Addendum to the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations General Assembly Official Records: Fourteenth Session
Addendum to the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Supplement No.11A (A/4104/Rev.1/Add.1)
REPORT ON THE SECOND SESSION OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER'S PROGRAMME*
(Geneva, 6-9 October 1959)
Section I. Introduction
OPENING OF THE SESSION
1. The Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme held its second session from 6 to 9 October 1959 at the Palais des Nations, Geneva. All Governments members of the Executive Committee were represented as follows:
|United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
|Germany (Federal Republic of)
2. The Chairman welcomed the members of the Committee. In accordance with rule 10 of the rules of procedure, under which officers of the committee are procedure, under which officers of the Committee are elected to serve for all sessions held during the same year, Mr. M. Wershof (Canada) and Mr. A. Berio (Italy) continued in office as Chairman and Vice-Chairman. The Rapporteur for the 1959 sessions, Mr. H. Scheltema (Netherlands), was unable to attend and the Committee unanimously elected Miss A. F. W. Lunsingh Meijer (Netherlands) as Rapporteur for the second session.
3. The Governments of Bulgaria and of the United Arab Republic were represented by observers, as was the Sovereign Order to Malta.
4. The International Labour Organisation, the Council of Europe, the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration and the League of Arab States were also represented by observers.
ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA (Item 1 of the provisional agenda)
5. The Committee adopted the following agenda:
(1) Adoption of agenda (A/AC.96/34/Rev.2)
(2) Election of rapporteur
(3) Progress report on the UNREF programme and on UNHCR programmes for 1959 as of 30 June 1959 (A/AC.96/35)
(4) Progress report on programme for new Hungarian refugees (A/AC.96/36)
(5) Report on the implementation of General Assembly resolution 1286 (XIII) on assistance to refugees from Algeria in Morocco and Tunisia (A/AC.96/37 and Add.1)
(6) Status of governmental and private contributions (A/AC.96/38)
(7) World Refugee Year
(8) Resettlement (A/AC.96/39)
(9) Far Eastern programme (A/AC.96/40)
(10) Programme for camp clearance and fund for special hardship cases (A/AC,96/41)
(11) Programme for non-settle refugees outside camps (A/AC.96/42 and Add.1 and A/AC.96/12/Amend.2)
(12) Programme for new refugees in Greece (A/AC.96/43)
(13) Emergency account for individual cases (A/AC.96/44)
(14) Programme for legal assistance (A/AC.96/45)
(15) Priorities within UNHCR programmes (A/AC.96/49)
(16) Financial statements of the United Nations Refugee Fund for the year 1958 and report of the Board of Auditors thereon (A/AC.96/46)
(17) Provisional financial statements - 1 January to 31 August 1959 (A/AC.96/47)
(18) Administrative expenditure for 1959 - supplementary estimates (A/AC.96/48)
STATEMENT BY THE HIGH COMMISSIONER
6. The High Commissioner, in his introductory statement (A/AC.96/50), recalled to members of the Committee that in view of the change from the previous schedule of meetings the Committee was now being asked to consider a full progress report, including cumulative results as well as results achieved during the previous nine months. In future a full report would be submitted to the spring session and a half-yearly interim report to the autumn session. The progress report now before the Committee dealt both with projects drawn up under the former UNREF programme and with the separate UNHCR programme which had been launched this year. Implementation of the latter programmes had, of course, not yet fully started. The implementation of projects in Austria, Germany and Greece had already been speeded up. The High Commissioner was pleased to inform the Committee that during his visit to these countries he had observed a were now more hopeful as they felt that something was definitely being done for them.
7. In accordance with decisions taken by the Committee at its first special session, programmes for 1960 had been planned in an amount of $6 million within the total 1960 target of $12 million. Basic needs of refugees remained the same and the 1960 programmes therefore followed to a large extent the lines of previous programmes. Some adjustments, however, had been made to take into account the problems of each specific group of refugees and the different conditions prevailing in the countries of residence. The High Commissioner emphasized the importance of the registration of individual refugees as a means of assessing their needs. Special efforts would be required in order to achieve solutions for the handicapped cases. The Austrian expert, Dr. Hans Strotzka, had been appointed as Mental Health Adviser to his Office to study solutions to the problems of the specially difficult cases.
8. Summarizing the effects of the World Refugee Year on the work of his Office, the High Commissioner informed the Committee that the Greek Parliament had approved the ratification of the 1951 Convention relating to the status of refugees. The Government of Australia had decided to waive visa fees for refugees. The Agreement relating to refugee seamen needed only two more ratification to come into force. In Austria, Germany and Italy further measures had been taken to facilitate the access of refugees to employment.
9. The impact of the World Refugee Year had been most important in the field of emigration. The Canadian Government had announced that it would accept a substantial number of tubercular refugees and pay for the cost of transportation, treatment and, where necessary, maintenance of the refugees and their families. France would admit 110 refugees from camps in Greece and 250 difficult cases mostly from among refugees of European origin in the Far East, New Zealand a further 50 handicapped refugee families from Europe and the Far East, and the United Kingdom 10 aged refugees of European origin from the Far East 50 difficult-to-settle and 150 rehabilitable refugees from Europe.
10. By 31 August 1959 special contributions on the occasion of the World Refugee Year to programmes of UNHCR totalling nearly $1 million had been made or announced by twelve Governments. This total did not include an important contribution in kind made by the Moroccan Government for assistance to refugees from Algeria: like the Government of Tunisia, it had undertaken to assume the total cost of unloading, storage and transportation of relief supplies for refugees from Algeria. A World Health Year contribution of $50,000 had also been received by his Office from the International confederation of Free Trade Unions.
