Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations General Assembly Official Records: Twenty-second Session
Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Supplement No.11 (A/6711)
1. The present report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) covers the period from 1 April 1966 to 31 March 1967. Certain statistical and financial data are however available only for the calendar year 1966.
2. In spite of certain influxes of new refugees, particularly in Africa, it has proved possible, through continued co-operation with Governments and other organizations concerned and by strengthening UNHCR field offices in areas where new refugees are settling, to make further progress in the local integration of refugees. A gradual shift will thus be observed from the emergency relief phase to the settlement phase and then to the consolidation phase. Concerted action with other members of the united Nations system is beginning to yield results; their support has been invaluable and the High Commissioner looks forward to further co-operation with them as an essential element in the work of international assistance to refugees in the present-day world.
3. In accordance with the provisions of the Statute of his Office, the High Commissioner endeavours to ensure that refugees are able to exercise a free choice between voluntary repatriation, resettlement through migration in another country or local integration. Voluntary repatriation is recognized as a solution to the problems of refugees by the Governments of countries of asylum in Africa, and during the past year this solution has been chosen by a number of refugees in certain parts of Africa. Local integration however continued to be the main solution for refugees who are the High Commissioner's concern. In several European countries resettlement through migration is playing an important role.
4. In the field of legal protection there is also cause for satisfaction: the Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees has been transmitted by the Secretary-General to States with a view to their acceding to it, and indications have already been received that several States intend to do so. The Protocol will come into effect at once.
5. Serious difficulties still prevail with regard to the financing of UNHCR programmes. The High Commissioner is hopeful that pursuant to the terms of General Assembly resolution 2197 (XXI) of 16 December 1966, States Members of the United Nations and members of the specialized agencies will find it possible to increase their financial participation in the work of UNHCR and will give a favourable response to the appeal he addressed to them in May 1967.
6. The encouraging results of the fund-raising campaign organized by voluntary agencies in 1966 in European countries and in a few overseas countries, mainly for the benefit of African and Asian refugees, show the awareness of the plight of refugees on the part of millions of individual persons. The High Commissioner hopes that Governments will make a similar effort so that the target of the High Commissioner's current programme, which is intended to meet the basic needs of the refugees, will be fully met through governmental contributions.
7. The role of UNHCR, as an intermediary of goodwill, has been further developed as a result of the purely humanitarian character of his work. Through the combined effect of international protection and material assistance and with the participation of other members of the international community, the High Commissioner hopes that further progress will be made with a view to meeting his main objective ; to achieve permanent solutions to the problems of refugees.
Chapter I INTERNATIONAL CO-OPERATION IN FAVOUR OF REFUGEES
A. General observations
8. For many years, the work of assistance to refugees has depended to a large extent on close co-operation between Governments, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and on the support and goodwill of individuals who take an interest in humanitarian aid. Through their concerted efforts, a true spirit of international solidarity is being developed which has made it possible to meet refugee emergencies in record time. During the period under review, the interest of Governments, international organizations and the public in the countries themselves has again made it possible to assist a considerable number of refugees. However, there still remain many problems to be solved, and the High Commissioner hopes that the effective progress achieved in the field of international co-operation will continue unabated, and, in particular, that an ever-increasing number of Governments will share the grave responsibility assumed by the international community in bringing help to the refugees.
B. Co-operation with Governments and local authorities
9. The period covered by this report has again been marked by increasing contacts between the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees and the Governments and local authorities of countries in which refugees reside. As the High Commissioner previously mentioned, he attaches the greatest importance to the support which Governments are able and willing to give to the work of assistance to refugees. For indeed, both the legal status of refugees and their material wellbeing greatly depend on the interest which the governmental and local authorities take in their future.
10. The concern of many Governments for refugees was strikingly reflected in the course of the celebration of United Nations Day, 1966, which, it will be recalled, was dedicated to this cause, pursuant to General Assembly resolution 2038 (XX). The celebrations which were held in practically all member States of the United Nations enjoyed the participation of Heads of States, Members of the Governments and senior government officials, many of whom took that opportunity to stress one or more aspects of the problems of refugees and to draw the general attention to their plight, to the work that is being done by UNHCR for them and to the need to support this work.
11. During the period under review, the High Commissioner paid further visits to the Governments of more than twenty countries to discuss the problems of refugees with the authorities concerned. He was thus enabled to obtain first-hand information on the situation of refugees in countries of asylum and residence, and to present to members of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme eyewitness accounts which were of value to them in reaching their decisions.
12. Close contact with Governments and local authorities continues to be maintained by the representatives of the High Commissioner and the branch offices. Every effort has been made to strengthen this representation in areas where the scope of the problem has increased, that is to say particularly in Africa. Since last reporting to the General Assembly, the High Commissioner has opened branch offices in the Central African Republic and in Zambia, and his representative in Senegal has been accredited also to Gambia.
13. The expansion of the work in Africa has also made it necessary for the High Commissioner to open a regional liaison office at Addis Ababa.
C. Co-operation with members of the United Nations system and other inter-governmental organizations
14. During the period under review a considerable step forward has been taken in the field of co-operation with other members of the United Nations system. The results of this co-operation have been particularly significant in the implementation of UNHCR programmes for the settlement of refugees in agriculture in Africa and in the field of educational assistance to refugees.
15. The need for concerted action by UNHCR and other members of the United Nations system in helping refugees to settle in rural communities in developing areas had already been recognized for some time. At its sixteenth session, in October 1966, the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme paid special attention to this question and adopted a decision in which, inter alia, it expressed the wish that provision for settlement of refugees be as far as possible included in projects of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), invited members of the specialized agencies to take note of the particular needs of refugees in developing countries and invited Governments which contribute to development assistance programmes to take the needs of refugees into account. At the same session the Executive Committee also agreed that the High Commissioner should open an education account which would enable him to receive voluntary contributions for educational assistance to refugees. Closer co-operation has been developed with UNESCO in this field and a memorandum of understanding between UNHCR and UNESCO on the implementation of practical measures has already been agreed in principle.
16. The General Assembly itself recognized the importance of inter-agency co-operation for the work of UNHCR when, in its resolution 2197 (XXI), it requested the High Commissioner to continue to promote solutions to the problems of refugees.
17. Since then the High Commissioner and the Administrator of UNDP have had an exchange of views in which it was recognized that projects for the settlement of refugees in Africa were in many respects closely linked to the multilateral aid of UNDP in the field of development, and it was understood that support would be lent by UNDP to UNHCR wherever possible, in respect of projects which affect refugees and the local population alike, and the implementation of which is requested by the Government of the country concerned. The Office of the High Commissioner was represented at the fourth session of the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme held in Geneva from 5 to 27 June 1967.
18. Arrangements for close co-ordination between UNHCR on the one hand, and representatives of the UNDP and of other members of the United Nations system on the other hand, have been worked out in more detail and are being currently applied. As explained more fully in chapter III, section B below which concerns assistance to African refugees, a comprehensive project for the consolidation of the settlement of Rwandese refugees is being put into effect in Burundi, through a concerted effort of the Burundi Government, UNHCR, UNDP, ILO, FAO, and the World Food Programme. Joint planning between UNHCR and representatives of other members of the United Nations system is also taking place in the Central African Republic, in connexion with the settlement of a considerable number of refugees in that country. The close co-operation between UNHCR and the World Food Programme is being continued, particularly for the benefit of refugees who have recently arrived and for whom the programme has made available food in an amount of over $1.5 million.
19. In a more general way, the High Commissioner has been able to place the problems of his Office before the boards of several specialized agencies which are closely connected with his work. The Office has also recently been represented at a meeting of the Economic Commission for Africa whose co-operation will be very useful, especially in connexion with the settlement of refugees in Africa.
20. The Office has continued to participate in the work of the Administrative Committee on Co-ordination and its Preparatory Committee, as well as other inter-agency meetings which are relevant to the work of UNHCR. It has taken an active part in the preparation of the report of the Secretary-General on the utilization of human resources, which places the problems of refugees in a broader perspective, in the sense that refugees should be considered not only as people in need of humanitarian charitable aid but also as a positive factor in economic and social development. The High Commissioner hopes that this recommendation will meet with a favourable response on the part of member Governments.
21. The High Commissioner wishes to bring to the attention of the Economic and Social Council and of the General Assembly, for whatever action they may wish to take, the recommendation of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme that UNHCR be invited to attend the meetings of the Inter-Agency Consultative board of the United Nations Development Programme (see appendix II, paragraph 138).
22. The Office has pursued its close co-operation with other inter-governmental organizations which, by virtue of their geographical location or their particular field of interest, are in a position to support the work of UNHCR.
23. As indicated in more detail in chapter II below, close contact has been maintained between UNHCR and the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and some of its committees, especially on the legal status of refugees in Africa. Consultations have taken place, in particular on the form which might be given to the Draft African Refugee Convention, prepared by the Committee of Legal Experts of the Refugee Commission of OAU. At the meeting of OAU which was held in November 1966, a resolution was adopted expressing the wish that that Convention should become a regional complement to the 1951 Convention of the United Nations. Contacts were similarly maintained with the Asian-African legal Committee which concerns itself, inter alia, with the rights of refugees. Co-operation with the Organization of American States (OAS) has also been pursued, mainly in connexion with certain problems relating to human rights.
24. In Europe, close relations have been maintained with the Council of Europe. Following an address made by the High Commissioner to the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe at its session held in October 1966, the Assembly adopted a resolution in which it pledged continued support to the work of UNHCR in respect of both European refugees and new groups of refugees. The Assembly continued to show interest in the final integration of European refugees in countries members of the Council of Europe. The Office has co-operated as usual with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Commission of the European Economic Community and the International Committee on Civil Status, both of which are in a position to contribute to the improvement of the status of refugees.
D. Relations with voluntary agencies and other non-governmental organizations working for refugees
25. The role of the voluntary agencies and other non-governmental organizations working for refugees, which has always been very important, is becoming even more significant as responsibility for assistance to European refugees devolves more and more upon them, as well as on Governments. At the same time, an increasing number of voluntary agencies are turning to Africa and Asia, and are now increasingly directing their efforts towards the work of assistance for refugees on these continents.
26. Among them are several agencies which act as the operational arm of UNHCR, thereby discharging a very heavy responsibility. Others are contributing financially to the UNHCR programmes, and through their donations in cash or in kind, they often help the Office to meet unforeseen emergencies, and thus alleviate human suffering by their prompt intervention. One aspect of the work of the voluntary agencies which deserves notice is the continuing provision of counselling services to refugees. The advice and assistance of agency counsellors, by enabling refugees to take advantage of all available social welfare benefits, may often result in the establishment of the refugees without further recourse to assistance projects.
27. A special mention should be made of the individual staff members of voluntary agencies and also of missionaries who often share the day to day life of the refugees in remote areas. Through this contact the agencies are in a particularly good position to assess the needs of refugees and their reports are therefore of great value to the Office in enabling it to assess the results achieved and the needs to be met. The agencies also often constitute a link between the international community and their constituents, the men and women who support the agencies and, through them, become aware of the plight of the refugees.
28. This has become particularly evident in the course of the European Refugee Campaign, 1966. It will be recalled that His Royal Highness Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands accepted the chairmanship of the Working Group of Voluntary Agencies which organized the campaign. These agencies each brought to the campaign the interest and goodwill of many other organizations and of their constituents. This campaign, the details of which may be found in chapter IV below, is a striking symbol of the part which voluntary agencies can play in the work of international assistance, and in particular in the humanitarian field.
29. Finally, mention should be made of the increasingly important part which is being played by the International Council of Voluntary Agencies, which groups as its members agencies working for refugees, migration and development, co-ordinates their activities and constitutes an invaluable link between them and the international community.
Chapter II INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION
A. General observations
30. The General Assembly, in resolution 2197 (XXI) on the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, requested the High Commissioner "to continue to provide international protection to refugees who are his concern, within the limits of his competence and to promote permanent solutions to their problems". The High Commissioner has pursued his basic task of international protection, the scope of which further increased during the period under review as he was called upon to assume further responsibilities, particularly in certain areas in Africa.
31. This report can only highlight the main activities and general developments in the intricate field of international protection. This continuing task which is of both a legal and humanitarian character is as diverse and complex as are the problems of the refugees themselves.
32. During the period under review the most important event in the field of international protection has been the adoption by the General Assembly of resolution 2198 (XXI) on the Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees. In accordance with the terms of this resolution the text of the Protocol has been transmitted by the Secretary-General to States with a view to enabling them to accede to it. The Protocol extends the scope ratione personae of the 1951 Convention by removing the dateline of 1 January 1951 contained in the definition of the term « refugee » in article 1. A2, of the Convention. The Protocol gives the Convention a more universal character and in particular makes it applicable to new groups of refugees. Furthermore it brings the personal scope of the Convention into line with that of the Statute of the Office.
33. In accordance with the Statute the High Commissioner will promote accessions to the Protocol. He has recently learned with appreciation that several States have expressed their intention to accede to the Protocol. He very much hopes that many States will become parties to this important legal instrument.
34. As the number of refugees in Africa increased, the Office had to concentrate greater efforts on protection problems concerning them. A specific feature of the period under review was the increasing number of individual cases of African refugees which raised problems of international protection, in particular with regard to asylum, residence, work permits and the issuance of travel documents. Whenever requested, the Office seeks to advise Governments on measures to cope with legal problems arising from the presence of refugees in their territories. Whenever difficulties arose for the refugees, UNHCR, through its representatives and by visits from Headquarters, discussed these problems with the authorities concerned, with a view to their solution.
35. Governments of countries in Africa have taken an increasing interest in the legal situation of refugees on that continent. They have discussed the problems of refugees at important meetings. Decisions adopted at these meetings emphasize the importance of avoiding the risk of refugee problems becoming a cause of friction between the Governments concerned. In these decisions the principles of voluntary repatriation and non-refoulement were also recognized.
36. The Office has continued to enjoy the support of the Organization of African Unity in its endeavours in the field of the protection of refugees. Co-operation with other regional organizations has continued with a view to the adoption of measures for the improvement of the status of refugees and the drawing up of instruments in favour of refugees. Mention should be made in this connexion of the continuing support of the Council of Europe and of the adoption of certain principles concerning the rights of refugees and their treatment by the Asian-African Legal Consultative Committee.
37. Generally speaking there is increasing recognition of the special status of refugees and of the significance of the right of asylum for them. This recognition has been reflected during the period under review by further accessions to international instruments of special interest to refugees, the preparation of such instruments for their protection and, on the municipal plane, by the entry into force of legislation containing special provision for refugees in a number of countries and the initiation of such legislation in other countries.
38. The continuation of legal assistance activities under the UNHCR annual programme, which as made it possible to finance legal advice and aid to refugees with limited means, constitutes an important complement to the protection activities of the office. While assisting individual refugees to solve their legal problems, it furthers the integration or resettlement of refugees and thus helps individual refugees to find permanent solutions.
39. In the field of indemnification of refugees, the conclusion of a new Agreement between UNHCR and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany was a most important event. This Agreement fills a gap in the existing arrangements for the indemnification of refugee victims of national socialist persecution by enabling the High Commissioner to provide measures of assistance to persons who have suffered persecution by reason of their nationality and who have been unable to benefit from existing legislation and agreements in this field.
B. Inter-governmental legal instruments
40. One of the main bases for the international protection of refugees is the international instruments which have been concluded for their particular benefit, the most important of which is the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, as well as those which include clauses relating to refugees or are otherwise of benefit to them. UNHCR has continued to encourage accession by additional States to these instruments.
1951 CONVENTION RELATING TO THE STATUS OF REFUGEES
41. During the period under review, the number of parties to this Convention increased to fifty-one;1 in May 1966, the Government of Kenya deposited its instrument of accession with the Secretary-General and in September 1966 the Government of Gambia made a declaration to the Secretary-General that it considered itself bound by the Convention, the application of which had been extended to its territory prior to independence. Both States accepted the alternative « events occurring before 1 January 1951 in Europe and elsewhere » in article 1 B of the Convention.
42. In December 1966 the Government of the Ivory Coast made a declaration extending its obligations under the Convention by adopting the formula «events occurring before 1 January 1951 in Europe and elsewhere».
43. Accession to the Convention is under active consideration in several other States. In particular in the White Paper on Immigration published by the Government of Canada in autumn 1966, that Government has indicated its intention to accede to the Convention. It has further indicated that it may be desirable to establish a refugee eligibility commission which would work closely with UNHCR.
WITHDRAWAL OF RESERVATIONS
44. In November 1966 the Government of Sweden notified the Secretary-General that it had withdrawn its reservation to article 24, paragraph 2, of the Convention, concerning social security, and had modified, in favour of refugees, its reservations to paragraph 1 (b) of that same article. At the same time a similar withdrawal of reservations was made by the Government of Sweden with regard to the Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons.
PROTOCOL RELATING TO THE STATUS OF REFUGEES
45. On 31 January 1967, the President of the General Assembly and the Secretary-General signed an authentic copy of the Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees which is designed to extend the personal scope of the 1951 Convention. On 10 March, the Secretary-General transmitted the text of the Protocol to Governments.
46. The draft text of the Protocol, which was based on a draft prepared by the Colloquium on Legal Aspects of Refugee Problems referred to in last year's report and which took into account the comments made by Governments, was submitted to the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme at its sixteenth session in October-November 1966. The Executive Committee expressed the wish that the High Commissioner submit the draft Protocol, as modified in the light of the discussions in the Committee, to the General Assembly through the economic and Social Council as an addendum to the High Commissioner's annual report to the General Assembly. The Council took note with approval of the addendum, which it transmitted to the Assembly.
47. In its resolution 2198 (XXI) of 16 December 1966 the General Assembly took note of the protocol and requested the Secretary-General to transmit the text thereof to States parties to the Convention, Members of the United Nations or members of the specialized agencies with a view to enabling them to accede. The Protocol requires accession by six States in order to enter into force.
AGREEMENT RELATING TO REFUGEE SEAMEN
48. In October 1966 Italy acceded to the above Agreement, which is now in force between fifteen States.2 In its recently published White Paper, the Government of Canada expressed its intention to accede to this instrument. In co-operation with the Government of the Netherlands, the Office has continued to provide a counselling service for refugee seamen in the port of Rotterdam. Approximately 420 refugee seamen were interviewed during 1966 and where necessary they were advised on the regularization of their position under the above agreement and on the means of obtaining suitable travel documents.
EUROPEAN AGREEMENT ON THE ABOLITION OF VISAS FOR REFUGEES
49. In December 1966 the Government of Switzerland deposited with the Council of Europe its instrument of accession to the above Agreement and thus became the eleventh3 State to accede to this Agreement which provides for visa-free travel, for periods not exceeding three months and for purposes other than taking up employment, for refugees holding travel documents issued in accordance with the 1951 Convention or the London Agreement of 15 October 1946.
OTHER LEGAL INSTRUMENTS OF RELEVANCE TO REFUGEES
50. Trinidad and Tobago acceded to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless persons, bringing the number of parties to eighteen. Spain and Belgium acceded to the Convention on the Recovery of Maintenance, to which the number of parties is now twenty-nine. Italy, which was already a party to the Universal Copyright Convention, has now acceded to Protocol No.1 to this Convention, which extends its benefits to refugees and stateless persons.
51. As explained in earlier reports the question of asylum is the basis of all work in favour of refugees. During the year under review, States in many parts of the world have granted asylum to a considerable number of new refugees, and it can be stated that the principle of non-refoulement is recognized on a world-wide bases. It is the continuing basic task of the Office to make sure that no bona fide refugee is returned to, or refused admission from, a country in which he fears persecution. The Office has continued to follow closely international action on the legal aspects of the right of asylum, on which the following developments can be reported:
52. The General Assembly has had before it, since its seventeenth session, the question of a declaration on the right of asylum. Having been considered at an earlier stage by the Third Committee, the matter was transferred in 1965 to the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly, which discussed it in November and December 1966. The Sixth Committee set up a working group, which elaborated a draft Declaration on Territorial Asylum based on the draft adopted by the Commission on Human Rights, and on the preamble and article 1 adopted by the Third committee. In resolution 2203 (XXI) of 16 December 1966, the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to transmit the text of this draft Declaration and the report of the working group to Member States for their further consideration and to place the question on the provisional agenda of the twenty-second session of the General Assembly with a view to the final adoption of a declaration.
53. In December 1966, the question of the right of asylum was considered by the Committee of Experts on Human Rights of the Council of Europe, at which UNHCR was represented by an observer. The report of the Committee of Experts will be examined by the Committee of Ministers of the Council in 1967.
54. The Asian-African Legal Consultative Committee at its eighth session drew up a number of principles for the treatment of refugees, including an article on asylum, which incorporates the principles of non-refoulement and temporary asylum.
55. A representative of the Office attended a meeting of the International Collegium Fridtjof Nansen held at Vienna in June-July which dealt with problems facing countries of first asylum and with procedures for the granting of asylum.
56. A representative of the Office also attended, as United Nations and UNHCR observer, a Conference of the International Law Association held at Helsinki in August 1966, at which the item « Legal aspects of the problem of asylum » was among the matters discussed.
