Ad Hoc Committee on Statelessness and Related Problems, France: Proposal for a Draft Convention Preamble
Ad Hoc Committee on Statelessness and Related Problems
France: Proposal for a Drat Convention Preamble
Considering that in all that concerns respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms no discrimination was established by the United Nations between human beings, either in the Charter of the United Nations or in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; and that, in particular, by not establishing any distinction between persons who enjoy the status of citizens and are thus able to claim the protection of their country of origin and those who, as refugees in foreign countries, enjoy the right of asylum provided for by Article 14 of the Declaration, but are unable to claim such protection, the United Nations did not intend to exclude anyone from the application of the aforementioned texts, with the sole exception of the persons to whom Article 14, paragraph 2, of the said Declaration is applicable,
Considering that the States Members of the United Nations which have undertaken to ensure universal and effective respect for human rights and fundamental freedom in co-operation with the United Nations are in duty bound, in order to implement the principles therein set forth, to pay due regard to the general and non-discriminatory nature of these texts and to take the necessary steps both on the national and international plane to extend their benefit to all persons who are refugees within the meaning of the present Convention and who are present in their territory and placed under their protection although not their nationals;
Considering that the status of refugee, subject to the conditions laid down in the operative part of the present Convention, must be recognized to all persons who, having left their country of origin, refuse to return there owing to fear of persecution or are unable to do so because they have not obtained permission and for either of these reasons are unwilling or unable to claim the protection of that country, while they have not yet acquired the nationality of another;
Considering that, as regards the application to such refugees of the texts already mentioned, all nations should strive to secure the most complete and liberal application of the rights and freedoms proclaimed therein, so that, until they are able once more to claim the protection of their country or have acquired a fresh nationality, refugees may enjoy as far as possible all the rights and freedoms indispensable to human beings;
Considering that the provisions of the present Convention should be regarded as intended to confer on refugees the indispensable minimum in this connexion; that they do not prevent any State from granting wider rights to such persons; that it is the duty of such States, on the contrary, not only to bring their own legislation into line with these provisions, but to render this legislation as liberal as possible and that the High Commissioner for Refugees in the exercise of his functions should bear in mind that his duty is to see not only that each State effectively applies the present provisions but that, by means of private agreements, amendments to the present Convention or the establishment of a new general Convention these provisions are given a wider scope;
Considering that stress should be laid upon the universal character of the present Convention, the ratification of which by the greatest possible number of States Members or non-members of the United Nations is the only means of achieving the aims which the United Nations set out both in the Charter and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the effective application of which by all States whether or not Members of the United Nations is one of the essential conditions for the solution of the problems raised by the existence of refugees;
Considering in conclusion that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has defined not only the rights but also the duties of the individual to the community in which the free and full development of his personality is possible, and that in particular the refugee who enjoys the right of asylum in any country should respect this right by refraining from engaging in any activity contrary to the institutions of that country and by collaborating as far as possible with the community into which he has been admitted.
CHAPTER I Definitions
(1) Subject to any supplementary decisions which may be taken by the General Assembly and to any special agreements which may be concluded between the signatories to the present Convention and the High Commissioner for Refugees in the spirit of paragraph 5 of the Preamble, the signatories to the present Convention recognize the status of refugee entitling him to the supreme protection of the United Nations to any person:
(a) who seeks asylum or has been granted asylum in any country under the conditions specified in Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; or,
(b) who has left his country of origin and refuses to return thereto owing to a justifiable fear of persecution, or because he been unable to obtain from that country permission to return, and for either of these reasons is unwilling or unable to claim the protection of the said country;
(2) No person to whom Article 14, paragraph 2 of the aforesaid Declaration is applicable shall be recognized as a refugee.
(3) Any person acquiring the nationality of another country shall cease to be a refugee.
CHAPTER II Admission
(1) Subject to the reservations contained in Article 1, paragraph 2 above, the High Contracting Parties undertake to consider favourably the admission of refugees seeking asylum in their territory.
(2) In a spirit of international solidarity, the High Contracting Parties shall take into consideration the burden assumed by the countries having first admitted or granted temporary asylum to refugees, and facilitate the permanent settlement of the latter, more especially by relaxation of the procedure for admission.
(a) The personal status of refugees who have retained their original nationality shall be determined in accordance with the rules applicable in each country to aliens possessing a nationality. Refugees without nationality shall, in the absence of a previous convention to the contrary, be governed by the law of their country of domicile or, in default thereof, by that of their country of residence.
(b) The acts of religious authorities to whom refugees are amenable, if performed in countries admitting the competence of such authorities, shall be recognized as valid by the States parties to the present Convention.
