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General Conclusion on International Protection

Executive Committee Meetings

General Conclusion on International Protection
No. 14 (XXX) - 1979

16 October 1979
Executive Committee 30th session. Contained in United Nations General Assembly Document No. 12A (A/34/12/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) Reiterated the fundamental importance of the international protection function exercised by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and of the principles established in this field which are not subject to any derogation;

(b) Noted with appreciation the work of the Sub-Committee of the Whole on International Protection which had proved to be of great practical value to the High Commissioner's Office in its efforts to extend international protection to refugees;

(c) Noted with concern that refugees had been rejected at the frontier or had been returned to territories where they had reasons to fear persecution in disregard of the principle of non-refoulement and that refugees arriving by sea had been refused even temporary asylum with resulting danger to their lives and had in many cases perished on the high seas;

(d) Called upon all States to ensure that masters of vessels sailing under their flag scrupulously observed established rules regarding rescue at sea, and to take all necessary action to rescue refugees and displaced persons leaving their country of origin on boats in order to seek asylum and who are in distress;

(e) Severely condemned recent inhuman attacks on refugee camps in southern Africa as a result of which numerous refugees, including women and children, had lost their lives and others had become permanently incapacitated, and expressed the hope that the necessary steps would be taken to protect refugees from such attacks and to assist the victims;

(f) Considered it urgent that further States acceded to the 1951 Convention and to the 1967 Protocol and that States already parties to these instruments which had not yet done so adopt appropriate measures to implement their provisions especially as regards procedures for determining refugee status;

(g) Took note with great appreciation of the work of the Conference on the Situation of Refugees in Africa held in Arusha (United Republic of Tanzania) from 7-17 April 1979 which it considered would represent a major contribution to the protection of refugees in Africa;

(h) Recognized the importance of the dissemination of refugee law in increasing the effectiveness of international protection and noted with satisfaction the efforts being undertaken by the High Commissioner's Office in this matter as described in document A/AC.96/INF.159;

(i) Expressed the wish to be kept regularly informed of the Office's activities and of the problems arising in the field of international protection.