11. In addition, thirty-four Governments had so far announced their participation in the joint UNHCR/UNRWA plan for the simultaneous issue of refugee stamps in April 1960.
12. Referring to the assistance to the refugees from Algeria in Morocco and Tunisia, the High Commissioner wished to thank the Moroccan and Tunisian Governments and all other Governments and non-governmental organizations, especially the League of Red Cross Societies and the Moroccan and Tunisian red Crescent Societies, which had made the continuation of the relief operation possible. It had been possible up to now to carry out the operation on a month-to-month basis only, but thanks to more Governments taking a share there had recently been an improvement in the situation.
13. Summarizing the over-all financial position of his Office, the High Commissioner informed the Committee that a total of $5 million had been promised, pledged or received during the first eight months of 1959.
14. This amount included nearly $3.8 million for the 1959 UNHCR programmes. Taking into account promises and conditional pledges of approximately $340,000, another $600,000 would be required to meet the minimum target of $4,740,000. A sum of $220,000 was still needed from government sources before the end of 1959 in order to release a conditional pledge of approximately $110,000.
STATEMENT BY THE HONORABLE ROBERT K. GRAY, SECRETARY OF THE CABINET OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
15. Upon the invitation of the Chairman, Mr. Robert K. Gray of the United States delegation addressed the Committee.
16. Mr. Gray conveyed the appreciation of the President of the United States for the work being accomplished by the Committee. The President had shown his interest in this work by giving approval to United States co-sponsorship of the Genera Assembly resolution initiating the World Refugee Year, by supporting special legislation and by issuing a personal proclamation to the American people. The United States Government felt that the concentrated efforts of Governments, organizations and the public in the world Refugee Year would have a significant impact on the tasks before the Committee. In organizing assistance to refugees it should be borne in mind that they had proved a considerable asset to the countries admitting them.
17. The United States Government hoped that the clearance of refugee camps would be substantially completed by the end of 1960. However, the completion of the camp clearance programme should not be regarded as an occasion for a reduction in the international effort on behalf of refugees. There would remain continual need for international assistance after that date.
18. Mr. Gray announced that action within the framework of the World Refugee Year was well on its way in the United States. A special World Refugee Year contribution of $4 million was being made by the United States Government in addition to the yearly total of $40 million contributed to the various refugee programmes. There would also be contributions from non-governmental sources.
19. Migrants would benefit from legislation recently for the entry into the United States of some 61,000 non-quota migrants, from 4,000 to 12,000 of whom would be relatives of persons admitted under earlier immigration legislation for refugees. He also mentioned the extension to 30 June 1961 of legal provisions whereby refugees suffering from tuberculosis could join close relatives in the United States, as well as special legislation which would allow for the admission of orphans and adopted children.
20. Mr. Gray assured the Committee that in accordance with its tradition the United States would continue to participate with other countries in the relief of those in need.
Section II. Progress report on the UNREF programme and on UNHCR programmes for 1959 as of June 1959 (Item 3 of the agenda)
21. In introducing the progress report (A/AC.96/35), the High Commissioner explained that, in order to give the Committee a complete account of progress achieved since the inception of the UNREF programme, result of off that programme and of the 1959 programmes had been consolidated into one progress report. The report showed that up to 30 June 1959 a total of over 62,000 refugees had benefited from the UNREF programme and from the 1959 programmes, nearly 33,000 of whom had been firmly settled. The number of firmly settled refugees coming from camps had risen to 61 percent of the total in the nine months ended 30 June 1959, compared with 46 per cent in the previous six months. By 30 June 1959 a total of $17,069,502 had been spent or committed by UNHCR, including $16,230,810 for projects under the UNREF programme and $838,692 for projects in the 1959 programmes. The UNHCR contribution had some $24,650,000 from within countries of residence of refugees.
22. Members of the Committee expressed their satisfaction with the progress achieved attracted supporting contributions totalling, in particular with the settlement of handicapped refugees. Certain representatives drew attention to the usefulness of counselling and registration and recommended a further expansion of these services.
23. During the detailed consideration of the report, the representative of Greece conveyed to the Committee his Government's desire to complete the clearance of camps in his country. He stressed the need for the two main permanent solutions projects in Greece to be put into effect at the earliest opportunity. He further emphasized the importance of pre-selection and requested that this question be placed on the agenda of the Committee's next session.
24. The representative of Italy pointed out that the main solution for the 7,200 refugees in all camps in his country lay in emigration. He urged resettlement countries to continue to offer solutions for these refugees, particularly for those in the handicapped categories.
25. The Committee took note with appreciation of the progress report.
Section III. Progress report on programme for new Hungarian refugees (Item 4 of the agenda)
26. In introducing the progress report on the programme for new Hungarian refugees (A/AC.96/36), the High Commissioner stated that this programme had now lost its emergency character and was in many ways similar to the regular to the regular yearly programmes being carried out by his Office. Nearly 1,000 Hungarian refugees had been firmly settled under the programme for permanent solutions in Austria, and it was expected that 2,000 more would be settled by mid-1960. The Office was at present carrying out a registration of new Hungarian refugees in Austria which would show what needs still had to be met. Since the registration would be completed before the next session of the Committee in April 1960, the High Commissioner requested the Committee to authorize him during the interim period to use the remainder of the funds received for assistance to Hungarian refugees for projects which the registration might show to be necessary.
27. The representative of Austria expressed satisfaction at the progress of the UNHCR programme for permanent solutions. There were now only three Hungarian refugee camps left in Austria, an achievement which was due to the generous opportunities of resettlement offered to these refugee camps left in Austria, an achievement which was to the generous opportunities of resettlement offered to these refugees. A further decrease of the number of Hungarian refugees would depend on the assistance given to those living outside camps and, in particular, to the handicapped cases amongst them. He hoped that their needs would be taken into account in further emigration or integration projects.