MEASURES TAKEN IN VARIOUS COUNTRIES
57. Pursuant to the recommendation of the meeting of Commonwealth Law Ministers held in London in April-May 1966 concerning the amendment of the Fugitive Offenders Act 1881, the Australian Parliament passed the «Extradition (Commonwealth Countries) Act 1966». This Act precludes surrender, within the Commonwealth, inter alia, in cases where the person concerned may be prejudiced at his trial or punished, detained or restricted in his personal liberty by reason of his race, religion, nationality or political opinions. The Fugitive Offenders Bill, containing similar provisions, was presented to the United Kingdom Parliament. The Extradition (foreign States) Act adopted in Australia at the same time as the Extradition (Commonwealth Countries) Act contains similar provisions regarding extradition to States outside the Commonwealth.
58. UNHCR submitted a memorandum and gave oral evidence before the United Kingdom Committee on Rights of Appeal and Other Remedies for Aliens and Commonwealth Citizens Refused Admission to or Required to Leave the Country. These provided, inter alia, detailed information concerning the application of the principle of non-refoulement and the procedure adopted in various countries for determining refugee status under the 1951 Convention.
59. Mention should be made of the reports which were received in respect of an agreement between the Portuguese authorities in Macao and the authorities of the Kwantung Province of China concerning the return of persons seeking to enter Macao from China. The High Commissioner has contacted the Portuguese authorities on this problem, and to the universally accepted principle of non-refoulement of refugees. The Office continues to follow closely developments in this matter.
D. Recognition of refugee status
60. The Office has continued to co-operate with Governments on problems connected with the recognition of refugee status and has co-operated in the determination of eligibility under the 1951 Convention under procedures which vary from country to country. Thus in some countries UNHCR is entrusted with the determination of refugee status. In others, the Office participates in eligibility procedures, or acts in an advisory capacity or as an observer.
61. In Senegal, the authorities are planning to establish a special body entrusted with the function of determining refugee status.
62. In certain other countries, particularly in those where UNHCR has only recently established branch offices, the representative is consulted informally by the national authorities on questions relating to the determination of refugee status.
E. National legislation for the benefit of refugees
63. As heretofore the Office has been in touch with the governmental authorities of many countries which have generously admitted refugees to their territory and has followed legal and administrative developments which have a bearing on the position of refugees. A number of measures taken for the improvement of the position of refugees are reported below.
64. In Australia, legislation has been proposed whereby old age, invalid and widows' pensions will be available to all migrants under the same conditions now applying to Australian nationals. Hitherto, such benefits were not granted to non-Australians as a statutory right, but as a matter of discretion. Migrants settling permanently in Australia are already entitled in the same way as Australian nationals to child endowment, unemployment, sickness, funeral and rehabilitation benefits and to maternity allowances.
65. The Austrian Government is preparing, for submission to Parliament, a draft federal law concerning the right of residence in Austria of persons who apply for recognition as refugees under the terms of the 1951 Convention.
66. The Belgian authorities have adopted measures whereby refugees may now themselves apply for model « A » work permits. In the past such applications has to be made by prospective employers. Model « A » work permits are granted to refugees who have been resident in Belgium for three years; they entitle the holder to take up any type of employment with any employer and are of unlimited duration. This measure overcomes the difficulties which have hitherto existed for refugee workers due to the fact that their employers had to obtain a permit in order to engage them.
67. The Belgian Ministry of Education has prepared a draft law exempting refugees from certain requirements in respect of the recognition of academic degrees and diplomas. According to this draft law, refugees who have obtained university diplomas abroad may secure their recognition in Belgium, on the conditions laid down in Belgian legislation without fulfilling the requirements of reciprocity. Moreover, refugees who have obtained diplomas at a Belgian university may, upon complying with the specified procedure, obtain recognition of such diplomas, which would enable them to exercise their particular professions without possessing Belgian nationality.
68. In December 1966, the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo signed a decree revoking two decrees promulgated in 1964 and which provided for the expulsion of various categories of aliens, including refugees, and the sequestration of their property. While these decrees were not applied systematically, the joint ILO/UNHCR integration and zonal development project for Rwandese refugees could not be fully implemented until the decrees had been rescinded.
69. In the Netherlands a new Aliens Law came into force on 1 January 1967. The Law, and an implementing Royal Decree dated 19 September 1966, as well as a ministerial instruction dated 22 September 1966, contain special provisions regarding the admission of refugees, the granting of asylum, and the recognition of refugee status.
70. The British Government has agreed to waive visa fees for persons who hold refugee travel documents issued by any State member of the Council of Europe, and who apply for a visitor's visa in a country which is a member of the Council of Europe.
71. In accordance with Public Law 89-732 of 2 November 1966, the status of Cubans admitted or paroled into the United States after 1 January 1959 may be adjusted to that of « permanent residents ». In order to qualify they must have been present in the United States for at least two years, must be eligible to receive an immigrant visa and be eligible for admission to the United States for permanent residence.
F. Improvement of the rights of refugees within the framework of regional legal instruments
ORGANIZATION OF AFRICAN UNITY - DRAFT CONVENTION RELATING TO THE STATUS OF REFUGEES IN AFRICA
72. In September 1966 a meeting of a Committee of Legal Experts of the Refugee Commission of OAU took place at Addis Ababa, at which the draft African Refugee Convention was considered and amended. UNHCR was represented by an observer. The draft, as amended by the legal experts, contains the three paramount humanitarian principles:
(a) That the granting of asylum to refugees is a peaceful and humanitarian act and shall not be regarded as an unfriendly act by any Member State;
(b) That no person shall be subjected by a Member State to measures such as rejection at the frontier, return or expulsion, which would compel him to return to or remain in a territory where his life, physical integrity or liberty would be threatened for the reasons set out in the definition of a refugee;
(c) That no refugee shall be repatriated against his will.
73. The summit meeting of the OAU which was held at Addis Ababa from 31 October to 6 November 1966, studied the report of the OAU secretariat on the problems of refugees in Africa and in particular the text of the draft Refugee Convention prepared by the Committee of Legal Experts. The meeting adopted a resolution taking note with satisfaction of the humanitarian principles laid down in the draft Convention and confirming the decision of the previous summit meeting at the Accra Conference in October 1965, by which Member States who have not yet done so are requested to accede to the United Nations 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. The resolution expresses the wish that the African instrument should deal with specific aspects of the refugee problems in Africa and that it should become an effective regional complement to the 1951 Convention. Member States were asked to re-examine the draft and to provide the OAU secretariat with their comments. The resolution also expresses appreciation for the efforts of UNHCR to make the Convention of 1951 universally applicable, particularly with regard to Africa.
ASIAN-AFRICAN LEGAL CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE
74. At the eighth session of the above Committee, held at Bangkok from 8 to 17 August, UNHCR was represented by an observer. The Committee devoted the greater part of its sessions to the discussion of the item on its agenda concerning the rights of refugees and adopted certain principles concerning their treatment. It adopted a definition of the term « refugee » similar to that contained in the 1951 Convention, but without dateline or geographic limitation.
75. The Committee also adopted an article on asylum which incorporates the principles of non-refoulement and of temporary asylum. Other articles adopted deal with the minimum standard of treatment for refugees, and protection against measures of expulsion and deportation.
INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE ON CIVIL STATUS (COMMISSION INTERNATIONALE DE L'ETAT CIVIL)
76. A representative of UNHCR attended a working group of this Committee held at Strasbourg in April 1966 and its annual meeting held at Athens in September 1966. The Committee decided to work out, in cooperation with UNHCR, an instrument dealing with the recognition of certificates issued by Member States in accordance with article 25 of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.
ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
77. The Office has been in frequent contact with the Human Rights Commission of the Organization of American States. This Commission has been considering problems relating to Human Rights in the Americas, which in some cases relate directly to refugees.
COUNCIL OF EUROPE
78. At its session held in April 1967 the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a motion concerning the integration of refugees in countries members of the Council of Europe, through the facilitation of their naturalization.
G. Indemnification by the Federal Republic of Germany
SUPPLEMENTARY UNHCR INDEMNIFICATION FUND
79. The Agreement concluded between the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Office of the High Commissioner on 5 October 1960 applied to persons who were persecuted under the national socialist regime by reason of their nationality and who were refugees within the meaning of the 1951 Convention on 1 October 1953, the dateline established under the indemnification legislation then in force in the Federal Republic. The Agreement provided, inter alia, for the establishment of a Fund to enable the High Commissioner to extend measures of assistance to this group of victims of persecution in so far as they were not entitled to indemnification under the German Indemnification Law.
80. As stated by the High Commissioner in his previous report to the General Assembly, a Final Indemnification Law was promulgated on 18 September 1965. This Law, inter alia, makes persons who did not qualify for indemnification on account of the abovementioned dateline of 1 October 1953 eligible for indemnification. The High Commissioner also reported on his discussions with the German authorities with regard to measures to provide assistance for persons persecuted by reason of their nationality and still not covered by the new legislation, similar to that provided under the Agreement of 1960 to such persons who were refugees on 1 October 1953. During the period under review these discussions were successfully concluded by an exchange of letters between the Federal Republic and the High Commissioner, in November 1966, by which the Federal Government undertook to make available to the High Commissioner an amount of DM3,500, 000 ($875,000) for measures of assistance to those persons who were excluded from the Agreement of 1960 by reason of the dateline requirement for refugee status. This amount is based on an estimated number of about 1,000 victims of persecution who might qualify for assistance. Pursuant to this Agreement, a supplementary indemnification fund has been established by UNHCR.
81. Implementation of this Agreement started on 1 December 1966. A tentative dateline has been set for the completion of the operation by 31 December 1968, which will however depend on the number of applications received by 30 September 1967, the closing date set for applications to the Supplementary UNHCR Indemnification Fund.
Article 1 of the Indemnification Agreement of 5 October 1960
82. With regard to the implementation of article 1 of the Indemnification Agreement of 1960, the competent German authorities had received as of 31 March 1967 35,741 applications, of which 7,329 had been settled at that date. The number of positive decisions taken was 1,264 and payments amounting to approximately DM58,000,000 had been made. In accordance with paragraph 3 of the Protocol to the Agreement, UNHCR has continued its consultations with the German authorities with a view to speeding up the processing of claims and to solving certain questions which have arisen concerning the qualification for indemnification of former forced labourers and alleged members of resistance groups.
83. On the occasion of the conclusion of the new Indemnification Agreement, the High Commissioner was assured that the establishment of the Supplementary Indemnification Fund would in no way affect the implementation of article 1 of the 1960 Agreement, in particular with regard to the question of indemnification of resistance fighters and forced labourers.
Chapter III MATERIAL ASSISTANCE TO REFUGEES
A. General observations
84. As the major aid programmes for «old» European refugees are nearing their final conclusion, the current annual programme has become the core of the network for assistance to refugees in over fifty countries. Thus from 230,400 to 240,000 refugees benefited from assistance projects under the UNHCR current programmes or from projects financed by the Emergency Fund in 1966. Through the catalytic character of the current programme for 1966 whose financial target had first been set at $3.9 million, many more refugees also received some form of material assistance which helped them to achieve a solution to their problems. The current programme, together with the $500,000 UNHCR Emergency Fund has further made it possible for the Office rapidly to intervene in a number of new refugee situations in Africa and Asia so that human suffering was alleviated from the start.
85. One of the significant events during 1966 has been the completion of the camp clearance programme in Europe which put an end to one of the most preoccupying post-war social and humanitarian problems. Further progress was also made in the settlement of «old» refugees while the number of newly recognized European refugees was smaller than in previous years. However, serious problems emerged in respect of new groups of refugees, particularly in Africa where several countries had to cope with a new influx, while in some others a considerable number of refugees were moved to a new location further inland with a view to their settlement in agriculture, which called for further support from the international community. In order to enable the Office to deal with these new problems the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme at its sixteenth session agreed to raise the target of the 1966 programme from $3,9 million to $4,168,650.
86. In Africa, over 190,000 refugees out of a total of some 730,000 were in the process of settlement with UNHCR assistance at the end of 1966 and this figure went up to over 200,000 during the first few months of 1967.
87. A number of projects from previous years, mainly for local integration, through housing or settlement on the land, were continued and/or completed in the course of 1966. The amount of nearly $3,860,000 committed in 1966 under the current programme and from the Emergency Fund attracted supporting contributions in an amount of $6,573,000. These contributions which, it will be recalled, are provided as a counterpart to the financial support of the international community reached a higher level in 1966 than in the previous year in spite of the economic and financial difficulties facing some of the countries of asylum of refugees. The aforementioned amount does not include the food supplies made available by the Word Food Programme in an amount of more than $1.5 million nor does it include the value of land placed at the disposal of refugees in Africa, the value of administrative services provided by Governments and operational partners of UNHCR, or the considerable amount of bilateral assistance provided by some Governments. Special mention should be made of the special trust funds entrusted to, or channelled through. UNHCR for essential complementary projects outside the programme. As shown in more detail in annex IV, projects in an amount of over $610,000 were financed by such funds in 1966, including projects to a value of over $203,500 for assistance to refugees in the field of education.
88. As previously, three solutions were offered to the refugees - voluntary repatriation, resettlement through migration to another country or local integration. Every opportunity has been given to refugees to return to their homelands. Governments of countries of origin and Governments of countries of asylum have held meetings with a view to facilitating the voluntary repatriation of refugees and, as an alternative, their local settlement in appropriate areas inland. For its part UNHCR has again offered to assist in the financing of repatriation when this could not be arranged from other sources. From the approximate number of 27,000 refugees who returned to their country of origin during 1966, mostly in Africa, 1,250 were assisted to this end by UNHCR in an amount of $15,651 from the 1966 programme, as indicated in more detail in annex II to this report. There are still many thousands of refugees in Africa whose repatriation is expected to take place once normal conditions are restored in the area from which they came. Pending their return they have been given a hospitable welcome by countries of reception and, where necessary, also some assistance from international funds.
89. Once a refugee has chosen not to avail himself of the opportunities for voluntary repatriation which may have been offered to him, assistance through the UNHCR programme is provided, if necessary, upon the request of the Government of the asylum country.
90. Resettlement through migration has continued to be a valuable solution, particularly for refugees in Europe. A number of immigration countries have continued their generous admission policy and thus helped several thousands of refugees, including a number of physically handicapped, to start a new life.
91. As heretofore, local integration in countries of asylum and of permanent residence has proved to be a solution for the great majority of refugees. In spite of the new influx of refugees in some countries, considerable progress has been made in that field. In various countries of Europe a limited number of non-settled refugees and new arrivals were able to achieve integration either spontaneously or with limited support from international sources. Of the active caseload of some 190,000 refugees in the process of local integration with UNHCR assistance at the end of 1966, the majority were in Burundi (46,000) and Uganda (47,000). Approximately 134,000 were still dependent on food rations at the end of the year. Most of them, however, are already cultivating the land and, provided that the harvest is successful, there is a good possibility that a number of them will no longer need rations in the course of 1967. The position of those who have become self-supporting is also further improving. In many settlements the initial settlement phase is being followed by the production of cash crops, poultry farming and an increasing number of other activities which, combined with the improving infra-structure, helps the refugees to consolidate their establishment and to build up rural communities which also benefit the local population. Further steps in that direction are being taken through the increased co-operation which has developed between UNHCR and other members of the United Nations system, as reported in chapter I above. Among the main results of these co-operation mention should be made of the results achieved in conjunction with UNDP, ILO, and FAO in Burundi and with ILO in the Kivu Province of the Congo, details of which are reported in section B below.
92. Counselling has continued to form an important part of the programme, particularly for those refugees who have to opt for a particular type of solution, in keeping with their background or skill. As reported in more detail in section C below, responsibility for the counselling of refugees in a number of European countries is being gradually transferred to the local authorities and agencies. In Africa, the need for counselling is also beginning to make itself felt in a certain number of cities where a growing number of refugees need advice and assistance with a view to their settlement. A project for this purpose has actually been included in the 1967 programme to provide counselling services to refugees in Dakar.
93. Particular attention has been devoted to the question of educational assistance to refugees, especially in Africa. Assistance towards primary education under the UNHCR current programme has taken the form of aid to refugees for building on a self-help basis temporary schools, which were usually run by the voluntary agencies or by the refugees themselves. In the framework of projects for the consolidation of refugee settlements, further provision may be made to the extent possible for promoting primary schools of the average standard adopted in the host country, on the understanding that the Government concerned takes over such schools in due course. In view of the importance of this question for the integration of new groups of refugees and taking into account the limited facilities available in the countries of asylum, the Executive Committee authorized the High Commissioner to open a special education account, to which contributions have already been made. The purpose of the account is to enable the Office to receive voluntary contributions to finance primary education for refugees in so far as the necessary expenditure cannot be absorbed fully by the programme, to promote secondary education and, to some extent also, university education. On this matter, UNESCO has pledged its full co-operation with UNHCR. Over 3,760 refugees are already benefiting from assistance under the account, including 2,770 who are receiving primary education, 788 secondary education, 169 technical training and 40 who follow university courses, at a total cost of some $125,000. A further amount of some $80,000 has been made available for various forms of vocational assistance to refugees in Africa. The High Commission has also co-operated with United Nations Headquarters and UNESCO with regard to the educational programmes established for South West Africans and refugees from territories under Portuguese administration.
94. As heretofore legal assistance has been granted to a number of individual refugees which has facilitated their permanent settlement. An amount of $100,416 was committed for this form of assistance under the 1966 programme. It has benefited over 5,000 refugees.
95. In spite of the progress made, it is clear that further assistance will be needed in order to continue to assist Governments to deal with the refugee problems which they are facing. The Executive Committee has accordingly adopted a financial target in an amount of $4,584,130 for the 1967 current programme. The allocations included in this programme are listed in annex V Below, together with a number of new allocations which will be submitted to the Committee at its seventeenth session. The decisions taken by the Committee on these proposed allocations and on the corresponding change in the financial target of the 1967 programme will be found in the report on the seventeenth session of the Executive Committee, which is attached as an appendix to the present report.
B. Assistance to African refugees
96. The number of Rwandese refugees, which had been estimated at 52,000 at the beginning of 1966, reached 54,000 by the end of the year. This increase, which was due both to population development and to the arrival of a number of refugees who had been staying in neighbouring countries, was partly offset by the voluntary repatriation of some 700 refugees and the resettlement of another hundred or so who went to join relatives in Tanzania and Uganda. Of the 54,000 refugees concerned, 19,000 were living in the settlement areas of Kayongozi, Kiganba and Muramba and 27,300 were settling at Mugera. The remainder were scattered throughout the country.
97. As the High Commissioner pointed out in his report to the twenty-first session, the exceptional drought which occurred in the autumn of 1965 resulted in a bad harvest and emergency measures had to be taken to combat malnutrition at the Kayongozi, Kigamba and Muramba settlements at the beginning of 1966. Food valued at $130,000 was provided by the World Food Programme and gifts totalling over $15,500 enabled UNHCR to pay, inter alia, for the transport of the food.
98. The situation improved considerably in the course of 1966. The refugees became self-supporting and it was possible to discontinue the distribution of food by the World Food Programme. The UNHCR/ILO integration and zonal development project, which has been in operation in the three settlements since 1964, brought about considerable improvements in the infra-structure of the area. By the end of 1966, 500 hectares of marshland had been reclaimed under this project, including 350 hectares actually brought under cultivation during the 1966 dry season; agricultural output had increased considerably; and the buildings planned for the three settlements had been completed. Other items on which work was completed were the water supply conduits, the provision of a ferry service on the river Ruvubu and the installation of workshops.
99. By the end of 1966, the greater part of the sum of $317,000 allocated to the UNHCR/ILO project (including $160,000 under a former UNHCR programme) had been committed. In addition a number of projects launched in previous years were completed in 1966, including the construction of eight primary schools, two dispensaries and houses for the necessary teachers and medical staff. These schools were attended by 1,338 Rwandese refugee children and a number of Burundi children during the 1965-1966 school year. The schools and the dispensaries are now run by the Government of Burundi.
100. Considerable progress was also made at Mugera, where there are over 27,000 Rwandese refugees. As comparatively new arrivals, a great many of these refugees needed food aid, which was provided by the World Food Programme to the value of over $1,550,000 and part of which will be distributed in 1967. Through the combined efforts of the Government of Burundi, the Association internationale pour le développement rural outre-mer and UNHCR, the refugees were helped to settle on the land as formers and the infra-structure of the area was improved considerably.
101. The greater part of the $560,000 allocated to the Mugera project has been committed. Furthermore, a balance amounting to some $30,000 has been allocated to a new comprehensive project, which is included in the 1967 programme, to enable the Rwandese refugees living in the various settlements in Burundi to settle in more firmly. In addition, contributions from private sources have made it possible to introduce bee-keeping in the area and to set up a vocational training centre in the area and to set up a vocational training centre for apprentice carpenters and blacksmiths at Mugera.
102. Of some 8,000 Rwandese refugees living outside settlements, several hundred were provided with educational assistance financed out of a special contribution from the Swedish Government and the proceeds of a private fund-raising effort. In addition, some 475 needy refugees were granted supplementary aid - a distinctly smaller number, it should be noted, than in 1965.
103. It has been decided to continue work under the existing programmes in the four settlements on an integrated basis. To that end, an allocation of $200,000 has been included in the 1967 programme, to which should be added a balance of $130,000 from the previous projects.
104. In the course of 1966 some 27,000 new Congolese refugees entered Burundi and 15,000 returned home. A sum of about $1,400 was committed by UNHCR in the course of 1966 to finance the transportation of 459 among them.
