Opening Statement by Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, to the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme, sixteenth session, Geneva, 31 October 1966
Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates, may I say how very happy I am to be here in the presence of my Executive Committee once more and to be able to review with you all the developments that have taken place since our last session. Before I describe the refugee situation as I see it, and the developments that have occurred, I would like to extend a very warm welcome to all the distinguished delegates and observers who are here today, and particularly to those who have not until now been with us in Geneva during these meetings. I would like to extend a particular welcome to the Hon. James Wine, the Special Assistant to the Secretary of State for Refugee and Migration Affairs, who is the leader of the United States delegation to this sixteenth session of our Committee. I would also like to welcome His Excellency Minister Galinos, the Minister of Social Welfare of Greece, who is with us today at the head of the Greek delegation. Finally, I would like to extend a very warm welcome to His Excellency Minister Katiti, the Minister of Culture and Community Development of Uganda, who is with us for the first time, leading the delegation of observers from Uganda. Last but not least, with your permission, Mr. Chairman, I would like to say how very happy I am to have the Deputy High Commission for Refugees, Mr. Bender, sitting next to me for the first time here in this Committee. This is a great addition to the team, and I am sure that all of you here will be able to appreciate, as I have, the value of Mr. Bender's presence in the office.
Mr. Chairman, many developments have occurred since the last session of the Executive Committee, the details of which are contained in the documents before you; I will therefore limit myself to the main points, and try to be as brief and precise as possible. Since the last meeting I have been privileged to visit a number of countries interested in the refugee problem and which have given us their help in attempting to solve it. In this connexion I would like to mention the very useful personal contacts I was able to make in countries such as Yugoslavia, the United States, the United Kingdom, and more recently, the Federal Republic of Germany. I would also like to mention the contacts I made during my brief visit to Africa last summer, to which I would like to refer again, and to my visits to Latin America, when I had the pleasure of visiting Brazil and Uruguay; also to my recent visit to Strasbourg to present our fourteenth report to the Council of Europe, and more recently still to my visits to the Scandinavian countries and to the United Kingdom in connexion with this very remarkable campaign to which you referred, Mr. Chairman, and to which I would also like to refer again later. In all these countries I found tremendous understanding for the refugee problem and a great desire on the part of all the officials with whom I was in contact to try and solve the plight of the refugees in the spirit of international understanding and international co-operation. I was greatly encouraged by the appreciation of these countries for the humanitarian and non-political role which UNHCR is playing today, and by the strong moral and political support which these countries reaffirmed on the occasion of my visits.
When I was in Africa, in August, I was able to benefit from long meetings with the three Heads of State of the East African countries: Presidents Kenyatta, Nyerere and Obote who, as you know, are all greatly concerned with the difficulties of the refugees in that part of the African continent. I was much encouraged to note how the strong and generous policy of asylum, which has been repeatedly practised by countries such as Tanzania and Uganda (Kenya having fortunately less of a refugee problem than these two other east African countries) was reiterated during my visits. The Heads of State of these countries repeated their desire to welcome refugees, to welcome uprooted peoples, victims of man's inhumanity to man, as my distinguished predecessor used to say, and expressed appreciation for the type of assistance which UNHCR was able to grant them as a corollary to this generous asylum policy which they intend to continue. There is no doubt that personal contacts with these countries of first asylum in Africa are essential, and that, in the light of the evolution of the historical problems of decolonization which we are facing in Africa today, we shall have to be ready to face new problems in that area. This, added to the fact that since the last session of our Committee some countries in that part of Africa have acceded to independence, means that, in the future, contact will have to be maintained with that part of the continent of Africa.
With your permission, Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates, I would like to refer to a visit to which I attach very great importance, and that is my visit to Khartoum. The members of the Committee will be interested to know that I went to Khartoum, capital of the Sudan, upon the invitation extended to me by the Sudanese Government to discuss, inter alia, the situation of the Sudanese refugees from the southern part of that country in neighbouring areas. This indeed is a very promising development for UNHCR. It shows, I think, that our non-political, humanitarian approach has been appreciated once again, not only by the countries of asylum but also by the countries from where the refugees come. I was most encouraged by the exchanges that took place in Khartoum; by the understanding of the Government for the problems that this Office faces in trying to bring assistance to Sudanese refugees outside the country; by the fact that the Government wholly subscribed to the all-important principle of voluntary repatriation; the fact that refugees should not be returned against their will; the fact also that the Government is trying at the present time to establish conditions in the country which would lead to the voluntary repatriation of those Sudanese nationals at present living in other countries; and the fact that all this is being done in close co-ordination with UNHCR, which is a member of the United Nations family, and, through UNHCR, with other related United Nations agencies that are dealing more specifically with the problems of development and with the problems of social and economic growth.
