Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations General Assembly Official Records: Eighteenth Session
Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Supplement No.11 (A/5511/Rev.1)
1. The General Assembly at its seventeenth session adopted, by an almost unanimous vote, resolution 1783 (XVII) continuing the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for a further period of five years from 1 January 1964. This unanimity, which undoubtedly is a tribute to the efforts which have been made at all times to maintain and affirm, in its daily activities, the strictly humanitarian nature of the work of the High Commissioner's office, reflects a general understanding of the true import of its mission, the accomplishment of which will thus be facilitated. In the light of the General Assembly's decision, the Office of the High Commissioner is now engaged in planning its future activities, which will be directly adapted to the needs which, in keeping with the desires and through the voluntary assistance of the international community, it is called upon to satisfy.
2. The present report, which covers the period from 1 April 1962 to 31 March 19631, gives an account of the progress made by the Office of the High Commissioner in carrying out its task and takes stock of the position as regards its future work.
3. In submitting this annual account of the activities of the Office of the High Commissioner, it is well to recall the essential tasks which were assigned to it during this period, more particularly in the field of material assistance. The first and foremost of these was to prepare plans for a final operation on behalf of refugees who were casualties of the last war and to initiate the final effort which will relieve the Office of the High Commissioner of this burdensome heritage. It had, at the same time, after the usual period of trial and error, to perfect its techniques with a view to ensuring continuity in its operations and to adapt them to the problems with which it has to cope.
4. As far as the "old" refugee problem is concerned, the figures given in chapter II and annex IV of this report show the progress that has been made. Since the material assistance programmes were put into operation in 1955,70,000 refugees have been firmly settled. During 1962 alone, 37,500 refugees received assistance from the office of the High Commissioner and more than 12,000 of them were permanently settled.
5. A start has already been made with the implementation of the major aid programme drawn up for 1963, involving a total sum of $5.4 million while the effort to raise the necessary funds continues. The spirit of solidarity recently displayed by a number of European countries gives grounds for hoping that their example will be followed and that the full amount will be forthcoming. Thus the final solution, which will crown years of work and generosity on the part of Governments and voluntary agencies, is now within reach.
6. As this great undertaking is little by little drawing to a close, the thoughts of the Office of the High Commissioner are turning quite naturally to the present tasks to which it will now be able to devote its full attention. In the first place, a recurrence of the same accumulated hardships must be prevented by constant action adapted to the circumstances and limited to essential needs. But there are also the new refugee problems in connexion with which emergency assistance must be provided, if they are not to develop in their turn into problems of the first magnitude for the countries of reception and, in the final analysis, for the international community itself.
7. This dual purpose, which is the salient feature of the programme for 1963, is reflected in the division of this programme into two main chapters, one relating to "old" refugees and the solution of their problems and the other described as the "current programme of complementary assistance", the purpose of which is to deal with current problems.
8. It is this latter programme, which is already in operation and from which a number of pointers and lessons can already be drawn, which will provide the guidelines for the programme of assistance for 1964 which is now being prepared and which in its turn will foreshadow the general framework of the future activities of the Office of the High Commissioner in the material assistance field.
9. While these developments, distinguished principally by some geographical redistribution of assistance operations, were taking place the Office of the High Commissioner continued to provide international protection for refugees within its mandate. In this connexion, the High Commissioner is happy to state that during the period under review there have been five further accessions to the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees of 28 July 1951, which is one of the key instruments in the system of protection for refugees. The number of States parties to the Convention is now thirty-nine, of which twenty-one are European and eleven African. In many fields affecting the legal and social status of refugees and the facilities of movement granted to them, considerable improvements have occurred; these will be described in chapter I.
CHAPTER I INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION
10. The international protection of refugees, which is the basic task of this Office, is increasing in scope and importance as the number of new States increases, and as the refugees leave the closed community of the camps and become integrated in the economy of their country of asylum. Such integration cannot be regarded as satisfactory until the economic and social position of the refugees is ensured and consolidated through measures in the legal field.
11. As shown in more detail in annex II to this report, further progress has been achieved in the improvement of the status of refugees through additional accessions to the inter-governmental legal instruments affecting refugees and through national legislation and administrative practice.