105. As a result of these movements, the number of Congolese refugees rose from 13,000 to about 25,000 in the course of 1966.
106. There is reason to believe that many of the Congolese refugees will wish to return home as soon as the situation permits; therefore no settlement programme has been drawn up for them. In the meantime, some of them are receiving emergency relief from voluntary agencies and in particular from religious missions.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
107. With the arrival of 9,500 new refugees in the Banbouti and Ouanda-Djallé area, the number of Sudanese refugees in the Central African Republic rose from 17,500 at the beginning of 1966 to 27,000 at the end of the year. In the initial stage, the sum of $106,000 was made available from the UNHCR Emergency Fund towards the cost of a relief operation to enable the refugees to meet their immediate needs. The Oxford Committee for Famine Relief made a grand of $14,000 towards this project.
108. Under an agreement concluded between the Government of the Central African Republic, the League of Red Cross Societies and UNHCR in June 1966, the group of refugees at Banbouti were to be settled in an area extending as far as Obo, over 100 kilometres from the Sudanese frontier. A programme was accordingly drawn up which would at the same time raise the level of living of some 3,000 Central African Republic nationals resident in the area. The implementation of the project was delayed somewhat by technical difficulties, but the results obtained by the end of the year were encouraging: some 1,000 refugee families had been transferred to the new districts, and enough progress had been made in agriculture for the distribution of food to some 20,000 refugees to be discontinued, if only temporarily, after the first harvest. At the same time, special attention was paid to health problems, and by the end of the year five small bush dispensaries were in operation in the area.
109. An allocation of $300,000 was made for this project under the UNHCR current programme for 1966; of this, $115,000 had been spent by 31 December 1966.
110. After discussions in November 1966, between the Government of the Sudan and the Government of the Central African Republic, it was agreed that refugees who expressed the wish to return to their country would be given the opportunity to do so and that the remainder would be helped to settle in the Central African Republic far from the Sudanese border.
111. Towards the end of the year, the implementation of the project had to be slowed down because the Government of the Central African Republic was planning to move the refugees to Mboki, in the interior, some 280 kilometres from the Sudanese frontier. The Mboki area is well irrigated, the local population is of the same ethnic origin as the refugees, and the latter should therefore be able to settle down well there. An allocation of $700,000 has been made by the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme for the settlement of the Sudanese refugees in 1967.
112. The number of Congolese refugees in the Central African Republic, which was estimated at 3,000 at the beginning of 1966, was increased by 13,000 new arrivals to 16,000 by the end of the year. The League of Red Cross Societies helped the newcomers to meet their most pressing needs.
113. Voluntary repatriation would still seem to be the ideal solution for most of the Congolese refugees; the fact that they did not return home in 1966 is largely due to the situation prevailing in the area from which they come.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
114. The number of Angolan refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was estimated at about 300,000 on 31 December 1966; this increase of some 30,000 since the beginning of the year was due to the arrival of new refugees, particularly in the Katanga and Lower Congo regions. The Angolan refugees belong to the same ethnic groups as the inhabitants of the areas where they have settled and consequently have no particular difficulty in integrating themselves into the local population. The hospitable attitude of the latter and the assistance provided by a number of voluntary bodies have enabled the refugees to continue to settle down to farming, as in the past; as a result, one year after leaving the reception centre most of these refugees are essentially self-supporting.
115. The High Commissioner has contributed $20,000 to the establishment by the Congolese Protestant Relief Agency of the Kimpese Agricultural and Vocational Training Centre, where a number of other skills are also taught. The UNHCR contribution supplements a donation of $13,565 from the Swedish Government for this project. The Centre went in to full operation in 1966.
116. No significant change is expected in the immediate future as regards the situation of the Angolan refugees in the Congo, most of whom are already more or less self-supporting. However, arrangements are still needed to provided them with some assistance in matters of education and health.
117. The number of Rwandese refugees in the Congo, nearly all of whom were in the Province of Kivu, fell from 25,000 at the beginning of 1966 to 24,000 at the end of the year. The small influx of Rwandese refugees was more than offset by the departure of about 1,200 for Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda and by the voluntary repatriation of about 100 more.
118. The UNHCR/ILO integration and zonal development project was continued only on a provisional basis pending the repeal - which took place at the end of 1966 - of the expulsion and sequestration decrees of August 1964; nevertheless, the project has enabled an increasing proportion of the refugees to become self-supporting. Co-operative societies were established to facilitate the marketing of export products such as tea and the articles made in the settlements, of which furniture from Bibwe is an example. A Central Co-operative Society was set up in North Kivu, incorporating nine local agricultural and three refugee co-operative societies. Efforts were made at the same time to increase the acreage planted to food crops and tea, especially in South Kivu.
119. If economic conditions in the settlement continue to improve at their present rate, there is reason to hope that by the end of 1967 the dispensaries will be able to manage without external aid and the Bibwe social centre will cover its own expenses by selling articles of clothing made by women and girls working at the Centre.
120. Side by side with the implementation of the UNHCR/ILO project, which is to continue in 1967, assistance was given to some 150 refugee families in settling down as farmers; in addition, some 150 needy refugees received small grants.
121. The majority of the 24,000 Rwandese refugees living in the Congo could be considered settled by 31 December 1966, particularly since their legal position had just been strengthened by the repeal of the decrees mentioned above. There is reason to hope, therefore, that UNHCR assistance to Rwandese refugees in the settlements can be discontinued as soon as the UNHCR/ILO project is completed.
122. At the beginning of 1966, 22,000 Sudanese refugees were living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, most of them in the north-eastern part where they had found shelter among their tribal kinfolk near the Sudanese frontier; another 2,000 entered the country in the course of the year. The Congolese Government asked the High Commissioner for help in solving the problems raised by these refugees, but it was not until December 1966 that a UNHCR fact-finding mission was able to visit the area. The Congolese and Sudanese Governments entered into negotiations to facilitate the repatriation of those refugees who expressed their desire for it and the settlement of the remainder on the land in the interior of the Congo. Similar arrangements have been made by the two Governments for Congolese refugees in the Sudan. An agreement on this subject was concluded between the two Governments at the beginning of 1967.
123. Meanwhile a contribution of $45,000 was made from the UNHCR Emergency Fund in June 1966 to help the refugees to meet their immediate needs. However, owing to the turn of events in the area concerned in July 1966 and its geographical position, it proved necessary to delay the implementation of this assistance programme and to extend the time allowed for the programme until June 1967. In addition the Emergency Fund contribution of $45,000 had to be increased by $5,000.
124. Plans to resettle in new areas those Sudanese refugees who wished to stay in the Congo had not yet been completed by the end of 1966.
Refugees from Guinea under Portuguese administration
125. On 1 January 1966 there were in Senegal 51,000 refugees from Portuguese Guinea. By the end of the year there were about 61,000 as a result of a large influx of new refugees, particularly into Casamance, already a densely populated area. The refugees continued to receive a spontaneous welcome from the local population, with whom they generally have ethnic affinities, but they have been encouraged to move into areas further from the frontier.
126. Since the refugees have shown no desire either to return home or to emigrate elsewhere, the main effort has been made in the direction of settling them locally as farmers and providing them with the necessary emergency assistance. The essential needs of both old and new refugees have been met with regard to food, clothing, blankets and transport, and the implementation of the land settlement programme continued in 1966 through the combined efforts of the Government of Senegal (which supplied land to an estimated value of some $2,145,000), the United States Government (which donated $245,000 worth of food), UNHCR, the league of Red Cross Societies and the Catholic Relief Services.
127. The attitude of the local population and the vigorous efforts of the refugees themselves made it possible, with the full agreement of the Government of Senegal, to reduce the original UNHCR allocation for the 1966 programme from $260,000 to $200,000, comprising $141,000 to settle the refugees on the land and $59,000 for medical assistance.
128. Measures taken under the 1966 programme to continue the task of settling the refugees from Portuguese Guinea included the distribution of tools and seed, the installation of five veterinary stations for the refugees' livestock, the construction of seventeen small bridges to make the various settlement areas accessible, the sinking of forty-two wells to increase the water supply, and the purchase of school materials for primary schools.
129. The $141,000 allocated to local settlement included a sum of $57,000 to cover the cost of moving inland some 2,000 tons of food donated by the United States.
130. The medical assistance extended to the refugees consisted mainly of the organization of three mobile health teams, which were in full operation before the end of 1966, and the extension of the Zinguichor hospital and the Nema hypnosery to enable them to accommodate the refugees. In addition a sum of $4,000 was committed to build a new village for lepers.
131. By the end of the year it was estimated that nearly two thirds of the refugee population could be considered to have reached the same level of living as the local population. The remainder are expected to be self-supporting by the end of 1967.
132. To this end, the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme has authorized him to make a new allocation of some $140,000 under the 1967 Programme, for the settlement of the refugees from Portuguese Guinea on the land in Casamance and for the establishment at Dakar, of a social service to assist several hundreds of refugees who are sometimes in a precarious situation.
133. The number of Rwandese refugees in Tanzania remained at about 13,500, including over 3,000 on the Mwesi highlands, 6,500 at Muyenzi, over 2,000 at Karagwe and about 2,000 outside the settlement areas.
134. The settlement on the land of the 3,000 Rwandese refugees at Mwesi proceeded steadily during the year. Satisfactory results have now been achieved in this area through the refugees' own efforts, the financial support provided by UNHCR ($163,760 committed under the 1966 programme) and the help given by the Lutheran World Federation and the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief. The increased area of land under cultivation, in addition to a bumper crop, made it possible to reduce the amount of food supplied under the World Food Programme by one third in 1966, and an even larger cut is expected for 1967. Irrigation channels have been dug by the refugees in some villages to provide better soil irrigation, and most of the construction work included in the project has been completed. A grant from private sources made it possible to extend the Mwesi dispensary.
135. On the initiative of the Oxford Committee and with funds to be provided by that organization, the Agricultural Development Service of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, in agreement with the Tanzanian Government, has undertaken to survey the economic potential of the region in which Mwesi is situated. The purpose of this survey is to determine the feasibility of a general development plan for the region.
136. At Karagwe the Tanzanian Government, a Danish volunteer them and the Tanganyika Christian Refugee Service are engaged in a joint effort to complete the settlement of 2,300 Rwandese refugees on the land; this task is almost at an end. The agricultural co-operative is thriving, and indeed some of the refugees may begin paying local taxes in the near future.
137. The 6,500 refugees at Muyenzi were also settled in more firmly through the completion in 1966 of the projects launched under the 1965 programme for the establishment of settlement headquarters, the purchase and maintenance of vehicles, road improvement and the distribution of banana plants.
138. The Rwandese refugees benefited during the year from a number of education projects financed by special contributions.
139. In conclusion, enough progress was made at the Karagwe settlements for the refugees there to be regarded as settled; satisfactory progress was also achieved at Mwesi. As for the refugees at Muyenzi they now have enough arable land to make them self-supporting in the very near future.
Refugees from Mozambique
140. There were 12,000 Mozambiquan refugees in Tanzania on 1 January 1966. They were living in two settlement, Rutamba and Lundo. In the course of the year their number increased to 19,000 with the arrival of 7,000 new refugees, particularly in the Muhukuru and M'Bamba Bay areas. In view of this steady influx, the Tanzanian authorities decided in mid-year to establish a new land settlement at Muhukuru for 6,000 refugees who do not belong to the same tribes as those settled at Lundo.
141. The Rutamba project, originally designed to accommodate 10,000 Mozambiquan refugees, was scaled down because there were only 6,000 refugees living in that settlement.
142. The High Commissioner made an allocation of $25,000 from his Emergency Fund to provide relief for the refugees at Muhukuru in preparation for their settlement on the land. The World Food Programme, for its part, undertook to supply them with food, while the Lutheran World Federation/Tanganyika Christian Refugee Service distributed tools and seeds, erected building for the refugees and supplied them with the necessary vehicles. The refugees at Lundo were granted emergency relief in an amount of some $10,700 out of the UNHCR Emergency Fund and a further $4,200 contributed by the Oxford Committee.
143. As a result of the revision of the Rutamba project, the initial allocation of $192,550 made under the UNHCR programme for 1966 was reduced to approximately $125,000. With this financial assistance from UNHCR and the active co-operation of the World Food programme and of the Lutheran World Federation/Tanganyika Christian Refugee Service, the land settlement of refugees at Rutamba made satisfactory progress. By the end of the year virtually an area of 720 hectares out of a total of 800 hectares turned over to them had been cleared, nearly every refugee had a plot of land, and there was every reason to believe that the food rations supplied by the World Food Programme could be reduced after the harvest in April 1967.
144. In addition, most of the buildings constituting the infra-structure of the settlement - a school unit comprising three classrooms, a health centre, and office block and staff housing - were either completed or in their final stages. The same applied to the laying of water pipes, the erection of tower tanks and the installation of pumps. A bridge had been built on the access road to the settlement, which can now be kept open to traffic all year round.
145. At the end of 19656 there were only 2,500 Mozambiquan refugees in the Muhukuru settlement, which had been planned to accommodate 6,000, but another 3,500 are expected to join them soon in 1967.
146. At Lundo, where UNHCR had committed $70,000 to a three-year project for 4,000 refugees, the initial cultivation yielded good results. However, progress was lowed somewhat during the year owing to transport difficulties created by the rainy season. Even so, the Tanzanian Government will be able to improve the access road by May.
147. The Mozambiquan refugees at Rutamba also benefited from supplementary education projects financed out of special contributions outside the programme. These contributions amounted to $18,160, most of which was donated by the Swedish Government to cover requirements for the 1965-1966 school year. The Swedish Government has also provided some $23,250 for use in the school year 1966-1967.
148. Of the 3,000 Congolese refugees in Tanzania at the beginning of 1966, 2,200 decided to return home during the year. Hence, on 31 December there were in Tanzania only 800 Congolese refugees, 500 of whom were sharing the Pangale settlement with 150 refugees from Malawi.
149. The $22,000 allocated by UNHCR, under the 1966 programme, for the development of the Pangale settlement had been fully committed by the end of 1966, in addition to the $1,100 allocated to help in repatriating 473 Congolese refugees. Moreover, the 500 Malawian refugees, had begun farming the land turned over to them, although they were still receiving food under the World Food Programme. A temporary dispensary was in operation in one of the three villages in the settlement and the Government of Tanzania had made arrangements to erect permanent buildings for these refugees.
150. Additional assistance will be required in 1967 to enable the Congolese refugees at Pangale to continue their settlement on the land. An allocation of $8,000 was approved for this purpose by the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's programme at its sixteenth session.
151. Of the 156,000 Rwandese, Sudanese and Congolese refugees who were in Uganda at the end of 1966, some 47,000 were living in settlement where they benefited from programmes carried out by the Government with financial support from the international community. The Ugandan Government has stated that the remaining 110,000 or so refugees were living among the local population. In view of the very large number of refugees in Uganda, it has been impossible for the Government to ascertain how many refugees have returned home.
152. The number of Rwandese refugees resident in Uganda on 1 January 1966 was estimated at 65,000. The arrival of 3,000 new refugees in the course of the year raised the total to approximately 68,000, of whom half found homes with relatives or friends; this should facilitate their assimilation. The remaining 34,400 were unevenly scattered among the seven settlements established for them by the Government of Uganda with the assistance of the international community. At the end of 1966, 13,000 Rwandese refugees in Uganda were still receiving food rations.
153. In order to help the Ugandan Government to relieve overcrowding in the rich Oruchinga valley, where nearly 11,500 instead of the expected 5,500 refugees were accommodated, UNHCR allocated a sum of $55,320 from its Emergency Fund in 1966 to facilitate the transfer of a first group of Rwandese refugees to a new settlement at Kyangwali and to help them settle in. The transfer was due to take place in the early month of 1967.
154. The process of establishing the refugees in the other areas continued smoothly during the year. UNHCR allocated the balance of a 1965 project for the purchase of seed and for marginal assistance to primary education. In addition twenty-four scholarships - twenty for secondary and four for technical education - were granted to Rwandese refugees.
155. Generally speaking, the progress achieved in various fields in 1966 gives every reason to hope that, provided the present course of events in the settlements is not altered by unforeseen developments such as drought or an influx of new refugees, the day is not far off when the Rwandese refugees in Uganda will be self-supporting.
156. Taking into account, on the one hand, the voluntary repatriation of some 1,000 Sudanese refugees during 1966 and, on the other, the arrival of some 12,000 new Sudanese refugees, the total number of these refugees at the end of 1966 was 55,000. The Uganda Government found it necessary to transfer to the interior of the country a number of refugees who were already settling down. This naturally affected the organization of assistance to Sudanese refugees, and the Government had to review the measures being taken to solve their problems. In the meantime assistance to the refugees was continued out of the allocation of $442,100 approved by the Executive Committee under the 1964 and 1965 programmes.
157. In agreement with the Government, arrangements were made to settle the Sudanese refugees at Nakapiripirit, where there were already 3,000 refugees at the beginning of 1966, at Onigo, where there were 500 refugees, and at Agago, where there were 2,000 refugees. The arrival of 3,000 more refugees at Nakapiripirit naturally affected conditions for the 3,000 who were already living in the settlements and whose level of living was beginning to rise. As a result, the 6,000 refugees in this settlement will continue to require international assistance in 1967. The same applies to the original 500 refugees at Onigo, who were being helped by the Uganda Government. The arrival of 2,500 new refugees in the area created a need for international aid to settle them in. A sum of $195,000 had accordingly been allocated for that purpose under the 1967 programme. Encouraging progress has been made at Agago; more than 270 hectares of land have been brought under cultivation, and it is hoped that this figure will be doubled in 1967. The refugees are self-supporting in food and have even begun to sell their produce on the local markets.
158. Lastly, 242 Sudanese refugees benefited during 1966 from educational and vocational training projects paid for by special contributions.
159. With the arrival of some 5,000 new refugees during the year, the number of Congolese refugees living in Uganda on 31 December 1966 was estimated at 33,000.
160. Most of these refugees were living dispersed among the local population, but some received assistance from the international community. They were accommodated in three settlements. The largest of these - Acolpi - was planned for 3,000 persons, but there were only slightly over 800 refugees living there on 31 December.
161. With a UNHCR allocation of $60,000 under the 1966 programme, some of the infra-structural work planned for the Acolpi settlement was carried out. Land was cleared and tools and seeds distributed. Preliminary work to improve the access road was also begun. Most of this allocation, however, will be spent in 1967, when the number of refugees living in the settlement will in all likelihood reach 3,000, the figure originally expected.
162. In order to enable the Ugandan Government to continue and complete the proposed settlement of 3,000 Congolese refugees on the land at Acolpi, the Executive Committee has already authorized the High Commissioner to allocate $32,450 under his 1967 programme.
163. The number of Angolan refugees in Zambia, estimated at about 100 at the beginning of 1966, increased to nearly 3,800 by the end of the year after a mass influx of new refugees into the Balovale, Kalabo and Senanga districts and the voluntary repatriation of nearly 1,100.
164. A total of $76,000 was allocated from the UNHCR Emergency Fund in 1966 to provide emergency relief for these refugees and to move them to Lwatembo and Mankoya, where they were to be settled on the land. At the end of the year, 3,300 refugees were being established at Lwatembo and 500 at Mankoya. A sum of $338,000 has been included in the 1967 programme to help these refugees to settle in Zambia.
165. The number of refugees from Mozambique, estimated at 5,000 at the beginning of 1966, had dropped to 1,800 by the end of the year. Some 1,000 new Mozambiquan refugees arrived during the year, mainly in the Petauke district, but about 4,000 of those who had preceded them to Zambia returned to their own country.
166. In 1966 UNHCR committed $5,000 from the Emergency Fund to help the Zambian Government to provide emergency relief for the new arrivals in the Petauke district at the end of 1965. This sum was used for the purchase of blankets, food, and the medicine needed to arrest an outbreak of measles in the district.
167. The settlement of the Mozambiquan refugees at Nyimba, where they have been regrouped, made satisfactory progress after a slow start. Virtually the entire UNHCR allocation of $95,000 under the 1966 programme was used to settle these refugees on the land as farmers. By the end of the year over 150 hectares of the land turned over to them had been cleared and brought under cultivation, and work was under way to increase the arable area even further. It is hoped, therefore, that the refugees will be self-supporting by the middle of 1968.
168. In addition, the infra-structure of the Nyimba settlement was improved during the year by the construction of water-towers, laying out the five villages in the settlement, and building an access road to the settlement from the main highway.
169. Additional assistance will be required in 19657 to enable the Mozambiquan refugees in Zambia to settle in more firmly. To that end the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme, at it its sixteenth session, allocated a sum of $49,100 to help the refugees until such time as they become self-supporting, which should be towards the end of 1968.
OTHER AFRICAN COUNTRIES
170. There were approximately 250 refugees in Kenya in 1966. They benefited from the assistance of voluntary agencies in the country. The High Commissioner has allocated an amount of $1,500 in order to facilitate the voluntary repatriation of these refugees and to give them a certain amount of supplementary aid. Furthermore, the High Commissioner has contributed $9,000 from his Emergency Fund to Rwanda in order to participate in a relief operation for a group of 3,000 Burundi refugees who had been granted asylum by the Rwandese authorities.
