Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations General Assembly Official Records: Eleventh Session
Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Supplement No.11 (A/3123/Rev.1)
1. The present report, which covers the activities of my Office between May 1955 and May 1956 contains, in addition to an account of activities in the field of international protection, a short review of the development of the programme of the United Nations Refugee Fund.
2. When my report to the tenth session of the General Assembly was issued in May 1955,1 the United Nations Refugee Fund had just been established and the four year UNREF programme for permanent solutions and emergency aid was being initiated.
3. Considerable headway has been made in the implementation of projects for permanent solutions and the settlement of difficult cases in all the areas where these projects were most needed and, at the same time, projects providing emergency aid to the most needy groups of refugees have been continued. At the time of writing projects in the amount of $2,812,466 were being implemented and it is estimated that they have already benefited some 8,700 refugees.
4. However, it must be pointed out that, in 1955, governmental contributions to the United Nations Refugee Fund fell short of the approved target of $4,200,000 by $1,546,303, and the contributions which have so far been pledged for 1956 are still far from reaching the target approved for that year. Every effort is being made to promote non-governmental contributions to the Fund but, as things stand at the present time, it is unlikely that the objectives outlined in the revised plan of operations (1956) can be achieved.
5. My Office has been greatly encouraged by the support which has been given to it, mainly by the governments members of the UNREF Executive Committee, and also by the award of the Nobel Peace Prize, which it is hoped will draw the attention of world opinion to the necessity of providing my Office with the means to carry out the programme which has been approved by the General Assembly. Nevertheless, much still remains to be done if the over-all target of $16 million is to be reached by 1958 and solutions are to be found for the problem of the refugees who are not yet assimilated into the economies of the countries in which they reside, particularly those who have been living in camps since the end of the Second World War.
6. I would hope that the information contained in the present report and in the reports on the second and third sessions of the UNREF Executive Committee, which are annexed to it, will provide the necessary material which will enable the General Assembly to reach some positive conclusion as to how further support may be given to one of the most urgent programmes which it has sponsored.
Chapter I PROGRAMME OF THE UNITED NATIONS REFUGEE FUND
7. In my report to the tenth session of the General Assembly, I stated that, in accordance with the terms of Assembly resolution 832 (IX), my Advisory Committee had established the target for governmental contributions for the four-year period 1955-1958, during which the programme for permanent solutions and emergency aid authorized by the Assembly is to be carried out. The over-all target was fixed at $16 million and the target for the first year at $4,200,000.
8. The Advisory Committee, at its fifth session, and the UNREF Executive Committee expressed the view that, in carrying out the UNREF programme, the main emphasis should be placed on the reduction of the numbers of refugees in camps, of whom there were approximately 84,000 in Austria, Germany, Greece and Italy at the beginning of 1955.
Contributions to the Fund for 1955
9. Under the terms of resolution 832 (IX), the Negotiating Committee for Extra-Budgetary Funds was requested to negotiate with the Governments of States Members and non-members of the United Nations for voluntary contributions towards the target of $4,200,000 set for 1955 by the Advisory Committee. The Negotiating Committee held pledging conferences on 6 April and 3 November 1955. The following governmental contributions to UNREF for 1955 were received, totalling $2,653,696:
|Governmental contributions to UNREF for 1955|
|Germany, Federal Republic of||23,810|
|Korea, Republic of||2,000|
|United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland||224,027|
|United States of America||1,006,000|
10. In addition, an amount of $947,368 was made available to UNREF by the Netherlands Committee for Aid to Refugees, the proceeds of a national campaign organized by that Committee in 1954, and $7,788 was made available from miscellaneous donations, so that a total amount of $3,608,652 was contributed for the implementation of the plan of operations for 1955. With the inclusion of miscellaneous income and the unobligated amount carried over from the former United Nations refugee Emergency Fund, the total amount available in the Fund in 1955 was $3,738,568.
Supporting contributions for the 1955 plan of operations
11. Contributions in the approximate amount of $3,965,000 to the projects for permanent solutions authorized for implementation by the UNREF Executive Committee were made from sources within the countries of residence, in accordance with the terms of paragraph 5 of resolution 832 (IX). These contributions include $2,205,000 from Governments and $1,760,000 from other sources. Further sizeable contributions were also made from Governments and other sources to projects for settlement of difficult cases.
Allocations in the UNREF plan of operations for 1955
12. In the plan of operations for 1955 the amount of $3,823,160 allocated by the UNREF Executive Committee for projects for permanent solutions was distributed over the countries of residence of refugees as follows:
|The following allocations were also approved:||$|
|Settlement of difficult cases||793,8004|
Implementation of the 1955 plan of operations
13. There is no doubt that the beginning of the UNREF programme has aroused great interest in all the countries of residence of the refugees and that the responsible governmental authorities have been stimulated to increase their efforts on behalf of the refugees. Many more projects in the plan of operations for 1955 could have been implemented if there had not been a shortfall of $1,546,304 in governmental contributions to UNREF in 1955 and if it had been possible for all governments to make available their contributions at an earlier date in the year. The delay in the payment of governmental contributions, the greater part of which were not received into the Fund until the second part of the year 1955, resulted in the implementation of many projects being postponed for several months after they had been approved. As a result, projects such as those for the construction of housing, which constitute the major part of the programme for permanent solutions and the settlement of difficult cases in Austria, Germany and Greece, could not for the most part be carried out during the winter. Consequently, although in most cases the agreements with the implementing agencies were concluded as soon as the funds necessary to finance the projects were made available, the construction of the houses had to be postponed until the beginning of the spring of 1956.
14. It has nevertheless been possible during the first twelve months of operations of the UNREF programme to put into effect projects in the amount of $2,802,466, including projects in the amount of $2,082,419 for permanent solutions, $460,702 for the settlement of difficult cases, $196,058 for the Shanghai operation and $63,187 for emergency aid.5 projects in the amount of $2,278,4176 could not be implemented, mainly for lack of the necessary funds.
15. Information concerning the implementation of the 1955 programme in the various countries is given in the following section of the present chapter, together with an indication of the projects which can be implemented in 1956 on the basis of the funds which have been promised at the time that the report is written. A report on the implementation of the revised plan of operations (1956) will be included in my report to the twelfth session of the General Assembly.
Number of refugees to benefit from the 1955 plan of operations
16. At the time of writing of the present report, 8,700 refugees are already benefiting in various degrees from the projects which have been put into effect, while approximately 11,000 who have already been selected are due to benefit from these projects very shortly.
17. In the course of 1955, the refugee camp population in Austria, Germany, Greece and Italy, which on 1 January of that year was 84,330, decreased to 70,650, as may be seen from the following table giving the total numbers of refugees within the mandate of my Office in these countries:
|As at 1 January 1955||As at 1 January 1956|
|In camps||Out of camps||Total||In camps||Out of camps||Total|
Revised plan of operation (1956)
18. The UNREF Executive Committee, at its second session, was aware of the factors which delayed the implementation of the UNREF programme, and agreed that, if the possibility of achieving the over-all target of $16 million for governmental contributions was to remain open, the value of unimplemented projects within the plan of operations for 1955 should be taken over into the revised plan of operations (1956).
19. As a consequence, the total value of projects in the revised plan of operations (1956) was brought up to $6,611,416. Taking into account the governmental contributions for 1955 in the amount of $661,883,7 which were not obligated at the time of the approval of the revised plan of operations (1956), the Executive Committee decided that the combined financial target for 1956 to be communicated to the Negotiating Committee for Extra-Budgetary Funds should therefore be $5,949,533, as is shown in the following table:
|Value of unimplemented projects and unallocated balance in the plan of operations for 1955,||2,211,4167|
|Target for 1956,||4,400,000|
|Total value of projects to be included in the revised plan of operations (1956),||6,611,416|
|Excess of governmental contributions for 1955 over value of implemented projects in the plan of operations for 1955,||661,8837|
|Combined financial target for 1956,||5,949,533|
20. The allocations for projects for permanent solutions approved by the Executive Committee for the revised plan of operations (1956) were:
21. The following allocations were also approved:
|Settlement of difficult cases||9,45,0028|
22. The Executive Committee at its second session approved the revised plan of operations (1956) and authorized for implementation, as funds become available, projects to a total value of $2,359,747.
23. At the third session of the Executive Committee, additional projects to the value of $1,033,798 are also being submitted, making the total value of projects authorized for implementation in the revised plan of operations (1956) $3,393,545, on the basis of anticipated income accruing to UNREF from the pledges and promises for 1956.
Governmental contributions pledged or promised for 1956
24. At the time of writing, official notification has been received from the following Governments of their intention to make contributions to UNREF in 1956 in the amounts stated:
|Germany, Federal Republic of||23,806|
|(see paragraph 25 below )|
|United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (see paragraph 26 below),||280,000|
25. The government of New Zealand has announced its intention to contribute the equivalent of £20,000 NZ to the Shanghai operation; this sum will be divide between the Inter-governmental Committee for European Migration and my Office. The United States government has announced that its contribution if approved, will be one-third of the total governmental contributions, and that Congress will be asked to appropriate $2,300,000, including a sum of $800,000 being its potential contribution for the first six months of 1957, and also to authorize the carry-over of the unused portion of the 1955 contribution, amounting to $194,000. Twenty per cent of the United Kingdom contribution of $280,000 is subject to governmental contributions of more than $3,250,000.
Relations with private organizations
26. In all the countries mentioned below in which the UNREF programme is being carried out, the international and national voluntary agencies working on behalf of refugees are making a most valuable contribution to its success. Regular conferences are held between my Office, both at Headquarters and through its Branch Offices, with the representatives of the voluntary agencies concerning the implementation of the programme, and the most careful consideration is given to all the projects which they submit for inclusion in the plans of operations. In view of the fact that my Office, under its statute, is not authorized to undertake operational activities, it must rely to a great extent on the voluntary agencies working on behalf of refugees for the implementation of the UNREF programme.
Plan of operations for 1955
27. At the beginning of 1955 there were in Austria, out of 187,544 refugees within the mandate of my Office, an estimated number of 104,000 unsettled refugees, including 45,700 refugees living in camps.
28. The high number of unsettled refugees in Austria is to be explained chiefly by the considerable shortage of housing, as illustrated by the number of refugees still in camps, and by the thousands of refugees who, though not living in camps, are still living in substandard dwellings.
29. At the beginning of 1955, the Austrian economy had made considerable progress towards recovery from the immediate post-war period, but it had not yet developed sufficiently to provide all unsettled refugees with adequate employment and housing. In addition to the financial contributions needed from outside to provide refugees with housing, it has been found necessary to elaborate projects to help refugees to overcome the special difficulties which delay their integration into the Austrian economy.
Summary of projects
30. The UNREF plan of operations for 1955 included permanent solutions projects for refugees in Austria, requiring UNREF contributions to the value of $1,964,193. Of this amount, $1,440,000 represents the allocation within the over-all target for governmental contributions and $524,193 the amount granted by the Netherlands Committee for Aid to refugees towards the financing of permanent solutions projects in Austria.
31. The total allocation of $1,964,193 was broken down as follows:
|Establishment in agriculture||270,000|
|Aid to university students||69,923|
|Aid to high school pupils||24,308|
|Employment counselling and placement||74,855|
|Assistance for naturalization||10,000|
32. In view of the housing shortage the major part of the allocation for Austria was devoted to the financing of housing projects. Due attention was further paid to the establishment in agriculture of refugee families, which is the most efficient manner of establishing refugees of rural background in Austria and which, at the same time, strengthens the Austrian economy inasmuch as the establishment of refugees in agriculture counteracts to some extent the flight from the land.
33. The credit facilities project was designed to fill a gap in the Austrian credit system. In spite of the great number of refugees residing in Austria for many years, no special measures could be taken at an earlier date to enable refugees to obtain loans on terms appropriate to their needs or means. The other UNREF projects were designed to give refugees better opportunities to find adequate employment and to equalize to some extent their opportunities for education with those which are available to the Austrian population.
Implementation of projects
34. Permanent solutions projects included in the UNREF plan of operations for 1955, requiring contributions from UNREF amounting to $962,462 within the total allocation of $1,964,193, are being implemented. The total UNREF contributions to these projects included $524,193 granted by the Netherlands Committee for Aid to Refugees and $438,274 from governmental contributions to UNREF.
35. The breakdown of projects in the course of implementation is as follows:
|Establishment in agriculture||100,000|
|Aid to university students||23,492|
|Aid to high school pupils||8,077|
|Employment counselling and placement||52,192|
36. To the projects listed above, contributions in the approximate value of $2,600,000 are being made from Austrian sources, bringing the total cost of these projects to an amount of approximately $3,560,000. It is expected that approximately 8,830 refugees will benefit from these UNREF projects, but it will not be possible to assess the exact number before the end of 1956, when most of these projects will be completed.
37. The progress reports submitted by the agencies implementing these projects have so far been satisfactory, if account is taken of the fact that several projects, particularly those for housing settlements, could actually not be started before the spring of this year. Experience shows that for many types of projects the numbers of applications from refugees exceed by far the opportunities provided under the programme which, because of the considerable discrepancy between the target figures and the contributions actually received by UNREF, are much less than those which were planned.
38. Particular attention should be drawn to the so far successful implementation of the credit facilities project. The great need for special loans to refugees in emphasized by the fact that the Austrian Government has recently initiated special loan scheme for naturalized refugees which will be carried out on the same lines as the UNREF project.
39. Between 1 January 1955 and 1 January 1956, the number of refugees in Austria decreased from 187,550 to 148,750, mainly through acquisition of Austrian nationality by 30,130 and through emigration from Austria of 9,050. The number of refugees in camps, including unofficial camps, was reduced from approximately 45,700 to approximately 35,350.
Revised plan of operations (1956)
40. At the beginning of 1956 the number of unsettled refugees in Austria was estimated at 79,000, including 36,350 refugees in camps.
41. In view of this high number of unsettled refugees a considerable amount, $1,160,000, was again allocated for permanent solutions in Austria within the UNREF target for 1956. It was further decided to add to this allocation projects requiring UNREF contributions to the value of $981,422, which had been included in the plan of operations for 1955 but which could not be implemented through lack of funds.
42. The total allocation of $2,141,422 for projects for permanent solutions in Austria is broken down as follows:
|Establishment in agriculture||320,000|
|Rehabilitation of handicapped refugees||75,462|
|Aid to university students||20,000|
|Aid to high school pupils||16,205|
|Employment counselling and placement||67,169|
|Case workers in camps||10,000|
|Assistance for naturalization||10,000|
43. In the revised plan of operations (1956) emphasis is laid, as in the plan of operations for 1955, on the basic needs of unsettled refugees in Austria, which continue to be housing, credit facilities and facilities for establishment in agriculture. New projects have been elaborated for the rehabilitation of handicapped refugees and also to provide special case workers in the camps.
44. At the time of writing it is believed, on the basis of anticipated contributions to UNREF, that the Executive Committee will be in a position to authorize for implementation projects to the value of $1,134,257, representing 53 per cent of the allocation for permanent solutions in Austria included in the revised plan of operations (1956).
Plan of operations for 1955
45. At the beginning of 1955, out of a total of some 220,950 foreign refugees within the mandate of my Office in the Federal Republic of Germany and West Berlin, the number of unsettled refugees was estimated at some 97,000, of whom 29,580 were living in camps
46. The relatively large proportion of refugees who have not yet been fully integrated was to a large extent due to the continuation of the camps and to the fact that many refugees still live in areas with few employment possibilities. There are, furthermore, among the refugee considerable numbers of persons who come within the category of difficult cases or of those who, for reasons of age or health, cannot be integrated without a special effort.
47. Although the general economic situation of Western Germany has improved rapidly during the last few years, and although the numbers of unemployed has diminished, experience has shown that the unsettled refugees have benefited only to a limited extent from these improvements. Special assistance had therefore to be planned within the UNREF programme in order to permit the firm establishment of a greater number of refugees in Germany.
48. An amount of $419,975 was allotted in the UNREF plan of operations for 1955 to projects for permanent solutions in Germany and was broken down as follows:
|Aid to university students||15,357|
|Employment counselling and placement||18,666|
49. It will be noted that by far the largest amount within the total allocation has been allotted to housing.
50. It is estimated that approximately 5,000 refugees will benefit from the projects prepared within these allocations.
Implementation of projects
51. All the permanent solutions projects for refugees in Germany were approved and authorized for implementation by the UNREF Executive Committee and are at the present time in course of implementation.
52. Some delays occurred in the implementation of the projects for housing settlements in view of the fact that these projects had to be integrated into the governmental social housing programme, and that the projects were authorized for implementation after the allocation of funds to German district authorities within the latter programme had been made for the year 1955.
53. Most of the other UNREF projects, such as those providing for vocational training, aid to university students and employment counselling and placement, have already yielded successful results. Again, in view of the fact that the implementation of projects could start only late in 1955 and, in some instances, only in the first months of 1956, the complete results of the permanent solutions programme in Germany will be known only by the end of 1956.
54. The UNREF projects are in all cases being carried out in close co-operation with the German Federal and Land Governments, as well as with other organizations working on behalf of refugees. The Federal German Government is at the present time planning a resettlement programme which includes a provision for the transfer of 5,000 refugees within the mandate of my Office from areas where employment possibilities are scarce to areas where there is a shortage of labour.
55. Between 1 January 1955 and 1 January 1956 the number of refugees within the mandate of my Office decreased from 220,950 to 215,000, mainly through emigration from Germany and through acquisition of German nationality. During the same period, the number of refugees in camps diminished from 29,580 to 27,900.
Revised plan of operations (1956)
56. Although the over-all number of refugees residing in Germany, as well as the number of refugees residing in camps, decreased in the course of 1955, it was estimated that there were still in Germany at the beginning of 1956 some 82,000 unsettled refugees.
57. In the revised plan of operations (1956) the allocation for permanent solutions in Germany amounts to $372,025, broken down as follows:
|Rehabilitation of handicapped refugees||14,286|
|Aid to university students||5,000|
|Employment counselling and placement||21,762|
58. At the time this report was written, on the basis of anticipated governmental and other contributions to UNREF, it is believed that the UNREF Executive Committee will be in a position to authorize for implementation in 1956 projects to the value of $235,168, representing 63 per cent of the allocation for that year.
Plan of operations for 1955
58. The number of unsettled refugees in Greece was estimated, at the beginning of 1955, to be some 7,800, including 2,800 refugees in camps. The total number of refugees within the mandate of my Office residing at the same date in Greece was estimated at 15,300.
59. As in other countries, the provision of employment and of adequate accommodation was the main need of the refugees who cannot be resettled overseas.
60. Although the number of unsettled refugees in Greece was small, it was necessary to undertake within the UNREF programme a considerable effort on their behalf. The situation of refugees in Greece must be considered against the background of the general economic and social situation of the country, which is reflected in a very low per capita income and a considerable shortage of housing. Moreover, it must be remembered that Greece has been repeatedly stricken in recent years by natural catastrophes, earthquakes and floods, and that the country is further burdened by a high rate of natural increase of its population.
61. For these reasons projects for the integration of refugees in the UNREF programme had to cover the needs of each refugee family in a much more comprehensive manner than similar projects in other countries. This has a direct effect on the per capita cost of UNREF projects in Greece and, therefore, on the over-all allocation required to help in the firm establishment of a relatively small number of refugees.
62. The UNREF plan of operations for 1955 included permanent solutions projects for refugees in Greece requiring UNREF contributions in the amount of $924,967. Of this amount, $701,066 represented the allocation within the over-all target for governmental contributions, and $230,425 the amount granted by the Netherlands Committee for Aid to Refugees towards the financing of permanent solutions projects in Greece.
63. The total allocation of $924,967 was broken down as follows:
|Establishment in agriculture||118,335|
|Establishment as industrial workers||249,167|
|Establishment in crafts and trades Consolidation of economic and social position||350,000|
|in urban centres||161,667|
|Aid to university students||21,065|
|Pre-selection of refugees||18,000|
64. The UNREF projects were drawn up in close consultation with the Greek Government in order that they might fit in with governmental plans for the development and reconstruction of the country, taking into account at the same time the particular aptitudes of the refugees. As the majority of refugees are of urban origin, the emphasis of the programme was laid on the establishment, through loans, of refugees in crafts and trades and in industry in as many different areas as possible. The Greek government has made available, however, reclaimed agricultural land, which will permit the establishment in agriculture of a number of refugee families of rural background.
Implementation of projects
65. Permanent solutions projects requiring UNREF contributions to the value of $483,745, as against a total allocation of $924,967, have been put into effect in the autumn of 1955 and in the early months of 1956. The total UNREF contributions to these projects included $260,815 from governmental contributions and $222,930 granted by the Netherlands Committee for Aid to refugees. The breakdown of projects in the course of implementation is as follows:
|Establishment in agriculture||118,335|
|Establishment as industrial workers||67,500|
|Establishment in crafts and trades||172,250|
|Consolidation of economic and social position of refugees in urban areas||79,833|
|Aid to university students||21,065|
|Pre-selection of refugees||18,031|
66. To the projects listed above, contributions in the approximate value of $362,000 are being made by the Greek Government, bringing the total cost of these projects up to an amount of approximately $846,000. It is expected that some 823 refugees will benefit from these UNREF projects.
67. The Greek Government has established a Coordination Council for Refugees and a Special Government Service responsible for the implementation of the UNREF projects. Considerable work has already been done by the voluntary agencies in the refugee camps and centres in order to select the refugee families who are suitable for the various projects.
68. Quite apart from these preparatory measures, substantial progress has been made on a number of projects, such as that for establishment in agriculture, under which twenty of the fifty houses planned have already been completed, and the project for aid to university students. The fact that implementation of tangible projects for their firm establishment has been started has had a noticeable influence on the morale of those refugees in camps who have been living there for many years without any prospects under the prevailing economic conditions.
69. During the year 1955, the number of refugees in Greece diminished from 15,300 to 14,700, and the number of refugees in camps and centres decreased from 2,800 to 2,400.
Revised plan of operations (1956)
70. At the beginning of 1956, the number of unsettled refugees in Greece was estimated at 5,900, out of which 2,400 were in camps.
71. An allocation of $600,000 for permanent solutions in Greece was approved by the Executive Committee within the over-all target for 1956. It was also decided to add to this amount unimplemented projects requiring UNREF contributions to the value of $440,251, which were taken over from the plan of operations for 1955.
72. The total allocation of $1,040,251 for permanent solutions in Greece is broken down as follows:
|Establishment in agriculture||140,700|
|Establishment in crafts and trades||342,875|
|Consolidation of economic and social position of refugees in urban areas||467,563|
|Rehabilitation of handicapped refugees.||7,4959|
|Aid to university students||16,927|
|Pre-selection of refugees||22,062|
73. The general features of the programme for 1956 are similar to those of the plan operations for 1955. In the detailed projects, various adjustments have been made in the light of experience gained in the early stages of the implementation of the projects for 1955.
74. New projects have also been included to provide for the rehabilitation of handicapped refugees and for a housing settlement for destitute Armenian refugees among the approximately 6,000 Armenian refugees, most of whom live in the Athens area.
75. The contributions to UNREF for 1956, as anticipated at the time of writing of the present report, will make it possible for the Executive Committee to authorize for implementation projects in the value of $578,610, representing 56 per cent of the allocation for permanent solutions in Greece in the revised plan of operations (1956).
Plan of operations for 1955
76. The total number of some 29,000 refugees within the mandate of my Office residing at the beginning of 1955 in Italy (including Trieste) was estimated to include 19,000 unsettled refugees, including 6,250 refugees in camps.
77. As in Greece, the position of unsettled refugees in Italy must be considered against the economic and social background of the country. Whereas economic and social conditions in the northern part of Italy are generally good, the situation in the south, where most of the refugee camps are located, is very similar to that described in respect of Greece in the preceding section of the present report.
78. In the UNREF plan of operations for 1955 an allocations of $280,000 was included to help finance the following permanent solutions projects in Italy:
|Promotion of emigration||60,000|
|Establishment in crafts and trades||138,200|
79. Special efforts had to be made within the plan of operations for 1955 on behalf of several hundreds of refugees who cannot be integrated into the local economy and for whom resettlement opportunities could not be found over the last years. A relatively high amount had to remain unallocated in view of the fact that various projects for rehabilitation of handicapped refugees could not be finalized through lack of sufficient supporting contributions.
Implementation of projects
80. All permanent solutions projects for refugees in Italy included in the 1955 plan of operations were approved and authorized for implementation by the Executive Committee or the Standing Programme Sub-Committee, and are at the present time in the course of implementation. The Italian authorities are contributing $218,500 to these projects, the total cost of which amounts to approximately $431,000, and it is estimated that 945 refugees will benefit when the projects are completed.