28. In this connexion the representative of Australia pointed out that applications for immigration to his country had not reached the number of opportunities offered to these refugees. A further number of Hungarian refugees, however, could be included within the 3,000 refugees whom his Government intended to admit during the present fiscal year.
29. Referring to tables 1, 2 and 3 of annex I to document A/AC.96/36 showing the movement of Hungarian refugees, the representative of the United States requested that the final tables should not only show movements from Austria and Yugoslavia to countries of resettlement, but also indicate the total number who had moved from one resettlement country to another. This he considered would facilitate the planning of the Inter-Governmental Committee for European Migration (ICEM). He also emphasized that on the occasion of the World Refugee Year funds should be made available through UNHCR or ICEM to finance the movement from one country of resettlement to another when the need arose.
30. The Executive Committee took note with appreciation of the report, and authorized the High Commissioner, during the interval before the spring 1960 session of the Committee, to use the remaining Hungarian refugee funds for projects shown to be necessary by the present registration.
Section IV. Report on the implementation of General Assembly resolution 1286 (XIII) on assistance to refugees from Algeria in Morocco and Tunisia (Item 5 of the agenda)
31. The Executive Committee considered the High Commissioner's report on the implementation of General Assembly resolution 1286 (XIII) of 5 December 1958, together with a budget for assistance to 180,000 refugees in Morocco and Tunisia during a twelve-month period, covering a basic relief programme as well as the supplementary needs of children and of expectant or nursing mothers (A/AC.96/37 and Add.1).
32. The High Commissioner announced that he had received a contribution of 125 million francs from the Government of France, together with an indication that a contribution of a similar amount could be made available at a later stage. The High Commissioner also announced a contribution in kind from Yugoslavia to the value of 50 million dinars. He recalled that the Office had begun to provide assistance to refugees in Tunisia in 1957. Since 1 February 1959 it had agreed with the league of Red Cross Societies to conduct a relief operation on an increased scale in both Morocco and Tunisia in accordance with General Assembly resolutions 1286 (XIII). Although more than 6.5 million dollars had so far been contributed from international sources for the relief operation for refugees from Algerian, only the most essential needs of the refugees could at present be met, and further contributions would be urgently required, particularly for assistance to children and pregnant or nursing mothers. A few milk and supplementary feeding centres had already been set up as pilot projects, but the necessary expenditure for the expansion of these projects could be met only if further contributions were forthcoming.
33. The High commissioner added that he had now appointed representatives in Morocco and Tunisia, who would assist in the co-ordination of activities between the authorities and the organizations concerned.
34. The representative or France stated that the position of the French Government, as defined in its statement of 10 June 1959, remained unchanged. Since that statement, no effort had been spared to find a solution that would alleviate the distress of French nationals who had withdrawn into Morocco or Tunisia. The French Government had proposed that the organization of assistance to such persons should be entrusted to an international body, to which it would undertake to supply all necessary resources. That proposal would facilitate the organization of assistance on the spot and preparations for the return to their homes of all those wishing to go back under conditions guaranteeing full impartiality. For the purposes of immediate assistance during the present transitional period, the French Government had decided to place at the disposal of the High Commissioner's Office an initial sum of 125 million francs, which would be followed by a further payment of a like amount if the problem were not solved in the near future.
35. The representative of Yugoslavia announced that his Government was making a contribution in kind amounting to 50 million dinars to the relief programme, in addition to other contributions made by welfare societies in his country. He pointed out that the majority of refugees in North Africa were women and children for whom special measures were required.
36. Mr. Schaeffer, representing the League of Red Cross Societies, gave an account of his visit to Tunisia and Morocco. The basic relief programme must be continued and in addition there was an urgent need for blankets and cloth before the approach of winter. Mr. Schaeffer expressed his organization's gratitude for the contributions made towards the relief programme and expressed the hope that further contributions would be forthcoming so that the programme could be continued.
37. The representative of Tunisia expressed his thanks to all the Governments and non-governmental organizations which were contributing to the assistance programme for refugees in North Africa. Their actual number in Tunisia was now considerably higher than in 1957 and according to a recent census it amounted to approximately 148,000. He emphasized that further contributions would be necessary in order to continue assistance to these refugees during the coming winter months, and he expressed the hope that they would be forthcoming on the occasion of the World Refugee Year.
38. From 1956 until August 1959 the Tunisian Government itself had contributed at least $1.2 million for assistance to these refugees, including $850,000 mainly for medical care and $350,000 representing the cost of unloading, transportation and storage of supplies which had been assumed by his Government.
39. The representative of the United States announced that his Government, which had already made substantial contributions through direct channels, had now pledged an amount of $150,000 for child-feeding and milk centres. An emergency consignment of 3,000 tons of surplus food, mainly wheat, had recently been despatched to Morocco.
40. The representative of Norway announced that the Norwegian Refugee Council was making a contribution of 45,000 kroner ($6,300).
41. The Committee was also informed by the representative of Italy that his Government was considering the possibility of a contribution in kind and by the representative of Switzerland that his country which had hitherto made contributions in cash and kind amounting to more than 500,000 Swiss francs would continue to participate in the relief programme.
42. The representative of the Holy See recalled that in earmarking part of its symbolic World Refugee Year contribution for assistance to the refugees in Morocco and Tunisia the Holy See had reaffirmed its humanitarian interest in the cause of refugees to whichever group they belonged. He paid tribute to the statement made by the representative of France which showed that when a humanitarian cause was concerned full agreement between of goodwill was possible.