And now, Mr. Chairman, to turn what remains the most important preoccupation of UNHCR, that of international protection. In Europe we have been witnessing a further normalization of refugee movement which improvement has, I think, followed the liberalization of travel arrangements based on bilateral agreements. This development is very much in line with what we all hope will be a deeper understanding between neighbours in Europe and which, of course, has a very definite bearing on the refugee situation as we see it in the Western European countries of first asylum. I would like to stress the fact that here protection problems remain for old refugees, as well as for new refugees if they should come, and that the Office of the High Commissioner remains in very close touch with regional organizations in general, and with the council of Europe in particular, which as I have said is helping us a great deal in the field of European integration and in other ways, as well as with individual Governments of countries of first asylum where protection problems may arise.
With regard to the all-important question of indemnification of victims of national socialist persecution, in which this Committee and so many delegations have taken so great an interest, I am very glad to inform you that my negotiations with the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany on the establishment of an additional fund for persons persecuted for reasons of nationality have led to an agreement in principle and arrangements will be concluded in the immediate future. There are other problems remaining in connexion with the implementation of the 1960 Agreement on which negotiations between my Office and the German Federal Government will continue with a view to obtaining a speedy settlement of the outstanding claims. But here, Mr. Chairman, I would like to say that I was particularly glad to obtain the assurance on the part of the German federal Government that the establishment of an additional fund would in no way impair the solution of these problems.
I turn now to Africa. It is quite clear that African countries attach increasingly greater importance to the question of refugee status. Until now we have always felt that the problems in Africa were essentially those of material assistance. This is true, but, again during my visits to Africa in August, I was able to see that the problems of status, of protection and of legal assistance are becoming more and more important, and increasingly giving rise to much concern on the part of the host countries. Apart from the Refugee Convention, being drawn up by the Organization of African Unity, which has been discussed already in this Committee and which is still under consideration, there was a meeting of the Asian-African Legal Consultative Committee in Bangkok last August where my Office was represented and which clearly illustrated the growing awareness of legal problems in countries of the Asian/African group. It is clear that these countries are anxious to achieve solutions to the problems of refugees in keeping with their respective positions and with their national interests. This part of the legal framework is a part which is being built up in line with their own concept and spirit after having been dependent for many years on legislation often resulting from the days of colonial administration. Here I am very happy to be able to report to the Committee that these countries remain conscious of and very much attached to the universal character of the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees, which remains the basic refugee charter, and which my Office always promotes. These countries are trying to supplement provisions of the 1951 Convention through regional agreements, particularly with a view to obtaining arrangements and agreements between African States to define their relations generally in respect of problems arising form the presence of refugees. These agreements, of course, should not in any way supplant the 1951 convention. However, the corollary to this is clearly to make the 1951 Convention applicable to new groups of refugees and I will return to this in a moment when I refer to the Protocol, which is well known to the Committee.
I was particularly happy to note that the Asian-African Legal Consultative Committee adopted a number of principles which are very much in line with the international protection role entrusted to UNHCR. These include the principle of the right of asylum, whether temporary or final, the principle of non-expulsion and non-refoulement to countries where refugees might be persecuted, and the principle that the granting of asylum should not be considered an unfriendly act by the country of admission towards the country of origin, and, finally, the principle that activities contrary to principles of the United Nations should be prohibited. This, as you are well aware, is completely in accordance with, and indeed sometimes even stronger than the principles set forth in the 1951 Refugee Convention.
