Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations General Assembly Official Records: Thirteenth Session
Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Supplement No.11 (A/3828/Rev.1)
1. The present report relates to the activities of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from May 1957 to May 1958. During this period the work of the Office has continued in accordance with the provisions of its Statute to be carried out on a humanitarian and a social basis.
2. It is the general policy of the High Commissioner in dealing with refugee problems to ensure international protection for refugees within the mandate of his office and to promote permanent solutions for non-settled refugees, giving them the choice between voluntary repatriation, resettlement in other countries whenever possible, or integration in their countries of residence.
3. In the case of a new refugee problem, it is the policy of UNHCR to seek means of achieving a complete solution for the problem as soon as it arises, so that there does not remain in the country of first asylum a residual group of persons who cannot be settled. This policy was applied in the case of Hungarian refugees when the international community was made aware that countries of first asylum should not be left with the burden of large numbers of refugees difficult to resettle. Its implementation has been successful in Yugoslavia where, as a result of co-operation between Governments, the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration, the United States Escapee Program, voluntary agencies and UNHCR, the Hungarian refugee problem was completely solved by January 1958. Of the total influx of 19,857 Hungarian refugees into that country, 2,773 were voluntarily repatriated, 16,409 resettled and 675 integrated.
4. The situation in Austria is less satisfactory. Of the total influx of over 180,000 Hungarian refugees into Austria, an estimated 7,800 have been repatriated and 154,300 resettled, while there still remain 18,200, of whom 7,600 are in camps. Here, an additional effort is required to resettle the 9,000 Hungarian refugees who have expressed the desire to emigrate.
5. A permanent solutions programme in an amount of $3,500,000 has been put into effect for non-settled Hungarian refugees who wish to stay in Austria. This programme includes assistance for integration through the provision of housing and small loans, an educational programme, and aid to special groups, such as intellectuals.
6. The High Commissioner still has a function of protection to exercise in respect of these refugees, whether they have been resettled in Europe or overseas or integrated in their country of first asylum. He will continue to facilitate the return of any refugees who freely express the desire to be repatriated.
7. Partly as a result of the resettlement of Hungarian refugees, of the naturalization of other refugees and of the influx of new refugees, there has been a gradual change in the composition of the refugee population within the mandate of the High Commissioner's Office in various areas. In countries of resettlement, which admitted in the course of 1957 some 80,900 Hungarian refugees in addition to some 35,000 other refugees, the Hungarians constitute an important new element.
8. On the other hand, the number of those whose refugee status is of longer standing has decreased through naturalization during this period by approximately 30,000 in Europe alone. New problems have arisen, however, as a result of the influx of new refugees who entered Western European countries at an estimated monthly rate of 1,700 during 1957.
9. As a result of experience gained in the Hungarian operation, Governments are showing a tendency to apply more liberal immigration criteria to certain handicapped groups of earlier refugees. In addition to certain European countries, Australia and New Zealand have agreed in principle to accept a number of families with one or more physically-handicapped members. These Governments also give favourable consideration to the admission of difficult cases when this enables them to join their families which have already been admitted. The Government of the United States included a provision in favour of tubercular cases in its Immigration and Nationality Act of 11 September 1957.
10. In view of these development, it may become necessary for the High Commissioner to increase his activities in area where numbers of refugees have been resettled and where closer relations with the governmental authorities may facilitate their assimilation.
11. As regards international protection, further efforts have been made to improve the general situation as well as the legal status of refugees in various countries. Largely owing to the close co-operation which has developed between UNHCR Branch offices and the governmental authorities, new legal provisions have been adopted for the benefit of refugees, and measures have continued to be taken for the implementation of important articles of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, in particular those concerning the right of employment and social benefits.
12. A preliminary report on the Survey of the non-settled refugee population in Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy and Turkey was submitted to the General Assembly as an addendum to the last report of the High Commissioner. Full details of the Survey findings have now become available and show that in mid-summer 1957, when the Survey was carried out, there were approximately 178,000 non-settled refugees in the countries mentioned above. Of these, some 58,000 refugees are living in camps and some 120,000 outside camps. Information made available by this Survey will greatly facilitate future planning of the refugee programme.
13. In view of the limited resources at his disposal, the High Commissioner has adopted the practice of analysing and delimiting clearly certain refugee problems on which his main efforts can be concentrated.
14. This is also true of the UNREF programme, now in its fourth and final year of implementation. During the current reporting period, the efforts of UNHCR have been concentrated on the solution of the problems of refugees in camps, and the 1958 programme is therefore mainly focused on the countries with the largest camp population.
15. While permanent solutions are being achieved mainly through integration project, resettlement remains an important solution, and one of the most satisfactory for certain categories, including in particular those refugees who have not spent many years in camps.
16. By 31 March 1958, a total of 34,903 refugees have been assisted under the UNREF programme, of whom 22,039 had been firmly settled. On the assumption that all camp clearance projects can be implemented within the UNREF Revised Plan of Operations (1958), it is estimated that there may remain at the end of this year some 11,600 refugees in camps who will not have benefited from the UNREF programme and who will not be eligible for assistance under other international programmes. To implement solutions for these refugees in the course of 1959 and 1960 as part of the intensification of the UNREF programme, a camp clearance programme in an amount of $4,800,000 complementary to national programmes has been submitted to the UNREF Executive Committee in accordance with paragraph 1 (a) of resolution 1166 (XII) of 26 November 1957. Decisions taken by the Committee on this programme will be found in the report on its eighth session (see Annex III).
17. As a result of the appeal addressed by the High Commissioner to members of the United Nations and members of the specialized agencies under paragraph 1 (b) of resolution 1166 (XII), an amount of $3,478,100 had, by 15 May 1958, bee n paid, pledged or promised towards the total sum of about $10,200,000 required for the 1958 UNREF programme and its intensification for camps clearance. A further amount of $6,721,900 is therefore still needed, as compared with about $7,500,000 at the beginning of 1958.
18. A special problem has arisen as a result of an acute shortage in the funds available to ICEM for the transportation of refugees of European origin from the Far East, and in the funds available to UNHCR for their care and maintenance in transit in Hong Kong. Through the generosity of several interested Governments and voluntary agencies a complete interruption of the operation was avoided, but, as at the beginning of June 1958, the crisis continues. Information on action taken by the UNREF Executive Committee on proposals for the solution of this problem may be found in the report of the eighth session of the Committee.
19. As far as the long/range aspects of the problem are concerned, there are still 10,300 refugees of European origin on the mainland of China, 5,300 of whom have been assured of resettlement visas. These 10,300 could all be moved if transportation funds totalling approximately $5,500,000 were available to the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration.
20. It will be recalled that, pursuant to resolution 650 B (XXIV) of the Economic and Social Council, adopted on 24 July 1957, the General Assembly at its twelfth session decided, in view of the continuing need for international action on behalf of refugees, to prolong the Office for a period of five years from 1 January 1959. At the same time the General Assembly adopted resolution 1166 (XII) on international assistance to refugees. The effect of this resolution is that the programme of the United Nations Refugee Fund should be intensified to the fullest extent possible in order to achieve permanent solutions for the maximum number of refugees remaining in camps, without losing sight of the need to continue to seek solutions for the problem of refugees outside camps; that the UNREF programme as such should come to an end on 31 December 1958; that from 1 January 1959 UNHCR should carry out such programmes as might be authorized by the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's programme ; and that the UNREF Executive Committee should exercise in 1958 such functions incumbent upon the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's programme as it deemed necessary, with a view to assuring the continuation of international assistance to refugees.
CHAPTER I THE PROBLEM OF HUNGARIAN REFUGEES
21. The last report to the General Assembly summed up the position of the Hungarian refugee problem on 1 May 1957. An analysis of the progress made in the twelve months between that date and 1 May 1958 is given in this chapter.
22. The total number of Hungarian refugees who have entered Austria and Yugoslavia is approximately 200,000. All Hungarian refugees who entered Yugoslavia have now found solutions to their problems by voluntary repatriation, by local integration in Yugoslavia or by resettlement in other countries. In Austria, on the other hand, there still remain some 18,200 refugees, of whom 7,600 are in camps. It is estimated that some 9,000 refugees wish to emigrate. The remainder of the group are expected to become locally integrated in Austria, either through their own efforts or with the assistance of special programmes, including a permanent solutions programme designed by UNHCR.
23. The resettlement of more than 170,000 Hungarian refugees in over thirty countries in all parts of the world has considerably increased the task of international protection of the High Commissioner's Office.
24. According to information available to the Office, the total number of refugees repatriated to Hungary from countries of both first and second asylum had reached about 15,800 by 1 May 1958, some 6,300 having been repatriated during the period under review. Some Governments of countries of asylum expressed a willingness to defray the travel costs of refugees returning to Hungary. Where difficulties arose, the High Commissioner intervened through diplomatic channels.
25. Legal problems have arisen out of the necessity of ensuring that Hungarian refugees are given the rights to which they are entitled under the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. In general, the Governments of countries of asylum have been outstandingly generous in the treatment they have accorded to Hungarian refugees. Many of this group have also been granted asylum by countries not parties to the Convention.
26. A legal procedure was established as soon as possible in both Austria and Yugoslavia for deciding on the future of unaccompanied children. In the early days of the Hungarian refugee problem, however, a number of minors were include in mass transportation movements and have thus become spread over many countries. The Office of the High Commissioner has intervened with the Governments concerned in order to emphasize the importance of deciding on the future of these children in accordance with the principles of family unity and the best interest of the individual child.
27. Upon arriving in a country of second asylum a refugee faces the necessity of adapting himself to what is often a very different society, of learning a new language and even of adjusting himself to different climatic conditions. In a number of cases, Hungarian refugees have found themselves unable to fit into their new environment, and have requested further resettlement to another country. The Office of the High Commissioner has helped a number of Governments to find new opportunities elsewhere for these refugees. In other cases, families have become separated during resettlement, and steps have been necessary to bring about family reunion. This complex operation has not yet been completed. Nevertheless, the great majority of Hungarian refugees who have left Austria and Yugoslavia have become integrated in their present countries of residence.
A. Hungarian refugees in Austria
OVER-ALL MOVEMENT OF REFUGEES
28. It is estimated that a total of approximately 180,000 Hungarian refugees have entered Austria. On 1 May 1957, there were an estimated 35,300 refugees remaining in that country: by 1 May 1958, this figure had been reduced to about 18,200, including 7,600 refugees in camps. The reduction during this period was therefore small in comparison with the achievements during the early months of the Hungarian refugee problem. The intensive efforts of the early period were not sustained long enough to solve the whole problem immediately.
29. Voluntary repatriation of refugees to Hungary continued without major difficulties during the period under review. By 1 May 1958, the total number of refugees repatriated to Hungary directly from Austria had reached approximately 7,700, of whom 3,300 left during the period under review.
30. By 1 May 1958, the number of refugees resettled from Austria had reached about 154,400. The relatively slow reduction in the numbers of refugees remaining in Austria between May 1957 and May 1958 can be attributed almost entirely to difficulties in the way of resettlement. After allowing for the possibilities of local integration in Austria, the number still desiring emigration may be estimated at some 9,000. It is to be hoped that a number of Governments which have already taken substantial numbers of Hungarian refugees will agree to make a relatively small further effort and accept an additional quota.
PROVISION OF CARE AND MAINTENANCE
31. The responsibility for providing care and maintenance falls on the Austrian Government. The previous report described the manner in which the League of Red Cross Societies undertook to provide part of the care and maintenance needs of refugees in specific camps from 15 December 1956 to 30 June 1957. From 1 July to 30 September 1957, this operation was continued by the Austrian Red Cross Society although the League still gave assistance. On 1 October 1957, the Government of Austria took back full responsibility for care and maintenance. The League of Red Cross Societies reports that up to 31 October 1957 Red Cross Societies had contributed over $3,000,000 in cash and $9,400,000 in kind for the operation in Austria. Besides the Austrian Red Cross Society, fourteen other national societies participated in the work in Austria. The value of national society personnel services to the League is estimated at $700,000.
32. In the last report details were given of financial assistance provided to the Austrian Government through the Office of UNHCR. As a result of this help, of the operation undertaken by the Red Cross Societies and of bilateral contributions made directly to the Austrian Government, including surplus foods up to a value of $10,000,000 contributed by the United States Government, the financial aspect of the Hungarian refugee problem in Austria can be considered satisfactorily solved.
PERMANENT SOLUTIONS PROGRAMME
33. The last report referred to long-term projects approved by the UNREF Executive Committee at its fourth session and designed in particular to provide counselling, casework and scholarships for Hungarian refugees. At its fifth session, the UNREF Executive Committee authorized the Office of UNHCR to implement a permanent solutions programme for Hungarian refugees in Austria costing $3,500,000.
34. Implementation of this programme is now proceeding. The outline of the programme by type of projects is given below, together with the financial status of projects on 1 May 1958.
|Type of project||UNHCR allocation||Paid or obligated against signed agreements||Value of projects in course of negotiation||Value of projects in preparation|
|Aid to university students||135,000||103,846||30,769||385|
|Aid to intellectuals||40,000||34,828||5,172|
|Care of unmarried mothers||25,000||25,000|
|Hungarian news bulletin||10,000||10,000a|
a Project completed on 15 January 1958.
35. The projects for housing and small loans, which together account for more than 70 per cent of the total value of the programme, represent a major effort to assist the economic integration of Hungarian refugees in Austria. Work on housing projects has already started, and every advantage will be taken of the 1958 building season. It is planned to provide about 860 dwelling units, which will take the forms of semi-detached houses, small semi-detached bungalows or apartments. At the same time, the small loans project is helping refugees to buy tools or capital equipment and thus enabling them to find employment or to open up small businesses. A considerable effort is also being made to provide a suitable educational programme (elementary schools, youth projects, aid to university students). The Hungarian refugee group includes a high proportion of young persons, and it has been necessary to provide school facilities outside the camps for these minors. Particular mention may be made of four secondary schools in which, as at 31 March 1958, 839 young refugees were being given suitable education, and also of a large vocational training institute set up by the Austrian Government and accommodating at the same date 140 boys. University scholarships have been given to 254 refugees to enable them to enter Austrian universities. It should be emphasized that the participation of UNHCR in the over-all educational programme for Hungarian refugees in Austria is relatively small. The Austrian Government and an impressive number of voluntary agencies and private foundations are contributing large sums of money to meet the educational needs of the younger refugees. Finally, there are projects for aid to special groups of refugees, such as intellectuals, who can obtain small grants or loans or special courses designed to assist their often difficult adaptation to a new environment.
B. Hungarian refugees in Yugoslavia
OVER-ALL MOVEMENT OF REFUGEES
36. The total number of Hungarian refugees who entered Yugoslavia was 19,857. By the end of January 1958, a solution had been found for each individual in this group. A total of 16,409 refugees had emigrated, 2,773 had been voluntarily repatriated and 675 were considered to be integrated in Yugoslavia. The refugees resettled included a considerable proportion of difficult cases and persons suffering from physical or social handicaps, who would not normally meet the selection criteria of countries of immigration.
PROVISION OF CARE AND MAINTENANCE
37. While the main burden of providing care and maintenance was borne by the Yugoslav Government, the League of Red Cross Societies made a valuable contribution by supplying food, clothing and medical supplies. It officially terminated its operation on 30 September 1957, but it left with the Yugoslav Red Cross Society a considerable quantity of stores to be used during the coming months, while some assistance continued to be given by individual Red Cross Societies. The League reports that up to 31 October 1957 national Red Cross Societies had contributed over $430,000 in cash and almost $1,100,000 in kind for the operation in Yugoslavia.
38. The expenditures incurred by the Yugoslav Government for housing, transportation and care and maintenance of Hungarian refugees amounted to some $7,700,000. Towards this amount, UNHCR was enabled to contribute approximately $1,050,000. This, however, still left the Yugoslav Government with a deficit of over $6,600,000.
END OF OPERATION IN YUGOSLAVIA
39. The Provisional UNHCR Branch Office in Belgrade was opened on 15 February 1957 and withdrawn on 4 February 1958. The entire operation thus lasted approximately one year, and provides an object lesson in what can be achieved if Governments tackle a refugee problem of known size with vigour and determination.
C. Contributions for Hungarian refugees
40. The following table gives details of financial contributions for Hungarian refugees made, up to 15 May 1958, through the Secretary-General or the Office of the High Commissioner. It also gives certain statistics on the movement of refugees from Austria and Yugoslavia as well as between countries of resettlement. It has not been practicable to keep track of all movements of Hungarian refugees, and consequently the figures quoted should be treated as approximations. Figures are rounded to the nearest 100, or the nearest ten, as applicable, and, in general only those countries are included which are believed to have more than twenty Hungarian refugees. The position is shown as of 1 May 1958.
(Note: table not included in this online version. See your nearest UN Depository Library.)
CHAPTER II SPECIAL REFUGEE PROBLEMS
41. As indicated in the previous annual report, the High Commissioner's Office has been called upon to assist persons who, as a result of events which took place in the Middle East at the beginning of 1957, left the area for certain countries of temporary asylum in Europe, where they are now regarded as coming under the mandate of the High Commissioner's Office. Since the cost of care and maintenance of these persons in transit pending their resettlement is too heavy a burden on the Governments which have offered them temporary asylum, the UNHCR has been asked to provide assistance for them. During the period under review, a contribution of $200,000 was made by UNHCR, from governmental funds placed at its disposal, to two voluntary agencies for the care and maintenance and resettlement of these refugees.
42. UNHCR was also called upon to give assistance to refugees who entered Tunisia in the course of 1957, and helped the Tunisian Government to bear the burden of emergency aid required for these refugees. The International Committee of the Red Cross, which had already given assistance to these refugees, has undertaken to distribute to them food and clothing placed at their disposal through UNHCR or purchased with funds which UNHCR received from several Governments for this purpose.
43. The total assistance given through this Office to refugees in Tunisia amounts so far to $116,000. This assistance, together with that given by one Government in response to a suggestion from the High Commissioner, has made it possible to meet the most urgent requirements during the critical winter period. Further assistance is now being given to these refugees by the League of Red Cross Societies with the funds obtained in response to the joint appeal launched by the League and the International Committee of the Red Cross under the terms of the resolution adopted by the Conference of Red Cross Societies at New Delhi on 10 December 1957.
CHAPTER III INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION
44. According to the Statute of the Office, one of the principal functions of the High Commissioner is the international protection of refugees. Only the concrete developments in this field are reported in the present report; but the Office exercises a constant vigilance over the interests of the refugees, and the High Commissioner is in close and continuous communication with Governments in order to improve their legal situation and to support the achievements of the permanent solutions programme by appropriate legal measures to consolidate the integration of the refugees into the community.
A. International instruments affecting refugees
1951 CONVENTION RELATING TO THE STATUS OF REFUGEES
45. The Government of Tunisia announced in November 1957 that it recognized itself as bound by the Convention. The Convention is now in force between the following twenty-two States: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Ecuador, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Holy See, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Morocco, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In at least four other countries, ratification of or accession to the Convention is under active consideration.
46. A decree adopted on 10 January 1957 lays down detailed regulations for the application of the Convention in the Netherlands.
CONVENTION ON THE DECLARATION OF DEATH OF MISSING PERSONS
47. The Protocol extending the validity of the United Nations Convention on the Declaration of Death of Missing Persons for a further period of ten years after its expiry on 23 January 1957 has now been acceded to by the following States: Cambodia, China, Israel and Pakistan.
UNIVERSAL COPYRIGHT CONVENTION
48. During the period under review, the following States ratified |Protocol No. 1 of the Universal Copyright Convention which provides for the assimilation of stateless persons and refugees resident in a contracting State to nationals of that State for the purposes of the Convention: the United Kingdom on 27 June 1957, India on 21 October 1957, and Argentina on 13 November 1957. Twenty-three States are now parties to the Convention and to Protocol No. 1.
CONVENTION ON THE RECOVERY ABROAD OF MAINTENANCE
49. The United Nations Convention on the Recovery Abroad of Maintenance, adopted on 20 June 1956, entered into force on 25 May 1957. It has so far been ratified by six States: China, Israel, Morocco, Guatemala, Hungary and Norway.