C. Assistance to European refugees
ASSISTANCE UNDER THE MAJOR AID PROGRAMMES
171. At the twenty-first session of the General Assembly, the High Commissioner reported that the major aid programmes of his Office were nearing completion. By 31 December 1966, the financing of these programmes, which had been drawn up and approved between 1955 and 1963, was finally assured and all projects for their completion were being put into effect.
172. It will be recalled that these programmes were initiated in order to achieve the permanent settlement of several hundreds of thousands of European refugees, mostly victims of the Second World War. As stated at the beginning of this chapter, one of the most significant events in 1966 was the final closure of the remaining refugee camps in Europe. In the course of the year a total of 4,170 refugees were settled, leaving a caseload of 7,400, the majority of whom are in France (800), in the Federal Republic of Germany (3,960) and in Greece (2000).
173. Pursuant to a decision taken by the Executive Committee at its fifteenth session held in May 1966, some 2,100 «old» European refugees in areas other than Europe, for whom solutions were still required, have been brought within the scope of the UNHCR current programme. They included 1,150 refugees in the Far East, most of whom were awaiting movement to Hong Kong pending their resettlement in a country of final destination, 350 refugees of European origin in the Middle East and 610 in Morocco, many of whom are awaiting resettlement opportunities in other countries.
174. In France, where there are some 190,000 European refugees, recognized as such under the terms of the 1951 Convention and where the largest proportion of severely handicapped cases is to be found, projects for the placement of physically handicapped refugees in institutions are still in progress. In Germany, where there are some 180,000 European refugees, the limited remaining assistance caseload consists of refugees awaiting accommodation to be provided under the government housing schemes. In Greece, the solution of the problem depends upon the completion of substantial housing projects, most of which are in the course of implementation. There are still limited numbers of non-settled refugees in Italy and in Turkey where good progress is being made towards the solution of their problems.
175. In various European countries there are still several hundreds of non-settled handicapped refugees. Out of some 100,000 European refugees in Latin America - the majority in Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela - there are still several thousands who, owing to old age or physical handicaps, are now unable to fend for themselves. Provision for assistance to these handicapped refugee has been included in the UNHCR current programme which is discussed below.
ASSISTANCE UNDER UNHCR CURRENT OPERATIONS
176. The number of newly recognized European refugees in 1966 amounted to approximately 6,700, as compared with over 10,000 in the preceding year. As in the past, many of these refugees, who are young and in good health, were able to take advantage of the opportunities for immigration offered to them. Several thousands of them were resettled through the concerted efforts of the Governments of asylum countries, the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration, the United States Refugee Program and the voluntary agencies. The traditional countries of immigration overseas have continued to take a considerable interest in the resettlement of refugees and to apply a liberal policy in respect of their admission for permanent settlement. Also in Europe, several countries have continued to admit refugees, including the handicapped. Owing to changes in the situation of the labour market in several of these countries, however, there has been a slowing down of immigration which has had certain repercussions on the resettlement of refugees in these countries.
177. The Office of the High Commissioner has continued to follow closely this important aspect of the work of assistance to refugees. It has promoted the resettlement of 199 handicapped refugees, and it has financed, or co-financed the resettlement through migration of 630 refugees, including 251 handicapped, at a cost of $300,000 to the current programme for 1966. This number includes some 180 refugees of European origin who left the Far East via Hong Kong in order to be resettled in other countries. Among them are practically all the remaining members of the group of «Old Believers». At the end of 1966 there remained some 1,000 refugees of European origin on the mainland of China, most of them in the Sinkiang Province. Their resettlement in other countries is being arranged under the current programme for 1967 upon their arrival at Hong Kong.
178. The High Commissioner has also pursued his efforts to help the 610 refugees of European origin in Morocco and 350 in the Middle East to make a fresh start through resettlement in other countries.
179. The High Commissioner has given particular attention to the question of resettlement of refugees who have been admitted to Yugoslavia and for whom few resettlement opportunities have been forthcoming in 1966. The work of selection missions from countries of immigration in that country should be facilitated by the opening of a modern reception centre built by the Yugoslav Government in co-operation with UNHCR and also by the opening at Belgrade of an embassy by one of the principal overseas countries of immigration. It is hoped therefore that additional immigration opportunities for the refugees concerned will be offered in the course of 1967.
180. While a number of European refugees were able to establish themselves through their own resources in the countries which has offered them asylum, over 3,000 needed some form of international assistance under projects forming part of the 1966 programme, the majority in Austria, the Federal Republic of Germany, France, Greece and Yugoslavia. Most of these refugees benefited from establishment assistance and housing except in Yugoslavia, where they were helped to settle on the land.
181. Counselling services were again provided to a number of European refugees, particularly the handicapped, so as to guide them in the choice of an appropriate solution. In accordance with the principle whereby responsibility for assistance to refugees should be assumed as far as possible by the country of asylum or residence of refugees, efforts have been made to transfer the financial responsibilities for counselling from UNHCR to the Governments and voluntary agencies concerned. Good progress has been made in this respect, particularly in Austria, Italy, the Federal Republic of Germany and France so that the allocation for counselling in the 1967 programme could be considerably reduced, as compared with the allocation included in the 1966 programme.
182. The problems of the aged and otherwise handicapped refugees continue to require a great deal of attention, even though their numbers have considerably decreased. In view of the importance of this problem the High Commissioner was requested by his Executive Committee to prepare a reappraisal of their problems and more particularly of those of the severely handicapped cases. According to this reappraisal, there would appear to be 213 refugees whose physical, mental or social handicap is so severe that no solution could so far be found for them. If the countries which have already admitted the majority of the handicapped refugees with a view to their resettlement were prepared to make an additional effort, this number could be reduced to some 95 cases (200 persons) who would have to be placed in protected communities or specialized institutions. The above-mentioned group does not include the handicapped in Latin America. A study of their situation has been carried out by the former UNHCR mental health adviser and steps have been taken, especially in Argentina, Brazil and Chile, to secure appropriate care for several hundreds of them.
183. As may be seen from the above, resettlement through migration continues to play a very important role in solving the problems of European refugees. Similarly, considerable efforts are still required to achieve solutions for the remaining handicapped cases.
D. Assistance to other groups
184. According to a recent reassessment of the number of Chinese refugees in Macao made by the local authorities, their number amounted to some 73,000 at the beginning of 1966. In the course of the year, there was an influx of 2,600 refugees. As 1,500 refugees left Macao in 1966, their total number at the end of the year was estimated at nearly 74,000.
185. As in the past, UNHCR policy has been to support projects which would create employment opportunities and facilitate the rehabilitation and local integration of the refugees. UNHCR's assistance was accordingly concentrated on a number of small projects in sectors where the need was greatest, such as housing, vocational training and education.
186. Further progress was made in the construction of 242 apartments on Taipa island, approved under the 1965 programme. Two other projects for the construction of apartments, envisaged on Taipa island and in Macao, and involving commitments of $100,000 and $16,800 respectively were deferred following the events which occurred in Macao at the end of the year.
187. The operation of a $10,000 revolving fund for the issue of small loans to refugees wishing to establish themselves in trade, though deferred at the close of 1966, commenced in early 1967.
188. A workshop which was to be constructed at the social rehabilitation centre for drug addicts on Taipa island, involving a contribution of $9,000 under the High Commissioner's programme, was on the point of completion at the end of 1966. As regards education and training, a vocational training centre involving a UNHCR allocation of $15,000 was built on Coloane island. A similar centre is under construction on Taipa island, involving a UNHCR allocation of $15,600. UNHCR made available in 1966 half of the $30,000 approved allocation for a hostel for refugee girls, the construction of which started in Macao.
189. Although the events of the end of 1966 delayed some of the assistance projects, most of them were resumed in 1967. Generally speaking, the UNHCR programme, modest though it is, has made a satisfactory impact. It will be necessary, however, for further international assistance to be granted to the refugees in 1967 and an allocation of $145,000 has accordingly been included in the 1967 programme for this purpose.
190. The position of Chinese refugees in Hong Kong is very much the same as it was a year ago: they continue to benefit from the over-all development projects which are put into effect by the Hong Kong authorities for the population as a whole.
191. The principal problem with regard to Cubans arises in Spain, where the majority of them wishes to be resettled in the United States of America, mainly in order to join relatives.
192. As was stated in the report to the twenty-first session, following amendments to the United States Immigration and Naturalization Act, which became effective in December 1965, the rate of Cubans who could emigrate from Spain to the United States decreased considerably during the first two months of 1966. Although the number of visas issued has again increased since march 1966, new arrivals continued to outnumber those who were able to leave and in 1966, their influx amounted to 6,680, as against 2,415 accepted for resettlement in the United States, leaving at the end of the year a backlog of some 3,800 wishing to emigrate. Consequently there has been a need for additional arrangements in respect of the care and maintenance of newcomers by the Spanish authorities and UNHCR, and the voluntary agencies concerned have had to readjust their programmes accordingly.
193. As in previous years, however, the main needs of Cubans in Spain were met from their own resources and with the help of relatives and friends, while the Spanish Government provided food and medical care and voluntary agencies concerned themselves particularly with cases needing emergency relief.
194. Under the 1966 programme an amount of $14,000 was provided for small grants to help newcomers to secure accommodation and an amount of $85,000 towards the local integration of the limited number of Cubans who decided to settle in Spain and cannot do so without international assistance. To meet the needs of new arrivals, counselling services were provided by UNHCR in an amount of over $21,000.
195. Of the 2,751 Cubans who emigrated from Spain during 1966, 475 hardship cases were assisted to pay their passage to the United States, through a revolving fund established by UNHCR and the intergovernmental Committee for European Migration.
196. In Latin America emergency assistance was provided, at a cost of some $22,000, for over 900 Cubans in transit, on their way to be resettled in the United States.
197. The number of Cubans admitted to the United States increased from 249,000 at the end of 1965 to 288,000 at the beginning of 1967. Some 95 Cubans wishing to be resettled in Latin America and other countries, mainly for the purpose of joining their families, were given transportation assistance at a total cost of $10,555 to UNHCR.
198. recent estimated indicate that during 1966 the total number of Tibetan refugees in Nepal was approximately 7,000, of whom 2,500 were living in organizes settlements where they were receiving assistance from various sources, while the others were still scattered in the remote mountain regions of the country.
199. The situation of the refugees in organized settlements had considerably improved by the end of 1966 when the basic requirements of refugees in respect of housing, schooling and medical care were not far from being met. Employment opportunities have also increased. This is illustrated by the fact that, at the beginning of the year, some 1,650 refugees were receiving food rations donated under the United States Agricultural Assistance Act, while by the end of the year about 1,000 of them no longer needed such assistance. It is expected that those who are able-bodied will be self-supporting by mid-1967. The handicapped will require special assistance thereafter. At the same time, however, efforts are being made in each settlement to provide for their continuing care through the co-operation of the working members of the local community.
200. While no new projects were undertaken during 1966, the four projects negotiated with the Nepal Red Cross society in 1965, involving a contribution of $124, 750 under the UNHCR programme, were continued. Good Progress was made in the Kathmandu settlement, where 90 out of 106 housing units had been constructed by the end of 1966, and in the Pokhara settlement, where work on the housing units was similarly well under way. The management and counselling project, involving a $9,000 allocation under the programme, whereby three volunteers of the United Nations Association of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland are assisting the refugees in the Pokhara settlement in becoming self-supporting, is well under way.
201. A small project to provide medical care for refugees suffering from tuberculosis, for which $5,000 was allocated under the programme, was also put into effect in the course of the year.
202. In order to help consolidate the establishment of the 2,500 refugees living in organized settlements, an allocation of $71,000 has been included by the Executive Committee in the current programme for 1967.
203. While the problem of the physically handicapped will, it is hoped, be solved to a large extent, as indicated in paragraph 199 above, there remain the problems of the estimated 4,500 refugees, scattered in the mountainous areas which are of difficult access. The UNHCR representative in Nepal, who made a seventeen-day trek to the Mustang area to investigate their position, has reported on the serious needs of both the local population and the refugees in the area, particularly in the field of medical care. It is hoped that, should the Nepalese Government prepare a medical assistance programme in the framework of its general development plans for the area, it might be possible to secure funds from international sources in order to participate in such a programme, which would also benefit the refugees concerned.
204. As indicated in his report to the twenty-first session of the General Assembly, there are some 45,000 Tibetan refugees in India for whom assistance is provided by the Government of India. In addition, the help of a number of voluntary agencies is being co-ordinated by the Central Relief Committee of India. In accordance with the wishes expressed by the Indian Government, contributions from private sources were made available by UNHCR for complementary aid, in particular for the implementation of a medical programme through the Indian Red Cross Society in the Simla area. An allocation of $9,000 has been included in the UNHCR current programme for 1967 to continue this medical programme as suggested by the Indian Government. Furthermore, a number of projects have been drawn up by the Indian authorities concerned for the settlement of Tibetan refugees in agriculture and light industry. It is expected that many of these projects might be financed from the proceeds of the European Refugee Campaign for 1966.
205. According to information received from the Cambodian Government some 17,000 Khmer refugees had entered the country during the period from 1962 to 1966. The Government generously provides the refugees with necessities and helps them to settle in agriculture. Upon its request, $10,000 were made available from the UNHCR Emergency Fund to establish three reception centres for the refugees. From a special contribution of over $23,000 granted by the Government of Switzerland through UNHCR for assistance to these refugees, agricultural implements will be made available to them in the course of 1967.
REFUGEES FROM ZANZIBAR
206. Since 1964 there has been a movement of residents of Arab origin from Zanzibar to the Arabian peninsula. The majority entered the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman; others who were unable to do so were granted asylum in the Trucial State of Dubai. At the end of 1966 their number had reached over 200. The Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme accordingly approved an allocation of $10,000 to assist these refugees in settling in their new community.
Chapter IV ADMINISTRATIVE AND FINANCIAL MATTERS
A. Financing of former programmes
207. Practically all the outstanding contributions to the 1963 programme have been paid, so that the financing of that programme was ensured by the end of 1966. All funds under this programme were committed as of 31 December 1966.
208. With regard to the 1965 programme, the shortfall which was reported to the General Assembly at its twenty-first session, and which was temporarily met from «funds set aside»,4 has now been full covered.
B. Financing of the UNHCR current programme for 1966
209. As indicated in section A of chapter III above, it proved necessary in view of newly arising needs in the course of 1966, to raise the financial target of the 1966 programme from $3.9 million to $4,168,560. As the High Commissioner reported to the General Assembly previously, by 31 March 1966, thirty-three Governments had announced contributions to the 1966 programme in a total amount of $2,904,287. Since them further contributions in an amount of $219,688 were announced by another nineteen Governments. As of 31 March 1967, contributions paid, pledged or conditionally pledged had reached a total of $3,380,342 including $3,123,975 from governmental sources and $256,367 from other sources, as shown in more detail in annex VI to this report. Taking into account cancellations and reductions in approved allocations under the 1966 programme and further increased contributions from the non-governmental sector, the financing of that programme is now also ensured.
C. Financing of operations outside the 1966 programme
210. In accordance with the catalytic character of the UNHCR programme a considerable amount of funds were made available again for essential projects complementary to the current programme. These funds, referred to as «special trust funds», for operations outside the programmed were paid, pledged or conditionally pledged in an amount of nearly $560,000, including $188,910 from governmental source, mainly for the UNHCR refugee education account, and $361,000 from the private sector.
211. A considerable proportion of this amount is already included in the $610,000 referred to in paragraph 87 above and representing the value of assistance provided from trust funds in 1966.
D. Financing of the 1967 programme
212. As at 31 March 1967, a total amount of $2,521,737 had been paid, pledged or conditionally pledged towards the financing of the UNHCR current programme for 1967, leaving a gap of $2,062,393 against the present target of $4,584,130 as shown in more detail in annex VII to this report. While not all governmental contributions have as yet been announced, the High Commissioner is concerned about the size of the present financial gap which might further increase if the new and urgent projects, in an amount of $262,000, which are being submitted to the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme at its seventeenth session, are approved by the Committee, and if the financial target of the 1967 programme is increased accordingly.
213. The High Commissioner is grateful to several Governments, which, in accordance with previous recommendations of the General Assembly and of the Executive Committee, have agreed to increase their contributions to the 1967 programme. These increases, however, are already included in the total amount of contributions referred to above. While it is expected that some additional funds will be made available for the UNHCR current programme from the proceeds of the European Refugee Campaign, which was launched in 1966 and which is described below, it is to be feared that the full target of the 1967 programme might not be met unless the total governmental contributions increase above the 1966 level.
214. Furthermore there is every reason to believe that in 1968, when far smaller amounts may be expected from the private sector, a considerable shortfall in the financial target will appear which might seriously impair the work of assistance for refugees. The High Commissioner had therefore felt it his duty to address and appeal to Governments, including most Members of the United Nations and members of the specialised agencies, in order to seek both wider and increased financial participation in the UNHCR programmes so that their financing may be assured, in accordance with the terms of General Assembly resolution 2197 (XXI).
E. Use of the Emergency Fund
215. During 1966 a total amount of $246,250 was drawn from the Emergency Fund mainly to meet newly emerging needs in respect of refugees in Africa pending the approval of further assistance projects by the Executive Committee. Pursuant to General Assembly resolution 1166 (XII), the fund was restored to its $500,000 ceiling from the reimbursement of loans previously granted to refugees under various projects.
F. Refugee campaign, 1966
216. As stated in paragraph 186 of the report submitted by the High Commissioner to the General Assembly at its twenty-first session, a large-scale fundraising campaign for refugees was launched on United Nations Day, in October 1966, mainly to finance permanent solutions for refugees outside Europe. The campaign was initiated and organised by a group of voluntary agencies. His Royal Highness, Bernhard, Prince of the Netherlands accepted the chairmanship of the group. The campaign was started simultaneously in eighteen European countries. Private organizations in Australia and New Zealand generously associated themselves with this venture, and the agencies in Sweden held their campaign in the spring of 1967. Thus a total of twenty countries5 shared in this humanitarian effort, which was further enhanced by the fact that United Nations Day 1966 was dedicated to the cause of refugees. In most participating countries, the campaign was prolonged until the end of 1966. Though final results are not yet known, it is possible to state that the campaign has been very successful. It is clear, however, that it was the wish of the donors to raise funds needed to help refugees who had hitherto not benefited from international assistance or to provide other refugees with a little more than the bare minimum which they are receiving. While a good deal of the funds will be allocated in close consultation with the High Commissioner, and some of them channelled through UNHCR, only a limited amount of about $500,000 has so far been made available towards the financing of UNHCR current programmes.
Chapter V PUBLIC INFORMATION AND PROGRAMME SUPPORT
217. In 1966, the public information services of UNHCR continued to bring before a wide public the problems of refugees, and the steps being taken towards their solution. In particular, efforts were concentrated on the work of the Office in Africa and Asia, which had not as yet been widely publicized. The evidence of positive results achieved through action undertaken in conjunction with the authorities of countries of asylum, other members of the United Nations system and voluntary agencies is of considerable importance in mobilizing the sympathy and financial support of Governments and the public alike.
218. During the past year, much publicity for the refugee cause has resulted from visits paid to a large number of countries by the High Commissioner, in the course of which, in addition to conferring with Heads of State and government officials, the High Commissioner had the opportunity of outlining the activities of his Office to the Press, and on radio and television.
219. The Office of the High Commissioner has again benefited from the valuable co-operation of United Nations information centres in all areas of the world, and an encouraging interest in the work and achievements of the Office has been shown by many newspaper correspondents.
220. Of great importance, from the point of view of public information, was the decision taken by the General Assembly at its twentieth session, whereby United Nations Day 1966 was dedicated to the cause of refugees. Close contact was maintained with the United Nations Office of Public Information with regard to the observance of United Nations Day, and an impressive array of events were successfully organized. Ceremonies, during which statements were made by Heads of State of Cabinet Ministers, were held in a number of countries; parades, flag-raising ceremonies and concerts were organized, as were balls, theatrical performances, photographic exhibitions and sports events.
221. Radio and television coverage of the events was extensive, and statements by the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner, interviews with UNHCR representatives, and refugee films and features were broadcast.
222. A related event which marked the autumn of 1966 was the European Refugee Campaign 1966, which is described in detail in chapter IV above.
223. In preparation for United Nations Day and the campaign, the information services of UNHCR prepared a series of articles dealing with specific refugee groups, those from the Congo, Rwanda, the Sudan, Portuguese Guinea, Mozambique and Angola, as well as Tibetans in Nepal and Chinese in Macao. A general background information document was issued, outlining the history of international refugee work, and a text for use in schools was prepared, so that young people could learn the nature of refugee problems. Some 50,000 photographs were distributed to United Nations information centres and fund-raising committees.
224. UNHCR also issued a publication in magazine form entitle UNHCR Reports... Refugees in Africa which tells the story of international relief and assistance operations on behalf of refugees in Africa. A distribution of 40,000 copies was made to interested parties, including governmental circles and the Press.