Mr. Chairman, we now come to a new feature in terms of international protection in Africa, and that is the diversification in the categories of refugees, and consequently in the type of assistance to be provided. Indeed, Mr. Chairman, we are faced more and more in Africa with cases of individual or small groups, comprising students, intellectuals and manual workers, living in towns, concentrating, as indeed is the tendency everywhere, in urban areas, whose problems call for the same type of solution as those which have been applied to European refugees for so long. These groups are to be found in particular in Ethiopia, in Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, the United Arab Republic, and Zambia. These refugees on whom we are constantly attempting to get additional data, are in general coming from neighbouring countries except for those coming from the southern part of Africa. Their problems are practically identical with those which affect European refugees. They need residence permits and labour permits, grants and fellowships if they are students, travel documents if they should wish to go abroad, etc. Here I would like to emphasize that in Africa, as indeed in Europe, the return clause of the travel documents are of crucial importance to the refugee, and for the use that he can make of his travel document. Indeed this has raised a number of problems and will continue to raise problems in Africa in the future.
And so, finally, with respect to international protection, Mr. Chairman, we come to the all-important point of the draft Protocol to the 1951 Convention which is now before you, and which has been adjusted to take into account the comments so far received from thirty-three Governments of the fifty-eight Governments members of the Executive Committee or parties to the 1951 Convention. I would like to stress that I very much hope the text of the draft Protocol may be acceptable to all members of the Executive Committee and of the General Assembly of the United Nations so that it might accordingly be opened for signature by the Secretary-General before the end of the year. This is a very important cornerstone in the development of UNHCR's activities, especially in the field of international protection. It would indeed bring the status of refugees in Asia and Africa into line with the treatment of refugees at present covered by the 1951 Convention. All my colleagues and I attach great importance to this in view of the present challenge that we face in Africa and in Asia today, as indeed it could be the only way to make the 1951 Convention a truly universal document.
And so, Mr. Chairman, we turn to material assistance. In Europe the transfer of responsibility to Governments of countries of residence and to national organizations, as outlined to you in the meetings of the fifteenth session of the Executive Committee, is progressing satisfactorily. As you know I felt, and I think my views were shared by a great many members of the Executive Committee, that in the present situation in Western Europe, and because of the increasing challenge that we face outside Europe, it would be necessary to try and seek ways to streamline our operations, and as far as possible to hand over to national bodies the responsibility for the implementation of material assistance. I would like to stress here that this does not mean in any way a reduction of the responsibility of UNHCR, either in the implementation of material assistance, and certainly above all in the field of legal protection which, on the contrary, is being intensified in a great many Western European countries. Within the framework of these planned arrangements for the gradual transfer of responsibility, a number of ad hoc committees working under the aegis of the Governments concerned, and including the UNHCR representative, will administer, among other resources, the UNHCR financial contribution towards the local settlement of refugees. They will receive requests for assistance and decide on the advisability, the nature and importance of the assistance to be provided. Thus, apart from our continuing an intensified action in the field of international protection, we will continue to be in a position to follow very closely the evolution of the problems of assistance in Europe, making our own experience in this field available to the competent authorities. This will be achieved through and extension of the activities of a number of national bodies who in the past have been our long-standing partners and will continue to be so in the future. I would also like to refer here to the very promising results which have been obtained already, and which I was able to see for myself when I was recently in Vienna, through the activities of the Kaier Ebersdorf Fund in Austria, a foundation already engaged in assistance to refugees under the aegis of the Ministry of the Interior. Very positive results have also been achieved in France with the Association pour l'établissement des réfugiés étrangers, and in countries such as Italy with the Administrazione per le Attività Assistenziali Italiane ed Internazionali which has been dealing for a long time and still deals with integration and assistance programmes for refugees in Italy. In Germany we have had a few problems attributable to the federal form of government and institutions. Although it is perhaps more difficult in that country, for reasons of the autonomy of the various governments in the Federal Republic, to achieve a centralized arrangement we have nevertheless been able to conduct negotiations with the main voluntary agencies which, thanks to the very strong and well-established network that exists in Germany, are in a good position to set up machinery to assist refugees. I should like to emphasize again, Mr. Chairman, that the growing transfer does not mean a lack or decrease of UNHCR's concern - on the contrary UNHCR will continue to supervise assistance activities in close contact with governments and voluntary agencies. In the field of counselling, which is a matter also of great interest to the Committee, one of the main functions has been to try and transfer the financial responsibility to some national bodies. Here we have had some very encouraging negotiations and these are being perused.
As far as the current programme is concerned, the concept which was established by my distinguished predecessor is proving effective. The programme has shown its ability to solve problems as and when they arise by providing immediate and adequate assistance which is exactly adapted to the needs of the refugees in the countries where the current programme in being administered.
