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Ministerial Meeting on the 1951 Convention

Briefing notes

Ministerial Meeting on the 1951 Convention

11 December 2001

In the run up to tomorrow's Ministerial Meeting of States that have acceded to the 1951 Refugee Convention, two more states have formally notified UNHCR that they will accede to the Convention and its Protocol. These are the Republic of Moldova and the Caribbean state of Saint Kitts and Nevis. This takes the total number of states that have signed up to the Convention to 143. Although neither country has quite completed the final formality of depositing their instruments of ratification with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, both states will now be attending the Ministerial Meeting as signatories of the Convention, rather than as observers. There are indications that a 144th state may sign up by the time the Declaration is adopted on Thursday, but we'll have to wait and see for certain. The Accession of Saint Kitts and Nevis means that there are now only five countries in the Americas that have yet to accede to the Convention - these are Barbados, Cuba, Grenada, Guyana and Saint Lucia.

A major aim of the Global Consultations process, and of this Ministerial Meeting which is a key part of the process, has been to encourage more states to sign up to the 1951 Convention and its Protocol, so UNHCR is delighted that the Republic of Moldova and Saint Kitts and Nevis have now joined the club.

The latest we have on participation at tomorrow's meeting is that around 123 of the states that have acceded to the Convention will be here along with 30 other states that have not yet acceded.

Today some 50 or more NGOs are meeting here at the Palais (Room V) to prepare their contributions to the Ministerial Meeting tomorrow and Thursday. They will be contributing a joint statement to the plenary, and will also be taking part in the Roundtable discussions on Thursday.