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Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Executive Committee Meetings

Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

2 September 1977
Language versions:

United Nations General Assembly Official Records: Thirty-second Session

Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Supplement No.12 (A/32/12)


1. During the period under review,1 further challenges arose in the field of both international protection and material assistance, requiring increased efforts on the part of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). In keeping with the addtional.1 responsibilities entrusted to the High Commissioner, as recognized in Economic and Social Council resolution 2011 (LXI) of 2 August 1976 and General Assembly resolution 31/35 of 30 November 1976, UNHCR has continued its programmes of humanitarian assistance in the context of both its regular activities and the special operations.

2. In the field of international protection, there was further intensification of UNHCR's activities. Problems continued to arise not only with regard to the application of international instruments relating to refugees but also, in some cases, the physical safety of refugees in countries of asylum. Close attention continued to be paid to obtaining greater observance of the human rights of refugees, while special measures were called for in connexion with the increasing number of Indo-Chinese displaced. persons arriving in small boats in countries in South-East Asia.

3. An event of significance during the period under review was the 'holding of a. Conference of Plenipotentiaries on Territorial Asylum, pursuant to General Assembly resolution 3456 (XXX) of 9 December 1975.

4. Additional responsibilities were assumed by the High Commissioner following successive decisions of the Secretary-General designating him as Co-ordinator of United Nations humanitarian assistance in Algeria and in Angola for the benefit of large numbers of displaced persons and refugees. His role as Co-ordinator in Cyprus continued, while assistance projects in the context of various special appeals made to the international community continued to be implemented in Africa,, Asia and Latin America.

5. Measures were taken further to expand UNHCR activities in southern Africa in view of the increasing influx of refugees from South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe, which has been of special concern to the international community as a whole.

6. Another area of activity calling for the close attention of UNHCR concerned the resettlement of refugees. The need for this type of assistance has increased considerably, whereas the availability of resettlement opportunities has unfortunately not kept pace with the demand. In the past, UNHCR's concern for the rapid resettlement of refugees was based on the knowledge that a prolonged stay in refugee centres led to the demoralization of the refugees and had negative effects on their ability to become self-supporting. Today, there is the added anxiety experienced by refugees owing to the insecurity and danger to which a number of them are exposed.

7. A good part of this serious problem could be soared if all countries operating a regular immigration programme could earmark part of their annual intake for refugees to be admitted on humanitarian grounds while at the same time accepting additional numbers of refugees who qualify for entry as regular immigrants under normal criteria. While it is evident that traditional countries of immigration have the best potential for admitting refugees, other countries that dispose of an integration apparatus could supplement such efforts and thereby make it possible to find permanent solutions for the backlog of some 40,000 persons of concern to UNHCR who wish to be resettled in other countries. A generous response to this need by both groups of countries could provide permanent solutions for these persons who seek safety and the possibility of living dignified. and independent life.

8. The spirit of international solidarity in which more than 100 Governments, as well as intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and members of the United Nations system helped finance most urgent refugee needs is in keeping with The increasing universality of UNHCR activities. However the continued understanding and support of the international community will be required for the High Commissioner to fulfil his task, on which depend the hopes and aspirations of refugees and displaced persons throughout the world.


A. Introduction

9. As will be seen from the following account and especially from section concerning basic rights of refugees, there have been positive but also very negative developments. The High Commissioner deplores having again to report numerous and serious infringements of the specific rights of refugees and more generally of their basic human rights. Not only do these infringements concern isolated cases, but in a few countries they also follow a distinct pattern which has sadly emerged over the past few years. Such infringements should be rude not only from the standpoint of the violation of international legal instruments such as the Charter, the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights or the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees 1951,2 but, even more so, in the light of their grave consequences for the refugees concerned and their families.

10. In providing international protection to refugees coming within the competence of UNHCR, the High Commissioner acts under the specific authority conferred on him. by the General Assembly in its resolution 428 (V),3 and in the UNHCR statute,4 and also by the 1951 Refugee Convention.5 The High Commissioner has consistently intervened, sometimes at the highest level, with a view to preventing the violation of refugee rights. However, with more than 2 million refugees coming within the competence of UNHCR, spread over more than 70 countries throughout the world the High Commissioner is often not informed of infringements of refugee rights before it is too late to take remedial, much less preventive action. Bearing in mind his obligations under the Statute of his Office, the High Commissioner considers it his duty to bring this most serious matter to the attention of the General Assembly in greater detail than in the past.

B. Basic rights of refugees with special reference to the principles of asylum and non-refoulement

1. Infringements of the basic rights of refugees

11. The question of the observance of the basic rights of refugees has continued to be a major concern to the High Commissioner throughout the period under review. On the positive side, over 100,000 persons in quest of asylum have been welcomed, if not on a permanent basis at least temporarily, in well over 50 countries spread over the five continents. Many refugees who are in the process of settling down have been enabled to benefit from the provisions of basic legal instruments concerning them. In fact, from a purely quantitative point of view, it could be said that the majority of refugees enjoy the rights to which they are entitled. This, however, does not mean that the rights of refugees are being fully observed.

12. In a number of countries asylum-seekers, individually or in groups, have been rejected at the frontier or expelled to countries where they might have well-founded fears of persecution. Some are known to have been persecuted upon their return to their country of origin. Scores of persons who legitimately claim refugee status are being held under prolonged detention. Applications for habeas corpus have been submitted for over 100 of such cases. In a few countries, in a number of cases known to this Office, refugees have been abducted with the most tragic consequences. In Latin America, refugees were among the victims of acts of violence. In Africa, an attack by Southern Rhodesian forces on the camp of Nyazonia in Mozambique resulted in hundreds of casualties among refugees in the camp.

13. No effort has been spared by the High Commissioner to counter these increasing, recurring breaches of humanitarian law and to seek to obtain greater respect for the human rights of refugees. As soon as a case comes to notice, investigations and representations are made by the UNHCR representative in the area; where appropriate, the matter is taken up with the diplomatic missions concerned in Geneva or New York and, if necessary, special communications are addressed by the High Commissioner to the Government or the highest authority in the country. The High Commissioner is obliged to pursue this course in order to discharge the responsibility entrusted to him by the general Assembly under the terms of the UNHCR statute. The above-mentioned violations of the human and refugee rights have in some instances taken the form of acts of physical violence. In this connexion, it may be pointed out that measures to ensure the physical security and protection of refugees are primarily the responsibility of the governments concerned.

2. Asylum and non-refoulement

14. While many thousands of refugees were welcomed in countries where they sought asylum in several parts of the world, the granting of admission to countries is often fraught with difficulties calling for the intervention of UNHCR. At its thirty-first session, the General Assembly was informed of the plight of displaced persons from Indo-China who put to sea in small boats in quest of a country of admission. Their number has now grown to over 7,000; many of them have faced considerable hardship before being rescued or admitted, even temporarily, to a country in the area. The provisions relating to the rescue of persons at sea, contained in the Brussels Convention of 1910, and the 1958 Geneva Convention on the Law of the Sea were largely observed by masters of ships who provided assistance and saved the lives of severel hundreds of such persons. There have, however, been cases when frail vessels carrying, persons in this group were denied entry to ports or ignored by masters of ships passing by. Denial of entry to ports making temporary admission pending resettlement in another country impossible, is indeed a denial of provisional stay. The Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme, at its, twenty-seventh session, appealed to States scrupulously to observe the legal provision relating to the rescue of persons at sea, to grant first asylum to refugees and displaced persons rescued at sea, and to offer resettlement opportunities to those who had been unable to obtain permanent residence in the State of first asylum.

15. In some countries in Africa newcomers also find it difficult to gain admission, even on a temporary basis, to a country of refuge, although they comply with the criteria for refugee status laid down in the 1951 Convention. Once admitted they are tolerated, but not always recognized as refugees. Furthermore, a number of new bilateral and multilateral agreements on judicial co-operation have been concluded between Governments that call for vigilance on the part of UNHCR in order to ensure that due consideration is given to the possible refugee status of the persons who might be subject to extradition under the terms of these agreements. With respect to refugee problems arising in this area, special regard may indeed be had. to article II/2 of the OAU, Convention of 1969 Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa, which provides that the granting of asylum should not be regarded as an unfriendly act.

16. In some countries in Latin America, asylum seekers are frequently admitted only on a temporary basis. In order to assist those among them, especially in Argentina, for whom emigration may be the only solution, the High Commissioner launched an appeal in June 1976 with a view to finding many more resettlement opportunities in other countries as soon as possible.

17. In Europe various developments have taken place that have a bearing on the question of asylum and non-refoulement. An extradition treaty concluded between Austria and Hungary, which came into force in July 1976, incorporates the principle whereby extradition will not be applied in the case of persons enjoying asylum. This is in keeping with a similar provision contained in the European Convention on Extradition of 1957, to which 16 States have acceded so far. Furthermore, a European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism was signed in January 1977; UNHCR follows developments in regard to this Convention in so far as some of the persons within its scope might come within the competence of UNHCR. It may be added that the Convention provides specifically that extradition need not be granted if it appears that the case may have a refugee element.

3. Conference of Plenipotentiaries on Territorial Asylum

18. By its resolution 3456 (XXX) of 9 December 1975, the General Assembly, inter alia, requested the Secretary-General, in consultation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, to convene a conference of plenipotentiaries on territorial asylum from 10 January to 4 February 1977 to consider and adopt a Convention on Territorial Asylum and decided. that the cost of holding the Conference should be met by voluntary contributions.

19. The United Nations Conference on Territorial Asylum met at the United Nations Office at Geneva from 10 January to 4 February 1977. Its report is to be found in document A/CONF.78/12.

20. The Conference decided that the articles constituting the Draft Convention on Territorial Asylum contained in the report of the Group of Experts, which met in Geneva in April/May 1975 pursuant to General Assembly resolution 3277 (XXIX) of 10 December 1974, as well as the additional articles and the amendments submitted by, participating delegations would be first considered by a Committee of the Whole established by the Conference.

21. In the course of the session, the Committee of the Whole, as indicated. in its report,6 considered articles 1 (Grant of asylum.),7 2 (Application), and (Non-refoulement) of the Draft Convention prepared by the Group of Experts and the amendments thereto, as well as two proposed new articles on the question of the activities of asylees and. of family reunion and corresponding amendments. The texts adopted for these five articles were referred to a Drafting Committee, which began its work on the articles referred to it and provisionally adopted. the text for article 1 and for an additional paragraph to that article.8

22. The Committee of the whole did not have tine to consider the Preamble, articles 4 to 9 and a proposed new article as contained in the Draft Convention prepared by the Group of Experts; it also was not able to consider a number of new articles proposed by delegations in the course of the session.9 It did not take any decision on the articles considered by the Committee of the Whole and referred to the Drafting Committee.

23. At its 9th plenary meeting, on 4 February 1977, the Conference adopted the following recommendation, which is reproduced in paragraph 25 of its report:

"The United Nations Conference on Territorial Asylum,

"Having been unable to carry out its mandate within the allocated time,

"1, Considers that efforts to draft a convention on territorial asylum should be continued,

"2. Requests the Secretary-General of the United Nations to transmit the report of this Conference to States;

"3. Recommends that the General Assembly of the United Nations at its thirty-second session should consider the question of convening at an appropriate tine a further session of the Conference."

24. The Secretary-General is taking appropriate action under paragraph 2 of the above recommendation; the attention of the General Assembly is drawn to paragraph 3 thereof.

C. International legal instruments concerning refugees

25. In keeping with paragraph 8 of the statute, the High Commissioner has actively pursued the promotion of accessions to international legal instruments directly or indirectly affecting refugees. As will be seen from annex I to the present report, a total of seven new accessions have been recorded in respect of the nine legal instruments concerned. The number of parties to the 1951 Convention grew from 66 to 68 through the accessions of Iran and Uganda, to the 1967 Protocol from 60 to 63 (Iran, Portugal and Uganda), while the number of parties to the 1954 convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons10 increased from 30 to 31 (the Federal republic of Germany), and the number of accessions to the 1973 Protocol to the 1957 Agreement relating to Refugee Seamen11 from 10 to 12 (Belgium and Yugoslavia).

26. The High Commissioner is, however, concerned that more than half the membership of the United Nations, including some States with large numbers of refugees on their territory, are not yet parties to the 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol. Through their scope and universal character these instruments constitute the cornerstone of international protection. The General Assembly, in its resolutions concerning the annual report of the high Commissioner, and the Executive committee of the High Commissioner's Programme in its conclusions concerning international protection, have repeatedly appealed to States to accede to these instruments.

27. A number of States that are not yet parties to the 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol, and that have generously admitted large numbers of uprooted persons, facilitate, in practice, the exercise of UNHCR protection activities on their territory. However, if the protection functions of UNHCR are to be properly discharged, it is essential that particularly those States in which a refugee problem has emerged should become parties to the above-mentioned basic instruments. In so doing, States would no doubt incur certain obligations on the legal and humanitarian plane. They would, however, at the same time act in a true spirit of solidarity by more fully sharing the burden of the international community. Furthermore, accession to these instruments would also facilitate the integration, of refugees by enabling them to be treated according to established standards, e.g. as regard employment and other social and economic rights, or their resettlement elsewhere by ensuring that they are issued with travel documents in accordance with article 28 of the 1951 Convention.