As far as the major aid programme is concerned, the carry-over with which we are still faced from former years, has caused certain difficulties, and some delays have occurred. However, on the whole, the major aid programme, as you will see from the documents before you, is being implemented according to plan, and we expect by and large to meet our deadlines in the various countries where it remains to be implemented. In Greece, in particular, the housing projects have been reshaped so that the housing programme may be resumed, and we sincerely hope that it will be carried to a successful conclusion.
In Latin America I had the opportunity, during my visits to Brazil and to Uruguay, of seeing that what we have done there in the field of material assistance has met a very great need, namely that of the aged and the mentally and physically handicapped. The implementation of our programmes there is in line with the recommendations that were previously made to the Committee, and you have before you the report of Dr. Berner dealing with the mental cases in Latin America, which I believe will be a new basis for another approach to that very difficult problem with which UNHCR is so much concerned. In Asia the problems, as you know, have received a great deal of attention and interest during the European Campaign - this campaign which so many countries of Europe have been actively carrying out in the last few weeks - the proceeds of which will usefully supplement the efforts of the Governments and UNHCR in countries like Nepal and India, and in Macao where we have our programme for Chinese refugees. I would like to say here that the construction of housing in places like Katmandu and Pokhara Lake in Nepal, will be completed by the end of the year, giving new homes to some 800 Tibetan refugees.
And so, Mr. Chairman, and distinguished delegates, we turn once again to Africa. Since this time last year we have noted in Africa the presence of 80,000 new refugees, bringing the total, as you yourself said, Mr. Chairman, to approximately 700,000 people. This is indeed giving rise to tremendous concern in my Office, and I would like to give you some of the details of this new influx. In Zambia, we note approximately 4,000 new refugees from Angola, In the Congo, Kinshasa, there is also an increase of refugees from Mozambique and I am sure that the distinguished leader of the Tanzanian delegation will refer to these problems when we deal with Tanzania in the programme. In Senegal, we also note an increase of refugees from Portuguese Guinea. On the other hand, and this is I think worth mentioning in line with what I have said about my recent visit to Khartoum, we note that the influx of Sudanese refugees has practically ended during the second half of the year.
Now, Mr. Chairman, apart from the difficulties resulting local conditions, from the climate, from the political instability which still prevails in many areas of that great continent of Africa, the constant flow of newcomers, with all the consequences that this entails, appears to be one of the main reasons for the delay and/or the adjustments which are to be made in the implementation of programmes for settlement on the land. The example of Uganda here, I think, is a good one where the government for security reasons was forced in July 1966 to remove an important number of Sudanese refugees from the border areas, with the consequence that they had to start resettling in anther part of the country. This is the kind of thing which takes the Office of the High Commissioner rather by surprise and to which we have to adapt ourselves when it occurs. What I think has helped us a great deal in the consolidation of settlement in Africa has been the inter-agency co-operation that exists today between the members of the United Nations family, and which would be the subject of a separate document called for by the distinguished delegate for France at the last session and which is before you now. In this field of inter-agency co-operation there are many important developments to report which have arisen through close contact between UNHCR and other United Nations agencies with a view to concerted action towards reaching a common objective. The main organizations with which we co-operate are, as before, UNDP, the World Food programme, FAO, ILO, UNESCO in the field of education, and WHO in the field of health. The co-operation in the field with ILO and FAO in connexion with settlement in agriculture has been very successful. With WHO in connexion with medical problems, and with UNESCO in the field of education, this co-operation has also provided us with very concrete results.