81. Satisfactory reports have been received in respect of the projects concerned with the promotion of emigration; out of a total of 500 refugees who will benefit from this category of projects, approximately 100 had already left Italy for overseas countries at the time of writing.
82. Several families have also been established in crafts and trades. In this respect the progress reported is, however, somewhat slower as the utmost care must be exercised in establishing each refugee family in crafts or trades.
83. Between 1 January 1955 and 1 January 1956, the total refugee population in Italy diminished from 29,000 to 24,800, mainly through the emigration of 2,500 refugees. The number of refugees in camps decreased during the same period from 6,250 to 4,000.
Revised plan of operations (1956)
84. The number of unsettled refugees in Italy was estimated at the beginning of 1956 to be about 14,500, including some 4,000 refugees in camps.
85. The allocation for permanent solutions in Italy, approved by the Executive Committee within the over-all target for 1956, amounted to $450,000. Including a carry-over from the plan of operations for 1955 to the value of $67,768, the total allocation of $517,768 will be used to finance, within the revised plan of operations (1956), the following types of projects:
|Promotion of emigration||60,000|
|Re-establishment of refugee families in Belgium||20,400|
|Establishment in crafts and trades||260,000|
|Rehabilitation of handicapped refugees||33,282|
86. In addition to the projects for promotion of emigration and establishment in crafts and trades, prepared on the same lines as the similar projects in the first plan of operations, it was possible to include in the revised plan of operations (1956) projects for rehabilitation of handicapped refugees, particularly post-tubercular cases. Another new project provides, with the agreement of the Belgian Government, for the re-establishment in Belgium of refugee families difficult to resettle overseas. It is further planned to use a part of the unallocated balance to draw up additional projects for the rehabilitation of handicapped refugees.
87. It is believed that the Executive Committee will be in a position to authorize for implementation projects requiring UNREF contributions to the value of $244,982, which represents 47 per cent of the total allocation for permanent solutions in Italy in 1956.
E. Other countries
Plan of operations for 1955
88. The plan of operations for 1955 included allocations for permanent solutions projects in other countries to the value of $234,000, including $4,000 for a project in Belgium and $230,000 to finance projects designed to promote the resettlement of refugees in various countries overseas.
89. The project approved for refugees in Belgium is being implemented. This project provides for the establishment of a small employment counselling and placement service.
90. The projects for the promotion of resettlement could not be authorized for implementation through lack of funds, and had to be abandoned.
Revised plan of operations (1956)
Belgium and France
91. An estimated number of over 60,000 refugees reside in Belgium and 306,000 in France as a result of the generous policy followed in respect of the admission of refugees.
92. Although there are no refugee camps in these two countries, the great numbers of refugees include several thousands who, for various reasons, particularly their state of health and age, cannot easily be integrated in the local economies. The number of unsettled refugees was estimated to be, at the beginning of 1956, some 10,000 in Belgium and some 40,000 in France. For these reasons the Executive Committee approved, within the revised plan of operations (1956), a total allocation of $350,000 to enable UNREF to participate in the financing of permanent solutions projects which would benefit, in these two countries, those refugees who, owing to their living conditions or their disabilities, are unfit for normal integration.
93. Of the total allocation of $350,000 an amount of $70,000 was allocated for permanent solutions in Belgium according to the following breakdown:
|Employment counselling and placement||20,000|
|Rehabilitation of handicapped refugees||30,000|
94. It is believed that, on the basis of the anticipated contributions to UNREF for 1956, the Executive Committee will be able to authorize for implementation permanent solutions projects in Belgium requiring UNREF contributions in the amount of $50,000.
95. The allocation for permanent solutions projects in France was fixed at $280,000 according to the following breakdown:
|Vocational training and employment||230,828|
|Integration of refugee intellectuals||16,663|
|Establishment in crafts and trades||28,571|
96. It is believed that, on the basis of the anticipated contributions to UNREF, the Executive Committee will be able to authorize for implementation permanent solutions projects in France requiring UNREF contributions to the value of $163,005, representing 58 per cent of the total allocation.
Promotion of resettlement
97. The revised plan of operations (1956) includes projects to promote the resettlement in overseas countries of refugees residing in Europe to the value of $100,000. These projects are designed to enable the voluntary agencies concerned with the resettlement of refugees to grant special loans in order to facilitate the admission and establishment of refugees in trades and professions in the countries of immigration.
98. One of the projects for the promotion of resettlement, requiring an UNREF contribution of $46,500, was authorized for implementation by the Executive Committee at its second session.
F. Settlement of difficult cases
Plan of operations for 1955
99. In my report to the tenth session of the General Assembly, I indicated that the number of identifiable difficult cases requiring institutional or special care amounted to at least 15,500.
100. Despite the great number of difficult cases and dependants, only limited allocations for projects on their behalf could be made within the target for 1955. According to the wish expressed by the former Advisory Committee at its fifth session, when the target for the year 1955 was fixed, it was necessary to keep an adequate balance between the allocations for permanent solutions and those for other types of UNREF projects.
101. In distributing the target allocation for the settlement of difficult cases over the various countries of residence, due consideration was given not only to the number of difficult cases identified in each country, but also to the prospective openings for the settlement of difficult cases either in or outside the countries of present residence.
102. The plan of operations for 1955 included projects for the settlement of difficult cases requiring UNREF contributions in the amount of $793,800. Of this, $594,000 represented the allocation within the over-all target of $4,200,000 for governmental contributions, $189,800 the amount granted by the Netherlands Committee for Aid to Refugees towards the settlement of difficult cases in Austria ($133,000) and Greece ($56,800), and $10,000 residual IRO funds for the financing of difficult cases projects in Austria.
103. The total allocation of $793,800 was broken down as follows:
|Jordan, Lebanon, Syria||8,000|
104. The projects for settlement of difficult cases provide mainly for two types of solutions: settlement in institutions in the country of residence, and settlement in institutions in other, mainly European, countries. In view of the few openings available, the settlement of difficult cases outside their present country of residence is, as far as possible, reserved for those difficult cases who cannot easily be settled in the countries where they are residing through lack of appropriate facilities. This applies to all difficult cases among refugees of European origin in China, as well as to the majority of difficult cases in the Near and Middle East.
105. The difficult cases are settled in institutions either through a grant from UNREF for their admission into an existing institution, or by a contribution from UNREF towards the building of an extension to, or the construction of, an institution. In all projects due care is taken to ensure that refugees will be given life-long care and maintenance, as well as appropriate medical care and supervision.
106. Unfortunately, settlement opportunities for the chronically sick and the mental cases are inadequate. In most cases the openings which are available are for aged refugees, who require only normal care and maintenance and medical supervision. Special attention is given by my Office to difficult cases among refugees of European origin in China, of whom some 1,100 cases were identified as of 1 January 1955.
Implementation of projects
107. Projects for the settlement of difficult cases requiring UNREF contributions to the value of $460,702, as against a total allocation of $793,800, are in course of implementation. The total UNREF contributions to these projects include $268,248 from governmental contributions, $183,276, from the grant of the Netherlands Committee for Aid to Refugees, and $9,178 from IRO residual funds.
108. The breakdown of these projects, according to the country of residence of the difficult cases, is as follows:
109. To the projects listed above considerable direct and indirect supporting contributions are made from non-UNREF sources, mainly from within the countries where the difficult cases are settled or resettled. These supporting contribution, which consist particularly of guarantees of life-long care and maintenance and medical services, are given either by Governments and local authorities or by voluntary societies. Although it is not easy to evaluate these contributions in view of the different standards of living in the countries where refugees are settled or resettled, a very conservative estimate shows that the direct or indirect supporting contributions to the projects for settlement of difficult cases in the course of implementation exceed by far $1,000,000.
110. The reports so far received on the progress of projects in course of implementation are very satisfactory. Two hundred and sixty-three refugees have already benefited under these projects. This number includes twenty-seven refugees settled in institutions in their countries of residence, 176 cases settled in institutions in other countries, and sixty aged refugees for whom annuities have been provided. The countries where difficult cases have been resettled are Belgium, Denmark, Norway and Sweden, and arrangements are being made for resettlement of other cases in France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Switzerland and other European countries.
111. A number of projects are not yet completed as they involve the building of new institutions or the expansion and re-equipment of existing buildings. Some delays also occurred in the resettlement in Europe of difficult cases among European refugees in China, because of the delays in obtaining exist permits. On the basis of the latest reports it is hoped, however, that the issuance of such permits will be somewhat easier during the current years.
112. A total number of 742 difficult cases will benefit from the projects implemented under the plan of operations for 1955. In addition, a considerable number of refugees in the category of difficult cases was admitted without grants from UNREF for resettlement in several European countries, including seventy-seven aged refugees from Austria, Italy and Germany admitted to the United Kingdom under the "Two Thousand Scheme". Moreover, a number of aged refugees is being admitted to the United States of America under the Refugee Relief Act.
Revised plan of operations (1956)
113. Although at the beginning of 1956 the prospects concerning the successful implementation of various projects for settlement of difficult cases included in the plan of operations for 1955 were excellent, the impact of those projects on the over-all case-load was too limited to alter the general situation. It appears, on the contrary, that the number of refugees in the category of difficult cases is increasing rather than decreasing. This is due not only to the identification of cases which were previously unknown to my Office, but also to the deterioration of refugees' health, particularly in the age groups of fifty and over.
114. Until recently old persons among the refugees were classified as difficult cases, and thereby eligible for grants from UNREF when they reached the age of sixty-five, unless reasons of sickness would justify such a classification before attaining that age. The planning and implementation of the UNREF programme have made it clear that there are in and out of camps a certain number of needy refugees in the age group sixty to sixty-five for whom no other solution can reasonably be envisaged than their settlement as difficult cases. I have therefore decided to extend the definition of difficult cases to this age group. Although this will increase to a sizable extent the number of difficult cases which will be recorded by my Office, it has been found unrealistic to suggest that other permanent solutions could be found for this group of refugees.
115. In the revised plan of operations (1956) the total allocation for settlement of difficult cases amounts to $945,002, including unimplemented projects requiring UNREF contributions to the value of $331,002, which were taken over from the plan of operations for 1955.
116. This total allocation is broken down as follows, according to the present country of residence of the cases:
|Jordan, Lebanon, Syria||28,800|
117. In distributing the total allocation over the various countries and in drawing up the detailed projects included in the revised plan of operations (1956), the same policy was followed as outlined in respect of the plan of operations for 1955.
118. The contributions for 1956 UNREF anticipated at the time of writing of the present report will enable the Executive Committee to authorize for implementation projects to the value of $496,844, representing 53 per cent of the total allocation for settlement of difficult cases in the revised plan of operations (1956)
G. Shanghai operation
Plan of operations for 1955
119. In my previous reports to the General Assembly I have repeatedly drawn attention to the problem of refugees of European origin in China for whom no other solutions can be found than their resettlement in other countries. Following the termination of the operations of the former International Refugee Organizations on 1 February 1952, my Office undertook, together with the Inter-governmental Committee for European Migration, a joint operation on behalf of this group of refugees and a larger part of the funds available in the former United Nations Refugees Emergency Fund were devoted to this operation, including the provision of emergency aid and the settlement of difficult cases.
120. Following the recommendations of the former Advisory Committee at its fifth session, the Executive Committee decided to include the Shanghai operation within the UNREF programme.
121. The number of refugees of European origin in China was estimated at the beginning of 1955 at 14,000 persons.
Summary of projects
122. The Executive Committee approved at its first session an allocation of $226,000 to cover expenditure under the Shanghai operation for the period 1 April to 31 December 1955, on the understanding that the expenditure for the first part of the year would be financed out of the available balance in the former United Nations Refugees Emergency Fund.
123. This allocation was designed to finance direct expenditure by my Office, including monthly allowances, welfare expenses, medical supplies and services for refugees on the Chinese mainland, the maintenance of the Emergency Staging Centre in Shanghai and the administrative costs of the Shanghai Office.
124. The allocation also covered allotments to two voluntary agencies to provide emergency aid to 700 refugees in China at a rate not exceeding $6 per month.
Implementation of projects
125. The actual expenditure under the UNREF projects for the period 1 April to 31 December 1955 amounted to $196,058, broken down as follows:
|Direct UNREF expenditure||62,458|
|Assistance through voluntary agencies||33,600|
To the above total should be added an amount of $69,727 spent in the earlier part of the year, making a total expenditure for 1955 of $265,785.
126. During the year 1955 a total of 547 refugees were resettled mainly in Brazil, Australia, the United States of America, Chile, Turkey and Japan. This number includes forty-two difficult cases who were admitted to institutions in Belgium, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland, thanks to the generous co-operation of the respective Governments and of voluntary societies. The administration of the United States Escapee Programme also made a contribution to the care and maintenance of the refugees to cover some of the costs incurred in Hong Kong pending their resettlement.
127. The total number of refugees resettled during the year 1955 compares unfavourably with the number resettled in the two previous years, which reached a total of 3,321 in 1953 and 1,463 in 1954. This is due to the difficulties encountered in obtaining exit permits from China.
Revised plan of operations (1956)
128. At the beginning of 1956 there were still at least 13,300 European refugees in China, including 920 identified difficult cases for whom no openings were as yet available.
129. The Executive Committee approved within the revised plan of operations (1956) an allocation of $331,120 including:
|Direct UNREF expenditure||273,520|
|Assistance through voluntary agencies||57,600|
130. This allocation was based on the latest information available in respect of the issuance of exit permits, which makes it possible to hope that the number of refugees to be resettled in 1956 will be considerably higher than in the previous year. It is also expected that, as a result of negotiations now being undertaken with the Government of the Netherlands, it will be possible to resettle all the inmates and close the Shanghai Emergency Staging Centre.
H. Emergency aid
Plan of operations for 1955
131. In the years before the establishment of the UNREF programme, my Office provided, from the former United Nations Refugee Emergency Fund, emergency aid to the most needy groups among refugees residing in countries where they cannot benefit from public relief allowances or social security measures sufficient to cover the minimum required for subsistence and medical care.
132. In accordance with the recommendations of the former Advisory Committee at its fifth session, the Executive Committee included in the plan of operations for 1955 an over-all allocation of $105,000 for emergency aid projects, to which was added a small reserve account of $10,000 to cover unforeseen emergencies, making a total of $115,000.
133. The total allocation of $115,000 was broken down, according to the countries of residence of the refugees, as follows:
|Jordan, Lebanon and Syria||18,000|
134. The above distribution of allocations was based on the estimates of the number of needy refugees in the respective countries and on the nature of emergency aid to be given to refugees according to existing local conditions.
135. Most of the UNREF projects for emergency aid include provisions to enable the implementing voluntary agencies to provide supplementary feeding and medical care to the refugees. In Italy, the emergency aid projects was restricted, however, to a medical insurance scheme in view of the relief allowances provided to refugees by the Italian authorities.
136. In a few instances the projects enabled the voluntary agencies to provide to refugees assistance to obtain lodgings or small cash grants to meet special needs.
137. The imprest account is designed to enable voluntary agencies in various countries to assist refugees with small cash grants not exceeding $10 in special emergency cases. These grants are reimbursed to the voluntary agencies by my Office in Genera or by my Branch Offices.
Implementation of projects
138. The actual expenditure under the emergency aid projects, including the reserve account, amounted, in the course of 1955, to $63,18710 The limited expenditure on emergency aid projects was due on the one hand, to the stringent criteria applied in extending emergency aid to refugee, and also to the fact, that, as the projects were approved only in May 1956, the agreements could cover only a shorter period of the year 1955 than originally planned.
139. To the above amount should be added, however, expenditure to the value of $15,027 made in the earlier part of the year out of the available balance from the former United Nations Refugee Emergency Fund, making a total emergency aid expenditure of $78,214 for the year 1955.
Revised plan of operations (1956)
140. The Executive Committee approved an allocation of $105,564 for emergency aid projects within the revised plan of operations (1956), which is broken down as follows:
|Jordan, Lebanon and Syria||16,000|
141. The distribution of the allocations was made on the same principles as outlined above in respect of the allocations for 1955, after a re-assessment of the needs in each area.
Chapter II REPATRIATION AND RESETTLEMENT
142. In accordance with the mandate of my Office any requests for repatriation which are received from individual refugees are referred to the appropriate authorities of their countries of origin. As I stated in my report to the ninth session of the General Assembly,11 however, my Office is rarely able to obtain information on the action subsequently taken.
143. During 1955, various Governments of the countries of origin renewed their efforts to encourage repatriation by sending repatriation mission to the countries of residence of refugees and through interviews conducted by the members of diplomatic or consular mission. Publicity favouring repatriation, calling attention to recent decrees of amnesty, and promising free transportation and loans to refugees wishing to return to their countries of origin, has also greatly increased. This has resulted in a temporary increase in applications for repatriation. In Germany, fifty-six such applications were received during the summer and autumn of 1955, and the return of thirty one refugees of Soviet nationality before the expiry of their prison sentences for crimes committed in Germany has also been reported. The Ministry of the interior in Austria has notified my Branch Office in that country that 263 persons have been repatriated from Austria from 1 April to 31 October 1955. My Office has no means of checking these figures nor of finding out how many of the persons concerned come within the mandate of my Office.
144. In accordance with resolution 925 (x) adopted by the Assembly at its tenth session, which called upon my Office to continue its efforts to solve the problems of refugees by repatriation and resettlement, while at the same time applying due safeguards to ensure the protection of refugees, I have requested the Governments of the countries of residence of refugees to ensure that my Branch Offices be advised of any impending visit to refugees of a repatriation mission and be invited to send a representative to accompany the mission in the capacity of an impartial observer to ensure that no undue influence is exercised. This procedure is working satisfactorily and my Branch Office have been notified a number of times of such visits, and representatives have accompanied the missions.
145. Further progress has been made in the resettlement of refugees both within Europe and in overseas countries since my last report to the General Assembly. In promoting emigration opportunities for refugees and encouraging them to take advantage of these opportunities, my Office has been acting in accordance with article 8 (d) of its statute.
146. Resettlement opportunities for refugees complying with current immigration criteria have increased slightly during the period under review. This was partly due to the facts that the United States Refugee Relief Act was implemented more effectively and that, under the immigration schemes of major immigration countries such as Australia and Canada, further facilities were given to refugees. It was also due to the increased interest shown in the refugee problem as a result of the new UNREF programme.
147. There has also been an increase in the settlement of difficult cases who have been accepted by a larger number of countries than previously, including Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland.
148. For refugees who cannot comply with current immigration criteria and who do not fall within the category of difficult cases, however, resettlement possibilities tend to diminish. It is becoming more and more evident that, if these refugees are to benefit from resettlement possibilities, admission criteria must be liberalized to allow the admission of refugee families which include one or more members who do not fully comply with current immigration requirements.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
149. The effective implementation of the Refugee Relief Act of 1953 has resulted in an increase in the number of refugees within the mandate of my Office to be admitted to the United States during 1955. With the assistance of the Inter-governmental Committee for European Migration, during 1955, 11,438 refugees were transported to the United States. This is more than twice the number moved under the auspices of the Committee during the preceding year.
150. The majority of refugees indicate a preference for resettlement in the United States, and it is hoped, therefore, that certain administrative changes will permit a greater number of refugees to take advantage of the resettlement opportunities offered under the Refugee Relief Act, 1953, before its expiration at the end of 1956.
151. Canada continues to be one of the major countries of resettlement for those refugees who are able to comply with normal immigration criteria. There is no limitation upon the number of refugees possessing the requisite skills who may be admitted to that country. The Canadian Government has also indicated its willingness to accept a certain number of refugees within the fifty to sixty age group, as well as widows with dependent children.
152. During the year 1955, 2,395 refugees were resettled in Canada with the assistance of ICEM and there are indications that a larger number of refugees will be admitted during 1956.
153. The decision of the Canadian Government to extend travel loans to entire refugee families is extremely helpful.
154. In the latter months of 1955 the services of my Branch Offices in Austria, Germany and Italy were made available to two senior representatives of the Canadian Department of Immigration and Citizenship, who visited refugee camps in those countries with a view to assessing what further efforts Canada might be able to make towards the admission of a greater number of refugees to its territory.
155. Through bilateral agreements with Austria, Germany, Greece and the Netherlands, the Government of Austria undertook to accept over 2,000 refugees for resettlement within its territory during the year 1955. A special quota of 500 visas was set aside for refugees from Italy. This quota, which expires on 30 June 1956, shows every prospect of being filled.
156. The Australian Government has initiated a further scheme, in conjunction with the Administration of the United States Escapee Programme and ICEM, for the admission of Yugoslav refugees from Austria, and is willing to admit up to 1,000 single men and women and married couples. A considerable number of privately sponsored refugees are also admitted to Australia each year.
157. During 1955, the Government of New Zealand has demonstrated a growing interest in migration generally and it is the hope of my Office that the Government of that country will, during the coming year, continue to admit those refugees who are in possession of assurances of employment and accommodation. New Zealand has displayed a sympathetic interest in the work of my Office and has contributed annually to UNREF in respect of the joint operation of ICEM and my Office for European refugees in China.
158. The Netherlands Government has during the period under review implemented its scheme to admit 250 refugee families within the mandate of this Office. Selection teams have already visited Greece, Trieste and Austria and, by May 1956, 132 families (totalling 610 persons ) had been accepted. Ninety families (totalling 406 persons) had by the middle of May 1956 been admitted to the Netherlands.
159. The scheme is for refugee families of which one or more members are experienced in the building trade. On arrival, families are installed in furnished accommodation placed at their disposal by the various Netherlands municipalities.
160. The Government of the Netherlands has continued to accept a number of refugee students for full time university training and permanent residence. Fifteen refugee students, including three tuberculosis patients, were admitted in 1955 under the auspices of the University Asylum Fund.
161. The efforts of the Netherlands Government on behalf of difficult cases are referred to elsewhere in the present report.
162. As a special contribution to the UNREF programme, the Swedish Government agreed to the admission in 1955, under extremely liberal criteria, of some 600 refugees within my mandate from Austria. The only requirement was that refugee families would be capable of becoming self-supporting. Among the persons selected were sixty-one tubercular cases and a number of aged and handicapped refugees. The selection mission, which visited Austria in August 1955, was given wide discretion in the exercise of its functions. As a result, this scheme was most successful and within a period of three months more than 600 refugees were resettled in Sweden. Tuberculosis patients were placed in sanatoria and their dependants were offered employment in the vicinity. The refugees enjoy the same wage scales, social security and unemployment benefits as Swedish nationals.
163. In February of this year I had an opportunity to visit many of these people, who were then already established, and to observe the way in which they were adjusting themselves to their new environment.
164. The first scheme has been followed by a second one of a similar type designed to admit up to 1,000 persons including at least thirty tubercular cases. Selection for the second scheme began in Austria during the month of April 1956.
UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND
165. A further selection of refugees for admission to the United Kingdom under the "Two Thousand Scheme" took place in November and December 1955, when a visiting mission selected migrants from Austria, German, Italy and Trieste. As a result of the visit a further fifty-one refugee families were accepted for permanent resettlement in the United Kingdom.
166. The resettlement of refugees has continued in a number of Latin American countries through the joint efforts of the voluntary agencies, ICEM, USEP and my Office. The interest shown by the countries of Latin America in the refugee problem and their understanding of my task is much appreciated by my Office.
167. During the year 1955, 402 refugees were resettled with the assistance of ICEM in Brazil, 662 in Chile, 136 in Venezuela and small numbers in Argentina, Colombia and other Latin American countries. Particularly valuable has been the willingness of Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Venezuela to accept refugees resident in China, whose migration was arranged through the joint ICEM/UNHCR Office in Hong Kong.
168. The Government of Colombia has approved a standing quota of 100 visas monthly for refugees whose placement is guaranteed by the Colombian Catholic Immigration Committee. Efforts are being made to increase the publicity for this scheme so that the full quota of visas may be utilized.
169. During April and the first part of May 1956 I was able to carry out my intention of visiting certain countries in Latin America including those countries which are members of the Economic and Social Council or of the UNREF Executive Committee or which have signed the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. The countries were Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.
170. One of the main objectives of my visit was to consult with the heads of Governments and Ministers for Foreign Affairs on the refugee problem and, in particular, on the possibility of increasing resettlement opportunities for refugees in Latin America, and also to discuss the question of further ratifications and accessions to the 1951 Convention. I also planned to visit refugee settlements and to meet representatives of the voluntary agencies which have, through the grant made by the Ford Foundation, carried out projects to promote the resettlement of refugees in Latin America.