50. Refugee families, owing to their displacement, are often obliged to live in a different country from the country of residence of the person on whom they depend for their maintenance; for this reason, the Convention on the Recovery Abroad of Maintenance is of particular importance for refugees.
DRAFT CONVENTION ON THE ELIMINATION OR REDUCTION OF FUTURE STATELESSNESS
51. The General Assembly decided by resolution 896(IX) at its ninth session that an international conference of plenipotentiaries should be convened to conclude a Convention for the Reduction or Elimination of Future Statelessness as soon as at least twenty States had communicated to the Secretary-General their willingness to co-operate in such a conference. The following twenty-one States have notified the Secretary-General to that effect: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, El Salvador, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, India, Israel, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, the Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Yugoslavia. The conference will probably take place in 1959 and will examine a draft Convention on the Elimination of Future Statelessness and a draft Convention on the Reduction of Future Statelessness drawn up by the International Law Commission.
AGREEMENT RELATING TO REFUGEE SEAMEN
52. For many years the precarious position of refugee seamen, who frequently have no country in which they can lawfully stay, have no valid papers and are in an irregular status everywhere, has received the attention of the High Commissioner's Office.
53. The Government of the Netherlands took the initiative in 1995 of calling an inter-governmental conference, which held three sessions at The Hague, in order to draw up an agreement to regulate the status of refugee seamen. At the third session in November 1957, the eight participating Governments (Belgium, Denmark, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom), unanimously adopted an Agreement relating to Refugee Seamen. This has been signed by all the participating Governments and will come into force ninety days after ratification by these eight countries. Representatives of UNHCR and of the International Labour Organisation participated in the work of the conference.
54. The Agreement represents an important step towards solving the problem of refugee seamen. It contains general criteria according to which refugee seaman who have no country in which they may lawfully stay shall be issued with a travel document provided for by the 1951 Convention, or a similar document, and be accepted in the territory of the State concerned. It also contains more liberal criteria to be applied to existing cases not covered by the general criteria at the time the Agreement comes into force. The general criteria cover:
(a) Refugee seamen who have served under the flag of a contracting party for 600 days during the last three years ; or, failing this,
(b) Refugee seamen who have had their last lawful residence in a contracting State during the last three years.
The special criteria for existing cases cover:
(a) Refugee seamen who were issued with a travel document valid for return by a contracting State since 1945 ; or, failing this,
(b) Refugee seamen who have were lawfully staying in a contracting State since 1945 ; or, failing this,
(c) Refugee seamen who have served 600 days on a ship flying the flag of a contracting State during any period of three years since 1945.
55. These provisions will give the refugee seamen covered by the new Agreement the right to a travel document, and to admission to the issuing country, so that they will have an opportunity of legally remaining and establishing themselves in that country.
56. The Agreement, moreover, provides that the contracting State also undertake to see that refugees serving on their ships are provided with identity papers, and that refugee seamen are admitted temporarily to the territory of these State for shore leave, for taking up engagements on other ships, and for health reasons.
57. The Agreement is open to accession by any Government which undertakes obligations with respect to refugee seamen under article 28 of the Convention, or obligations corresponding thereto. Although the Agreement has not yet entered into force, a number of the signatory States are already applying its principles.
CONVENTIONS OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE
58. The European Convention on Social and Medical Assistance, together with the Protocol applying the Convention to refugees, was ratified by France in October 1957.
59. A Convention on Extradition was adopted on 13 December 1957 and will come into force ninety days after the deposit of the third instrument of ratification. In consultation with the High Commissioner's Office, a provision was included in the Convention to the effect that extradition shall not be granted if the requested party considers the offence concerned to be of a political nature; or where there are substantial grounds for believing that a request for extradition for an ordinary criminal offence has been made for the purpose of prosecuting a person on account of race, religion, nationality or political opinion, or where the person's position may be prejudiced for any of these reasons.
B. Admission, residence and expulsion
60. The Office has been working in close co-operation with the Manpower Committee of the Organization for European Economic Co-operation to promote implementation, as far as refugees are concerned, of the OEEC Decision governing, the Employment of Nationals of Member Countries. The representative of France has proposed the adoption of Recommendation to the effect that refugees resident in member countries, taking up employment under the Decision in other member countries, should be issued with a travel document valid for return for a period of three years. Certain countries had difficulty in agreeing to this suggestion and, at the thirty-eighth session of the OEEC Manpower Committee which met in April 1958, it was suggested that such right of return should be limited to two years. The matter will be further discussed at the next session of the Manpower Committee and it is hoped that this proposal may be acceptable.
61. The Argentine Government, by resolutions of 6 March and 3 May 1957, extended to refugees in its territory the facilities for residence and registration granted under Argentine legislation to political exiles coming from countries signatories of the International Penal Law Convention, signed in Montevideo in 1899.
62. After consultations between the Austrian authorities and the UNHCR, the procedure for the determination of eligibility of refugees in Austria, which was established by a Decree of the Austrian Ministry of the Interior of 17 February 1956, has been amended by a Decree of the Ministry of the Interior of 29 March 1958.
63. Under the new procedure, the provincial security authorities examine the cases of persons seeking asylum in Austria and determine whether or not they can be considered as refugees according to the 1951 Convention and be granted asylum in Austria ; in negative cases, persons who have reasonable chances of emigration may be permitted to remain temporarily in Austria in order to prepare their emigration. The cases of refugees already in Austria, on which a provisional decision had hitherto been made in so far as they were granted asylum, will be examined under the new procedure. All persons who are considered eligible under the Convention will be issued with a certificate proving their status, and on application, will be issued with the Convention Travel Document.
64. The Decree provides for consultation with the UNHCR Branch Office at the various stages of the procedure. The High Commissioner has appointed two eligibility advisers at the seat of the security authorities in the provinces with the largest influx of refugees. Cases where the security authorities consider that the applicant is not a refugee, but where the eligibility adviser is of a contrary opinion, will be submitted to the Ministry of the Interior, which, in turn, will consult with the UNHCR Branch Office in Vienna. The final decision is taken by the Ministry of the Interior.
65. During 1975, the Branch Office in Belgium received some 5,000 applications for recognition of refugee status, and some 3,600 persons were found eligible. More than 1,000 of these applications came from newly arrived refugees (compared with 200 in 1956.)
66. By a Law of 14 March 1958, which entered into force on 6 April 1958, all refugees in Belgium have been exempted from payment of fees for the issue and renewal of residence permits.
67. In Colombia, a Committee has been set up by a Decree of 6 September 1957 under the Ministry of External Relations to promote emigration and to assume all administrative functions connected with the issue of visas, and the reception and placement of immigrants.
68. In France, in accordance with the principle of family unity, the Office français de protection des réfugiés et apatrides (OFPRA) now grants refugee status to the spouses and minor children of eligible refugees who subsequently enter France legally to join their relatives. The extension of this status to minor children over eighteen, which was held in suspense for some time pending discussion with the High Commissioner's Office, has now also been granted. Many hundreds of refugees have thereby been accorded refugee status. This is the practice followed by most European countries signatory to the Convention.
69. In the course of 1957,27,562 new certificates of eligibility were issued (compared with 18,089 in 1956). This figure includes an estimated 1,000 who had been accorded refugee status in another country before entering France. The majority of these new certificates were for pre-war refugees - Russians, Armenians, Poles and Spaniards - who were formally accorded refugee status at the moment of renewal of their residence permits.
70. The existing procedure for the regularization of the position of new refugees entering France illegally has been improved by the issuance of an acknowledgement by the OFPRA of a refugee's application, pending final decision on his eligibility.
71. In the Federal Republic of Germany, the Government has been approached by the Office to simplify and to speed up the procedure for the determination of the eligibility of refugees, which is described in previous annual reports. The Office is also supporting the plans of the Governments to transfer the Federal Reception Centre, where eligibility of newly arrived refugees is determined, from Valka Camp so that they may live under more favourable conditions.
72. During 1957, a total of 5,681 applications for recognition of refugee status were submitted; in addition, 1,514 applications were pending from the previous year. Eight hundred and sixty-four refugees were determined eligible and 1,071 persons were determined to be ineligible; the applications of 3,433 persons were eliminated because the Ordinance of Asylum could not apply to them for various reasons.
73. The figures quoted above do not include the 14,500 Hungarian refugees who were granted asylum in the Federal Republic of Germany after 23 October 1956 and were at first provisionally recognized as refugees. By the end of May 1958, the refugee status of 2,031 Hungarians had been confirmed.
74. In Greece, during 1957, 1,086 applications for recognition of refugee status were received and approved.
75. In Italy, some 10,000 applications for recognition were received, and refugee status was accorded to 7,500, including some 500 refugees already recognized elsewhere.
76. The Office for Refugees and Stateless Persons set up in Morocco at the beginning of 1957 has recognized the validity of the majority of eligibility certificates issued during the period of transition and has itself issued some 700 further certificates.
77. By virtue of the Royal Decree of 10 January 1957, concerning recognition of eligibility and regulating expulsion, the Branch Office in the Netherlands has issued some 2,000 "mandate certificates" entitling the holders to the benefits of the 1951 Convention.
78. A new United States Law of 11 September 1957 amending the Immigration and Nationality Law provides for the issue of immigration visas left unused on the expiry of the Refugee Relief Act. The majority of these visas are made available for refugee-escapees. The Act also provides for the admission of some other categories of aliens with close relatives in the United States. The consequences of this Act are referred to in the section of this report dealing with resettlement.
79. In Uruguay, a Bill regulating immigration is at present under consideration by the Congress. The Bill contains provisions regarding the selection, transportation and admission, with the co-operation of the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration and of voluntary agencies, of refugees, individually or in groups. The Bill further authorizes the Government to waive, in the case of refugees, certain requirement to with regard to documentation, and to age and health, in the case of persons coming to join their families in Uruguay.
C. Rights of refugees in their countries of residence
RIGHT TO WORK
80. The Austrian Government, when ratifying the 1951 Convention, made a reservation in connexion with article 17 concerning wage-earning employment. Nevertheless, the Austrian Government, by decree, exempted refugees fulfilling certain conditions form the restrictions imposed on foreign labour. One of the conditions giving such exemption was the completion of three years' residence in Austria; and, in February 1958, the Austrian authorities extended the decree, which until then applied to all refugees covered by the 1954 Convention provided they had entered Austria prior to 1 January 1955. Refugees holding a refugee certificate, irrespective of the length of residence, will be treated in the same way as Austrian nationals by the employment offices as regards placement in employment.
81. In the United Arab Republic (province of Egypt), the position of refugees remains rather difficult, mainly in view of the economic situation and of the limited possibilities open to them for obtaining employment. With the co-operation of the authorities, however, it has been possible to solve many individual problems; furthermore, the officials concerned have facilitated the renewal of refugees in certain individual cases where the High Commissioner's representative has intervened.
82. The most important development in Italy in the field of legal protection during the period under review has been the declaration by the Italian Government on 27 July 1957 in application of article 17 of the Convention. This declaration states that the Government has decided to grant residence permits and work permits of unlimited duration to refugees within the High Commissioner's mandate who, on 27 March 1957, are living outside camps, have lived in Italy for at least there years or who have al wife or children of Italian nationality, and who are not being assisted by the Administration Aiuti Internazionali or by the United States Escapee Program. Refugees who cease to be assisted by AAI or USEP will be given the same privilege.
83. Detailed administrative instructions for the implementation of this decision have been issued to the local authorities concerned, and the procedure is working satisfactorily.
84. The value of the assistance given to refugees in Belgium by the public assistance authorities reached an estimated twelve million Belgian francs in 1957, compared with nine millions in 1956.
85. In Luxembourg, new Hungarian refugees with dependent children receive family allowances without having to fulfil the normal waiting period.
LEGAL ASSISTANCE IN INDIVIDUAL CASES
86. In Austria, under an UNREF project, funds have been provided to give legal counselling to individual refugees within the mandate of the High Commissioner, and especially to foreign-speaking refugees, with a view to resolving legal or administrative difficulties which are impeding their integration.
87. In the Federal Republic of Germany, the UNHCR Office has been enabled by the United Nations Association of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to establish a fund to pay lawyers' and court fees for refugees who are in need of legal aid in court proceedings and who cannot obtain aid from any other source.
88. In Greece, legal assistance is given to foreign refugees, and also to refugees of Greek ethnic origin, under an UNREF project signed in August 1957 with the Refugee Service s of a legal counsellor who can give day-by-day advice and refer refugees in need of aid in court actions to a panel of lawyers ready to give their services free of charge, and also for meeting stamp fees and court other charges in civil cases.
89. Similar arrangements for the provision of legal assistance in individual cases are being made in Italy.
90. In Austria, 14,064 refugees acquired Austrian nationality during 1957, of whom 1,455 were foreign-speaking refugees and 12,609 refugees of German ethnic origin. A total of 10,626 of the latter obtained naturalization under the Option Law of 2 June 1954, which expired on 30 June 1956, and the remainder by the ordinary process of naturalization. The Austrian Government has requested provincial governments to process applications for naturalization from foreign-speaking refugees without insisting on their producing expatriation permits from the authorities of their countries of origin.
91. During 1957, 474 aliens were accorded Belgian nationality, the majority of them refugees.
92. An estimated 3,500 refugees obtained French nationality during 1957, including about 1,500 Spaniards and 1,000 Poles.
93. On 19 August 1957, a new German Law on Nationality Questions was enacted which facilitates the acquisition of German citizenship by foreign wives of German nationals and by former German nationals who had acquired another nationality after Nazi persecution.
E. Travel documents
94. Two further to the 1951 Convention, Ecuador and Ireland, are now issuing the travel document for which that Convention provides.
95. On 15 May 1957 the arrangements between the Benelux countries and France entered into force, exempting from the requirement of an entry visa for temporary travel refugees residing in those countries and holding travel document issued under the 1951 Convention or under the London Travel Document Agreement of 1946.
96. Similar arrangements are already in force between the Benelux countries, and negotiations are taking place with a view to the conclusion of such agreements between other European countries.
97. The Council of Europe Special Committee of Senior Officials for the Simplification of Frontier Formalities included in its agenda, at various sessions during the last year, items referring to the facilitation of travel for refugees. A draft multilateral agreement on the abolition of visas for refugees was submitted to the Committee by the Netherlands delegation. The Committee, while agreeing to the principle of the draft agreement, has not yet agreed on certain technical points and the draft is to be discussed further at future meetings of the Special Committee.
98. At its sixth session held Athens from 3 to 6 March, the Committee adopted a draft resolution recommending Governments, members of the Council of Europe, pending the conclusion of a multilateral agreement exempting refugees from visas, to grant visas to refugees free of charge and also to speed up the procedure for their issue. The resolution contains further recommendations with regard to the issue of a standardized travel document for refugees under the 1951 Convention, or failing this, a document under the London Agreement of 1946, or a similar document. This draft resolution has been approved by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.
F. Special problems
INDEMNIFICATION AND RESTITUTION
99. On 5 July 1957, the Federal Indemnification Law (Bundesentschaedigungsgesetz) was amended to extend the date-line for the filing of applications to 31 March 1958. Negotiations have continued between the German Federal Government and eleven other Governments on the problem of indemnification for victims of Nazi persecution living in these countries.
100. An agreement was concluded on 6 February 1957 between the firm of I. G. Farben Industrie (in liquidation) and the Jewish Material Claims Conference for the benefit of those former concentration camp inmates who had to do forced labour in the Auschwitz area. Under the agreement, a fund of DM 30,000,000 has been established for distribution to claimants by the Jewish Material Claims Conference.
101. Pursuant to provisions contained in the Bonn Convention of 26 May 1952 on the Settlement of Matters arising out of the War and the Occupation, a Restitution Law (Bundesrückerstattungsgestz) was enacted in the Federal Republic of Germany on 19 July 1957. This Law regulates the claims of victims of persecution for identifiable property of which they were deprived under the Nazi regime and which at present cannot be identified or no longer exists.
102. Under this Law, the claimants are entitled to damages from the Federal Republic to the extent of the repurchase value of the property. The Government is obliged to grant compensation up to a total of DM 1,500,000,000. Compensation will, in particular, be granted for jewellery and other valuables confiscated by the Nazi regime, and confiscated household goods and furniture, as well as securities on bank accounts, provided the claimant can prove that the confiscated property was sent to Germany. According to a special provision, compensation should also be given for goods in removal vans confiscated in Europe outside the Federal Republic of Germany, if the claimant has emigrated from the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany and had his last domicile or permanent residence there. The date-line for the filing of claims, which was originally fixed for 1 April 1958, has since been extended until 31 December 1958.
INTERNATIONAL TRACING SERVICE
103. The Branch Office in Germany continues its close co-operation with the International Tracing Service, which is administered by the International Committee of the Red Cross under supervision of an international commission on which the Office is represented by an observer. During 1957, the International Tracing Service received 203,801 communications concerning persons who had suffered persecution, displaced persons and refugees. These included 134,462 requests for certificates needed for indemnification proceedings, 36,740 requests for death certificates and 32,599 other inquiries.
CHAPTER IV THE PROMOTION OF REPATRIATION AND RESETTLEMENT
104. As hitherto, the voluntary repatriation of refugees within the mandate of the High Commissioner's Office has been facilitated in accordance with the provisions of the Statute, and when a refugee notifies the Office or one of the Branch Offices of his desire to return to his country of origin, he is referred to the authorities of that country. When difficulties arise, the matter is dealt with through diplomatic channels. Furthermore, due safeguards are applied to ensure the protection of refugees who are given the opportunity of being repatriated, as provided by the Statute and by resolution 925 (X) of the General Assembly, adopted on 25 October 1955. As a general rule, the repatriation of a refugee is paid for by the Government of his country of origin. In the case of Hungarian refugees, however, the Governments of some countries of resettlement have generously assumed the cost of repatriation of refugees who expressed the wish to return to Hungary.
105. According to information received by UNHCR, some 6,300 Hungarian refugees were repatriated during the period under review, and 2,000 other refugees returned to their country of origin during the calendar year 1957. These figures are broken down as follows:
|Country of departure||Hungarian refugees 1 May 1957 1 May 1958||Other refugees 1 January 31 December 1957|
|Germany, federal Republic of||100||500|
a Including a correction of 1,290 for unrecorded repatriation before 30 June 1957.
106. A repatriation mission went to Austria in September 1957 and visited refugees in Salzburg, the Tyrol and Upper Austria. In accordance with usual practice, the Branch Office in Austria, upon the invitation of the Austrian Government, sent a representative to accompany the mission in the capacity of an impartial observer to see that no undue influence was exercised on the refugees from any side. A Hungarian governmental mission has also visited reception centres of Hungarian refugees in Yugoslavia. In accordance with established procedure, the mission was accompanied by a representative of the Yugoslav Government and by a representative of the UNHCR in the capacity of an impartial observer.
107. In the course of 1956, some 88,800 Hungarian refugees were transported from Austria and Yugoslavia to countries of second asylum or other countries of resettlement, and 36,531 other refugees emigrated under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration. During 1957, some 80,900 Hungarian refugees were moved out of Austria and Yugoslavia, and 35,082 other refugees were resettled under the auspices of ICEM, in accordance with the following breakdown:
|Area of emigration|
|Country of immigration||Austria||Germany (Federal Republic)||Greece||Italy||Middle East||Netherlands||Hong Kong||Others||Total|
|Union of South Africa||3||3||2||8|
|United States||1,263||5,896||103||185||19||5||74||8,187||8 732|
|Other overseas counties||2||2||16||7||452||14||493|
108. In addition to the above-mentioned 35,082 refugees, approximately 1,000 physically-handicapped refugees were resettled under intra-European schemes without the assistance of ICEM.
109. The slight decrease in the resettlement of other refugees during 1957 mainly resulted from the fact that the movement of refugees to the United States under the Refugee Relief Act ended in April 1957 and that the effects of the amendment to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 11 September 1957 had not yet made themselves felt. On the other hand, the large number of resettlement opportunities which were absorbed by Hungarian refugees since the Hungarian refugee problem arose does not appear to have impinged on the rate of resettlement of other refugees.
110. Every effort is being made by UNHCR, in close co-operation with the Governments of countries of resettlement, with the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration and with the administration of the United States Escapee Program, to take advantage of any resettlement opportunity which becomes available.