28. In countries which have acceded to the Refugee Convention and Protocol two major questions arise: the geographical scope of these instruments, and their implementation. As to the former question, the Convention provides that parties to it may restrict its applicability to persons who have become refugees as a result of events occurring in Europe. Consequently, in a number of countries the provisions of the Convention apply only to that particular category of refugees. In view of the emergence of refugee problems on other continents, a number of States have seen fit to withdraw this restriction and new parties to the Convention, such as Portugal in the recent past, often opt for the global clause that covers persons who have become refugees as a result of events in Europe and elsewhere. The High Commissioner welcomes this development, which is enhancing the universal character of this basic instrument. He hopes that the example will be followed by all present and future parties to the Convention.

29. As to the question of implementation, the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme, at its twenty-seventh session, emphasized the importance of the effective implementation of the 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol in accordance with their letter and spirit, and recommended that the High Commissioner should continue to follow up on their application in member States and report to the Committee on the subject.

30. The High Commissioner, at the thirty-first session of the General Assembly, recalled that, under paragraph 8 (b) of the statute in conjunction with article 35 of the 1951 Refugee Convention, he is called upon to supervise the implementation of the Convention by States parties to it. Replies to the questionnaire sent out for this purpose have so far been received from only 40 states (out of 68 signatories) and do not yet permit an adequate assessment of the measures taken to implement the Convention. Meanwhile new legislation and administrative measures in favour of refugees continue to be adopted, as shown in various sections of this report (e.g., sect. E, paras. 41-45 below).

31. In the day-to-day practice, increasing co-operation has been developed between UNHCR and the authorities of the countries concerned as regards the implementation of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and Protocol thereto . The degree of effectiveness of this co-operation, which is vital for the observance of the rights of refugees, depends on many factors, such as the legal infrastructure of the country concerned, the fact that refugees are often spread throughout a country, and the means of communication available to maintain contact with the officials concerned. This is a field where a great deal depends on goodwill, and where further progress should be achieved in the course of time.

32. Another legal instrument that calls for specific action on the part of the High Commissioner is the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, which entered into force on 19 December 1975.12 Under the terms of General Assembly resolution 3274 (XXIX) of 10 December 1974 and 31/36 of 30 November 1976, the High Commissioner has pursued the functions envisaged in article 11 of the Convention and has accordingly followed up on measures undertaken to ensure its effective implementation. The High Commissioner has continued his efforts to promote further accessions to this Convention for the Reduction of Statelessness and also to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons. He hopes that further accessions to these important Conventions will be forthcoming.

33. As regards legal instruments concerning refugees at the regional level, special mention should be made of the OAU Convention of 1969 Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa. This instrument not only constitutes an invaluable regional complement to the 1951 Convention in a continent where refugee problems continue to be particularly acute, but also goes beyond it in providing specifically that no person shall be subjected by a member State to measures, such as rejection at the frontier, that would compel him to return to or remain in a territory where his life, physical integrity or liberty would be threatened. It also provides that the granting of asylum shall not be regarded as an unfriendly act. The aforementioned OAU Convention furthermore introduces an important innovation in refugee law in that in contains detailed provisions regarding the voluntary repatriation of refugees. Considering the continued influx of refugees in several parts of the African continent, and the high legal standard of this refugee Convention, the High commissioner appeals to States in Africa who have not yet done so to accede to this instrument, and this to share the moral responsibility assumed by the 18 States that have already become parties to it.

34. In Europe, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted a resolution 76/5 recommending to the Council's 18 member States that free legal aid in civil, commercial and administrative matters be granted to aliens on the same terms as to nationals. This measure, though designed to meet the needs of foreign workers, would also benefit the refugees among these workers.

35. During the period under review, the Office participated in a meeting of Governmental Experts for the revision of the Paris Convention for the protection of industrial property. In so doing, UNHCR; concern was that the revised text should be in keeping with article 14 of the 1951 Convention concerning the artistic rights and industrial property rights of refugees, and that these rights should be protected to the same extent as those of nationals of their country of residence.

36. The Office was also represented at the UNESCO International Conference of States for the adoption of a Convention on the recognition of studies, diplomas and degrees in higher education in the Arab and European States bordering on the Mediterranean. UNHCR's efforts were directed towards the inclusion of refugees in the scope of the proposed Convention, in keeping with article 22 of the 1951 Refugee Convention concerning education.

D. Determination of refugee status

37. The High Commissioner continues to attach the greatest importance to the establishment of appropriate procedures for the determination of refugee status. The form of such procedures will, of course, vary according to the particular legal and administrative structure in a given country. They should, however, contain certain common features and guarantees that are necessary to protect the legitimate interests and concerns of the individual applicant.

38. In his report to the thirty-first session, the High Commissioner had indicated that procedures for the determination of refugee status had been instituted on a formal basis in 16 countries.13 Since than a Co-ordination Committee for the protection of refugees has been established in Yugoslavia, which will serve to register applications for asylum and submit recommendations to the Ministry of Internal Affairs on the subject. During the reporting period, discussions for the establishment of such procedures have been initiated or pursued with Canada, Ethiopia, Gabon, Portugal, Uganda and the United States of America, and for a new revised procedure in Greece.

39. As refugee problems have emerged in an increasing number of countries in recent years, the need for a standardization to determine refugee status has made itself increasingly felt, as reflected in the deliberations of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme at its twenty-seventh session. At the regional level, in Europe, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a Recommendation (No. 787 (1976)) addressed to the Council's Committee of Ministers to the Effect that greater uniformity be achieved in the practices of member States in the determination of refugee status.

40. UNHCR has continued to co-operate with Governments in already-existing procedures for the determination of refugee status. Co-operation between the Office of the High Commissioner and States parties to the 1951 Convention in respect of refugee status determination has been found to be very fruitful and contributes towards ensuring more effective international protection of asylum-seekers. Government officials have been invited to UNHCR headquarters for briefing on problems relating to the determination of refugee status for the purpose of the 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol.

E. Economic and social rights of refugees

41. In various countries that have admitted large groups of refugees on a permanent basis, the refugees have benefited to a large extent from the same facilities as nationals regarding access to employment and social benefits. The situation has been more difficult in a number of States that are not parties to the 1951 Convention or the 1967 Protocol, or have acceded to the Convention subject to its geographical limitation to persons who have become refugees as a result of events occurring in Europe, or that have made reservations on articles of substance. In certain instances UNHCR has accordingly been called upon to contribute to the high costs involved in providing assistance to refugees during prolonged periods of time pending their permanent resettlement.

42. In several countries new legislative measures have been taken for the benefit of refugees. Thus, in Belgium the law on minimum wages has been extended to refugees and stateless persons. Under new legislation enacted in the Federal Republic of Germany in July 1976, refugees are allowed to practise as pharmacists. In France, aliens who have applied for refugee status may obtain a temporary work permit pending a consideration of their case.

43. In Africa, the Government of Kenya has adopted measures enabling refugees to work without paying a fee for the usual work permit.

44. Whereas in a number of countries in Asia Indo-Chinese displaced persons were granted admission only on a temporary basis, in Malaysia some 1,100 of these persons were allowed to settle in the country and to engage in small businesses; some 1,750 others were admitted in transit pending their resettlement.

45. There are many countries, especially the predominantly rural, where the legal infrastructure is still being developed and where there are not always well-established rules concerning the all-important question of access to employment by refugees, which is often governed by prevailing economic circumstances. As in the case of so many other aspects of the legal position of refugees, constant vigilance has to be exercised by UNHCR's representatives in the field in order that large numbers of refugees who have been settled through costly integration projects should be able to consolidate their legal, economic and social position.

F. Legal problems of individual cases

46. The High Commissioner has had occasion to explain previously that in carrying out its protection activities his Office is confronted with several types of problems which can be defined as: general legal problems, legal problems affecting specific countries or groups of refugees, and problems affecting individual cases. As regards the latter a whole set of measures or interventions may be required to help one refugee or a small group of refugees to overcome their difficulties, which are often of a dramatic nature. They range, indeed, from threats of forcible repatriation, expulsion, abduction and disappearance to complex court cases involving international private law and family reunion. In some cases, individual asylum-seekers who are known to fulfil the criteria of refugee status under the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol are admitted only on a temporary basis or in transit. In some countries the presence of refugees who are unable to proceed elsewhere at short notice is regarded as unlawful, and they are not infrequently subjected to measures such as detention or assigned residence - a practice which makes it all the more difficult for the refugees concerned to find resettlement opportunities elsewhere.

47. During the reporting period, a large number of particularly difficult individual cases requiring urgent solutions arose in Africa and in Latin America. These concerned mainly matters of asylum and residence and the particularly precarious situation - sometimes involving detention - of refugees whose status in a given country has not yet been regularized.

48. Problems of this type also arise in the European context where a large individual caseload also exists, which is increased by a growing influx of non-European asylum seekers from many different areas of the world. This caseload also involves a number of legal problems connected with social rights of refugees and their integration, e.g. the right to work; to attend educational institutions and to obtain scholarships and the right to social security and public assistance. One special problem concerns the growing number of aged refugees for whom assistance in obtaining their pension entitlements is of vital importance.

49. Experience during the last years has indeed shown that assistance to individual cases constitutes a significant aspect of UNHCR activities in the protection field and represents a considerable part of its day-to-day work, both in the Branch Offices and at Headquarters.

G. Family reunion

50. Both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed by the General Assembly on 10 December 1948, and the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 16 December 1966, which entered into force on 23 March 1976 and to which 44 states have so far adhered, recognize that "the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State".

51. The importance of the unity of the refugee's family was emphasized in the Final Act of the Conference of Plenipotentiaries which adopted the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. In its Recommendation B the Conference called upon Governments to take such measures as might be necessary for the protection of refugee families, especially with a view to (1) ensuring that the unity of the refugee's family was maintained, particularly in cases where the head of the family had satisfied the necessary conditions for admission to a particular country, (2) protecting refugees who were minors, in particular unaccompanied children and girls with special reference to guardianship and adoption.

52. Since its inception the office has promoted measures designed to strengthen the unity of refugee families, particularly by facilitating the reunion of separated members of such families. UNHCR activities in this respect are carried out for the benefit of all refugees wherever they are, taking into account the relevant laws and regulations of the countries of origin and reception concerned. In some cases, reunion is achieved by voluntary repatriation, in others, by helping relatives of refugees to receive authorization to leave their country of origin, and in many others by helping relatives of refugees to leave the country of asylum and gain admission to a country of resettlement.

53. To facilitate the departure of relatives of refugees from their country of origin, especially in Europe, a procedure has been established whereby individual case summaries are submitted to the government concerned. This procedure is being further developed to the mutual satisfaction of the parties concerned.

54. The activities of UNHCR in the field of family reunion have proved to be particularly important in connexion with the resettlement of a large number of Latin American refugees during more recent years. Indeed, in many cases it was not always possible for the whole family to depart together when the resettlement opportunity had arisen, and in about 1,400 cases arrangements had to be made for the reunification of these families at a later stage.

55. Similar problems have arisen in connexion with the resettlement operation for Indo-Chinese displaced persons where it was necessary to assist family members who, after their flight, had found temporary shelter in one of the neighbouring countries, to join the rest of the family which had been resettled in other parts of the world. There were also quite a number of children who, during the hostilities, had been moved to Europe for measures of rehabilitation and for whom, after the successful conclusion of these measures, it is now important to secure the reunion with their families which remained behind. In this action special difficulties have to be overcome because in many cases it is first necessary to trace the family which may in the meantime have been displaced within the country as a result of war events.

56. As far as the movement of refugees from the country of asylum and their admission to a country of resettlement for family reunion purposes is concerned, no special problems are being encountered, except for occasional delays in the issuance of the necessary travel documents or other documentation. Generally speaking, close relatives of refugees are able to join them in their country of permanent settlement, and many thousands have been able to do this so far.

57. The High Commissioner trusts that, in keeping with the intentions expressed by the states participating in the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, facilities for the family reunion of refugees will continue to be granted in a positive and humanitarian spirit and an increasing scale.

H. Travel and identity documents

58. In order to facilitate the movement of refugees - which may, in certain cases, also be conducive to their resettlement - it is essential that they should be provided with travel documents issued under article 28 of the 1951 Convention. Many refugees still experience difficulties in this respect when their country of residence is not a party to the 1951 Convention and is not in a position to issue an alternative travel document. . Furthermore, certain States parties to the 1951 Convention either do not yet issue Convention travel documents or apply restrictive criteria. In some cases the document is issued without the return clause which is frequently an essential prerequisite for obtaining a visa.

59. The travel document issued by the International Committee of the Red Cross has proved of great value, especially for resettlement purposes, in cases where the States concerned are not parties to the 1951 Convention or the 1967 Protocol.

60. The Parliamentary Assembly of the council of Europe has examined the question of responsibility for the issue of travel documents in the case of refugees who move lawfully from one State to another. In its Recommendation 775 (1976) on the subject, the Assembly proposed to the Committee of Ministers that an agreement should be prepared concerning the transfer of responsibility for the issuance of travel documents to refugees who move legally from one member State to another.