(c) In countries where such questions are governed by the national law of the parties, rights acquired under the former national law of the refugee, particularly those arising from marriage, such as the matrimonial regime, the legal capacity of married women etc. shall be respected, subject to fulfilment of the requirements prescribed by the law of the country of domicile, or in default thereof, by the law of the country of residence where necessary.
The High Contracting Parties shall give favourable consideration to the possibility of granting after a certain period to refugees permanently settled in their territories treatment similar to that accorded to their nationals in respect of:
(a) the possession, acquisition, occupation and renting of all movable or immovable property and
(b) the establishment of non-profit-earning associations.
Intellectual and industrial property.
In respect of intellectual property (copyright, scientific property, industrial property, patents, trade marks, designs and models, trade names) refugees shall enjoy the most favourable treatment accorded to nationals of foreign countries.
Exemption from reciprocity.
The enjoyment of certain rights and the benefit of certain privileges accorded to aliens subject to reciprocity shall not be refused to refugees in the absence of reciprocity in the case of those enjoying them at the date of signature of the present Convention. As regards other refugees, the High Contracting Parties undertake to give them the benefit of these provisions upon completion of the period of residence referred to in Article 4.
Right to appear before the courts as plaintiff of defendant.
1. Refuges shall have, in the territories of the High Contracting Parties, free and ready access to the courts of law.
2. In the countries in which they have their domicile or regular residence, they shall enjoy, in this respect, the same rights and privileges as national. They shall, on the same conditions as the latter, enjoy the benefit of legal assistance and shall be exempt from cautio judicatum solvi.
3. In the matters referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 above, refugees shall be treated, in the countries of the High Contracting Parties in which they do not reside, as nationals of the country where they have their domicile or regular residence.
CHAPTER IV Responsibilities of refugees and obligation incumbent upon them
1. Refugees authorized to reside in a country must adapt themselves to the established order in the country of asylum and conform to the laws in force.
2. The High Contracting Parties reserve the right to restrict or prohibit political activity on the part of refugees.
1. The High Contracting Parties undertake not to impose upon refugees residing in their territory duties, charges or taxes, under any denomination whatsoever, other or higher than those which are or may be levied on their national in similar conditions.
2. Nothing in the foregoing provisions shall prevent the application of the provisions of the laws and regulations concerning charges in respect of the issue to aliens of administrative documents or the extension of the validity of such documents.
3. The High Contracting Parties reserve the right to impose upon refugees of the various categories, according to their country of origin, a stamp duty payable either on identity cards or residence permits or on travel documents. Revenue accruing from this duty shall be wholly applied to charities for the relief of refugees of the various categories concerned.
The High Contracting Parties reserve the right to subject refugees who have resided for more than ten years in their territory to compulsory military service and to other personal services (labour service, national service etc.), in the same manner as nationals in similar conditions.
Refugees shall not be required to bear arms against their country of origin.
CHAPTER V Conditions of employment
The High Contracting Parties undertake to accord to refugees regularly resident in their territory the most favourable treatment given to nationals of a foreign country as regards the right to engage in commerce, industry and handicrafts and to establish commercial and industrial companies.
The High Contracting Parties undertake to accord to refugees regularly resident in their territory the most favourable treatment given in the country in question to nationals of a foreign country as regards the right to engage in wage-earning employment.
The restrictions ensuing from the application of laws and regulations for the protection of the national labour market shall not be applied in all their severity to refugees regularly resident in the country.
The restrictive measures to which the paragraph last preceding refers shall be automatically suspended in favour of refugees who were already exempted from them at the date signature of the present Convention or who fulfil one of the following conditions:
(a) having completed at least three years' residence in the country;
(b) having as spouse a person possessing the nationality of the country of residence;
(c) having one or more children possessing the nationality of the country of residence.
Paragraph 1 to be deleted or replaced by the following:
1. The High Contracting Parties shall accord as favourable treatment as possible to refugees who hold diplomas recognized by the competent authorities of the country of asylum and who are desirous of practising a liberal profession.
2. The High Contracting Parties shall as far as possible facilitate the settlement of these refugees in their overseas territories and Trust Territories.
CHAPTER VI Social Security - Assistance and Welfare
While regularly resident in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, refugees shall receive the same treatment as nationals in respect of insurance and social security (including industrial accident compensation) and all forms of public relief.
CHAPTER VII Education
1. Refugees shall enjoy, in the territory of each of the High Contracting Parties, the same treatment as nationals with respect to primary education.
2. With respect to secondary and higher education, refugees shall enjoy the most favourable treatment accorded to nationals of foreign countries. In particular, they shall benefit, to the same extent as the latter, from the total or partial remission of fees and charges and the award of scholarships.