I would like to say here that we have increased our contacts with UNDP resident representatives in the field, who, particularly in areas where my Office is not represented, play a vital role in keeping us fully informed, and their field offices are really considered UNHCR outpost. Here I would like to pay a very special tribute to the World Food Programme which, by the rapid and generous provision of food supplies since the last meeting of the Executive Committee, has again been instrumental in saving thousands of men, women and children from what would have been certain starvation. The co-operation here existed at all levels - in the field, at the technical level when new programmes are planned, and at the policy level through meetings between top-ranking officials of my Office and of the organizations concerned, and, to a greater extent, through much closer participation of UNHCR in the Administrative Committee on Co-ordination (ACC), and at its meetings both in New York and in Geneva. We have also taken full part in the preparatory committee of the ACC and a number of other sub-committees which deal with problems akin to those of the refugees. One example which I should like to mention specifically is the consolidation of the rural settlement in Burundi which continues to take increasingly important proportions and which in a way has been the pilot project for the testing and adjustment of this whole new approach of inter-agency co-operation. I have found out during these recent visits to Africa that this inter-agency co-operation meets completely with the wishes of the countries of asylum in Africa. I think this is a very important thing to note because, obviously, if we are going to solve problems in Africa, we must solve them in a way which meets with the wishes and with the acceptance of the Governments of asylum, and these Governments like this inter-agency co-operation. They like the partnerships which we have established with the United Nations agencies and which of course provide them with the possibility of long-term zonal development which they feel is as important for the refugees as it is for the areas where the refugees are settled. This does not mean, of course, that our flexibility in all these approaches should be impaired. On the contrary, I think UNHCR must remain flexible. We must continue to rely on all sorts of different forms of partnerships, and we should not be limited in any way to one given line of partnership. This is again why I should like to pay a special tribute to the voluntary agencies, the non-governmental organizations that have been and still are our partners today in the field in Africa, as indeed they were in the past in Europe. We must be able to call on all partners and I think this is true of all fields, not only the field of rural settlement or refugee integration, but also indeed of the all important field of education, which is a subject that we shall be coming back to later during these meetings.
Mr. Chairman, there is one further question which hinges on protection and assistance which has very far-reaching consequences and is precisely the problem of education to which I have just referred. The education of refugees, which I think everyone agrees has a determining impact on the refugees' chances of integration, is a matter which will be considered during this meeting and which I feel is extremely important. The intention of my Office here is obviously not to give the refugee a privileged status as compared with the local population, and here I recall the very interesting remarks of the distinguished delegate of the United Kingdom, Mr. Randall, who, when he came back from Africa, referred specifically to this problem of the education of local children in Africa. We do not wish to create a privileged class amongst the refugee children in terms of their educational opportunities. This is indeed a vast enterprise and in view of the number of refugees who are of primary school age this problem would be enormous if we wanted to ensure that every refugee child was given a chance to be educated. If we want to ensure that every refugee child was given a chance to be educated. What we want to do is to cover the immediate objectives, however limited, to give refugees a basis of primary education so that they will not be totally illiterate. Furthermore, our aim is that the refugees should not be systematically excluded from the possibility of social promotion in keeping with their natural gifts and ability. We will have an opportunity to discuss this in detail, and with your permission Mr. Chairman and distinguished delegates, I might come back to it when we study the paper on education, but I wanted to make these preliminary remarks vital aspect of UNHCR activities in developing countries.
And so, Mr. Chairman, we now come to possibly the most important problem of all, which is our financial situation. The status of contributions Sir, reflects the position as at 30 September, which is characterized by a deficit of over $1 million. This is the more regrettable since the Committee, and the general Assembly, have ceaselessly urged Governments to participate more fully in the financing of UNHCR programmes. I myself, Mr. Chairman, have not neglected any opportunity to raise this matter with the Governments of the countries which I have visited, and I am sure that the Committee will agree that the moment has come when some new approach to this very essential aspect of the work of assistance to refugees will have to be worked out. At the present stage, Mr. Chairman, what are the remedies or the palliatives that could be envisaged in the immediate future? In the first instance, the set-aside funds. We already have to borrow form them in order to finance urgent projects. These funds, however, were not intended, as the Committee well knows, for this purpose. There is a limit to them and it is essential that they should be maintained for their original objective which, members of the Committee will recall, was to ensure the immediate availability of funds in cash so as to void any interruption in the programme pending the receipt of contributions. Secondly, there is the European Refugee Campaign. Here I would like to say that the preliminary results indicate that it has been extremely successful so far, and I would like to take this opportunity once again to address my warmest congratulations for the results which they have achieved, not only to those countries which I had the privilege to visit during the beginning of the campaign, but also to all those countries that are joining in the campaign and that I have not had a chance to visit. I would also like to express my deep gratitude and respect for the particularly important role which His Royal Highness Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands has played in promoting this campaign and thus assuring it of the success with which we believe it will be crowned.