43. In reply to questions by the representative of Tunisia, the High Commissioner informed the Committee that an extension of the project for providing poultry to the refugees would be considered. With regard to the twelve-month budget presented to Committee, he pointed out that the number of refugees used, namely 180,000, was under study by his field representatives.
44. In the course of the discussion the need to provide for the educational training of the refugees was emphasized by several representatives. The representative of Switzerland recalled in this connexion that the aide suisse à l'étranger was co-operating with the Tunisian authorities in providing vocational training for 162 refugees. The Committee was informed by the representative of Tunisia that refugee children were being admitted to Tunisian schools, and by the High commissioner that educational projects would be considered.
45. The Committee took note with appreciation of the action taken by the High Commissioner pursuant to General Assembly resolution 1286 (XIII) and expressed its gratitude to all Governments and organizations assisting in the work of relief to refugees from Algeria.
Section V. Status of governmental and private contributions (item 6 of the agenda)
46. The High Commissioner introduced the note on status of contributions to UNHCR for 1959 and on fund-raising activities (A/AC.96/38) which listed all contributions made to UNHCR and not only, as in the past, those for the regular programmes. The High Commissioner pointed out that by 30 August 1959 contributions to UNHCR amounted to $4,910,963, of which $4,397,252 represented governmental contributions. The document also showed that $964,088 out of the total of $4,910,963 had been contributed on the occasion of the World Refugee Year.
47. Of the total amount,$3, 830, 122 had been contributed to the regular UNHCR programmes for 1959.
48. The representative of Australia announced that, subject to parliamentary approval, his Government would make a contribution of $112,000 to the UNHCR programmes for 1959. This amount was in addition to the similar contribution made on the occasion of the World Refugee Year and listed in the document before the Committee.
49. The representative of the Netherlands stated that on the occasion of the World Refugee Year her Government had asked Parliament to approve a contribution towards UNHCR programmes for 1960, nearly twice as high as that for 1959.
50. The Executive Committee took note of the document.
Section VI. World Refugee Year (Item 7 of the agenda)
51. In his introductory statement (A/AC.96/52) Mr. Kelly, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for World Refugee Year, informed the Committee of the constant efforts being made to ensure that the World Refugee Year be a Truly world-wide humanitarian movement. Since the Committee's previous session, the number of countries participating in the Year increased from 45 to 62.
52. However, many of these countries were experiencing economic difficulties or had grave problems of their own. The number of World Refugee Year national committees formed or being formed was not more than forty-three. Therefore, the support given to the World Refugee Year by the countries represented in the Executive Committee was of the greatest importance in ensuring the success of the Year.
53. The results so far achieved in various countries were encouraging, and the World Refugee Year enjoyed the enthusiastic support of some seventy non-governmental organizations. Cash contributions totalling approximately $1 million had already been paid or pledged by various Governments to UNHCR or UNRWA. In addition new resettlement opportunities had been offered, particularly for handicapped refugees, and progress had been reported in liberalizing the legal status of refugees in many countries. The large fundraising campaigns were just beginning. In this respect the experience in the United Kingdom of having both a central fund and also individual agency funds had proved successful, and was worthy of study by national World Refugee Year committees. The people of New Zealand had collected in three months 125,000, which is 25 per cent higher than the target set by that country for the whole World Refugee Year. The New Zealand Government intends to admit for permanent settlement fifty with handicapped members.
54. Mr. Kelly pointed out that by the next session of the Executive Committee, the World Refugee Year would be drawing towards its close. It was of the greatest importance that the participating countries, and particularly the countries represented on the Committee, consider now activities to keep public interest aroused during the second half of the Year. In this respect further initiatives by Governments would be of great value in sustaining the momentum of the Year, especially if they could be announced during the Christmas season.
55. Statements on progress achieved were made by the representatives of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Denmark, France, Federal Republic of Germany, Greece, Holy See, Iran, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States and Yugoslavia. A similar statement was also made by the observer for the Sovereign Order of Malta.
56. It appeared from these statements, the details of which may be found in the summary records of the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-second meetings, that in most cases the World Refugee Year had already been inaugurated, that national committees, several under the patronage of the Head of State, or other bodies established to promote the Year, were in full action and that in many countries objectives had been set, either in terms of contributions in cash or kind, increased resettlement opportunities or measures towards the improvement of the legal position of refugees. In some countries the granting of resettlement opportunities was combined with assistance towards the establishment of refugees, including difficult cases. In a few countries arrangements were under way for the financing of specific UNHCR projects by one or more communities or groups of individuals.
57. Several representatives announced their countries' participation in the UNHCR/UNRWA Stamp Plan. Announcements were also made on various forms of publicity which were being used to focus interest on the refugee problem and at the same time to attract additional funds. The representatives of Austria and France stressed the desirability of co-ordination between the national committees to avoid overlapping and to enable them to benefit from each other's experience.
58. The Committee learned with interest of the initiative taken by the Norwegian and Swedish Broadcasting Companies to sell specially set up for this purpose in the border area between Norway and Sweden.
59. The representative of Switzerland informed the Committee that on the occasion of the World Refugee Year a special contribution of 750,000 Swiss francs would be made to UNHCR. Francs at the disposal of the Swiss Action Committee for World refugee Year.