111. Particular attention is being given to the emigration of families with one difficult case or handicapped refugee who can be cared for by other self-supporting members of the family, and to the resettlement of refugees who, on account of some physical or social handicap, cannot be accepted under current emigration programmes. Certain countries have already admitted considerable numbers of such refugees; and others are ready to do so if a resettlement grant is provided. A special project has been included in the UNREF Revised Plan of Operations (1958) for this purpose.
112. Considerable attention is also being paid to the reunion of members of families, some of whom cannot rejoin their relatives in immigration countries owing to the fact that they have been previously rejected on medical grounds.
113. The Government of the United States in its Immigration and Nationality Act of 11 September 1957 has already made provision for the immigration of persons previously rejected on the ground of tuberculosis and who wish to join their family in the United States. The Governments of Australia, Canada and New Zealand have also agreed to give favourable consideration to any such outstanding cases of family reunion.
114. In the course of 1957, some 2,500 refugees have been resettled in various European countries mainly under a scheme of various municipalities in the Netherlands, under a Swedish scheme for the admission of difficult cases and dependants, and under the "Two Thousand Scheme" in the United Kingdom, which has been described in previous annual reports. The Governments of Denmark, Norway, France, Italy and Switzerland have also admitted a considerable number of difficult cases requiring permanent care in institutions, as shown in the chapter on the UNREF programme.
115. In some instances, grants from the USEP Administration and from UNREF have been necessary to facilitate the establishment of these refugees, while in other instances receiving Governments have shouldered the full responsibility without support from UNREF.
CHAPTER V PROGRAMME OF THE UNITED NATIONS REFUGEE FUND
I. GENERAL INFORMATION
116. In 1958, the UNREF programme entered its fourth and final year of operation. By 30 April 1958, the value of projects under implementation or negotiation was $13,501,001. As of 31 March 1958, the number of beneficiaries firmly settled was 22,039, of whom 7,123 came from camps and 14,916 were living outside camps. Owing to the normal time-lag between the authorization and the completion of projects, the number of beneficiaries will be considerably higher when all current projects have been completed.
CONTRIBUTIONS FOR THE PROGRAMME
117. Up to 15 May 1958, governmental contributions to a total amount of $13,493,135 had been paid, pledged or promised towards the target of $16,000,000 for governmental contributions to UNREF during the four-year period 1955-1958. There thus remained a need for a further $2,506,865 if the original target was to be met. The contributions towards the four separate annual programmes were as follows:
|1958 (up to 15 May)||2 906,598|
118. Funds from private sources have, ever since the beginning of the UNREF programme, supplemented the amounts made available in governmental contributions. During 1957, the private contributions included a generous gift of $407,947 from the United Nations Association of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. A recapitulative breakdown of private contributions to UNREF and miscellaneous income is given below:
|1958 (up to 15 May)||209,643|
119. Fund-raising campaigns are under way in Australia, New Zealand and Scotland and in preparation in Canada and Norway. The possibility of launching similar campaigns in a certain number of other countries is under consideration.
120. Full details of governmental and other contributions to UNREF up to 15 May 1958 are given in Annex I.
SURVEY OF THE NON-SETTLED REFUGEE POPULATION
121. For some time, the need has been felt for more precise statistics on the non-settled refugee population, the data available to UNHCR being of a fragmentary nature and often subject to a wide margin of error. At its fifth session, the UNREF Executive Committee therefore authorized the Office to carry out a survey of the non-settled refugee population in various countries under UNREF project PS/1/EUR. The direction of this survey was confided to Professor Ph. J. Idenburg, Director General of Statistics in the Netherlands.
122. The preliminary report on the Survey was forwarded to members of the General Assembly as an annex to the High Commissioner's report to the twelfth session. The final report is now available and shows that, as of mid-summer 1957, there were 58,200 refugees in camps and 120,000 non-settled refugees living outside camps, distributed as follows:
|In camps||Outside camps||Total b|
|Germany, Federal Republic of||20,700||40,000||60,000|
a Including unofficial camps.
b Rounded figures.
123. Of the 58,200 refugees living in camps, many were eligible for assistance under the USEP Program or the UNHCR programme for Hungarian refugees. There remained, however, some 33,700 refugees who were the immediate concern of UNREF. Of these, about 2,400 were considered likely to emigrate under normal schemes before the end of 1958, and did not appear in need of any special assistance. Further efforts were, however, still needed to assist the remaining group of 31,300 refugees who were divided as follows:
(a) Approximately 11,800 refugees (or 38 per cent) were in households affected by physical, social or economic handicaps;
(b) Approximately 2,100 refugees (or 7 per cent) needed adequate employment and accommodation;
(c) Approximately 17,400 refugees (or 56 per cent) were considered to need only adequate housing.
124. Within the non-settled group living outside camps, there were some 97,000 refugees not expected to emigrate under normal schemes and not eligible for assistance under normal schemes and not eligible for assistance under international programmes. Since the 1958 projects are directed primarily towards camp clearance, the UNREF programme can only hope to cater for a very small proportion of their total needs. These 97,000 refugees can be divided as follows:
(a) Approximately 35,500 persons (or 37 per cent) were in households affected by physical, social and economic handicaps;
(b) Approximately 17,500 persons (or 18 per cent) were in need of employment and, in the majority of cases, housing;
(c) Approximately 43,500 persons (or 45 per cent) needed only housing. For various reasons, it was impossible to assess with sufficient accuracy the size of this group in France and Germany, and the estimates for this category should be considered as very conservative.
125. The problem of these refugees outside camps was to be considered by the UNREF Executive Committee in the light of General Assembly resolution 1166 (XII) of 26 November 1957.
INTENSIFICATION OF THE UNREF PROGRAMME FOR CAMP CLEARANCE
126. It has been the policy of the UNREF Executive Committee to concentrate the programme on finding solutions for refugees living in camps. It was evident in 1957, however, that it would be impossible for the programme to settle, in the course of 1958, all the refugees in need of UNREF assistance in camps. Now that the Survey findings have become available, it is possible to assess the problem more accurately. It appears likely that, if all projects authorized within the UNREF Revised Plan of Operations (1958) can be implemented, there will still remain some 11,600 refugees in camps needing assistance of the type provided by UNREF.
127. The problem was considered by the UNREF Executive Committee which, at its sixth (special) session in July 1957, adopted a resolution (No. 6) in which it requested that the permanent solutions programme be intensified to the fullest extent possible. This request was endorsed by the Economic and Social council at its twenty-fourth session (resolution 650 C (XXIV) of 24 July 1957) and was subsequently embodied by the General Assembly in resolution 1166 (XII). The action taken under this resolution in appealing for the additional funds needed for closing the refugee camps is described in chapter VI of this report.
128. Every effort is being made to intensify the UNREF programme in 1958. The progress that will be possible is dependent upon the extent to which funds are made available. In order to meet the General Assembly's request for an intensification of the UNREF programme for camp clearance, a supplementary programme estimated to involve a UNHCR expenditure of $4,800,000 has been drawn up for the 11,600 refugees in camps who still need assistance. The UNREF Executive Committee was to consider this programme.
129. Details of contributions totalling $571,502 paid, pledged or promised specifically for the Programme for Camp Clearance are given in Annex I.
II. IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PROGRAMME
A. Expenditures and beneficiaries
130. The UNREF programme, which is being implemented in twelve countries, falls into four main divisions: a permanent solutions programme, a programme for the settlement of difficult cases, an emergency aid programme, and the Far Eastern Operation. As of 30 April 1958, the UNREF programme disposed of funds for 641 projects amounting to a total value to UNREF of $13,501,001. Of these, 122 projects to a value to UNREF OF $3,034, 830 were in various stages of negotiation and 519 projects, for which the UNREF contribution amounted to $10,466,171, were either completed or in course of implementation. The latter figure was broken down as follows:
|Settlement of difficult cases||1,231,058|
|Far Eastern Operation||1,607,625|
131. These funds consisted of $8,661,046 from governmental contributions and $1,805,125 from private contributions and other income. In addition, supporting contributions totalling approximately $16,000,000 were made from within the countries where the programme is being carried out. Supporting contributions thus amounted to about 61 per cent of the total direct cost of the projects, which came to about $26,500,000. These figures do not include certain indirect supporting contributions in the form of services, which are difficult to evaluate.
132. The above figures include part of the UNREF Revised Plan of Operations (1958) authorized in a total amount of $5,500,000, the implementation of which, subject to availability of funds, began in January 1958.
133. The most recent set of figures for beneficiaries of the UNREF programme shows the position on 31 March 1958. By that date, 22,039 refugees had been firmly settled under the programme, of whom 7,123 were living in camps. A further 12,864 refugees (excluding those assisted under emergency aid projects) had benefited substantially from the programme. The table on the following page gives a breakdown of these figures by type of programme and country.
B. Permanent solutions
OVER-ALL DEVELOPMENT OF THE PERMANENT SOLUTIONS PROGRAMME
134. The permanent solutions programme has been increasingly focused on the refugee camp population in Austria, Germany, Greece and Italy. Due regard has, however, still been paid to the needs of refugees living outside camps in these countries, especially Greece and Italy, as well as in Belgium, France, Lebanon, turkey and the United Arab Republic.
135. The systematic drive to clear the camps by finding a permanent solution for each refugee inmate has been maintained. It is planned to clear a total of forty-eight camps in Austria and Germany during 1958 and as many as possible in Greece and Italy. Further details are given below under individual country headings.
136. The programme was originally designed to help refugees to help themselves. This objective has become progressively more difficult to achieve as the benefits of the programme extend to economically weaker members of the cap population suffering from various physical and social handicaps that impede their integration. For such persons, extensive rehabilitation is often necessary. They must also be given long and sympathetic counselling. Finally, many of them may never be able to earn a normal wage, and special arrangements are necessary to reduce the rent on new accommodation to a level which they can afford.
(Note: Statistical table not included in this online version. See your nearest UN Depository Library.)
137. By 31 March 1958, a total of 9,989 refugees had been firmly settled under permanent solutions projects in Austria. Of this number, 3,562 came from camps. A further 5,475 refugees, including 2,697 from camps, had also benefited from the programme.
138. As far as refugees within the mandate of this Office are concerned, Austria has the second largest camp population after Germany. According to the Survey of the non-settled refugee population, the number of refugees in official and unofficial camps eligible for assistance under the UNREF programme was 12,400 at mid-summer 1957. This figure excludes new Hungarian refugees, refugees eligible for USEP assistance and refugees living outside the camps. An all-out effort is being made to clear as many camps as possible in the course of 1958, and twenty-one camps have been scheduled for clearance during 1958 and the early part of 1959. Essential data have been collected, in co-operation with the Austrian authorities, on the population of these twenty-one and of the remaining thirty official camps, so that UNHCR is now in possession of full statistical information on all official camps and is preparing for a complete camp clearance programme.
139. The problem of providing satisfactory accommodation at suitable rents continues to be the foremost preoccupation of the Office. Under the Plans of Operations 1955-1958, the construction of 2,821 dwelling units is provided for. By 31 March 1958, 935 units had been completed, and a further 648 units were expected to be ready in 1958 or early 1959. The remaining 1,238 units are in various stages of planning or negotiation. Sufficient funds are not yet available, however, to implement the full 1958 housing programme, and the progress that can be achieved depends on the extent to which further UNREF contributions are made available.
140. During the early stages of the programme, UNREF paid between one quarter and one third of the total cost of new housing. With the concentration of the programme on camps and the increasing proportion of beneficiaries in a weaker economic and social position, the share of international funds temporarily rose as high as two-thirds of the total cost. The Office of UNHCR is at present exploring the possibilities of obtaining an increased share of Austrian public funds.
141. The counselling projects in Austria play a major role in the implementation of the entire programme, since it is through the counsellors that the refugees are directed towards projects for housing, credit and other purposes. Every effort has therefore been made to ensure that the counselling programme is organized as efficiently as possible, and that full coverage is available for all camps listed for closure in 1958.
142. An important part is also played by projects giving credit facilities for such purposes as setting up small businesses, establishment on farms, and the purchase of furniture. Other sections of the programme are devoted to the rehabilitation of handicapped refugees, and to assisting the education of younger refugees in high schools, in vocational training institutes and in universities.
143. By 31 March 1958, a total of 3,749 refugees had been firmly settled under the permanent solutions programme, including 2,753 from camps. A further 5,106 refugees, including 3,695 from camps, had also benefited from the programme.
144. Germany contains the largest number of refugees in camps. On 1 January 1958, there were 18,700 refugees eligible for UNREF assistance distributed in seventy-seven official camps.
145. The German authorities are assisting the efforts of my Office, particularly through their "Kasernenraeumungsprogramm", or programme for the clearance of barracks. According to present plans, eleven camps containing 3,200 refugees will be cleared under this scheme in 1958. The authorities are also co-operating in arranging for the systematic clearance of camps outside the "Kasernenraeumungsprogramm". In all, it is planned to clear twenty-seven camps, containing 5,700 refugees, in the course of 1958.
146. Linking the UNREF programme to the clearance of specified camps has involved many changes in approach. In housing, for instance, it is no longer sufficient simply to make apartments available to refugees wherever possible: the location of the building has to be adapted to that of the camps, and above all the rent has to be at a level which specific refugees can reach.
147. By 31 March 1958, 348 dwelling units had been completed. Construction had started on a further 583 dwellings, while technical preparations were in various stages of progress for a further 647 units. The total number of units to be built in Germany thus comes to 1,578.
148. Other important components of the permanent solutions programme in Germany are integration counselling and placement, rehabilitation of handicapped refugees, and the provision of credit, particularly for the purchase of furniture and household equipment. All these types of project have a role to play in bringing about the clearance of camps.
149. By 31 March 1958, a total of 488 refugees had been firmly established under permanent solutions projects, of whom 192 came from camps. In addition, 371 refugees, including 140 from camps, had benefited but were not as yet firmly established.
150. The resources of the programme are being concentrated on finding solutions for members of the camp population. According to the Survey of the non-settled refugee population, there were, in mid-summer 1957, 1,140 refugees eligible for UNREF assistance remaining in camps in Greece. Despite the difficulties caused by a continuing influx of new refugees, the Government will clear as many camps as possible by the end of 1958. It is planned to build or purchase 612 dwelling units in Greece within the scope of the UNREF programme. Of these, sixty-seven have already been completed, 122 are nearing completion, and the remaining 423 units are in various stages of progress.
151. By 31 March 1958, a total of 738 refugees had been firmly settled under the permanent solutions programme in Italy, including 305 from camps. As has been explained in previous reports, the possibilities available to refugees to become integrated in Italy are severely limited by the prevailing unemployment, and the emphasis of the programme is therefore placed on resettlement. A total of 507 refugees have so far emigrated under UNREF projects.
152. A processing centre for emigration has been set up at Latina, and has been operating since the beginning of 1958. UNREF projects for resettlement in the 1955 Plan of Operations have been completed; those in the 1956 Plan, however, seem unlikely to be fully implemented unless further resettlement opportunities are made available by countries of immigration. The refugees to be assisted under the UNREF projects are mostly in the handicapped categories, and special resettlement schemes, based on liberal selection criteria, are urgently needed. It should be pointed out also that there is a continuing influx into Italy of new refugees, the majority of whom are young and healthy. For these persons, too, further resettlement opportunities are needed.
153. With the help of the Italian Government, projects for local settlement are also being implemented. Particular mention may be made of the vocational training centre at Capua, and of a project at Garbagnate for the rehabilitation of tubercular and post-tubercular refugees.
154. Relatively small permanent solutions programmes are being implemented in five other countries: Belgium, France, Lebanon, Turkey and the United Arab Republic.
155. In Belgium, a project for the provision of counselling and placement services has enabled 781 refugees to become firmly settled, while 1,074 others have also benefited.
156. In France, assistance is being provided to handicapped refugees only. A total of 230 refugees have so far been firmly settled, and ten others have benefited, under projects for rehabilitation, for the integration of refugee intellectuals, and for the establishment of refugees in crafts and trades.
157. In Lebanon, five refugees have become firmly settled while five others have benefited without yet becoming firmly settled, under a project for establishment in crafts and trades.
158. In Turkey, seven refugees have been firmly settled, and 157 others have been assisted, under projects for vocational training, aid to university students, establishment in crafts and trades, and language training.
159. In the United Arab Republic, twenty-seven refugees have been firmly settled, while thirty others have benefited without yet becoming firmly settled, under projects for vocational training, establishment in crafts and trades, and promotion of resettlement.
C. Settlement of difficult cases
GROUPS OF DIFFICULT CASES
160. Efforts have been increased to find settlement opportunities for the so-called "difficult cases"-refugees who, because of age, illness or other incapacity, are unable to earn their own subsistence and have no relatives who can support them. According to the findings of the Survey of the non-settled refugee population, there were 4,700 difficult cases in camps (including all family members) at mid-summer 1957, while 16,300 non-settled difficult case and dependants were living outside camps. There is a further group of difficult cases among refugees of European origin in the Far East whose number is in the region of one thousand. Finally, there is a limited but important problem of difficult cases in the Middle East.
INTERNATIONAL RESETTLEMENT OF DIFFICULT CASES
161. The most striking development during the period under review has been an increase in the international resettlement of difficult cases, notably in countries outside Europe. The first non-European country to participate in such schemes was Australia which, in 1956, accepted twenty aged refugees from the Far East, and increased the number in 1957 to forty. The Government of New Zealand has also approved the admission of a first group of aged refugees from the mainland of China. Particular mention should be made, for European countries, of the chronic sick and paralysed refugees from the Far East accepted by France, and of the new groups of tubercular and mental cases admitted from the same area to Denmark and Sweden. The agreement given by the Italian government to admit forty aged refugees from China for settlement in institutions is especially significant in view of the important refugee problem that Italy already has to face. Belgium and Switzerland have also accepted almost forty difficult cases from the Far East for settlement in 1958. The principal need is now for funds for ICEM for transportation from the Far East so that advantage can be taken of the offers available.
162. The intra-European resettlement of difficult cases has continued to make a valuable indirect contribution to the UNREF programme. By assuming the full responsibility for the permanent care of such refugees without assistance from UNREF, Governments of European countries incurred obligations evaluated at $417,990 in the course of 1957. In addition, voluntary agencies and private bodies, mainly in Belgium and the Netherlands, have ensured the admission and permanent settlement of difficult cases, as well as of handicapped and difficult-to-(re)settle refugees, with help from the USEP Administration or UNREF, in the form of one-time grants.
THE PROBLEM IN AUSTRIA AND GERMANY
163. The survey of difficult cases living outside camps in Austria, which was begun in late 1956 and suspended as a result of the influx of Hungarian refugees, has now been completed. The final report will be available shortly. Among the refugees not eligible for USEP assistance, it was found that 885 households comprising 2,174 persons contained 1,058 difficult cases and that sixty-five households comprising 142 persons contained seventy-eight physically handicapped refugees. Some ninety-three households were found to be difficult-to-(re) settle.
164. In Austria, refugees have, on the whole, been reluctant to enter institutions, and homes established with UNREF assistance are being filled only slowly. It is hoped, however, that when the camp clearance programme is further advanced and additional counselling has been provided, more refugees who are in need of institutional care will be prevailed upon to accept this solution. Other difficult cases are being given housing, while arrangements are made to ensure that they are visited by social workers and provided with medical and nursing care whenever necessary.
165. It has become evident that a programme for difficult cases in Germany will have to be implemented if the camps are to be cleared. As a first step, a survey designed not only to gather information but also to make specific recommendations has been carried out by the Academy for Public Health in Hamburg. The final report covers 2,160 difficult cases, with 1,057 family members, living in eighty-five camps. A first group of projects based on the recommendations of the survey was approved by the UNREF Executive Committee at its seventh session. Institutional settlement was proposed for only about 15 per cent of the cases, while housing combined with arrangements for special care was recommended for 75 per cent, the remaining 10 per cent being provided with various individual solutions.
IMPLEMENTATION OF UNREF PROJECTS
166. By 31 March 1958, 936 difficult cases, including forty-six dependants, had been settled under UNREF projects. Of these, 307 were settled in local institutions in Austria, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey and the Middle East, 492 were moved from their country of residence and settled in institutions in Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, while 137 aged refugees in Greece and Italy were given annuities.