171. I hope to be able to visit other countries in Latin America in the future.
172. Small groups of refugees are also being moved to countries of permanent resettlement in other parts of the world, with the assistance of the Inter-governmental Committee for European Migration. This applies particularly to those refugees with very little chance of integration in certain areas of the Middle East and in Ethiopia. The Committee has succeeded in securing residence permits and work contracts in the Central African Federation for about twenty refugees in Ethiopia; their movement is being financed from the IRO Trust Fund.
Chapter III LEGAL ASPECTS OF INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION
A. International instruments affecting refugees
1951 CONVENTION RELATING TO THE STATUS OF REFUGEES
173. Since May 1955, when my report to the tenth session of the General Assembly was issued, the following States have ratified the Convention: Ecuador on 17 August 1955, the Holy See on 15 March 1956, Iceland on 30 November 1955 and the Netherlands on 3 May 1956. The following eighteen States are now parties to the Convention: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Ecuador, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Holy See, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
174. Of the States which have, since the last annual report, ratified the Convention, Ecuador and the Holy See have, in accordance with article 18 of the Convention, declared that the words; "Events occurring before 1 January 1951" shall mean "events occurring in Europe before 1 January 1951", while the governments of Iceland and the Netherlands have declared that they shall means "events occurring in Europe or elsewhere before 1 January 1951". The Government of the Federal Republic of Germany has notified the Secretary-General that the Convention has been extended to cover Land Berlin with retroactive effect from 1 March 1954.
175. In several other countries ratification of the Convention is under active consideration. My Office continues its efforts to promote the accession of the greatest possible number of States to the Convention.
CONVENTION ON THE DECLARATION OF DEATH OF MISSING PERSONS
176. Since my last annual report, the Federal Republic of Germany and Pakistan have acceded to this Convention. In Germany the Convention also applies to Land Berlin. It was in force as of 1 April 1956 between China, the Federal Republic of Germany, Guatemala, Israel and Pakistan.
CONVENTION RELATING TO THE STATUS OF STATELESS PERSONS
177. The Government of Denmark ratified this Convention on 17 January 1956. Six ratifications or accessions are required in order that the Convention may come into force.
UNIVERSAL COPYRIGHT CONVENTION
178. Protocol No.1 to the Universal Copyright Convention, adopted, as a result of an initiative taken by UNHCR, by the Inter-governmental Copyright Conference held in Geneva in August to September 1952 under the auspices of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, provides that "Stateless persons and refugees who have their habitual residence in a state party to this Protocol shall, for the purposes of the Convention, be assimilated to the nationals of that State". The Protocol entered into force on 16 September 1955. As of 1 April 1956 of following States had ratified or acceded to the Protocol: Andorra, Cambodia, Costa Rica, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Haiti, the Holy See, Israel, Japan, Laos, Luxembourg, Monaco, Pakistan, the Philippines, Switzerland and the United States of America.
CONVENTIONS OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE
179. The protocols to the European Interim Agreements on social security schemes provide that the provisions of the principal agreement shall, subject to certain qualifications, apply to refugees under the same conditions as they apply to the nationals of the contracting parties. As of 1 April 1956, the protocols had been ratified by: Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, the Saar, Sweden and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
180. A Protocol to the European Convention on Social Security and Medical Assistance provides that section I of the Convention shall apply to refugees under the same conditions as they apply to the nationals of the contracting parties thereto. As of 1 April this Protocol had been ratified by Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, the Saar, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
B. Admission and expulsion
DETERMINATION OF ELIGIBILITY
181. In my report to the General Assembly at its tenth session, I emphasized the importance of establishing a procedure for the determination of refugee status by a central Authority in Austria. Several representations were made to the Austrian Government on this question. A new procedure for the determination of the status of persons who enter Austria illegally in order to seek asylum was established by an instruction issued by the Austrian Ministry of the Interior on 17 February 1956.
182. According to this instruction the status of the persons concerned is to be determined by special screening units of the Ministry of the Interior. On the basis of the findings of these units, the security authorities are to issue illegal entrants with a certificate showing whether they are recognized as refugees under the terms of the 1951 Convention or as persons other than refugees who cannot be repatriated and are to be granted asylum in Austria. The certificates entitle the holders to reside in Austria, and are to be valid for six months, subject to renewal. Under the terms of the instruction a domiciliary ban is to be imposed on illegal entrants whose presence constitutes a danger to national security or public order but who cannot be deported to their country of origin. At the same time, however, a written stay of execution must be granted to enable the illegal entrant to emigrate to another country. If the circumstances justify deportation to the country of origin, deportation proceedings are to be instituted. Repatriation may, however, only take place with the approval of the Ministry of the Interior.
183. It has been agreed by the Austrian authorities that my Branch Office in Vienna will be notified officially of all cases where a claim to be recognized as a refugee under the 1951 Convention has been rejected and it will thus be in a position to make representations on behalf of the claimant. The new procedure does not provide for participation by my Office in the interviewing of the refugees, but the arrangements are considered as being on a trial basis by the Austrian authorities.
184. I have proposed to the Minister of the Interior that I should submit a report to him on the working of these arrangements after the procedure has been in operation for six months, in order that the question of its revision might be considered.
185. In Belgium the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, after consultation with my Branch Office, has decided that refugees residing in Belgium shall be recorded in local government registers as "United Nations refugees".
186. My representative in Belgium received 3,000 applications to be recognized as refugees during 1955. Of these, more than 200 were applications by refugees coming directly from their country of origin who were declared eligible under the terms of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. Of the others, approximately 2,700 were from refugees who had been residing in Belgium for many years.
187. In Egypt, the registration of refugees within the mandate of my Office has been continued in close co-operation between my Office and the Refugees section of the Ministry of the Interior. Those refugees who have been registered have been able to obtain residence permits and other documents in accordance with the agreement concluded between the Egyptian Government and my Office.
188. In France, 20,144 refugees, i.e., twice as many as in 1954, registered with the French Office for the Protection of refugees and Stateless Persons in the course of 1955. This number includes 467 refugees who entered France in 1955 and 19,677 who were already residing in France, mostly refugees resettled in France by IRO or pre-war immigrants who no longer wish to avail themselves of the protection of their country of origin. The total number of refugees registered by the French Office for the protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons amounted by the end of 1955 to 374,617. The appeals board referred to in my previous reports continued its activity and reversed in approximately 20 per cent of the cases to it the decisions taken by the French Office.
189. In the Federal Republic of Germany, the procedure is still in force whereby refugees who entered Germany after 1 July 1950 and whose residence has been authorized may have their status as refugees examined in writing instead of appearing before the boards established under this Asylum Ordinance of 6 January 1953. Applications from persons for recognition as refugees under the Asylum Ordinance continue to be received. Since the coming into effect of this procedure on 6 February 1953 until 31 December 1955, of the 7,300 applications for recognition submitted to the Eligibility Board in Nuremberg, decisions had been given in respect of 5,090 persons. During this period 2,009 persons were recognized as refugees and 1,468 were rejected, while 1,613 cases were eliminated for various reasons; because applicants were of German ethnic origin, for instance, or because they were already in Germany on 30 June 1950 and were therefore already considered as refugees under the law on homeless foreigners. Of the 1,468 persons rejected by the Eligibility Board, 126 were recognized on appeal. On 31 December 1955, 2,210 cases were pending before the First Boards in Nuremberg and Kaiserslautern and there were seventy-seven cases before the Board of Appeal in Nuremberg.
190. During 1955, of the 1,949 applications for recognition submitted, 702 persons were recognized, 461 were rejected and 960 were eliminated. The apparent discrepancy of 174 cases is due to the fact that the cases dealt with by the Boards are not identical with those submitted during the year. Up to 29 February 1956, 155 persons had filed further appeals with the Administrative Court in Ansbach. In eleven cases the Court had accepted the refugees; sixty-eight appeals were rejected; in six cases the appeal was withdrawn. The remaining seventy cases are pending.
191. In Italy, the Government agreed in April 1955 to the establishment of a special joint commission composed of representatives of the Italian Government and of my Office, for the special purpose of determining the eligibility of refugees arriving in the Trieste area. This new commission is parallel to and has the same terms of reference as the joint commission already established in Rome, which I mentioned in my report to the tenth session of the Assembly. The new joint commission is functioning in Udine, where a transit camp for newly arriving refugees has been established.
192. In the course of eighty-four meetings held in 1955, the joint commission in Rome examined 1,174 cases. Eight hundred and three refugees were declared eligible and 201 ineligible; 667 cases are in suspense. During the same period the commission in Udine examined 709 cases in the course of nine meetings; 344 refugees were declared eligible and 240 ineligible; 135 cases are in suspense. Two hundred and forty eight cases were not examined by the commission because the persons concerned were found to be of Italian origin. My representative in Italy is now discussing with the Italian authorities the status of this latter category in order to clarify the legal position as regards their citizenship.
193. In the Netherlands, a new procedure for the determination of the eligibility of refugees, in which my Office will take part, is being established.
194. In the course of 1955 my Branch Office in the Netherlands issued 388 certificates entitling the holders to the benefits provided for by the Convention.
PROBLEM OF ILLEGAL ENTRANTS
195. In Germany, the problem of illegal entrants became more acute during the summer and early autumn of 1955. Upon the coming into force of the Austrian State Treaty several hundred refugees entered Germany illegally; from July to October 1955 approximately 400 of these refugees were received at the Federal Reception Centre at Nuremberg alone. As a result of reassuring declarations by the Austrian Government the flow of illegal entrants subsided and the situation is now normal.
196. The opening of the Zirndorf Camp, near Nuremberg, by the Administration of the United States Escapee Programme made it possible to transfer a number of illegal entrants from the Nuremberg Reception Centre and to place them in favourable conditions pending their emigration or integration in Germany. At the initiative of my Office, the Mittelfranken Government issued an ordinance under which refugees to whom the right of asylum in Germany had been refused may be granted aliens' passports and the right to work.
197. Further efforts are being made by my Office to solve the problem of illegal entrants in Germany through emigration or integration in co-operation with voluntary agencies, the USEP administration and the Germany authorities.
198. In Belgium also, the number of refugees entering the country illegally was relatively higher during 1955. About 120 refugees, most of whom came from Austria, entered Belgium illegally during the year.
ASYLUM AND EXPULSION
199. The Federal Chancellor of Austria, in his statement to the Austrian Parliament on 26 October 1955 in connexion with the Neutrality Law, outlined the policies of the Austrian Government towards refugees. He emphasized that Austria would continue to give full effect to the right of asylum for refugees.
200. As a result of the new procedure for the recognition of refugees, the Ministry of the Interior has agreed to advise my Branch Office in Vienna of all cases in which the expulsion of a refugee to his country of origin is intended, provided the person in question has been officially recognized as coming within the terms of the 1951 Convention or has himself claimed to be so. In accordance with the new eligibility procedure mentioned in paragraph 181 above, a copy of all domiciliary bans issued in respect of refugees coming within the terms of the 1951 Convention or of persons who have claimed certain rights conferred by the convention, will be transmitted to my Branch Office in Vienna. According to Austrian law, domiciliary bans may only be issued to persons who are not eligible to benefit from the 1951 Convention, with the exception of cases where articles 32 and 33 (2) concerning expulsion may be applicable.
201. Upon a decision of the Ministry of the Interior, domiciliary bans issued prior to the establishment of the new procedure for the recognition of refugees status may be reviewed.
202. In Egypt, under the terms of article 40 of the new Constitution of the Republic, the extradition of political refugees is prohibited. Understanding has been shown by the authorities for the special position of those few refugees whose presence is considered undesirable by the authorities. They have been granted temporary residence permits which may be renewed while efforts are being made by my representative to find emigration opportunities for them.
203. In France, twenty-nine expulsion orders which were issued in 1954 have been commuted by the administrative authorities into orders for assigned residence. In four cases out of ten, the appeals board set up for the recognition of refugee status expressed the opinion that the measure should be revoked and in a number of these cases its advice was followed by the Ministry of the Interior.
204. In the Federal Republic of Germany, the practice continues of issuing expulsion orders to refugees who have entered the Federal Territory illegally and to refugees who have served prison sentences, although these expulsion orders are seldom carried out. My Office is seeking to obtain from the German authorities that either this practice be discontinued altogether or that my Office be advised of such expulsion orders so that it may exercise its supervisory functions. This question is, however, complicated by the fact that expulsion orders are issued by local authorities without reference to the Federal Government.
205. Until recently persons to whom refugee status was denied were allowed to remain in Germany. I have been informed, however, that the local authorities at Nuremberg are considering the possibility of such persons being sent back to their country of origin. This matter is closely followed by my Branch Office in Germany.
206. In Italy, two cases of extradition were dealt with by my Branch Office in 1955. Evidence of the eligibility of a refugee under the mandate of UNHCR proved to be sufficient to prevent extradition of the refugee from taking place.
207. During the past year a number of reports which have reached my Office from various sources concerning the situation of foreign refugees in Yugoslavia and threats of forcible repatriation, led me to make several inquiries from the Yugoslav Government. The replies which have been given, after considerable delays, do not correspond in a number of respects with the information available to my Office. In addition, several inquiries about particular refugees have remained unanswered. The Yugoslav Government has informed my Office that the problem of the émigrés from Eastern European countries is in the process of being solved and that solutions are being found without the assistance and collaboration of my Office. In these circumstances, it does not consider the intervention of my Office necessary, and states that it is for the Government to appreciate whether, and at what time, the assistance and intervention of my Office should be requested.
C. Right of refugees in their countries of residence
RIGHT TO WORK
208. In Austria, the decree of the Austrian Ministry of Social Administration, to exempt foreign refugees who entered Austria before 1 February 1952 from the restrictions concerning foreign labour, has been extended in accordance with article 17 of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees to cover all refugees who entered Austria before 1 January 1953. Foreign refugees who entered Austria after 1 January 1953, and who are in possession of any entry permit issued by the Austrian authorities for the purpose of family reunion, enjoy the same exemption.
209. It is hoped that exemption from all restrictions regarding wage-earning employment, for which my Branch Office in Vienna is at present negotiating with the Austrian authorities, will be granted to all refugees recognized as eligible pursuant to the terms of the 1951 Convention, irrespective of their length of residence in Austria.
210. Reference was made in my report to the General Assembly at its tenth session (A/2902, paragraph 68) to the liberalization of the access to employment for refugees in France. As a result of measures taken by the Minister of Labour in this connexion, refugees have been able to change their employment and place of work, and consequently, the number of unemployed refugees has considerably decreased.
211. The Government of Italy, in ratifying the 1951 Convention, made certain reservations with regard to articles 17 and 18. Negotiations have taken place between my Office and the Italian Government with a view to waiving the reservation concerning the issue of work permits in respect of refugees included in integration projects in the UNREF programme, and the Government has agreed, in principle, that work permits, including all the rights attached thereto, may be granted to such refugees. In view of the unemployment situation in Italy certain practical difficulties have arisen in implementing this decision. I hope, nevertheless, that a satisfactory arrangement will shortly be achieved, thus facilitating the integration of refugees into the local economy in Italy.
212. The Government of Italy has stated that, subject to approval by the local medical association, refugee doctors who obtained their degree in Italy will be permitted to practise in that country.
213. In Belgium, the law of 13 May 1955 concerning the equivalence of university degrees, referred to in my report to the General Assembly at its tenth session, has since entered into force. The law provides that refugees at present studying medicine, pharmacy or dentistry at one of the universities in Belgium, as well as refugees who have already obtained degree in one of those subjects at a Belgian university, shall receive a diploma having legal validity, which will enable them to practise their profession in Belgium in the same way as a Belgian national. About fifty refugees have applied to take the test imposed by the new law.
214. The special fund, established during the liquidation of the International Refugee Organization and placed at the disposal of the Belgian Government to assist refugee students to continue their university studies, was exhausted during the academic year 1953-1954 and has since been supplemented by the Belgian Treasury, for the academic year 1954-1955, a sum of 1,800,000 Belgian francs was granted and for the academic year 1955-1956 an amount of 880,000 Belgian francs, the numbers of such refugee students tending to diminish each year.
215. In Austria, a decree has been issued by the Ministry of Social Administration which will enable refugees arriving during the winter, when it is difficult to find employment, to receive public welfare under a simplified procedure which will obviate any delay.
216. In accordance with article 23 of the 1951 Convention, refugees in France are now also benefiting from State assistance afforded to the aged and the sick.
217. In France, only refugee students who came within the scope of pre-war international conventions have up to now been entitled to the social security benefits provided for French students under French law. In accordance with article 24 of the 1951 Convention, the French Minister of Labour and Social Security has now decided to extend these benefits to all students who are refugees within the terms of the Convention.
218. In Belgium, the Minister of Labour and Social Assistance has issued instructions to the effect that family allowances granted to Belgian nationals under the Belgian Social Security system are, in accordance with article 24 of the 1951 Convention, to be granted to refugees covered by the Convention.
219. Pursuant to a decree of 25 March 1955, unemployed refugees in Luxembourg who have been issued by the Government with the travel document provided for in the 1951 Convention are entitled to the same unemployment benefits as nationals of Luxembourg. As these benefits are paid exclusively from public funds the Government of Luxembourg has thus undertaken obligations which exceed those contracted under the 1951 Convention.
220. As from 1 January 1956 Netherlands nationals residing in the Netherlands will receive a retirement pension from the age of sixty-five year. I am happy to be able to report that the Government has decided that refugees shall receive the same benefits as nationals although normally aliens are eligible for this pension only after fifteen years' residence in the country.
221. In Belgium, the special office established within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs pursuant to article 25 of the 1951 Convention has issued more than 500 documents of various kinds needed by refugees for administrative purposes.
222. In the course of 1955, 5,021 refugees obtained French nationality through naturalization in France.
223. There is in Italy a large number of refugees of Italian ethnic origin whose citizenship status needs clarification. My Office is attempting to obtain that the establishment of a procedure for the granting of Italian citizenship to such persons be expedited in order to eliminate the existence of a group of persons of Italian ethnic origin who for technical reasons, do not have the same status as Italian nationals.
224. During the discussion in Parliament of the Netherlands on the bill of ratification of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the Minister of Justice stated that the Netherlands Government was prepared to consider granting naturalization to refugees free of charge or at a tariff lower than the legally assessed tariff if this should prove onerous to the refugee concerned. Refugees must comply with the naturalization requirements in all other respects.
225. In the Federal Republic of Germany, applications for naturalization are dealt with by the Länder authorities and are referred to the Federal Ministry of the Interior for approval only. During 1953 and 1954, 923 refugees coming within the mandate of my Office were naturalized.
226. In Austria, the date set in the law of 2 June 1954 providing for the acquisition by option of Austrian nationality by refugees of German ethnic origin has been extended until 30 June 1956. By 1 December 1955, a total of 22,051 refugees of German ethnic origin had acquired Austrian nationality under this law.
227. In Luxembourg a draft law on naturalization in at present under consideration. My representative in that country has requested the authorities to include a provision facilitating the acquisition of Luxembourg nationality by refugees through option or naturalization.
LEGAL ASSISTANCE IN INDIVIDUAL CASES
228. The number of refugees applying to my Branch Office in Austrian for legal assistance remains considerable. Now that certain of the voluntary agencies operating in Austria are reducing their operations it is becoming increasingly difficult to satisfy the requests of all refugees for advice and information. A central organization (similar to the Advisory Councils for Volksdeutsche) representing foreign refugees has recently been established in Austria and it is hoped that the interests of foreign refugees will be more effectively represented.
229. In Germany, also, experience has proved that the assistance rendered by the voluntary agencies is not sufficient and it is important to find ways and means of giving individual refugees increased legal assistance meeting for this purpose between my representatives and the legal advisers of voluntary agencies continue to take place.
230. In Belgium, large numbers of refugees continue to apply for legal assistance. The Centre d'imitiation pour réfugiés et étrangers, an institution created in 1953 by a group of Belgian organizations interested in refugee problem, has intensified its activities on behalf of refugees and is becoming increasingly valuable in this respect.
231. Arrangements for the granting of legal assistance to refugees in Greece were improved during the period under review. The two voluntary agencies which provide legal assistance to refugees in Greece, the Refugee Service Committee and the Greek Red Cross, have further co-ordinated their work in order to avoid duplication.
232. In Italy, the work of the Assistenza Guindicale agli Stranieri has been of great value in assisting refugees in court cases.
D. Travel documents
233. In addition to the States mentioned in my report to the tenth session of the General Assembly, a general undertaking to recognize travel documents issued in accordance with the 1951 Convention has been given by the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, the Holy See, Lebanon, Nicaragua, Pakistan and Venezuela.
234. In my last report, I pointed out that the situation with regard to the issue and recognition of travel documents for refugees was satisfactory, but that refugees still found considerable difficulty in obtaining visas. I was also able to report that the Benelux countries had decided to waive the visa requirements for refugees holding travel documents issued under the London Agreement of 1946 or the 1951 Convention by one of the Governments members of the Union for the purpose of temporary travel to other countries members of the Union. Bilateral agreements between the countries of the Benelux Union to this effect have since entered into force. With this precedent in mind, I approached the Council of Europe with a view to the adoption of measures for the facilitation of travel and the abolition of visas for refugees. The Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a resolution on 25 October 1955 to the effect:
(a) That Member States of the Council of Europe parties to the 1951 Convention should issue travel documents conforming to the specimen travel document prepared by UNHCR:
(b) That Member States which are neither parties to the Convention of 1951 nor to the London agreement of 1946 should accede to one of these agreements;
(c) That Member States should forthwith take steps to extend the Benelux working arrangements and thereby abolish their visa requirements in respect of holders of these travel documents; and
(d) That, in so far as visas are still required, their issuance should be facilitated and speeded up and no fee, or only a low fee, be charged.
235. A certain number of Governments have in consequence taken measures for the facilitation of refugee travel. The Government of France has, as from 1 January 1956, exempted refugees within the meaning of the 1951 Convention from the requirement of exit and return visas while hitherto this exemption was only applied to statutory refugees. The French Government has also approached the Governments of the Benelux Union and of Switzerland with a view to the extension of the agreement relating to the abolition of visas to refugees in France.
236. The Government of the Federal Republic of Germany has also proposed to the Governments of the Benelux Union to waive the visa requirement for refugees for travel between Germany and the countries members of the Union. Pending the abolition of visas the Government has decided to issue entry visas free of charge to refugees holding London or Convention travel documents.
237. In Belgium, the travel document provided for under the 1951 Convention, which previously could be issued for a period of validity of two years only, may now by successive extensions remain valid for four years.
238. In Austria, the delivery of travel documents provided for by the 1951 Convention has been accelerated. In January 1956 alone, nearly 400 such documents were issued. Possession of a Convention travel document is important in Austria not only for travel purposes, but also as a proof of refugee status. On the basis of an application for a travel document, refugees who were hitherto not recognized as such can have their refugee status examined. My Branch Office in Austria advises all refugees eligible under the 1951 Convention to apply for the Convention travel document, the cost of which may, in the case of destitute refugees, be borne by the Austrian authorities.
239. With the increasing integration of refugees, the reasons restricting refugee travel are losing much of their force, since refugees normally possess long-term residence permits in their countries of residence. It is my hope that, as a result of the efforts of my Office and the action taken by the Council of Europe, the possibilities of travelling for refugees will be further facilitated and that the requirement of visas, which has been largely abolished for nationals in Europe, will also be gradually abolished for the purpose of temporary travel of refugees.
E. Unaccompanied children
240. In my report to the General Assembly at its ninth session, I mentioned that responsibility for displaced unaccompanied children had been transferred to the German authorities. During 1955, my Office was represented at several meetings of the Special Committee set up by the Government of the Federal German Republic to make recommendations to the competent guardianship courts and youth offices which have to take decisions concerning unaccompanied children. Up to 31 December 1955, the Special Committee had been consulted in eighty-nine cases.
F. Special problems of legal protection
INDEMNIFICATION OF VICTIMS OF NAZI PERSECUTION
241. In Germany, the new draft of the revision of the German Federal Supplementary Law for Indemnification of Nazi Victims of 18 September 1953 was approved by the Federal Cabinet and submitted to the Federal Council and Parliament at the end of 1955. While this draft law, which constitutes an over-all revision of the law of 18 September 1953, contains certain improvements, the rates of compensation provided for refugees, in particular those persecuted for reasons of nationality, are still inadequate compared with those provided for other victims. My Office continues its efforts to obtain an improvement in the provisions and the elimination of those which put refugees at a disadvantage.