225. A one-hour documentary film Today Africa was made, which showed the development of projects for the benefit of Rwandese refugees in Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda. Another film Ahsante, made in co-operation with the Lutheran World Federation and the World Council of Churches, illustrates the co-operation of the Tanzanian Government, the Tanganyika Christian Refugee Service and UNHCR, for the benefit of a group of Mozambiquan refugees in the settlement area of Rutamba. The first film was extensively shown on television services in some forty countries and was also given wide non-theatrical distribution through the help of the United Nations Office of Public Information and the UNDP representatives. At the request of the High Commissioner, the Office of Public Information made a half-hour Spanish and American version. The Lutheran World Federation and the World Council of Churches undertook the distribution of the film Ahsante to their own groups and chapters.
226. The specialized agencies gave whole-hearted support to the publicizing of refugee work in 1966. Thus, UNESCO published an article in its organ Courrier and issued a special feature in its regular press services. WHO devoted half of its October issue of World Health to refugees. Reprints of the articles and copies of the issues in question were generously offered to UNHCR for distribution. The World Food Programme included an extensive article in this monthly publication. FAO and the World Food Programme organized an exhibition in Rome, while the ILO commissioned a photographer to report on the progress made in the zonal development project in Burundi, which affects both refugees and the local population. This report will be published during 1967 in the ILO magazine Panorama.
(Note: Statistical and financial tables not included in this online version. See your nearest UN Depository Library.)
ANNEX VIII List of non-governmental organizations and social welfare agencies which are participating in or contributing to UNHCR programme
American Joint Distribution Committee
Arbeiterwohlfahrt Hauptausschuss e. V.
American Fund for Czechoslovak Refugees
Asociación de Protección al Refugiado, Buenos Aires
Associations des églises libres de Norvège
Association nationale pour la réhabilitation par le travail protégé.
Association pour l'établissement des réfugiés étrangers /Association du Château d'Abondant
Association pour l'établissement des réfugiés étrangers/Fonds humanitaire polonais
Australian National Committee for World Refugee Year
Belgian Red Cross
Brethren Service Commission
Caisse nationale de crédit professionnel
Central Relief Committee (India)
Centre d'initiation pour réfugiés et étrangers
Centre d'orientation sociale des étrangers
Colombian Catholic Committee
Comité d'aide des églises évangéliques de Suisse
Comité d'aide exceptionnelle aux intellectuels réfugiés
Comité franco-arménien d'action sociale
Comité inter-mouvements auprès des évacués
Comité international de la Croix-Rouge]
Commission catholique espagnole de migration
Conseil international des agences bénévoles
Council of Organisations for Relief Service Overseas
Cuban Welfare Society in Spain
Danish Refugee Council
Diocèse catholique de Goma
Entr'aide ouvrière internationale
Entr'aide socialiste - Secours international
Evangelisches Hilfswerk-Innere Mission
Evangelisches Verein Für innere Mission
Federal Catholic Immigration Committee of Austria
Find your Feet, Ltd.
German Red Cross
Indian Red Cross Society
Innere Mission, Austria
International Catholic Migration Commission
International Rescue Committee
International Social Service
Karagheusian Commemorative Corporation, New York
League of Red Cross Societies
Lutheran World Federation
National Catholic Welfare Conference
Nepalese Red Cross
Netherland Federation for Aid to Refugees
Norwegian Refugee Council
Oesterreichischer Fürsorge-und Wohlfahrtsverband «Volkhilfe», Vienna
Oxford Committee for Famine Relief
Pères Dominicains (Bukavu, République démocratique du Congo)
The POKROV Association
Polish American Immigration and Relief Committee
Pontifica Opera de Assistenza
Provedora da Assistência Pública da Provincia de Macau
Service social d'aide aux émigrants
Société de bienfaisance russe du Caire
Société nationale du Croissant Rouge égyptien
Swiss Aid Abroad
Swiss Association for Technical Assistance
Swiss Federation of Friends of the Armenians
United HIAS Service
United Ukrainian American Relief Committee
World Council of Churches
World University Service
World Alliance of Young Men's Christian Associations (YMCA)
World Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA)
Zentralbüro des Hilfswerks der Evangelischen Kirchen in Deutschland e. V.
APPPENDIX Report on the seventeenth session of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme6 (Geneva, 22-30 May 1967)
OPENING OF THE SESSION AND ELECTION OF OFFICERS
1. The Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme held its seventeenth session from 22 May to 30 May 1967, at the Palais des Nations, Geneva.
2. Under rule 10 of the rules of procedure, which provides that the officers shall be elected for the whole year, the Committee elected the following officers by acclamation:
Chairman: H. E. Mr. B. C. Hill (Australia);
Vice-Chairman: Mr. R. Bach Baouab (Tunisia);
Rapporteur: Mr. P. Schönfeld (Federal Republic of Germany).
3. All the members of the Committee were represented at the session as follows:
|Federal Republic of Germany||United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland|
|Holy See||United States of|
4. The Governments of Burundi, the Central African Republic, Congo (Democratic Republic of), Cuba, New Zealand, Senegal, Spain, Sudan, Uganda and Zambia were represented by an observer, as was the Sovereign Order of Malta.
5. The International Labour Office (ILO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), UNESCO, the World Food Programme (WFP), the Council of Europe, the European Economic Community (EEC), the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration (ICEM), the organization of American States (OAS) and the League of Arab States were also represented.
INTRODUCTORY REMARKS BY THE CHAIRMAN
6. The Chairman paid a warm tribute to the outgoing Chairman, Mr. Azimi, and welcomed member Governments of the Committee, observers and representatives of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.
7. Summing up the main tasks before the Committee, the Chairman drew attention in particular to the new projects submitted for inclusion in the 1967 Programme which the Committee would be called upon to approve, the Progress Report on major Aid Programmes for «old» European refugees, the Report on Resettlement and the Report on Current operations in 1966. He also made a reference to the financial problems facing the Office of the High Commissioner.
ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA
Decision of the Committee
8. The Executive Committee decided to adopt the following agenda, it being understood that the High Commissioner would raise the question of the frequency of Executive Committee sessions under item 5:
1. Election of Officers.
2. Adoption of the agenda (A/AC.96/335/Rev.2).
3. Statement by the High Commissioner.
4. Form of Executive Committee decisions (A/AC.96/361).
5. Action taken by the General Assembly at its twenty-first session (A/AC.96/368).
6. Progress report on UNHCR major aid programmes (A/AC.96/360).
7. Report on UNHCR current operations (A/AC.96/364, A/AC.96/INF.70, 71, 72, 73, 74 and 75).
8. Report on the resettlement of refugees (A/AC.96/357).
9. Reappraisal of the problem of severely handicapped refugees (A/AC.96/358).
10. Study of counselling needs and services (A/AC.96/359).
11. Use of the Emergency Fund (A/AC.96/364, para. 52).
12. Financial status of UNHCR programmes:
(a) Report on Investments for the year ended 31 December 1966(A/AC.96/362);
(b) Financial status of UNHCR programmes - general (A/AC.96/369).
13. Status of contributions (A/AC.96/356 and Add.1, A/AC.96/INF.76).
14. UNHCR programme for 1967 - new and revised projects (A/AC.96/363 and Add.1 and 2).
15. Administrative expenditure for 1968 (A/AC.96/366).
16. Inter-Agency co-operation (A/AC.96/367).
17. Other questions.
18. Consideration of the draft report.
II. General questions
STATEMENT BY THE HIGH COMMISSIONER AND GENERAL DEBATE (Agenda item 3)
9. The High Commissioner made a general statement, the full text of which is annexed to this report. He said that one of the major developments during the period under review had been the opening for the signature of States of the Protocol to the 1951 Convention by the Secretary-General. He stressed again the importance of international protection which was the basic function of his Office.
10. The High Commissioner gave an account of the present problems of refugees in various countries, which were characterized by their increasing diversification. He drew attention to the considerable scope of these problems in Africa where, taking into account on the one hand voluntary repatriation, which had played a significant role, and on the other hand the influx of newcomers, the over-all number had grown to 740,000 as against 630,000 at the beginning of 1966. Some 450,000 however could be considered as settled. While no new groups of refugees had emerged, certain movements of population seemed to be taking place which might engender refugee problems. Close understanding had developed between the Governments of African countries, which, in the course of exchanges of views on the problems of refugees, had reaffirmed the basic principles governing refugee status, including voluntary repatriation.
11. The increasing co-operation which was taking place between UNHCR and other members of the United Nations system had been beneficial, particularly for the consolidation of the settlement of refugees on the land. A new common approach to the problems of refugees in Africa was thus evolving. The integration of projects for the settlement of refugees into over-all development programmes however depended to a large extent upon specific requests made by governments of countries of residence to the United Nations Development Programme.
12. Close co-operation had been maintained with OAS, particularly in the field of international protection. The Human rights Commission of OAS had been very helpful to UNHCR in connexion with the problem of forced repatriation of refugees from Haiti.
13. In Asia, his Office was particularly concerned about the implementation of the principle of non-refoulement in Macao. Assistance to the Tibetan refugees was proceeding in a satisfactory manner. Great efforts were being made by the Indian authorities to assist these refugees and it was gratifying to note that considerable sums had been earmarked for further aid by the organizing committees of the European Refugee Campaign.
14. As far as European refugees were concerned, the High Commissioner said that the problem was well under control. While his Office would not lose sight of the needs of the remaining European refugees requiring assistance, responsibility for material aid to these refugees in certain European countries had been increasingly assistance by the Governments and voluntary agencies so that more UNHCR staff were becoming available for activities in other areas. The Office was continuing its assistance to small groups of European refugees in the Near East and a number of Assyrian refugees had recently been resettled from the Lebanon in Sweden. Assistance was still being provided particularly for handicapped cases in Latin America.
15. The High Commissioner wished to pay a special tribute to all those who had participated in the European Refugee Campaign, and expressed gratitude to His Royal Highness, Bernhard, Prince of the Netherlands, who had accepted the chairmanship of the Working Group of voluntary agencies which had organized the Campaign. In accordance with the wish of the national committees, the major part of the funds would be devoted to essential refugee programmes, mainly in Africa and Asia, most of which came outside the framework of the UNHCR programmes.
16. In the course of his statement the High Commissioner referred to the visits he had paid to Australia, Canada, the Holy See. Italy, New Zealand, Senegal, and the United Arab Republic, and to the mission one of his senior staff had undertaken to Botswana and Swaziland.
17. He reported that few contributions, mainly from the Scandinavian countries, had been received so far for the newly established Education Account, and stressed the need to provide not only primary but also secondary and higher education as well as technical training for refugees in Africa.
18. In conclusion, he stressed the importance of including the question of refugees in the arrangements which were being planned by Governments in connexion with Human Rights Year, which was to be celebrated in 1968.
19. The representative who spoke paid tribute to the statement made by the High Commissioner and commended him for the results achieved during the period under review. They expressed appreciation for the eye-witness accounts he had given in respect of his recent missions to countries which were facing problems of refugees or contributing to their solution, and considered that such visits were invaluable for the work of his Office. A particular mention was made by the representative of Australia, the Observer for New Zealand and the High Commissioner himself, of his recent two weeks visit to Australia and New Zealand.
20. Several members of the Committee recognized that, particularly in the field of material assistance, the position of refugees was becoming more stabilized and that while there had been a new influx in certain areas, an increasing number of refugees were becoming settled with the help of the UNHCR programmes. Representatives were pleased to note that once a certain stage of settlement had been reached, every effort was made so that responsibility for such further material assistance as might be required was assumed by Governments or other organizations.
21. Most speakers reaffirmed the importance their Governments attached to international protection, the cornerstone of the work of the High Commissioner and voiced their appreciation of the swift action which had been taken in respect of the Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees. The representatives of several countries indicated that their Governments were envisaging or actively considering accession to this important instrument. The representative of China expressed his government's deep concern at the forcible repatriation and refoulement of Chinese refugees that had recently taken place in Macao. Several representatives stated that they shared this concern in respect of the observance of the basic principles of international assistance to refugees and they welcomed the steps which the High Commissioner was taking in connexion with this important matter in Macao and elsewhere.
22. It was also pointed out that refugees should not be allowed to hamper good relations between Governments as explained in more detail in the summary record of the 155th meeting.
23. The High Commissioner stated that he attached the greatest importance to this matter which had also been stressed in discussions between the Governments of various African countries.
24. Several members of the Committee were pleased to note from document A/AC.96/INF.77 that the Supplementary Fund for indemnification of refugees in Germany had been established and was now in operation.
25. The representative of Italy gave an account of his country's participation in the work of assistance to refugees and stressed some of the problems it was facing in view of the return clause of the travel document provided for in article 28 of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.
26. Members of the Committee supported the High Commissioner's view that the cause of refugees should be included at an early stage in the arrangements which were being made for Human Rights Year. Several speakers stated that their Government would take the necessary action and voiced the hope that other Governments would do likewise.
27. Reference was made to new group of refugees in certain areas of the Near East. The High Commissioner stated that problems of refugees submitted to his office would of course receive the closest attention. No request for assistance had however been received from the area concerned.
28. A number of representatives underlined that while the problem of European refugees was under control, it still existed, though on a reduced scale. They expressed appreciation for the High Commissioner's readiness to continue to concern himself with these refugees and particularly with the handicapped among them.
29. The importance of the role of settlement through migration was recognized. In this connexion the Representatives of Australia and Canada gave the Committee information on the number of refugees admitted to these countries and on the measures they were considering with a view to facilitating the admission of further refugees, including some of the handicapped, as reported in more detail in the summary record of the 154th meeting and in section III below. The representative of France also reported on his Government's continuing action in respect of the handicapped. He as well as the representative of Italy and several other representatives expressed their concern for the handicapped, which was shared by the High Commissioner.
30. The need for speeding up the resettlement of refugees at present in Yugoslavia was emphasized by the representative of that country.
31. Representatives who participated in the debate agreed that, although there had been an over-all increase in the numbers of refugees in Africa, their position had, generally speaking, stabilized itself. Some members of the Committee and government observers mentioned the role which voluntary repatriation could play as a solution to the problems of certain groups of refugees in Africa.
32. Representatives considered that the approach followed by the High Commissioner in implementing his assistance programmes had been effective. Through his rapid interventions, which were essential in the case of new emergencies, he had been able to avert accumulations of new refugees and had contributed to the appeasement of tensions. Through the catalytic role of his assistance programme, the High Commissioner had been able to enlist goodwill and resources from Governments as well as other organizations. A tribute was paid to the countries of asylum which had generously admitted large numbers of refugees, to Governments which were providing considerable help for refugees through bilateral assistance, to other members of the United Nations system including the World Food Programme and to the non-governmental organizations, all of which participated in a concerted effort to help refugees settle on the land.
33. Several members of the Committee expressed satisfaction at the progress achieved in the field of inter-agency co-operation and recommended that the High Commissioner should continue to have recourse to integrated programmes, calling on the co-operation of all interested members of the United nations System, particularly in the case of rural settlement in Africa. The representative of Israel stated that the experience acquired by his Government in the development of rural communities and in the promotion of education and technical training could readily be made available to the Office of the High Commissioner.
34. The representative of the Holy See evoked the visit of the High Commissioner to the Vatican and, referring to the Encyclical «Populorum Progressio», recalled the unfailing concern of the Holy Father for humanitarian problems, among which the problem of refugees held a special place.
35. Several representatives showed their understanding of the financial problems facing the Office of the High Commissioner.
36. During the discussion and also in the course of the consideration of other items, increased or special financial contributions were announced by the representatives of the Holy See, Nigeria, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. The representative of France indicated that his Government was envisaging the possibility of maintaining in 1968 in increased contribution which his Government had made to the 1967 programme. The representative of Sweden indicated that while no decision had yet been taken in the matter, his Government's contribution to the UNHCR education account might be similar to the one made in 1966. From the statement made by the High Commissioner the Committee heard that the Government of the United Arab Republic had contributed to the UNHCR programme for the first time. Detailed information in respect of announcements of contributions as well as data concerning the European Refugee Campaign may be found in VI below concerning the status of contributions.
Statements by observers of intergovernmental organizations
37. The observer for the Council of Europe made a statement at the 163rd meeting in the course of which he stressed his Organization's attachment to the cause of refugees and outlined the measures it was considering with a view to supporting the work of UNHCR, particularly with a view to facilitating the integration of refugees in member countries of the Council of Europe.
38. The Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights made a statement at the 163rd meeting in which he explained the development of the refugee problem in the Americas during recent years. He stressed the interest which the Organization of American States and its Human Rights Commission and Juridical Committee were taking in the protection of refugees and in the safeguarding of their rights. He also stated that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, at a recent session, had expressed its appreciation of the recently adopted Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees.
Decision of the Committee
39. The Executive Committee:
Having heard the general statement by the High Commissioner;
(1) Took note with appreciation of the progress achieved by his Office;
(2) Emphasized the importance it attached to international protection, the basic function of UNHCR;
(3) Endorsed the view that the cause of refugees be taken into account at an early stage in the arrangements made by Governments for the celebration of Human Rights Year in 1968;
(4) Expressed the hope that as many States as possible would accede to the Protocol relating to the Status of refugees which had recently been transmitted to Governments by the Secretary-General.
FORM OF EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE DECISIONS (Agenda item 4)
40. The Executive Committee had before it a note on the form which might be given to decisions of the Committee (A/AC.96/361), which had been submitted in accordance with a proposal made at its sixteenth session.
41. The representative of Australia explained the purpose of his delegation in raising this matter. In his delegation's view important decisions, if worded in the form of resolutions, could be more easily identified and studied by member governments and national administrations, particularly where the financing of programmes was concerned. His delegation considered moreover that such a practice might bring about a greater understanding of the work of the Committee in bodies such as the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly. The document before the Committee made useful suggestions. He felt however that greater precision was called for in identifying the items which should form the subject of resolutions, and suggested that these should include;
(1) The policies adopted by the Executive Committee;
(2) The endorsement by the Committee of action taken by the High Commissioner;
(3) Important financial matters; and,
(4) The establishment of new permanent committees, ad hoc committees or working groups.
42. He further suggested that it would be useful for the Committee to receive a summary of the action taken by the Office of the High Commissioner to put into effect decisions previously adopted by the Executive Committee.
43. Representatives who took part in the discussion indicated that they were on the whole satisfied with the practice followed by the Committee. They stressed the importance of the provision contained in rule 26 of the rules of procedure whereby the sense of the meeting would be ascertained by the Chairman in lieu of a formal vote. They also agreed on the method whereby the consensus of opinion was recorded in the form of a decision appearing at the end of the relevant section of the report on the session.
44. Several delegations feared that a more formal method might lead to lengthy discussions as to which items should take the form of resolutions. They felt that it was also important to retain the harmonious spirit in which the Committee's proceedings were conducted.
45. Some representatives stressed the non-political and humanitarian character of the Committee's work and stated that resolutions might take on a political character which would not be consistent with the purposes for which the Committee had been established.
46. Most speakers stated that they agreed with the High Commissioner on the need to retain a certain amount of flexibility and said that they were prepared to accept the suggestions made in document A/AC.96/361 to the effect that the Committee might follow the method used in the UNREF Executive Committee of adopting resolutions on certain important matters. They recalled that provision for the adoption of resolutions by the Committee was already implied in rule 23 of its rules of procedure.
47. One representative drew attention to the fact that the High Commissioner, like the Secretary-General, was elected by the General Assembly and was responsible to that body. The members of the Executive Committee, however, represented a minority of the membership of the Assembly. The task of the Committee was to approve and supervise programmes for assistance to refugees. It could also advise the High Commissioner in the exercise of his functions. The adoption of resolutions by the Committee would therefore be justified as far as they related to financial or programme matters. Resolutions on the policy of the High Commissioner however, which depended on the mandate given to him by the General Assembly, raised problems of a legal nature which went beyond the competence of the Executive Committee. He fully understood the point of view of the representative of Australia concerning matters with financial implications, and suggested that the texts of such decisions should be circulated to the Committee for consideration before being finally adopted.
48. Another representative considered that a change in the practice of the Committee would be justified only to the extent that it might expedite action by governments in relation to the work of UNHCR.
Decision of the Committee
49. The Executive Committee,
Having considered the note of the High Commissioner on the form which might be given to decisions of the Committee,
Having heard the views expressed on this subject at its 155th meeting,
Considering that the procedure at present in force is satisfactory,
Decided to maintain the present system in force, leaving open the possibility that resolutions, as foreseen in rule 23 of the rules of procedure, be adopted on questions of major importance, it being understood that the text of draft decisions or resolutions would, if required, be circulated to members of the Committee, prior to their adoption.
ACTION TAKEN BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY AT ITS TWENTY-FIRST SESSION (Agenda item 5)
50. The Committee considered a note on action taken by the General Assembly at its twenty-first session (A/AC/96/368) to which the following resolutions adopted by the General Assembly and of interest to the Office of the High Commissioner were attached:
2197 (XXI). Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees;
2198 (XXI) Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees;
2203 (XXI). Draft Declaration on the Right of Asylum;
2235 (XXI) Question of the consolidation and integration of the special educational and training programmes for South West Africa, the special training programme for territories under Portuguese administration and the educational and training programme for South Africans.