I. Naturalization

61. A fundamental objective of the international protection function of the Office is to help refugees to cease being refugees. The importance of this objective was recognized in paragraph (e) of General Assembly resolution 428 (V) of 14 December 1950 which calls upon Governments to co-operate with the High Commissioner by, inter alia, promoting the assimilation of refugees, especially by facilitating their naturalization, and in article 34 of the 1951 Convention which provides that the Contracting States shall, as far as possible, facilitate the assimilation and naturalization of refugees and shall, in particular, make every effort to expedite naturalization proceedings. The Office continues to encourage national authorities to adopt administrative or legal measures with a view to:

(a) Enabling refugees to qualify for naturalization earlier than aliens generally;

(b) Exempting refugees from the requirements of furnishing proof of release from or loss of their former nationality;

(c) Exempting needy refugees from payment of fees normally payable for naturalization proceedings, or reduce such fees.

62. During the period under review, a number of encouraging results were achieved in respect of naturalization. Thus in Botswana some 1,800 Angolans were naturalized. In Burundi, where the waiting period for refugees is 8 years, instead of 12 as for other aliens, some 1,500 refugees were naturalized during the period under review. In Europe at least 5,000 refugees acquired the nationality of their country of residence.

63. UNHCR seeks to encourage arrangements with a view to facilitating the naturalization of refugees in line with article 34 of the 1951 Convention. Arrangements of this kind are presently under consideration in a number of countries.

J. Indemnification

64. There still remains a small reserve from the indemnification funds14 made available to UNHCR by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany for the benefit of refugees who suffered persecution by the National Socialist Régime because of nationality. This reserve accrues from interest and reimbursements by the German authorities of payments initially made from UNHCR indemnification funds to persons who subsequently qualified for larger payments under German indemnification legislation. The reserve continues to be distributed to persons who, at any time between 8 May 1945 and 31 December 1965, were refugees in the sense of the 1951 Convention, who had been detained for over 90 days in a concentration camp by reason of their nationality, and who received no compensation from other sources. As at 31 December 1976, a total of 16,346 persons had benefited from payments amounting to over $US 16,764,900 made since 1960 out of UNHCR indemnification funds, including the reserve.

65. In implementing article 1 of the Agreement of October 1960, the Federal Administration Office in Cologne has granted as at 31 December 1976 a total of over DM 388,000,000 for indemnification to persons persecuted on grounds of nationality. Some 3,265 refugees thus received capital payments and monthly pensions to compensate for damage to health resulting from persecution for reasons of nationality.

66. During his visit to the Federal Republic of Germany in January 1976, the High Commissioner was encouraged by the understanding shown for the problem of those indemnification claims, presented by persons persecuted on grounds of nationality, which are still pending in German courts.

67. In October 1976, the High Commissioner reported to a Meeting of Voluntary Agencies and Refugee Organizations interested in indemnification matters on the distribution of the indemnification Funds placed at his disposal by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, and on the implementation by the German Indemnification Authorities of article 1 of the Agreement of October 1960. Participants expressed their appreciation for the efficient distribution of the funds entrusted to UNHCR. They also requested the High Commissioner to pursue his efforts in conjunction with the competent German authorities to accelerate the handling of outstanding indemnification claims submitted by persons persecuted on grounds of nationality. The meeting also raised the question of granting assistance to victims of national-socialist persecution who became refugees after 31 December 1965.

Registration of assets of Asians of undetermined nationality from Uganda

68. The registering of claims with the Ugandan Government for the assets of Asians of undetermined nationality has been in operation since January 1975. By 31 March 1977, some 3,800 sets of registration forms had been sent out to potential claimants, and 2,360 had been completed and returned to UNHCR. Of these, an approximate total of 1,660 potentially qualifying had been transmitted to the Ugandan authorities. The deadline for the receipt of claims by these authorities was extended until 30 April 1977. Once initial evaluations are available, UNHCR proposes to have discussions with Ugandan officials in order to complete the operation. Meanwhile every claimant has been informed of the conditions under which UNHCR is prepared to act on his or her behalf.


69. The scope of UNHCR activities expanded considerably in 1976 as regards both its annual assistance programmes and the special operations undertaken for the benefit of refugees and displaced persons in accordance with resolutions of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council. Continued assistance to non-settled refugees, new or expanded projects for the considerable influx of newcomers, and growing demands on UNHCR assistance to uprooted persons resulted in the need to implement projects in an over-all value of nearly $90,864,000 during the period under review. This figure comprised broadly $13,903,000 under the annual assistance programme, $12,783,000 for complementary assistance projects, including education, financed from special trust funds, and $62,429,000 for the special operations. Details of these expenditures are given in the relevant country sections of the following chapters (see also annex II, table 1).

70. There were large new influxes of refugees, notably in southern Africa and South-East Asia. The problems of Latin American refugees also continued to call for the urgent attention of UNHCR.

71. Two new special operations were undertaken in 1976, Lebanon and in Angola.

A. Assistance activities in the framework of the annual programme

72. As in previous years, Africa, with some 1.2 million refugees, absorbed the greater part of expenditures under the annual programme, most of which was used for rural settlement. New influxes of refugees from Ethiopia into the Sudan and from South Africa and Zimbabwe, notably into Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zambia, largely offset reductions in numbers through voluntary repatriation.

73. In Latin America, UNHCR's activities continued to be focused on assisting some 30,000 refugees, mainly from Chile, for whom care and maintenance costs pending their settlement and the promotion of durable solutions continued to call for a substantial share of UNHCR voluntary funds.

74. In a number of European countries, assistance activities were chiefly directed at resettling Latin Americans and Indo-Chinese. Despite a high rate of unemployment and uncertain economic conditions in some receiving countries, considerable numbers of persons were generously admitted for permanent settlement.

75. Assistance continued to be required on a growing scale, especially in Africa. The Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme, therefore, at its twenty-seventh session approved an increase in the financial target of the 1976 Assistance Programme from $13,848,000 to $14,851,000.15

76. An estimated total of some 350,000 refugees benefited from the 1976 assistance programme. Information on the funds expended under the programme in the various countries or areas throughout the world may be found in annex II, table 1.

77. A financial target of $16,663,000 for the UNHCR annual assistance programme for 1977 was also approved by the Executive Committee at its twenty-seventh session.

B. Assistance activities under the special operations

78. During the period under review, UNHCR continued to implement the special operations undertaken in recent years in Africa and Asia with a view to assisting refugees and displaced persons to become self-supporting as soon as possible.

79. In Africa, satisfactory progress was made in the implementation of the programmes for the repatriation and resettlement for former refugees and displaced persons in Guinea-Bissau will be completed in 1977. Furthermore, in 1976 the High Commissioner was appointed Co-ordinator of a United Nations Programme of Humanitarian Assistance in Angola.

80. In Asia, progress was made in carrying out the humanitarian special operations to provide relief and settlement assistance to large groups of displaced persons in the Lao People's Democratic Republic and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, and in meeting the needs of the many thousands of Indo-Chinese displaced persons who have found asylum in countries in South-East Asia. UNHCR also undertook a programme of emergency assistance to needy displaced persons in Lebanon within the over-all framework of the United Nations Emergency Assistance Programme.


A. General development

1. Introductory remarks

81. The total number of refugees of concern to UNHCR in Africa at the end of 1976 was estimated at some 1.2 million as compared with approximately 1.1 million in 1975. The reduction in numbers resulting from voluntary repatriations, notably to Mozambique, was more than offset by new influxes of refugees in Algeria, the Sudan and in southern Africa.

82. Three major developments took place during the period under review: the substantial influxes of new refugees, particularly from Zimbabwe and South Africa, the launching of a UNHCR assistance programme for Sahrawis in Algeria and a special operation for assistance to returning refugees and displaced persons in Angola. On the other hand, progress was made in phasing out assistance programmes in several countries where the refugee population has achieved a certain degree of self-sufficiency, notably Rwanda and Uganda.

83. Total UNHCR expenditures in Africa in 1976 amounted to $20.7 million, of which over $5.2 million under the annual programme, $6.8 million from trust funds, including the Education account, $1.8 million from the emergency Fund and $6.9 million for special operations.

2. Voluntary repatriation

84. UNHCR activities to assist refugees in their voluntary repatriation again benefited mainly the refugees returning to the territories formerly administered by Portugal. Some 10,000 persons returning to Guinea-Bissau were so assisted by UNHCR in 1976 under the special operation for the repatriation and resettlement of 150,000 former refugees and displaced persons in Guinea-Bissau. A further 3,500 Mozambicans were likewise assisted to return to Mozambique in 1976. Assistance to refugees returning to other countries was also provided in a small number of individual cases.

85. An amount of $483,872 was expended under both the annual programme and the special operations for voluntary repatriation in 1976.

3. Resettlement

86. The Bureau for the Placement and Education of African Refugees of the Organization of African unity has drawn up a programme of activities with a view to promoting the placement of African refugees within the continent and increasing the number of educational opportunities available to student refugees. UNHCR has made arrangements whereby its social consultant for Africa can be closely associated with these efforts which should increase the number of African refugees resettled in African countries which can provide them with the opportunity of becoming self-supporting.

4. Local settlement

87. Apart from the former refugees from colonial territories, most of whom have returned, or are returning, to their countries of origin, the majority of refugees in Africa continue to need local integration, particularly land settlement, as a solution to their problems. The various types of such settlement assistance provided under UNHCR's annual assistance programme has been described in previous reports to the General Assembly.

88. On the other hand, other forms of assistance, involving most of the United Nations agencies, are required under the special operations that have been undertaken by UNHCR to assist Governments in the newly-independent countries in Africa, where a basic economic and social infrastructure has to be created.

89. Expenditures for local integration, mainly through rural settlement, under the 1976 annual programme amounted to some $4.4 million, while $6.4 million was expended under the special operations for the resettlement and rehabilitation of refugees and displaced persons in Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique. In view of developments in Africa, further substantial funds are likely to be required for this type of assistance.

(a) Rural settlement

90. The establishment or consolidation of refugees in rural settlements in Africa, where the over-all objective is the formation of economically and socially viable communities, continued to receive the major part of UNHCR assistance in 1976. Such assistance measures have been either implemented, continued or planned for settlements in Burundi, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Rwanda, the Sudan, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zaire. Progress continued to be made despite difficulties and delays in some instances.

(b) Counselling

91. Counselling services to refugees in Africa are provided either under the direct supervision of UNHCR or under joint arrangements between UNHCR and other bodies interested in promoting such services. At the end of March 1977, refugee counselling services were in operation in 11 African countries and plans were under way to strengthen those which have had to deal with increased influxes of refugees.

92. Counselling refugees skilfully to enable them to plan realistically for their future is an essential element in programmes aimed at providing appropriate solutions to their problems, as are contacts with community resources which can contribute to making such solutions possible.

(c) Education and training

93. The education of refugees at primary, post-primary and post-secondary levels has been promoted and financed by UNHCR in accordance with the needs of the refugee groups concerned, the occupational potential in the various regions where they reside and the financial means placed at the disposal of UNHCR. While primary education is basically provided to the majority of the refugees within the arrangements made for rural settlements, UNHCR assistance for training at higher levels is dealt with primarily through a system of scholarships financed through the Refugee Education Account and since 1977 partly through the UNHCR annual programme.

94. Voluntary agencies involved in refugee education provide educational assistance to refugees in accordance with their objectives. The United Nations Educational and Training Programme for Southern Africa has continued to provide educational assistance to southern African refugees seeking education beyond primary or lower secondary level.

95. During 1976 over 2,800 African refugees were assisted in continuing their studies beyond the primary level. Emphasis is given to fields of training providing skills needed in the area.

96. The large increase in the influx into neighbouring countries of refugee students from South Africa and Zimbabwe during the latter part of 1976 and early 1977 has called for special projects to provide both long-range and emergency solutions. The High Commissioner was designated by the Secretary-General as United Nations Co-ordinator of these assistance measures to expand educational facilities in countries where refugee students have sought refugee and for scholarships to enable them to enter schools in countries which can provide appropriate educational opportunities.

B. Main developments in various countries


97. As mentioned in his report to the General Assembly, at its thirty-first session,16 the High Commissioner made available to the Algerian Red Crescent early in 1976 an amount of $500,000 from his Emergency Fund to assist an estimated 20,000 Sahrawi refugees who were living in conditions of considerable hardship in the Tindouf region of south-western Algeria. Further donations of $500,000 from trust funds and $110,000 in kind were also made available.

98. However, in view of the continued influx reported by the Algerian Authorities, which estimated the total number to be some 50,000 at the end of 1976, and of the needs to be met in a region where climatic conditions make agriculture and cattle-breeding virtually impossible, the Government of Algeria requested the High Commissioner to undertake a large-scale programme of material assistance. Subsequently, the Secretary-General of the United Nations designated the High Commissioner as the Co-ordinator of humanitarian assistance from the United Nations system to Algeria for the Sahrawi refugees.

99. In October 1976, the High Commissioner therefore appealed to Governments for urgently-needed support for a UNHCR programme of humanitarian assistance in Tindouf. By the end of the year, some $3.2 million had been received or pledged, of which $1.3 million in cash, towards a target of $5,725,000 in cash and 10,000 tons of food in kind. The amount of $1.3 million was expended through the Algerian Red Crescent to provide urgently-needed food supplies, shelter and other relief items, medical supplies and transport. Contributions in kind covered wheat, flour, pulses, milk, edible oil and dates.