Inter-governmental legal instruments
12. The number of parties to the most important legal instrument affecting refugees, the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees has increased by five during the period under review and now amounts to thirty-nine, including several African States which have recently acquired independence. As the Office of the High Commissioner carries out its activities in some fifty countries, the High Commissioner considers this a most welcome development since it reflects awareness of the universal character of the refugee problem and highlights the spirit of international co-operation in which the task of his Office is being conceived. Furthermore, the High Commissioner feels that accession to the Convention by countries throughout the world had a value which goes beyond the intrinsic merits of the guarantees given by the Convention as an international instrument; it symbolizes the acceptance of the principles enshrined in the Convention as general principles defining the status of refugees and the basic minimum standard for their treatment.
13. It is interesting to note that in several new States, not parties to the 1951 Convention, which are facing a problem of refugees on their territory, there is a growing interest in the legal aspects of refugee problems. The Office of the High Commissioner is co-operating with the Governments and the administrative authorities of some of the countries concerned and is glad to give them advice and assistance in drawing up appropriate legislation and administrative regulations in such matters, for instance, as the issue of travel documents to refugees, thus providing a certain form of technical assistance in the field of refugee work.
14. As regards other inter-governmental legal instruments concerning refugees, a special mention should be made of the 1957 Agreement relating to Refugee Seamen, in view of its importance in the solution of the serious problem facing those refugee seamen who have no right of residence in any country. Switzerland has acceded to the Agreement during the period under review, thus bringing the number of parties to eleven. With the co-operation and financial participation of the Netherlands Government a special counsellor has continued this work at the port of Rotterdam in order to advise refugee seamen on the possibilities open to them under the Agreement. It would appear from the experience gained by the counsellor that an increasing number of refugee seamen have been able to regularize their position as a result of the implementation of the Agreement both by States parties to it and by States which already apply its provisions before acceding to it. There still remains to be solved a difficult problem in respect of seamen serving on ships which are flying flags of convenience and who have no links with any country party to the Agreement.
15. The Office of the High Commissioner drew the attention of the United Nations Conference on Consular Relations, which held in Vienna in March and April 1963, to the special status of refugees and the principle of their international protection, and a memorandum was submitted on the subject. After having discussed the problem, the Conference decided to request the Secretary-General of the United Nations to submit to the appropriate organs of the United Nations, for consideration, all documents and records pertaining to the discussion of the refugee problem mentioned in the memorandum submitted by the High Commissioner, and meanwhile not to take a decision on this subject.
16. The High Commissioner welcomes the General Assembly's action at its seventeenth session in taking up the draft Declaration on the Right of Asylum. He hopes that consideration of this important matter will be continued and will lead to the adoption of a Declaration on the Right of Asylum by the General Assembly, which would enshrine the humanitarian principle that asylum should be granted and secured to those fleeing from persecution.
Determination of eligibility
17. The determination of eligibility under the terms of the statute of UNHCR and of the 1951 Convention continues to play an important role in the work of protection. It enables UNHCR to denote the persons entitled to some of its services, and it makes it possible for Governments to decide on the persons who are entitled to the rights and benefits of the 1951 Convention. The definitions are also to an increasing degree accepted by Governments for other purposes such as, for instance, the granting of asylum, the granting of benefits to which refugees are entitled under national legislation, the designation of beneficiaries of indemnification legislation and the inclusion of refugees in governmental schemes for resettlement or material assistance. This development goes to show that the relevant provisions included in the Statute and in the 1951 Convention are more and more accepted as definitions of the concept of the refugee in international law.
18. Mention should further be made of one important problem arising in connexion with the determination of eligibility. The definition of the term "refugee" contained in the 1951 Convention relates to persons who became refugees as a result of events occurring before 1 January 1951. It is an inevitable consequence of the lapse of time that an increasing number of refugees who otherwise fulfil the definition laid down in the 1951 Convention do not come within its scope because they became refugees owing to events which took place after the dateline of 1 January 1951. In many cases, however, Governments have been able to grant these refugees the treatment provided for by the Convention in accordance with recommendation E of the Final Act of the 1951 Convention, which reads as follows:
"The Conference "
"Expresses the hope that the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees will have value as an example exceeding its contractual scope and that all nations will be guided by it in granting so far as possible to persons in their territory as refugees and who would not be covered by the terms of the Convention, the treatment for which it provides."