60. The representative of China drew the special attention of the Committee to the plight of the 1.8 million Chinese refugees in South-East Asia, of whom 1.45 million were in Hong Kong. In accordance with General Assembly resolution 1167 (XII) of 26 November 1957, contributions for assistance to the Chinese refugees in Hong Kong could be channelled through the Office of the High Commissioner. He hoped that in a true spirit of universality generous contributions would be made for assistance to this group of refugees. Chinese refugees in areas other than Hong Kong received no international assistance. His Government ensured their protection and endeavoured to grant them some assistance in those countries with which it maintained diplomatic relations. In other countries, however, his Government could not even intervene on behalf of Chinese refugees requiring protection. In the opinion of his Government therefore only international action could have effective results.
61. The representative of China suggested that arrangements be made by the United Nations, its Member governments and the non-governmental organizations, for immediate assistance to Chinese refugees during the World Refugee Year and subsequent years, and that part of the contributions made on the occasion of the Year be used for that purpose. The representative's statement was supported by the representatives of Belgium and the Holy See.
62. The United States representative announced that, in addition to the contribution of $150,000 for refugees from Algeria (see paragraph 39 above), his Government was allocating $100,000 for assistance to Tibetan refugees and, with reference to the good offices responsibility of UNHCR, an extra $80,000 was being allocated for use by the voluntary agencies for aid to Chinese refugees in Hong Kong. These contributions brought to almost $2.5 million the total amount of contributions announced so far by the United Sates for the World Refugee Year.
63. 'Mr. Duncan Wood, speaking on behalf of the Standing conference of Voluntary Agencies working for refugees, informed the Committee that the International Committee for World Refugee Year representing seventy non-governmental organizations would hold a conference of representatives of national committees in January 1960 in Geneva to exchange views in the light of the plans made and progress achieved by national committees.
64. Throughout the discussions representatives stressed the universal character of the World Refugee Year, which would provide an opportunity to complete some of the programmes of international assistance to refugees and also to assist those groups of refugees which had not previously been included in existing programmes. In this connexion they emphasized the need for co-operation between the various national committees and the Governments and organizations concerned, in order that all groups of refugees might benefit from the World Refugee Year in accordance with their needs.
Section VII. Resettlement (Item 8 of the agenda)
65. The Committee considered document A/AC.96/39 entitled "Resettlement as a solution to the refugee problem", which had been prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner in co-operation with ICEM.
66. In a statement to the Committee (A/AC.96/51) Mr. Epinat, Deputy Director of ICEM, described the financial difficulties facing his organization during 1959 and 1960. If ICEM used all available opportunities for the resettlement of refugees in these years, it would incur deficits on refugee movements of $730,000 in 1959 and $900,000 in 1960. It had already seriously depleted its financial reserve, and for 1960 it had been forced to request from Governments higher contributions than ever before to its Special Fund.
67. Under its mandate ICEM could not contemplate the possible alleviation of this situation by spreading movements over a longer period, which would mean wasteful use of care and maintenance funds in countries of present asylum as well as imposing further hardship on the refugees.
68. ICEM therefore appealed to Governments who do not normally contribute to its operational budget to consider making lump-sum contributions, and urged those Governments in sending and receiving countries who do not make per capita contributions on refugee movements now to consider doing so.
69. Mr. Epinat paid tribute to the very generous repose of Governments to World Refugee Year appeals and to the high targets which they had set themselves in providing assistance for refugee. He would ask them to draw the attention of national World Refugee Year committees to ICEM's very serious financial position and to suggest to the committees that a proportion of the funds collected by allocated for the transportation of refugees.
70. The budgetary situation of ICEM would be reviewed by its council which convenes on 12 November. In the meantime he was asking representatives on the Executive Committee to inform their Governments of the problem he had laid before them and to stress the need for funds to permit the uninterrupted emigration of refugees.
71. The High Commissioner emphasized the importance of emigration as one of the solutions to refugee problems and underlined the need for close co-operation between ICEM and his Office. In the past when one organization was in difficulty it had appealed for help to the other, and he was now pleased to support ICEM's present appeal for funds. The High Commissioner pointed out that the document before the Committee gave a summary of the problems which UNHCR had to face in the field of emigration. It presented a table of emigration possibilities now open to non-settled refugees who wished to emigrate, and outlined the needs which still had to be met and the measures which would have to be undertaken to meet these needs. The number of non-settled refugees was estimated at 105,000. Although it was not known exactly how many of these refugees wished to emigrate, in formation was already available to show that the problem was on a scale which made its solution possible, and that many of the measures required, especially for handicapped refugees, could be taken in the spirit of the World Refugee Year.
72. The representative of the United States stated that the recent joint UNHCR/ICEM appeal for moving refugees from the Far East had led to may generous contributions, both of funds and of free flights. He expressed the hope, which was shared by other representatives, Governments would respond to ICEM's new appeal and that ICEM's needs during the World Refugee Year would be borne in mind. He drew attention to the fact that the United States contribution to ICEM would be on a matching basis so that contributions by other countries would automatically increase the United States contribution.
73. The representative of Australia supported the United States representative and reiterated the hope that the needs of ICEM would be borne in mind during the World Refugee Year. He further suggested that UNHCR funds might be made available to ensure that refugees going overseas were properly clothed.
74. The Committee took note of the document, and recommended that the following suggestions as made in paragraph 17 of document A/AC.96/39 be brought to the attention of Governments members of the Committee as a basis for any action which these Governments might consider desirable, on the understanding that representative would not be committing their Governments on the attitude they may take to these suggestions:
"(a) Governments might agree, in principle, to select suitable groups of refugees, including migrants broadly classified as refugees, under greatly liberalized occupational criteria;
"(b) Governments might extend the age limits now fixed for refugees accepted under government schemes;
"(c) Governments might allow, in principle, a relaxation in the existing criteria for all cases of refugees who already have relatives in countries of reception and whose admission to date has been refused on health or occupational grounds;
"(d) Governments might provide for the admission, first on an experimental basis and then desirably on a broad and continuing basis, of handicapped refugees both from Europe and the Far East for whom responsibility in the receiving countries would be assumed by the Government, voluntary agencies or individual sponsors;
"(e) Governments might apply fully the principle of family migration in order to allow for the acceptance of large refugee families and also dependent parents together with their single or married children;
"(f) Governments might examine the extent to which they could contribute towards the transportation costs of refugees whose admission is approved."