D. Emergency aid
167. Individual emergency aid projects for the most needy groups of refugees have been implemented in Greece, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and the United Arab Republic under the 1957 and 1958 programmes. An imprest account has also been made available to help refugees in other countries. Under the 1957 programme, for which the UNREF allocation was $134,259, 5,390 refugees were given medical assistance, food or other special aid. Under the 1958 programme 2,969 refugees benefited between 1 January and 31 March 1958.
E. Far Eastern Operation
168. Previous reports to the General Assembly have described the Far Eastern Operation (formerly known as the Shanghai Operation), under which the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration and UNHCR work jointly to resettle refugees of European origin living in China. ICEM is responsible for transportation, while UNHCR finances the care and maintenance of refugees in transit in Hong Kong.
169. In 1955, the number of refugees entering Hong Kong and resettled was 594, while in 1956 it reached 1,191. In 1957, however, there was a great increase and a total of 4,120 refugees entered Hong Kong to await onward movement. As a result of this influx, the funds available to ICEM for transportation became dangerously low, and movement was slowed down. This, in turn, led to an increase in the number of refugees receiving care and maintenance in Hong Kong, and the UNREF allocation for care and maintenance during 1957 had to be increased by some $81,000.
170. In August 1957, the Director of ICEM addressed an appeal for transportation funds to member Governments of his organization, the proceeds of which were sufficient to bring the total number of refugees moved in 1957 to 2,979. On 1 January 1958, however, there were still 1,141 refugees in Hong Kong awaiting onward movement, while ICEM was left with funds to move only about 350.
171. The problem was considered by the UNREF Executive Committee at its seventh session in January 1958. The Committee unanimously adopted resolution No. 7 in which it authorized the High Commissioner, after proper consultation with the Director of ICEM, to appeal to Governments for special contributions to enable the Far Eastern Operation to continue, and authorized him to use such contributions to provide appropriate permanent solutions for the refugees.
172. A joint appeal for funds for transportation was made by the Director of ICEM and the High Commissioner in January 1958, and further contributions were received by ICEM from several Governments. Movement out of Hong Kong during the first quarter of 1958 has, however, proved disappointing. The total number moved between 1 January and 3 May was 690, while there were 395 new arrivals. The number in transit in Hong Kong was thus still as high as 846 on 3 May.
173. The slow reduction in the case-load in Hong Kong may be attributed to three main factors. First, refugees continued to enter Hong Kong at an average rate of 100 per month during the first quarter of 1958. Secondly, the scale of shipping arrangements made by ICEM had been substantially reduced by January 1958 as a result of the shortage of funds, which also precluded long-term planning of transportation and the necessary advance reservation of shipping space. Thirdly, nearly 500 of the transients in Hong Kong are members of a religious sect known as Old Believers: the resettlement project planned for this group has proved unsuitable and it has been necessary for them to remain in Hong Kong until new arrangements have been completed. The entire group is, however, scheduled to depart during May and June.
174. As a result of the slow reduction in the caseload, the total UNREF allocation of $179,000 for care and maintenance during 1958 was exhausted by mid-March. Further funds of $108,317 have been found through the generous co-operation of two Governments and a private agency in New Zealand, and will enable the refugees to be maintained until about the end of May.
175. Tentative estimates have been made of the further expenditures that would be involved if the Far Eastern Operation were to be completed by the end of 1960. Funds available to ICEM in May 1958 for transportation from the Far East were sufficient to move only another 510 refugees by 30 June 1958. It would be desirable for ICEM to move a further 2,550 refugees during the last six months of 1958 at a cost of approximately $1,325,000, and 4,000 refugees in each of the years 1959 and 1960 at a cost of some $2,087,500 per annum. The total, from 1 July 1958 to 31 December 1960, would be approximately $5,500,000. The total cost to UNHCR for care and maintenance during the same period would reach $525,000 if the average case-load in Hong Kong could be maintained at 250 persons and the per capita transit time at three weeks.
CHAPTER VI ACTION TAKEN IN CONNEXION WITH GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTIONS 1166 (XII) AND 1167 (XII)
Effects of General Assembly resolution 1166 (XII)
176. On 26 November 1957, the General Assembly adopted resolution 1166 (XII) on international assistance to refugees within the mandate of UNHCR. In this resolution the General Assembly took, inter alia, the following measures:
(a) It reaffirmed the basic principle laid down in the Statute that permanent solutions for refugees were to be found by actions designed to facilitate their voluntary repatriation, or their assimilation within new national communities.
(b) It requested the High Commissioner to intensify the UNREF programme, primarily in order to find solutions for refugees in camps, and authorized him to appeal for the additional funds needed for the clearance of camps.
(c) It decided that the UNREF programme was to be terminated on 31 December 1958, except so far as concerned projects started but not completed before that date.
(d) It requested the Economic and Social Council to establish an Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme to replace the UNREF Executive Committee.
(e) It left to the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme the decision on whether it is appropriate for international assistance to be provided through the Office of UNHCR in order to help solve specific refugee problems remaining unsolved after 31 December 1958, or arising after that date.
(f) It delegated to the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme the power to authorize him to appeal for funds to solve specific refugee problems.
(g) It authorized the High Commissioner to establish an emergency fund not to exceed $500,000 to be maintained from repayments of UNREF loans and from voluntary contributions.
(h) It requested the UNREF Executive Committee to exercise in 1958 such function incumbent upon the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme as it deemed necessary to ensure the continuity of international assistance to refugees.
Action taken by the High Commissioner under resolution 1166 (XII)
177. In accordance with operative paragraph 1 (b) of the resolution, the High Commissioner has sent a letter of appeal to all States Members of the United Nations or members of the specialized agencies explaining the need for additional funds to finance the clearance of camps, and requesting contributions. The final amount yielded by this appeal can only be assessed at the end of 1958.
178. The High Commissioner has spared no effort to initiate the intensification of the programme of the United Nations Refugee Fund to the fullest extent possible in order to achieve permanent solutions for the maximum number of refugees remaining in camps, without losing sight of the need to continue to seek solutions for the problems of refugees outside camps. A Programme for Camp Clearance has been drawn up for submission to the UNREF Executive Committee at its eighth session. However, as was stated already in resolution No.6, adopted by the UNREF Executive Committee at its sixth (special) session, and subsequently endorsed by Economic and Social Council resolution 650 (XXIV) of 24 July 1957 and General Assembly resolution 1166 (XII), this intensification of the UNREF programme will be practicable only to the extent that adequate funds are made available.
179. In order to assure the continuity of international assistance to refugees, the UNREF Executive Committee was also to consider a "Note on the Problem of International Assistance to Non-Settled Refugees after termination of the UNREF Programme" (A/AC.79/115). In the light of this document, advice is sought as to whether it is appropriate for international assistance to be provided through the Office in order to help solve, in particular, specific refugee problems remaining unsolved after 31 December 1958. The decisions taken by the UNREF Executive Committee will be found in the report on the eighth session (see Annex III).
Action taken by the UNREF Executive Committee under resolution 1166 (XII)
180. At its seventh session, in January 1958, the UNREF Executive Committee took two measures under this resolution.
181. First, after considering the difficulties facing the Far Eastern Operation, it exercised the functions of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme in adopting resolution No.7, in which it recognized the need to continue to provide international assistance for refugees of European origin in the Far East, and authorized the High Commissioner to appeal to Governments for special contributions to enable the Far Eastern operation to continue, after proper consultation with the Director of ICEM. Further details are given in the section concerning the Far Eastern Operation (paragraphs 168 to 175).
182. Secondly, the UNREF Executive Committee, upon the suggestion of the High Commissioner, agreed that the emergency fund established under paragraph 7 of resolution 1166 (XII) should be opened as of 1 January 1958. The Committee was to consider at its eighth session the possibility of giving the High Commissioner, either provisionally or otherwise, directives regarding the way in which the sums paid into the emergency fund should be used. The Committee's decisions will be found in its report (see Annex III).
Action taken by the UNREF Executive Committee and the High Commissioner in connexion with resolution 1167 (XII)
183. In its resolution 1167 (XII), adopted on 26 November 1957, the General Assembly recognized that the problem of Chinese refugees in Hong Kong is such as to be of concern to the international community. It therefore appealed to States Members of the United Nations and of the specialized agencies, and non-governmental organizations, to give all possible assistance to alleviate the distress of these refugees, and it authorized the High Commissioner to use his good offices to encourage arrangements for contributions. States Members of the United Nations and of the specialized agencies, as well as non-governmental organizations, have been informed that the High Commissioner is ready to use his good offices as authorized by the resolution, and that a special account has been opened for financial contributions paid through the Office. Funds received would be made available for assistance to the Chinese refugees in Hong Kong in consultation with the Government of Hong Kong.
184. At its seventh session, the UNREF Executive Committee noted the action of the General Assembly in resolution 1167 (XII) and welcomed the statement therein that the problem of Chinese refugees in Hong Kong "is such as to be of concern to the international community". The Executive Committee expressed the hope that the response to the appeal of the General Assembly would be generous and widespread.
CHAPTER VII GENERAL ACTIVITIES
A. Relations with Specialized Agencies of the United Nations
INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANISATION
185. The High Commissioner has continued to collaborate with the International Labour Organisation on matters concerning refugees, and particularly refugee seamen. A representative of the ILO took part, with a representative of this Office, in The Hague Conference held in November 1957, at which an Agreement on the status of refugee seamen was signed by the eight participating Governments. The High Commissioner has suggested to the ILO that it should encourage further accessions to the Agreement and has also asked governmental authorities and maritime organizations to ensure that refugee seamen are informed of their rights under the Agreement.
186. In May 1958, the 41st (Maritime) Session of the International Labour Conference considered as one of the items before it a convention on identity documents for seamen, who sometimes go to sea without passports. The identity document would be recognized for such purposes as transit and shore-leave, as well as for readmission to the territory of the issuing State. This Office was represented at the meeting at which the draft convention was drawn up, and the text includes an article whereby refugee seamen can also have the benefit of the identity document.
UNITED NATIONS EDUCATIONAL, SCIENTIFIC AND CULTURAL ORGANIZATION
187. Valuable co-operation on matters affecting refugees has been maintained between UNESCO and this Office. In the previous annual report it was stated that an educational adviser was to be lent by UNESCO to the UNHCR Branch Office in Vienna to assist in the planning of educational projects for young Hungarian refugees. An adviser was again seconded by UNESCO for a short period at the beginning of 1958. The educational programme, in which this Office is participating in Austria, is on a considerable scale, and the High Commissioner is grateful to the Director-General of UNESCO and his two staff members for their help.
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION
188. The World Health Organization, which has already given valuable assistance to the High Commissioner for Refugees by carrying out a survey of health problems of Hungarian refugees in Austria, has again been consulted by this Office in connexion with the difficult psycho-social situation of certain groups of refugees who have been living for years in camps in Austria and Germany, and will place an expert at the disposal of UNHCR to investigate the situation.
B. Relations with the Council of Europe
189. Close liaison has been maintained between the Council of Europe and UNHCR since the previous annual report. In its Recommendation 144 of 4 May 1957, the Standing Committee of the Consultative Assembly asked the Committee of Ministers to support the second joint appeal of the Secretary-General and this office for further contributions for assistance to Hungarian refugees and to invite Governments members of the Council of Europe to take into account the problem of Hungarian refugees in Yugoslavia and to assist in their resettlement.
190. The Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe, in response to the annual memorandum submitted to it by this Office, for information, adopted a Recommendation (No. 149) at its ninth session in which it recommended that the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe urge Governments members of the Council of Europe to increase their offers of resettlement for refugees within the mandate of UNHCR, to make their greatest effort to increase their financial contributions towards UNREF, and to respond generously to appeals for additional funds required for the Far Eastern Operation.
191. The Council of Europe was represented by an observer at meetings of the UNREF Executive Committee, and a representative of this Office attended the Consultative Assembly and the Advisory Committee of the Council's Special Representative for National Refugees and Surplus Population, as well as other meetings where legal questions affecting refugees within the mandate of UNHCR were considered.
192. The Council of Europe has also made a contribution to the protection activities of this Office as described in chapter III, paragraph 59.
C. Relations with the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration
193. The close collaboration which has developed between the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration and UNHCR has been particularly fruitful in connexion with the resettlement of Hungarian refugees from Austria and Yugoslavia. In the course of 1957, the Committee moved some 97,602 refugees within the mandate of this Office, including 62,520 Hungarian refugees and 35,082 other refugees. The Committee has played a major role in resettling Hungarian refugees from Austria and in achieving a solution to problems of Hungarian refugees in Yugoslavia. The Committee has also given considerable assistance to this Office by arranging for the selection and movement of refugees resettled under intra-European migration schemes sponsored and initiated by UNHCR.
194. The joint ICEM/UNHCR operation for the resettlement of refugees of European origin from the Far East is described in chapter V concerning the UNREF Programme. The High Commissioner addressed a joint appeal with the Migration Commissioner for financial contributions for transportation of these refugees via Hong Kong, as a result of which the Far Eastern Operation could be continue until this date, though at a much slower tempo than is considered desirable.
D. Relations with the Organization for European Economic Co-operation
195. Close contact has been maintained between UNHCR and the Organization for European Economic Co-operation in connexion with the extension to refugees of the action promoted by OEEC to liberalize the movement of manpower between its Member States, as shown in more detail in chapter III, paragraph 60, on international protection.
E. Relations with the Administration of the United States Escapee Program
196. The work of the USEP administration has continued to be of great value for those refugees within the mandate of UNHCR who are eligible for USEP assistance, particularly in the field of resettlement. USEP contributed to the cost of transportation of 27,618 refugees, of whom 15,907 were Hungarians and 11,711 other refugees, out of a total of 97,602 refugees moved by ICEM in the course of 1957. In addition, aid for other purposes than transportation was given by USEP to a large number of other refugees.
197. Throughout 1957, there has been close collaboration between this Office and the USEP administration, particularly in the development of intra-European resettlement schemes which provide for resettlement opportunities for refugees in the difficult-to-(re) settle category from Austria, Greece, Italy and Turkey.
198. As in former years, regular meetings of senior officials of USEP, ICEM and this Office have been held to co-ordinate action in common fields. These meetings are from time to time extended to include voluntary agencies and other organizations engaged in assistance to refugees.
F. Relations with voluntary agencies
199. Close co-operation with the voluntary agencies has been maintained, as in the past, both at headquarters' level and in the field, where the working relationship has become more tightly knit, particularly with regard to the implementation of camp clearance and of the permanent solutions programme for Hungarian refugees in Austria. Matters of general policy are being discussed with the agencies at regular meetings held at headquarters and the Branch Offices in Austria and Germany, where the major part of the UNREF programme is being carried out. Similar co-ordination takes place in the field, particularly as far as the counselling of refugees is concerned. The voluntary agencies which carry out projects for the clearing of camps have now designated counsellors who are attached to one or more of the camps which are scheduled for clearance, and who concentrate on giving the necessary guidance to refugees with a view to achieving a permanent solution of their problems.
200. The voluntary agencies also held important conferences which highlighted various aspects of the problems of refugees. The first, entitled "The Refugee Problem Today and Tomorrow", took place form 27 to 28 May 1957, and was convened by the Standing Conference of Voluntary Agencies Working for Refugees. The second conference was held in Geneva from 5 to 9 August 1957 and was sponsored by the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations Interested in Migration.
G. The Closure of Tinos Camp
201. During 1957, the High Commissioner's Office, with the co-operation of the Greek Government and the World Council of Churches, continued to work at the task of finding solutions for the refugees on the Greek island of Tinos, and on 16 December 1957 the refugee camp was formally closed.
202. By devoting to this task the $35,000 awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize to the High Commissioner's Office in 1955, as well as contributions of $10,000 each from the Norwegian Refugee Council and Swiss Aid to Europe, the High Commissioner was able to find permanent solutions for close on a hundred refugees living in the camp. Some of the refugees and their families were able to emigrate, the majority were found work or established on the land or in small businesses, and the old or infirm were settled in an old people's home, opened on the island under an UNREF project, or in another institution in Athens.
H. Camp adoption scheme
203 The camp adoption scheme was initiated in 1954 as a means of expanding and channelling the good will and generosity of private persons and groups for the benefit of refugees. Adopting communities are generally well aware of the necessity to channel their efforts in practical directions towards integration of the refugees, and are in touch with the UNREF integration counsellors who can suggest what help the adopters might give. The progressive clearance of camps inevitably means that the direct linking of an adopting group with a particular camp comes to an end when the camp is cleared. It is hoped that the adopting group will thereafter maintain its contact with, and interest in, the refugees who have left the camp, giving them the moral support and material help many of them need in the initial period of independent life. This has happened, for instance, in the case of Hadjikiriakion, one of the first refugee centres in Greece to be dissolved: the Geneva United Nations Staff Committee for refugees still sends help of various kinds to former inmates, and at the same time contributes to special needs in some of the old age homes that have been established under the UNREF programme.
204. On the other hand, when offers of new adoptions are received, the High Commissioner's Office suggests, in Austria and Germany, those camps scheduled for clearance in 1959 and 1960, and, in Germany, the refugee settlements (Siedlungen) which do not appear on the list of official camps but which are usually situated in areas where no employment possibilities exist. The old people's homes also, particularly in Greece, are being put in touch with sponsoring groups who can take a lasting interest in them.
205. The total number of camps and old age homes which have been adopted or which receive help from time to time is sixty-five. Fifty-one of the adopting groups are in the United Kingdom, and of the others, eight are in Sweden, six in Denmark and five in Canada.
206. A private organization affiliated to the Standing Conference of British Organisations for Aid to Refugees has continued to collect gifts from business firms and industries for the welfare and rehabilitation of refugees.
I. Award of the Nansen Medal
207. The Nansen Medal Award Committee met again in Geneva in May 1957 to consider proposals for candidates to receive the medal for that year. The Committee decided to award the medal for 1957 to the League of Red Cross Societies in recognition of the outstanding work performed by the League in dealing with the Hungarian refugee emergency in Austria.
208. At the ceremony held on 13 September 1957 at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, the Nansen Medal Award Committee, in the presence of government representatives in Geneva and representatives of the Swiss federal and local authorities, of the Secretary-General, and of national Red Societies, presented the medal to Mr. B. de Rougé, Secretary-General of the League of Red Cross Societies, who received the medal on behalf of the League.
J. Public information
209. During the period under review, every effort has been made to bring the problem of the refugees within the High Commissioner's mandate to the attention of the widest possible public. All types of information media have been used, and special publicity support has been given to fund-raising campaigns in Australia, New Zealand and Scotland.
210. Among the publications issued by this Office may be mentioned the "UNHCR Reference Service", which presents periodical reports on international action on behalf of refugees, and is issued in English, French and German, and a "Feature Service" to provide the Press with topical articles and photographs on UNHCR programmes. "To Have a Key", the special illustrated report on the first two years of the UNREF Programme for Permanent Solutions, first published at the end of 1956, is now in its second edition.
211. The UNHCR leaflet published by the United Nations Department of Public Information in English, French and German has been revised to take into account recent developments.
212. Visits to refugee camps have been organized and publicity has been given to important events, such as the visits of Swedish selection missions to Trieste (1957) and Austria (1958), the closure of camp Tinos in Greece and the winding up of the operation in Yugoslavia.
213. Two films were produced in support of fundraising campaigns. The first of these, "Kryfto", was made in a refugee camp in Greece, the second, "It Happens Every Day", in a refugee camp in Germany.
214. Photographic exhibits have been prepared for the United Nations Pavilion at the Brussels exhibition, and for United Nations Day celebrations in Geneva and Buenos Aires.
(Note: Statistical and financial tables not included in this online version. See your nearest UN Depository Library.)
ANNEX II REPORT ON THE SEVENTH SESSION OF THE UNREF EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE1 (Geneva, 13,17 January 1958)
OPENING OF THE SESSION AND ELECION OF OFFICERS
1. The UNREF Executive Committee held its seventh session from 13 January to 17 January 1958 at the Palais des Nations, Geneva. All the Governments members of the Executive were represented as follows:
|France||United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland|
|Germany, Federal Republic of||United States of America|
2. The Governments of China, Egypt, Hungary, Sweden, Syria and Yugoslavia were represented by observers, as was the Sovereign Order of Malta.
3. The International Labour Office, the Council of Europe and the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration were also represented by observers.