However, we must remember that although the results of the campaign may be good, only a relatively limited part of the proceeds of this European campaign will go to UNHCR. I stressed this already at the last meeting and I feel I must again warn the Committee that we cannot afford to look exclusively to the European Campaign to fill the shortfall which exists and should be otherwise covered. I have the impression, generally, that all the people who have been working for this campaign, all the voluntary agencies that have been doing such a remarkable job, and all the national committees that I came into contact with and who are doing the fund-raising for refugees in Asia and Africa, would be very reluctant indeed to see the success of the private initiative of this campaign become a reason for Governments not to contribute their share. Indeed, I have noted that in many cases, on the contrary, the voluntary agencies involved in the campaign feel that there should be an additional matching contribution from the government sector, which has been done, as the Committee may know, in some countries.
And so, Mr. Chairman, to sum up what I consider are the fundamentals of the crucial financial problem which is now facing the Committee: on the one side we have the needs which are ceaselessly increasing owing to developments of which this Committee is fully aware and which cause the uprooting of thousands of men, women and children. These needs furthermore, and this I believe we must be ready to face, are unfortunately likely to increase rather than diminish in years to come. One he other hand there are the governmental financial contributions which, apart from the exceptions, seems to be generally "frozen" at a level as practically established a few years ago, but which no longer corresponds to the present-day situation. And here I would like to say that the exceptions - those Governments which have adjusted their contributions to the increasing needs - should be warmly commended and taken as an example by other Governments which have not yet seen their way to doing the same. In this respect I think it is necessary to recall that our programme is not only intended to alleviate human misery, but also to reduce tensions and instability in Africa and to act, in a way, as an element of insurance a kind of insurance premium against situations that could become much more difficult, much more costly, and indeed much more politically dangerous to solve if we were not able to face them promptly at the present time. It constitutes an essential element of social and political stability and so, if we look at this more closely, it soon becomes clear that a crisis resulting from the unexpected influx of thousands of refugees in these new countries, which by force of circumstance these countries could not meet alone, would irremediably jeopardize any efforts made in the field of development generally whether financed on a bilateral level or through multilateral channels. It was our conviction, and it has now been proved, that such crises unavoidably would occur sooner or later if the problems of refugees which provoke them are not adequately solved as and when they emerge. And so the only remedy I feel is to be able to solve the present financial difficulties and try to adapt the contributions to the financial target of the material assistance programme which, as the Committee well knows, is confined, and will still remain confined in the future, to bare essentials. I want to assure the Committee that I have personally left no stone unturned to encourage more Governments to participate in the financing of my programme and that I have also seized every available opportunity to enlist any bilateral or multilateral aid which I am able to obtain with the support of Governments or other interested authorities generally.
And so, Mr. Chairman, to conclude this brief assessment, the situation shows a very wide range and a very complex and large number of problems, but, looking towards the positive side of things, and to what has been achieved, I think we can say, after seeing the situation in Africa, that the positive results we have obtained in the continent of Africa have been achieved in far less time than it has taken us to do in Europe. I think this is a heartening encouragement and that it can be substantiated by facts, because if you look at the problems that we faced in Africa, and what we have done about them, it shows, I think, that in a short space of time, a great deal has been done, and this should not, I think, be interrupted in any way by new arrivals or by the problems that we face in countries where refugees have already been settled. I think a separation should be created between what has been achieved and the new problems that we have to face, and we should not be depressed or disappointed by the arrival of new refugees in areas where refugees, for which programmes were implemented, are on the point of becoming self-supporting. And here I would like to give you the following example: in Senegal, for instance, despite the new arrivals from Portuguese Guinea to which I have referred, the great majority of the refugees form that country are already integrated, and self-supporting. In the Congo (Kinshasa) the settlements in the Kivu Province, which have been the subject of so many discussions in this Committee, are working satisfactorily and the people have become self-supporting. In fact, they are selling their cash crops today on the markets of the Congo (Kinshasa). The Angolans have also been fully integrated in that country. In Uganda and in Tanzania, several Rwandese settlements are already self-supporting, and the investments that the international community have made to assist these refugees to become self supporting have paid off. Further consolidation will be needed, but for the old groups of refugees in Africa this can be done through the inter-agency co-operation that I have already mentioned. We must continue to deal with the new groups with speed, which I think remains the key to the success of all our approaches, as has indeed been shown in the past.
And so, Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates, what I ask of you is both simple, and extremely challenging - I ask for your political and moral support in the difficult task of providing international protection to refugees and at the same time I ask for your material support so that I can assist refugees and help them cease to be refugees wherever they are.