100. At the time of writing this report, $4.1 million in cash and nearly 6,000 tons of food were still required to assist this group in 1977.

101. Some $56,000 was expended under the annual programme to assist aged and handicapped refugees of European origin and a small group of Latin American refugees. Assistance measures covered care and temporary accommodation, medical costs, supplementary aid, vocational training and language courses, and promotion of resettlement in other countries.

102. A total of nearly $3 million, including contributions in kind, was expended by UNHCR in Algeria in 1976.


103. In response to a request from the Government of Angola to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, an interagency mission, headed by a special representative of the Secretary-General and comprising representatives from UNICEF, UNDP, UNHCR, WFP and WHO, visited Angola in June 1976 to assess humanitarian needs and the nature and volume of assistance required from the international community towards the solution of urgent problems related to the resettlement and rehabilitation of some 1 million uprooted persons, including returning Angolan refugees and persons displaced within the country. The mission, led by Mr. Davidson Nicol, spent three weeks in Angola and identified such needs in the field of health, food supplies, agriculture, transport and education.

104. Following the interagency mission, the Secretary-General appointed the High Commissioner as Co-ordinator of a United Nations Programme of Humanitarian Assistance to Angola, which was to be focused on the settlement of returning refugees and displaced persons. On 23 August, the High Commissioner, in consultation with other United Nations agencies, addressed an appeal to Governments of States Members of the United Nations and of the specialized agencies for contributions towards a financial target of $32.5 million in cash and some 48,000 tons of food supplies for a short-term programme of assistance. It was understood at the time of the appeal that the other members of the United nations agencies concerned would endeavour to raise the resources required for these programme aspects directly related to the specific responsibilities of their organizations. As at 31 March 1977, $11.6 million in cash had been contributed or pledged towards the cash requirements of the programme. Of that amount, $9.7 million was provided through the United Nations system (including $4 million through UNICEF) and a further $1.9 million was provided by donors on a bilateral basis. Total food supplies contributed or pledged amounted to some $15 million in value, of which $14.9 million was contributed through the United Nations system, (including some 7.1 million through UNICEF and 43.9 million by WFP), and the balance of $100,000 by donors on a bilateral basis.

105. By 31 December 1976, a total of some $3.4 million had been expended by UNHCR under this special operation. In addition, an amount of $500,000 was made available from the Emergency Fund in March 1976, to assist the Government of Angola in meeting the immediate needs of the displaced persons.


106. The refugee population in Egypt totalled some 4,000 at the end of 1976, mainly stateless Armenians, refugees of European origin, and African refugee students. UNHCR activities were mainly concerned with providing local settlement assistance, including establishment grants, major medical assistance, including dental fees and surgical interventions, and regular monthly allowances for those in need. Other measures included counselling services to help refugees overcome initial local settlement problems, supplementary aid to meet emergency needs, particularly medical care, and resettlement assistance. Some $220,000 was expended in 1976 under the annual programme, while nearly $160,000 was made available from trust funds, including the Education Account, to provide scholarships at various levels, subsistence and miscellaneous education allowances as well as university registration and tuition fees.


107. The number of refugees in Ethiopia at the end of 1976 was estimated at 10,700, of whom approximately 10,500, presently located at Ganduar and in the Gambela area, are from the Sudan and the remainder, individual refugees located in and around Addis Ababa, are of various origins.

108. During most of 1976 UNHCR assistance continued to be provided for the Sudanese refugees at Ganduar, whose transfer to a permanent settlement site had again to be postponed owing to unforeseen difficulties. Negotiations are in progress for early resolution of this problem.

109. In May 1976, a special emergency fund project of over $250,000 was established with a view to promoting durable solutions through voluntary repatriation or local settlement for south Sudanese refugees in the Gambela area. The programme is being implemented by the Government with extra staff and logistic assistance provided by UNHCR. Food supplies to alleviate immediate hardship and medical supplies and equipment were provided by WFP and UNICEF respectively. Crop yields by the end of the year were satisfactory.

110. The project also included aid to 380 students in Addis Ababa, some of whom were assisted to settle in Gambela and others with their voluntary repatriation.

111. Solutions to the problems of individual refugees and asylum-seekers in Addis Ababa continued to be hampered by lack of employment opportunities, the closing of schools and the university and the difficulty of obtaining trading licences and work permits. Increased funds were therefore required for supplementary assistance for medical and dental care, clothing, shelter and rent subsidies and travel costs. UNHCR also made available more than $12,000 from the United Nations Trust Fund for South Africa to provide assistance in the form of food, rent, clothing and primary education for needy refugee families.

112. Expenditure under the 1976 programme totalled nearly $470,000, of which approximately $413,000 was obligated towards local settlement. Allocations from the Emergency Fund totalled $305,000.


113. In 1976, UNHCR activities in Guinea-Bissau were chiefly directed towards completing the second phase of the repatriation and resettlement programme undertaken in response to the request of the Government in October 1974, to provide assistance to some 150,000 persons, including nationals displaced in Guinea-Bissau and returning refugees. Programmes were sufficiently close to completion to enable the officer in charge of the mission to be recalled to headquarters, leaving administration in the hands of the UNHCR Regional Office in Dakar. It is anticipated that programmes still under way will be completed by the end of 1977.

114. Assistance in 1976 included transportation for nearly 10,000 persons (some 8,400 from Senegal and 1,600 from the Gambia), food supplies provided by the World Food Programme ($700,000), and provision of seeds and other agricultural supplies to enable those returning to become self-sufficient within one growing season. Health facilities ($720,721) were also provided but, owing mainly to lack of construction material and of qualified manpower, construction of medical centres could not take place as scheduled.

115. Under the 1976 annual programme, funds contributed to the Guinea-Bissau operation totalled nearly $13,000, of which more than $10,000 was obligated for assistance to handicapped refugees and nearly $2,000 for facilitating voluntary repatriation.


116. By the end of 1976, the total refugee population was estimated at 2,700 as compared with 2,450 in 1975, consisting largely of small groups of individual refugees from various countries living mainly in urban areas. The increased total reflects the influx of new arrivals from Ethiopia and adjustments in statistics following the new government policy of recognizing asylum-seekers from Uganda, of whom there are some 700.

117. The Joint Refugee Services of Kenya (JRSK) continued to administer UNHCR assistance as well as to counsel refugees. Refugees were given supplementary aid, education assistance and grants for local settlement to enable them to become self-supporting. South Africans in transit in Kenya or waiting to be registered by JRSK also benefited from assistance financed by the United Nations Trust Fund for South Africa.

118. Total commitments under the 1976 assistance programme amounted to over $97,000, of which some $49,000 was for local settlement, $17,000 for supplementary aid, some $12,000 for resettlement and $4,000 for voluntary repatriation. In addition, some $107,000 was committed from special trust funds, including almost $68,000 in respect of grants enabling 69 refugee students to pursue courses at the secondary, vocational/technical or university levels.


119. The extent of UNHCR's assistance activities under its annual programme for refugees from Zimbabwe in Mozambique was considerably expanded in 1976 in view of the continuing large-scale influx of these refugees, whose number rose from 14,500 at the end of 1975 to some 27,000 in 1976.

120. In addition, implementation was continued of the special operation for the repatriation and resettlement of returning refugees and displaced persons, undertaken by the High Commissioner in 1975.

121. The refugees from Zimbabwe, accommodated in three rural settlements located in Manica, Sofala and Tete provinces, were given emergency relief as well as agricultural assistance to enable them to develop greater self-sufficiency. Following an attack by Rhodesian forces on one of the settlements close to the border, during which some 800 of the inhabitants were killed, a new settlement was established at a more secure site near Chimoio. UNHCR provided immediate emergency assistance in the form of transport, food, clothing, medicine and household goods to the refugees in the new settlement. Their needs, however, remain considerable. The older settlements also continued to require substantial international aid, particularly for new arrivals, who currently number some 1,000 monthly.

122. Food supplies for the refugees valued at some $800,000 were donated by the World Food Programme in 1976.

123. Serious floods, which ravaged Mozambique in February 1977, have put an additional strain on the Government's limited resources. Increased support from international sources will therefore be essential.

124. Other UNHCR projects in Mozambique provide for assistance to individual refugees of various nationalities. An agricultural centre for these refugees, established in the Gaza province in 1976 with UNHCR financing, provided an occupation for many of them and has thus been instrumental in reducing the number of unemployed individual refugees in Maputo.

125. UNHCR expenditures for refugees in Mozambique under the annual programme during 1976 amounted to some $573,000 of which $562,000 went towards local settlement assistance. A further $75,000 was allocated from the Emergency Fund.

126. As indicated in his report to the General Assembly at its thirty-first session,17 the High Commissioner, upon the request of the then Transitional Government of Mozambique and in consultation with the Secretary-General, undertook refugees and displaced persons. By the end of 1976, total contributions to this special operation amounted to some $6,340,000, including $755,000 in kind, of which $725,000 represented the value of WFP food supplies.

127. Assistance measures in 1976 were directed towards the continuation or completion of projects stated in 1975. These covered the purchase of vehicles for inland transportation of returning refugees, agricultural aid and health facilities, including construction work on a child welfare centre. With the return of a further 3,500 refugees from neighbouring countries, the repatriation operation was almost completed by the end of the year.

128. UNHCR expenditures under this special operation in 1976 totalled nearly $1,280,000, making a total of over $4,166,000 expended for this special operation since its inception in 1975.

129. In consultation with the Government and other United Nations agencies, it was agreed that the final phase of the repatriation and resettlement programme would be directed towards certain short-term objectives within the over-all government programme for the development of the former reception centres into communal villages, while longer-term programmes would be supported by UNICEF, WFP and UNDP.

Southern Africa (Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland)

130. Events in southern Africa, notably in South Africa and Zimbabwe, have had considerable impact on refugee problems, especially in Botswana but also in Lesotho and Swaziland. The continuing influxes of refugees to whom these governments are generously giving asylum are placing an excessive burden on the limited resources of these countries.

131. In the first half of 1976, Botswana registered small new influxes of Angolan and Namibian refugees. Subsequently, large numbers of South African refugee students entered the country, mainly in transit to other destinations. Although the fluidity of the situation made accurate assessments difficult, it is estimated that some 7,000 refugees from Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe entered Botswana in 1976 and that approximately 3,000 were still in the country at the end of the year. The last months of 1976 were marked by an increasing flow of persons from Zimbabwe, and this trend increased sharply in early 1977 with the arrival of large groups of school-children, most of whom subsequently moved to other countries. The continuing influx is causing already scarce resources to be diverted from essential development needs and giving rise to serious overcrowding in existing facilities for refugees, particularly the Francistown Transit Centre.

132. In Lesotho, South Africans recognized as refugees totalled some 200 at the end of 1976 and consisted mainly of students. The Government generously admitted as many as could be accommodated into its education institutions at all levels, and has recently asked the international community for assistance so that it may continue the practice.

133. An influx of some 230 students from South Africa into Swaziland commenced in September 1976. The majority of these refugees have since been admitted to the United Republic of Tanzania. Meanwhile, new arrivals continue to be registered in Swaziland.

134. In view of the serious dimensions of this problem, the General assembly, in resolution 31/126, requested the Secretary-General to consult with the Governments of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland and the liberation movements concerned, with a view to taking immediate steps to organize and provide appropriate emergency financial and other forms of assistance for the care, subsistence and education of student refugees entering those countries from South Africa. The Secretary-General therefore appointed a mission, including a representative from UNHCR, on Emergency Assistance for South African Refugees, which visited Lesotho, Swaziland and Botswana in February 1977. In its report to the Secretary-General, the mission paid tribute to the generous refugee policies of the three receiving countries, but expressed concern bout the well-being of the refugee students. The mission recommended that steps should be taken with the aid of the international community to improve assistance measures and educational opportunities by extending educational facilities (in Botswana and Lesotho), constructing new reception/transit centres (in Botswana and Swaziland) and strengthening counselling services in all three countries.

135. Meanwhile UNHCR has already, in response to appeals from the three Governments concerned, allocated amounts totalling $96,000 from the emergency Fund for relief and other immediate needs. A review of UNHCR's assistance activities in the area was also undertaken with a view to ensuring rapid and adequate assistance to new arrivals, whose numbers may well increase significantly, and to the strengthening of staffing arrangements.

136. In addition to dealing with new emergencies, the UNHCR Branch Office in Gaborone, which has over-all responsibility for refugees in Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland, continued to supervise assistance projects for earlier groups of refugees, most of whom were in Botswana.

137. Assistance measures under the annual programme in the three countries included aid for small local settlement projects and provision of supplementary aid and counselling services. In western Botswana, a clinic financed by the Council for Namibia through UNHCR for Namibian refugees and nationals was completed and officially opened in November 1976.

138. A total of $242,000 was expended in southern Africa, of which $55,000 under the annual programme and $91,000 from special trust funds. Funds made available by the United Nations Trust Fund for South Africa totalled nearly $26,000 (Botswana $20,000, Lesotho $4,000 and Swaziland $1,700) for supplementary assistance to refugees.