242. A law was promulgated in Austria by the Austrian House of Parliament on 16 February 1956, under the terms of which a total amount of 550 million schillings will be made available for the purpose of granting assistance to former Austrian citizens who have been persecuted for political reasons between 1933 and 1945 and who are now residing outside Austria.
243. In Belgium, numbers of victims of persecution continue to apply to my Branch Office for documents establishing their status as political refugees so that they may benefit under the German law on indemnification.
244. The precarious position in which many refugee seamen find themselves and the need for a general solution to their problem was indicated in my report to the General Assembly at it tenth session.
245. For the purpose of seeking a solution to this problem, the Government of the Netherlands convened a meeting of European maritime States to agree on measures for the regularization of the legal position of refugee seamen and the issuance of documents to them. At this conference, which was held in the Hague from 26 to 28 September 1955, the following Governments were represented: Belgium, Denmark, France, Federal Republic of Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The International Labour Office and my Office participated as observers.
246. The Conference adopted a tentative arrangement to be submitted to the participating Governments for their observations and decided to hold a second Conference to consider these observations and the final form of the arrangement.
247. The results of the Conference were brought to the notice of the Joint Maritime Commission of ILO. At the suggestion of that Commission the Governing Body of ILO endorsed a resolution in which the Director-General was authorized to co-operate with my Office and other organizations in any efforts to improve the situation of refugee seamen, and the hope was expressed that as many Governments as possible would accede to an agreement regularizing the position of refugee seamen.
248. The second Conference, which was held in April 1956, decided that the instrument should take the form of a binding administrative agreement relating to the status of refugee seamen, and adopted the following principles for the agreement:
(a) A refugee seaman who at present is not recognized by any State as being entitled to admission for the purpose of residence therein, shall be regarded as lawfully staying:
(i) In the Contracting State in which he last had lawful residence;
(ii) In the absence of such residence in the contracting State which last issued him with a travel document valid for return;
(iii) In the absence of (i) and (ii) in the Contracting State in whose ships he has served for 600 days during a period of three years since 31 December 1945, provided these ships call at least twice a year at ports in the territory of that State.
(b) In the future a refugee seaman is to be regarded as lawfully staying in a Contracting State on whose ships he at first served for 600 days within a period of three years provided these ships call at least twice a year at ports in the territory of that State and, if he does not fulfil this condition, in the Contracting State where he had his lawful residence, provided that he has not since had his lawful residence in another State.
249. The Conference also requested the Governments concerned to apply these principles in their administrative practice until such time as the agreement was formally concluded.
250. It is estimated that these arrangements make it possible to regularize the position of some four thousand refugee seamen.
INTERNATIONAL TRACING SERVICE
251. The tracing of persons who disappeared during the Second World War was initiated by the Allied Authorities in Germany upon the cessation of hostilities in 1945. The supervision of the International Tracing Bureau was entrusted to the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Agency (UNRRA).
252. The International Tracing Bureau, subsequently known as the International Tracing Service, has been and still is of considerable value to organizations concerned with the refugee problem. Through the compilation of a detailed index of missing persons it has enabled displaced persons, and in particular unaccompanied children, to be reunited with their families and to inform many persons of the fate of their relatives. It keeps among its archives records of nazi concentration camps, lists of deported Jewish people and is often in a position to provide refugees with such legal documents as they require to regulate their civil status or claim compensation for the persecution they underwent during the war. It also issues incarceration certificates. Since the closure of the International Refugee Organization, the International Tracing Service keeps on loan individual case files of refugees, which are the property of my Office, as well as nominal rolls of refugees resettled by the Inter-governmental Committee for European Migration.
253. Upon the assumption of the functions of UNRRA by IRO, the International Tracing Service was placed under the control of the latter organization in January 1948. Upon the closure of IRO operations in Germany at the end of 1951, responsibility for tracing activities was transferred to the Allied High Commission. Finally, in May 1955, when the occupation statute was relinquished, responsibility for the International Tracing Service was handed by the Allied High Commission to the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany. However, in view of the interest of a certain number of Governments in the activities of the International Tracing Service, the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, in agreement with the Allied High Commissioners, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Governments concerned, entrusted the administration of the Service to the International Committee of the Red Cross, under the supervision of an international commission consisting of representatives of the Governments of Belgium, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America.
254. Under this agreement certain rights have been granted to my Office which will extend to any possible successor agency. My Office retains free access to archives and document of the International Tracing Service and it has the right to be represented by a permanent observer on the international supervisory commission and to maintain a liaison officer with the Service. Furthermore, my Office retains the property right of the files which are on loan to the International Tracing Service, and the arrangement is being maintained whereby up to 25 per cent of the staff of the Service shall be refugees.
255. As a result of this close co-operation with the International Tracing Service, my Office is in position to assist the authorities and the refugees themselves whenever evidence obtainable from the archives of the Service is relevant, as for instance for the settlement of claims for compensation and the recognition of refugee status.
Chapter IV GENERAL ACTIVITIES
A. Relations with specialized agencies of the United Nations
INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANISATION
256. Close co-operation between my Office and the International Labour Office has been maintained on all matters of mutual concern. Vocational training projects within the UNREF revised plan of operations (1956) were submitted to the ILO for information. The comments received from ILO are being taken into account in the implementation of these projects.
257. A working paper on the activities of my Office in the field of resettlement was submitted to the eighth session of the Technical Working Group on Migration, which was attended by a representative from my Office.
258. My Office was also represented at the eighteenth session of the Joint Maritime Commission of ILO, held in Paris from 24 to 29 October 1955, which considered once more the problem of refugee seamen. A resolution was adopted authorizing the Director-General of ILO to co-operate with my Office and the heads of other organizations concerned in studying ways and means of improving conditions for refugee seamen. The question of refugee seamen is described in more detail in chapter III of the present report.
UNITED NATIONS EDUCATIONAL, SCIENTIFIC AND CULTURAL ORGANIZATION
259. My Office has maintained liaison with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and has continued to exchange information and documentation on assistance to refugee scholars and students.
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION
260. I referred in my report to the tenth session of the Assembly to the survey of the mental health of refugees in camps in Austria which had been arranged by the World Health Organization and which was then nearing completion. The survey team, which consisted of a psychiatrist, a sociologist and two social workers, undertook a wide survey in which they concentrated on interviewing refugees and persons who had to deal with refugees in many kinds of relationships.
261. The report of the survey team emphasizes the detrimental effects of camp life on the mental health of refugees, particularly of young people. The evidence of progressive deterioration over a number of years suggests that community life will continue to deteriorate and that more severe forms of mental illness will occur among refugees. The report envisages a project to be undertaken by WHO designed to improve the mental health of refugees and so facilitate their integration into the community after leaving camps.
B. Relations with inter-governmental organizations and with the United States Escape Programme
COUNCIL OF EUROPE
262. During the period under review, the co-ordination of activities of mutual interest to the Council of Europe and my Office has been further developed.
263. As in previous years, a report on the activities of my Office was presented to the Council of Europe for consideration by the Consultative Assembly and its Committee on Population and Refugees. Upon a recommendation adopted by this Committee, the Consultative Assembly, in its resolution No.82 (1955), expressed its appreciation of the programme that was being carried out to provide permanent solutions for refugees within the mandate of my Office; it further expressed the hope that adequate funds be made available from governmental and non-governmental sources to enable my Office to carry out the UNREF programme, and that the co-ordination of activities on behalf of refugees in Europe be further developed between the Special Representatives of the Council of Europe and my Office.
264. I indicated in my report to the tenth session of the General Assembly that the Committee of Ministers had decided to set up a committee composed of senior officials of Member Governments of the Council of Europe to be available for consultation by the Special Representative of the Council of Europe for National Refugees and Over-population. I have been informed that this Committee has now held its first meeting.
265. Furthermore, the Committee of Ministers, in its resolution 55-34 (of 30 December 1955) decided that the resettlement fund for national refugees and surplus population proposed by the Special Representative should be established on the basis of a partial agreement concluded by those members of the Council of Europe who are prepared to take part in the fund.
266. Co-operation with the Council of Europe in respect of inter-governmental instruments affecting the status of refugees has been continued to the satisfaction of my Office. Upon the suggestions made by my Office, the Committee on Legal and Administrative Questions considered ways and means whereby travel by refugees between countries members of the Council of Europe could be facilitated.
267. Upon the proposal of the Committee, the Consultative Assembly recommended to the Committee of Ministers that Member Governments should adhere to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees or to the 1946 London Agreement on the travel documents for refugees and that Member States of the Council of Europe should either abolish visa requirements in respect of refugees or speed up the procedure for the issue of such visas.
INTER-GOVERNMENTAL COMMITTEE FOR EUROPEAN MIGRATION
268. My Office and the Inter-governmental Committee for European Migration have continued the joint operation for refugees in China described in chapter I of the present report, and have worked in close collaboration on other questions relating to the resettlement of refugees within the mandate of my Office.
269. Specific mention may be made of the special resettlement schemes negotiated by my Office with the Governments of the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, under which movement of selected candidates is undertaken by ICEM. In addition, ICEM has organized the movement of individual refugees in the Middle East, financed from the IRO Trust Fund. The total number of refugees presumed to be within the mandate of my Office transported with the assistance of ICEM in 1955 was 19,919. There are prospects of a small increase in the number of refugees who may be resettled in 1956, as a result of the increased rate at which visas are being issued under the United States refugee Relief Act, 1953, and of the further expansion of intra-European resettlement schemes.
270. In previous reports, I have stressed the importance of close consultation not only in the implementation but also in the formulation of plans affecting refugees within the mandate of my Office if the best use is to be made of the resources provided by Governments to ICEM and to my Office. The growing complexity of the UNREF programme makes the coordination of the policies of the two organizations all the more desirable, in view of the effect which they may have on the responsibilities which have been assumed by the countries of residence under General Assembly resolution 832 (IX).
ORGANIZATION FOR EUROPEAN ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION
271. Co-operation between the Organization for European Economic Co-operation and my Office has been particularly fruitful in connexion with the action promoted by OEEC to liberalize the movement of man-power between its Member States. As stated in my reports to the ninth and tenth sessions, a provision extending this action to refugees under certain conditions was already embodied in a decision taken by OEEC on the matter. Upon the proposal of the Government of France, the Man-Power Committee of the OEEC at its thirtieth session, recommended to the Member Governments of the Organization that the period of validity of the return clause contained in travel documents issued to refugees in accordance with the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees be extended to a period of three years wherever this was not already the cases. My Office has requested the Governments members of the OEEC to give favourable consideration to this particular recommendation.
UNITED STATES ESCAPEE PROGRAMME
272. The United States Escapee Program has continued to do most valuable work on behalf of refugees, particularly in the promotion and financing of the overseas resettlement of a considerable number who are eligible for its assistance, and in this respect is making an important contribution towards the reduction of the number of refugees within the mandate of my Office who require assistance in finding permanent solutions for their problems.
273. There has been a continuous exchange of information between the USEP administration and my Office relating to the refugees who are the concern of both organizations. The regular planning meetings between USEP, the Migration Committee and my Office, which were referred to in my last report, have been continued during the year.
274. The over-all agreement concerning the payment of grants for difficult cases to which reference was also made has had to be revised in the light of the indications which have been received from the United States Government concerning the desirability of the same refugees not receiving financial assistance from the two organizations.
275. While it is clear that most of the refugees who are eligible to receive financial assistance from USEP are still within the mandate of my Office and are therefore entitled to receive the benefits of its international protection and its other promotional activities, nevertheless, these refugees cannot benefit from projects which are financed from UNREF funds without there being a duplication of the two programmes. This does not means that refugees who are eligible for USEP assistance cannot be included in projects which are negotiated with the Governments of the countries of residence, but where they are included in such projects the costs of their inclusion are borne by the USEP administration.
276. There have in fact been several projects for the settlement of difficult cases negotiated by my Office in which USEP cases have been included, and it is to be hoped that USEP eligibles can be included in greater numbers in other UNREF projects both for permanent solutions and difficult cases on the same basis.
277. There is little doubt that a final solution to the problem of the refugees still living in camps will be accelerated if the USEP administration will agree to participate on a greater scale in the financing of project which can promote the integration of that part of its caseload for which there are no reasonable expectations of overseas resettlement.
C. Camp adoption scheme
278. The camp adoption scheme, under which local initiatives are encouraged on behalf of refugees in specific camps, has continued in effective operation and, as contemplated in my report to the tenth session of the General Assembly, has now been extended to Denmark. The scheme has taken root quite strongly in that country, particularly among certain women's organizations, and several refugee camps on the Greek islands have been adopted by these Danish groups. Difficulties similar to those at first encountered by adopting groups in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland are now being experienced by the Danish communities, particularly in connexion with the high transport costs and the payment of customs duty on their consignments for the various camps. However, with the generous assistance of the Save the Children Fund, of the Red Cross, and of the authorities in the countries concerned, ways are being found to overcome these set-backs.
279. A total of fifty-three camps have been adopted to date, including sixteen in Austria, thirty-one in Germany and six in Greece. The staff of the European office of the United Nations has adopted one Greek camps, to which they devote the proceeds of various collections.
280. Experience has shown the need for a realistic appraisal from the outset of the volume of help likely to be provided for a camp by an adopting group. In order to make the efforts of adopting groups with understandably modest resources most effective, particular emphasis during the period under review has been laid on strengthening existing adoption arrangements - by grouping together two or more small adopting communities where necessary - rather than on promoting the adoption of more camps by small groups whose possibilities for providing assistance would, in spite of their great goodwill, inevitably be very limited.
281. Adopting communities have in many cases responded resourcefully to the need for more constructive help than the periodic dispatch of parcels of food and clothing. Apart from the provision of tools, machines and materials for workshops and camp community centres, money has been or is being raised by a few adopting groups to help pay the salaries of trained social workers for certain camps, for instructors in the workshops and to enable individual refugees to finish their training and obtain the necessary diplomas.
282. Through the camp adoption scheme a number of refugee children suffering from tuberculosis have been placed in sanatoria and their healthier companions sent for holidays to Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden, as well as to homes in the United Kingdom.
283. Mention should also be made of the initiative taken by an organization established in the United Kingdom to enlist the aid of industry in helping refugees by donations of money or goods. During the past year it has been successful in collecting a variety of tools and other equipment to the value of approximately $30,000, and it is now concentrating on obtaining building and furnishing materials for homes for aged refugees in Greece.
284. Considerable effort has been made to interest the adopting communities in the programme for permanent solutions. Communities have been encouraged to raise funds for specific projects whereby an individual refugee or a family would be enabled to establish themselves outside the camp and to take up life again as ordinary citizens. These projects are on a modest scale, costing approximately $150 each, and are drawn up by my Branch Offices in consultation with trained social workers in the camps concerned. In addition, several communities in the United Kingdom have announced their plans for establishing small loan funds to help towards the rehabilitation of individual refugees and refugee families.
285. I am hopeful that the generous and resourceful assistance given to many of the neediest camps and to individual refugee families by the adopting communities will continue to make a valuable contribution to the success of the UNREF programme and that the camp adoption scheme will arouse interest in other countries.
D. Public information
286. Since the inception of my Office, the task of focusing the attention of the general public on the refugee problem has been successfully undertaken by the United Nations Department of Public Information, in co-operation with my staff. During this period a wide distribution has been given to UNHCR press releases, feature articles and background information letters. In addition, several series of talks, interviews and dramatized features have been broadcast in many countries, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, New Zealand, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America.
287. As the implementation of the UNREF programme required a more active participation of the public in the form of voluntary donations, either through their Governments or directly as private gifts, it became necessary to extend the public information programme beyond the normal activities of the United Nations Department of Public Information. The UNREF Executive Committee therefore authorized me to engage in public information work in support of fund-raising, and allocated for this purpose an amount of $13,000 within the UNREF plan of administrative expenditure for 1955.
288. The main objectives of my public information programme for 1955 have been to encourage private action by groups and communities on behalf of refugees, under such schemes as camp adoption and individual sponsorship; to create conditions favourable to national fund-raising campaigns, and to prepare and distribute the material which would eventually be needed by the organizers of such campaigns.
289. Public campaigns to support UNREF at the end of 1955 were announced in the United Kingdom and in New Zealand, and increased interest on the part of the Press and the public has been shown in Belgium, Canada, France, the Scandinavian countries and the United States.
290. Of special interest was the initiative taken by a radio organization in the Netherlands in inviting, at its own expense, a number of radio reporters belonging to American, British, French and German radio networks to visit refugee camps in Europe. These reporters made a series of six fifteen-minute programmes in English, French, Spanish, German and Dutch. These broadcasts were subsequently relayed in the Federal Republic of Germany, France, the United Kingdom and in seventeen different Latin American countries.
291. On the occasion of the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to my Office in November 1955 a total of thirty-five television and radio broadcasts in seven different languages and five newsreel reports were made, and a very considerable number of articles appeared in the Press on the work of the Office and its programme.
E. Award of the Nansen medal
292. The Nansen Medal Award Committee, the establishment of which was mentioned in my report to the tenth session of the Assembly, met for the first time in Geneva on 17 March 1955 to designate a candidate to be awarded the medal for work on behalf of refugees during 1954 and another candidate for 1955. The Committee decided that the medal for 1954 should be awarded to Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt as a tribute to the great services she had rendered to the cause of refugees, and also to honour the decisive initiatives taken by the late President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The award for 1955 was made to Her Majesty Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, in recognition of the stimulating initiatives taken by Her Majesty since the Second World War to further the solution of the problems of refugees.
293. On 15 September 1955, at a ceremony held in the Council Chamber of the Palais des Nations, the Nansen Medal Award Committee presented the Nansen Medal for 1954 to Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt and the Nansen Medal for 1955 to Her Majesty Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, who was represented by Baron Bentinck, Ambassador of the Netherlands to the Swiss Government.
F. Award to the Office of the High Commissioner of the Nobel Prize for Peace for 1954
294. The Nobel Peace Prize Award Committee of the Norwegian Storing decided, on 3 November 1955, to award the Nobel Peace Prize for the year 1954 to my Office. The prize for peace had on two previous occasions been awarded for work on behalf of refugees, in 1922 to Fridtj of Nansen and in 1938 to the Nansen Office for Refugees. In consultation with my representatives assembled in Geneva for their yearly meeting and with the other members of my staff, it was decided to allocate the sum received, approximately $35,000, to a special project designed to close the refugee camp on the Greek island of Tinos and to provide permanent solutions for its inmates. The Swiss Aid to Europe and the Norwegian Refugee Council, which have both performed the most valuable work on behalf of refugees within the mandate of my Office during the past years, have been invited to participate in the implementation of the special project, for which the Greek Government has also promised its full co-operation.
ANNEX I REPORT OF THE UNREF EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE12 (Second session - Geneva, 23 to 27 January 1956)
1. The UNREF Executive Committee held its second session from 23 to 27 January 1956 at the Palais des Nations, Geneva.
2. The Governments of the following States, members of the Executive Committee, were represented:
|Federal Republic of Germany||Turkey|
|France||United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern|
|Holy See||United States of America|
The government of Venezuela was not represented. At their request, the Governments of Sweden and Canada were invited by the Committee to be represented as observers, as was the Sovereign Order of Malta. The following specialized agencies of the United Nations and other inter-governmental organizations were represented by observers: the International Labour Organisation, the Council of Europe, the Organization for European Economic Co-operation and the Inter-governmental Committee for European Migration.
OPENING OF THE SESSION
3. In the absence of the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Rapporteur of the first session of the Executive Committee, the session was opened by the High Commissioner. Words of welcome were spoken by Mr. A. Pelt, Director of the European Office of the United Nations, who wished the Executive Committee success in its task.
ELECTION OF OFFICERS
4. The Committee then elected its officers as follows:
|Chairman:||Mr. C. L. Patijn (Netherlands)|
|Vice-Chairman:||Dame May Curwen (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)|
|Rapporteur:||Dr. L. Gonzales Barros (Colombia|
5. The Chairman conveyed the Committee's congratulations to the High Commissioner and his staff on having been honoured with the Nobel Prize for Peace for 1954. The Committee was subsequently informed by the representative of the Holy See that the decision to ratify the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees had been taken and the instrument of ratification would be deposited within approximately one month, with such reservations as were inherent in the special nature of the Vatican City State. The representative of Brazil expressed his country's and his own satisfaction with the proposed visit of the High Commissioner to Latin America and congratulated the Nobel Committee on its decision to award the Prize for Peace to the High Commissioner and his staff. In response to an appeal by the High Commissioner, his country, which had admitted over 36,000 refugee immigrants to date, envisaged a contribution to the United Nations Refugee Fund of $15,000, which had to be regarded as a token contribution in view of the difficult currency exchange situation in his country.
6. In thanking the previous speakers the High Commissioner pointed out Brazil's achievement in taking over 50 per cent of the total refugees of European origin from China evacuated through Hong Kong by his Office, and expressed the hope that the Committee would see its way to proceeding without difficulty to the adoption of the revised plan of operations (1956).
ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA
7. The Committee adopted the revised provisional agenda as set out below but with the understanding that item 5 would not be taken until those members of the executive Committee who are not members of the Standing Programme Sub-Committee had had an opportunity to take cognizance of the report on the second session of the Sub-Committee:
1. Election of agenda;
2. Adoption of agenda;
3. UNREF progress report for 1955 (A/AC.79/23);
4. Report on the first SESSION OF THE Standing Programme Sub-Committee (A/AC.79/18-A/AC.79/PSC/2);
5. Report on the first session of the Standing programme Sub-committee (A/AC.79/25-A/AC.79/PSC/3);
6. UNREF revised plan of operations (1956) (A/AC.79/21 and addenda);
7. Eligibility for UNREF projects of refugees who have obtained Austrian nationality under the Law of 1954 (A/AC.79/22 and Add.1, A/AC.79/L.7);
8. Terms of reference of the Standing Programme Sub-Committee (A/AC.79/20);
9. Plan of administrative expenditure for 1956;
10. Financial rules for voluntary funds of the High Commissioner for Refugees;
11. Repayment of loans granted under UNREF projects;
12. Statement of accounts of UNREF for 1955 (including operational and administrative expenditure) (A/AC.79/24);
13. Any other business.
The representative of one Government not a member of the Standing Programme Sub-Committee pointed out that Governments non-members of the Sub-Committee should be given enough time to enable them to consider the reports of the Sub-Committee and give instructions to their representatives.
UNREF PROGRESS REPORT FOR 1955 (item 3)
8. The Committee had before it the UNREF progress report for 1955 (A/AC.79/23). The question was raised by some of the delegations as to whether the report should not contain more detailed statistics concerning the refugee camp population and its decrease as a result of the implementation of the programme. The representative of the United States of America stressed, in this connexion, that not only general statistics were needed concerning the refugees inside and outside the camps but classification by age, professional qualifications and the like, of the refugee camp population, or in other words of "a clearly defined group for which programmes were being developed and on which progress was reported". This, in his opinion, could be obtained through registering the refugees concerned, with the co-operation of local government officials and voluntary agencies working in the camps.
9. In the course of the ensuring discussion the representative of Turkey expressed the wish to have at his disposal the information envisaged by the Executive Committee in paragraph 42 (f) of the report on the first session,13 designed to show the extent to which the programme had contributed to the reduction of the number of refugees in camps. In this connexion, the attention of the Committee was drawn to the statistical data contained in the annex to the revised plan of operations (1956) (A/AC.79/21) and to the detailed monthly statistics published by the Governments of the Federal Republic of Germany and of Austria. It was, however, pointed out that there was at the present time no standardized method of publishing statistics on refugees within the mandate of the Office in the main countries of residence.
10. The High Commissioner pointed out that his Office was non-operational and that, moreover, it was not in a position to collect directly all the statistical data on refugees unless his administrative budget could be increased. As regards a registration of the total caseload, he expressed doubts as to the value of the results. It should be remembered that the voluntary agencies carried out their activities mainly on a confessional basis and did not cover the camps systematically. Furthermore, in view of the fluctuating nature of the groups concerned and the constantly changing character of emigration schemes, statistical data which would result from such a registration would be only of limited value as a basis for action. The High Commissioner wished to inform the Committee that, as soon as the programme had been initiated (in June 1955); detailed statistical questionnaires had been sent to the Governments of countries with a refugee camp population. He considered that the problem of obtaining detailed statistics on the refugees in camps was relatively easy in Greece and Italy as compared with Austria and Germany, owing to the large number of camps in the latter countries. The programme had not yet been long enough under way for all the desired statistical data to be obtained but the High Commissioner hoped that at the next session of the Executive Committee, with the co-operation of the Governments of the countries of residence, it would be possible to present fuller statistical data.