75. The Committee also agreed that representatives would bring to the attention of their Governments ICEM's needs for additional funds for the movement of refugees.
Section VIII. UNHCR programmes for 1960
76. The Chairman recalled that the detailed programmes submitted to the Committee had been drawn up in accordance with the recommendations made by the Committee at its first special session as contained in paragraph 54 of the report on that session (A/AC.96/31).
FAR EASTERN PROGRAMME (Item 9 of the agenda)
77. The Committee considered document A/AC.96/40 which showed the situation of the joint UNHCR/ICEM operation for the resettlement of refugees of European origin from the Far East as at 31 July 1959, and in which was presented the $1.1 million UNHCR programme for these refugees in 1960.
78. The High Commissioner informed the Committee that 1,477 refugees had arrived in Hong Kong during the first nine months of 1959. 1,297 had been moved abroad. However, there still remained in transit in Hong Kong more than 400 refugees receiving UNHCR care and maintenance. It was likely that the care and maintenance costs during 1959 would rise to $220,000, some $70,000 more than had been allocated. Thanks, however, to the generosity of one Government this deficit would be covered.
79. A total of 509 difficult cases and 47 dependants were registered on 30 September 1959 compared with 451 difficult cases and 44 dependants three months earlier, an increase due to the growing number of aged and chronically sick refugees. It was likely that the number of difficult cases would rise even more, but it was encouraging to know that offers of placement for these refugees had also increased.
80. The representative of Australia stated that his Government had adjusted its immigration criteria to facilitate the admission of European refugees from the Far East. Furthermore in order to assist ICEM in the transportation of these refugees an appropriation of $112,000 had been submitted to parliament for approval. The representative was wondering whether the difference in air fares between the normal rate from Hong Kong to Australia and the special rate which was being charged to ICEM could be regarded as a special contribution to ICEM's Far Eastern Operation and so attract a United States matching contribution. The representative of refugees from the Far East would be welcomed by his Government.
81. The representative of Greece expressed the hope that the 165 needy refugees of Greek ethnic origin from the Far East who had been issued with passports by the Greek Government and who were now in Greece would benefit from assistance on the occasion of the World Refugee Year.
82. In reply to a question of the representative of Sweden, the High Commissioner gave information on the number of staff engaged on the Far Eastern Operation, the details of which may be found in the summary record of the twentieth meeting.
83. The Committee took note of the document as a whole, and approved the programme for 1960 and the individual projects within that programme, as set forth in part B of the document.
PROGRAMME FOR CAMP CLEARANCE AND FUND FOR SPECIAL HARDSHIP CASES (Item 10 of the agenda)
84. The High Commissioner stated that since the camp clearance programme and the fund for special hardship cases both concerned refugees living in camps, they had been submitted in a single document (A/AC.96/41). The 1960 allocation for the camp clearance programme amounted to $2,620,000 and the allocation for the fund for special hardship cases to $170,000. The document contained proposals for a revision of the tentative allocations of the camp clearance programme for 1959-1960, and for allocation by country and type of project of the amount of $720,000 which represented the value of UNREF camp clearance projects unimplemented for lack of funds. Under the revised allocations there would be a slight decrease in the funds allotted for Austria, an increase for Germany and small new allocations for Greece and Italy.
85. The High Commissioner stated that he expected that the camp clearance programme would be completed in Greece and Italy during 1960 and that most of the refugees qualifying for the programme in Austria would be evacuated from camps by the end of that year. However, in Germany, where the camp population exceeded that of the other three countries and included a large proportion of socially handicapped cases, it did not seem likely that all refugees would actually leave the camps during 1960. However, all the projects required to complete camp clearance in Germany would be started before the end of 1960.
86. The registration of refugees qualifying for the fund for special hardship cases had not yet been completed, with the result that it had not been possible for detailed projects to be drawn up. It was therefore proposed to use the amount of $170,000 allocated to the fund for such projects, including transportation, as may be required for the speedy settlement of the refugees concerned, as soon as their needs had been assessed. To facilitate the administration of the fund it was proposed that its implementation be carried out jointly with the camp clearance programme, and that the reports on this programme jointly cover refugees benefiting from the fund.
87. Several representatives expressed the firm expectation that the High Commissioner would explore all possibilities of speeding up the camp clearance programme in order to complete it by end of 1960.
88. The United Kingdom representative welcomed the assurance given by the representative of the Federal Republic of Germany that in the second half of 1959 the German authorities would make a maximum effort to ensure that most of the refugees who are to benefit from government building schemes can actually be housed before the end of 1960.
89. In reply to questions by the representatives of Norway and the United States, the High Commissioner gave an account of the procedures followed with regard to the repayment of loans by refugees, details of which may be found in the record of the twentieth meeting. He intended to submit to the Committee at its next session a report giving more detailed information on these procedures and on the occupancy and ownership of housing built with UNHCR assistance in various countries.