139. By the end of 1976, the number of refugees in the Sudan was estimated to have reached 110,000, an increase of 20,000 over the 1975 figure, due mainly to further influxes of refugees from Ethiopia. The other groups comprised approximately 4,500 refugees from Zaire and 500 from Uganda. Some 21,000 of the refugees from Ethiopia are living in organized settlements while the remainder have settled independently, mainly in Kassala Province, or are accommodated in temporary settlement sites. UNHCR activities were mainly focused on assisting newly-arrived refugees and others settled in temporary centres, and in studying more permanent settlement possibilities. The refugees living outside the settlements continued to enjoy the same health, education and other services as those provided to nationals.

140. During the period under review, approximately 28,000 Ethiopian refugees were assisted in their settlement in villages in the Gedaref area and the Esh Showak area, or in temporary settlements in Kassala Province. An evaluation by outside consultants of more permanent settlement sites in the latter province was also completed. The establishment of a suboffice in Gedaref at the beginning of 1977 will enable UNHCR to follow the implementation of projects more closely. At the Qala-en-Nahal settlement, transferred to government administration in 1975, work continued on school construction throughout 1976.

141. Counselling assistance, supplementary aid for more than 2,000 needy refugees, grants for voluntary repatriation and education aid, in addition to one-year vocational training courses for refugees at three technical schools in Kassala, were also provided during the period under review.

142. Total UNHCR commitments in the Sudan in 1976 amounted to some $884,000, of which $125,000 was disbursed under the annual programme, mostly for supplementary aid ($62,500) and local settlement ($45,000). Trust fund (including Education Account) and Emergency Fund expenditure amounted to $360,000 and $217,000 respectively. In addition, some $182,000 was obligated in 1976 for the completion of activities under the programme of Assistance to Southern Sudanese Returnees and Displaced Persons.

United Republic of Tanzania

143. As the Mozambicans who have chosen to remain in the United Republic of Tanzania may no longer be considered prima facie refugees as a group, the total refugee population may be considered to have decreased from 171,000 in 1975 to 154,000 in 1976, of which the largest group, 127,000, are from Burundi, followed by 24,000 from Rwanda, some 2,200 from Uganda, and smaller groups from Zaire, Malawi, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia or Ethiopia.

144. The number of Burundi refugees in Ulyankulu and Katumba settlements now stands at some 58,000 each, following further admissions from the Kigoma region. Administered under tripartite agreements between the Government, the Lutheran World Federation/Tanganyika Christian Refugee Service and UNHCR, both settlements continue to make satisfactory progress. However, in view of the large increase in the populations of both settlements, a survey will be undertaken to determine their future economic viability.

145. At Ulyankulu, work continued on an extensive infrastructure building programme. Projects completed include a rural dispensary, a co-operative headquarters, a settlement library and a primary school, while work was started on four more schools, another rural dispensary and a market place. An emergency water development project and other measures to improve the water supply were also undertaken. However, it is not anticipated that these measures will be sufficient fully to resolve the problem. Food crop farming, including cultivation of maize, cassava, beans, sweet potatoes and various vegetables, and a cash crop of tobacco continued to be emphasized in 1976, with the result that World Food Programme assistance is now being phased out.

146. At Katumba, where food crops also include ground-nuts, tobacco and soybeans are the predominant cash crops. Newly-arriving refugees received full food rations in 1976. The settlement is expected to be self-sufficient in food crops after the 1977 harvest and World Food Programme assistance will be phased out by the end of October.

147. Work on the settlement infrastructure at Kigwa for some 1,000 Ugandan refugees, a joint undertaking by the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania and UNHCR, made good progress throughout the year despite a shortage of some critical building materials. Most refugees now have houses near their fields and, although the rains have not been abundant, a satisfactory harvest, especially of maize, was reported.

148. Other forms of assistance in the United Republic of Tanzania included measures to facilitate large-scale voluntary repatriation of Mozambicans and individuals and families of other groups, totalling 3,500 persons. Some 20,000 Mozambicans remaining in the country were still living in the five settlements previously assisted by UNHCR, all of which have now become "ujamaa" villages following the hand-over of the Mputa settlement to the Government in June 1976.

149. Resettlement assistance, supplementary assistance and education aid for 219 refugee students at secondary, university or vocational training levels were also provided. In addition, trust funds donated mainly by two donors enable UNHCR to obligate nearly $2 million as a contribution towards the construction in Tunduru of a two-stream secondary school with boarding facilities for some 320 pupils, which is expected to be completed by March 1979. The agreement provides that refugees will not only be admitted to the new school but also to secondary schools throughout the country.

150. Total expenditures under the annual programme amounted to $2.2 million, mainly for local settlement.


151. The refugee population in Zaire at the end of 1976 was estimated at 514,500, of which approximately 471,000 were Angolans and 18,200 refugees from Burundi. The latter figure, considerably lower than the 24,000 refugees reported at the end of 1974, is the result of voluntary departures from Zaire to other countries. Rwandese refugees are estimated to number some 24,500. Other, smaller refugee groups include Zambian, Namibians and South Africans.

152. Food, medical and educational assistance was provided to 24,500 needy Angolan refugees in Bas-Zaire. In view of new influxes following developments from Angola, $190,000 was used from the Programme Reserve and from the 1976 annual programme to supplement the $300,000 allocation from the Emergency Fund made in the latter part of 1975, in order to meet the essential needs of these refugees in 1976. An additional sum of nearly $140,000 was obligated for medical and educational assistance for individual Angolan refugees in the Kinshasa area.

153. Following the decision of the Zairian authorities to allow the Burundi refugees in Kivu to resettle in Mutambala, 1,800 refugees were transferred in the summer of 1976. Assistance measures covered food supplies, medical, educational and agricultural assistance, and the development of the necessary infrastructure. The authorities have indicated they would allow a further 2,000 refugees to resettle at Mutambala.

154. Health and education assistance as well as local settlement aid in the fields of agricultural, fishing and community development assistance were provided to other groups of Burundi refugees.

155. Assistance to individual refugees took the form mainly of grants toward food, clothing, medical care, vocational training, voluntary repatriation and local settlement, as well as scholarships and related expenses for Angolan, Burundi and Rwandese students at the secondary and university levels.

156. Total expenditures in Zaire in 1976 amounted to nearly $1,500,000, of which some $583,000 was for local settlement. Trust fund expenditures totalled approximately $857,000, including the Education Account. Nearly $3,500 was provided by the United Nations Trust Fund for South Africa.


157. Government estimates placed the number of refugees in Zambia at the end of 1976 at 33,600, of whom nearly 28,000 are Angolans, 3,350 Namibians, and some 360 South Africans. In addition, an increasing number of Zimbabweans have been entering Zambia. Discussions have been held with Zambian authorities and with Zimbabwean liberation movements with a view to providing assistance where necessary.

158. The number of refugees living in Meheba rural settlement increased from 8,100 in 1975 to 10,600 in 1976 following new influxes from Angola. In early 1976, some 2,600 new refugees arrived in the border areas and were moved to Meheba, while a further new group, numbering some 800, who entered the country in November 1976, were transferred to the settlement early in 1977.

159. These events made it necessary to couple the holding operation projected for 1976 with increased levels of settlement assistance to accommodate the new arrivals, including the expansion of infrastructure, clearance of new land, and the provision of emergency food supplies and additional health services. Development projects undertaken included fish ponds, carpentry workshops, milling co-operatives and homecraft courses for women. The presence of considerable numbers of urban refugees among the newcomers has encouraged planning of more diversified activities such as light industry and small businesses.

160. To cover needs at the settlement, including assistance to newcomers, and to reimburse the Zambian Government for costs of transporting newcomers, the initial allocation of $50,000 was increased by $225,633, from the 1976 Programme Reserve. The total revised allocation of $275,633, approved by the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme at its twenty-seventh session, was further increased by $32,269 from the Programme Reserve and $40,000 by transfer between allocations. Emergency food supplies were provided by the World Food Programme. UNHCR's partners under the Tripartite Agreement establishing Meheba settlement, the Government and Lutheran World Federation/Zambian Christian Refugee Service (LWF/ZCRS), the implementing agency, gave supporting contributions equivalent to $184,000 and $48,500 respectively.

161. The situation of individual refugees living in the urban areas, particularly Lusaka, continued to deteriorate in view of rising living costs and the severe shortage of employment opportunities. A counselling service, established in January 1976 under a Tripartite Agreement between the Christian Council of Zambia, the International University Exchange Fund and UNHCR, contributed to solutions of some of the most pressing individual cases. The major portion of UNHCR expenditure, however, was devoted to providing care and maintenance.

162. During 1976 and early 1977, there were large influxes of refugees, mainly students from urban centres in South Africa and Zimbabwe, passing through Botswana into Zambia. UNHCR is working in close co-operation with the Government and the liberation movements to provide relief assistance and to find places in schools for those wishing to pursue their studies. UNHCR also continues to provide post-primary education assistance, including technical and vocational training scholarships, for South African and other groups of refugees. In addition, contacts have been strengthened with the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) for assistance to Namibian refugees in Zambia. Co-operation has continued with the Office of the United Nations Commissioner for Namibia, the OAU Co-ordinating Committee for the Liberation of Africa, and with non-governmental organizations, particularly the Christian Council of Zambia, the Zambian Christian Refugee Service, and the International University Exchange Fund.

163. Despite its own economic problems and its considerable support of the liberation struggle in southern Africa, the Zambian Government's expenditure in 1976 on refugee activities amounted to some $249,000, mainly for the provision of land, services and emergency food supplies.

164. Of UNHCR's total commitment of $661,000 in Zambia, nearly $356,000 was obligated for local settlement. Trust fund expenditure, including Education account, amounted to nearly $255,000. An amount of nearly $25,000 from the United Nations Trust Fund Africa was made available for assistance to South African refugees during the period 1 July 1976 to 30 June 1977.

Other countries in Africa

165. There were an estimated 300,000 refugees of concern to UNHCR in various other African countries at the end of 1976.

166. In the central African countries, the refugee population numbered approximately 90,000, comprising refugees from Equatorial Guinea and Angola. UNHCR assistance projects in the area mainly helped to facilitate local settlement. Assistance to individual refugees of various origins living in urban areas was continued through multipurpose projects covering supplementary aid, local settlement, resettlement and voluntary repatriation. These were administered by the UNDP Resident Representative. Total commitments under the 1976 programme for assistance and the Emergency Fund in these countries amounted to nearly $100,500. A further $14,000 was allocated from the Education Account to provide scholarships for Namibian students in the United Republic of Cameroon.

167. The refugee population of Morocco and Tunisia numbered 500 and 200 respectively. Programme expenditures covered assistance to aged refugees and supplementary aid to refugee students.

168. In East Africa18 the refugee population remained stable at approximately 170,000, of whom nearly 50,000 were living in Burundi, 7,500 in Rwanda and 113,000 in Uganda.

169. In Burundi, assistance measures covered mainly the consolidation of the Bukemba settlement, where more recent arrivals have been settled, assistance to needy individual refugees in urban centres, and support for the counselling service in Bujumbura. A total of some $162,000 was expended under the annual programme for such assistance, while over $69,000 from trust funds, including the Education Account, was used to finance scholarships and related expenses for secondary school and university students.

170. In Rwanda, assistance measures under the annual programme concerned mainly the consolidation of earlier projects at the Mutara rural settlement, assistance to 600 needy individual refugees and to secondary school and university students.

171. Most of the refugees in Uganda have attained a degree of economic self-sufficiency comparable to that of the local population. Assistance measures included supplementary assistance, help towards local settlement, resettlement, voluntary repatriation and education, while some $74,000 from trust funds was used to assist refugee students, including those from South Africa and Namibia. A total of $200,000 was expended by UNHCR in 1976 in Rwanda and Uganda, of which $58,500 under the annual programme and $141,000 from trust funds, including the Education Account.

172. In the West African countries concerned, the refugee population was estimated at some 41,000 at the end of 1976, of whom approximately 37,000 were living in Senegal. Some 10,000 refugees were voluntarily repatriated from Senegal in 1976; those remaining in Senegal received various types of assistance through a $23,500 multipurpose fund administered by the National Committee for Aid to Refugees. In addition, trust funds totalling $46,000, including allocations from the Education Account, provided scholarships for students of various national origins.

173. The 4,000 refugees in other countries in West Africa, i.e. Benin, Gambia, Ghana, Ivory coast, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo and Upper Volta, were assisted in their local settlement, resettlement or voluntary repatriation through multipurpose projects administered by the UNDP Resident Representatives in the respective countries. A total of $76,500 was expended under the annual programme, while trust funds totalling $99,800 were used to assist university students.


A. Latin America


174. At the end of 1975, the over-all number of refugees in Latin America was approximately 112,000. The total population of refugees of Latin American origin remained constant at a level of 29,000 to 30,000, new arrivals from several Latin American countries having been offset by resettlement of earlier refugees in other continents. Refugees of European origin totalled approximately 82,000, a decrease of some 5,000 in comparison with 1975, due mainly to natural decrease and naturalization. There were virtually no new arrivals of refugees of European origin during the year, and it will be recalled that children born in Latin American countries automatically acquire the citizenship of their country of birth (jus soli) so there was thus no natural increase in the refugee caseload.