4. The session was opened by Mr. J. Cappelen (Norway), Chairman of the sixth (special) session of the Executive Committee.
5. The Committee elected the following officers:
Chairman Dame May Curwen, D. B. E. (United Kingdom)
Vice-Chairman Mr. D. Kafai (Iran)
Rapporteur Mr. Ch. E. Boubonnière (Canada)
6. Mr. G. Palthey, Deputy Director of the European Office of the United Nations, welcomed the representatives on behalf of the Secretary-General. He stressed the importance of the UNREF programme for camp closure, for which 1958 would be a critical year.
ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA
7. The Committee decided to adopt the following agenda, it being understood that it would take up, under item 15, "Any other business", the problem of refugee seamen submitted to it, in its advisory capacity, in conference room document No. 9:
(1) Election of officers;
(2) Adoption of the agenda (A/AC.79/88/Rev.1);
(3) Report on the sixth session of the Standing Programme Sub-Committee (A/AC.79/99);
(4) Amendment to financial rules for voluntary funds governing the administration of the UNREF Programme: Article VII (A/AC.79/89);
(5) Far Eastern Operation (A/AC.79/91/Add.1);
(6) Report on the problem of Hungarian refugees (A/AC.79/95);
(7) UNREF progress report as of 30 September 1957 (A/AC.79/92);
(8) Preliminary report on a Survey of the Non-Settled Refugee Population in Various Countries (A/AC.79/87);
(9) Note on decisions taken by the General Assembly at its twelfth session (A/AC.79/97):
(a) Review of arrangements for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees;
(b) International assistance to refugees within the mandate of the United Nations High Commissioner for refugees;
(c) Problem of Chinese Refugees in Hong Kong.
(10) UNREF Revised Plan of Operations (1958) (A/AC.79/90, A/AC.79/91 and Add.2 and 3, A/AC.79/46/Add.2 and A/AC.79/21/Add.6 and 7);
(11) Provisional financial statements of the United Nations Refugee Fund for the period 1 January to 30 November 1957 (A/AC.79/98);
(12) Plan of administrative expenditure for 1958 (A/AC.79/93 and Add.1);
(13) Procedure for approval of the administrative expenditure for the High Commissioner's programme in 1959 (A/AC.79/94);
(14) Report on the reimbursement of loans (A/AC.79/96);
(15) Any other business.
STATEMENT BY THE HIGH COMMISSIONER
8. The High Commissioner made an introductory statement dealing mainly with three questions: legal protection the problem of Hungarian refugees in Yugoslavia and Austria, and the UNREF programme.
9. On the subject of legal protection, which he considered of the greatest importance, he reported that the Government of Tunisia had signified to the Secretary-General its accession to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. His Office was trying to ensure that uniform standards were applied in decisions concerning refugee status in different countries. Through the initiative of the Netherlands Government, an Agreement relating to Refugee Seamen had been signed on 23 November 1957 in the course of a special conference on this question held at The Hague.
10. On the problem of Hungarian refugees, satisfactory progress had been made in Yugoslavia, where only 316 Hungarian refugees remained on 6 January 1958. Of these refugees, 197 had been selected by a British Selection Mission. The Yugoslav Government was, however, faced with a deficit of some $6,600,000 as a result of its expenditure for the reception and care and maintenance of Hungarian refugees.
11. In Austria, there remained 18,985 Hungarian refugees and further resettlement openings had to be found. The High Commissioner felt that, whereas the freedom of choice of the refugee must always be respected, refugees who could not yet be admitted to the country of their preference should be encouraged to take up work while waiting for resettlement, rather than live in camps on welfare payments. Hungarian refugees needing assistance to become integrated in Austria were being helped under the $3,500,000 permanent solutions programme approved by the Committee at its fifth session: by 10 January 1958, projects to a total value of over $1,000,000 were covered by signed agreements. There was a certain number of difficult cases and handicapped refugees among the Hungarian refugees in Austria for whom special arrangements would probably be required.
12. The Survey of the Non-Settled Refugee Population in Various Countries, authorized by the Executive Committee at its fifth session, showed that 23,300 refugees were not covered by existing UNREF projects or by other refugee programmes. Of these, 2,200 refugees were expected to emigrate before the end of 1958 and solutions for the remaining 21,100 would have to be found under the UNREF programme for 1958, or under the intensification programme which had been approved by the General Assembly in its resolution 1166 (XII). Among this group, 9,600 refugees, or 41 per cent of the total, belonged to households whose head was in the category of difficult cases or handicapped refugees.
13. The High Commissioner explained the exact significance of the camp-closure programme, which was concerned only with providing permanent solutions for refugees living in camps who came within the mandate of his Office and who were not eligible for other programmes, such as that of the United States Escapee Program. The UNREF programme could therefore not be meant to solve the problem of camp inhabitants outside the mandate of his Office, and, furthermore, in countries such as Austria and Italy, where there was currently a large influx of new refugees potentially eligible for other programmes, the places left open in camps by earlier refugees benefiting from the UNREF programme were filled by the new influx.
14. Actual UNREF contributions to projects under implementation or negotiation amounted to nearly $12,000,000, most of the funds involved coming from governmental sources. In order to complete the camp-closure programme, he maintained his earlier estimate that $4,800,000 would be required over and above the original target of $16,000,000 for governmental contributions to UNREF. To finance the Revised Plan of Operations (1958) and the intensification programme, an amount of about $10,200,000 was required, of which more than $7,500,000 was still lacking.
OTHER GENERAL STATEMENTS
15. Mr. B. Epinat, Deputy Director of the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration, described the excellent co-operation which existed between his organization and the Office of the High Commissioner. Their joint efforts had been of particular value in carrying out the resettlement of Hungarian refugees, especially in Yugoslavia. He hoped that this spirit of co-operation would be maintained and increased in the future. A considerable proportion of ICEM's work involved the resettlement of refugees, and much remained to be done for the large numbers still in countries of first asylum.
16. Mr. J. J. Norris, speaking on behalf of the Standing Conference of Voluntary Agencies working for Refugees, expressed the satisfaction of the Conference with the resolutions recently adopted by the General Assembly, under which the mandate of UNHCR had been extended for an additional five years, and provision had been made for greater flexibility in programmes for refugees. Many of the member agencies of the Standing Conference co-operated with the High Commissioner's Office in implementing the UNREF programme, and were pleased with the way the programme had developed. It was hoped that top priority would be given to the joint UNHCR/ICEM Far Eastern Operation and that international assistance would be forthcoming for the speaker drew attention to the serious problem created by the continuing influx of new refugees into Austria and Italy.
17. The representative of Colombia gave an account of the economic development of his country, and of the opportunities which it offered for the settlement of refugees. While his Government was not in a position to pay for the transportation costs of the refugees, assistance could be given them for their integration upon arrival.
II. THE PROBLEM OF HUNGARIAN REFUGEES
18. The Committee had before it document A/AC.79/95 providing a report on developments in the Hungarian refugee problem in Austria and Yugoslavia. Details were given of the movement of Hungarian refugees in these countries and an analysis was made of governmental expenditures for their reception and care and maintenance. The document also reported on the progress that was being made in implementing the permanent solutions programme for Hungarian refugees in Austria.
19. During the proceedings of the Committee, tribute was paid to the Governments and organizations which, through offers of resettlement, financial contributions or otherwise, had made it possible for the Hungarian refugee problem to be brought within sight of solution in such a short space of time, particularly in Yugoslavia. Deep appreciation was expressed for the manner in which the problem had been dealt with by Office if the High Commissioner in close co-operation with the interested Governments, the administration of the United States Escapee Program, the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration, the League of Red Cross Societies and the other voluntary agencies.
20. In answer to questions, the High Commissioner explained that, of the 19,000 Hungarian refugees left in Austria at the end of 1957, at least 8,000 wished to emigrate and should be given resettlement opportunities. In addition, a number of refugees in the handicapped categories, including difficult cases, wished to leave Austria for other countries.
21. He proposed applying to Austria, from available funds, the system of installation grants which had been usefully employed for resettling difficult cases and handicapped refugees from Yugoslavia, and also to use these funds to settle difficult cases in Austria, as required. For those handicapped refugees who wanted to remain in Austria, it was premature to set a new target, but a programme would be submitted to the Executive Committee at its eight session if it proved necessary.
22. In Yugoslavia, a Belgian mission was selecting refugees from among those who remained after the United Kingdom mission had completed its task. This would materially help the liquidation of the remaining problem and he thanked the Government of Belgium for the spirit of understanding it had consistently displayed in approaching the problem of Hungarian refugees in Yugoslavia. His Provisional Branch Office would remain in that country to assist in dealing with the problem of Hungarian refugees as long as the need persisted. Visits from headquarters would thereafter be made as might appear necessary.
23. The representative of the United States reported that Hungarian refugees in Austria, Italy, Greece and other areas were now being given the customary forms of USEP assistance for resettlement which it had not been practicable to offer them during the period of mass movement. To assist the Hungarian refugees wishing to become integrated in Austria, the United States Government would contribute a sum of $950,000 in the immediate future towards the High Commissioner's permanent solutions programme. There was a possibility that further funds might be made available but United States contributions would be subject to the matching principle and could therefore not exceed one-third of the total contributions by all Governments. He hoped that by the time the Committee met for its next session the Hungarian refugee problem would no longer be treated separately from other problems.
24. The representative of the United Kingdom reported that, of the 15,000 Hungarian refugees in the United Kingdom, all except 600 had now found employment, and it was hoped that all the refugees would be fully settled in the near future.
25. The representative of Australia stated that his Government had been able to offer resettlement opportunities to Hungarian refugees in Austria but had not found an equal number of refugees wishing to take advantage of them. It had recently made a contribution of $56,000 to the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration for the movement of Hungarian refugees from Austria.
26. The observer for Yugoslavia expressed his thanks to the High Commissioner and his Provisional Branch Office in Belgrade, as well as to Governments and agencies, for their help in bringing the problem in his country to the point of solution. His Government's approach to the problem had been in conformity with the provisions of the Statute of the High Commissioner's Office, and every Hungarian refugee had been free to chose repatriation, resettlement, or integration in Yugoslavia. His Government and the Yugoslav Red Cross had devoted particular care to the problem of unaccompanied children under fourteen and minors aged from fourteen to eighteen. For this difficult problem, a satisfactory solution had been found, based on the principle of family unity and the best interest of the child. Despite the aid it had received from the Office of the High Commissioner, his Government faced a deficit of $6,651,030 on its expenditure for the accommodation and the care and maintenance of Hungarian refugees, and he hoped that it would benefit from a display of international solidarity equivalent to that which had been given in other cases.
27. The observer for Hungary referred to resolution 1166 (XII), in operative paragraph 2 of which the General Assembly reaffirmed the basic principle laid down in paragraph 1 of the Statute of the High Commissioner's Office, containing a reference to voluntary repatriation. He hoped that this provision would be taken into account. He also hoped that those Governments which did not already do so would cover the repatriation costs of refugees wishing to return to Hungary, and that no obstacles would be placed in the way of refugees wishing to contact Hungarian missions abroad. His Government considered that the most acute problem was posed by the several thousand unattached minors who had left Hungary without parental consent, and that information on their whereabouts should be made available by the authorities of the countries in which they were residing. His Government hoped that, through the intervention of the High Commissioner, those children would soon be returned to their families.
28. The observer for the Republic of China stated that his Government and people had contributed almost $100,000 in cash and kind for assistance to Hungarian refugees. He hoped that the great generosity already shown by other countries in providing funds and resettlement opportunities would be maintained long enough for the problem to be given a final solution.
29. The Committee noted the report submitted to it by the High Commissioner and in particular the solutions envisaged therein (paragraphs 52 and 53) for difficult cases and handicapped refugees in Austria.
III. DECISIONS TAKEN BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY AT ITS TWELFTH SESSION
30. The Committee considered a note by the High Commissioner on decisions taken by the General Assembly at its twelfth session (A/AC.79/97), to which was attached the text of the resolutions on the prolongation of the Office of the High Commissioner, on international assistance to refugees within the mandate, and on Chinese refugees in Hong Kong.
REVIEW OF ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE OFFICE OF UNHCR - PROLONGATION OF THE MANDATE
31. Introducing this item, the High Commissioner recalled that, as had been stated by several delegations at the twelfth session of the General Assembly, the mandate of his Office was of a global nature.
32. The Committee noted with satisfaction that under the terms of resolution 1165 (XII) the General Assembly had decided to continue the Office of the High Commissioner for a period of five years from 1 January 1959.
INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE TO REFUGEES WITHIN THE MANDATE OF THE UNHCR
33. The High Commissioner drew special attention to resolution 1166 (XII) concerning international assistance to refugees within his mandate. As suggested in document A/AC.79/97, it might be necessary for the Executive Committee, pursuant to paragraph 9 of the resolution, to exercise the functions of the future Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme with regard to the problem of European refugees in the Far East and to the emergency reserve provided for in paragraph 7 of the resolution.
34. The representative of the United States felt that resolution 1166 (XII) marked a significant development in that it recognized the continuing nature of the refugee problem and its constantly changing aspects. The provisions of the resolution would enable new situations to be met as they arose but would also permit the continuation of existing programmes while the need remained. The resolution would encourage an annual review of the entire work of the High Commissioner's Office, which would thus be adapted each year to changing conditions. Programmes which had achieved their objectives would be brought to an end, others still in progress would be continued and revised while new programmes would be added as necessary. A balanced approach to the total refugee problem would thus be constantly maintained. The elaboration of separate programmes would enable countries to concentrate their funds on the activities of those programmes in which they were particularly interested. It was to be hoped that Governments would in future give a more practical effect to the principle of international obligation recognized in the resolution.
35. The representative of Denmark reserved the position of his Government on the figure of $4,800,000 quoted as necessary for the intensification of the UNREF programme. He felt that it should be treated as an estimate only and subject to revision. Governments would certainly bear in mind the economic changes which had taken place since the international community was first confronted with the problems now before the Committee. These changes undoubtedly influenced the implementation of the UNREF programme in various countries. The extent to which Governments would contribute towards the further amount required would depend not only on internal or domestic financial considerations but also on the size of contributions, in the form of direct grants to UNREF or of supporting contributions to projects, made available by the countries in which the programme would be carried out.
36. Two representatives drew attention to the importance of aid to groups of refugees outside camps. The representative of France felt that the intensification of the UNREF programme should not be concentrated exclusively on the camp problem. Additional UNREF assistance should be made available urgently for other groups, and he suggested that priorities should be established, including particularly the refugees of European origin in China and difficult cases.
37. The observer for the Republic of China stated that his Government, in response to resolution 1166 (XII) and as evidence of its continuing interest in the refugee problem had decided to make a token contribution to UNREF of $5,000.
38. The Executive Committee approved the suggestion contained in paragraph 20 of document A/AC.79/97 that the emergency fund established under paragraph 7 of resolution 1166 (XII) should be opened as of 1 January 1958.
THE PROBLEM OF CHINESE REFUGEES IN HONG KONG
39. In introducing this item, the High Commissioner pointed out that resolution 1167 (XII) on the subject had been adopted by the General Assembly at its twelfth session as a result of the recommendation made by the UNREF Executive Committee at its fourth session. In its resolution, the General Assembly recognized that the problem was such as to be of concern to the international community, appealed for assistance to the Chinese refugees in Hong Kong and authorized the High Commissioner to use his good offices to encourage arrangements for contribution. It had been made clear in the debate which had taken place in the Third Committee that this resolution did not mean that the refugees concerned came at present within the mandate of his Office.
40. The resolution constituted in itself an appeal for contributions for assistance to Chinese refugees in Hong Kong. The High Commissioner proposed to draw the attention of States Members of the United Nations or members of specialized agencies as well as of non-governmental organizations to resolution 1167 (XII), and, pursuant to the resolution, to offer his good offices to encourage arrangements for contributions. A special account for such contributions as might be received directly by his Office was being opened.
41. The observer for the Republic of China was particularly grateful to the Committee for having concerned itself with the problem on several occasions and for having taken at its fourth session the action which had led to the adoption, with 50 votes in favour, of resolution 1167 (XII) by the General Assembly.
42. His Government was prepared, in principle, to accept a substantial number of Chinese refugees into Taiwan and to pay for the cost of their transportation and final establishment, the numbers of refugees and the timing of their admission to be worked out. His Government was also ready to contribute relief supplies to refugees in Hong Kong and to ship such supplies at regular intervals for as long as they were needed. Furthermore, the Free China Relief Organization would continue to provide assistance, and a large-scale campaign would be initiated among Chinese residing abroad to collect funds to assist these refugees. His Government further suggested that countries which had not already done so should admit numbers of these refugees, many of whom were skilled workers and persons with professional training who would constitute an economic asset, and that further efforts should be made for the integration of Chinese refugees in Hong Kong.
43. Mr. E. Rees, Adviser on Refugee Affairs to the World Council of Churches, gave an account of the assistance given by his organization to these refugees, and expressed his satisfaction at the fact that the Office of the High Commissioner had now been associated with certain aspects of this problem. He cautioned against the danger of raising false hopes among the approximately 700,000 refugees concerned, and trusted that the action now taken would be duly followed up as indicated by the High Commissioner. He also stated that the non-governmental organizations would welcome an opportunity of co-ordinating their activities with the Hong Kong Government in this matter.
44. Abbé Bouvier, representing the International Conference of Catholic Charities, gave an account of the activities of members of the Conference in the Field of welfare, and in particular with regard to assistance to Chinese refugees in Hong Kong. Catholic charities and organizations had always taken a great interest in Chinese refugees and had contributed considerable relief supplies to them in Hong Kong. He hoped that a generous response to the appeal of the General Assembly would be forthcoming and assured the Committee that the Catholic organizations would continue their assistance to these refugees in co-operation with the Hong Kong Government and with other interested Governments.
45. Members of the Committee were unanimous in expressing appreciation for the fact that the General Assembly had recognized the problem of Chinese refugees in Hong Kong as being of concern to the international community. They paid a tribute to the Hong Kong Government for the assistance it had already given to these refugees, and welcomed the constructive proposals put forward by the High Commissioner, which were within the meaning and the spirit of the resolution of the General Assembly.
46. The representative of the United Kingdom noted with appreciation the offer conveyed to the Committee by the observer from China, and would communicate it to the Hong Kong Government. It would be useful to the authorities concerned in due course to receive information as to the number of refugees who could be received in Taiwan and as to the timing of the proposed movement. He also wished to pay tribute to the voluntary agencies working in Hong Kong.
47. The representative of Brazil recalled that his country was already admitting Chinese refugees.
48. Upon the proposal of the representative of Iran, supported by all members of the Committee, the Executive Committee noted the action of the General Assembly in resolution 1167 (XII) and welcomed the statement therein that the problem of Chinese refugees in Hong Kong "is such as to be of concern to the international community". The Executive Committee also noted that the resolution "authorizes the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to use his good offices to encourage arrangements for contributions". The Executive Committee expressed the hope that the response to the appeal of the General Assembly would be generous and widespread.
IV. PROGRAMME OF THE UNITED NATIONS REFUGEE FUND
REPORT ON THE SIXTH SESSION OF THE STANDING PROGRAMME SUB-COMMITTEE
49. The Committee noted the report on the sixth session of the Standing Programme Sub-Committee (A/AC.79/99, A/AC.79/PSC/7) and considered the various sections of this report in conjunction with relevant items of the agenda.
UNREF PROGRESS REPORT AS OF 30 SEPTEMBER 1957
50. The Committee considered the UNREF progress report (A/AC.79/92) in conjunction with paragraphs 6 to 17 of the report on the sixth session of the Standing Programme Sub-Committee (A/AC.79/99). The progress report showed in particular that, by 30 September 1957, a total of 16,880 refugees had been firmly settled under the UNREF programme, of whom 5,016 refugees came from camps.
51. In introducing the report, the High Commissioner emphasized that since the UNREF programme was in its last year of operation, arrangements would have to be made pursuant to the provisions of resolution 1166 (XII) for the completion of projects outstanding at the end of 1958. He also drew attention to the fact that between 1 October and 31 December 1957, the amount expended or obligated by UNREF had risen by $2,500,000 to a total of $9,800,000 and he stressed the importance of the supporting contributions made in those countries where the programme was being carried out.