Facilitation of the travel of refugees
19. Further progress has been made in the facilitation of refugee travel by the exemption of refugees from the requirement of visas for short-term travel, particularly by Governments parties to the Council of Europe Agreement on the Abolition of Visas for Refugees and by Governments of countries which have concluded bilateral agreements to this effect. However, in spite of the increasing tendency to reduce travel formalities and the abolition of visa requirements for refugees on a regional basis, the refugees are still at a disadvantage as compared with nationals of their country of residence and the High Commissioner is therefore continuing his efforts to facilitate refugee travel, a matter in which the Council of Europe continues to take a particular interest.
Improvement of the social rights of refugees under national legislation
20. The Office of UNHCR continued to pay close attention to the social rights of refugees (right to work, self-employment, exercise of liberal professions, labour law, social security, housing, public education and assistance). The developments in this field are perhaps the most significant. Equality of treatment of refugees and nationals of their country of residence in the field of social security appears today almost universally accepted.
21. When the Office was established and the 1951 Convention adopted, there was still some reluctance on the part of many countries to grant refugees free access to the labour market. This attitude is reflected in the relevant provision of the 1951 Convention and particularly in reservations which a number of countries felt compelled to make at the time of their accession to this instrument. It is undoubtedly due to the economic prosperity in many European countries, but also to the growing recognition of the special situation of refugees, that Governments have to an increasing degree been able to free refugees from the restrictions imposed on foreign labour. This has found expression in internal regulations putting the relevant provisions of the 1951 Convention into force, in spite of the reservations made by the country concerned, and also in measures of an administrative nature going beyond the obligations undertaken under the terms of the Convention. Considering that the social rights of rights of refugees, and in particular the right to work, are an indispensable requirement for their economic integration and for their ability to become self-supporting, this development is highly welcomed. It is indeed easier to grant refugees access to salaried employment than to the liberal professions and to self-employment in industry, commerce and handicrafts where often regulations restrict admission to nationals. Even in these fields, however, there has been a certain liberalization in the attitude towards refugees, particularly with regard to medical practitioners.
22. There are, on the other hand, certain countries where the access of refugees, like that of other foreigners, to the labour market, is restricted. The numbers of refugees involved are relatively small and in many cases a solution has been found by UNHCR facilitating their resettlement in other countries.
Improvement of the social rights of refugees in the framework of regional legal instruments
23. The High Commissioner has continued his efforts for the assimilation of the legal status of refugees to the nationals of their countries of residence not only on a national basis, but also within the framework of legal instruments adopted on a regional basis. His task has been facilitated by the willing co-operation of regional inter-governmental organizations, such as the Council of Europe, the Organization for European Co-operation and Development and the European Economic Community.
24. A great measure of assimilation of refugees to the nationals of their countries of residence has been achieved on a regional basis in Europe as far social security is concerned. The High Commissioner is paying particular attention to the question of freedom of access to employment and freedom of circulation of refugee manpower on a regional level, fields of particular importance for the successful economic absorption of refugees, and in these matters he greatly values the co-operation of the inter-governmental organizations concerned.
25. The Office of the UNHCR has continued to administer the fund of DM 45 million, placed at the disposal of the High Commissioner under the Agreement with the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, concluded on 5 October 1960, for the indemnification of victims of National Socialist persecution. The screening of the 40,000 applications has now reached an advanced stage. It is hoped that a substantial part of the fund will be distributed during the current year. The High Commissioner has also continued to co-operate with the German Federal authorities with regard to their implementation of article 1 of the Agreement.
26. The Office of UNHCR, in the exercise of its function of international protection, has continued to give special attention to the problems arising from claims of refugees for indemnification for persecution suffered under the National Socialist regime. The German Federal Government is considering final legislation on the matter of indemnification. The High Commissioner is following the problem closely, with a view to ensuring that the interests of the refugees are safeguarded. It is his hope to be able to report to the General Assembly later in the year the result of the deliberations on this problem in so far as they affect refugees.
Other aspects of the work of protection
27. Within the framework of its protection activities, the Office has facilitated contact between refugees wishing to return to their country of origin and the authorities of these countries. It has also acted as an intermediary between refugees and the authorities of their country of origin in those cases where refugees seek reunion with their families who wish to join them. In these activities the Office is closely co-operating with the International Committee of the Red Cross which is specially concerned with the problems of family reunion. It will be recalled that the conference of Plenipotentiaries on the 1951 Convention adopted recommendation B in the Final Act of the Convention, with a view to ensuring that the unity of the refugee's family is maintained. The High Commissioner is grateful to the competent authorities of the many countries which have made family reunion of refugees possible.