175. UNHCR efforts in 1976 were concentrated mainly on Latin American refugees, while small projects were continued for European refugees, especially the aged and the handicapped. Assistance activities were largely focused on Argentina, which received the largest numbers of Latin American refugees. During 1976, UNHCR, with the assistance for transportation of the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration (ICEM), assisted over 4,000 of them to resettle, mainly to countries in Europe, with smaller numbers to Algeria, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, and to other countries in Latin America. There still remained, however, at the end of the year, 4,000 to 5,000 awaiting an opportunity of settling permanently in another country.

176. In view of the considerable increase in the workload of the Regional Office for Latin America, as a result of the developments in the area, which have seriously affected the situation of the refugees, measures were taken to strengthen UNHCR's presence there, principally by the establishment of a Regional Office for North-Western South America. The Regional Office, which is located in Peru, will cover in addition to Peru, five of the 12 countries hitherto covered by the Buenos Aires office, i.e. Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Surinam and Venezuela.


177. Latin American refugees registered with UNHCR in Argentina total some 11,000, a greater number than in any other country, of whom more than 80 per cent are Chilean, the remainder are mainly from Uruguay. Forms of assistance included care and maintenance, dispensed with the assistance of voluntary agencies through a co-ordinating Committee for Social Action (Comisión Coordinadora de Acción Social) to some 6,000 refugees waiting either to leave Argentina or to be granted permanent residence and who had no other means of existence. Such assistance has represented a considerable financial burden for UNHCR. Voluntary agencies also extended help towards arranging durable solutions in the form of housing assistance and helping Latin American refugees admitted to Argentina on a permanent basis to establish themselves in various professions or trades. During the period under review, UNHCR actively pursued with the Government the question of granting residence permits to refugees. Other forms of aid to refugees in Argentina included legal and other counselling and education assistance.

178. While efforts are being continued in co-operation with the Argentine authorities to find settlement possibilities in the country, resettlement through migration in many instances is the most appropriate or indeed the only feasible solution to problems faced by refugees in Latin America. The increasing number of Latin American refugees, together with national security and public order problems, have created difficulties for the authorities, for the refugees themselves, and for those concerned with refugee work in Argentina. The widespread acts of violence that have occurred in Argentina have affected not only Argentine nationals but also resident foreigners including refugees. This called for intensive activity, not only in the field of protection but also for resettlement. On 22 June, the High Commissioner made a special appeal to 34 Governments, drawing their attention to the urgent situation faced by refugees in Argentina and the need for special resettlement opportunities. Some 2,300 refugees were resettled from Argentina in 1976, against a total of over 2,500 new registrations during the year. Further resettlement opportunities were therefore still urgently needed at time of writing this report.

179. Total UNHCR expenditures in Argentina amounted to $3.25 million, of which nearly $2.6 million was for supplementary aid and some $400,000 for resettlement.


180. With the closing in March 1976 of the last of the safe havens created to shelter refugees pending departure after the events of September 1973 in Chile, activities in Santiago focused on reuniting family members remaining in Chile with the refugee head of family who had resettled in another country. Legal assistance, counselling and supplementary aid were provided to those arriving from the provinces in Santiago pending departure for final destinations. During 1976, some 1,500 family members were united with their head of family, bringing the total number of those leaving Chile under UNHCR auspices since the 1973 events to some 7,300.

181. Assistance in the form of shelter, food, warm clothing, blankets and medical aid was also extended to 50 refugees from a neighbouring country who received asylum in Chile and were sent by the authorities to the southern part of the country pending resettlement of voluntary repatriation. Bu the end of the year, 16 of these refugees remained in Chile, the others having been resettled or voluntarily repatriated.

182. Assistance to Latin American refugees in Chile was provided through the "Fundación de Ayuda Social de las Iglesias Cristianas", while various non-governmental organizations gave assistance to European refugees.

183. Total UNHCR expenditures in Chile amounted to $716,000, of which $605,000 was for promotion of resettlement. Nearly $49,000 was disbursed for supplementary aid.


184. The number of refugees in Peru, registered with the "Comisión Ecumenica de Acción Social", most of whom are Chilean, was almost 400 at the end of 1976. There are also a number of newly-arrived non-registered refugees, a problem under examination by the Peruvian Government. All refugees have been admitted to Peru on a temporary basis, without the right to work, on the understanding that they will be resettled as soon as possible in other countries. Although opportunities for resettlement were actively sought, and some 280 were admitted to other countries in 1976, the average monthly resettlement rate declined from 50 a month in 1975 and more than 150 a month in 1974 to 24 a month during 1976. This situation has created a feeling of anxiety among the refugees.

185. Total expenditures in Peru amounted to nearly $419,000 of which $290,000 was obligated to provide food, shelter and medical care through voluntary and government agencies to refugees awaiting departure.

Other Latin American countries

186. Assistance was also provided to refugees in Latin American countries other than Argentina, Chile and Peru, whose combined refugee population was estimated at over 66,000 persons at the end of 1976. Of these, nearly 50,000 were of European origin, living mainly in Brazil, Uruguay and Venezuela, with the remainder, of Latin American origin, mostly in Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama and Venezuela. UNHCR aid to European refugees benefited mainly the aged and handicapped, by providing annuities and medical and institutional care. Able-bodied Latin American refugees received emergency aid and assistance towards local integration or, in some cases, resettlement. Counselling and legal assistance were also provided.

187. UNHCR expenditure for the above assistance measures totalled $275,000, of which $318,000 was disbursed for local settlement measures and $70,000 for supplementary aid such as shelter, food and medical care.

188. Total expenditures in Latin America amounted to $4.7 million, of which more than $1 million was for resettlement and $2.9 million for supplementary assistance.

B. North America

189. The United States has been a major country of resettlement for Indo-Chinese displaced persons since 1975. As at 31 December 1976, the United States had generously admitted over 20,000 Indo-Chinese displaced persons to its territory principally through programmes sponsored and implemented directly by the authorities. UNHCR assistance to the small number of needy persons among them was provided through a United States voluntary agency. $61,328 was expended for this purpose in 1976. Also the United States provided numerous opportunities for family reunification, chiefly for families of displaced persons from Indo-China, but also from other areas.

190. The UNHCR regional Office, established at united Nations Headquarters in New York, continued to maintain close relations with the United States Government, other government representatives to the United Nations, as well as with intergovernmental organizations, including other members of the United Nations system, and with a number of voluntary agencies. The office also handled an increasing number of individual cases and was responsible for UNHCR activities in the English-speaking parts of the Caribbean.

191. By the end of 1976, the Branch Office for Canada, opened in Ottawa during the summer, was dealing with a number of important issues, including the strengthening of ties with the government and voluntary agencies in numerous fields related to UNHCR activities and in particular the promotion of resettlement opportunities in Canada, and the support for the High Commissioner's programmes in various parts of the world. Canada continued its strong support of UNHCR both through generous financial contributions and by making available extensive opportunities for refugee resettlement.


A General developments

1. Introductory remarks

192. During 1976, UNHCR'S ACTIVITIES IN Asia concerned principally the special operations undertaken with in the over-all framework of the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly to provide rehabilitation assistance to large groups of displaced persons in the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, Thailand, and to smaller groups in other countries.

193. Programmes within the Lao People's Democratic Republic and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam concentrated on enabling displaced persons to become self-sufficient as soon as possible. The programme in Thailand and other South-East Asian countries was directed towards providing basic needs of Indo-Chinese displaced persons pending a durable solution to their problems.

194. A major concern in 1976 related to Indo-Chinese displaced persons who continued to arrive in small boats in countries bordering the South China Sea or were rescued on the high seas by passing ships and admitted temporarily to first port-of-call countries. On 22 July 1976, the High Commissioner drew the attention of Governments to this problem and asked that special resettlement opportunities be countries of temporary asylum pending resettlement in third countries (see paras. 222-232 below).

195. Within the context of these humanitarian operations, UNHCR expended in 1976 a total of over $23 million, of which more than $11.8 million was spent in Indo-China, $7.9 million in Thailand and nearly $1 million in Lebanon. A further $3.9 million was obligated for care and maintenance in other South-East Asian countries and for Indo-Chinese displaced persons requiring settlement in third countries. In response to requests from the Governments concerned, the High Commissioner is continuing the assistance programmes in 1977, as indicated in the relevant country sections below.

2. Voluntary repatriation

196. While the High Commissioner remained ready during 1976 to be of assistance with voluntary repatriation in Asia, such help was required only in very few cases. A limited number of displaced persons returned voluntarily to the Lao People's Democratic republic and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam. However, in the light of these movements, the Lao Government requested UNHCR to assist with the financing of a number of reception centres for returnees. With the assistance of UNHCR, one such reception centre was established in Sayaboury Province, north-west of Vientiane, in order to enable returnees to find immediate accommodation and basic needs including food and medicine. Where required, UNHCR continued to register and to submit to the authorities of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam the requests of those who wished to return to their homes in that country.

3. Resettlement

197. In the course of 1976, some 29,300 displaced persons from Indo-China were resettled in various countries, mainly France which received approximately 1,000 persons per month, and the United States. In most cases the transportation to countries of resettlement of these persons was organized through the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration. UNHCR contributed $2,956,004 to cover the costs related to these movements.

198. Resettlement opportunities are still being sought for many of the displaced persons from Indo-China who numbered approximately 77,500 in the various countries of temporary asylum at the end of 1976. Some 23,500 of them are registered with UNHCR for resettlement in third countries.

B. Main developments in various countries

1. Lao People's Democratic Republic

199. At the request of the Government of the Lao People's Democratic Republic, the High Commissioner continued in 1976 the UNHCR programme of assistance designed to help the Government with its programme of rehabilitating some 700,000 displaced persons, including the return of as many as possible to their villages of origin.

200. In 1976, some 350,000 persons (70,000 families) received UNHCR help. UNHCR assistance covered transportation by air, road and river, food supplies pending the reclamation of rice fields, "resettlement kits" including basic agricultural hand-tools, mosquito netting, cooking utensils and other equipment. The programme also included contribution towards the building and equipping of 60 rural dispensaries.

201. Considerable progress was made in 1976. Movements of displaced persons planned for 1977 will, it is hoped, practically complete the "return to villages" programme. To assist the Government in fulfilling this goal, the High Commissioner agreed to seek funds for a programme in 1977 with a target of $2.8 million for the movement and settlement of an estimated 10,000 families (50,000 persons).

202. Total expenditures in 1976 amounted to over $3,800,000, of which $440,000 were obligated for the movement of displaced persons, 425,000 for food, $700,000 for health care, $554,000 for agricultural equipment, pumps and vehicles, and $1,411,000 for the purchase of construction material, trucks, etc. Contributions in kind amounted to $170,000 in value. In addition, contributions amounting to nearly $184,000 were received for projects outside the special operation.

203. In addition, $50,000 was expended from the Repatriation and Resettlement Programme for a reception centre for returning displaced persons.

2. Lebanon

204. In January 1976, the High Commissioner was asked by the Government of Lebanon to assist in dealing with problems faced by displaced and needy persons as a result of events in that country. Acting within the over-all framework established by the Secretary-General in February for special humanitarian assistance for Lebanon, UNHCR programme of emergency assistance continued as and when availability of funds, transport and security conditions permitted.

205. Under the United Nations emergency assistance programme, UNHCR provided emergency shelter material ($503,000), medical supplies ($200,000) and transport. Relief supplies were transported either by sea, through facilities available to the International Committee of the Red Cross, free of charge by the Middle East Airlines, or by charter arrangements made by UNHCR. Blankets and clothing to a total value of some $76,000 were contributed by a voluntary agency. Food supplies were also made available. By the end of 1976, nearly $1 million had been expended for assistance.

206. In November 1976, estimates placed the number of displaced and needy persons at 700,000 and 1,500,000 respectively. The situation in Lebanon has been kept under constant review and further relief assistance was planned in consultation with the Lebanese Government for delivery in early 1977, to be financed by UNHCR from the United Nations Trust Fund for assistance to Lebanon.

207. UNHCR activities in Lebanon under its annual programme were likewise affected by events in that country. Not all funds allocated for 1976 could be spent. Nevertheless, over 475,000, including some $170,000 in trust funds, was expended for local settlement, promotion of resettlement and supplementary aid projects for needy refugees in Lebanon. Counselling services, run by voluntary agencies, continued to give guidance to refugees, although events made it necessary to close the offices temporarily. Resettlement measures enabled a group of 2,800 refugees, mainly of Assyrian and American origin, to leave Lebanon with a view to arranging their permanent resettlement.

3. Socialist Republic of Viet Nam

208. At the request of the authorities, UNHCR continued in 1976 its assistance programme in the north and in the south of Viet Nam. In response to an appeal made by the High Commissioner in January 1976 for contributions towards the financial target of $13 million for these programmes, government contributions totalling $7,800,000 were received. As compared to 1975 when UNHCR mainly provided relief assistance, the 1976 programme was mainly oriented towards providing an essential component of the Government's over-all plans of permanent rehabilitation of the affected population.

209. Following the establishment of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam in the middle of 1976, the UNHCR programmes in the north and in the south were integrated into a single country programme.

210. Needs and priorities were identified in close collaboration with the authorities, and it was agreed to concentrate the programme on the most devastated areas, where UNHCR support would have the greatest impact. Assistance in the northern region was thus concentrated in the Nghe Tinh province, and in the southern region in three central provinces (Quang Nam-Danang, Bin Tri-Thien and Dac Lac) and the central highlands.