11. Members of the Committee realized the difficulty inherent in the suggested registration of refugees. The Committee expressed the hope, however, that it would be possible to have fuller statistical data at its disposal at the next session. With this consideration in mind, and specially endorsing paragraphs 10 to 14 of the UNREF progress report, concerning the reporting on progress by voluntary agencies, the Committee adopted the UNREF progress report for 1955.
REPORT ON THE FIRST SESSION OF THE STANDING PROGRAMME SUB-COMMITTEE (item 4)
12. In submitting the report on the first session of the Standing Programme Sub-Committee to the Executive Committee for its consideration, the Chairman informed members of the Committee that the proposals referred to in paragraphs 12, 17 and 18 had been submitted by the High Commissioner to members of the Executive Committee not members of the Sub Committee and that, as no objections had been raised to these proposals, they could be regarded as having been adopted. Similarly, the proposal in paragraph 22 concerning the replacement of one of the projects which was to be financed out of the grant of the Netherlands Committee for Aid to Refugees had also been approved by that Committee.
13. The Executive Committee then adopted the report on the first session of the Standing Programme Sub-Committee.
TERMS OF REFERENCE OF THE STANDING PROGRAMME SUB-COMMITTEE (item 8)
14. The Committee had before it a memorandum by the High Commissioner concerning the terms of reference of the Standing Programme Sub-Committee (A/AC.79/20). This memorandum was submitted to the Executive Committee in accordance with the views expressed in paragraph 13 of the report on the first session of the Standing programme Sub-Committee. The necessity for a review of the terms of reference of the Sub-Committee arose from the fact that, under the existing terms of reference which are contained in resolution No. 2 annexed to the report on the first session of the Executive Committee (A/2902/Add.1), the Standing Programme Sub-Committee had no authority to approve new projects. In the absence of such authority occasions might arise in which the High Commissioner's Office could not avail itself of opportunities which became available for the settlement of refugees between sessions of the Executive Committee.
15. In the memorandum submitted by the High Commissioner it was recommended that the possibility be considered of giving the Standing Programme Sub Committee the necessary authority to approve for implementation between the sessions of the Executive Committee a new project:
(a) In any case where delay would result in the loss of the opportunities presented by the project; and
(b) In any case where unforeseen circumstances had rendered impossible or undesirable the implementation of an approved project.
16. Objections were raised by two members of the Committee on the grounds that this would place the Standing Programmes Sub-Committee in a position where it would in practice perform the tasks entrusted to the Executive Committee itself. One representative, of a Government non-member of the Standing Programme Sub-Committee, drew the attention of the Committee to the fact that the composition of the Standing Programme Sub-Committee, which consisted of twelve out of the twenty members of the Executive Committee, was not in line with the tasks which had been entrusted to it originally.
17. Several members of the Committee, while agreeing that the Sub-Committee should not be given powers which belonged more appropriately to the Executive Committee, considered that it should nevertheless be empowered to take such decisions as were necessary to enable the programme to function smoothly, on condition that Governments members of the Executive Committee and not members of the Standing Programme Sub-Committee were duly informed and given an opportunity to state their views.
18. The High Commissioner pointed out that the acceptance of the proposals before the Committee would in no way result in the powers of the Executive Committee being delegated to the Sub-Committee, for the authority required by the Sub-Committee would be needed only in those few exceptional cases where the programme might suffer if no immediate decision were taken. This might apply to a very few projects out of the great number approved by the Executive Committee itself. The High Commissioner also pointed out that the document of each session of the Sub-Committee were sent out simultaneously to all the members of the Executive Committee and that Governments not members of the Sub-Committee were at all times able to send observers to its meetings.
19. The Committee expressed its general approval of the proposed amendments to the terms of reference of the Sub-Committee with the modification that the approval of new projects should only be exercised in exceptional circumstances when no suitable alternative project which had been approved by the Executive Committee was available for replacement, and with the further limitation that any new project should be designed to benefit refugees in the same country as the original project. It decided to adopt the following addition to the terms of reference, contained in resolution No. 2 adopted by the Executive Committee at its first session. The Executive Committee decided: "To give the standing Programme Sub-Committee, in accordance with the terms of paragraph A, sub-paragraph (4) of resolution No. 2, the necessary authority to approve for implementation between the sessions of the Executive Committee, a new project:
"To give the Standing Programme Sub-Committee, in accordance with the terms of paragraph A, sub-paragraph (4) of resolution No.2, the necessary authority to approve for implementation between the sessions of the Executive Committee, a new project;
"(a) In any case where delay clearly would result in the loss of opportunities presented by the project; and
"(b) In any case where unforeseen circumstances have rendered impossible or undesirable the implementation of an approved project and no suitable alternative approved project for the same country is available for replacement."
ELIGIBILITY FOR UNREF PROJECTS OF REFUGEES WHO HAVE OBTAINED AUSTRIAN NATIONALITY UNDER THE LAW OF 1954 (item 7)
20. In paragraph 65 of the report on its first session the Executive Committee requested that a special study should be submitted to it at its second session on the eligibility for UNREF projects of refugees who had obtained Austrian nationality under the Federal Law of 2 June 1954. This study was submitted by the High Commissioner to the Committee in document A/AC.79/22. Together with the text of a new Austrian Act whereby the time limit for the declaration required for Volksdeutsche to obtain Austrian nationality was extended from 31 December 1955 to 30 June 1956.
21. The representative of Austria referred to the proposal made by his delegation at the first session of the Executive Committee that both foreign and Volksdeutsche refugees in Austria should be allowed to benefit from the programme even after they had applied for naturalization; he expressed the hope of his Government that the special situation of refugees in Austria would be taken into account and that, particularly since the date limit set for the declarations under the Law of 2 June 1954 had been extended, the refugees who had been allowed exceptionally to benefit under the 1955 programme should also be able to benefit from projects in the 1956 programme.
22. The representative of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland said that Her Majesty's Government could see no objection to extending for a further year the arrangement which enabled refugees who were within the mandate of the UNHCR on 21 October 1954 and had been subsequently naturalized under the Law of 2 June 1954 to benefit from projects included in the Plan of Operations.
23. This suggestion was opposed by a few Representatives on the grounds that under article 6 (c) of the Statute of the High Commissioner's Office, the Competence of the High Commissioner's should cease to apply to refugees who had acquired a new nationality, and that an increase in the number of the Volksdeutsche refugees who would benefit from the programme would necessarily work to the disadvantage of the foreign refugees who were particularly deserving of assistance under the programme. Furthermore, it appeared from the report submitted to the Committee that a parallel programme had been announced by the Austrian Government for those Volksdeutsche refugees who were not eligible to benefit under the UNREF programme and, for this reason, an extension of the special concession was not justified.
24. It was contended on the other hand by some delegations supporting the United Kingdom position that, if Volksdeutsche refugees were debarred from international assistance on the grounds that they had opted for Austrian nationality under the Act of 2 June 1954, they might refrain from seeking naturalization. This would work against one of the objectives of the Statute of the Office whereby, under article 8 (b), the High Commissioner was to promote the execution of any measures calculated to reduce the number of refugees requiring protection. It was also argued that the provisions of the Statute had been drafted with a view to providing international protection, while the UNREF programme had been established after the Statute had been adopted and that the extend to which refugees required economic and social help could not be assessed on the basis of hard and fast legal rules.
25. The High Commissioner pointed out that, while no detailed statistics were available on the proportion of Volksdeutsche refugees who had been naturalized under the Law of 2 June 1954 within the number of those who had benefited from projects in the UNREF plan of operations for 1955, their estimated number was very small. Moreover, of some 6,000 foreign refugees still in Federal camps in Austria, approximately 3,000 were eligible to benefit from projects financed under the United States Escapee Programme. The High Commissioner considered, therefore, that the proposal for an extension of the concession for one year was very reasonable but that it should, to avoid any discrimination, also apply to the foreign refugees who might have applied within the same time limits for Austrian nationality in accordance with the current naturalization laws.
26. Several delegations expressed the opinion that, while the legal provisions concerning the eligibility of refugees under the Statute should not be disregarded, the humanitarian aspect of the refugee problem, as well as the fact that an exception had already been made for the year 1955, should be borne in mind. The majority of the Committee considered that the legal position was not such as to prevent the Committee from elaborating a compromise solution which would in practice allow each case to be judge on its own merit. The Committee accordingly requested a working party, composed of the representatives of Australia, Denmark and the United Kingdom, and with the participation of the representative of Austria and the High Commissioner as observers, to work out a compromise proposal.
27. The working group held one meeting, under the chairmanship of Mr. R. L. Harry (Australia) and submitted the proposal contained in document A/AC.79/L.7 to the Committee at its seventeenth meeting.
28. In introducing the proposals of the working group on behalf of its Chairman, the representative of the United Kingdom stressed that all relevant factors had been taken into consideration by the working group. She pointed out that the proposed measures were limited in time and were designed to prevent refugees in Austria from being discouraged from applying for Austrian nationality.
29. The Committee noted the statement made by the representative of Austria, who had participated in the discussions of the working groups, to the effect that the Austrian Government would not give preference in the programme to ethnic Germans, but would treat refugees of whatever origin on an equal footing. The Committee than adopted the following proposals of the working group:
(i) Any refugee in Austria who was within the mandate of the High Commissioner on 21 October 1954, but who acquired Austrian nationality between that date and 30 June 1956, under the option law of 2 June 1954, as amended on 20 December 1955, should within one year after acquiring Austrian nationality continue to be eligible for inclusion in projects under the UNREF programme;
(ii) Such eligibility should not extend beyond 30 June 1957
(iii) However, once accepted for inclusion in a project, such a refugee should be entitled to any benefits which it might provide notwithstanding the fact that the project might not be implemented within the one year period;
(iv) Since the option law affected only Volksdeutsche refugees, the dispensation set out in sub-paragraphs (i), (ii) and (iii) should be applied on the same terms to refugees of all other ethnic origins who should have acquired Austrian nationality.
With the addition of the following paragraph:
"(v) The Executive Committee expresses the hope that the Austrian authorities will in a generous way apply existing naturalization legislation to those foreign refugees who wish to avail themselves of the opportunities offered to them under that legislation."
30. The Committee also approved the recommendation that the Austrian Delegation should recommend the Austrian Government to make a written statement that this decision was considered satisfactory and that the Government would not reopen the question of eligibility to benefit from the UNREF programme of refugees who had acquired Austrian nationality.
31. The representative of the United States stated that, in the light of the implications of article 6 (c) of the State, he wished to reserve the position of his delegation on this item.
REPORT ON THE SECOND SESSION OF THE STANDING PROGRAMME SUB-COMMITTEE (item 5)
32. The Committee had before it the report on the second session of the standing Programme Sub-Committee (A/AC.79/PSC/3-A/AC.79/25). The Committee took note of the general statements contained in the report (paragraphs 6 to 9). It endorsed the general approval given by the Sub-Committee to the introduction and parts I, II and III of the revised plan of operations (1956). The Executive Committee accepted the recommendations of the Sub-Committee and adopted without further comments its report, which is reproduced as appendix III to the present report.
UNREF REVISED PLAN OF OPERATIONS (1956) (item 6)
33. The Committee had before it the UNREF revised plan of operations (1956), (A/AC.79.21 and Add.1, 2 and 3/Rev.1). In view of the fact that the Standing Programme Sub-Committee, at its second session, had already examined in detail the various projects contained in part II with the exception of those relating to Austria, the Committee devoted its attention mainly to the general principles, contained in the introduction to the plan and the introductions to parts I and II, and the suggested order of priority of projects contained in part III. The representative of Denmark emphasized the importance of the declaration made by the Austrian Chancellor on 26 October 1955 on the right of asylum contained in the introduction to the section on Austria in part II, paragraph 71.
34. In the course of the debate detailed questions on certain aspects of the programme and on certain projects were addressed to the High Commissioner. Both the questions and the replies may be found in the summary records of the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth meetings of the Committee.
35. While the Committee was considering the general introduction to the plan and part I, containing an analysis of implementation of the UNREF plan of operations for 1955, the chairman drew the attention of the Committee to paragraphs 12 to 18 of the report of the Standing Programme Sub-Committee and to the recommendations contained therein. In particular, the Committee approved the general principle outlined in paragraph 12 of the report whereby the value of unimplemented projects within the 1955 plan of operations, amounting to $2,211,416, should be taken over into the revised plan of operations (1956). It accepted the explanation given by the High Commissioner that it was necessary to take over this amount of $2,211,416 into the revised plan of operations (1956) if the possibility of achieving the over-all target of $16 million for governmental contributions, approved by the General Assembly in accordance with resolution 832 (IX), was to remain open.
36. The Committee was aware that the consequence of this would be that the combined target for 1956 would be in the neighbourhood of $6 million, representing the total value of projects to be included in the revised plan or operations (1956), minus the amount of governmental contributions for 1955 which became available after drawing up the revised plan of operations. This is shown in the following table:
|Value of unimplemented projects and unallocated balances in the plan of operations for 1955||2,211,416|
|Target for 1956||4,400,000|
|Total value of projects to be included in the Revised Plan of Operations (1956)||6,611,416|
|Less: Excess of governmental contributions 1955 over value of implemented projects in the Plan of operations for 1955||661,883|
|Combined financial target for 1956||5,949,533|
37. In considering part II of the revised plan of operations, the Committee devoted particular attention to the projects for permanent solutions in Austria, especially to the housing projects which had not been considered by the Standing Programme Sub-Committee, and also to the projects which had been elaborated for permanent solutions in Belgium and France.
38. One representative drew attention to the fact that under most housing projects in Austria refugees were called upon to lay out a considerable amount of money so that there was a danger that these projects, which constituted the most important part of the programme in Austria, would not be accessible to the most needy category of refugees.
39. Although in the absence of statistical data concerning the refugee population of unofficial camps, available statistics could not show the precise proportion between Volksdeutsche and foreign refugees benefiting from these projects, the representative feared that foreign refugees, whose situation was in his opinion more difficult than Volksdeutsche refugees, would be less in the position to benefit from these projects. Both the representative of Austria and the High Commissioner pointed out that the projects under consideration had been elaborated at the lowest possible cost and that project PS/86/AUS showed that special efforts were being made to provide cheap housing. Available statistics showed that the proportion of foreign refugees benefiting under these projects was in accordance with the proportion of foreign refugees in official camps. The High Commissioner emphasized that no discrimination would be made between various groups of refugees as long as they met the conditions laid down in the Statute, and assured the Committee, as did the representative of Austria, that in selecting refugees to benefit from projects every case was judged on its merit; the primary objective being to achieve a reduction in the camp population.
40. Upon the suggestion of the representative of the United States, the Committee agreed to consider the possibility of a survey into the number and situation of refugees within the mandate of UNHCR living in unofficial camps in Austria. At the request of the Committee, an estimate of the cost of such a survey was prepared by the High Commissioner and submitted at the seventeenth meeting.
41. In connexion with the discussion which took place on the revised projects for permanent solutions in Belgium and France, the Committee was informed by the High Commissioner that his Office had received from the Governments of both countries assurances in accordance with the terms of paragraph 6 of the operative part of General Assembly resolution 832 (IX). The representative of the United Kingdom stated that, while her delegation was in agreement with the revised projects for permanent solutions in Belgium and France, the extension of the programme to countries without a camp population should not be taken as a precedent and the main emphasis of the programme should still be placed on the reduction of the camp population.
42. In the course of the discussion on projects for the promotion of resettlement in Latin America, and emigration from Italy, the Committee was gratified to learn from the representatives of Colombia and Brazil that projects for the financing of the settlement of refugees, including difficult cases, would facilitate the admission of refugees to Latin American countries. In reply to a question by the representative of the United States, the High Commissioner informed the Committee that in the selection of the refugees to benefit from projects for the promotion of resettlement duplication of effort between the organizations and voluntary agencies concerned was excluded. Coordination of efforts in this field between the administration of the United States Escapee Programme, the Inter-governmental Committee for European Migration and his Office was ensured by regular meetings of senior members of these two organizations and of his Office. In connexion with the question of resettlement, the representative of Italy emphasized the fact that, owing to the demographic situation in his country, projects for the emigration of refugees were to have priority over other projects for permanent solutions.
43. The Committee went on to consider part III of the revised plan of operations (1956) concerning priorities.
44. The Committee was gratified to learn from the representatives of the Federal Republic of Germany, Norway and Switzerland that for 1956 their respective Governments envisaged a contribution to UNREF which would be approximately the same as that made in 1955. The representative of Denmark indicated that the amount of the Danish contribution was being actively considered and that it was hoped that the contribution could be paid at an early date. The representative of the United Kingdom announced that Her Majesty's Government had decided to make in 1956 a contribution of £80,000, which would be increased to £100,000 if the total contributions reached $3,250,000 in 1956. The representative of Switzerland informed the Committee that in the course of 1956 and 1957 his country envisaged the admission of 100 difficult cases in addition to eighty difficult cases from Shanghai, whose admission had been authorized and of whom sixty-three had already been settled in his country.
45. The representative of the United States informed the Committee that the Executive Branch would probably ask the United States Congress for a contribution similar to that which had been granted in 1955, i.e., $1,200,000. Since the United States contribution was being made on a matching basis, however, and the total target for governmental contributions to UNREF for 1955 had not been reached, it had not been possible to make available the full amount of the United States appropriation. The United States Government was hopeful, however, that the combined efforts of all Governments would be such as to permit of the full United States contributions being made available in 1956. Further data concerning contributions for 1956 may be found in appendix II to the present report.
46. The Committee considered the suggested list of priorities contained in part III of the revised plan of operations (1956), supplemented by addendum No.3/Rev.1, taking into account the recommendations made by the Standing Programme Sub-Committee in paragraph 23 of report on its second session. The order of priorities as submitted to the Committee included a list of projects to be approved and authorized for implementation as funds become available (category B/1956) in the amount of $2,016,725, and a list of projects to be approved for implementation subject to authorization by the Sub-Committee (category C/1956) containing all other projects in the amount of $2,477,523 listed under country headings.
47. The Committee agreed to a proposal made by the representative of the Federal Republic of Germany that certain housing projects for Germany listed in category C should take the place of counselling and vocational training projects for Germany listed in category B, in view of the fact that funds earmarked for matching by building societies in Germany could not be reserved beyond 1 May 1956.
48. The representative of Austria pointed out that it was essential for the smooth functioning of the UNREF programme in his country that the housing projects, nearly 80 per cent of the cost of which was contributed from Austrian Sources, should be started as soon as possible, since there was a danger that the special funds already reserved for this purpose would otherwise be forfeited. He requested therefore that a higher priority be given to the housing projects listed in Category B.
49. The Committee was anxious that the acceptance of the Austrian proposal should not affect the priority of projects for permanent solutions in other countries. It decided therefore that, since it could be reasonably anticipated that additional governmental contributions would be forthcoming which would justify the total value of projects being increased in category B to $2,142,699, this would permit the addition of four housing projects for Austria. The housing projects already listed in category B were to be given as high a priority as possible in order to meet the request of the Austrian Government, so that there should be the minimum repercussion on the order of priorities for projects in other countries.
50. At a subsequent meeting the Committee approved in category B a new order of priority for projects in category B which had been revised in the light of the above proposal and which is annexed to the present report (appendix I)
51. The Executive Committee then approved the revised plan of operations (1956) without further comments.
STATEMENT BY THE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE INTER-GOVERNMENTAL COMMITTEE FOR EUROPEAN MIGRATION
52. In summing up the activities through which the Inter-governmental Committee for European Migration contributed to the resettlement of refugees coming within the mandate of the Office of the High Commissioner, the representative of ICEM recalled that, in the course of 1955, 28,400 refugees had been resettled by the Inter-governmental Committee, 14,500 of whom were presumed to be within the mandate of UNHCR, while out of a total of 138,000 refugees resettled since the inception of the Committee, 38,000 were within the competence of the High Commissioner. The representative expressed the appreciation of his organization for the plans envisaged by the immigration countries for the admission of refugees, and paid a particular tribute to the close co-operation which had developed between the Office of the High Commissioner and his organization.
STATEMENTS BY REPRESENTATIVES OF NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS
53. Statements by the representatives of the International Federation of Christian Trade Unions, the National Catholic Welfare Conference and the Standing Conference of Voluntary Agencies Working for Refugees were heard with great interest by the Committee, which paid tribute to the solution of the refugee problem. The Committee decided that these statements should form part of the summary records of its meetings.
PLAN OF ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENDITURE FOR 1956 (item 9)
54. The Committee had before it a plan of administrative expenditure submitted by the High Commissioner (A/AC.79/PSC/R.9) which had been previously discussed and approved by the Standing Programme Sub-Committee at its ninth meeting, subject to comments to be made by the representative of Australia.
55. A certain number of detailed inquiries concerning the breakdown and functions of the additional staff, the disposal of unobligated balances and the general flexibility to be observed within the plan of administrative expenditure were addressed to the High Commissioner. Both inquires and answers may be found in the record of the fifteenth meeting.
56. The question was raised by one representative whether the level of administrative expenses should not be kept in accord with the actual operational expenditure rather than with the total financial target for 1956. The representative of Austria, in this connexion, stated that in the opinion of her delegation, in view of the uncertainty as to the amount of governmental contributions to be received for 1956, the administrative expenditure should be related to the actual resources and that no new staff should be recruited until there was a certainty that they would be needed.
57. The High Commissioner explained that the amounts listed in the plan of administrative expenditure were the minimum necessary to enable him to implement the programme and meet the increasing demands made on his Office for statistical and other detailed information concerning the development of the programme. In this connexion, the representative of Denmark emphasized the necessity for the Committee to be aware of the budgetary implications of such requests.
58. With regard to the possibility of transferring amounts between the sections of the plan of administrative expenditure, the members of the Committee agreed that considerable flexibility was needed to enable the High Commissioner to make the most efficient use of his limited resources. Several representatives were of the opinion that it would be sufficient for him to be authorized to transfer amounts between section I and II of the plan of administrative expenditure (field staff and headquarters staff). While transfers from or to section III (internal audit service) were not likely to arise, these representatives thought that any transfers affecting section IV (fund-raising activities) should be subject to authorization by the Executive Committee. Most representatives, however, considered that such a procedure would prevent the Office of the High Commissioner from making such transfers as might be necessary before the end of the financial year, since there was no meeting of the Executive Committee from its May session until the beginning of the next financial year.
59. The Committee decided, by 10 votes to 5, with one abstention, to authorize the High Commissioner to transfer funds between sections I, II, III and IV of the plan of administrative expenditure. The Committee subsequently adopted the plan of administrative expenditure for 1956 without further comments.
FINANCIAL RULES FOR VOLUNTARY FUNDS (item 10)
60. The revised financial rules as contained in document A/AC.79/PSC/R.10 were adopted by the Committee, subject to a small drafting amendment in rule 6.1.
ESTIMATE OF COST OF SURVEY INTO THE NUMBER AND CONSTITUTION OF REFUGEES WITHIN THE MANDATE OF UNHCR LIVING IN UNOFFICIAL CAMPS IN AUSTRIA
61. In accordance with the request of the Executive Committee at its fourteenth meeting, the High Commissioner submitted in document A/AC.79/L.6 an estimate of the cost of the suggested survey into the number and situation of refugees living in unofficial camps in Austria.
62. Several representatives expressed the opinion that this survey was essential if the permanent solution programme was to be adequately carried out in such information was the task of the country of residence, but the representative of Austria declared that it was not possible for his Government to carry out the survey in question. Furthermore, the Austrian Federal Government was unfortunately not in a position to obtain the necessary information from the various Land Governments. Neither, in view of their existing heavy expenditure on behalf of refugees, were the Austrian authorities able to commit themselves to contribute financial to the survey.
63. The High Commissioner made it clear that it was impossible for the extremely limited and already overburdened staff of his Branch Office in Austria to undertake this work, nor was he able to make any contribution to it from the United Nations budget for his Office.
64. Certain delegations fled that the Austrian Government should nevertheless co-operate to as great an extent as possible in the carrying out of this survey, and requested the High Commissioner to undertake negotiations with the Austrian Government to that end. It was proposed that the results of the High Commissioner's negotiations should be submitted to the third session of the Executive Committee in May 1956, but the Committee felt that such a procedure would make the undertaking of the survey too late to be of full use to the planning of the permanent solutions programme for 1957.
65. The High Commissioner pointed out that the situation regarding unofficial camps in Austria was unique, and there was therefore no question of establishing a precedent.