51. During the consideration of this item, the High Commissioner brought to the attention of the Committee a recommendation of the Ad Hoc Committee of Experts to Examine the Finances of the United Nations and the Specialized Agencies, referred to as the «Committee of Fourteen», which had been endorsed by the General Assembly in its resolution 2150 (XXI) to the effect that organs of the United Nations should review their conference programmes with a view to reducing total meeting time to the extent possible. The High Commissioner pointed out that such a review was clearly a matter for decision by the Committee. He suggested that the item might be placed on the agenda of the autumn session and stated that he would submit to that session a report indicating the possibilities which might exist of modifying the Committee's schedule of meetings and of changing certain of the existing arrangements for the preparation and financing of UNHCR programmes in accordance with the modifications made. While he was not prepared to make a firm recommendation at this time, it appeared to him, at first glance, that no insurmountable difficulties would arise if the Committee were to decide to hold only one, rather than two sessions a year.
52. The representatives who took part in the discussion welcomed the proposal of the High Commissioner. One representative stated that the proposed report would give the committee an opportunity to assess the various factors involved and urged that it be made available as early as possible to enable Governments to give it careful study.
Decision of the Committee
53. The Executive Committee,
Having considered the action taken by the General Assembly and reported in document A/AC.96/368 submitted by the High Commissioner,
Having heard a statement by the High Commissioner concerning the recommendation endorsed by the General Assembly in its resolution 2150 (XXI) in respect of the review of the conference programme of organs of the United Nations,
(1) Took note of the action taken by the General Assembly;
(2) Agreed to a review of the schedule of meetings of the Committee which would be placed on the agenda of the eighteenth session.
III. Reports concerning UNHCR programmes
REPORT ON UNHCR CURRENT OPERATIONS (Agenda item 7)
54. The Executive Committee considered the report submitted by the High Commissioner in respect of current operations financed from UNHCR current programmes in 1966, the Emergency Fund and Special Trust Funds, which gave a country-by-country account of the number of refugees assisted, of funds spent on the work of assistance and of outstanding tasks (A/AC.96/364).
55. In presenting the report, the High Commissioner stressed that, in addition to the information usually included in the report, an analysis was provided of funds committed under the UNHCR current programmes since the inception of the first UNHCR current programme in 1963. The High Commissioner drew the special attention of the Committee to the question of education of refugees which was dealt with in paragraphs 35 to 43 of the report.
56. In the course of the discussion members of the Committee expressed their general satisfaction with the form in which the report on current operations had been presented and with the progress which had been achieved during the period under review. Several speakers paid tribute to the countries of first asylum in Africa, the Organization of African unity and the members of the United Nations system, including the World Food Programme and UNDP, for their close co-operation with UNHCR in the interest of the cause of refugees. Attention was also drawn to the importance of including measures of assistance for European refugees under the current programme. one representative suggested that it might help in the future to include a statement showing the actual contributions made by other organizations to the work of assistance to refugees. The continuing financial difficulties facing UNHCR in the implementation of the current programme were also evoked.
57. The committee heard a statement by the observer for the World Food Programme, in which he reported that total World Food Programme allocations for refugees now exceeded $4.5 million. Operations were being carried out in conjunction with UNHCR in Burundi, the Central African Republic, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
58. The Committee heard a statement from the representative of UNESCO in which he announced that the Memorandum of Understanding concerning co-operation between UNHCR and UNESCO had been agreed in principle and was now being finalized. He felt that UNHCR and UNESCO should draw attention to the education needs of the large numbers of refugees who were settling down in new communities in Africa, so that the Governments concerned would be able to draw up their requests for assistance under UNDP for the two-year period 1969-70 accordingly. He suggested that UNHCR and UNESCO might make an on-the-spot assessment, with a view to recommending the closer integration of programmes for refugees' education into the national systems. He advocated that teachers' training courses be considered for refugees.
59. The Committee noted from statements by the representative of Tanzania and the High Commissioner, that several voluntary agencies were engaged in the field of refugee education, both primary and technical, and that these activities were of an operational character, whereas those of UNHCR and UNESCO were more of a promotional and advisory nature, so that no overlapping was to be feared.
60. The representative of Norway expressed his delegation's support for the possible extension of the programmes for primary school and technical education referred to in paragraphs 38 and 39. He hoped that the formula used in granting scholarships would be applied with the necessary flexibility. With regard to the capital investment for the building or extension of educational institutions referred to in paragraph 42, He stressed the importance attached by his delegation to combining educational assistance to refugees with that provided for nationals of the host countries.
61. The representative of Tanzania said that in the matter of education close consultation with the Government of the Country of residence should be assured. He pointed out that once educated, people were unlikely to want to return to the land, and it was important that education should be provided in such a manner as to suit local requirements.
62. Referring to General Assembly resolution 2235 (XXI) which concerned the consolidation and integration of the various educational and training programmes of the United Nations, the High Commissioner informed the Committee that he had not yet been officially consulted by the Secretary-General. He recalled that the educational and training programmes concerned had been established for the benefit of both refugees and other persons.
63. In the course of the country-by-country consideration of the report the Committee received information from the delegations of the Governments of countries of residence of refugees, and from the Administration on developments in the situation of refugees and in the work of assistance in those countries, the details of which may be found in the summary records of the 156th, 157th and 158th meetings.
Problems in Africa
64. The observer for Sudan gave an account of developments in the southern parts of his country and of the action taken by his Government in conjunction with other Governments in Africa with a view to facilitating the solution of the problems of Sudanese refugees, the details of which may be found in the summary record of the 156th meeting. He stressed that his country was now in a better position to help repatriates to start a new life. An amnesty was being granted to all those who returned to the country and they were being provided with the means to settle on the land. In the course of meetings held between the Government of Sudan and the Governments of other countries in Africa arrangements had been made to facilitate the voluntary repatriation of refugees or alternatively their local integration inland.
65. The Committee heard a statement by the observer for Burundi in which he expressed his Government's appreciation for the considerable progress achieved in favour of Rwandese refugees in his country through the joint efforts of various international agencies and especially the ILO and the UNHCR. He referred to the expected completion, in 1967, of UNHCR assistance programmes for Rwandese refugees in Burundi and the subsequent transfer of responsibility to the local authorities. He expressed his Government's hope that UNHCR would continue its activities during a transitional period, pending the implementation of the zonal development plan which the Burundi Government intended to submit to the UNDP Fund for financing.
66. The ILO representative said that after the hand-over of its responsibilities in Burundi, the ILO would maintain an active interest in the work of assistance for refugees in that country. It was offering its full support and co-operation in the implementation of the interim project and hoped to be associated with the proposed wider, integrated rural development project.
67. The observer for the Central African Republic stated his Government's belief in repatriation on a strictly voluntary basis. Failing this, the refugees would be allowed to settle in the Central African Republic some distance from the borders of neighbouring countries. He reported on the exchanges of views which had taken place on the position of the Sudanese refugees in the Central African Republic between the highest Central African and Sudanese authorities. A visit was paid to the area of location of the refugees by the delegations of the Central African Republic and Sudan, accompanied by representatives of UNHCR, the League of Red Cross Societies and the Catholic Relief Services. As it had become clear that the majority of refugees would not return to their country of origin, at least in the immediate future, it was agreed that they be transferred from Banbouti to M'boki.
68. The observer pointed out that the implementation of a settlement programme in M'boki would raise no problems provided that a good technical survey was made of the area. A Belgian organization, the Fonds international de co-opération au développement (National Fund for Co-operation in the field of Development) had promised to make voluntary workers available; French organizations were considering similar measures; assisted by a Yugoslav physician, staff of the League of Red Cross Societies had been in the initial settlement area for some time.
69. The Committee further noted from a statement by the administration that the League of Red Cross Societies, the World Food Programme, UNDP and FAO were co-operating with the Government and UNHCR in planning the new settlement project. The transfer of the refugees would start in a systematic way after the present rainy season so that most of the 25,000 refugees concerned would have been transferred to their new location by early summer 1968.
70. In considering the progress achieved in the settlement of refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Committee noted from statements by the delegation of the Congo at its 157th meeting that, whereas the Congo had welcomed more than half the total number of refugees in Africa, most of these were well on the way towards being settled through the combined action of international and non-governmental organizations and several interested Governments. New problems however had arisen in respect of some new Angolan refugees and of the Sudanese refugees for whom assistance would be required. The Congolese delegation added that assistance had been provided by the authorities to a considerable number of Congolese who had returned to their country.
71. The representative of the ILO gave an account of the manner in which the UNHCR/ILO Integration and Zonal Development Project in the Kivu Province had been put into effect. He added that the full economic and social integration of the Rwandese refugees would be considerably furthered by any measures which the Congolese authorities might take to facilitate the naturalization of the Rwandese refugees.
72. The Committee also heard a statement in which the representative of the High Commissioner gave an eye-witness account of the situation of Sudanese refugees in the north-eastern part of the Congo. Within the framework of an agreement with the Sudanese Government, the Congolese authorities planned to settle those Sudanese refugees who did not opt for voluntary repatriation a certain distance from the border, under a project which would be submitted to the Committee under the 1968 programme.
73. The Committee noted with satisfaction the progress achieved, particularly in the settlement of Rwandese refugees in Bibwe and Ihula.
74. The representative of Tanzania gave an eye-witness account of the results achieved in various fields of assistance to refugees in his country, as illustrated by the fact that some of the refugees were already paying taxes. He nevertheless felt that he should sound a note of caution against any undue optimism since climatic conditions in a continent like Africa could easily jeopardize the results achieved, which might make it necessary for the Tanzanian authorities to request further assistance from UNHCR. Furthermore a new influx of Mozambiquan refugees had taken place since the preparation of the High Commissioner's report. He paid tribute to the work of the voluntary agencies, including in particular the Lutheran World Federation and the Danish volunteers, who worked side by side with the refugees. He added that the Tanzanian Government also attached importance to voluntary repatriation as a solution to the problems of refugees and would be prepared to enter into agreements to that effect with independent African State, whenever such a need arose.
75. The Committee heard an eye-witness account by the Director of Operations of UNHCR in respect of the progress accomplished in Uganda and in particular in the settlements of Nakapiripirit, Agago and Onigo where the refugees who had arrived earlier were well on the way to becoming self-supporting, and where their integration in the local communities was progressing smoothly. He pointed out that, in view of the new arrivals in those settlements, further assistance would still be requires. The Committee also heard a statement by the observer for Uganda in which he explained his Government's decision to close all reception camps and to start proper settlements to help the refugees to become self-supporting, pending their voluntary repatriation. He also announced his Government's intention to open more settlements, if necessary, to improve the accommodation of the refugees. After recalling the constant efforts made by the Government of Uganda over the last few years, the observer emphasized his country's difficulties with regard to the education of the refugees and the inland transportation of the food received from the World Food Programme. With regard to voluntary repatriation, he recalled that an agreement with the Sudan was still in force, while negotiations for a similar agreement were under way with the Governments of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda, although there was no indication that the refugees wished to return to the latter country.
76. The Committee heard a statement by the observer of Zambia concerning the High Commissioner's assistance programme in his country. He emphasized the difficulties resulting from the fact that 3,300 Angolan refugees were at present living at Lwatembo instead of the 2,000 envisaged, while only 500 were living at Mayukwayukwa instead of the 1,500 for whom the settlement was intended. The Director of Operations added that, as in other countries, great efforts were being made by the local authorities in Zambia to help the refugees to become self-supporting.
Problems in other areas
77. The representative of Austria informed the Committee of the use made of UNHCR funds for assistance to refugees in Austria since the beginning of the year. Statements were also made in the course of the session on assistance to European refugees in France and Italy, details of which may be found in the summary record of the 153rd meeting.
78. With regard to the programmes for assistance to refugees in Macao, the representative of China expressed his Government's deep concern at the fact that the implementation of some of the projects had been deferred as a result of the disturbances which had occurred in the course of 1966. He voiced his Government's hope that these projects would be resumed as soon as possible. The High Commissioner explained that work on most of the projects had started again in March/April 1967 and he informed the Committee of the progress achieved in the projects concerned. His Office was following further developments very carefully.
79. The Committee also heard a statement in which the observer for Spain drew attention to the accumulation of Cubans in his country. He reported on the constant efforts made by the Spanish Government and voluntary organizations in Spain to assist them and on the considerable expenditure incurred in this respect. The observer particularly stressed the problem likely to result from such an accumulation in the future, unless further action was undertaken by the international community with a view to increasing resettlement opportunities for the group concerned. In the course of the session the Committee was informed that the resettlement of Cubans might be further speeded up in the course of 1967.
Statements by observers for non-governmental organizations
80. Mr. Norris Wilson, Executive Vice-president of the united States Committee for Refugees, gave an account of the visit he had made to twenty African countries during the preceding three months, the details of which may be found in the summary record of the 158th meeting. He stressed that in many cases the settlement of refugees constituted a positive contribution to the development of the host country. Referring to the basic question of international protection, he felt that the organizations working for refugees were in effect the « trustees » of the moral power which was represented by the 1951 Convention.
81. Mr. Holt, Vice-Chairman of the Refugee commission of the International Council of Voluntary Agencies, made a statement, the details of which may be found in the summary record of the 158th meeting. He stressed the importance which the Commission attached to the international protection of refugees and in particular to the essential principles of asylum and non-refoulement. He also stated the views of the non-governmental organizations in the field of fund-raising, and stressed his organization's deep attachment to the cause of refugees.
Decision of the Committee
82. The Executive Committee,
Having considered the report on UNHCR current operations (A/AC.96/364),
Having noted the considerable number of refugees assisted under the Programme,
Paid a tribute to the countries of residence of refugees, to the Office of the High Commissioner and to the other organizations concerned, for their concerted efforts in achieving solutions to the problems of refugees.
SUMMARY PROGRESS REPORT ON UNHCR MAJOR AID PROGRAMMES (Agenda item 6)
83. The committee had before it document A/AC.96/360 containing a summary progress report on UNHCR major aid programmes as at 31 December 1966. The representative of the High Commissioner, introducing the report, recalled that the major aid programmes, which had been drawn up and approved between 1955 and 1963 to provide permanent solutions for hundreds of thousands of European refugees were now fully financed and plans to complete their implementation were being put into effect. The remaining caseload of refugees still to be settled under the Major Aid Projects amounted to 7,400 refugees on 1 January 1967. Over 2,000 « old » European refugees in areas outside Europe for whom solutions were still required would be provided for under the current programme.
84. The representatives, who spoke warmly, congratulated the High Commissioner on the success attained towards completing the major aid programmes and expressed their satisfaction that the financing of those programmes was now fully assured. They drew attention to the unique achievement represented by the fact that most of the approximate 500,000 non-settled European refugees could now be considered as established.
85. The representative of France gave information on the assistance provided in France from allocations made under the major aid programmes, the details of which may be found in the summary record of the 156th meeting. He mentioned in particular the expenditure incurred since 1 January 1966 and on the assistance given to the handicapped. He also stressed the considerable amount of contributions from French sources which had been forthcoming to match UNHCR allocations.
86. The special attention of the Committee was drawn by one representative to the considerable number of housing projects in Greece still outstanding under these programmes and to the substantial amount of funds allocated for this purpose and not yet spent. The hope was expressed that these projects would soon be completed.
87. Comments on various aspects of the programme made during the consideration of the report may be found in the summary record of the 156th meeting.
Decision of the Committee
88. The Executive Committee, Having considered the summary progress report on UNHCR major aid programmes (A/AC.96/360),
(1) Took note with appreciation of the report;
(2) Noted with satisfaction that the full financing of the major aid programmes had now been assured and that all outstanding funds had been committed by the end of 1966;
(3) Authorized the High Commissioner to cancel the balance of $26,000 outstanding for the Far Eastern programme as at 28 February 1967, and to allocate funds for this programme as and when refugees arrive in Hong Kong.
REPORT ON THE RESETTLEMENT OF REFUGEES (Agenda item 8)
89. The Committee considered the report of the resettlement of refugees (A/AC.96/357) which showed that the influx of refugees into countries of first asylum in Europe had been lower in 1966 than in the previous year. A total of 17,546 persons considered to be within the mandate of UNHCR and an additional 12,975 persons considered to be refugees on the basis of ICEM criteria had been moved by that organization in 1966.
90. The representative of the High Commissioner recalled that the success achieved in the field of resettlement was the result of considerable efforts by UNHCR to encourage a liberalization of immigration criteria and of a long-standing partnership involving ICEM, the United States Refugee Program, UNHCR and the voluntary agencies. It was also dependent on a complex organization of special services in countries the encouraging developments which had occurred, he mentioned the recent visit of a Swedish selection mission to the resettlement centre in Yugoslavia, the parliamentary hearings on a White Paper on immigration in Canada, the adjustments to United States Public Law No. 89-236 which was making it possible for an increasing number of refugees to start a new life in the United States, and the decision of the Australian Government to review the case files of severely handicapped refugees.
91. The observer for the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration said that during the fifteen years ending in 1966 ICEM had moved a total of 1,471,058 persons, including over 500,000 refugees who came under the mandate of the High Commissioner. The experience of ICEM in this field had shown that resettlement was the least costly solution to the problems of refugees. During 1966 the resettlement of a migrant by ICEM had cost an average of $221 in government contributions. ICEM planned to move 56,300 migrants in 1967, of whom 19,000 were expected to be within the mandate of the High Commissioner. ICEM was continuing its efforts to assist Cuban refugees in Spain and loan assistance from the Joint ICEM/Voluntary Agencies Revolving Fund would be granted in 1967 to Cubans whose sponsors were unable to pay their transportation costs. Under the ICEM «good offices» operation it was planned to bring another group of Tibetan refugees from India to Switzerland. In conclusion, the observer for ICEM said that a stage had now been reached when the transportation services of ICEM could be offered with advantage to the High Commissioner in several areas of his activities.
92. The representatives who spoke expressed their appreciation of the good results achieved, thanks to the effective partnership which existed between ICEM, the United States Refugee Program, UNHCR and the voluntary agencies. it was particularly encouraging to note that new accumulations of refugees in countries of asylum had thus been avoided. The report before the Committee gave a clear picture of all the aspects involved in this complex field.
93. During the debate the Committee received information from the representatives of Australia, Canada, Italy, Turkey and the United States on developments in their countries in the field of resettlement.
94. The representative of Australia said that during the past twenty years his country had given asylum to some 300,000 refugees, who had made a very valuable contribution to the economic development of Australia. Australia would continue to provide resettlement opportunities for refugees. He pointed out that the offer of his Government to consider applications for admission from Cubans in Spain was still open. The Committee noted from a statement by the representative of the United States that, following the special measures which had been taken to speed up the movement of Cubans from Spain to the United States, it was anticipated that movements in 1967 would keep pace with new arrivals. The representative of Canada informed the Committee that his Government had received 2,058 refugees in 1966, bringing to more than 300,000 the total number of refugees welcomed to Canada since 1946. Ways and means of strengthening the role of Canada in the field of resettlement of refugees were being studied, the object of the Canadian Government being to develop a co-ordinated programme in co-operation with UNHCR with a view to ensuring that Canada played its full share in this important field.
95. The representative of Italy said that 3,415 refugees had left Italy in 1966 and a high level of emigration had been maintained in the first months of 1967. He appealed for the abolition of the system of issuing return visas which was sometimes the subject of misuse.
96. The representative of Turkey said that 235 Turkmenian refugees who had been settled in his country with help from UNHCR and the Turkish Government could now be considered as self-supporting. A further group of 165 was expected to arrive in the near future. The expenditure for the settlement of these persons, including their training, was calculated to be approximately $200,000 . This figure excluded the value of the land to be provided for them.
97. Referring to the resettlement of refugees within or from Africa, one representative emphasized the need to take into account the likelihood of opportunities for employment when educational assistance for refugees was being considered.
98. General agreement was expressed with the recommendation and conclusion appearing in paragraphs 44-47 of the document. Further details of the statements made and of the answers given by the Administration to questions raised during the debate may be found in the summary record of the 160th meeting.
Decision of the committee
99. The Executive Committee,
Having considered the report on the resettlement of refugees (A/AC.96/357),
Noting that through the generous criteria of admission by the main countries of immigration, an accumulation in most countries of first asylum in Europe had been avoided,
Noting however that special efforts would be required to speed up the migration of certain groups of refugees awaiting resettlement,
(1) Expressed the hope that additional and increased immigration opportunities would be found for these refugees;
(2) Noted with appreciation the additional possibility of resettlement that had been indicated during the discussion.
STUDY OF COUNSELLING NEEDS AND SERVICES (Agenda item 10)
100. The Committee had before it a study of counselling needs and services in various countries submitted by the High Commissioner (A/AC.96/359).
101. The representative of the High Commissioner recalled that, as mentioned in the document the committee on the basis of a survey submitted by the High Commissioner to its fourteenth session, had defined certain principles as a basis for the High Commissioner's activities in the field of social counselling. Those principles were still valid. Social counselling remained of paramount importance to the refugees and the High Commissioner continued to encourage Governments and voluntary agencies to provide such services. Since the fourteenth session, the governments of countries of asylum and voluntary agencies had taken practical steps to assume responsibility for counselling services. in Austria, Germany and Italy, UNHCR counselling projects had been considerably reduced or terminated. He stressed, however, that the needs of European refugees in this field would have to be closely followed.
102. In Africa, while the majority of the refugees could most appropriately be assisted through collective rural settlement schemes, there was a small but increasing number living in urban areas who were in need of special guidance. Their requirements in this respect were being carefully studied.