52. Members of the Committee expressed their appreciation for the progress achieved and for the new, more concise form in which the report had been presented. Some representatives suggested that the report might more and more take the form of an analysis of trends within the programme.
53. Two representatives welcomed the efforts that were being made to streamline the counselling programme and expressed their support of the High Commissioner's endeavour.
54. Some representatives expressed concern over the fact that in several instances refugees had failed to take advantage of openings offered to them under UNREF projects. They pointed out that efforts should be further increased to encourage the refugees to avail themselves of appropriate permanent solutions while the opportunity still existed. They considered that the counselling programme would be of considerable assistance to the refugees in this connexion and felt that this point of view should be conveyed to all the agencies concerned in the implementation of the UNREF programme.
55. The representative of Greece expressed the appreciation of his Government for the new impetus which had been given to the UNREF programme in his country and which had resulted in a satisfactory rate of progress.
56. The observer for Yugoslavia questioned the reference in paragraph 177 of this document to refugees from his country. In the opinion of his Government, these persons were migrants who deliberately chose to leave Yugoslavia by illegal channels. There was no obstacle to their leaving Yugoslavia with regular papers, but they found that in this case they had little or no chance of being accepted by countries of immigration. His Government realized that difficulties were thus caused in Austria and Italy and was ready to hold discussions with the Governments concerned to find a solution to the problem.
57. The representative of Italy stated that refugees had been arriving in his country from Yugoslavia without passports at a rate of 1,000 per month during 1957. It was difficult to draw a line between political refugees and economic migrants.
58. Details of the Yugoslav and Italian statements may be found in the summary record of the forty-seventh meeting.
59. The Executive Committee took note of the progress report.
PRELIMINARY REPORT ON A SURVEY OF THE NON-SETTLED REFUGEE POPULATION IN VARIOUS COUNTRIES
60. The Executive Committee had before it a preliminary report on the Survey of non-settled refugees authorized at its fifth session and covering Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy and Turkey. This document consisted of an introductory note by the High Commissioner and the text of the report submitted to him by the Director of the Survey, Professor Dr. Ph. J. Idenburg.
61. It was recorded that in July/August 1957 there were almost 53,500 refugees living in official camps in those countries. In his general introductory statement, the High Commissioner had explained that for 23,300 of these refugees no provision had yet been made, at the time of the Survey, under the UNREF programme or other programmes.
62. The High Commissioner stated that, from analyses made after the preliminary report had been prepared, it emerged that at the same date some 117,000 non-settled refugees were living outside camps in the countries surveyed. After deduction of 9,000 refugees eligible for USEP assistance and 8,000 who would benefit from existing UNREF projects, there remained 100,000 other refugees outside camps, of whom 42,000 were in the handicapped categories. Further information would be given in the final report, which was expected to be ready by the spring of 1958.
63. Tribute was paid to the Director of the Survey and to the many governmental and private agencies which had taken part in it.
64. In reply to a question by a representative, the High Commissioner explained that, as far as possible, priority would be given under UNREF projects to refugees in the handicapped categories living in camps. It was nevertheless imperative to provide solutions for all refugees in camps if the camp closure programme was to be brought to a successful conclusion.
65. The representative of the United States remarked on the co-operation between all agencies working for refugees, which was a feature of refugee work in 1957 and which had taken tangible form in the report before the Committee. The figures made available by the Survey would be invaluable for planning future programmes, but it was essential that they be kept up to date. Explaining the operation of the United States Escapee Program, he stated that it was intended for refugees who had arrived from a limited period of time and that it concentrated primarily on resettlement. In future, refugees would not be kept on the USEP case-load for more than three years, but this rule would not be applied to refugees already registered.
66. The High Commissioner stated that he would request the Director of the Survey to devote a chapter of his final report to the question of keeping the figures up to date.
67. The representative of Norway pointed out that the substantial numbers of refugees covered by Survey category 7, since they already had employment, should be the easiest group to settle: he hoped, however, that they would be able to retain their employment in any period of economic difficulty which might arise.
68. The representative of France drew attention to the figure of 36,700 non-settled refugees living in his country, where there were no camps. He regarded this figure as conservative. The proportion of handicapped refugees among them was unusually high compared with the average in all official camps. His Government had provided and was providing extensive assistance to refugees, of whom some 600,000 were estimated to have been admitted to France since the First World War. Of this number, more than 300,000 had been integrated in the national economy without external assistance. It was among those former immigrants that a very high proportion of difficult cases was to be found.
69. The Executive Committee took note with great appreciation of the preliminary report on the Survey and expressed the hope that the results of the Survey would be kept up to date as occasion offered.
FAR EASTERN OPERATION
70. The Committee considered addendum 1 to document A/AC.79/91, containing a report on developments during 1957 in the joint UNHCR/ICEM Operation for refugees of European origin in the Far east, as well as projects submitted for the approval of the Committee within the framework of the Revised Plan of Operations (1958). An analysis was also given of the funds estimated to be necessary to settle the remaining 12,800 refugees in this group by the end of 1960. It was reported in this document that limiting factor in the movement of refugees was a serious shortage in the funds available to ICEM for transportation.
71. The High Commissioner stated that 1,141 refugees remained in Hong Kong on 31 December 1957 awaiting onward movement, and 100 were expected to arrive during January 1958. An appeal by ICEM, which his Office had supported, had yielded almost $450,000. ICEM had enough funds to move 350 refugees during January 1958 but at the end of that month some 900 refugees would be left in Hong Kong with no funds available for their transportation. It was desirable that at least 3,600 refugees be moved during 1958. Efforts must be concentrated on movement and not on care and maintenance for a long period, which represented an unproductive use of funds: after six months in Hong Kong, the cost of maintaining a refugee had exceeded the cost of transportation.
72. Furthermore, it was essential that the necessary shipping space should be booked in the very near future in order to avoid a delay in transportation once the necessary funds were available.
73. Mr. B. Epinat, Deputy Director of ICEM, described the importance of finding funds for transportation and hoped that the Governments present would make a sympathetic response to the exigencies of the situation.
74. In answer to a question, he stated that the Director of ICEM and the High Commissioner would shortly address a letter to Governments to inform them of the position of the Far Eastern Operation on 31 December 1957, and in particular to draw their attention to the serious lack of funds for the transportation of the refugees concerned.
75. The representative of the United Kingdom stated that, in the opinion of his Government, the time spent by each refugee in transit in Hong Kong should not exceed three weeks. In view of the serious Chinese refugee problem confronting the Government of Hong Kong, the number of European refugees in transit should not exceed 250 at any one time. It would therefore be necessary for the authorities concerned to restrict the delivery of entry visas until the number of refugees in transit fell to this figure. The United Kingdom Government had decided in principle, subject to Parliamentary approval, to make a contribution to the High Commissioner's Office for the resettlement of European refugees from China. It was hoped that provision for this contribution would be made in the United Kingdom estimates for the financial year starting on 1 April 1958. The amount would be paid as soon as possible after that date.
76. Several representatives stated, and the Committee agreed, that urgent steps should be taken to assist this group of refugees: UNREF expenditure for care and maintenance of refugees in transit in Hong Kong should be limited to the minimum required, and the emphasis should be placed on payment of transportation costs. It was suggested by the representative of Denmark that UNREF funds earmarked for projects in other countries might be used for transportation. The representative for France suggested that the financing of transportation for the refugees in question should be ensured by using the unallocated balance within the regular UNREF programme. The representative of Belgium announced that his Government would agree to suspend the implementation of, or even to abandon, project PS/3/BEL, provided the $20,000 thus freed could be used for resettlement. The representative of the Federal Republic of Germany said that he would discuss with the various authorities concerned the possibility of delaying implementation of certain projects in his country, thus making funds immediately available.
77. Mr. E. Rees, Adviser on Refugee Affairs to the World Council of Churches, described the work that was being carried out by his agency, which had some 80 per cent of the refugees in this group on its case-load. Visa assurances had been secured for 3,200 refugees still on the mainland of China. He pointed out that the group contained many persons who were young and physically fit, but who needed assistance in becoming established in the countries to which they would be resettled.
78. The Executive Committee unanimously adopted resolution No. 7, in which it authorized the High Commissioner to appeal to Governments for special contributions to enable the Far Eastern Operation to continue, after proper consultation with the Director of ICEM, and authorized the High Commissioner to use such contributions as might be received for this purpose to provide appropriate permanent solutions for these refugees. The full text of the resolution is given in appendix II to this report. The representatives of Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States reserved the position of their Governments on the question of contribution towards the appeal so authorized.
79. Besides adopting resolution No. 7, the Executive Committee also made the following decisions on this item:
(a) It approved an expenditure of $81,264 over and above the authorization given for project FE/1/1957 (a)-(c) covering care and maintenance charges in Hong Kong during 1957.
(b) It approved the advance to ICEM of a reimbursable amount not exceeding $100,000 within the framework of project FE/1/1957(d).
(c) It approved the projects submitted to it within the Revised Plan of Operations (1958). The representative of the United States abstained from approving projects FE/2/1958. FE/3/1958 and FE/4/1958 which involved expenditures on the mainland of China. He specified that funds United States contributions should not be used for these three projects.
(d) It decided that the allocation of $312,000 for the Far Eastern Operation within the Revised Plan of Operations (1958) should not be increased except with the prior approval of the executive Committee, or by using the proceeds of a special appeal.
(e) As an exceptional measure, it authorized the High Commissioner to guarantee the reimbursement of an amount of $100,000 to be made available by the Church World Service to ICEM through the High Commissioner's Office for the early transportation of European refugees in the Far East to their countries of resettlement, such reimbursement being guaranteed only to the extent that he received funds for the transportation of these refugees either in response to the appeal authorized by resolution No. 7 of the Executive Committee or otherwise. The Executive Committee expressed its gratitude to the Church World Service for generously offering this loan, which would prevent the movement of refugees from Hong Kong coming to a halt at the end of January 1958.
UNREF REVISED PLAN OF OPERATIONS (1958) AND REVISION OF PROJECTS IN THE REVISED PLANS OF OPERATIONS (1956) AND (1957)
80. The Executive Committee first considered part I of the Revised plan of Operations (1958) (A/AC.79/90), an analysis of actual UNREF contributions towards projects under implementation or negotiation within plans of Operations for 1955, 1956 and 1957. The Executive Committee took note of this document.
81. The Committee then considered parts II and III of the Revised Plan of Operations (1958) (A/AC.79/91 and Add.2 and 3) in conjunction with paragraphs 18 to 27 of the report on the sixth session of the Standing Programme Sub-Committee (A/AC.79/99). Part II consisted of projects submitted to the Committee for its approval and part III of the suggested order of priority.
82. One representative doubted whether the financial target of $5,415,930 proposed for 1958 could be considered realistic in the light of contributions which might be anticipated. The importance of appeals to private sources was emphasized. The representative of the United Kingdom urged that the best use be made of available funds by abandoning projects which were not absolutely necessary, and by streamlining programmes wherever possible. She called on the voluntary agencies to help the High Commissioner is this respect.
83. In paragraph 33 of document A/AC.79/91, it was stated that for a large number of households benefiting from UNREF housing projects in Austria, it would probably be necessary to convert loans into grants or at least to make provision for a moratorium of several years. The Executive Committee decided to leave this matter to the High Commissioner's discretion.
84. The Executive Committee also decided, in accordance with the suggestion contained in paragraph 113 of the same document, that it would be appropriate for the Standing Programme Sub-Committee to authorize the High Commissioner, upon his request in writing, to make such variations in approved projects for Germany as might be found necessary to achieve the dissolution of all camps intended to be closed under the 1958 programme, through the provision of any effective permanent solution for the 8,981 refugees concerned.
85. The representative of the Federal Republic of Germany stated that the influx of German refugees and the return of other persons of German nationality was still continuing and there were 400,000 Germans in camps. Great efforts were, however, being made to assist foreign refugees and, in particular, to co-operate in the camp closure programme.
86. In paragraph 8 of addendum 2 to document A/AC.79/91, the High Commissioner requested the authorization of the Executive Committee to conclude agreements only for part of a given project, whenever such a procedure was compatible with the nature of the project and was likely to speed up the implementation of the next projects in order of priority. This request was approved by the Executive Committee, subject to the limitation that this should only be done in cases where the High Commissioner had assurances that sufficient funds would be forthcoming in time to avoid projects being left uncompleted.
87. The Executive Committee approved the projects submitted to it in part II of the Revised Plan of Operations (1958), subject to remarks made during the course of the discussion. The Committee also adopted the order of priorities given in part III of the Revised Plan of Operations (1958).
88. The Executive Committee had before it addendum 2 to document A/AC.79/46 proposing changes to certain projects within the Revised Plan of Operations (1957). These proposals were approved by the Committee.
89. The Executive Committee also approved an amendment to project PS/15/ITA and PS/16/ITA put forward by the High Commissioner mainly to the effect that the committee to be established to make decisions on the most appropriate solution for each individual case, and which was originally provided for under project ES/16/ITA, would now be set up under project PS/15/ITA.
90. The Committee also considered addenda Nos. 6 and 7 to document A/AC.79/21 proposing changes in certain projects in the Revised Plan of Operations (1956). These changes were approved by the Executive Committee.
91. During the course of the discussion, several representatives expressed their interest in the possibility of an organized visit to UNREF projects. The High Commissioner suggested that such a visit might be arranged before the next session of the Executive Committee in June 1958.
RESOLUTION ON THE FINAL ESTABLISHMENT OF REFUGEES
92. The Committee considered a draft resolution on the final establishment of refugees, submitted by the representatives of Belgium, France and Italy. Introducing this draft resolution, the representative of Italy stated that, while absolute priority must be given to the camp closure programme, efforts must also be made to prevent the formation of a new camp problem. His country was granting asylum to increasing numbers of refugees without making a selection based on economic principles; it was desirable that countries of immigration should accept refugees in a similar manner. The representative of Austria also gave figures for new refugees arriving in his country. The representative of Switzerland explained the reasons of principle for which his delegation supported the draft resolution.
93. Various amendments were proposed by the representative of the Holy See, who was thanked by several representatives for his efforts to reconcile differing viewpoints. The representatives of Canada and Austria, while prepared to support the resolution as amended, expressed their disappointment that such a measure had been proposed to the Executive Committee. The representative of the United States stated that the resolution was in accordance with the point of view expressed in the message addressed to Congress by the President of the United States on 31 January 1957, which had found a partial response in recently-enacted legislation.
94. The Executive Committee adopted resolution No. 8, in which it expressed the hope that all countries able to admit refugees would do their utmost to help in achieving a rapid solution of the refugee problem, particularly as regarded refugees accommodated in camps, and that they would consider the possibility of facilitating the admission of refugees from countries of first asylum and their final re-establishment with the briefest possible delay. The text of the resolution is given in appendix III to this report.
V. ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCE
AMENDMENT TO FINANCIAL RULES FOR VOLUNTARY FUNDS GOVERNING THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE UNREF PROGRAMME
95. In accordance with proposal contained in document A/Ac.79/89, the Executive Committee agreed that the term "Shanghai Operation", which it had amended to "Hong Kong Operation" at its fifth session, should be further amended to "Far Eastern Operation".
PROVISIONAL FINANCIAL STATEMENTS OF THE UNITED NATIONS REFUGEE FUND FOR THE PERIOD 1 JANUARY TO 30 NOVEMBER 1957
96. The Executive Committee took note of document A/AC/79/98 containing the provisional financial statements of UNREF as of 30 November 1957.
PLAN OF ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENDITURE FOR 1958
97. The Committee considered document A/AC.79/93, in which was proposed a plan of administrative expenditure for 1958, in the amount of $442.000. In addendum 1 to this document, a supplementary budget of $39,625 was proposed to enable the High Commissioner to increase the fund-raising activities of his Office. It was proposed to finance the administrative expenditure in the amount of $137,150 from funds contributed for assistance to Hungarian refugees.
98. In reply to a question, the High Commissioner explained that the choice of methods for fund-raising would be made in consultation with the Government of the country concerned. He stressed the importance of public information activities which were necessary for all types of appeal, and he wished to thank Her Serene Highness Princess Grace of Monaco for the part she had played in a recent broadcast appeal. A national campaign was under way in Scotland; others were being planned in Australia, Canada, and several other countries.
99. The Executive Committee adopted the plan of administrative expenditure as proposed in documents A/AC.79/93 and Add.1.
PROCEDURE FOR APPROVAL OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENDITURE FOR THE HIGH COMMISSIONER'S PROGRAMME IN 1959
100. The Executive Committee was informed in document A/AC.79/94 of a proposal made by the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions that all administrative expenditure relating to the activities of the High Commissioner's Office should be covered by a single budget. This procedure would apply to administrative expenditure in 1959, when the UNREF Executive Committee would have been replaced, under the provisions of General Assembly resolution 1166 (XII), by an Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme. That part of the consolidated budget for 1959 estimated to correspond to the cost of administering voluntary funds would be met by a grant from such voluntary funds, subject to an appropriate decision by the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme. A consolidated budget for 1959 would be submitted for information to the UNREF Executive Committee at its eighth session, together with a recommendation concerning the size of the grant to be made from voluntary funds.
101. While supporting the proposal, the representative of Canada hoped that an indication would be provided, as far as possible, of the extent to which the various items of expenditure related to the various functions of the High Commissioner's Office.
102. The Executive Committee agreed to the proposed procedure for approval of the administrative expenditure for the High Commissioner's programme in 1959 contained in document A/AC.79/94.
REPORT ON THE REIMBURSEMENT OF LOANS
103. The Committee had before it document A/AC. 79/96 in which was given an analysis of UNREF contributions paid or obligated in the form of loans up to 31 October 1957. The sum to be paid back each year form 1959 or 1960 onwards was estimated at between $50,000 and $75,000.
104. The Executive Committee took note of the report on repayment of UNREF loans and decided, in accordance with the suggestions in paragraphs 19 and 23 of the document, that sums repaid on loans granted under the UNREF programme and other programmes should be transferred as of 1 January 1958 to the emergency fund established in resolution 1958 to the emergency fund established in resolution 1166 (XII) of the General Assembly.
VI. THE PROBLEM OF REFUGEE SEAMEN
105. The Executive Committee considered the problem of refugee seamen which was submitted to it for consideration in its advisory capacity in conference room document No. 9. This document reported on the conclusion of an Agreement relating to Refugee Seamen at The Hague on 23 November 1957.
106. In introducing this item, the High Commissioner paid tribute to the Government of the Netherlands for its action in taking the initiative for the conclusion of that Agreement. He hoped that Governments which had participated in drawing up the Agreement would ratify it in the near future. Even then the problem would not be completely solved. One difficulty arose from the fact that not all the refugee seamen had ties with these Governments. The second difficulty was that the refugee seamen could not easily be reached, and he hoped that the International Labour Organisation would be able to assist in this matter through the employers and workers organizations. Finally, the position of those refugee seamen who did not fulfil the conditions of the Agreement would have to be regularized. Steps in this direction might be taken in co-operation with the ILO which, at the next (Maritime) Session of the International Labour Conference, would consider a Convention concerning a Seafarers' National Identity Document.
107. The representative of the Netherlands described the Agreement as offering a minimum standard; he hoped that, in practice, Governments would be able to offer additional benefits to refugee seamen. He thanked the High Commissioner and his observer at the recent conference, as well as the representative of the International Labour Organisation, for their valuable contribution to the work that had been accomplished.
108. The representative of Belgium stated that his Government had already taken the necessary steps to apply the provisions of this Agreement, and he congratulated the Government of the Netherlands on the initiative it had taken in the drawing up of the Agreement. The representative of Norway welcomed the proposals of the High Commissioner.
109. The Executive Committee expressed its satisfaction at learning that an Agreement relating to Refugee Seamen had been adopted, and commended the Government of the Netherlands for its initiative in this matter. It also paid tribute to the International Labour Organisation for its co-operation in reaching a solution to the problem.
110. The Committee expressed the hope that as many Governments as possible would accede to the Agreement, and welcomed the High Commissioner's proposal that his Office should do everything possible to facilitate the implementation of the Agreement and to encourage further accessions, and should pursue its efforts to bring the problem to a satisfactory conclusion.