90. The Committee took note of the proposals contained in the document and authorized the High Commissioner:
(a) To adjust in the course of 1960 the tentative allocations for the camp clearance programme as set out in the document and to allocate the reserve of $170,000 in accordance with the requirements of the successful implementation of the programme for camp clearance;
(b) To allocate the amount of $170,000 under the fund for special hardship cases to projects likely to ensure the rapid settlement of refugees qualifying for assistance under that fund;
(c) To report to the Committee on the adjustments and allocations made;
(d) To implement projects up to the value of $2,790,000 (including an amount of $150,000 for administrative expenditure) representing the combined 1960 allocations for the programme for camp clearance and for the fund for special hardship cases.
91. In connexion with paragraph 90 (b) above, the committee agreed that the High Commissioner be given the authority to use limited amounts from the fund for special hardship cases to finance the transportation of refugees in those cases where this would prove the only satisfactory solution.
PROGRAMME FOR NON-SETTLED REFUGEES OUTSIDE CAMPS (Item 11 of the agenda)
92. The Committee considered document A/AC.96/42 and Add.1 outlining the programme for non-settled refugees outside camps in 1960.
93. Introducing the document, the High Commissioner stated that the immediate planning target of the programme had been increased from $700,000 in 1959 to $1,550,000 in 1960. Even this larger amount could cover only a very small part of the needs of the estimated 90,000 refugees living outside camps who would still be non-settled on 1 January 1960. The programme would therefore still be focused on handicapped refugees, especially the physically handicapped.
94. In all countries the 1960 programme would be implemented on the basis of the registration of refugees who might qualify for assistance under the programme.
95. Members of the Committee expressed appreciation at what was being done at UNHCR to assist the non-settled refugees outside camps.
96. The High Commissioner explained that the statistical data in the document before the Committee were based on the survey of the non-settled refugee population (A/AC.79/111) but did not include refugees within his mandate not qualifying for UNHCR programmes. In connexion with the World Refugee Year it was agreed that a document might be issued showing the total number of non-settled refugees within the mandate of UNHCR.
97. In the course of the discussion of the various projects contained in the document before the Committee the question arose as to whether the payment of salaries to refugees under project OC/FRA/5/60 would not involve UNHCR in long-term commitments. The representative of France explained that in France only wage earners could obtain social security benefits. Furthermore, the expenditure on salaries would be of a temporary nature since refugees benefiting from this project would become settled after a certain period of time. The representative of the United States could agree with this particular project provided it did not create a precedent. In summing up the discussion the Chairman stated that the Committee was approving this project for 1960 but was not pronouncing itself on the principle of granting this kind of assistance.
98. In connexion with paragraph 41 of the document, the representative of the Federal Republic of Germany stated that his Government was about to publish an up-to-date version of a guide previously issued on the benefits provided for refugees under German social legislation.
99. The High Commissioner agreed to report to the Committee on the use of the open fund of $50,000 for the settlement of handicapped cases in Germany.
100. In reply to a question by the representative of Norway, the High Commissioner confirmed that in accordance with the decision taken by the Committee at its first special session, priority for benefits under the projects before the Committee would be given to refugees in the handicapped categories as defined in the survey on the non-settled refugee population in various countries (A/AC.96/111).
101. The Committee approved the 1960 programme for non-settled refugees living outside camps and the individual projects in that programme as set forth in document A/AC.96/42 and Add.1.
102. The Committee also approved an amendment to project OC/ITA/C.1/59/Rev.1 within the 1959 programme for non-settled refugees outside camps, as set forth in document A/Ac.96/12/Amend.2.
PROGRAMME FOR NEW REFUGEES IN GREECE (Item 12 of the agenda)
103. The Committee considered document A/AC.96/43 containing the 1960 programme for assistance to new refugees in Greece. The High Commissioner pointed out that if the influx of new refugees to Greece continued at its present rate, there would still be on 1 January 1960 an estimated 300 refugees within his mandate who had arrived in Greece since 1 July 1957 and who would urgently require assistance to become firmly settled. It was important to assist them in order to avoid a new problem of refugees in camps.
104. The main project under the programme was one to provide housing and establishment assistance for thirty-eight refugee families within that group. Small allocations were also proposed for vocational training and for the preselection of refugees to benefit under the programme.
105. The Committee approved the 1960 programme for new refugees in Greece and the specific projects under the programme as set forth in document A/AC.96/43.
EMERGENCY ACCOUNT FOR INDIVIDUAL CASES (Item 13 of the agenda)
106. The Executive Committee approved the 1960 emergency account for individual cases submitted to document A/AC.96/44, under which limited financial grants would be made to provide permanent solutions for individual refugees in urgent cases where no possible.
PROGRAMME FOR LEGAL ASSISTANCE (Item 14 of the agenda)
107. The Committee considered document A/AC.96/45 outlining the programme for legal assistance in 1960 in the amount of $80,000. The High Commissioner stated that the programme was designed to supplement the over-all task of legal protection, by helping individual refugees with their legal and administrative problems, especially those they encountered during the period of their assimilation in new communities. It was proposed that projects included in the 1959 programme be continued in 1960 in Austria, Germany, Greece and Italy, but that an amount of $25,000 be kept in reserve for legal assistance, particularly for the refugees in Latin America and for the earlier refugees in North Africa.
108. The representative of the United States expressed the hope that emphasis could be given in the future to the protection of refugees in securing such fundamental rights as freedom of travel, participation in social security systems, and particularly in ensuring the nondiscriminatory application at the various levels of government, of existing legislation affecting refugees. The representative of Belgium, supported by other representatives, expressed the opinion that a clearer distinction should be made between the High Commissioner's basic function of legal protection and the programme for legal assistance as outlined in the document.
109. The Committee requested the High Commissioner to give more details of the kind of assistance given under the various projects to its next session. It was also agreed that at the third session specific proposals would be submitted for the allocation among various countries of the reserve of $25,000 included in the 1960 programme.