103. The representative of Italy underlined the difference between group migration, when counselling could be provided by government social services, and the emigration of individuals which depended largely, in such matters as, for example, the sponsorship of refugee immigrants, on the help of international voluntary agencies carrying out their activities in both the emigration and the resettlement countries. He doubted if these activities could be taken over by governmental services in the emigration countries. The representative of Italy expressed the opinion that such a change could create difficulties. As the statistics for the past two years proved, it was thanks to the efforts of the voluntary agencies that half the refugees who had left the reception centres had been firmly settled. This situation could continue in the future if the High Commissioner could grant, for 1967, the contribution foreseen in paragraph 17 of document A/AC.96/359.
104. The observer for Senegal recalled that apart from the large numbers of refugees who were being settled in rural areas with assistance from the High Commissioner, a problem existed with regard to refugees residing in urban centres. A social counselling centre to meet the needs of these refugees was being set up in Dakar from funds provided by UNHCR, and by the Governments of Senegal and France within the framework of bilateral technical assistance. The centre, which was expected to be opened shortly, would be staffed by experts in social questions.
105. The representatives who spoke indicated their satisfaction with the results achieved by the Office in the field of counselling and expressed their agreement with the suggestion that counselling services should in future be dealt with in the framework of the current programme, unless special guidance was needed from the Committee which might necessitate the submission of a separate document.
Decision of the Committee
106. The Executive Committee,
Having considered the study of counselling needs and services (A/AC.96/359),
Having noted the progress made by UNHCR in transferring its responsibilities in this field to national authorities or non-governmental bodies,
Further noting that there is a continuing need for counselling in Europe, even though on a reduced scale, and that in certain countries in Africa a growing number of individual refugees in cities are in need of advice as regards their settlement,
Agreed that counselling services should in future be dealt with in the framework of regular programme proposals and in the reports on current operations, unless a situation should arise in which special guidance from the Committee should be called for.
REAPPRAISAL OF THE PROBLEM OF SEVERELY HANDICAPPED REFUGEES (Agenda item 9)
107. The Committee considered the reappraisal of the severely handicapped refugees submitted by the High Commissioner in document A/AC.96/358.
108. In introducing the item, the Director of Operations pointed out that the number of severely handicapped cases which remained to be settled was relatively small. He referred to the suggestion made by the High Commissioner in his opening address to the effect that the concerted effort to be made to solve their problems should be shared between interested Governments. However, the stage would soon be reached when it would be unrealistic to believe that the remaining severely handicapped could be resettled through emigration and the only solution would them be for the countries of asylum to give them a permanent home. In reply to an enquiry by the representative of Sweden as to whether the problem of these remaining cases had been studied in depth, he explained that detailed information was available for each of the refugees concerned.
109. In the course of the debate the Committee touched on the alternative possibility of assisting handicapped refugees in their countries of first asylum, by making available resources for this purpose, or by the establishment of international protected communities. The suggestion was further made that rehabilitation should continue to be provided for handicapped refugees in their country of asylum so that they would stand better chances of successful resettlement. The deep concern of the High Commissioner that the problems of each individual severely handicapped case should be solved was echoed by all those who spoke.
110. Dr. Schou, Chief Medical Officer of ICEM, who was continuing the scheme previously initiated by Dr. Frederick Jensen, stated that expert psychiatric advice was available for all handicapped cases. In reply to the question raised by several representatives as to whether it was desirable to move mentally handicapped refugees to an unfamiliar environment in a country of which they did not know the language, Dr. Schou said that this was indeed not advisable where psychotic cases were concerned. However, as facilities for their care were not always available in the countries of residence, it was sometimes necessary to do so. Handicapped refugees could be divided into those who could easily become self-supporting, those who could become self-supporting with assistance and those who would never become self-supporting. The refugees in the third category were, for the most part, not institutional cases, and for some of them a change to a new environment might be what they needed. Interesting results had been achieved by rehabilitation. The real difficulty was that few countries wished to accept refugees with personality disorders, although some of these, when cured, would be capable of living useful lives. Dr. Schou agreed that there were always new handicapped cases to be considered. it was important to help them as soon as possible before their condition worsened through inappropriate environment. The results observed after the recent relaxation of criteria in the United States and other overseas countries showed that, once resettled in another country, some of the severely handicapped could successfully achieve their integration in a new community.
111. The representative of Sweden reaffirmed that Swedish selection missions had received broad instructions to accept rehabilitable handicapped refugees who wished to go to Sweden, together with members of their family. The delegation of Norway and the United Kingdom indicated that their countries were ready to accept a further very limited number of handicapped refugees. One representative stressed the difficulty which was involved in the admission of handicapped cases with a penal record even when the offence had occurred at a much earlier date.
112. It was pointed out in the course of the discussion that, through the catalytic effect of the UNHCR programme, handicapped cases outside his competence were also benefiting from assistance.
113. The representative of the United States proposed that cases of handicapped refugees who qualified for admission into the United States under the recently relaxed criteria might be reviewed by the United States Authorities, UNHCR, Dr. Schou and the competent voluntary agencies. Some members of the Committee welcomed this suggestion as one which might also be taken up by other Governments.
114. The representative of the Holy See, supported by other delegations, proposed that the problem be taken up by an Ad Hoc working party consisting of representatives of directly interested countries of asylum and immigration and of the necessary experts. He emphasized the importance of defining some basic principles for the handling of handicapped cases so that a recurrence of the present situation would be avoided in the future.
115. Some representatives expressed the opinion that the proposed working party would succeed best if convened at an informal working level.
Decision of the Committee
116. The Executive Committee,
Having considered the reappraisal of the problem of severely handicapped refugees (A/AC.96/358),
Nothing that through the efforts made over the years the number of handicapped refugees in countries of first asylum has decreased to 213 cases, and that for 111 cases among them resettlement is recommended as a solution, while for 102 cases local integration is considered appropriate,
(1) Paid a tribute to the High Commissioner and to the governments and voluntary agencies and the experts concerned for the results achieved in the settlement of handicapped refugees;
(2) Expressed the hope that immigration countries would further liberalize their admission a criteria, in particular for those severely handicapped refugees who seek family reunion, who have no right of residence in their country of first asylum or who live in countries where they cannot fend for themselves;
(3) Recommended that in countries with well developed social welfare systems, further efforts be made to settle the majority of the remaining severely handicapped refugees and provide them with suitable rehabilitation;
(4) Recommended that resettlement opportunities continue to be provided for the handicapped cases among newly arriving refugees;
(5) Decided that, as suggested by several delegations, the High Commissioner might, in his discretion, arrange for informal consultations with representatives of Governments directly interested in the achievement of solutions for the handicapped, in which other appropriate bodies might be asked to participate, in order to study the position of the remaining severely handicapped cases referred to in document A/AC.96/358, with a view to achieving permanent solutions to their problems.
IV. UNHCR programme for 1967 (Agenda item 14)
117. The Committee had before it document A/AC.96/363 and Add.1 and 2 containing new and revised projects under the UNHCR programme for 1967. The representative of the High Commissioner explained that the project for the rural settlement of Mozambiquan refugees at Muhukuru in Tanzania provided for continuation, in the second half of 1967, of the project started in November 1966. Another project provided for the rural settlement of a new group of Sudanese refugees who had arrived in Uganda early in 1967 and for whom the High Commissioner had already made a contribution from his Emergency Fund, as the Committee was informed in document A/AC.96/INF. 73. A third project provided for the continuation of medical care for Tibetan refugees in India. Addendum 1 to the document contained a project to re-allocate an existing appropriation for the opening of a sub-office at Isiro, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The allocations requested for these new and revised projects amounting to $262,000 would bring the financial target of the 1967 programme to $4,846,130.
118. In reply to a question as to why it was considered that there was no longer a need for the Branch office which had been envisaged for Rwanda, the representative of the High Commissioner recalled that an influx of Burundi refugees into Rwanda had occurred late in 1965. It was now apparent that the influx had been due to temporary difficulties in Burundi and most of this group of refugees had already returned voluntarily to their own country. The small number remaining had settled down spontaneously with their kinsfolk in Rwanda.
119. The observer for Burundi pointed out that his Government was not aware of a problem of Burundi refugees.
120. The observer from Sudan stated that his country had been granting asylum to refugees from one country for some time and that it was now receiving increasing numbers of refugees from another country. There were some 9,000 Congolese who received assistance from the Sudanese Government including food and medical supplies. All those who expressed the desire to return to their country would be helped to do so and the others would be given further assistance. Some 10,000 Eritreans had arrived in the Sudan before March 1967. There were many women and children among them. The figure had since increased to over 20,000. They had received food and clothing from the local population. The Sudanese Government had asked the High Commissioner in March to supplement the assistance which was rendered to them by the Sudanese Government. The observer expressed the hope that the Committee would approve measures to assist in moving these refugees to other areas.
121. The Director of operations gave an eyewitness account of his twelve-day mission to Sudan where he had had discussions with the authorities on the question of Sudanese refugees, and on the new problems raised by some 7,000 Congolese. After his arrival in Khartoum the Sudanese Government had raised the problem of some 25,000 Eritreans in the Sudan.
122. He stated that he had met some of the former Sudanese refugees who had returned from Agago (Uganda), who told him about the help they were receiving upon their return to their own country.
123. He subsequently met some of the Congolese refugees in Juba, Maridi and Yei. The latter two places were close to the Congolese border. The refugees were part of a group of 7,000 for whom the Government of the Sudan had requested the High Commissioner to provide assistance. Many seemed unaware of the fact that normal conditions had returned in their country. Some indicated their desire to return to their homes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Congolese Ambassador in Khartoum was informed accordingly. He felt that for some of these refugees the future lay in voluntary repatriation and that they should be given an opportunity to return to their own country as soon as possible. Those who chose to stay in the Sudan should be rapidly allocated land where they could get to work and settle down. Pending the results of negotiations for their repatriation, a settlement project might be necessary and would be submitted to the Executive Committee.
124. The Director of Operations visited the Eritreans in the Kassala area, the total number of whom was in the region of 25,000. They are spread in six centres organized by the government. He saw the largest one, where 19,000 of these people are in urgent need of assistance, the more so since the area in which they are located offers no possibility for them to settle down. They were partly nomadic, possessing camels, sheep and other cattle which they would have to take with them to areas where grassland was available. They had been vaccinated by the authorities and food supplies were being distributed to them. It was clear that rapid action was required to give them emergency relief and move them to an area where they could settle. He added that negotiations between the Sudanese authorities and representatives of the World Food Programme had been initiated with a view to obtaining the necessary food supplies for these refugees.
125. The representatives who took part in the discussion agreed that the problems just reported to the Committee deserved the fullest attention and required rapid intervention on the part of the High Commissioner. The Committee was aware that an assistance project for the refugees concerned could not be submitted to it at its present session, and one representative stated that it might be left to the High Commissioner meanwhile to deal with this problem, to the extent that this was feasible within the limits of his competence and of available resources, it being understood that, in accordance with usual practice, he would present a detailed report to the Committee on the subject.
DECISIONS OF THE COMMITTEE
126. The Executive Committee,
Having considered the new and revised projects submitted by the High Commissioner in an amount of $262,000 in document A/AC.96/363 and Add.1 and 2,
(1) Took note of the new and revised projects;
(2) Approved the allocations proposed in an amount of $262,000 for these projects;
(3) Authorized the High Commissioner to draw on the amount which was initially earmarked within the allocation of $161,000 approved by the Committee for administrative expenses at its sixteenth session, for the opening of a UNHCR branch office in Kigali, to cover such administrative expenditure as will be involved in opening a UNHCR sub-branch office at Isior, to the extent that this expenditure cannot be absorbed in the UNHCR administrative budget for 1967;
(4) Decided accordingly to raise the financial target of the UNHCR current programme for 1967 from its present figure of $4,584,130 to $4,846,130.
127. The Executive Committee,
Noting from a statement made by the Observer for the Sudan that the Sudanese Government had addressed a request to the High Commissioner for assistance to new groups of refugees in the Sudan,
Having heard the account of the High Commissioner's Director of Operations on the mission he had just accomplished in the Sudan, in which he stressed the urgency of the situation,
(1) Considered that, pending the study of appropriate further measures, if required, for submission to the Committee, it should be left to the High Commissioner to deal with these problems within the limits of his competence as defined in the Statute of his Office and other relevant resolutions of the General Assembly, and within his discretion to draw on the UNHCR Emergency Fund;
(2) Noted that, in accordance with usual practice, the High Commissioner would inform members of the Committee as soon as possible on the action taken in the matter;
3. Also encouraged the High Commissioner to seek funds for assistance on an ad hoc basis from interested Governments or non-governmental organizations.
V. Inter-agency co-operation (Agenda item 15)
128. The Committee considered the interim report submitted by the High Commissioner in respect of inter-agency co-operation (A/AC.96/367), and heard a statement by the representative of the High Commissioner in which he recalled that increased co-operation between UNHCR and other members of the United Nations system had been pursued, firstly in order to help meet the objectives of the UNHCR programme in areas where this co-operation was indispensable, and secondly in order to avoid any overlapping or duplication. He stressed the closer relations which had been established between UNHCR and representatives of other members of the United Nations system in the field and pointed out that in many countries where UNHCR had no branch office, resident representatives of UNDP provided valuable liaison between UNHCR and the authorities of the countries concerned and acted on behalf of the High Commissioner.
129. The Committee received information from the representatives of UNDP, the ILO, and FAO, and also from those of UNESCO and the World Food Programme at an earlier meeting, on the progress achieved in the field of inter-agency co-operation with UNHCR since the Committee's last session.
130. The representative of UNDP, confirmed that instructions had recently been issued to resident representatives to review all UNDP programmes carefully, with a view to taking the needs of refugees into account.
131. The Committee heard from the statements made by the representatives of ILO and FAO that action in favour of refugees in development areas must be conceived within a wider framework of development which would equally benefit the local population and that, as far as co-ordination procedure was concerned, it would be important for other members of the United Nations system to be kept informed of the development of refugee problems as soon as they emerged.
132. The representative of the ILO also said that, apart from the social aspects of integration, that organization would be prepared to participate in co-operation with the other specialized agencies, in the initiation of a number of activities in the field of comprehensive rural development, embracing manpower assessment, the creation of employment opportunities, vocational training and the establishment of co-operatives. However, in the absence of such schemes, his organization would be prepared to consider the possibility of providing sectoral assistance in its own field of competence. He further stressed that government requests for the participation of specialized agencies must have a sufficiently high priority attached to them and that such priority could be assigned to projects for refugees only if they were integrated into national development programmes. He added that the ILO would gladly examine the possibility of making available the services of its field representatives and experts for participation in the planning of projects, and that it was ready for further co-operation with UNHCR.
133. The representative of FAO stated that it was not enough to distribute land to peasants. They should also be provided with adequate institutional services, such as advice to farmers, credit and marketing facilities, and with seeds and any equipment needed. In view of the limited resources at the disposal of the various agencies involve, he emphasized the necessity of adopting a regional approach where comprehensive efforts should be undertaken. He also emphasized FAO's experience in the field of agricultural education and farmer training and would welcome an invitation from the High Commissioner to participate in the educational programme as well as in the broader field of rural development related to the refugee programme.
134. The government representatives who spoke encouraged the High Commissioner and other members of the United Nations system to pursue their present efforts of co-operation and voiced the hope that further progress would be made in accordance with the decision taken by the Executive Committee at its sixteenth session and with resolution 2197 (XXI) recently adopted by the General Assembly.
135. An exchange of views also took place on the relationship between the activities of members of the United Nations system and the work of the voluntary agencies which were putting assistance projects into effect in the countries of residence - as stressed by the representative of Tanzania. It was pointed out by the High Commissioner and the representative of the ILO that the activities of the United Nations organizations were distinct from those of voluntary agencies but that they were being co-ordinated both in the field and at headquarters.
136. The representative of Norway proposed that, in view of the High Commissioner's close co-operation with other members of the United Nations system, it was important for him to be able to attend the meetings of the Inter-Agency Consultative Board of the United Nations Development Programme. All the representatives who spoke supported this proposal and agreed that a paragraph on this question be included in the Committee's decision.
137. In the course of the discussion, a preliminary exchange of views took place on the question of voluntary repatriation with reference to certain refugee situations in Africa where such solutions might be practicable. On indications provided by several speakers during the debate on previous items to the effect that conditions for repatriation might become more favourable in certain areas in Africa, some delegations asked whether it would be appropriate to have a discussion in the Committee on measures by which the High Commissioner, assisted by other United Nations agencies, could further this development, where appropriate. The High Commissioner took note of the interest expressed by some members of the Committee and stated that he would study the question, so that the Committee might be able to examine it at a later session.
DECISION OF THE COMMITTEE
138. The Executive Committee, Having considered the interim report of the High Commissioner on Inter-Agency Co-operation (A/AC.96/367), Recognizing the positive results achieved through the concerted action of UNHCR and other members of the United Nations system,
(1) Took note with satisfaction of the interim report submitted by the High Commissioner;
(2) Expressed its appreciation to other members of the United Nations system for the increasing co-operation extended to the Office of the High Commissioner;
(3) Expressed the wish that his co-operation be further strengthened in accordance with the terms of resolution 2197 (XXI) of the General Assembly and pursuant to the decision adopted by the Executive Committee on the subject at its sixteenth session;
(4) Requested the High Commissioner to keep the Committee informed as appropriate of further progress achieved in this important field.
(5) Recommended that UNHCR be invited to attend the meetings of the Inter-Agency Consultative Board of the United Nations Development Programme.
VI. Administrative and financial questions
USE OF THE EMERGENCY FUND (Agenda item 11)
139. The Committee considered the report on the use of the Emergency Fund contained in paragraphs 52 and 53 of the report on UNHCR current operations in 1966 (A/AC.96/364).
140. The representative of the High Commissioner explained that a separate note on the use of the Emergency Fund had not been submitted to the Committee, as had been done at previous sessions. Since the operation of the Fund was part of the current operations of the Office, it was felt that the report on the use of the Fund was properly included in the report on Current Operations. He drew attention to the information documents listed in paragraph 52 of document A/AC.96/364.
141. The total expenditure of nearly $250,000 from the Emergency Fund in 1966 was higher than in previous years. It had been possible however to maintain the Emergency Fund at its ceiling of $500,000 since repayments of loans in 1966 had also been considerably above their normal level. Repayments of loans in 1967 however were not expected to exceed an estimated $300,000.
Decision of the Committee
142. The Executive Committee,
(1) approved the use made of the emergency Fund as reported in document A/AC.96/364;
(2) Took note of the disbursements made from the Fund for specific groups of refugees as reported in document A/AC.96/364, paragraphs 52-53.
STATUS OF CONTRIBUTIONS (Agenda item 13)
143. The Executive Committee considered the Status of Contributions submitted by the High Commissioner in document A/AC.96/356 and Add.1, and his report on income and allocations from the proceeds of the long-playing records «All Star Festival» and «International Piano Festival» (A/AC.96/INF.76).
144. In introducing the item, the Deputy High Commissioner conveyed the High Commissioner's deep concern at present financial developments. He recalled that there was a gap of more than $1,000,000 between the programme target for 1966 and the total of governmental contributions. While the 1966 programme commitments were now expected to be fully financed, this had been made possible only because, as the result primarily of fortuitous factors such as unexpected delays in the implementation of certain projects, the commitment total had been reduced from $4.2 million to $3.6 million. Private contributions, including a small amount from the proceeds of the European fund-raising campaign had made it possible to meet the reduced total, but would not have covered commitments in excess of $3.6 million.
145. Even greater problems had to be faced in financing the 1967 programme with its increased target. in spite of the generous additional contributions which had already been announced, there was no indication as yet of a significant increase in total governmental contributions towards this year's programme, and it was likely that a gap of some $1.7 million between the level of governmental contributions and the $4,846,130 target, would have to be faced. Unless additional governmental contributions were forthcoming, the High Commissioner would have to make every effort to secure sufficient funds from the private sector to cover the anticipated gap; the proceeds available for that purpose, however, might well not be sufficient, so that the High Commissioner might be compelled to appeal for additional governmental contributions later in the year.
146. In drawing attention to resolution 2197 (XXI) of the General Assembly, the Deputy High Commissioner stressed that the financing of the 1968 programme was a cause for even more serious concern, assuming that its target level would be of an order of magnitude similar to that of the 1967 programme. Since no further major private fund-raising campaign was envisaged in the near future, the 1968 programme would have to be covered almost entirely from governmental contributions. This meant that it could be fully financed only through an increase of some 25 per cent in the total amount of these contributions. The private and voluntary organizations had made clear their position that the funds they raised were not intended primarily to finance the current programme, which was considered to represent the assistance measures required to help meet the basic and most acute needs of refugees. A substantial part of the proceeds of the European Campaign had therefore been earmarked for projects outside the UNHCR programme.
147. The High Commissioner hoped therefore that all Governments would consider the possibility of increasing significantly their contributions to the programme.
148. Members of the Committee stressed the importance of the statement made on the financial position of UNHCR which they felt was one of the main items on the Committee's agenda.
149. The representatives who participated in the discussion recognized that there seemed to be a growing disparity between the level of governmental contributions and the annual financial target fixed by the Committee on the basis of refugee needs. The representatives of some Governments which regularly contributed to the UNHCR programmes stated that, while not excluding the possibility of additional financial support, it might be difficult for their Governments to increase their financial participation at that juncture. Even so, they expressed the hope that more help would be forthcoming from the countries which were at present in a position to provide it. Some representatives pointed out that not all contributions to the 1967 programme had been maintained at their 1966 level and they appealed to Governments, if not to increase, at least to maintain their contributions at the same amount.