VII. CLOSURE OF THE SESSION
111. The Executive Committee agreed to a proposal that its eighth session should be held from 2 to 6 June 1958, and should not be preceded by a session of the Standing Programme Sub-Committee.
(Note: Statistical and financial tables not included in this online version. See your nearest UN Depository Library.)
APPENDIX II RESOLUTION (No.7) ON THE FAR EASTERN OPERATION (adopted at the 49th meeting on 15 January 1958)
The UNREF Executive Committee,
Having considered document A/AC.79/91/Add.1, submitted by the High Commissioner, describing the serious financial difficulties confronting the joint UNHCR/ICEM Far Eastern Operation as the result of the exhaustion of the residual International refugee Organization funds hitherto available for this purpose,
Recognizing the need to continue to provide international assistance for refugees of European origin in the Far East, Considering that, although the need for emergency aid and care and maintenance from UNREF funds will continue, the most appropriate means of assisting these refugees is to enable their resettlement to be effected in other countries as speedily as possible,
1. Authorizes the High Commissioner to appeal to governments for special contributions to enable the Far Eastern Operation to continue, after proper consultation with the Director of ICEM;
2. Authorizes the High Commissioner to use such contributions as may be received for this purpose to provide appropriate permanent solutions for these refugees.
APPENDIX III RESOLUTION (No. 8) ON THE FINAL ESTABLISHMENT OF REFUGEES (adopted at the 50th meeting on 15 January 1958)
The UNREF Executive Committee,
Desirous of enabling refugees to resume a free working life without delay,
Mindful of the physically and spiritually debilitating effects of their long stay in camps and of the consequent very heavy burden on the countries that have granted them asylum,
Convinced of the fundamentally humanitarian nature of the problem, which can only be properly solved by an effort at international co-operation and, in particular, by the admission of adequate quotas of refugees into countries able to receive them,
Noting that restrictions on the admission of refugees are in many cases one of the main obstacles to their rapid re-establishment in final resettlement countries,
Considering that rules designed for the current admission of aliens to a given country often prove ill-suited to the special position of persons who have been received as refugees in counties of first asylum without any other discrimination than that arising out of the determination of their status as refugees,
Commending countries which, particularly by adapting their systems, have already made an effort to receive a large number of refugees in their territories,
Expresses the hope that in the spirit of Article 8, paragraph (d), of the Statute of the Office of the High Commissioner all countries able to admit refugees will do their utmost to help achieve a rapid solution of the refugee problem particularly as regards refugees accommodated in camps, and that they will consider the possibility of facilitating the admission of refugees temporarily admitted into countries of first asylum, in order that they may be finally re-established with the briefest possible delay.
ANNEX III REPORT ON THE EIGHTH SESSION OF THE UNREF EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE2 (Geneva, 2-6 June 1958)
OPENING OF THE SESSION AND ELECTION OF OFFICERS
1. The UNREF Executive Committee held its eighth session from 2 to 6 June 1958 at the Palais des Nations, Geneva. All the Governments members of the Executive Committee were represented, as follows;
|Denmark||United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland|
|Germany||Federal Republic of United States of America|
2. The Governments of China, Sweden, the United Arab Republic and Yugoslavia, were represented by observers, as was the Sovereign Order of Malta.
3. The International Labour Office, the Council of Europe, the Inter-governmental Committee for European Migration and the League of Arab States were also represented by observers.
The International Labour Office, the Council of Europe, the Inter-governmental Committee for European Migration and the League of Arab States were also represented by observers.
4. The session was opened by Dame May Curwen, D. B. E. (United Kingdom), chairman of the seventh session of the Executive Committee.
5. The Committee elected the following officers;
|Chairman||Dame May Curwen D. B. E. (United Kingdom)|
|Vice-Chairman||Mr. B. Theodoropoulos (Greece)|
|Rapporteur||Mr. Ch. E. Bourbonnière (Canada)|
6. Mr. P. P. Spinelli (Director of the European Office of the United Nations) welcomed the representatives on behalf of the Secretary-General. He expressed the hope that, through co-operation between Governments, voluntary agencies and the High Commissioner's Office, solutions would be found for the refugee problems to be considered by the Committee.
ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA
7. The Committee decided to adopt the following agenda on the understanding that, under item 17 "Any other business", a discussion might take place on Economic and Social Council resolution 672 (XXV) establishing the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's programme.
(1) Election of officers;
(2) Adoption of the agenda (A/AC.79/106/Rev.1);
(3) Further report on the problem of Hungarian Refugees (A/AC.79/107);
(4) UNREF progress report as of 31 March 1958 (A/AC.79/108 and Add.1 and 2);
(5) Addendum No.3 to Revised Plan of Operations (1957) and addendum Mo. 4 to Revised Plan of Operations (1958) (A/AC.79/46/Add.3 and A/AC.79/91/Add.4);
(6) Report on the Far Eastern Operation (A/AC.79/110 and Add.1);
(7) Final report on a Survey of Non-settled Refugee Population in Various Countries (A/AC.79/111, A/AC.79/111/Add.1 and A/AC.79/111/Annex);
(8) Note on a survey of difficult cases living outside official camps in Austria (A/AC.79/112);
(9) Report on a survey of difficult cases living in camps in Germany (A/AC.79/113);
(10) Programme for camp clearance (A/AC.79/114);
(11) Note on the problem of international assistance to non-settled refugees after termination of the UNREF Programme (A/AC.79/115);
(12) Financial statements of the United Nations Refugee Fund for the year 1957 and report of the Board of Auditors thereon (A/AC.79/116 and Add.1);
(13) Provisional financial statements of the United Nations Refuge Fund January-April 1958 (A/AC.79/117);
(14) Status of governmental and private contributions to UNREF and fund raising activities (A/AC.79/109);
(15) Administrative expenditure (A/AC.79/93/Add.2 and A/AC.79/119);
(16) Directives for use of the Emergency Fund established under General Assembly resolution 1166 (XII)(A/AC.79/120);
(17) Any other business.
STATEMENT BY THE HIGH COMMISSIONER
8. The High Commissioner in his introductory statement (A/AC.79/118) analysed the work of the Office and the main problem facing the Committee. In the field of international protection, the basic function of the Office, constant measures were being taken in order to improve the legal position of refugees. It was hoped that two further countries would shortly ratify the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, to which twenty-two States had already acceded. He informed the Committee that a new procedure for the determination of eligibility had been established in Austria. The High Commissioner stressed the particular importance for refugees to obtain the right to work and to have the possibility of naturalization, both of which were essential for their successful integration.
9. In this connexion, the present economic recession had already made itself felt and, as a result, the resettlement of effected by ICEM in conjunction with his Office was encountering greater difficulties. To overcome these, further efforts would be required.
10. It had been his policy fully to concentrate on a refugee problem as soon as it arose in order to solve it in a minimum period of time. This policy had borne fruit in Yugoslavia. By 27 January 1958, permanent solutions had been found for all Hungarian refugees in that country through co-operation between Governments, the USEP administration, ICEM, the voluntary agencies and his Office, and no residual group had been left behind in that country. Resettlement opportunities were still required for approximately 9,000 Hungarian refugees wishing to emigrate from Austria, and he hoped that Governments would give a favourable response to the joint appeal which he had addressed to them in conjunction with the Director of ICEM to this effect. He was grateful to the Governments of Belgium and Sweden for the assistance they had already given. It was to be hoped that the problem of some 1,000 Hungarian refugees who had been generously admitted to Italy on a temporary basis would be solved in the same manner.
11. As regards the Hungarian refugees who would have to be integrated in Austria, the High Commissioner announced that the amount paid or obligated under the $3,500,000 permanent solutions programme had increased from some $300,000 on 1 December 1957 to over $2,000,000 on 30 April 1958.
12. The Far Eastern Operation was facing a critical shortage of funds for both transportation and care and maintenance. The High Commissioner considered it essential that a definite ceiling be fixed for care and maintenance expenditure and that, through the availability of funds for transportation, the whole operation should be put back on a firm, long-range basis.
13. The Survey of the non-settled refugee population conducted by Prof. Idenburg had thrown new light on the social and economic position of refugees in camps, had clarified the concept of non-settled refugees outside camps and shown the extent of his problem. The Survey had also demonstrated the necessity for an individual registration of refugees to benefit from programmes of assistance. The problem of non-settled refugees outside camps concerned some 95,000 persons, including 32,500 refugees in households affected by physical, social or economic handicaps.
14. The financial status of UNREF showed that as of 15 May 1958, governmental contributions in an amount of some $6,735,363 was required, as against over $7,500,000 at the beginning of the year, to cover the Revised Plan of Operations (1958) and the intensification of the UNREF programme. By 30 April 1958, the value of projects completed or under implementation had reached almost $10,500,000, while supporting contributions from within the countries of implementation amounted to about $16,000,000. By 31 March 1958, some 22,000 refugees had been firmly settled under the UNREF programme. The detailed figures before the Committee showed satisfactory progress in the efforts to settle refugees from camps.
15. The High Commissioner drew the attention of the Committee to the action which would be required in order to meet the request of the General Assembly for an intensification of the UNREF programme. In this connexion he had submitted to the Committee for consideration a tentative programme for camp clearance, which would have to be completed by the end of 1960. He would further seek the Committee's advice on further international assistance to non-settled refugees outside camps. In a report concerning future international assistance, an analysis had been given of groups of refugees which might qualify for such assistance and advice was required from the Committee, particularly on the groups to be assisted and on the financial target or targets that should be set. He was asking for the Committee's guidance on these targets since a financial target would only be realistic if it were supported by the contributing Governments.
OTHER GENERAL STATEMENTS
16. The Chairman reported on a visit made by delegations from Governments members of the UNREF Executive Committee to camps and UNREF projects in Austria and Germany. She referred to the impressive progress made in Austria since the last similar tour, and in particular to the remarkable co-operation which existed between federal and local authorities, voluntary agencies and the High Commissioner's Office. The delegations had visited refugee camps and seen UNREF housing going up alongside. They had also inspected an old people's home, a rehabilitation centre, and projects for Hungarian refugees, as well as the ICEM registration centre at Salzburg.
17. In Germany, they had been particularly impressed by rehabilitation projects for handicapped refugees. They had learnt how refugees from camps would be provided with new housing by the German authorities under the "Kasernenraumung" programme, but they were concerned as to whether all the refugees would be able to pay the relatively high rents involved.
18. The visit had been both interesting and encouraging and they were most grateful to the Austrian and German authorities for the kindness and hospitality which they had displayed.
19. Further details of the Chairman's report may be found in the summary record of the fifty-fifth meeting.
20. The representative of Australia reported to the Committee that, following the High Commissioner's recent visit to his country, the Immigration Advisory Council had recommended, and the Minister for Immigration had agreed in principle, to admit a number of refugee families in the difficult-to-resettle category.
21. Dr. E. Chandler, Chairman of the Standing Conference of Voluntary Agencies Working for Refugees, stated that the Conference was about to celebrate its tenth anniversary. The period of its existence had been marked by growing understanding and co-operation among the voluntary agencies and with the Office of the High Commissioner. The Hungarian refugee problem had for some time been "almost" on the point of solution. He hoped that Governments could make the necessary final effort to bring it to an end. Further financial contributions were urgently needed for the Far Eastern Operation, the one instance in which resettlement opportunities were available for a large number of refugees but could not be made use of owing to lack of funds for transportation. He paid tribute to the outstanding part already played by Australia and Brazil in accepting European refugees in the Far East, and pointed out that no refugee group had a better record for integration in these countries. He also wished to appeal for joint efforts to solve the problems of refugees still in camps.
22. Dr. Stark, representing the International Catholic Migration Commissioner, pointed out that the European refugees in China had lost all their possessions twice in the last forty years. The difficult cases in this group should be given special consideration. He was pleased to learn that the General Assembly had recognized the problem of Chinese refugees in Hong Kong as being of concern to the international community. There were 175,000 children between the ages of five and fourteen among these refugees, and education facilities were urgently needed.
II. FURTHER REPORT ON THE PROBLEM OF HUNGARIAN REFUGEES
23. The UNREF Executive Committee had before it document A/AC.79/107, in which the High Commissioner submitted a further report on the development of the Hungarian refugee problem in Austria and on the implementation of long-term and permanent solutions projects for Hungarian refugees in that country.
24. Several representatives expressed their satisfaction at the rapid progress that had been made towards solving the Hungarian refugee problem. Thanks were expressed in particular to the Governments of Austria and Yugoslavia for their efforts on behalf of these refugees. A number of delegations drew attention to the supplementary problem of Hungarian refugees in countries of second asylum, and particularly in Italy, who were still awaiting further resettlement.
25. The High Commissioner pointed out that priority should be given to Hungarian refugees who were in immediate need of resettlement opportunities, especially those who were still waiting in camps. Refugees who had found satisfactory employment and accommodation in their country of residence, but wished to move on to another country, might be considered at a later stage. His Office had made considerable efforts to provide legal protection for Hungarian refugees in countries of second asylum. In particular, Governments had been informed of the importance of instituting a proper legal procedure to decide on the future of unaccompanied minors in accordance with the freely expressed wish of the parents and the best interest of the individual child.
26. The representative of Austria stated that arrangements had been made for all employable Hungarian refugees in his country to be registered with the Labour Offices, including refugees wishing to emigrate. Hungarian refugees in possession of employment and accommodation and wishing to remain in Austria would be given Austrian citizenship.
27. The observer for Yugoslavia drew attention to the fact that his Government was still faced with a deficit of some $6,600,000 on its expenditure for Hungarian refugees. He hoped that a solution to this problem would be found.
28. The representative of the United States emphasized that the figure of 8,000-9,000 Hungarian refugees wishing to emigrate from Austria might be subject to fluctuation. The results of a USEP registration of over 15,000 Hungarian refugees in Austria suggested that the figure for emigration might be higher. A Bill to regularize the status of Hungarian refugees admitted to the United States on parole had been approved by the United States House of Representatives and was now before the Senate. It had been decided in January 1958 that Hungarian refugees would be admitted to the United States from various countries under section 15 of the recently enacted public law 85316. While the movement of refugees had so far been slow the United States authorities in Washington were currently processing 500 cases per week, covering all refugees authorized under its law.
29. The representative of the Holy See appealed to Governments and voluntary agencies to enable young Hungarian refugees, particularly in countries of second asylum, to continue their interrupted education and find employment in accordance with the training they had been given. The High Commissioner agreed on the importance of continuing educational programmes. The observer for the Sovereign Order of Malta announced that his Order would contribute $1,000 for this purpose.
30. The Executive Committee took note of the "Further Report on the Problem of Hungarian Refugees".
III. FAR EASTERN OPERATION
31. The Committee had before it a "Report on the Far Eastern Operation" (A/AC.79/110), from which it emerged that further funds amounting to approximately $140,000 would be required, even in the most favourable circumstances, to pay for care and maintenance in Hong Kong during the rest of 1958. It was also proposed in the report that as from 1959, the settlement of difficult cases among the European refugees in China should be included in the Far Eastern Operation instead of forming part of an over-all difficult cases programme. A tentative target of $943,000 was proposed for the UNHCR contribution to the Far Eastern Operation in 1959. This figure included $600,000 for placement grants for 500 difficult cases out of a total number to be settled estimated at 1,000. Estimates were also given of the expenditures that would be involved if the Far Eastern Operation were to be completed by the end of 1960.
32. Mr. Daly, Director of the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration, emphasized the importance attached by his organization to the Far Eastern Operation which UNHCR and ICEM had taken over after the termination of the International Refugee Organization. It had been hoped that about 3,500 refugees would be moved during 1958. By the end of 30 June, however, only 1,300 would have left Hong Kong and the available funds would then be exhausted. Immigration opportunities were available for the 2,200 further refugees who should be moved and only the money for transportation was required.
33. Mr. Duncan Wood, speaking on behalf of the Friends World Committee for Consultation, referred to a visit to China made by himself and other members of his organization in October 1955. At the request of the late High Commissioner and of numerous interested bodies, the problem of European refugees in China had been discussed with the authorities of the Chinese People's Republic at the highest level. Representations had been made that members of this group of refugees should be given greater opportunities to leave China for resettlement in other countries. Such opportunities had now been made available, whether as a result of these representations or otherwise. He feared that it would be both embarrassing and humiliating if interested Governments failed to contribute sufficient funds to move the refugees to their countries of resettlement.
34. In the course of the general discussion, a number of delegations stressed the considerable importance which their Governments attached to the Far Eastern Operation. Several representatives expressed the wish that every effort be made to achieve an over-all solution for this problem.
35. It was emphasized that the care and maintenance programme only achieved its purpose when there was a rapid turnover among the refugees in transit. This, in turn, depended on rapid movement out of Hong Kong. Ideally, all the European refugees in China wishing to emigrate should be moved out in 1958. This would not only meet the wishes of the refugees but would also result in considerable economies, particularly in care and maintenance and in the administrative costs of the Hong Kong Office. The representative of Canada, on the other hand, pointed out that it would be inadvisable to set an unrealistic financial target. Even plans to complete the Operation by the end of 1960 might involve setting annual targets beyond the available possibilities. It was suggested, however, that future appeals by the High Commissioner and the Director of ICEM should show the over-all position and quote the total funds necessary to bring the Operation to a successful end.
36. In answer to a question, the representative of the United Kingdom explained that transit visas for entry into Hong Kong were issued by his Government's Embassy in Peking. There was frequently an interval of several months between the issuance of a visa and the arrival of the refugee in Hong Kong. During the early months of 1958, it had therefore been impossible to control the numbers reaching Hong Kong since they included refugees who had received visas the previous year. His Government was, however, very concerned to reduce the number of refugees in transit in Hong Kong as much as possible and had therefore suspended the issuance of visas in mid-March 1958. No further visas would be made available until the number in transit in Hong Kong had been reduced below 250 and until funds were available for transportation. The Director of ICEM stated that the case-load was expected to be down to 250 by the end of June. The representative of the United Kingdom, after referring to his Government's contribution of $70,000 to ICEM for transportation, appealed to other Governments to contribute
37. Mr. E. Rees, representing the World Council of Churches, expressed the gratitude of his organization for all that was being done for European refugees in the Far East. While he could see no alternative to the present policy of suspending the issuance of visas for entry into Hong Kong, it was nevertheless to be regretted that such an action was necessary since it represented, in his view, a withholding for purely financial reasons of the right of asylum. The representative of the United Kingdom disagreed with this opinion, and pointed out that what was involved was not the right of asylum, but the right of transit in the course of an organized resettlement operation. The representative of Italy announced that his Government would accept forty difficult cases from China, to be placed in a new home established by the World Council of Churches.
38. The representative of the United States announced that, since the previous contribution of his Government amounting to $450,000 had now been almost fully matched, the United States was making a further contribution of $360,000 to ICEM for the Far Eastern Operation. This would be on a 45 per cent matching basis, and he hoped that other Governments would contribute in the near future so that funds from his Government's contribution could be fully released. The representative of Switzerland announced that his Government would shortly contribute Sw. frs. 75,000 to UNHCR for care and maintenance in Hong Kong and Sw.frs.150,000 to ICEM for transportation. The representative of Italy informed the Committee that his Government had decided to make a contribution of $15,000 to ICEM for transportation, and the observer for the Sovereign Order of Malta announced a contribution of $1,000 for the same purpose. The representative of Australia stated that his Government was considering the possibility of a further contribution to ICEM.
39. As proposed in paragraph 11 of document A/AC.79/110 and previously submitted to members of the Committee in writing, the UNREF Executive Committee approved a change in the terms of reference of parts (a) and (b) of project PS/5/RES/VAR, thus enabling the project to cover the resettlement of " Old Believers" from Hong Kong.
40. The Committee authorized the High Commissioner to spend a further sum not exceeding $140,000 for care and maintenance in Hong Kong up to the end of 1958. It authorized him to spend up to $50,000 for care and maintenance in 1959, pending the availability of contributions for the Far Eastern Operation in that year. The necessary sum would be taken from funds at his disposal and not subject to an incompatible restriction.
41. The Committee approved the principle of including the settlement of difficult cases from the Far East in the Far Eastern Operation itself rather than in a global programme for difficult cases. The Committee referred the question of the long-term target, including the 1959 target, for the Far Eastern Operation for consideration by the Working Party established under resolution No.9.