66. The Committee agreed that the proposed survey should be carried out immediately on the lines proposed in document A/AC.79/L.6, and that the cost, estimated at a maximum of $25,000 should be kept as low as possible, and included in the administrative expenses of UNREF. The Committee was unanimous as to the need for a survey but the representatives of Denmark, Holy See and Norway abstained from approving the detailed plan at the present stage.
67. The High Commissioner was requested by the Committee to negotiate with the Austrian Government the question of its participation in the cost of the survey. The Committee also approved the suggestion made in paragraph 7 of document A/AC.79/L.6 that the Austrian Government should be invited to request the co-operation of the Land and local authorities in the carrying out of the survey. It was agreed that the survey should contain information concerning the citizenship status of the refugees in the unofficial camps, and that the question of suitability of the refugees for emigration should be borne in mind when the survey was carried out.
REPAYMENT OF LOANS GRANTED UNDER UNREF PROJECTS (item 11)
68. The Committee had before it a memorandum on the repayment of loans granted under UNREF projects (A/AC.79/PAS/R.11) submitted to it by the High Commissioner in accordance with the decision taken by the Executive Committee at its first session, and the recommendations made by the Standing Programme Sub-Committee contained in paragraphs 30 to 32 of its report (A/AC.79/25, A/AC.79/PSC/3).
69. The Committee approved the following recommendations submitted by the Standing Programme Sub-Committee, it being understood that they would be interpreted rather as guiding principles and be reviewed in the course of 1957, when further experience in the implementation of projects had been acquired:
"(a) Assistance to refugees should be given under UNREF project in the form of loans rather than grants, whenever possible and practicable;
"(b) The repayments of UNREF contributions to loans granted under such project, including interest, and as far as could be agreed, of government contributions to such loans, should revert to the United Nations Refugee Fund;
"(c) The subsequent use of such repayments and interest should be determined by the Executive Committee taking into account the refugee situation in each country, the restrictions on foreign exchange, and the fact that where funds are made available to UNREF under specific conditions laid down by the donor these conditions should be observed in connexion with the subsequent use of repayments or interest from such funds;
"(d) The disposal of residual assets of UNREF, including unpaid balances of loans, should be considered by the UNREF Executive Committee at its final session."
70. The Executive Committee also authorized the High Commissioner to negotiate with the Governments concerned on the question of the repayment of their share of the loans made under different projects.
FINANCIAL REPORT ON THE UNITED NATIONS REFUGEE FUND FOR THE YEAR 1955 (item 12)
71. The Committee had before it the financial report of the United Nations Refugee Fund for the year 1955 (A/AC.79/24) and the comments made thereon by the Standing Programme Sub-Committee in the report on its second session (A/AC.79/25-A/AC.79/PSC/3, paragraph 29).
72. The Committee adopted the financial report, on the understanding that certified copies thereof would be submitted to it at a later session together with the report of the Board of Auditors.
REFUGEE PROBLEMS IN JORDAN, LEBANON, SYRIA, EGYPT, IRAN AND TURKEY
73. The Committee considered a memorandum on refugee problems in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Iran and Turkey (A/AC.79/26) prepared at the request of the Standing programme Sub-Committee, on the question of permanent solution for refugees in these countries. Several members of the Committee expressed their general agreement with the proposals made by the High Commissioner in this document to the effect that he should be authorized to investigate the possibility of finding permanent solutions for refugees who are not established in the above-mentioned countries, and to suggest on the basis of the investigations an allocation for permanent solutions in these countries in the target allocation for 1957 which would be considered by the Executive Committee at its second session in 1956.
74. One member of the Committee emphasized the importance of legal and political protection in these countries and asked the High Commissioner to investigate the possibility of the ratification of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees by the Governments concerned. Several delegations stressed that as far as possible the cost of providing permanent solutions should not exceed the total cost of continuing emergency assistance for refugees in these areas for the remaining period of the programme.
75. Note was taken by the Committee of paragraph 39 of the document, in which doubt was expressed whether the different Governments of the countries mentioned would be able to provide supporting contributions for projects on the same scale as had been done by other countries of residence of refugees.
76. The necessity of close consultation being maintained by the High Commissioner with the Governments concerned in this whole matter was emphasized, and at the request of one representative it was agreed that the submission of projects for permanent solutions should be made country by country, and not for the whole area in one group.
77. The Committee decided to authorize the High Commissioner to carry out the investigation on the lines proposed in the document, and to submit recommendations on this matter to its third session.
PROPOSAL CONCERNING THE ORDER OF PRIORITY OF PROJECTS APPROVED FOR IMPLEMENTATION
78. The Committee considered certain proposals submitted by the representative of Greece concerning the order of priority of projects approved for implementation contained in document A/AC.79/L.8. The object of these proposals was to give the High Commissioner a certain discretion to interchange projects for a particular country already approved by the Executive Committee, with a view to permitting greater flexibility in the implementation of the programme.
79. Doubts were raised by several members of the Committee whether these proposals would not conflict with the competence of the Standing Programme Sub-Committee as defined in resolution No.2 annexed to the report on the first session of the UNREF Executive Committee. Several members of the Committee considered that it was too early to change the procedures adopted by the Executive Committee in connexion with priorities.
80. Attention was drawn by the High Commissioner to the possibility of investigating the procedures of other United Nations agencies before the next session of the Executive Committee and, at his suggestion, it was agreed by the representative of Greece that this matter might be deferred for further consideration at the third session of the Executive Committee in May 1956, when the whole question could be re-examined in the light of the experience gained with the implementation of projects already approved and authorized for implementation by the Committee.
CLOSURE OF THE SESSION
81. In his closing remarks the High Commissioner laid particular stress on the situation of those refugees whose plight calls for the most attention - the difficult cases. He expressed the hope that the largest possible number of difficult cases could be settled.
82. The representative of Greece said that should a visit be made by members of the Executive Committee to the refugee camps in Greece, his Government would be most pleased to welcome them.
83. After a tribute had been paid to the officers of the Committee, the High Commissioner and all the staff concerned with its work, the Chairman announced that the third session of the Standing Programme Sub-Committee would be held from 23 to 25 May, and the third session of the Executive Committee from 28 May to 1 June. The second session of the Executive Committee was then declared closed.
(Note: Statistical and financial tables not included in this online version. See your nearest UN Depository Library.)
Appendix III REPORT ON THE SECOND SESSION OF THE STANDING PROGRAMME SUB-COMMITTEE (Geneva, 18-20 January 1956)
1. The Standing Programme Sub-Committee held its second session from 18 to 20 January 1956 at the Palais des Nations, Geneva. The meetings of the Sub-Committee were held in private
2. The following Governments members of the Standing Programme Sub-Committee were represented:
|Federal Republic of Germany||United States of America|
3. The following members of the Executive Committee were represented by observers:
Election of officers
4. The Sub-Committee elected its officers as follows:
|chairman:||Mr. W. G. Middlemann ( Federal Republic of Germany)|
|Vice-Chairman:||Mr. Friis (Denmark)|
|Rapporteur:||Miss A. Lunsing-Meijer (Netherlands)|
Adoption of the agenda
5. The Standing Programme Sub-Committee adopted the provisional agenda (A/AC.79/PSC/R.8/Rev.1) as set out below:
1. Election of officers;
2. Adoption of the agenda;
3. UNREF revised plan of operations (1956) (A/AC.79/21 and addenda);
4. Plan of administrative expenditure for 1956 (A/AC.79/PSC/R.9);
5. Financial rules for voluntary funds of the High Commissioner for Refugees (A/AC.79/PSC/R.10 and Add.1);
6. Repayment of loans granted under UNREF projects (A/AC.79/PSC/R.11);
7. Statement of accounts of UNREF for 1955 (including operational and administrative expenditure) (A. AC.79/24);
8. Any other business.
6. The Sub-Committee congratulated the Office of the High Commissioner on having received the Nobel Peace Prize for the year 1954, the value of which, $34,864, is to be used to solve the problem of refugees in a camp on the island of Tinos in Greece .
7. The Sub-Committee learned from the High Commissioner that the Governments of Ecuador and Iceland had ratified the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and that, following ratification by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Senate of Berlin West had followed suit.
8. In the course of the discussion, members of the Committee expressed their satisfaction with the results achieved by the Office of the High Commissioner. In this connexion the representative of the Federal Republic of Germany stressed that the refugees camp population in his country had been reduced by 2,000 persons since the programme had begun. Tribute was paid to the government of Greece, which, faced with an emergency situation during the floods, had nevertheless not only agreed to contribute again to the programme, but even to assume a heavier financial burden with regard to some of the projects.
9. The representative of Brazil informed the Sub-Committee that his Government, which had taken in 6,500 refugee immigrants since 1952, was to make an initial contribution of $15,000 to UNREF. This contribution was to be paid through the Brazilian Institute for Colonization and Immigration.
Revised plan of operations (1956)
10. The Sub-Committee had before it the revised plan of operations (1956) (A/AC.79/21 and Add.1, 2 and 3/Rev.1). In accordance with the terms of resolution No.2 adopted by the Executive Committee at its first session, the Sub-Committee proceeded to examine the plan in detail, so as to expedite the proceedings of the Executive committee through appropriate preparatory work.
11. Detailed inquires addressed to the High Commissioner in respect of actual projects were answered to the satisfaction of members of the Sub-Committee. Both questions and answers may be found in the records of the seventh and eighth meetings of the Sub-Committee (A/AC.79/PSC/SR.7 and 8).
12. The Sub-Committee recommended for approval the introduction to the plan, including the general principle whereby the value of unimplemented projects within the plan of operation for 1955, amounting to $2,211,416, should be taken over into the revised plan of operations (1956), thus bringing the total value up to $6,611,416. This would bring the combined target for 1956 up to nearly $6 million, being the value of projects included in the revised plan of operations (1956) minus the amount of contributions for 1955 which have become available after the drawing up of the revised plan.
13. The Sub-Committee went on to consider part I of the plan of operations - Analysis of implementation of the UNREF Plan of Operations for 1955 - which set forth, country by country and under each heading of the programme, all the projects in the course of implementation, to the amount of $2,945,130; and projects which have not yet been implemented and are to be taken over into the revised plan of operations (1956) in the amount of $2,211,416. It accepted the explanation given by the High Commissioner that it was necessary to take over this amount of $2,211,416 into the revised plan of operations (1956) if the possibility of achieving the over-all target of $16,000,000 for governmental contributions, approved by the General Assembly in accordance with resolution 832 (IX), was to remain open. The achievement of the target was the counterpart to the acceptance given by the countries of residence of full responsibility at the end of the four years' programme for all refugees who came within its scope.
14. The High Commissioner pointed out that at its first session the Executive Committee had decided (see paragraph 32 of the report on the first session, A/ 2902/Add.1) that non-governmental contributions, although to be considered within the Fund, should not be considered as coming within the approved target. The take-over of the unimplemented part of the 1955 plan into the revised plan of operations (1956) would seem to be consistent with the decision.
15. The Sub-Committee noted that the Economic and Social Council at its twentieth session, and the General Assembly at its tenth session, had adopted resolutions appealing to Governments to make the necessary contributions which would enable the approved targets proposed for 1955 and 1956 to reached, thereby making it possible for UNHCR to implement the programmes planned for those years.
16. The Sub-Committee took note of the fact that governmental contributions in 1955 were not far short of $3 million and that $700,000 had already been pledged for 1956. In the light of this information it decided to recommend to the Executive Committee that it should follow the course of action proposed in part I, paragraph 19, of the revised plan of operations (1956).
17. In considering the projects referred to in part I, the Sub-Committee learned from the High Commissioner that one of the projects for the settlement of difficult cases, project DC/16/AUS, had had to be cancelled and that new arrangements had to be made with regard to projects for the settlement of difficult cases in which the participation of the United States Escapee Programme administration had been envisaged, as it now appeared more practical for USEP to negotiate separate agreements for its own eligibles.
18. In connexion with the Shanghai operation, the Sub-Committee was informed by the High Commissioner that while in July 1955 only eleven exit permits had been issued their number had gone up to 245 by December 1955.
19. During the discussion on part II of the revised plan of operations (1956), containing a detailed description of the projects to be submitted to the Executive Committee for its approval, the representative of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland stated that, while the emphasis of the programme should be placed on the emptying of the camps, which had been particularly successful in Greece, the submission of projects for permanent solutions in Belgium and France for a reduced value applicable to intermediate cases" was now quite satisfactory.
20. The Sub-Committee had before it a suggested order of priority for projects in category B/1956, i.e., those authorized for implementation as funds become available, with the remaining projects listed in category C/1956 under country headings. The suggested order of priority for projects in category B/1956 had been as far as possible agreed with countries of residence, in accordance with the principle laid down in paragraph 42 (e) of the report on the first session of the Executive Committee.
21. The representative of Austria, supported by the representative of the United Kingdom, suggested that a higher priority should be given with category B to housing projects in Austria, which still had the largest number of refugees in camps. The representative of the United States of American made the suggestion, which was agreed to by the representative of France, that projects nos. PS/5/FRA and PS/6/FRA for permanent solutions in France should be interchanged with project PS/1/FRA in the order of priority. The representative of the Federal Republic of Germany proposed that a certain number of housing projects for Germany, listed in category C, should take the place of counselling and vocational training projects suggested for category B since funds earmarked for matching by building societies could not be reserved beyond 1 May 1956. It was also proposed that high priority should be given to a project for the settlement of difficult cases in Austria (DC/2/AUS (d) - Settlement in Hellbrunn).
22. The Sub-Committee noted the appeal made by the High Commissioner in connexion with the chronically sick and physically handicapped cases requiring constant medical care, to whom reference was made in paragraph 338 of the revised plan of operations (1956).
23. The Sub-Committee noted in this connexion that funds were likely to be available early in the year for the implementation of all projects suggested for category B. It recommended for approval the total amount suggested for category B in documents A/AC.79/21 and Add.3/Rev.1. It decided to note in the report the various suggestions made and to transmit to the Executive Committee for its consideration the list of priorities as presented in the revised plan of operations (1956) (A/AC.79/21) supplemented by Add.3/Rev.1.
24. In connexion with the problem of refugees within the mandate of the High Commissioner in the Middle East, the representative of the United States inquired whether permanent solutions could be devised for refugees in that area. The High Commissioner replied that this problem was being considered by his office and that a paper could be prepared which, in view of the shortness of time available, might perhaps be presented to the Executive Committee itself. The Sub-Committee agreed with this proposal.
Plan of administrative expenditure for 1956
25. The Sub-Committee considered document A/AC.79/PSC/R.9 giving the UNREF plan of administrative expenditure for 1956 as proposed by the High Commissioner. Various delegations expressed the opinion that the increased estimated expenditure as compared with 1955 was justified in view of the increased number of projects in operation. In reply to a question the High Commissioner declared that he considered the administrative expenditure provided for would be adequate to cover not only the implementation of the 1956 programme proper but also the execution of the unimplemented 1955 projects taken over into the revised plan of operations.
26. Several delegations paid tribute to the High commissioner and his staff for the way in which they carried out an extensive programme at a modest administrative cost. The Sub-Committee recommended that the plan of administrative expenditure as submitted by the High Commissioner should be adopted. The delegation of Australia, however, reserved its position until the second session of the UNREF Executive Committee.
Financial rules for voluntary funds
27. The Sub-Committee had before it a memorandum submitted by the High Commissioner (A/AC.79/PSC/R.10) containing a few amendments to the rules which the Executive Committee had adopted at its first session, proposed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Advisory Committee on administrative and Budgetary Questions, together with an amended text of the rules (A/AC.79/PSC/R.10/Add.1), accepted by the High Commissioner subject to the approval of the Executive Committee.
28. The Sub-Committee noted that under these rules provision was made for the High Commissioner to report to the Executive Committee on the use of trust funds and recommended that the financial rules, as amended, should be approved by the Executive Committee.
Financial report on the United Nations Refugee Fund for the year 1955
29. The Sub-Committee had before it the financial report on the United Nations Refugee Fund for the year 1955 (A/AC.79/24). In considering this report, the Sub-Committee was informed by the representative of the United Kingdom that since the amount of $3,250,000 had not been reached by governmental contributions, the offer of matching contributions of $56,000 which would have become available if this amount had been reached, must be considered to have lapsed, and that a contribution for 1956 was being envisaged by the United Kingdom Government. The Sub-Committee took note of the financial report on the understanding that observations on the report would be made by the representative of the United States at the meeting of the Executive Committee itself.
Repayment of loans granted under UNREF Projects
30. The Sub-Committee had before it a memorandum on the repayment of loans granted under UNREF projects (A/AC.79/PSC/R.11) submitted to it by the High Commissioner in accordance with decision taken by the Executive Committee at its first session. Members of the Sub-Committee expressed their agreement with the proposals made in the memorandum, and in particular to the policy whereby the repayments on loans granted to refugees under UNREF projects would revert to the fund itself as proposed by the High Commissioner in paragraph 5. A number of delegations suggested that the recommendations contained in paragraph 11, which received general approval, should, if accepted by the Executive Committee, be interpreted rather as guiding principles. It was agreed that they should be reviewed in the course of 1957 when further experience in the implementation of the projects had been acquired.
31. Several members of the Sub-Committee emphasized the importance of the considerations mentioned in paragraph 7 of the memorandum being incorporated into the recommendations and requested that a redraft of the recommendations be submitted to the Executive Committee, taking into account these considerations. The following recommendations are accordingly submitted:
(a) Assistance to refugees should be given under UNREF projects in the form of loans rather than grants, whenever possible and practicable;
(b) The repayments of the UNREF contributions to loans granted under such projects, including interest and, as far as could be agreed, of Government contributions to such loans, should revert to the United Nations Refugee Fund;
(c) The subsequent use of such repayments and interest should be determined by the Executive Committee, taking into account the refugee situation in each country, the restrictions on foreign exchange, and the fact that where funds are made available to UNREF under specific conditions laid down by the donor these conditions should be observed in connexion with the subsequent use of repayments or interest from such funds;
(d) The disposal of residual assets of UNREF, including unpaid balances of loans, should be considered by the UNREF Executive Committee at its final session.
32. The Sub-Committee decided, in connexion with paragraph 7 of the memorandum, to draw the attention of the Executive Committee to the desirability of the High Commissioner's being authorized to negotiate with the Governments concerned on the question of the repayment of their shares of the loans made under the different projects.
ANNEX II REPORT OF THE UNREF EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE14 (Third session - Geneva, 28 May to 1 June 1956)
1. The UNREF Executive Committee held its third session from 28 May to 1 June 1956 at the Palais des Nations, Geneva.
2. The Governments of the following States members of the Executive Committee were represented:
|Federal Republic of Germany||Turkey|
|France||United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland|
|Greece||United States of America|
The Government of Venezuela was not represented. The Governments of Canada and Sweden were represented by observers, as was the Sovereign Order of Malta.
3. The International Labour Organization, the Council of Europe and the Inter-Governmental Committee for European Migration were also represented by observers.
OPENING OF THE SESSION
4. The session was opened by Mr. C. L. Patijn (Netherlands), Chairman of the second session of the Executive Committee. In the absence of the Director of the European Office, Mr. Coldan, on behalf of the Secretary - General of the United Nations, welcomed the representatives and wished them success in the important task they would have to perform.
ELECTION OF OFFICERS
5. In the interest of continuity, the majority of the Committee agreed on the principle whereby officers of the Committee would be maintained in their functions throughout the year in which they had been elected, it being understood that the rotation system would be observed on an annual basis. The Committee accordingly re-elected the following Officers for the current session:
|Chairman:||Mr. C. L. Patijn (Netherlands)|
|Vice-Chairman:||Dame May Curwen (United Kingdom) of Great Britain and Northern Ireland|
|Rapporteur:||Dr. L. Gonzalez Barros (Colombia)|
ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA
6. The Committee adopted the revised provisional agenda, as set out below, with the understanding that in view of the close relationship between item 12 and items 8 and 9 the first item could be brought up for discussion at the same time as item 8 and 9, should the need arise:
1. Election of officers;
2. Adoption of the agenda;
3. Report on the third session of the Standing Programme Sub-Committee (A/AC.79/39);
4. UNREF progress report for the period up to 1 April 1956 (A/AC.79/36 and Add.1);
5. Financial statements of the United Nations Refugee Fund for the year 1955 and the report of the Board of Auditors thereon (A/AC.79/33);
6. Financial statements of the United Nations Refugee Fund for the period 1 January 1956-30 April 1956 (A/AC.79/34);
7. Negotiation of short-term loans to finance the initiation of 1956 projects pending receipt of contributions (A/AC.79/35);
8. Survey on the number and situation of refugees living in unofficial camps in Austria (A/AC.79/38);
9. New and revised projects and adjustment of priorities for the revised plan of operations (1956) (A/AC.79/32 Add.1 and Add.2);
10. Plan of administrative expenditure for 1956 - supplementary estimate;
11. Tentative target and country allocations for the revised plan of operations (1957) (A/AC.79/31 and Add.1);
12. Memorandum on the eligibility of certain categories of refugees of German ethnic origin in Austria (item submitted to the Committee in its advisory capacity) (A/AC.79/37 and Add.1.);
13. Any other business.
REPORT ON THE THIRD SESSION OF THE STANDING PROGRAMME SUB-COMMITTEE (item 3)
7. The Executive Committee expressed its appreciation for the preparatory work accomplished by the Standing Programme Sub-Committee and for its excellent report (A/AC.79/39). The Committee considered the various sections of this report in conjunction with the relevant items of its agenda, and took note of the report at its 24th meeting, the representatives of the United States of America and the Holy See feeling unable to agree with all that was stated in paragraph 12.
8. In his introductory remarks the Chairman drew special attention to two important points which called for action by the Committee. Firstly, it was necessary to speed up the implementation of the UNREF programme, and to pay attention to the fact that so in refugees were living in false hopes of emigration overseas. There were other hampering factors such as difficulties in the carrying out of the building programme and a certain apathy among refugees who had been living in camps for a very long time. Secondly, it was necessary to take stock of the consequences arising from the failure so far to reach the targets for governmental contributions for 1955 and 1956.
9. The United States representative informed the Committee that the Government of the United States had decided to make a special contribution to UNREF of $194,000 to be used primarily for the solution of the problem of handicapped refugees and difficult cases among foreign refugees in Austria. He expressed the hope that appropriate supporting contributions would be made from Austrian sources for the projects to be financed from that special contribution.
10. He also informed the Committee that his Government was simultaneously making an additional contribution of $250,000 to the Inter-Governmental Committee for European Migration, to be used for a special resettlement programme for foreign refugees in Austria.
11. In announcing these contributions, the United States representative stressed the deep concern felt by his Government and the people of the United States at the tragic human problems resulting from systems of political and religious persecution.
12. Referring to the efforts made by the Governments of countries of origin of refugees to promote "voluntary repatriation" of refugees by threats and ? imidation, the representative of the United States pointed out that the Executive Committee looked to the high Commissioner to protect refugees against such efforts and expressed his conviction that the High Commissioner would continue to exercise the utmost vigilance in this respect.
13. The Government of the United States considered that programmes for local integration and for overseas resettlement were both important methods in solving the problem of refugees, and it had confidence in the High Commissioner's ability to achieve these solutions through the UNREF programme, provided it received adequate governmental support.
14. In expressing his government's gratitude for his generous contribution from the United States, representative of Austria assured the Committee that the Austrian Government would continue to do everything in its power to find permanent solutions refugees in Austria. He pointed out that, in granting asylum to all persons entering Austria in their search for freedom, his government was going beyond the principles of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, to which if faithfully adhered. His Country, however, was still suffering from the effects of the Second World War and was unable to scope with the considerable number of refugees still remaining in Austria: 150,000 were officially registered, 20 per cent of whom were foreign refugees. Since 1945, 230,000 refugees had been naturalized, including 42,000 foreign refugees. Furthermore, the influx of new refugees - 800 in the first four months of 1956, as compared with 400 during the same period in 1955 - might well amount to 5,000 throughout the year if travel restrictions were lifted in certain countries of origin.
15. The number of difficult cases living in camps on social welfare - some 10,000 - was continuously increasing. Only a very small proportion of these had been resettled in his Government hoped that those remaining would be distributed among the countries of the free world in proportion to their capacity to absorb them and regardless of physical disabilities. His Government would welcome any efforts towards the resettlement of difficult cases outside Austria.
16. The representative of Austria wished to make it clear that his Government did not discriminate against foreign refugees, although it should be pointed out that certain ethnic groups were difficult to assimilate in Austria. However, the Austrian Government had decided to give to any refugees, whether he be Volksdeutsche or foreign-speaking, who could not be resettled outside Austria, all facilities for integration.
