as far as possible the charges and costs of such proceedings.

Additional article

Nothing in this Convention shall be deemed to impair any rights and benefits granted by a Contracting State to refugees prior to or apart from this Convention.

SCHEDULE (see article 23)

Paragraph 1(3)1

1. The travel document referred to in article 23 of this Convention shall be similar to the specimen annexed hereto.

2. The document shall be made out in at least two languages - one of which shall be English or French, and the national language or languages of the authority which issues it.

Paragraph 2 (4)

Subject to the regulations obtaining in the country of issue, children may be included in the document of an adult refugee.

Paragraph 3 (5)

Without prejudice to the provisions of Article 24, paragraph 3, of this Convention the fees charged for issue of the document shall not exceed the lowest scale of charges for national passports.

Paragraph 4 (6)

Save in special or exceptional cases, the document shall be made valid for the largest possible number of countries.

Paragraph 5 (7)

The document shall have a validity of either one or two years, at the discretion of the issuing authority.

Paragraph 6 (8)

1. The renewal or extension of the validity of the document is a matter for the authority which issued it, so long as the holder has not established lawful residence in another territory and resides lawfully in the territory of the said authority. The issue of a new document is, under the same conditions, a matter for the authority which issued the former document.

2. Diplomatic or consular authorities, specially authorized for the purpose, shall be empowered to extend, for a period not exceeding six months, the validity of travel documents issued by their Governments.

3. Renewal or extension of the validity of a travel document or the issue of a new document should not be refused unless the Contracting State which issued the original document is reasonably satisfied that the holder has acquired a new lawful residence.

Paragraph 7 (9)

The Contracting States shall recognize the validity of the documents issued in accordance with the provisions of article 23 of this Convention.

Paragraph 8 (10)

The competent authorities of the country to which the refugee desires to proceed shall, if they are prepared to admit him and if a visa is required, affix a visa on the document of which he is the holder.

Paragraph 9 (11)

The Contracting States undertake to issue transit visas to refugees who have obtained visas for a territory of final destination.

Paragraph 10 (12)

The fees for the issue of exit, entry or transit visas shall not exceed the lowest scale of charges for visas on foreign passports.

Paragraph 11 (13)

When a refugee has lawfully taken up residence in the territory of another Contracting State, the power to issue a new document will be in the competent authority of that territory, to which the refugee shall be entitled to apply.

Paragraph 12 (14)

The authority issuing a new document shall withdraw the old document.

Paragraph 13 (15)

1. The document shall entitle the holder to leave the country where it has been issued and, during the period of validity of the document, to return thereto without a visa from the authorities of that country, subject to those laws and regulations which apply to the bearers of duly visaed passports. Where a visa is required of a returning national a visa may be required of a returning refugee but shall be issued to him on request and without delay.

2. The Contracting States reserve the right, in exceptional cases, or in cases where the refugee's stay is authorized for a specific period, when issuing the document, to limit the period during which the refugee may return to a period of not less than three months.

Paragraph 14 (16)

Subject only to the terms of paragraph 13, the provisions of this Schedule in no way affect the laws and regulations governing the conditions of admission to, transit through, residence and establishment in, and departure from, the territories of the Contracting States.

Paragraph 15 (17)

Neither the issue of the document nor the entries made thereon determine or affect the status of the holder, particularly as regards nationality.

Paragraph 16 (18)

The issue of the document does not in any way entitle the holder to the protection of the diplomatic or consular authorities of the country of issue, and does not confer on these authorities a right of protection.

1 The numbers in brackets refer to the articles of the London Agreement of 15 October 1946, set out on page 154 of document E/1112, which correspond in substance.