42. The Committee also approved the measures proposed in document A/AC.79/110/Add.1, to enable the sum of $20,000, which had previously been allocated to project PS/3/BEL, to be paid immediately to ICEM for transportation from the Far East in accordance with the wishes of the Belgian Government. The Committee expressed its appreciation to the Government of Belgium for this gesture.
IV. PROGRAMME OF THE UNITED NATIONS REFUGEE FUND
UNREF PROGRESS REPORT AS OF 31 MARCH 1958
43. The Committee had before it the UNREF progress report (A/AC.79/108 and Add.1 and 2) which showed, in particular, that 22,039 refugees, including 7,123 from camps, had been firmly settled by 31 March 1958, an increase of 5,159 over the previous report. A further 12,864 refugees, including 6,974 from camps, had benefited from the programme without being firmly settled.
44. The High Commissioner stated that the proportion of firmly settled refugees from camps, which had been 40 per cent during the period since the last report, was expected to increase as implementation proceeded on projects designed specifically for the camp population.
45. The Committee expressed its appreciation of the progress made in the implementation of the programme and also signified its approval of the form in which the report had been presented. It agreed that, in order to make the report available at an earlier date for future sessions, the introduction and text, or the introduction alone, should be circulated before the statistical annex, if this proved possible.
46. The representative of the Federal Republic of Germany explained that, under the "Kasernenraumung" programme, his Government was closing a certain number of refugee camps and would build dwelling units for the refugee inmates Since the rents for these dwellings were likely to be higher than some refugees could afford, rent subsidies might be required from the United Nations Refugee Fund.
47. The representative of the Holy See expressed his satisfaction that the report included a reference to the situation of refugees who lived outside camps in conditions sometimes worse than those in the camps. This problem would have to be taken into account when drawing up future programmes.
48. In reply to a query about the unusually high proportion of naturalized ethnic German refugees who had benefited from projects under the 1957 programme in Austria, the High Commissioner pointed out that there had been a rush among this group to take advantage of UNREF projects before the dateline of 30 June 1957 had been passed. After that date no naturalized refugees could be included in UNREF projects and the beneficiaries of the 1958 programme would therefore show a different distribution. They would still, however, include ethnic German refugees, who outnumbered foreign refugees in the Austrian camps including those listed for clearance.
49. The representative of Italy referred to the continuing influx of new refugees into his country and to the high expenditure consequently incurred by his Government. He pointed out the necessity for continued resettlement. The representative of Australia explained that his Government would continue to help as far as it could and that about 50 per cent of the refugees who had left Italy in 1957 had gone to Australia.
50. The Committee then considered problems connected with the settlement of difficult cases in institutions in Austria. The Committee was aware that reluctance to enter institutions had been encountered among the refugees because they did not wish to change their way of life or were apprehensive as to the kind of establishment they would enter. The Committee agreed that the Office of the High Commissioner should continue, through intensive counselling in full co-operation with the voluntary agencies, to encourage difficult cases to enter these institutions and to make clear to them that they could not be allowed to remain in camps.
51. In the Course of the proceedings, information of a more detailed nature was given by representatives and by the Office of the High Commissioner, an account of which may be found in the summary record of the fifty-sixth meeting. The Committee took note of the progress report.
ADDENDUM No. 3 TO REVISED PLAN OF OPERATIONS (1957) AND ADDENDUM No.4 TO REVISED PLAN OF OPERATIONS (1958)
52. The Committee approved document A/AC.79/46/Add.3 proposing changes in certain projects in the Revised Plan of Operations (1957) without requesting any further contribution from UNREF.
53. The Committee then considered document A/AC.79/91/Add.4, in which the High Commissioner submitted new projects for a total value of $621,681 within the existing allocation for the Revised Plan of Operations (1958), and recommended a revised list of priorities for projects in this Plan of Operations.
54. In answer to a question, the High Commissioner explained that UNREF housing loans would only be converted into grants, as suggested in paragraph 18 of the document, in exceptional cases and as a last resort. As a general rule, a moratorium on repayment of the loan would be given in hardship cases.
55. The new list of priorities submitted to the Committee had to be further modified so as to include the projects for the Far Eastern operation which had been authorized at a previous meeting. The representative of France pointed out that the inclusion of these new projects with a high priority would endanger the implementation of project PS/15/FRA, which was item 45 on the revised list. It was agreed that this matter would be taken up by the French delegation with the Office of UNHCR in order to see whether a remedy could be found.
56. The Executive Committee approved the projects submitted to it in part I of the document, and adopted the revised list of priorities in part II as subsequently amended. The priority list is attached to this report as appendix I.
V. FUTURE PROGRAMMES
ESTABLISHMENT OF A WORKING PARTY
57. In the course of the session, the Committee was called upon to consider a Programme for Camp Clearance and a note on the problem of international assistance to non-settled refugees after termination of the UNREF Programme submitted by the High Commissioner.
58. Members of the Committee felt it would be impossible to take immediate decisions on programmes to be carried out by the High Commissioner's Office after termination of the UNREF programme on 31 December 1958. The Committee therefore unanimously adopted resolution No. 9 under which it established a Working Party consisting of the following nine Governments members of the UNREF Executive Committee; Australia, Brazil, Denmark, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Iran, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States. The Working Party was requested to make proposals on the action that should be taken by the UNREF Executive Committee under resolution 1166 (XII), particularly so far as concerned specific programmes and their financial targets. The Committee also decided to hold a special session not later than 26 September 1958 to consider the proposals of the Working Party. This date was adopted in order that the targets set for future programmes might be available to the General Assembly at its thirteenth session, particularly for the ad hoc Committee of the whole Assembly for the announcement of pledges for the 1959 refugee programmes. The full text of resolution No. 9 is attached to this report as appendix II.
59. It was suggested that members of the Executive Committee not in the Working Party might send to the High Commissioner's Office any views or proposals that they felt should be considered by the Working Party.
FINAL REPORT ON A SURVEY OF THE NON-SETTLED REFUGEE POPULATION IN VARIOUS COUNTRIES
60. The Committee considered the final report submitted by Professor Idenburg on the Survey of the non-settled refugee population in Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy and Turkey carried out under UNREF project PS/1/EUR (A/AC.79/111 and Annex). The Committee also had before it a note on the Survey submitted by the High Commissioner (A/AC.79/111/Add.1).
61. Introducing his report, Professor Idenburg drew attention to the following striking features revealed by the Survey:
(a) The high percentage of non-settled refugees in the total refugee population in Greece (64 per cent), Italy (54 per cent ) and Austria (47 per cent without the new Hungarian refugees, 77 per cent otherwise);
(b) The very high percentage of refugees not eligible for USEP assistance among the non-settled refugees in Greece (96 per cent), France (93 per cent) and Germany (92 per cent);
(c) The surprisingly similar proportion (approximately one third) of handicapped refugees among the non-settled refugee population not eligible for USEP assistance in all six countries;
(d) The high percentage of unemployed refugees in Greece, Italy and Turkey, and, on the other hand, of refugees needing only accommodation in Austria, France and Germany.
62. Professor Idenburg pointed out that the data provided by the Survey could not be kept up date with any degree of accuracy through the employment of ordinary statistical methods. To obtain comparable information in the future it would be necessary either to carry out a new survey or to make a registration of refugees. Only a registration could provide current individual data for operational purposes. A limited registration for refugees in camps was possible and might gradually be extended to other groups if found desirable.
63. The representative of the United States felt that it would be unwise to carry out a similar survey annually. His delegation agreed that a general registration of non-settled refugees was not desirable. A limited registration of refugees in specific categories for whom assistance was contemplated would, however, meet with his delegation's approval. His Government was prepared to make available the sum of $25,000 for the purpose of keeping up to date the results of the Survey.
64. The representative of the United States also pointed out that refugees who had been on the USEP case-load for more than three years had not been deleted from the rolls on 31 June 1958. It was intended to delete only those refugees who consistently and unreasonably turned down resettlement opportunities. He suggested that the Office of the High Commissioner consider taking similar action in respect of refugees within the scope of the UNREF programme.
65. The UNREF Executive Committee expressed its deep gratitude to Professor Idenburg for the speed, care and thought with which the Survey had been carried out and the report prepared. The Committee took note of the "Final Report on the Survey of the Non-Settled Refugee Population in Various Countries" and recognized its value to those working for refugees.
NOTE ON A SURVEY OF DIFFICULT CASES LIVING OUTSIDE OFFICIAL CAMPS IN AUSTRIA
66. The UNREF Executive Committee had before it in document A/AC.79/112 a note analysing the findings of a survey of difficult cases living outside camps in Austria carried out under UNREF project DC/22/AUS. The final report on the survey was not yet available. The survey covered 3,548 refugees, consisting of difficult cases and handicapped refugees with their dependants, and refugee households difficult to (re) settle. Various types of solutions were recommended.
67. It was explained that the survey did not include naturalized refugees, but on the other hand there was no means of knowing whether any of the refugees had applied for naturalization.
68. The Committee took note of the document and decided to refer it to the Working Party.
REPORT ON A SURVEY OF DIFFICULT CASES LIVING IN CAMPS IN GERMANY
69. The Committee considered document A/AC.79/113, Containing a report on a survey carried out by the Hamburg Academy for Public Health on difficult cases living in camps in Germany. The survey had disclosed that in August/September 1957 there were 2,160 difficult cases living in camps with 1,057 dependants, making a total of 3,217 persons. Recommendations were made on solutions for these cases.
70. The Committee took note of the report and decided to refer it to the Working Party.
PROGRAMME FOR CAMP CLEARANCE
71. The Committee also considered a tentative programme for camp clearance (A/AC.79/114) submitted by the High Commissioner in response to the General Assembly's request in resolution 116 (XII) for an intensification of the UNREF Programme. Possible types of solution were outlined for 11,600 refugees living in camps in Austria, Germany, Greece and Italy.
72. The high Commissioner stated that, while the document as a whole might be referred to the Working Party for further consideration, it would be advisable for the UNREF Executive Committee to pronounce at its present session on the question of carrying out a registration of refugees in camps, as recommended by Professor Idenburg in his report on the non-settled refugee population. He explained that the proposed registration would be kept constantly up to date and would utilize all available information and existing mechanical facilities. There would be a limited central staff, including interviewing personnel. The necessary funds, estimated at $100,000 for the total period 1959-1960, would be taken from contributions made for the programme for Camp Clearance or specifically for the registration project.
73. The UNREF Executive Committee approved the use of $100,000 for a registration of refugees living in camps, on the understanding that all existing facilities would be used and that duplication would be avoided. It also noted document A/AC.79/114 and referred it, together with any supplementary material that the High Commissioner might make available, for further study by the Working Party.
NOTE ON THE PROBLEM OF INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE TO NON-SETTLED REFUGEES AFTER TERMINATION OF THE UNREF PROGRAMME
74. The UNREF Executive Committee considered document A/AC.79/115, consisting of a note submitted by the High Commissioner on the problem of international assistance to non-settled refugees after the termination of the UNREF programme on 31 December 1958. The Committee decided to refer this paper to the Working Party.
VI. STATUS OF GOVERNMENTAL AND PRIVATE CONTRIBUTIONS TO UNREF AND CAMP CLEARANCE PROGRAMME AND FUND-RAISING ACTIVITIES
75. The Executive Committee considered document A/AC.79/109 showing the status of contributions paid, pledged or promised for the United Nations Refugee Fund and for the Camp Clearance Programme as of 15 May 1958. The High Commissioner informed the Committee that since that date the amount available for the UNREF programme in 1958 had been increased by a some of $411,420 which the Netherlands Government had generously agreed to transfer to UNREF out of an unallocated contribution for another programme. Taking this transfer into account, an amount of some $6,326,000 was still needed to reach the combined target for the Revised Plan of Operations (1958) and the Camp Clearance Programme. He further informed the Committee that he had appointed one of the members of his staff to organize fundraising in certain countries, and to ascertain the types of project for which funds could most effectively be raised in those countries.
76. The representative of the Federal Republic of Germany announced that the German Parliament had approved for 1958 the same contribution to UNREF as for 1957, but that negotiations were under way for a possible increase in this amount.
77. The Committee noted with appreciation that the Government of Switzerland had made a combined contribution to UNREF and the Camp Clearance Programme of $537,384. The representative of Switzerland stated that, in view of the importance of achieving the clearance of refugee camps, his Government had fully responded to the appeal launched by the High Commissioner under resolution 1166 (XII), and trusted that the example would be followed by many other Governments. The representative of Norway informed the Committee that his Government would ask Parliament for its full share of the Programme for Camp Clearance, if at least a representative group of countries were willing also to increase their contributions. A campaign for refugees was planned by the Norwegian Refugee Council, part of the proceeds of which would go towards the Programme for Camp Clearance.
78. The representative of the United Kingdom announced to the Committee that plans of voluntary bodies were under way in the United Kingdom for instituting a "World Refugee Year". She read out a statement made by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in the House of Commons on this subject.
79. The Committee noted the report of the High Commissioner and recommended that a similar report be submitted at its next session, including an analysis of the supporting contributions made to the UNREF programme in those countries where it was being carried out.
VII. ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCE
FINANCIAL STATEMENTS OF THE UNITED NATIONS REFUGEE FUND FOR THE YEAR 1957 AND REPORT OF THE BOARD OF AUDITORS THEREON
80. The Executive Committee adopted the UNREF financial statements for 1957, contained in document A/AC.79/116 and took note of the report of the Board of Auditors and of the High Commissioner's comments.
PROVISIONAL FINANCIAL STATEMENTS OF THE UNITED NATIONS REFUGEE FUND JANUARY-APRIL 1958
81. The UNREF Executive Committee took note of document A/AC.79/117 in which were given the provisional UNREF financial statements for the period 1 January-30 April 1958.
82. The Committee approved a supplementary expenditure of $38,200 for administrative costs in 1958, as proposed in document A/AC.79/93/Add.2.
83. The Committee agreed with a proposal of the High Commissioner that 55 per cent of the 1958 administrative costs for voluntary funds, or $285,925, should be charged to UNREF, and that 45 per cent or $233,900 should be charged to contributions for Hungarian refugees.
84. The Committee also considered document A/AC.79/119 containing an outline plan of administrative expenditure for 1959. In accordance with the procedure agreed upon by the Executive Committee at its seventh session (document A/AC.79/102, paragraphs 100-102), the plan before the committee covered the total administrative expenditure anticipated for the High Commissioner's Office during 1959. Towards the total estimated expenditure of $1,549,625, it was proposed that $480,000 be contributed out of voluntary funds. In answer to a question, the High Commissioner explained that a number of posts which had been included under the heading "temporary assistance" in 1957 and 1958 were recorded for 1959 as "established posts" in order to meet a recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions.
85. The Executive Committee approved a grant of $480,000 as a payment from voluntary funds to the United Nations towards the cost of the total consolidated budget for UNHCR.
DIRECTIVES FOR USE OF THE EMERGENCY FUND ESTABLISHED UNDER GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION 1166 (XII)
86. The Executive Committee had before it in document A/AC.79/120 some proposed directives for the use of the Emergency Fund established by the General Assembly under resolution 1166 (XII), paragraph 7. It was explained that these directives would enable the High Commissioner to take immediate measures to meet an emergency situation; they were not intended to authorize payments to individual refugees in difficulty.
87. The UNREF Executive Committee approved the directives in paragraphs 7 and 8 of document A/AC.79/120, thus enabling the High Commissioner to give interim financial assistance in an emergency situation pending action by the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme under paragraphs 5 and 6 of resolution 1166(XII).
VIII. OTHER BUSINESS
RESOLUTION ON MEMBERSHIP OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER'S PROGRAMME
88. The UNREF Executive Committee had before it a draft resolution submitted by the delegations of Turkey and the United States. This draft resolution, after noting that the twenty-four States elected by the Economic and Social Council to membership of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme did not provide for membership on the widest possible geographical basis, recommended that the Economic and Social Council consider the desirability of increasing the membership to the full number of twenty-five States authorized by the General Assembly.
89. A number of representatives explained the reasons for which they would support, or abstain from voting on, the resolution. Details of these statements may be found in the summary record of the sixtieth meeting.
90. The draft resolution was adopted by 12 votes, with 8 abstentions, Colombia being absent.
91. The text of this resolution (No. 10) is attached as appendix III.
CHINESE REFUGEES IN HONG KONG
92. The Chairman read out two cables addressed to the High Commissioner, one from the Chairman of the Rennies Mill Refugee Camp Relief Committee and the other from three Chinese refugees representing the group in Hong Kong. Both cables, after referring to resolution 1167 (XII) - adopted by the General Assembly at its twelfth session - went on to appeal for assistance.
93. The High Commissioner reported that, in accordance with the provision of this resolution authorizing him to use his good offices to encourage arrangements for contributions, a letter had been addressed to States Members of the United Nations and of the specialized agencies, as well as to non-governmental organizations. He had also emphasized the plight of these refugees in discussions with governmental representatives. A further letter would shortly be addressed to Governments and voluntary agencies giving details of specific projects for which financial contributions might be given.
94. The representative of the United Kingdom stated that according to a recent estimate the Government of Hong Kong was spending 30-35 per cent of its annual budget, or over $30,000,000 per year, in providing assistance to Chinese refugees. The representative of the United States gave details of a unilateral assistance programme which his Government had been carrying out for six years for Chinese refugees in Hong Kong.
95. The observer for China, after referring to the assistance given by his Government to refugees over the years, quoted details of recent assistance to Chinese refugees in Hong Kong.
(Note: Statistical and financial tables not included in this online version. See your nearest UN Depository Library.)
APPENDIX II RESOLUTION (NO.9) ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A WORKING PARTY TO CONSIDER FUTURE INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE TO REFUGEES (adopted at the 59th meeting, on 5 June 1958, and amended at the 60th meeting, on 6 June 1958)
The UNREF Executive Committee,
Recalling resolution 1166 (XII) in which the General Assembly requested the Executive Committee of the United Nations Refugee Fund to exercise in 1958 such functions incumbent upon the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's programme as it deems necessary, with a view to assuring the continuity of international assistance to refugees,
Having considered the documentation 1 submitted to it by the High Commissioner on intensification of the UNREF programme and future international assistance to refugees within the mandate of the Office of the High Commissioner,
1. Decides to appoint a Working Party composed of the following Governments members of the Committee ; Australia, Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Iran, United Kingdom, United States;
2. Requests the Working Party to draw up specific proposals as to the action that should be taken by the UNREF Executive Committee in order to meet the above-mentioned request of the General Assembly, with particular regard to the specific programmes and their financial targets;
3. Recommends that the Working Party be agreed between the High Commissioner and the members of the Working Party, and that the report of the Working Party be circulated to members of the Committee before 1 September 1958;
4. Decides that a special session of the UNREF Executive Committee shall be held not later than 26 September 1958 to consider the proposals of the Working Party.
APPENDIX III RESOLUTION (NO. 10) ON MEMBERSHIP OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER'S PROGRAMME (adopted at the 60th meeting, on 6 June 1958)
The UNREF Executive Committee,
Recalling that General Assembly resolution 1166 (XII) requested the Economic and Social Council to establish, not later than at its twenty-sixth session, an Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme to consist of representatives of from twenty to twenty-five States Members of the United Nations or members of any of the specialized agencies, to be elected by the Council on the widest possible geographical basis from those States with a demonstrated interest in, and devotion to, the solution of the refugee problem,
Noting that the Economic and Social Council at its twenty-fifth session (resolution 672) decided that the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's programme shall consist of twenty-four States,
Noting further that the twenty-four States elected to membership on the Executive Committee do not provide for membership on the widest possible geographical basis,
Observing that there are other concerned Governments with a demonstrated interest in and devotion to the solution of the refugee problem whose election to the Executive Committee would further fulfil the requirement of the General Assembly for widest possible geographical representation,
Recommends that the Economic and Social Council at its twenty-sixth session consider the desirability of increasing the membership of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's programme from twenty-four States to the twenty-five authorized by the General Assembly.
1 Transmitted to the General Assembly in accordance with paragraph 6 of Economic and Social Council resolution 565 (XIX) of 31 March 1955.
2 Transmitted to the General Assembly in accordance with paragraph 6 of Economic and Social Council resolution 565 (XIX) of 31 march 1955.