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Personal Security of Refugees

Executive Committee Meetings

Personal Security of Refugees
No. 72 (XLIV) - 1993

8 October 1993
Executive Committee 44th session. Contained in United Nations General Assembly Document No. 12A (A/48/12/Add.1). Conclusion endorsed by the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme upon recommendation of the Sub-Committee of the Whole on International Protection of Refugees.

The Executive Committee,

Expressing its deep concern over reports on the alarming frequency of incidents in which refugees and asylum-seekers, including women and children, are subjected to violence and mistreatment including killing, torture, military or armed attacks, rape, beatings, intimidation, forced recruitment and arbitrary or inhumane conditions of detention,

Reaffirming the responsibility of States to respect and ensure the fundamental human rights of refugees and asylum-seekers to life, liberty and security of person as well as to freedom from torture or other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment,

Recalling previous conclusions dealing with the personal security of refugees, in particular, Conclusions No. 22 (XXXII) on the Protection of Asylum-Seekers in Situations of Large-Scale Influx and No. 48 (XXXVIII) on Military or Armed Attacks on Refugee Camps and Settlements,

Stressing the duty of refugees and asylum-seekers to conform to the laws and regulations of the country of asylum and abstain from any activity likely to detract from the exclusively civilian and humanitarian character of refugee camps and settlements,

Reaffirming the fundamental importance of the scrupulous observance of the principle of non-refoulement for the personal security of refugees,

(a) Deplores all violations of the right to personal security of refugees and asylum-seekers, in particular organized attacks or the incitement to violence directed against them;

(b) Urges States to take all measures necessary to prevent or remove threats to the personal security of refugees and asylum-seekers in border areas and elsewhere, including by affording UNHCR and, as appropriate, other organizations approved by the Governments concerned prompt and unhindered access to them, by situating refugee camps and settlements in secure locations, by ensuring the safety of vulnerable groups, by facilitating the issuance of personal documentation, and by involving the refugee community, both women and men, in the organization and administration of their camps and settlements;

(c) Calls upon States vigorously to investigate violations of the personal security of refugees and asylum-seekers, and where possible to institute criminal prosecution, and where applicable strict disciplinary measures, against all perpetrators of such violations;

(d) Calls upon States, in collaboration with UNHCR and, as appropriate, other organizations approved by the Governments concerned, to provide effective physical protection to asylum-seekers and refugees and to ensure safe access for humanitarian assistance and relief workers, where necessary through the recruitment and training of personnel specifically assigned the task of protecting refugees and securing supply routes for humanitarian assistance;

(e) Supports the High Commissioner's activities to monitor the personal security of refugees and asylum-seekers and to take appropriate action to prevent or redress violations thereof, including the expansion of training programmes aimed at enhancing the understanding of refugee protection among law enforcement officials, other concerned Government personnel, and non-governmental organizations;

(f) Encourages the High Commissioner to develop, share with the Executive Committee and disseminate widely guidelines containing practical measures that States, UNHCR as well as other international and non-governmental organizations can take to further strengthen the physical protection of refugees and asylum-seekers.