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Travel Documents for Refugees

Executive Committee Meetings

Travel Documents for Refugees
No. 13 (XXIX) - 1978

17 October 1978
Executive Committee 29th session. Contained in United Nations General Assembly Document No. 12A (A/33/12/Add.1). Conclusion endorsed by the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme upon the recommendation of the Sub-Committee of the Whole on International Protection of Refugees.

The Executive Committee,

(a) Reaffirmed the importance of the issue of travel documents to refugees for temporary travel outside their country of residence and for resettlement in other countries;

(b) Urged all States parties to the 1951 Convention and/or the 1967 Protocol to issue to all refugees, lawfully staying in their territory and who wish to travel, travel documents as provided for in the 1951 Convention (article 28, schedule and annex);

(c) Recommended that such Convention Travel Documents should have a wide validity, both geographically and in time, and should contain - as provided for in paragraph 13 of the schedule - a return clause with the same period of validity, in the absence of very special circumstances, as that of the travel document itself;

(d) Recommended that in order to avoid unnecessary hardship a refugee requesting an extension of validity or renewal of his Convention Travel Document should not be required to return to the issuing country for that purpose and should be enabled to secure such extension of validity or renewal of the Convention Travel Document, also for periods beyond six months, by or through the diplomatic or consular representatives of the issuing State;

(e) Recommended that, with a view to avoiding divergent interpretations of paragraphs 6 and 11 of the schedule and the resulting hardships to refugees, Contracting States make appropriate arrangements, including the adoption of bilateral or multilateral agreements, concerning the transfer of responsibility for the issue of Convention Travel Documents;

(f) Expressed the hope that bilateral and multilateral arrangements, concluded with a view to facilitating travel by their nationals, e.g. as regards the simplification of visa formalities or the abolition of visa fees, be extended by Contracting States also to refugees lawfully residing in their respective territory;

(g) Expressed the hope that States which are not parties to the 1951 Convention or the 1967 Protocol will issue to refugees lawfully residing in their territory appropriate travel documents under conditions as similar as possible to those attaching to the issue of 1951 Convention Travel Documents;

(h) Expressed appreciation for the Note on Travel Documents for Refugees (EC/SCP/10) submitted by the High Commissioner, was in general agreement with its contents and recommended that, in an appropriate form and together with the above conclusions, it be communicated to Governments by the High Commissioner in support of his efforts to promote the issue of travel documents to refugees in accordance with internationally accepted standards.