17. The High Commissioner expressed deep gratitude for the additional contribution of $194,000 announced by the representative of the United States and informed the Committee that additional project for refugees in Austria would be submitted for its approval accordingly.
18. He specially welcomed the assurance given by the representative of Austria, on behalf of his Government, to the effect that all refugees who could not be resettled outside Austria would be assisted by the Austrian Government in their integration in that country. This was the more important since emigration statistics for 1955 showed that only a limited number of refugees had been moved from Austria under the auspices of the Inter-Governmental Committee for European Migration.
19. With regard to the problem of difficult cases in Austria, the High Commissioner explained that, after many years of camp life, the difficult cases had become apathetic and indifferent to discomfort and were often hesitant to accept the solutions offered to them. In the course of subsequent discussions on this matter, the High Commissioner pointed out that difficult cases could not always be selected quickly for settlement in institutions because of their reluctance to change their way of living.
20. In this connexion the High Commissioner emphasized that, if the reduction of the number of refugees living in the camps were to be carried out, special measures would have to be taken in consultation with the Governments of countries of residence of the refugees to close particular camps on specific dates, thereby encouraging the refugees to avail themselves of the permanent solutions offered to them under the UNREF programme.
21. In the course of the general discussions which took place under various items throughout the session, and in particular at the 24th meeting, members of the Executive Committee generally supported the point of view expressed by the High Commissioner and formulated in the resolution on the speeding up of the closure of camps, which had been recommended to the Executive Committee by the Standing Programme Sub-Committee in the report on its third session (A/AC.79/39, para. 16) and subsequently amended by the draft resolution proposed by the Australian delegation at the 24th meeting (A/AC.79/L.11).
22. Dr. Elfan Rees, representing the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, paid tribute to the work being carried out by UNHCR on behalf of refugees and expressed the Commission's especial appreciation of the way in which the High Commissioner had resisted pressure exerted at the tenth session of the General Assembly by the Governments of countries of origin to bring about the repatriation of refugees.
23. He welcomed the proposal before the Committee for the speeding up of the closure of camps, either through resettlement or through the integration of the refugee inmates. He pointed out, in this connexion, that the voluntary agencies did in fact place the two solutions on an equal footing and did not encourage refugees in one direction more than in another. The experience of the voluntary agencies had shown that the refugees still clung to the solution of emigration and were reluctant to choose any other solution. He assured the Committee, however, that in further years of the programme the agencies would be at least as concerned with the integration of the refugees as with their resettlement.
24. In the course of the ensuing discussion on the draft resolution submitted to the Committee by the Australian delegation, most members of the Committee agreed that, while no pressure should be put on refugees to opt for one solution rather than for another, it would be in their best interest that they should be helped realistically to assess their opportunities for resettlement and to acquaint themselves with the opportunities that could be given them under projects in the UNREF programme.
25. With reference to the fifth paragraph of the resolution, the Committee agreed it was essential to obtain a realistic appreciation of the number of refugees desiring resettlement and qualifying for acceptance by immigration countries. In this connexion members of the Committee supported the suggestion made by the representative of Brazil that, if the return clause of refugee travel documents were of a sufficiently long period of validity, the immigration countries would more easily accept refugees.
26. The representative of Turkey, while agreeing with the first and last paragraphs of the resolution, which were in accord with the principle that emphasis should be placed on the closing of camps, opposed the principles expressed in the other parts of the text, in that it was inappropriate, in his opinion, to interfere with the refugee's freedom to aim at the type of solution he preferred, such interference being contrary to the principles of the United Nations in general and, more especially to the principle of balance between the three types of permanent solution, adopted by the General Assembly. The High Commissioner pointed out that there was no question of impairing the freedom of choice of a refugee but only of a realistic approach to the various solutions, emigration in many cases being impossible.
27. The resolution, as amended to take into account the proposals made during the debate, was adopted by the Committee, after a vote had been taken on each paragraph. The representative of Turkey cast an opposing vote on the third and sixth paragraphs, the text of which is reproduced below:
"The UNREF Executive Committee,
"Having examined the progress so far made under the UNREF programme in finding permanent solutions for the refugees still living in camps,
"Noting with satisfaction the collaboration which has been established between the Governments of the countries of residence, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for refugees and the voluntary agencies working in this programme,
"Noting that substantial numbers of refugees have ill-founded hopes of overseas resettlement and are consequently reluctant to leave camps in order to take advantage of integration projects being implemented by UNHCR,
"Desiring to expedite the UNREF programme,
"Expresses the hope that all agencies working on behalf of refugees will continue to bear in mind the importance of establishing without delay in each case what are the practical prospects of refugees being resettled overseas within a reasonable period of time, with a view to obtaining a realistic appreciation of the numbers of such refugees;
"Requests the High Commissioner to consult with the Governments of the countries of residence on the additional measures required during the remaining period of the UNREF programme to promote a systematic closure of the camps and at the same time find adequate solutions for their inmates."
REPORT BY THE HIGH COMMISSIONER ON HIS VISIT TO LATIN AMERICA
28. At the request of the Committee, the High Commissioner gave a brief outline of his recent six weeks' visit to nine Latin American countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. The High Commissioner expressed his gratitude for the warm welcome he had received in all these countries and for the keen interest shown by their Governments in the problems of refugees within his mandate.
29. The three main objects of his visit were to secure further accessions to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees; to obtain further contributions to UNREF; and to investigate the possibility of further limited numbers of refugee families at present in camps being admitted to these countries as immigrants.
30. With regard to the first of these aims, so far Ecuador was the only State which had ratified the Convention; Chile hoped to be able to ratify the Convention shortly and Uruguay was giving consideration to its ratification.
31. As regards contributions to UNREF, three had already been paid or announced; those of Colombia, $10,000; the Dominican Republic, $5,000; and Brazil, $15,000. The Government of Venezuela announced that it would make a contribution to UNREF during 1956, the amount to be notified later. The matter of contributions was under consideration in other of the Latin American Countries visited.
32. With regard to the admission of refugees, the High Commissioner expressed his appreciation of the willingness of Latin American countries to accept refugee families at present in camps in Europe, but he felt that this resettlement should be encouraged only in cases where there was a real possibility of the refugees establishing themselves satisfactorily; great care must be taken that appropriate refugee families were selected. He did not believe it realistic to consider the possibility of very high figures for refugee immigration during the coming years. He mentioned ten to fifty families per country per year as a possible figure.
33. One of the elements in the success of the resettlement of refugees was the arrangements made for their reception. While there were adequate agencies ready to do this work, sufficient funds were lacking.
34. The High Commissioner made a special plea to European countries with refugee camps populations in negotiating bilateral agreements for the emigration of their nationals to Latin American countries, to agree to the inclusion in such agreements of a certain proportion of refugees from the camps. Without such provisions, it was difficult for refugees to obtain adequate priority in immigration schemes.
35. He has received assurances that, in accordance with the recommendation in General Assembly resolution 832 (IX), a favourable attitude would be adopted, in the selection of refugee immigrants to Latin American, towards the reuniting of families of whom one or more members had already been admitted.
36. He expressed his gratitude to the representatives of the Holy See in the various Latin American countries which he had visited for the most valuable help which they had given him in his mission, and stated that the initiative of the Holy See in ratifying the Convention on the Status of Refugees had made a great impression in the various Latin American countries.
UNREF PROGRESS REPORT (item 4)
37. The Committee considered the progress report on the implementation of the UNREF programme up to 1 April 1956 (A/AC.79.36) and the addendum submitted to it by the High Commissioner. The report contained an account, broken down by country and programme, of the project implemented under the UNREF programme, together with an indication of the number of refugees who had so far benefited.
38. In the course of the discussion, various requests for further information concerning specific projects were made. The answers to these inquires will be found in the summary record of the 20th meeting of the Executive Committee.
39. The Executive Committee expressed its appreciation of the most informative way in which the report had been prepared.
40. The representative of Turkey considered that, pursuant to paragraph 42 (f) of the report of the Executive Committee on its first session,15 the report should have contained more detailed information on the number of refugees in camps who had benefited under each heading of the programme, as well as on the reduction in the camp population brought about through the implementation of the UNREF projects. Having come to the conclusion that up to the present time only about half of the beneficiaries of the projects came from the camps, the representative stated that, in his opinion, the objectives of General Assembly resolution 832 A (IX) were not being met. He explained that, apart from emergency assistance and assistance to difficult cases, the Assembly had placed the emphasis on the camp population for the very reason that in the four years' period in which the programme was to be carried out permanent solutions could not be found for all refugees requiring them, and he was afraid that, by not abiding by the wish expressed by the Assembly, it would not be possible to complete the programme before the expiry of the High Commissioner's mandate.
41. The High Commissioner informed the Committee that, up to 1 April 1956, 2,968 refugees in camps had benefited from the UNREF programme; he explained that refugees living outside camps were not always in a better position than those living in camps. In order to carry out economically viable projects it was sometimes necessary to include refugee living out of camps, as for instance in the case of the projects for counselling. He emphasized, however, that wherever possible priority was given to refugees living in camps.
42. With regard to the intention of the General Assembly in adopting resolution 832 A (IX), members of the Committee agreed with the High Commissioner that the reduction of the camp population was the main but not the exclusive purpose of the programme.
43. In connexion with the closure of camps, the representative of Greece informed the Committee that the camp of Actaion had already been closed, that the camp of Hadjikiriakion would shortly be closed, and that it was hoped that all refugee camps in Greece would be closed by the end of 1957. He informed the Committee that each refugee leaving camp was paid an installation grant of $85 by the Greek Government and that these refugees retained first priority for UNREF projects for permanent solutions.
44. In the course of the consideration of the report, special appreciation was expressed for the project for establishment in agriculture near Vigla in Greece, for the project for establishment in crafts and trades in that country, and for the project for the transfer of a vocational training school from Trieste to the camp at Capua.
45. The representative of the Federal Republic of Germany pointed out that the section of the report concerning permanent solutions in Germany (section I-D) gives a too optimistic view of the economic and social development in that country. The representative recalled, in this connexion, that there were still 380,000 German refugees living in camps in Germany for whom housing was required. He informed the Committee, in this connexion, that 5,000 refugees within the mandate of UNHCR in Germany had been included in the internal "resettlement programme" which had been established for some 100,000 refugees at a cost of DM 143,000,000.
46. In connexion with the difficulties encountered in the implementation of the project for a pre-selection counselling service in Greece (project PS/7/GRE/1955, para.121) the Committee noted the two courses of action suggested by the High Commissioner; that the supervision of the work should be entrusted to one particular agency or be the direct responsibility of the UNHCR. The Committee noted that the second alternative was favoured by the representative of Greece, and approved the suggestion that the final decision in this matter should be taken by UNHCR in agreement with the Greek Government.
47. In answer to a question put by the representative of the United States concerning the type of services to be provided in countries of resettlement under project PS/1-3/ITA/1955 for the promotion of emigration, the High Commissioner explained that two types of services - vocational training and assistance in placement - were envisaged under this project. Vocational training could, in his opinion, if carried out in the country of resettlement, be much more effective. The Inter-Governmental Committee for European Migration provided some of the administrative costs of the reception of refugees and part of the transportation costs, but there was no assistance from international sources to cover the cost of first establishment of refugees in countries of their resettlement except in the case of eligibles under the United States Escapee Programme. During his recent visit to Latin America he had particularly noticed this gap. If it could be filled, it would make resettlement in Latin American countries more attractive to refugees.
48. The Committee endorsed the recommendations made by the Sub-Committee in paragraphs 21 and 23 of its report concerning the emphasis to be placed on counselling. It further approved the suggestion that procedures should be as flexible as possible for the negotiation of agreements between UNHCR and the various agencies and that unnecessary formalities should be avoided.
49. The Executive Committee decided to take note of the progress report.
FINANCIAL STATEMENTS OF THE UNITED NATIONS REFUGEE FUND FOR THE YEAR 1955 AND THE REPORT OF THE BOARD OF AUDITORS THEREON (item 5)
50. The Committee considered the financial statements of the United Nations Refugee Fund for the year 1955 and the report of the board of Auditors thereon (A/AC.79/33)
51. In reply to a question, the High Commissioner specified that the total number of the staff of his Office, including professional and general service categories whose salaries were borne by the United nations budget, was 107 at Headquarters and in the Branch Offices, and the total number of staff at Headquarters and in the Branch Offices paid from the UNREF administrative budget was 28.
52. The Committee was informed that of the contributions, totalling $1,213,857 (schedule A to A/AC.79/33), pledged by Governments during 1955, but not received as at 31 December 1955, the amount of $963,857 had been paid. The remaining $250,000, representing $56,000 matching contribution pledged by the United Kingdom and $194,000 matching contribution pledged by the United States, were not payable, as the stipulated total governmental contributions had not been reached. A reserve for this short fall had been made in the statement of financial operations for the year ending 31 December 1955.
53. Attention was drawn to the fact that the special contribution of $194,000, representing the unpaid balance of the 1955 pledge of the United States Government, was now being made for the purpose of assisting difficult cases and handicapped refugee among the foreign refugee population in Austria.
54. One representative expressed the view that the principle of matching contributions was not satisfactory. He felt it did not act as a stimulus to other Governments to increase their contributions, but merely limited the contribution of the Government imposing the matching conditions. He suggested that a formula should be applied under which such parts of governmental contributions as exceeded the proportionate share in the UNREF programme according to the United Nations contribution scale would be subject to matching conditions.
55. The representative of the United States pointed out that his Government was trying to liberalize as far as possible its interpretation of the matching formula, and was considering including as governmental contributions, in its estimate of contributions which could be matched, the contributions made by Governments in accepting difficult cases for care in institutions in their countries.
56. The wish was expressed that financial statements should, as far as possible, be submitted to the Committee sufficiently in advance of sessions to allow adequate time for study. The secretariat took note of this request, pointing out that earlier submission of the document in question had not been possible, since the Board of Auditors did not meet until April.
57. The representative of France drew attention to the fact that nowhere in the accounts for 1955 or the first four months of 1956 were the pledges made by Governments during 1955, but paid in 1956, shown specifically. Although the fact that these contributions had been paid was specified in paragraph 31 of the report on the third session of the Standing Programme Sub-Committee, he asked if a clearer presentation could not be adopted in future accounts of all payments, pledges and promises.
58. The Committee adopted the financial statements of the United Nations Refugee Fund for the year 1955 and took note of the report of the board of auditors thereon.
FINANCIAL STATEMENTS OF THE UNITED NATIONS REFUGEE FUND FOR THE PERIOD 1 JANUARY 1956-30 APRIL 1956 (item 6)
59. The Committee had before it document A/AC.79/34, giving the accounts of the United Nations Refugee Fund for the first four months of 1956.
60. The representative of Belgium announced that instructions had been given for the payment to UNREF of the $160,000 which was the Belgian contribution for 1956, and that parliamentary approval was being sought for a further appropriation of $40,000. It was hoped that a similar contribution of $200,000 could be made for 1957.
61. In reply to a question by the representative of Norway, the Committee was informed by the High Commissioner that a reserve had been made for the total amount of loans to be recovered ($771,146.16), since under most projects loans were not repayable within the period of operation of the UNREF programme.
62. The representative of the United States drew attention to the fact that arrangements would accordingly need to be made before the expiry of the programme for the repayment of loans after that date.
63. The financial statements of the United Nations Refugee Fund for the period 1 January 1956-30 April 1956 were adopted by the Committee
NEGOTIATION OF SHORT-TERM LOANS TO FINANCE THE INITIATION OF 1956 PROJECTS PENDING RECEIPT OF CONTRIBUTIONS (item 7)
64. The Committee considered document A/AC.79/35 containing two proposals for the amendment of the financial rules (A. AC.79/10. Rev.1). The High Commissioner pointed out that the delays in the payment of government contributions which had been officially pledged or promised resulted in a serious delay in the implementation of approved projects. He stressed the anomalous situation which had been created by the operation of rule 8.1 whereby, although there were considerable funds as yet unexpended in the Fund, he was not able to start the implementation of approved projects. The object of the proposed amendments to rule 8.1 and rule 3 was to enable the implementation of the programme to be accelerated pending the receipt of contributions which had been pledged or promised.
65. The Committee first discussed the proposal outlined in paragraph 7 of document A/AC.79/35, suggesting that the High Commissioner should be authorized to incur commitments for projects against pledged contributions, provided that the full obligations incurred did not exceed the total amount of the pledged contributions.
66. The representative of the United Kingdom stated that her Government could only approve the suggestion to the extent that commitments for projects to be incurred against pledged contributions were limited to 50 per cent of the total amount of the latter.
67. It was suggested that a definition of a pledged contribution might be included in the proposed addition to rule 8.1 of the financial rules. The following text of the addition to rule 8.1 was adopted:
" ... except that the High Commissioner may incur initial commitments for projects against contributions pledged in accordance with appropriate constitutional processes, provided that the full obligations incurred against such contributions do not exceed the total amount of the latter."
68. The Committee adopted the proposal for an addition to rule 8.1 as above, with the representative of the United Kingdom opposing and the representative of Turkey abstaining .
69. The High Commissioner suggested that the second proposal for an addendum to rule 3 relating to the incurring of commitments against contributions which were promised, contained in paragraph 9 of document A/AC.79/35, had two separate parts. In the first place authorization was sought to obtain guarantees to cover loans which might be raised for an amount not to exceed governmental contributions which had been promised. In the second place, guarantee might be obtained to cover the use of funds actually in the United Nations Refugee Fund although already committed to projects which had been started, to the extent to which additional government contributions had been promised and there was a real expectancy that they would be received. The authorization of the Committee was required for him to seek guarantees of the kind suggested and also to seek loans.
70. Several representatives expressed doubt about the possibility of the High Commissioner obtaining such guarantees. Other representatives stated that they would not be against authorizing the High Commissioner to seek guarantees but that their governments would not be in a position to provide such guarantees. The representative of Switzerland, however, gave as an example the fact that his Government had offered to furnish a guarantee for the amount which it proposed to contribute in 1957.
71. The Committee adopted the first part of the proposed amendment to rule 3, designed to authorize the High Commissioner to seek loans to the amount that contributions had been promised, provided that he obtained an unconditional guarantee of repayment, with the representatives of the United Kingdom and the United States opposing. The Committee also adopted the second part of that proposal with one member opposing (United Kingdom) and two abstaining (Turkey and the United States).
72. It was understood that the two proposals approved by the Committee for amendments to the financial rules would be submitted to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, whose agreement was necessary before such amendments could be put into force. It was stated that the attention of the Secretary-General had already been drawn to the proposed amendments to the financial rules.
SURVEY ON THE NUMBER AND SITUATION OF REFUGEES LIVING IN UNOFFICIAL CAMPS IN AUSTRIA (item 8)
73. The Committee had before it document A/AC.79/38, consisting of a report on the number and situation of refugees living in unofficial camps in Austria submitted to the High Commissioner by Dr, Th, van Hout, together with an introductory note by the High Commissioner.
74. The High Commissioner, in presenting the report, recalled that the survey had been requested by the Executive Committee at its second session. He paid tribute to Dr. Idenburg, Director of the Netherlands Central Bureau of Statistics, who had given advice concerning the method by which the survey should be carried out, and to Dr. van Hout, under whose direction the survey was carried out, as well as all those who had collaborated in the survey. He expressed his gratitude to the Austrian authorities for the valuable co-operation they had given in this work.
75. The basic figures of the report were summarized in paragraph 4 of his introductory note, from which it would be seen that there were 390 unofficial camps in Austria with a population of approximately 42,500 persons, of whom only 8,335 were refugees. Of that number, approximately 90 per cent were of German ethnic origin and 10 per cent foreign refugees.
76. The representative of Austria welcomed the survey, which provided valuable information hitherto lacking to the Austrian authorities. He paid tribute to the high quality of the statistical material contained in the report, and was happy that the Austrian authorities had been able to co-operate in its preparation.
77. He drew special attention to the conclusion that the social down-grading among the foreign-speaking refugees was greater than among Volksdeutsche refugees in the unofficial camps, and that the percentage of foreign-speaking refugees who desired to emigrate was higher than the percentage of Volksdeutsche.
78. The High commissioner considered that one of the findings of the survey merited particular attention; one-third of the refugees living in the unofficial camps were under twenty years of age, while two-thirds were under forty-four years old. It was obvious that a very large proportion of the unofficial camp inmates, and certainly also of the refugees in Federal camps, were by no means to be considered difficult cases but still young enough to make a valuable contribution to the society in which they lived.
79. The High Commissioner informed the Executive Committee that the cost of the survey, for which $25,000 had been earmarked, had in fact amounted to approximately $126,000.
80. The Committee took note of the report, and expressed the wish that it should be given wide circulation, so that it should be available for the use of all those interested in the problem of refugees in Austria.
NEW AND REVISED PROJECTS AND ADJUSTMENT OF PRIORITIES FOR THE REVISED PLAN OF OPERATIONS (1956) (item 9)
81. The Committee considered the report of the High Commissioner (A/AC.79/32 and Add, 1) which included new and revised projects and an extended list of priorities submitted for its approval. The Committee also had before it A/AC.79/32/Add.2 which contained new projects, to be financed out of the special contribution of $194,000 announced by the United States Government, and a proposed list of priorities for these projects.
82. In the course of the discussion various requests for information concerning specific projects were made. The answers to these inquires will be found in the summary record of the 22nd Meeting of the Executive Committee.
83. Several representatives expressed the opinion that a higher priority should be given to certain projects for Greece. The High Commissioner explained, however, that as a result of the difficulties experiences in implementing the project for a pre-selection counselling service, delays had occurred in the implementation of other projects in Greece, and that he consequently felt that it would not be wise to alter the list of priorities at this stage. The Committee agreed to a proposal made by the representative of Germany that the High Commissioner should consult the members of the Standing Programme Sub-Committee in writing if he felt that the rate of implementation of projects already approved justified a higher priority being given to other projects for refugees in Greece. Furthermore, the High Commissioner agreed to take into account the proposals made for a higher priority for Greek projects in preparing the revised plan of operations (1957).
84. The High Commissioner announced that projects PS/12/ITA would have to be withdrawn, owing to the fact that certain supporting contributions would not be forthcoming.
85. In connexion with project PS/11/ITA, which provides for a contribution of $24,000 from UNREF towards the building and equipment of a training centre for the rehabilitation of post-tubercular patients at the sanatorium of Garbagnate, near Milan, the representative of Italy referred to the reservations he had made during the discussion of this project in the Sub-Committee. He informed the Committee that his Government had merely wished to ensure that the Amministrazione Aiuti Internazionali (AAI) was not undertaking financial obligations beyond the cost of supporting refugees received at the centre of Garbagnate, and also that this project would provide a truly permanent solution for those refugees benefiting under it. Having been assured by the High Commissioner that the additional project referred to in paragraph 21 of the document providing for the establishment of post tuberculosis refugees would, if it could be successfully negotiated with the authorities concerned, be submitted in the revised plan of operations (1957), he had been authorized to support this project.
86. The representative of the United States questioned the principle embodied in projects PS/13/ITA/BEL whereby an UNREF contribution of $20,400 was requested for the re-establishment of refugees at present residing in Italy in a country which itself benefited from an UNREF allocation. Furthermore, he felt that there was a danger, if this project was approved, that other Governments which had accepted refugees on humanitarian grounds might also have a valid claim for assistance from UNREF in receiving refugees. The High Commissioner considered that the allocation for this project was justified, as the refugees concerned were difficult to resettle overseas and that, under this project, they would be firmly established in Belgium. Furthermore, in 1957 the cost of the project would be met out of the UNREF allocation for Belgium.
87. The Committee agreed to the principle of an UNREF contribution to countries accepting from among the camp population refugees who had little or no possibility of overseas resettlement, the representative of the United States reserving the position of his Government in the matter
88. The representative of Turkey requested that the settlement of difficult cases in institutions in Turkey, provided for by project DC/4/TUR,16 should be carried out through a Turkish voluntary agency or through Turkish authorities. The High Commissioner assured the representatives that the settlement of these cases in Turkey would, as far as possible, be carried out in consultation with the competent Turkish organizations or authorities.
89. In connexion with the readjustment of priorities proposed in document A/AC.79/32/Add.2 by the High Commissioner, in the light of the special contribution for difficult cases and handicapped refugees made by the United States Government, the representative of Austria suggested that the project for the extension of credit facilities PS/1/AUS/1955 (d) (ii) might be left in category C/1956/Rev.1 and replaced in category B/1956/Rev.1 by a housing project. Several representatives, however, felt that the project for credit facilities was proving very useful and that additional funds for that project in 1956 should be approved.
