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Identity Documents for Refugees

Executive Committee Meetings

Identity Documents for Refugees
No. 35 (XXXV) - 1984

18 October 1984
Executive Committee 35th session. Contained in United Nations General Assembly Document No. 12A (A/39/12/Add.1). Conclusion endorsed by the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme upon the recommendation of the Sub-Committee of the Whole on International Protection of Refugees.

The Executive Committee,

(a) Recognized the need for refugees to have documentation enabling them to establish their identity and noted that Article 27 of the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention requires Contracting States to issue identity papers to any refugee in their territory who does not have a valid travel document;

(b) Recalled that in a conclusion adopted at its twenty-eighth session (A/32/12/Add.1, para. 53 (6)(e)) the Executive Committee recommended that recognized refugees should be issued documentation certifying their refugee status;

(c) Noted with approval the general practice of States to provide refugees with documents, in the form prescribed by their national legislation, enabling them to establish their identity and their refugee status, and recommended that States which have not yet done so should ensure that refugees are provided with such documentation;

(d) Recommended that asylum applicants whose applications cannot be decided without delay be provided with provisional documentation sufficient to ensure that they are protected against expulsion or refoulement until a decision has been taken by the competent authorities with regard to their application;

(e) Noted that in countries where there is no provision for the formal recognition of refugee status, it may be necessary for UNHCR, with the consent of the authorities of the asylum country, to certify that a person is considered a refugee within the UNHCR mandate; and

(f) Recognized the value of registering and issuing appropriate documentation to refugees in large-scale influx situations, and recommended that States which have not yet done so should undertake such registration and documentation programmes, where appropriate in cooperation with UNHCR.