150. The representative of Australia explained the mechanism in force of his country for the allocation of funds earmarked for international and regional purposes. The sums budgeted for had to be set aside a long time ahead for subsequent apportionment to various individual programmes and proper justification was required in order to obtain the necessary decision on such allocations. Furthermore, the financial year in Australia started on 1 July so that the budget for the financial year 1967/1968 had already been drawn up. The earliest possible approach to the authorities was therefore needed.
151. In the course of the debate and during other discussions, the following announcements concerning financial contributions and the results of the European fund-raising campaign were made by members of the Committee:
(a) The representative of France indicated that his Government was envisaging the possibility of maintaining in 1968 the increased contribution which it had made to the 1967 programme;
(b) The representative of the Federal Republic of Germany announced that the proceeds of the European Refugee Campaign in Germany were estimated at some four and a quarter million United States dollars;
(c) The representative of the Holy See announced a special contribution of $15,000, in addition to the usual contribution of $5,000, half of which was intended for the UNHCR and the other half for UNRWA;
(d) The representative of Nigeria indicated that his government's contribution to the 1967 programme had been increased by 10% over its previous level.
(e) The representative of Norway recalled that his government's contribution to the 1967 programme had been increased by 11%.
(f) The representative of Sweden announced a special contribution of $50,000 to the 1967 programme. He stated furthermore, that, while no decision had yet been taken in the matter, his government's contribution to the UNHCR Education Account might be similar to that made in 1966, i.e., in the order of $140,000. He added that, according to preliminary information, the results of the European Refugee Campaign in Sweden were estimated at three and a half million dollars, most of which would be administered by voluntary agencies in consultation with UNHCR, while he hoped that some of these funds would be earmarked for the UNHCR current programme.
(g) The representative of Switzerland recalled that his government's regular contribution to the 1967 programme had been increased by 20%.
(h) The High Commissioner informed the Committee that a contribution amounting to the equivalent of $6,900 had been announced by the government of the United Arab Republic.
Decision of the Committee
152. The Executive Committee:
Having considered the report on the Status of Contributions (A/AC.96/356 and Add.1), the report on income and Allocations from the proceeds of the long-playing records «All-Star Festival» and «International Piano Festival» (A/AC.96/INF/76) and having heard the statement by the Deputy High Commissioner, Noting that, whereas the need for assistance to refugees has progressively increased, particularly in Africa, there continues to be a considerable gap between the financial targets of the UNHCR current programmes and the total amounts contributed by Governments, Noting with satisfaction the successful results of the European Refugee Campaign but having learnt that in accordance with the wish of donors the major part of the proceeds would be earmarked for essential complementary assistance projects outside the UNHCR current programmes, Noting that contributions presently anticipated for the UNHCR current programmes might well not suffice to enable the High Commissioner to meet the financial target of the 1967 programme, Noting further the High Commissioner's special concern with respect to the adequacy of contributions to finance the 1968 programme, Recalling resolution 2197 (XXI) in which the General Assembly invites States Members of the United Nations and members of specialized agencies to place at the High Commissioner's disposal, the financial means necessary for the completion of his assistance programme, Further recalling the decisions taken by the Executive Committee at its fifteenth session in which it appealed inter alia, for wider participation of Governments in the UNHCR programmes,
(1) Commended the organizers of the 1966 Campaign for the manner in which they achieved the purposes of the campaign;
(2) Paid tribute to the countries which have generously participated in the campaign;
(3) Noted with concern that the number of Governments at present contributing to the UNHCR programme and the size of contributions made are inadequate to enable the High commissioner to meet his financial targets;
(4) Endorsed the appeal which the High Commissioner is addressing to Governments with a view to seeking wider and increased financial participation in his current programmes, especially in that for 1968;
(5) Took note of the report on income and allocations from the proceeds of the UNHCR long-playing records 'All-Star Festival' and «International Piano Festival» (A/AC.96. INF/76).
FINANCIAL STATUS OF UNHCR PROGRAMMES (Agenda item 12)
153. The Committee considered the financial status of UNHCR programmes submitted by the High Commissioner in document A/AC.96/369 and the report on investments submitted in document A/AC.96/362. It also heard an explanatory statement by the Administration, the details of which may be found in the summary record of the 163rd meeting.
Decision of the Committee
154. The Executive Committee,
Took note of the financial status of UNHCR programmes (A/AC.96/369) and of the report on investments for the year 1966 (A/AC.96/362).
ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENDITURE FOR 1968 (Agenda item 15)
155. The Committee considered document A/AC.96.366 submitted by the High Commissioner and heard a statement by the Deputy High Commissioner, the details of which may be found in the summary record of the 163rd meeting.
156. The representatives who spoke expressed agreement with the proposal contained in the document in respect of the calculation of the grant-in-aid to the United Nations budget.
Decision of the Committee
157. The Executive Committee,
Having considered the High Commissioner's budget estimates for 1968 (document A/AC.96/366),
Having noted in particular the recommendation made in paragraph 17.14 of the budget estimates for 1968 concerning the manner in which the grant-in-aid for each year should be determined,
(1) Took note of the High Commissioner's budget estimates for 1968;
(2) Recommended that the grant-in-aid for each year be based on the commitments made under the UNHCR current programme for the preceding year.
ANNEX OPENING STATEMENT BY THE HIGH COMMISSIONER
One of the most important developments in the international work for refugees, since the Executive Committee met at its sixteenth session, is no doubt the fact that the Secretary-General of the United Nations has transmitted the Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees to States for accession. I very much hope that as great a number of States as possible will accede to the Protocol so that it may come into force, possibly before the end of 1967.
The Members of the Committee will note that no special document has been prepared on the subject of international protection of refugees for this session. This is in conformity with the policy to issue a document on protection at the autumn session. It is perhaps an additional reason to stress again here that protection is the primary function of the Office.
While the Office has been faced since the last session of the Committee with a series of local problems, sometimes of a serious and very acute character, there have been no dramatic developments which would change the over-all picture as it was given to the Committee in November 1966.
The impression to be gained by looking at the world map is rather a considerable diversification of the refugee situations in the various countries. I refer here to the great variety of refugee groups as they emerged over the years and to the various stages in which each refugee group finds itself, particularly as regards their assimilation and integration from an economic and social point of view.
It may be useful therefore to analyse briefly the refugee situation in each geographical area. I propose to do so in alphabetical order, which does not necessarily reflect the importance of the various areas from the point of view of our work.
The Committee will note that the documents submitted do not refer to any new category of refugees in Africa. I should like to mention, however, that my Office has been informed by Governments of certain population movements which might have a distinct refugee character and which might, therefore, ultimately become the concern of my Office.
There has been, on the other hand, a further increase of existing refugee groups. As of 1 January 1967, there were an estimated 740,000 refugees in Africa, as compared with 630,000 on 1 January 1966. Of course, as a result of earlier activities, only a part of this total number still requires active material assistance under the auspices of UNHCR.
The actual number takes into consideration both the new arrivals on the one hand and the reduction in the number of certain refugee groups through voluntary repatriation on the other hand. This phenomenon has been particularly significant for the Congolese groups, where both influx and voluntary repatriation reached the thousands. For this group, we have reason to believe that voluntary repatriation will in fact be the predominant solution.
I should also like to mention the voluntary repatriation of several hundreds of Rwandese refugees. A few thousand Angolans and Mozambiquans returned from Zambia to their respective countries. In the early part of this year detailed information was received on the voluntary repatriation of Sudanese refugees from Uganda which reached a total of 1,094 (including 713 by road and 381 by air). There has been a further number, not precisely known as yet, of individual repatriants.
I am sure that the Members of the Committee will welcome, with me, these voluntary repatriation movements which clearly indicate that, in a number of situations in Africa, as soon as the refugees are convinced that they can return to their country of origin, voluntary repatriation is a real solution for at least part of the refugee problem.
Increasing attention is being given by the African Governments to the Necessity of solving the refugee problems in a spirit of understanding between States. Further evidence of this is given by the conference held at the end of March 1967 in Goma, in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Between the Presidents of Burundi and Rwanda. In the statement issued, the Heads of State recognized the generally accepted principles governing refugee status, including the principle of voluntary repatriation, and declared their intention to co-operate in the elimination of subversive activities.
I indicated earlier that the total number of refugees in Africa was estimated, early in 1967, at 740,000. Of this total, some 450,000 refugees can be considered as settled. Among this category, some 350,000 refugees are settled largely through spontaneous integration with initial assistance from local authorities, UNHCR and other bodies. I refer here mainly to two groups of refugees, the Angolans in the Congo and the refugees from Portuguese Guinea in Senegal.
I had occasion, in the early part of March 1967, to see for myself the situation in the Casamance, the southern province of Senegal, at the invitation of President Senghor. I should like to express my gratitude to President Senghor and the Government of Senegal for the warm reception I received there and also for the opportunity of seeing the results in the Casamance of the combined action of a series of local factors and of the assistance provided by the Government, the voluntary agencies and UNHCR. The strong ethnic links between the refugees and the local population (which makes it in fact impossible in many instances to distinguish between the two groups), the availability of land and the measures of assistance taken have facilitated the rather smooth process of integration to which I just referred.
In other parts of Africa circumstances have required a substantial and prolonged aid from my Office and other agencies, governmental and non-governmental, to enable refugees to settle on the land. At this stage, we consider that some 100,000 refugees (particularly Rwandese in Burundi, the Congo, Uganda and Tanzania and a number of Sudanese in Uganda) are settled, at least at subsistence level, through these efforts.
These groups of refugees, totalling some 450,000 may still require some assistance in the years to come for the consolidation of the social and economic infrastructure of the new communities. But if each refugee group is considered by itself, there is actual evidence that the problem of refugees, whether in Africa or elsewhere, is not endless. We can therefore dispel the unjustified fears which have been, and sometimes are still voiced in this respect.
Meanwhile, over 250,000 refugees in Africa still rely on active assistance measures from the Governments of the countries of asylum and through multilateral channels, particularly UNHCR, before they reach a certain degree of self-reliance, although about half of this number no longer require food rations.
Considerable progress has been made, particularly in respect of rural settlement in Africa, in the field of inter-agency co-operation, which I know is of special interest to this Committee. Following the recommendations made by the Executive Committee at its sixteenth session, a very positive attitude was taken on this matter by the General Assembly in its resolution 2197 (XXI), the text of which is being submitted for information in the documents of this session. I also had conversations on the subject with the Administrator and Co-Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, as well as with leaders of other United Nations programmes and United Nations specialized agencies. More details on this subject are given to the Committee in document A/AC.96/367.
I should like to emphasize here that, within the framework of this inter-agency co-operation, a new common approach to refugee problems in Africa is evolving which should make it possible to complement the initial assistance activities, sponsored and largely financed by UNHCR, by the more general economic and social assistance of the United Nations system as a whole.
As tangible evidence of inter-agency co-operation I would mention:
(1) The continuation of the ILO project in the Kivu;
(2) The 1967 interim project in East Burundi involving the World Food Programme, UNDP, ILO and FAO.
(3) The continued co-operation with the World Food Programme in a number of other countries, such as the Central African Republic, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
(4) The participation of UNDP and specialized agencies in the planning stage of settlement projects, for example in the Central African Republic and in the Congo.
The take-over of refugee settlement areas by the United Nations technical assistance system and their integration into over-all development programmes depends to a very large extent upon the interest shown by the countries of asylum and upon specific requests made by the governments of these countries to UNDP. The earlier such a request is made and corresponding action is actually taken, the sooner UNHCR can withdraw its active support from existing projects.
I mentioned already at earlier sessions the increasing importance of legal problems and individual assistance measures for small groups of refugees falling outside the scope of these rural settlement activities to which I have referred. A typical situation in this respect is that which has existed for some time now in a number of southern African areas, inter alia Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland.
I was invited by the President of Botswana to visit his country, but being unable to respond to his invitation because of my heavy schedule, I requested two members of my Office to proceed to Gaberones in March and April of this year. One of my representatives had the opportunity of visiting Swaziland also, in agreement with the United Kingdom authorities. I am at present studying the report on this mission with a view to helping the Governments in that area in finding appropriate solutions to a refugee problem which, although small in numbers belongs precisely, as I have said, to the category of problems where no collective measures can be contemplated.
Turning to the northern part of the continent, I had the occasion, early in March, to examine the situation in the United Arab Republic, where I had the privilege of discussing problems of common interest with President Nasser and members of the Government. As a result of my visit I am happy to report that the Government of the United Arab Republic has decided, for the first time, to make a contribution of Egyptian 3,000 to the voluntary funds programmes of UNHCR.
Turning now to the Americas, Mr. Chairman, I should like to recall the existence, among the refugees in Latin America, of a relatively small number of particularly difficult individual cases. We continue to try to seek simple and practical solutions for these cases in accordance with local possibilities, taking also into account the recommendations made by the UNHCR mental health adviser.
My Office has co-operated for a number of years already with the Organization of American States, particularly in the field of international protection of refugees. The OAS Human Rights Commission has been particularly helpful to my Office in assisting in a problem of forced repatriation of refugees from Haiti. I hope that a representative of OAS will have the opportunity, with your agreement, Mr. Chairman, of addressing the Committee at a later stage.
With regard to Asia, the Members of the Executive Committee are certainly aware of the events which occurred a few months ago in Macao where the authorities agreed under considerable pressure to send back new illegal entrants to the mainland of China. My office is extremely concerned about this development and has repeatedly drawn the attention of the Portuguese Government to the necessity of maintaining the generally accepted principle of «non-refoulement» of refugees to their country of origin.
The assistance activities in Nepal are developing satisfactorily. There are still in this country groups of Tibetan refugees who have been for some time in remote and very inaccessible parts of the country, and therefore were not assisted. There are, therefore, indications that the UNHCR presence in Nepal will continue to be necessary for a further period.
The Government of India has continued uninterruptedly its efforts of assistance to Tibetan refugees and I should like to pay a warm tribute to the magnitude of this effort which is, I believe, insufficiently known outside India. The European Refugee Campaign, to which I should like to revert later, has yielded considerable results and, following the decisions made by a number of national campaign committees to devote sizable funds to the problem of Tibetan refugees, there is now a well-founded hope that in agreement with the Indian government, a durable solution can be found in the years to come for a large part of those Tibetan refugees whose situation in India has still not been settled.
As to the Near East, there are still in that area small groups of refugees of various origins for whom durable solutions continue to be sought both through resettlement and through small integration projects. I may single out here the recent resettlement of a small group of Assyrian refugees from the Lebanon to Sweden and I should like to thank the two governments for their co-operation in this project.
Turning to Europe, Mr. Chairman, and distinguished delegates, as I have stated on earlier occasions, the problem of refugees in Europe is now well under control, thanks to the general stability in this area and to the economic prosperity which - despite recent small fluctuations - continues to characterize the European situation. While my Office should remain aware of the needs of the limited number of refugees who still require assistance, the developments in Europe have made it possible to entrust the responsibility for material assistance activities in an increasing measure to Governments and voluntary agencies, as was explained when the 1967 programme was submitted to the Committee at its last session.
This transfer of tasks has enable UNHCR to readjust the administrative set-up of the UNHCR branch offices in Europe, making staff available for other areas of activities, particularly in Africa, a wish which has been repeatedly expressed by the General Assembly in New York.
Without neglecting the co-operation with Governments and voluntary bodies in respect of material assistance, the branch offices in Europe will concentrate even more than hitherto on their task of international protection. In this respect it should be noted that the naturalization of refugees in Europe is still hampered in certain countries by legal obstacles. I welcome therefore a recent recommendation by the Consultative Assembly of the Council of the Europe which paves the way for a new systematic approach to this question.
The two official visits which I made during the last six months in Europe were to Italy and to the Holy See. In Italy, I was able to convince myself of the very genuine interest of the Government in the efforts to which I have already referred of transferring the administrative responsibility for material assistance to local bodies. A few technical difficulties are however still being encountered in the actual enactment of this process and we are following this up.
I was very honoured to be received by His Holiness Pope Paul VI and I was again very much impressed by the profound interest shown by His Holiness in the work of my Office, an interest inspired by his constant concern for the world's problems, more particularly in their humanitarian aspect.
I should like to pay tribute here to those who took the initiative in the European Refugee Campaign 1966 particularly to H. R. H. Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, who was the Chairman of the Working Group, and to all those - Governments, non-governmental bodies, and the millions of individuals who participated in the campaign which has finally collected a sizable fund, although the final results are not yet known as of today.
As was expected, this fund will be devoted by the national campaign committees in the various countries to a great variety of refugee programmes, mainly in Africa and Asia, the majority of which, however, fall outside the frame of the UNHCR programme and therefore also of the UNHCR financial target for voluntary funds. My essential preoccupation is that refugee needs be met and I have full understanding for the free choice of the national campaign committees in channelling and putting to good use the funds they have been able to collect. I also welcome, of course - and should like to express here again my very sincere gratitude to those national campaign committees who so decided - the channelling of some of the funds through UNHCR, whether for projects included in our programme or in the form of special trust funds to meet other needs of refugees.
Following in the tradition of my predecessors, I was very glad to accept the invitation of the Governments of Australia and New Zealand to visit these countries during April 1967. I wish to express my sincere thanks, also to you, Mr. Chairman, for the very warm reception indeed which I was given by the Governments and the people of Australia and New Zealand.
I was able to see the impetus given to the economies of these countries by the post-war immigrants, who include hundreds of thousands of refugees, and also the manifold arrangements made by the authorities to welcome the immigrants to their new country.
I want to emphasize here particularly the interest shown by the two countries in specific groups of refugees in recent years who were not easy to resettle and the very liberal arrangements made for the admission and reception of handicapped refugees. The Australian Government in particular has agreed to reconsider, for admission, the dossiers of handicapped refugees who could not be accepted in the past on account of the criteria then prevailing.
There are a few special problems, to which I should draw the Executive Committee's attention. The Committee is aware that 1968 has been proclaimed Human Rights Year by the General Assembly. The measures contemplated in this respect, both at international and national levels, are being closely followed by my Office, as we believe that it is essential to include the cause of the refugees in these arrangements at the early planning stage. I am convinced that this policy will have the support of the Executive Committee and would be grateful if the Governments here represented could give attention to the refugee problem when making arrangements in their respective countries for Human Rights Year.
A review of the achievements under the refugee education account is contained in document A/AC.96/364. I should point out here that there have been so far only a very limited number of donors for the refugee education account. My particular gratitude goes in this respect to the Scandinavian Governments. However cautious our policy and our approach, there is no doubt that, quite apart from primary education, for which arrangements are included, where needed, in the UNHCR programme, there is a distinct need for technical training, secondary and higher education among the refugees, which must somehow be satisfied. In conformity with the policy approved by the Committee, my Office is strengthening its co-operation in this respect with UNESCO, with whom an agreement is being concluded. I may point out that this co-operation in this respect with UNESCO, with whom an agreement is being concluded. I may point out that this co-operation is of a technical nature and does not make available funds for the education of refugees.
The Committee is aware that the over-all aspects of refugee problems have changed considerably in recent years. This has now led to a readjustment of the internal structure of UNHCR headquarters. The particular objectives of this reorganization have been chiefly the strengthening of liaison with outside bodies, especially within the United Nations family, and the achieving of a better internal co-ordination on a geographical basis, also reflecting the universal character of refugee problems.
The financial position of UNHCR programmes remains preoccupying. These programmes rely chiefly on governmental contributions and I may draw attention to the fact that many contributions have remained unchanged over the years, with no relation to the considerable changes in price levels throughout the world since the programme started and furthermore, without relation to the scope of the refugee problem itself. I believe that there is a need for an active and flexible approach to this matter of voluntary contributions. A limited number of Governments have seen their way to increasing their annual contribution to UNHCR programmes and I should like to renew my thanks to these governments.
In conclusion, I would repeat that refugee problems are more than ever widely diversified, both geographically and as to the nature of each refugee problem.
The Office is deeply engaged, very often in a very inconspicuous way, in tackling and trying to solve each problem in its specific context, with an open mind as to the ways and means fitting each situation.
We are all aware, Mr. Chairman, of the events surrounding us, of the tensions and conflicts affecting security and stability in various parts of the world. The refugee problems may appear to be less preoccupying when we compare them with these other situations. However, my colleagues and I, and I believe also this Committee, are vividly aware of the fact that the refugee is a product of the world's social, economic and political problems. It has been said before that the solution of each specific refugee situation contributes towards stability in the relevant area of the world. We should keep this in mind at the moment when the Executive Committee starts on its seventeenth session.
1 Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Burundi, Brazil, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Colombia, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Democratic Republic of ), Cyprus, Dahomey, Denmark, Ecuador, Federal Republic of Germany, France, Bagon, Gambia, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Holy See, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Kenya, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Senegal, Sweden, Switzerland, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania and Yugoslavia.
2 Belgium, Denmark, Federal Republic of Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, Monaco, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden Switzerland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Yugoslavia.
3 The following States are parties to this Agreement; Belgium, Denmark, Federal Republic of Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.
4 A special account which the Executive Committee authorized the High Commissioner to set up with a view to ensuring the financing of his material assistance programmes.
6 previously circulated under the symbol A/AC.96/370