90. The Committee agreed to the suggestion made by the High Commissioner that two housing projects, PS/80/AUS and PS/61/AUS, should be transferred from category C to category B, together with the project for additional funds for credit facilities which would, however, be reduced to $25,000.
91. Subject to this change, the Committee agreed to the projects and proposals for the adjustment of priorities contained in document A/AC.79/32/Add.2, thereby deciding that the projects which would be financed from the special United States contribution would be listed in category A/1956.
92. In considering the estimated UNREF income for 1956, set out in annex 1 to document A/AC.79/31, the Chairman suggested that the Committee should seriously study the implications for the UNREF programme of the considerable shortfalls in reaching the targets for governmental contributions for 1955 and 1956. The High Commissioner recalled that, at the time the General Assembly had approved the target of $16,000,000 for a programme covering four years, it had been anticipated that there would be no difficulty in collecting governmental contributions. This, unfortunately, had not provide to be the case. He pointed out that he had constantly drawn the attention of the Governments of Members to this situation. In 1955 only $2,653,697 had been received from Governments, which had resulted in a shortfall of $1,546,303 for 1956. In view of this, it would be unrealistic to think that the objectives of the UNREF programme could be achieved within four years. The High Commissioner went on to say that he had tried by every possible means to obtain funds from private sources. These efforts had met with remarkable success in certain countries, for instance in the Netherlands, but he doubted that it would be possible to obtain substantial amounts from private sources in many other countries.
93. As an alternative to the proposal made by the representative of the United Kingdom in the Standing Programme Sub-Committee that the High Commissioner submit a special report to the fourth session of the Executive Committee on the impact of the financial shortfall, the Committee decided that the General Assembly should be informed at its next session of the state of the UNREF programme, and requested the High Commissioner to prepare and addendum to his report to the eleventh session of the Assembly, indicating the effect of the shortfall in governmental contributions on the reduction in the camp population.
94. The Committee approved the new and revise projects contained in document A/AC.79/32 and also the revised lists of priorities, subject to the modifications which had been proposed in the course of its discussions and those of the Standing Programme Sub-Committee (c.f. annex I). It also approved the suggestion made by the High Commissioner in paragraph 71 of the document that he should be authorized to consult the members of the Standing Programme Sub-Committee in writing, if funds became available which would justify a transfer of additional projects from category C/1956/Rev.1 to category B/1956/Rev.1.
PLAN OF ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENDITURE FOR 1956 - SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATE (item 10)
95. The Committee considered a supplementary estimate of $14,500 submitted by the High Commissioner for administrative expenditure for 1956 (A/AC.79/PSC/R.16) covering additional staff and travel.
96. The representative of the United Kingdom, while stating that she was convinced of the necessity of an assistant to the projects officer in the Branch Office for Italy, queried whether the proposed statistical posts at headquarters and in the Branch Offices were all essential. Several representatives drew attention to the large amount of statistical information which had been requested by the Executive Committee, as well as by individual Governments to enable them to make a contribution to UNREF. It was felt that the collection of that information was a task essential to the execution of the programme.
97. The Committee, with the exception of two delegations, was convinced of the necessity of all the additional items of expenditure proposed and adopted the proposals made in the supplementary estimate.
98. The wish was expressed that all statistical information prepared should be communicated to the governments of States members of the Committee well in advance of sessions of the Committee
TENTATIVE TARGET AND COUNTRY ALLOCATIONS FOR THE REVISED PLAN OF OPERATIONS (1957) (item 11)
99. The Committee considered document A/AC.79/31, which contained proposals submitted by the High Commissioner for a tentative target of $4,400,000 for 1957, country allocations and suggested breakdowns for countries where the UNREF programme is in operation. The Committee also had before it the summary of the report on refugee housing in Austria, prepared by two Danish experts, contained in document A/AC.79/31/Add.1.
100. In the course of the general discussion, the representative of Turkey expressed the view that, since it seemed unlikely that the financial target for 1957 could be met, the scope of the programme should be reduced accordingly. He suggested, also, that a still higher priority should be given to refugees in camps as opposed to the refugees living out of camps referred to in paragraph 6 of the document.
101. In spite of the financial difficulties which had been encountered, the High Commissioner did not give up hope that the target for 1957 might be reached and he pointed out that any modification in the overall target could only be decided by the General Assembly or the Economic and Social Council. The High Commissioner also recalled that, when the UNREF programme was started, the refugee camp population of 86,000 constituted about one-quarter of the number of refugees for whom permanent solutions should be achieved.
102. The representative of France raised the question of the proportion of funds allocated to permanent solutions and difficult cases respectively suggesting that the proportions should be determined in the light of the special situation in each of the countries concerned. He pointed out that, in his country, which had been one of the first to give refugees asylum, there was a relatively high proportion of aged or incurable refugees. So far as assistance was concerned, those refugees were treated in the same way as French nationals, but it was difficult to find places in institutions for all those who needed them, since the number of institutions was insufficient. For this reason, the representative proposed that the allocation for the settlement of difficult cases in France should be increased from $50,000 to $100,000 at the expense, if necessary, of the proposed allocation for permanent solutions in France. The Committee accepted this proposal and, accordingly, reduced from $250,000 to $200,000 the allocation for permanent solutions in France.
103. The suggestions made by the representative of Austria that the allocation for housing settlements should be increased from $700,000 to $800,000 and that the allocations for credit facilities and a special small loan fund should be reduced to $100,000 each, was also accepted by the Committee.
104. In answer to a question by the representative of the United States, the High Commissioner explained that the allocation of $20,000 for post-prison care would help one hundred refugees who had served prison sentences. There were a number of such refugees who, if they were not helped, might well be led to opt for a different solution from that which they had had in view when they left their countries. The allocation was approved by the Committee. The representative of the United States expressed doubts as to the advisability of projects of this type.
105. In the course of the general discussion, the question arose whether it would not be advisable to modify the directives which had been given on the question of providing assistance to refugees in the form of loans or grants. In this connexion, the High Commissioner drew the attention of the Committee to the recommendations adopted at its second session, contained in paragraph 69 (a) of document A/AC.79/28 (see annex I above), which provided that the assistance to refugees should be given under the UNREF programmes in the form of loans rather than grants whenever possible and practicable. As experience had shown that, in the case of certain projects and, in particular, housing projects, assistance in the form of grants were preferable to loans, the Committee agreed that, although the policy of giving loans to refugees was in principle a sound one, its application should not be allowed to hamper the programme. The High Commissioner should, therefore, be allowed to choose whichever type of assistance was most appropriate in each project.
106. Several representatives expressed their satisfaction with the fact that the allocation for permanent solutions in Germany had been slightly increased as compared with the allocation for 1956. They paid tribute to the active manner in which the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany had contributed to the solution of the problem of foreign refugees.
107. The representative of the United States pointed out that, despite these efforts, there was still a considerable problem of foreign refugees in Germany, where the number of those living in camps had decreased by 2,260 from 1 January 1955 to 1 January 1956 as compared with a decrease of 10,900 in Austria. Though realizing that the shortage of funds available to UNREF made a larger allocation for Germany impossible at this time, he hoped that priorities established for German projects would reflect the serious refugee problem still remaining in Germany.
108. In summarizing the situation of foreign refugees in his country, the representative of the Federal Republic of Germany explained that, apart from political rights, the foreign refugees had exactly the same rights as national also in respect of employment.
109. With regard to the economic prospects of refugees, the representative of Germany stated that his Government had already established in professions millions of national refugees, including a certain number of foreign refugees. However, even with the increasing economic prosperity, the problem of refugees would not be solved overnight. Moreover, the end of the influx of new refugees was not yet in sight.
110. With regard to the breakdown of the allocation to Germany, the representative suggested that the amount proposed for housing projects should be increased from $250,000 to 300,000 as experience had shown that other valuable projects such as counselling would be of little avail of there was insufficient housing for refugees.
111. The representative of the United States emphasized the importance of counselling projects for refugees, and suggested that the allocation for this type of project in Germany should be increased. In view of the difficulty of reconciling the two proposals made for an increase of certain items within the allocation for Germany, the Committee decided to adopt the breakdown suggested in the document prepared by the High Commissioner.
112. In considering the proposed allocations for Greece and Italy, the Committee noted with satisfaction the information which had been given to the Standing Programme Sub-Committee by the representative of the United States, and which was recorded in paragraph 54 of the Sub-Committee's report (A/AC.79/39).
113. The representative of Greece commented on the considerations pointed out by the High Commissioner in paragraphs 38 to 41 of document A/AC.19/31. While paying tribute to the work carried out by the United States Escapee Programme in Greece, he considered that its work would be even more effective if it were developed in closer co-operation with the UNREF programme and government services. There were difficulties which arose out of different policies towards loans and grants, and he hoped that everything possible would be done by USEP also to promote the economic integration of refugees of Greek ethnic origin.
114. The United Kingdom representative warmly supported the tribute which had been paid by the representative of Greece to the work which had been done for refugees under the USEP programme, and stated that she had been greatly impressed during her recent visits to Italy and Greece by its plans for the emigration of refugees. She asked whether the USEP administration accepted responsibility for promoting permanent solutions for all refugees registered as eligible for its assistance and, if not, whether the Office of the High Commissioner was being informed of those refugees registered as eligible for USEP assistance but who would not, in fact, be helped
115. In reply, the representative of the United States informed the Committee that high-ranking United States officials would shortly discuss with the High Commissioner administrative details to facilitate closer co-ordination of the two programmes. It was the policy of his government that no refugees should at the same time benefit both from UNREF and from USEP. He suggested that it should not be difficult to come to some arrangement whereby the High Commissioner's representatives in countries where both USEP and UNREF were active could discover from the USER representatives which cases would not, in fact, be assisted by USEP. The United States Escapee Programme would support an arrangement whereby refugees who were eligible for USEP assistance could be included in UNREF projects. When this was done, reimbursement would be made by USEP on a per capita basis.
116. The representative of Italy welcomed the statements made by the representative of the United States, both in the Standing Programme Sub-Committee and in the Executive Committee on this question. He felt that the negotiations between the two organizations would make a great contribution towards solving the problems of refugees living in camps and of eliminating the camps themselves. He informed the Committee that his government would continue its efforts towards the closure of the camps. But he had to point out that there were certain difficulties in solving the problems of refugees living out of camp, as proposed in paragraph 49 of document A/AC.79/31, and he wished to reserve the position of his Government on this matter.
117. The representative of Turkey pointed out that the allocation of $40,000 for the projects in the near and Middle East and his country did not correspond to the number of refugees in the area, nor was it in accord with the principle set forth in paragraph 6 (c) of document A/AC.79/31.
118. The High Commissioner informed the Committee that the allocation for this areas had been limited in view of the fact that a very considerable proportion of the refugees were USEP eligibles.
119. In the course of the discussion on allocations for emergency aid, the Committee was informed by the representative of Turkey that assistance would be required under the UNREF Programme for 177 needy refugees in two reception centres for foreign refugees in Turkey and that the Turkish government considered that there were in all some 2,500 foreign refugees in that country. The representative requested that the High Commissioner should consider the matter and, if necessary, include projects for emergency aid to these refugees in the revised plan of operations (1957).
120. The Committee decided to approve the target and country allocations proposed in document A/AC.79/31, with the following modifications. The total amount for permanent solutions was reduced to $3,040,000 and the amount for the settlement difficult cases was increased to $800,000, as a result of the allocation for the settlement of difficult cases in France being increased to $100,000 and the allocation for permanent solutions in France being reduced to $200,000.
121. In the course of the consideration by the Committee of the summary of the report on refugee housing in Austria (A/AC.79/31/Add.1) the suggestion was made that the same procedure recommended for submission of the housing programme for Austria in the revised plan of operations (1957) might also apply to housing programme in Germany and, possible, to the vocational training programmes.
122. The High Commissioner pointed out, in this connexion, that the housing projects in Austria and Germany had to be prepared in detail well before the beginning of each year in which they could be implemented, and that it was often difficult to hold the supporting contributions if there was a delay in the implementation of the projects. For this reason, he would welcome the suggestion which had been made to extend the proposal that certain parts of the plan of operations could be submitted to the Committee for approval on a programme rather than on a project basis. The representative of Belgium expressed the view that this suggestion would make it possible to improve the Executive Committee's method of work; so far, the Committee had attached more importance to questions of detail than to determining UNREF's general policy. Several representatives felt however that, while such flexibility was highly desirable in the housing programme in Austria, it would be preferable to see how the new procedure worked before considering its extension to other sections of the UNREF programme.
123. The Executive Committee agreed that the recommendations outlined in the covering note of the High Commissioner to the summary of the report and recommendations on refugee housing in Austria prepared by two Danish experts (A/AC.79/31, Add.1) should be taken into account in the preparation of the housing programme in Austria which would be included in the revised plan of operations (1957) to be submitted to the Executive Committee at its fourth session for approval. The representatives of Australia and the United States stated that they had not had sufficient time to study the implications of the proposal and therefore wished to reserve the position of their Government on this question.
MEMORANDUM ON THE ELIGIBILITY OF CERTAIN CATEGORIES OF REFUGEES OF GERMAN ETHNIC ORIGIN IN AUSTRIA (item 12)
124. The Committee had before it a memorandum on the eligibility of certain categories of refugees of German ethnic origin in Austria (A/AC.79/37 and Add.1) submitted by the High Commissioner to the Committee in its advisory capacity. The memorandum outlined the historical and legal position of certain groups of refugees of German ethnic origin in Austria on whom German nationality had been conferred by article 1 of the Law for the Settlement of Questions of Nationality enacted in the German Federal Republic on 22 February 1955. The date-limit for rejection of German nationality under that law had expired on 25 February 1956. The addendum to the memorandum contained the text of a letter from the Austrian Government concerning its recognition of that Law.
125. The Committee was asked for its opinion on the following points: in the first place, whether the persons in Austria who were recognized by the Federal German Government as German nationals by virtue of the Law were to be considered as excluded from the mandate of the High Commissioner; and, in the second place, in the event of its deciding that all refugees in Austria coming within the scope of article 1 of the Law were outside the mandate, whether those refugees in Austria who claimed to have had no knowledge of the Law and did not wish to have German nationality could be regarded as eligible for benefit under the UNREF programme.
126. The representative of Austria informed the Committee that his Government regarded all the persons in Austria coming within the scope of article 1 of the Law as having acquired German nationality. It was estimated that the total number of such persons was approximately 16,000, of whom a considerable proportion could be considered as firmly established and not likely to require assistance under the UNREF programme. He proposed, with regard to those who did still need such assistance, that a decision might be considered by the Committee analogous to that adopted at its second session with regard to refugees who had acquired Austrian nationality by option or naturalization.
127. The representative of Germany pointed out that the position of his government was determined by the Law in question, which was also recognized as valid by the Austrian Government.
128. There followed a general discussion in which it became clear that, although the Committee could not express any opinion on the validity of the Law within the framework of international law, it was nevertheless necessary to come to some conclusion on the question whether the refugees who came within the scope of article 1 of the Law did or did not continue to be within the mandate of the High Commissioner.
129. It finally gave as its advice, with the Turkish representative abstaining, that the refugees in Austria who come within the scope of article 1 of the Law could no longer be considered to be within the mandate of the High Commissioner by virtue of the provisions of article 6 (c) of the Statute of the Office, on the grounds that they had acquired a new nationality.
130. The Committee then proceeded to consider whether certain of the refugees who were excluded from the mandate of the High Commissioner by virtue of article 1 of the Law would nevertheless continue to be allowed to benefit from the UNREF programme. It was pointed out that there might be a number of refugees who had never heard of the Law. This number might be divided into two categories: in the first place, those who would not have wanted to reject German nationality in any case and, secondly, those who would have done so had they been made aware of the Law before 25 February 1956, the date-limit for rejection set by the Law. The representatives of the United Kingdom and Turkey wondered whether both categories might be allowed to benefit from the UNREF programme.
131. It was generally felt that, though there was no case for allowing the first category to do so, there were humanitarian considerations which would justify a procedure being established designed to allow the second category still to be considered for UNREF projects on lines similar to those which had been approved by the Executive Committee at its second session in the case of certain refugees who had opted for Austrian nationality. The difficulty of distinguishing between the two categories was emphasized by some representatives.
132. The representative of Israel wondered whether it might not be possible for the Government of the Federal German Republic to extend the date-line for rejection of German nationality under the Law for the benefit of those who had no knowledge of it and to give to such action suitable publicity in co-operation with the Austrian authorities. In this connexion, the representative suggested that the High Commissioner might be asked by the Committee to ascertain, in consultation with the two Governments concerned, whether the proposed action would still be possible. The representative of the United States expressed the opinion that as it seemed unlikely that the financial target would be reached enabling the programme to be completed for the benefit of those refugees whose eligibility was beyond question, there was no point in extending the benefits of the programme to a group of refugees about whose eligibility for assistance there were serious legal question.
133. A proposal was put to the vote that the second category, namely, those refugees who had by the operation of the Law unwittingly acquired German nationality which they would have preferred to reject, should be eligible for inclusion in projects under the UNREF programme until 30 June 1957. The Committee also suggested that the High Commissioner should consult with the Austrian and German Governments with a view to ensuring that a procedure was established which would make it possible to decide which refugees, who came within the scope of article 1 of the Law, did in fact belong to the second category as defined above.
134. The proposal was adopted by 12 votes in favour with 6 abstentions,17 the representative of Germany not taking part in the vote.
CHINESE REFUGEES IN HONG KONG
135. The Chairman informed the Committee that cables had been received from the China Refugee International Council and the United Nations Association in Hong Kong, requesting it to take action to provide international assistance to Chinese refugees in Hong Kong in accordance with the recommendations contained in the report on "The problem of Chinese refugees in Hong Kong." Submitted to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee by Dr. Edvard Hambro.
136. At the request of several members of the Committee, the High Commissioner explained the background of the problem of Chinese refugees in Hong Kong in so far as it had been the concern of his Office and the Advisory Committee. He stated that a survey on the situation of Chinese refugees in Hong Kong had been made upon the recommendation of the High Commissioner's Advisory Committee at its third session. The report of Dr. Hambro, submitted to the Advisory Committee at its fifth session, contained a detailed survey of the economic and social position of Chinese refugees in Hong Kong as well as a special chapter concerning their legal position. In this chapter, it was stated that:
"156. From a strictly legal point of view the Chinese refugees may fall outside the High Commissioner's mandate, but from a broader and humanitarian point of view it may be added that a factual situation cannot be without influence on the legal position. If it is a fact that the Government in Taipei is incapable of protecting these persons, they are de facto refugees. They would thus seem to be in a worse situation now than they would be even if they had no Government at all to protect them. If this result is good law, it is still somewhat startling to the common-sense of people who do not benefit from a profound knowledge of international law."
137. Dr. Hambro's report had been put on the agenda of the first session of the UNREF Executive Committee. The Committee at that time did not feel that it was in a position to decide on the eligibility of these refugees and adopted a resolution (A/AC.79/12)18 in which it:
"Notes with appreciation the thoroughness with which the report has been drawn up; and
"Requests the High Commissioner
"(a) To give sympathetic encouragement to Governments and organizations with a view to their assisting in alleviating the problems of the Chinese refugees in Hong Kong.
"(b) To report to the Committee, when he deems it necessary, any progress made in the implementation of this resolution."
138. The High Commissioner stated that if it was the intention of the Committee that funds should be allocated within the UNREF programme for assistance to these refugees, the Committee should first advise him as to whether it regarded the refugees concerned to be within his mandate.
139. The representative of the United States suggested that, should additional funds become available in the course of the year, consideration should be given to the possibility of making such funds available for assistance to these refugees provided it were legally possible to do so. In supporting this proposal, several representatives expressed the opinion that a distinction could be made between eligibility under the statute of the High Commissioner and eligibility under the UNREF programme, as had been done already in the case of other groups of refugees. Other representatives argued that the question of eligibility had already been put before the Committee and that it had not been in a position to give its advice in the matter.
140. They suggested, therefore, that the matter might perhaps be submitted to the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion or even to the General Assembly itself.
141. Most members of the Committee agreed, however, that such a course would involve too long delays, whereas the question of assistance to these refugees should be decided as soon as possible.
142. In this connexion, the representative of the United Kingdom pointed out that her Government believed that the problem could only be satisfactorily solved through emigration. Furthermore, while recognizing the very real need of relief, she pointed out that it would be difficult and unsatisfactory to make a distinction between Chinese refugees who had come from the mainland of China and the local Chinese population in Hong Kong. If, however, assistance were to be given under the UNREF programme to these refugees, the High Commissioner would no doubt carry out his task in close consultation with the Hong Kong authorities through the Government of the United Kingdom.
143. The High Commissioner pointed out that, as was shown in the report of Dr. Hambro, resettlement possibilities in the surrounding areas had proved to be extremely limited.
144. In summing up the debate, the Chairman pointed out that a decision in the matter could not be taken unless the Committee expressed its views as to the eligibility of the refugees concerned. As the question was not on the Agenda of the Committee's third session and required detailed consideration by the members of the Committee, he recommended that a short summary be prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner on the question of eligibility of these refugees, as set forth in the report of Dr. Hambro. This should be submitted to the Committee at its fourth session. In the meantime, the High Commissioner should inquire from the United Kingdom Government whether the present situation of these refugees was such as to warrant taking special measures. Furthermore, at the next session, the High Commissioner should report whether funds were available to help these refugees. The Committee would then have to come to some decision as to whether or not funds should be allocated to help them. The Committee expressed its general agreement to the course of action proposed by the Chairman.
STATEMENTS BY OBSERVERS
145. The representative of the Inter-Governmental Committee for European Migration made a short statement in which she outlined the achievements of the Committee in promoting the overseas resettlement of refugees in the closest co-operation with the Office of the High Commissioner for refugees and the voluntary agencies. She made special mention of the close co-operation which existed between the Office of the High Commissioner and the Inter-Governmental Committee for European Migration in conducting the joint operation on behalf of refugees of European origin in China.
146. The President of the Standing Conference of Voluntary Agencies emphasized the difficulties inherent in the problems of counselling refugees to accept one solution in preference to another. He emphasized the importance of a close collaboration existing between all agencies working on behalf of refugees, and gave evidence of the great effort made by the voluntary agencies to promote permanent solutions for the refugees who were their particular concern.
Next session of the Standing Programme Sub-Committee
147. After a short discussion, the Executive Committee decided that there should be no meeting of the Standing Programme Sub-Committee before January 1957 unless the High Commissioner should request the Chairman to convene such a meeting to deal with a special emergency.
(Note: Statistical and financial tables not included in this online version. See your nearest UN Depository Library.)
1 Official Records of the General Assembly, Tenth Session, Supplement No.11(A/2902 and Add.1).
2 In addition, a contribution was received from the Greek Government in the form of 30 tons of raisins.
3 Including $748,094 to be financed from the grant made by the Netherlands Committee for Aid to Refugees ($524,193 for Austria and $223,901 for Greece).
4 Including $189,800 to be financed from the Netherlands Committee's grant and $10,000 from residual funds of the International Refugee Organization.
5 Including unallocated balances.
6 All the figures quoted in this chapter have been brought up to date since the report of the UNHCR Executive Committee on its second session.
7 Subject to adjustment.
8 All the figures quoted in this chapter have been brought up to date since the report of the UNREF Executive Committee on its second session.
9 Supplementary project, to be financed form grant of the Netherlands Committee for Aid to Refugees.
10 Excluding adjustments in the value of projects for the settlement of difficult cases, amounting to $5,250.
11 Official Records of the General Assembly, Ninth Session, Supplement No.13 (A/263\48), paragraph 165.
12 Transmitted to the General Assembly in accordance with paragraph 6 of Economic and Social Council resolution 565 (IX) of 31 March 1955.
13 See Official Records of the General Assembly, Tenth Session, Supplement No.11, Annex (A/2092/Add.1).
14 Originally issued in mimeographed form as document A/AC.79/41. Transmitted to the General Assembly in accordance with paragraph 6 of Economic and Social Council resolution 565(IX) of 31 March 1955.
15 Official Records of the General Assembly, Tenth Session, Supplement No.11 annex (document A/2902/Add.1).
16 provisional number pending implementation.
17 Belgium, Brazil, France, Holy See, Israel, United States of America.
18 See Official Records of the General Assembly, Tenth Session, Supplement No.11 annex (A/2902/Add.1) p.37.