CHAPTER VIII Administrative System
The High Contracting Parties undertake to issue identity papers (residence card, identity card etc.) to refugees authorized to reside in their territory.
1. Each of the High Contracting Parties undertake to issue, on request, to refugees regularly resident in its territory, travel documents valid for not less than one year. The travel document shall entitle the holder to leave the country of issue and to return thereto throughout the period of validity of the document. The High Contracting Parties reserve the right, in exceptional cases, to limit the period during which the refugee may return, provided that the said period is not less than three months.
2. The High Contracting Parties shall endeavour to unify, both as regards form and substance, the conditions governing the issue and validity of the travel document referred to in the paragraph last preceding.
Each High Contracting Party shall recognize the documents issued by the other High Contracting Parties.
1. In all cases in which the exercise of a right by the foreigner normally requires the administrative assistance of the authorities of his country or of its representatives abroad, the High Contracting Parties undertake either to appoint a national authority or, failing that, to empower the High Commissioner for Refugees to furnish assistance to refugees.
2. The national authority so designated, or in default thereof, the High Commissioner for Refugees, shall be empowered to deliver to refugees unable to procure them by other means documents:
(a) certifying the identity and the position of the refugees;
(b) certifying their family position and civil status, in so far as these are based on acts performed or facts which occurred in the refugee's country of origin;
(c) testifying to the regularity, validity and conformity with the previous law of their country of origin, of documents issued in such country;
(d) certifying the signature of refugees and copies and translations of documents drawn up in their own language;
(e) testifying to the good character and conduct of the individual refugee, to his previous record, to his professional qualifications and to his university degrees or academic diplomas etc.
(f) recommending refugees to the competent authorities, particularly with a view to their obtaining visas, permits to reside in the country, admission to schools, libraries etc.
3. The certificates of delivered shall rank as authentic documents and shall take the place of the acts and documents issued in the refugee's country of origin.
CHAPTER IX Expulsion and Non-Admittance
1. Each of the High Contracting Parties undertake not to expel from or refuse admission to its territory, by application of police measures, refugees who have been authorized to reside there regularly unless the said measures are dictated by reasons of national security.
2. The penalties enacted against aliens entering the territory of a Contracting Party without prior permission shall not be applied to refugees seeking to escape from persecution, provided that such refugees present themselves without delay to the authorities of the reception country and show good cause for their entry.
3. Each of the High Contracting Parties undertakes in any case not to turn back refugees to the frontiers of their country of origin, or to territories where their life or freedom would be threatened on account of their race, religion, nationality or political opinions, provided these opinions are not contrary to the principles of the United Nations as set forth in the Preamble to the United Nations Charter.
4. A refugee whose expulsion has been ordered shall be entitled to submit evidence to clear himself, and to be represented before the competent judicial or administrative authority.
5. Each of the High Contracting Parties reserves the right to apply such internal measures as it may deem necessary to refugees whose expulsion has been ordered, and who are unable to leave its territory because they have not received, at their request, or through the intervention of the Government or Governments concerned or through the competent organ of the United Nations or of the non-governmental agencies dealing with them, the necessary authorizations and visas permitting them legally to proceed to another country.
CHAPTER X Exceptional Measures
Exemption from exceptional measures.
Any exceptional measures which a High Contracting Party may be called upon to take in exceptional cases against the person, property or interests of nationals of a foreign State shall not be applied to refugees who are nationals of the said State solely on account of the fact that they belong legally to that State.
CHAPTER XI Co-operation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
1. The High Contracting Parties undertake to facilitate the work of the High Commissioner for Refugees.
2. In order to enable the High Commissioner for Refugees to prepare and submit his annual report to the competent organs of the United Nations, the High Contracting Parties undertake to provide him, in the form required by the Economic and Social Council, with data and information concerning the condition of refugees and the implementation of the present Convention.
Each of the High Contracting Parties undertakes to designate a national authority:
(a) to centralize statistics on refugees, together with information relating to their condition;
(b) to maintain constant relations with similar authorities in order countries;
(c) to maintain constant relations with the High Commissioner for Refugees;
(d) to communicate to the High Commissioner for Refugees all regulations, laws, decrees etc. relating to the condition of refugees.
CHAPTER XII Naturalization
The High Contracting Parties undertake as far as possible to facilitate the assimilation and naturalization of refugees. They shall in particular make every effort to expedite naturalization proceedings and to reduce as far as possible the charges and costs of such proceedings.
Article 24. (Deleted)
Each of the High Contracting Parties shall take all the legislative and administrative measures necessary under the rules of their constitution for the application of the present Convention.