110. The Committee approved the legal assistance programme for 1960 and the specific projects within this programme as set forth in document A/AC.96/45.
PRIORITIES WITHIN UNHCR PROGRAMMES (Item 15 of the agenda)
111. The Committee considered document A/AC.96/49 containing proposals for priorities among the 1959 and 1960 programme. It agreed that those two 1959 programmes which had not been included in the priority list contained in paragraph 94 of the report on the Committee's first session (A/AC.96/20) should be added to that list in the following order: (1) Programme for non-settled refugees living outside camps; (2) Programme for legal assistance. The Committee authorized the High commissioner to implement urgent projects within these two programmes as funds became available, on the understanding that no project ready for implementation within the first priority programme should remain unimplemented for lack of funds.
112. The representatives of Denmark, Norway and Sweden stressed their countries' particular interest in the camp clearance programme which in their view deserved an even higher priority than that suggested in document A/AC.96/49.
113. In reply to this point the High Commissioner stated that, although the camp clearance programme had not been given the highest priority for 1960, it was unlikely that its implementation would be jeopardized owing to lack of funds.
114. The High Commissioner further explained that the 1960 programmes for refugees living outside camps and for legal assistance were not included in the list of priorities for 1960 since the most urgent projects within these programmes were of a continuing nature and would therefore be given the highest priority, along with other projects of a continuing nature. He did not expect that funds for the implementation of other projects within these two programmes would become available before the next session of the Committee.
115. The Committee adopted the following priorities for the 1960 programmes, subject to revision at its third session in the light of the financial position of the UNHCR programmes at that time:
(a) Continuing projects in all programmes which cannot be interrupted, including supplementary aid;
(b) Far Eastern programme;
(c) Emergency account for individual cases;
(d) Programme for camp clearance, fund for special hardship cases and programme for new refugees in Greece, on an equal basis.
116. The Committee authorized the High Commissioner to pay the contribution to the United Nations administrative budget and to implement the continuing projects under paragraph 115(a) as the need arises. The Committee further authorized the High Commissioner to implement projects within the programmes under (b) to (d) as funds become available, taking into account the relative urgency of each project. It would be the High Commissioner's responsibility to ensure that no project is implemented unless all projects ready for implementation within programmes with a higher priority are financed. With regard to the programmes for non-settled refugees living outside camps and for legal assistance, it was understood that the High Commissioner would also implement such projects as could be financed from contributions made specifically to these programmes.
ESTABLISHMENT OF A WORKING PARTY
117. In the course of the discussion on the programme for 1960 a certain number of problems arose which the High Commissioner suggested might best be considered by a working party, which would meet a few days before the Committee's next session.
118. After discussion at the twenty-first and twenty-second meetings, the Executive Committee decided to form a working party of eleven members to study the following questions:
(a) The extent of international assistance to be given to socially handicapped refugees, in particular to the so called "special cases";
(b) The extent of international assistance to be given to those non-settled refugees living outside camps who do not belong to any handicapped category, including, inter alia, the problem of providing adequate accommodation to such refugees (referred to in paragraph 37 of the report (A/AC.96/31) on the first special session of the projects are implemented;
(c) The relationship between international contributions to UNHCR projects and supporting contributions to be provided from within the countries where the projects are implemented;
(d) The possible elaboration of comprehensive programmes for the settlement of all refugee, under the mandate of the High Commissioner, eligible for international assistance in countries where their number has decreased considerably;
(e) Other problems within the competence of the High Commissioner, the study of which may be recommended to the working party by Governments members of the Committee or by the High Commissioner.
119. The Committee agreed that the working party should be composed of representatives of the Governments of the following countries: Australia, Austria, Brazil, France, Federal Republic of Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States. It further agreed that any other Government member of the Executive Committee could send an observer to the meetings of the meetings of the working party.
120. The Committee requested the working party to meet in Geneva during the week preceding the opening of the third session of the Executive Committee and to submit its report to that session. In addition the Committee requested the High Commissioner to maintain contact with members of the working party through their Geneva representative during the period prior to the formal meeting of the working party.
Section IX. Administrative and financial matters
FINANCIAL STATEMENTS OF THE UNITED NATIONS REFUGEE FUND FOR THE YEAR 1958 AND REPORT OF THE BOARD OF AUDITORS THEREON (Item 16 of the agenda)
121. The Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme took note with appreciation of document A/AC.96/46 containing the financial statements of the United Nations Refugee Fund for the year 1958 and the report of the Board of Auditors thereon.
PROVISIONAL FINANCIAL STATEMENTS - 1 JANUARY TO 31 AUGUST 1959 (Item 17 of the agenda)
122. The Executive Committee took note of document A/AC.96/47 containing the provisions financial statements for voluntary funds administered by the High Commissioner for the period from 1 January to 31 August.
ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENDITURE FOR 1959 - SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES (Item 18 of the agenda)
123. The Committee considered the High Commissioner's proposal, contained in document A/AC.96/48, for a supplementary appropriation from voluntary funds of $25,000 to be made to the UNHCR administrative budget for 1959, in order to cover costs of increased fundraising and public relations activities resulting from the World Refugee Year. The High Commissioner recalled that such activities, especially the collection and transmission of information on UNHCR projects to Governments and World Refugee Year committees, had been carried out in accordance with the recommendation made by the Committee at its first special session (A/AC.96/31, para.57).
124. The Committee approved the proposal on the understanding that when the High Commissioner made his request for this supplementary estimate to the General Assembly he would provide further details and in particular show that these extra activities did not overlap with those of the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for World Refugee Year.