211. Agricultural assistance, to which priority was given, accounted for the major part of UNHCR expenditures ($3,196,424) in both northern and southern regions, covering the provision of chemical fertilizer, heavy-duty and light-duty tractors rice-planters and other equipment to assist displaced persons in returning farmland to production. In view of the extensive devastation in the southern region, major efforts to restore agriculture were required. In order to implement those parts of the over-all plans of the Government which could not be financed from its own or other bilateral or multilateral sources, UNHCR assistance was directed also towards meeting certain basic food requirements, clothing and shelter needs of the displaced population. These included 2,160 tons of wheat grain for some 50,000 persons in the aforementioned three central provinces of the southern region, 950 tons of galvanized iron roofing sheets for shelter for some 7,000 families in the same region and, from funds committed in 1975, 2.5 million metres of raw cotton for processing into clothing material for some 600,000 adults and 20,000 children, mainly in the southern provinces of Song Be and Tay Ninh.

212. Fishing equipment in kind valued at $72,500 was also provided as well as assistance in the establishment of a vocational training school for agricultural workers, for which UNHCR committed $220,000. In addition, UNHCR, at the request of the authorities, provided $20,000 for financial assistance to needy students whose studies would otherwise have been jeopardized.

213. Total expenditures in 1976 for the above assistance measures amounted to $7,355,000. In addition, donations in cash and kind amounting to nearly $2,770,000 were received to provide food supplies outside the programme.

214. Upon the request of the Government, UNHCR is continuing its assistance in 1977 under a $7 million programme with a view to the completion or consolidation of the projects undertaken and to meet specific rehabilitation needs.

4. Thailand

215. Displaced persons from Indo-China continued to arrive in Thailand during 1976, although in fewer numbers than in 1975, so that, by the end of the year, a total of some 115,000 had been registered with the Thai authorities compared to 75,000 at the end of 1975. By the end of 1976, approximately 37,000 had found resettlement opportunities in third countries so that the number of persons requiring assistance at the end of December 1976 was nearly 77,000. Of these, some 10,000 persons originated from Democratic Kampuchea, 64,000 from the Lao People's Democratic Republic and 3,000 from the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam.

216. At the request of the Government of Thailand, the High Commissioner undertook a programme of assistance for the period 1975/1976 designed to meet such immediate needs as food, shelter, clothing, medical care, household utensils and agricultural third countries. To finance this programme, the High Commissioner appealed to Governments on 29 August 1975 and 30 January 1976 for contributions towards a target of $12.4 million. Contributions in cash and kind received by 31 December 1976 amounted to more than $10.5 million.

217. Implementation continued to be conducted by the Thai Government through its Operations Centre for Displaced Persons set up in June 1975 under the direction of the Ministry of the Interior and assisted by the provincial authorities. Liaison within the Thai administration was strengthened through a supervisory board comprising representatives of all government departments concerned. Close co-ordination with UNHCR staff in the field and in Bangkok was maintained through the UNHCR Bangkok Regional Office.

218. Assistance continued to be administered through temporary relief centres constructed on sited decided by the Thai Government. The 20 centres established in 1975 were consolidated into 14 larger, better equipped centres. Four of these are reserved for persons from Democratic Kampuchea and are located in the provinces of Surin, Prachinburi, Trat and Chantaburi. Eight other centres group together the Lao and are located in the provinces of Chieng Rai, Nan, Uttaradit, Nong Khai, Loei, and Ubon Ratchathani. The three centres reserved for the small group of Vietnamese are in the provinces of Nakhon Ratchasima, Chantaburi and Sangkhla. The latter two accommodate persons arriving by small boat. The caseload in Thailand is both rural and urban with the great majority coming from rural areas. Assistance provided by UNHCR during 1975/1976 took into account as far as possible the specific needs of each group arising from distinctive ethnic and social backgrounds.

219. Despite initial difficulties primarily caused by overcrowding in the various camps, progress was made in providing for the welfare of the displaced persons. The steady improvement in the provision of a basic food ration, a higher standard of accommodation and medical care have contributed to make temporary living conditions more congenial. The creation of a new transit centre for displaced persons on their way to being resettled in third countries has also helped to relieve the strain caused by overcrowding.

220. In view of the widespread demand of the displaced persons for resettlement, efforts were intensified to find resettlement opportunities. A total of 17 countries accepted some 37,000 displaced persons for permanent settlement, some 20,000 of whom were accepted by the United States of America. France regular pace. During reporting period, France accepted some 15,000 while movement of 1,000 persons every month was continuing. A large majority of those accepted came from Thailand. Australia also continued to be a major receiving country. A further dimension was added by the arrival during 1975/1976 of some 2,500 persons in small boats from Viet Nam. Of these, more than 1,000 were accepted by third countries. In response to an appeal by the High Commissioner, many countries established special admission quotas, notably Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

221. A total of $6.7 million was made available to the Government of Thailand in 1976 for the care and maintenance of displaced persons. This sum, together with the expenditures and commitments for programme support and an initial amount for the transportation of displaced persons resettled from Thailand, brought total expenditures and commitments to $7.9 million. A further $2.27 million was spent on the resettlement of displaced persons in third countries under the Repatriation and Resettlement Programme.

5. Other countries and areas in Asia

222. As a result of events in the spring of 1975, a large number of Indo-Chinese found themselves displaced in various countries and in need of humanitarian assistance. The High Commissioner, in co-operation with Governments, intergovernmental agencies and non-governmental organizations, assisted in the resettlement of some 13,000 in 1976 in third countries as well as voluntary repatriation. Contributions received in response to an appeal from the High Commissioner for $10,2 million for a Repatriation and Resettlement Programme totalled more than $8 million by the end of 1976. UNHCR assistance under this programme was directed towards meeting the costs of temporary care and maintenance pending durable solutions, transportation to the country of resettlement, or, in the case of voluntary repatriation, to the country of origin; and local settlement whenever feasible. The resettlement from Thailand in 1976 of some 14,000 displaced persons was, to a large extent, covered under this programme.

223. As mentioned in the introduction to this section, displaced persons from Indo-China continued to arrive in small boats in countries bordering the South China sea, principally Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand and the area of Hong Kong, where they were mostly granted temporary asylum. While the number of these persons was relatively small, reaching some 5,100 by the end of 1976, the problems of their temporary admission to countries of first port-of-call and their resettlement to third countries of durable the attention of Governments to this problem in an urgent appeal for financial assistance and resettlement opportunities. Meanwhile, a programme of temporary assistance in the countries of first asylum was implemented pending resettlement of the displaced persons in third countries, as indicated below.

224. Hong Kong: A total of 190 persons from Viet Nam were rescued on the high seas in 1976 and brought to Hong Kong, where they were granted temporary asylum.

225. Indonesia: In the course of 1976 a total of 282 Vietnamese found their way by boat to some of the islands of Indonesia, where they were given temporary asylum and cared for by the authorities and voluntary groups. Missions to the area were undertaken by the UNHCR staff from the Regional Office in Kuala Lumpur, and UNHCR was requested by the Government to assume responsibility for the care and maintenance of these groups and for their eventual resettlement in third countries. By the end of the year, some 96 persons had been resettled in third countries.

226. Japan: During 1976, a total of 250 Vietnamese were granted temporary asylum in Japan after being rescued by Japanese and foreign-owned vessels on the high seas. Arrangements for the care and maintenance of these persons were made with Caritas Japan. By the end of 1976, a total of 118 persons had been accepted for resettlement.

227. In those three countries the total commitment towards care and maintenance of these displaced persons pending resettlement amounted to some $350,000.

228. Malaysia: Approximately 1,100 Vietnamese arrived by boat in Malaysia in the course of 1976 and were accorded temporary asylum on the east cost of peninsular Malaysia. From this group. 296 persons were accepted for resettlement. A total of $33,846 has been made available to the Malaysian Red Crescent Society to cover the care and maintenance of this group pending their resettlement.

229. Local settlement assistance continued to be provided to some 1,200 displaced persons from Democratic Kampuchea, who had arrived in Thailand in 1975 and were accepted by the Government of Malaysia for resettlement in the State of Kelantan. Under a tripartite agreement with PERKIM (Malaysian Muslim Welfare Organization) and the Malaysian red Crescent, UNHCR made available $244,897 in 1975 to enable PERKIM to implement throughout 1976 such measures as housing, establishment assistance, primary education, and vocational training, which contributed towards the local integration of these displaced persons and enabled them to become self-supporting.

230. Philippines: UNHCR assistance was requested for 600 Vietnamese who arrived by boat in 1976. Of this group some 320 persons have since been accepted for resettlement by third countries. In 1976, UNHCR made available to the Government an amount of $18,000 for their care and maintenance under a project implemented by the Social welfare Department. Additional amounts totalling $1,459 and $7,259 were committed for a counselling project and a local settlement project respectively, benefiting a number of Vietnamese displaced persons who were permitted to integrate locally. A further amount of $8,500 was allocated to make repairs to the reception centre for these persons.

231. Singapore: Over 120 displaced persons were admitted to Singapore in 1976, 100 of whom had been accepted for resettlement by the end of the year. A total of 412,000 was made available to the Government to provide for their care and maintenance during their temporary stay in Singapore.

232. In addition to activities in Asia financed from special operations, UNHCR also continued to assist small groups of refugees in Afghanistan, Hong Kong, India, Iran, the Syrian Arab Republic, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Assistance measures covered, as required, voluntary repatriation, counselling, care and maintenance, and housing, for which a total of $135,000 was expended, including $57,000 from trust funds.


A. Assistance in various countries

233. The over-all number of refugees in Europe at 31 December 1976 was estimated at approximately 566,000 some 6,000 more than at the end of 1975. The great majority have been fully integrated for many years and benefit from social security facilities provided by Governments.

234. As in 1975, UNHCR assistance measures consisted mainly of promoting durable solutions through resettlement in Europe of refugees and displaced persons, many of whom were persons from outside Europe in critical situations due to recent events in South-East Asia and Latin America. Various European countries, mainly Greece, Italy and the federal Republic of Germany provided transit facilities for groups or individual refugees with a view to their permanent resettlement overseas. The Office co-operated closely with the Governments of these countries in connexion with these transit arrangements, especially for the provision of medical examination, visa fees and documentation. At the same time the Office continued, in co-operation with Governments and voluntary agencies, to provide complementary assistance to help cover the needs of groups requiring special care. Such assistance was provided also in the same circumstances to needy refugees, more especially the aged and destitute who suffer most from the effects of inflation in order to meet needs for rent subsidies, medical care and clothing.

235. Counselling services, particularly with regard to employment and resettlement through migration, again constituted an essential aspect of assistance to refugees in several countries in Europe. Other services provided to facilitate the integration of refugees included legal counselling, particularly as regards the naturalization procedures, supplementary aid, especially for newly arrived refugees and housing assistance.

236. A considerable effort has been made by European countries in the field of assistance to aged and handicapped refugees. Schemes for their resettlement and housing-with-care are administered with UNHCR assistance.

237. In most countries in Europe, in which the authorities assume a substantial share of the burden of assistance, refugees also benefit, in the same way as nationals, from integration facilities in the field of education, professional training and employment, and in some cases loans to assist them to establish themselves in small businesses.

238. During 1976 various European countries again generously admitted for permanent settlement sizable numbers of refugees, mainly from Chile, Argentina and Indo-China at a rate of about 1,000 persons a month. Non-European refugees were also generously admitted to many other European countries.

239. Expenditures under the 1976 assistance programme in Europe totalled some $1,570,000, including nearly $780,000 for local settlement; $460,000 for promotion of resettlement through migration, and nearly $240,000 for supplementary aid.

240. Trust funds totalling $1,467,000 were also disbursed, some $1.1 million of which was used to assist refugees and displaced persons from Lebanon while in transit in Greece on their way to permanent settlements in overseas countries.

B. United Nations humanitarian assistance for Cyprus

241. At the request of the Secretary-General, the High Commissioner continued throughout 1976 as Co-ordinator of the United Nations humanitarian assistance in Cyprus and has remained available to channel contributions from interested donors. Valuable support to humanitarian activities in the island continued to be contributed by WHO through procurement of medical supplies and equipment for Cyprus and provision of consultant services. The World Food Programme assisted in overseas procurement of food and provision of counsel from local staff experts. United Nations Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus continued to deliver supplies of food to various areas of the island and to provide valuable logistical assistance. Contributions pledged to the Cyprus programme in 1976 totalled $34,279,407 as at 31 March 1977.

242. Major commitments of humanitarian assistance to the displaced and needy population of approximately 200,000 included temporary accommodation and shelter materials (15,424,739), food purchases (5,050,000), medical supplies and health care facilities ($1,483,998) and supplies to meet supplementary needs such as handicraft materials, special medical facilities, youth and community facilities, infant care, cash grants to the needy and immediate provision of clothing and footwear ($1,967,280).

243. Although the situation of displaced and needy persons in the island has relatively improved, need for continued humanitarian assistance in Cyprus was still felt at the end of 1976. The High Commissioner has, therefore, upon request of the Secretary-General, undertaken to continue as Co-ordinator for a limited but unspecified period into 1977.

244. Further information concerning humanitarian activities carried out by the United Nations in Cyprus in the course of 1976 may be found in the relevant chapters of the progress reports on the United Nations operation in Cyprus submitted by the Secretary-General to the Security Council in the months of June (S/12093) and December (S/12253 and Add.1).


A. Co-operation between UNHCR, the United Nations and other members of the United Nations system

245. UNHCR has closely co-ordinated its activities with other members of the United Nations system. As in the past, its assistance activities have benefited from the invaluable support of the United Nations agencies concerned. At the headquarters level, UNHCR participated in meetings of the Administrative Committee on Co-ordination (ACC) and its subsidiary organs, as well as the governing bodies of other United Nations agencies and programmes, and through prior consultation on programme budgets.

246. In the field, UNHCR representatives frequently worked closely with their counterparts in other United Nations agencies. This co-operation, which has existed for many years as regards the annual programmes, has now also become standard practice in the context of the special operations. As regards the latter, the High Commissioner has, in several instances, been designated to co-ordinate United Nations assistance to displaced persons in the countries concerned. Such co-ordination is undertaken in conjunction with governmental authorities and involves regular interagency consultation, planning, and pooling of resources. In a number of countries in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East where UNHCR is not directly represented, aid to refugees is often administered with the help of the resident representatives of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), who also support UNHCR's fund-raising activities.

247. World Food Programme (WFP) again provided groups of rural refugees and displaced persons with substantial food supplies. This massive food aid often forms the largest component of assistance programmes.

248. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have contributed towards UNHCR assistance programmes, notably in Angola, Cyprus, Lebanon and Mozambique. UNICEF relief supplies proved particularly helpful to groups with a large percentage of women and children. WHO carried out programmes to eradicate disease and purify water systems. These agencies, and WFP, have also provided procurement services. Their expertise and the technical advice of Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) specialists helped to determine the choice of sited for refugee settlement in rural areas.

249. As many of the individual cases of concern to UNHCR are students, UNHCR has remained in close contact with several United Nations organizations in connexion with educational opportunities for refugees. UNHCR again availed itself of the services of an expert on education placed at its disposal by UNESCO. The International Labour Organisation (ILO), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Inter-governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO) provided technical guidance regarding training curricula for students. The services of a United Nations volunteer have again proved invaluable.

250. Co-operation with the Office of the United Nations Disaster Relief Co-ordinator (UNDRO) on matters of common interest has been further developed.

251. The efforts of UNHCR to meet the various needs of refugees from Namibia and South Africa have been facilitated through funds made available by the United Nations Council for Namibia and by the United Nations Trust Fund for South Africa, as mentioned in the relevant chapters of this report.

252. The needs of refugees are varied and manifold and the rapidity with which they are met often depends to a considerable extent on the collaboration of other members of the United Nations system.

B. Relations with other intergovernmental organizations

253. UNHCR's close relations with the Organization of African Unity (OAU) have continued both at the headquarters level and in the field, especially with regard to assistance to refugees from Namibia and Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) pursuant to General Assembly resolution 3421 (XXX). UNHCR was represented at the twenty-seventh session of the Council of Ministers of OAU and at the thirteenth Summit Conference of the Heads of State or Government. OAU was represented at the twenty-seventh session of the executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme, where it made an appeal in favour of refugees from southern Africa.

254. The Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration (ICEM) was again instrumental in helping to resettle large numbers of European, Latin American and Indo-Chinese refugees.

255. The European Economic Community generously contributed major shared of food aid to UNHCR assistance programmes in Angola, Cyprus, Indo-China and Zaire.

256. UNHCR continued to co-operate with the Council of Europe, which takes a special interest in the work of UNHCR and in some of the legal aspects of the problems of refugees in Europe.

C. Co-operation with liberation movements

257. Pursuant to the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly, UNHCR has strengthened its contacts with African liberation movements. It has also maintained close working relations with the OAU Liberation Committee. The African National Congress of South Africa (ANC), the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) and the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) were represented at the twenty-seventh session of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme.

D. Relations between UNHCR and non-governmental organizations

258. As in the past, the traditional role of the non-governmental organizations as UNHCR's operational partners and their participation in assistance programmes were essential because of their wide experience in this field. UNHCR co-operated closely with a large number of these organizations and experienced a marked development of its contacts with them in various areas of mutual concern, at both the national and international levels. At the international level, UNHCR maintained contacts with voluntary agencies through co-ordinating bodies such as the International Council of Voluntary Agencies and at the national level directly or through the national refugee committees.

259. Many non-governmental organizations effectively continued to play an important role in the implementation of UNHCR's assistance programmes in Africa, Asia and Latin America, as well as contributing financially to certain projects. The support of the voluntary agencies has also been essential to UNHCR's efforts to develop and strengthen counselling services for refugees.

260. Non-governmental organizations have likewise been active in the field of protection of refugees. The Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, through its Special Committee on Human Rights, set up a Working Group to study the draft Convention on Territorial Asylum and to submit a memorandum to the Conference of Plenipotentiaries that met in Geneva in January 1977. The World Peace Through Law Centre marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of the adoption of the 1951 Convention by organizing special ceremonies and issuing several publications.

261. Despite current economic difficulties, voluntary agencies, and particularly the national refugee committees, continued to support UNHCR fund-raising efforts. The annual appeals launched by a number of voluntary agencies throughout the account for a large part of the $2,660,000 contributed to UNHCR by non-governmental organizations.



262. As indicated elsewhere in this report, new refugee situations emerged during the period under review that required the Office to undertake an increasing volume of activity, especially in the field of material assistance. The High Commissioner was consequently called upon to make a number of appeals to the international community for additional funds to enable him to carry out his humanitarian tasks.

263. Total expenditures for UNHCR material assistance activities in 1976, including the annual programme and special operations, amounted to more than $90 million. Major emphasis was placed during the period under review on increasing the number of Governments and other donors participating in UNHCR's voluntary funds programmes. With the generous support of the international community, including 98 Governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and members of the United Nations system, the most urgent requirements of UNHCR's assistance programmes were fully financed. However, a number of Governments have not yet contributed to UNHCR's programmes and the contributions of some others have not kept pace with the growth in UNHCR's financial requirements. The Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme, in a decision adopted at its twenty-seventh session, drew attention to the need for governmental support of greater magnitude and on a wider governmental basis, and urged Governments, "in keeping with the universal character of the problems facing UNHCR, to participate in the financing of the High Commissioner's activities by contributing or increasing substantially the level of contributions in 1977 ... to enable these growing financial requirements to be met".

264. Contributions to programmes being implemented during the period 1 January 1976 to 31 March 1977 are set out in table 1. Additional information on specific programmes is given below.

Annuals assistance programme

265. Total contributions from Governments and voluntary agencies towards the revised target of $14,851,000 for the UNHCR annual assistance programme for 1976 amounted to $14,407,068; it was therefore possible to achieve full financing of the programme.

266. The target for the 1977 Programme was established at $16,663,000, following approval by the executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme at its twenty-seventh session. As at 31 March 1977, contributions totalling $10,891,790 have been announced by 59 Governments.

Emergency Fund

267. Expenditures from the Emergency Fund in 1976 totalled 41,793,265. The Fund was financed from the Working Capital and Guarantee Fund ($972,365), from governmental and private contributions ($809,013) and from refunds ($11,887).

Complementary projects outside the annual assistance programme

268. As at 31 March 1977, total contributions from both governmental and non-governmental sources to 1976 and 1977 Special Trust Funds amounted to $16,059,969 and $3,727,813 respectively. These figures include contributions to the UNHCR Refugee Education Account and to the UNHCR Programme of Humanitarian Assistance in the Tindouf region of Algeria.

Special operations

269. The following special operations were continued during the period from 1 January 1976 to 31 March 1977;

United Nations Humanitarian Assistance for Cyprus;

Assistance to returning refugees and displaced persons in Guinea-Bissau;

Assistance to returning refugees and displaced persons in Mozambique;

Assistance to uprooted and displaced persons in Indo-China (1975-1976 Programme);

Assistance to displaced persons from Indo-China in Thailand and elsewhere (1975-1976 Programme).

270. The following new special operations were undertaken during the period under review;

United Nations Programme of Humanitarian Assistance in Angola;

Special action in Lebanon;

Assistance to displaced persons in Thailand and other countries in Asia (1977 Programme);

Assistance to displaced persons in the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and the Lao People's Democratic Republic (1977 Programme).


271. During the period under review, the media's interest in UNHCR's work, especially in South-East Asia and Latin America, was effectively sustained. There was, moreover, considerable press comment on UNHCR action to safeguard the rights of refugees, both in general and in response to specific instances of abuses such as torture and refoulement.

272. A major task in 1976 was to keep the media informed of UNHCR activities through press releases, briefing and background session, and arranging interviews with the High Commissioner and UNHCR staff members.

273. UNHCR continued to supply television outlets with film material of topical subjects involving UNHCR. Films produced included one for the Habitat: United Nations conference on Human settlements which dealt with a rural refugee settlement at Ulyankulu in the United Republic of Tanzania, a 14-minute film "Sotelo" on a Latin American refugee in France, and a 9-minute fund-raising film "Return to Angola", which resulted from a co-production with Swiss television. A special promotional film for the launching of the UNHCR record "Golden Soul" was widely distributed. Film material illustrating UNHCR assistance programmes was prepared for showing to some of the major donors.

274. The film editing equipment acquired by UNHCR in 1975-1976, and the use of technical facilities provided by the Information Service of the United Nations Office at Geneva, again proved extremely useful in enabling UNHCR to adapt film material to the needs of specific outlets speedily and at relatively low cost.

275. Publications issued by the United Nations Office of Public Information during the year included:

(a) UNHCR-regular eight-page tabloid issued every two months (circulation 16,500 English, 6,000 French), and its 24-page illustrated year-end supplement;

(b) Refugees in Human Settlements - illustrated 24-page magazine published as a sequel to Habitat: United Nations conference on Human Settlements, available in English, French and German;

(c) An educational kit on the same theme containing a 52-image slide set, background papers, discussion aids, a wall chart and a 27-minute colour film (prepared in 1975-1976). The kit was produced in Danish, English, French and German, and will be produced in Finnish, Japanese, Norwegian and Swedish;

(d) The Refugee Problem Isn't Hopeless ... Unless You Think So - issued in Arabic, Danish, German, Japanese, Norwegian and Swedish;

(e) An illustrated 24-page trilingual (English/French/German) catalogue listing all available UNHCR Public information material;

(f) Periodic feature articles with photographs sent to newspapers.

276. The Office of Public Information supported and helped co-ordinate the fund-raising and information campaigns organized by voluntary agencies in Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden. Special articles were written on the needs of refugees in various parts of the world, and a substantial number of photos from the Photo Library were made available to the media and non-governmental organizations. For the Swedish campaign, four posters were supplied in 100,000 copies as well as a pamphlet in Swedish for the use of school-children.

277. The Office of Public Information was actively involved in the promotion and launching of the new long-playing record, "Golden Soul".

(Note: Financial and statistical data tables not included in this online version. See your nearest UN Depository Library.)

1 1 April 1976 to 31 March 1977; except for statistical and financial data, most of which cover the calendar year 1976.

2 United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 189, No. 2545, p. 137.

3 Of. Article 2, which "Calls upon Governments to co-operate with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in the performance of his function ... ".

4 Paragraph 1 of which states that "The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, acting under the authority of the general Assembly, shall assume the function of providing international protection, under the auspices of the function of providing international protection, under the auspices of the United Nations, to refugees who fall within the scope of the present Statute ... ".

5 Article 35 of which provides that "The Contracting States undertake to co-operate with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees ... and shall in particular facilitate its duty of supervising the application of the Provisions of this Convention".

6 See annex I to the report of the Conference (A/CONF. 78/12).

7 United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 189, No. 2545, p. 137.

8 See annex II to the report of the Conference (A/CONF. 78/12).

9 For the text of the articles of the Draft Convention, amendments and proposed new articles not yet considered by the Committee of the Whole, see the report of the Conference, annex I, appendix.

10 This instrument is designed for stateless persons generally who are defined as persons not considered as nationals by any State under the operation of its law. It is modelled after the 1951 Convention and grants to stateless persons, in most matters, the same rights as accorded to refugees under the 1951 Convention.

11 The Agreement relating to Refugee Seamen is designed to enable refugee seamen who are as yet without a country of permanent residence to regularize their position and to take up residence in the contracting State that has issued them with a travel document. The 1973 Protocol extends the scope of the Agreement to seamen who have acquired refugee status as a result of events occurring after 1951.

12 This convention provides, inter alia, for the acquisition by operation of law of the nationality of the contracting State by children born in its territory who would otherwise by stateless, and thus contributes towards eliminating the perpetuation of statelessness.

13 Algeria, Austria, Belgium, Benin, Botswana, France, Germany, Federal Republic of, Greece, Italy, Morocco, Netherlands, Senegal, Switzerland, Tunisia and Zambia.

14 These funds were established under article 2 of the Agreement concluded between UNHCR and the authorities of the Federal Republic of Germany on 5 October 1960.

15 See Official Records of the General Assembly, Thirty-first Session, Supplement No. 12A (A/31/12/Add.1), para. 119.

16 Ibid., Supplement No. 12 (A/32/12), para. 166.

17 Ibid., para. 121.

18 Excluding Kenya and the United Republic of Tanazania.