28. International protection only becomes necessary in general questions and in such individual cases where the problem cannot be solved through the ordinary remedies available under the administrative and judicial procedure of the country concerned. To make full use of these possibilities, refugees often require legal aid and advice. Wherever possible the Office encourages the establishment of legal assistance facilities to refugees free of charge. Government-sponsored legal assistance schemes, however, do not exist in all countries, nor do they always take account of the particular legal problems of refugees which by their nature are often very complex. The Executive Committee has accordingly approved the continuation of a programme for the granting of legal assistance to refugees. This programme is complementary to the international protection of refugees. The relatively modest sums required often enable refugees to become self-supporting without the need to resort to international funds for their material assistance.
29. The efforts of UNHCR in the field of international protection are directed towards securing and improving the legal status of refugees so that it may, as far as possible, be assimilated to that of nationals of their country of residence; but the Office does not lose sight of the basic concept that refugee status is not an end in itself, but a temporary status, which should cease at the voluntary repatriation of the refugees or their legal absorption in their country of residence by becoming citizens of that country. There is a growing willingness to comply with article 34 of the 1951 Convention which recommends facilitating as far as possible the assimilation and naturalization of refugees. Legislative measures to this effect are reported in annex II and an estimate of the number of naturalizations is included in the statistical annex,
CHAPTER II ASSISTANCE TO REFUGEES WITHIN THE MANDATE
A. General observations
30. After seven years of relentless efforts during which permanent solutions were achieved for over 70,000 refugees, a stage was reached in the course of 1962 where plans could be made with a view to the completion of major aid programmes for "old" refugees2 The Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme accordingly adopted a $5,400,000 major aid programme for assistance to these refugees, to be implemented through the three-year period 1963/1965. This decision has created a new awareness of the urgency of the problem. At the same time, greater responsibility for assistance to the refugees has been assumed by the national authorities. In spite of the difficulties involved, the local voluntary agencies also assumed a heavier burden.
31. During the period under review3 the UNHCR programmes of permanent solutions, including repatriation, resettlement in other countries and local integration, resettlement in other countries and local integration, gained their full momentum. Thus in 1962 over 37,500 refugees benefited from assistance projects in more than forty-five countries and in particular in the following areas of operations: Austria, the Far East, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latin America, the Middle East, Morocco and Turkey, as indicated in more detail in annex IV. In addition to this number, over 10,000 refugees have been resettled through emigration without the financial participation of the Office of the High commissioner.
32. Of the total of 37,500 beneficiaries, nearly 18,000 were in the course of settlement as 31 December 1962, over 7,000 cases were closed for various reasons during 1962 and over 12,000 refugees were firmly settled, including more than 4,500 belonging to the camp population. It will be recalled that the financing of the Camp Clearance Programme was ensured as a result of funds received during Would Refugee Year. As of 31 December 1962 there remained 4090 refugees in camps, most of whom are in Germany where they will move out of camps in the course of the year or, in a few cases, early next year, as and when accommodation becomes available.
33. With the end of camp clearance in sight, the main emphasis has been placed on the programme for assistance to non-settled refugees outside camps. In accordance with the policy adopted by the Executive Committee, the programme continued to be concentrated on assistance to the handicapped refugees for whom it is most difficult to find a solution. In spite of the growing proportion of handicapped refugees within the remaining caseload, the number of refugees firmly settled during 1962 has again slightly increased as compared with the previous year. This is largely due to the fact that the programme is now essentially geared to the handicapped that the Office is reaping the benefit of previous experience and planning. Thus, for instance, the re-allocation of refugee housing which becomes vacant or of free places in refugee homes and institutions, facilitates the rapid placement of new cases.
34. Supporting contributions have continued to be requested by this Office from countries of residence towards projects carried out in those countries. By 31 December 1962, these contributions amounted to $51,700,000 as against UNHCR commitments in the amount of $38.1 million since the inception of the material assistance programme in 1955.
35. Although resettlement has again become increasingly important as a solution to the problems of refugees, including the handicapped, local integration continues to be the solution for a high proportion of refugees covered by UNHCR programmes, who have now been living for a long period of time in their country of residence, the largest groups of non-settled refugees being in countries where present economic conditions facilitate local integration. There are, nevertheless, several areas where local conditions are inadequate for this purpose and where refugees therefore have to be assisted through resettlement in other countries.
36. In addition to the large-scale repatriation movement of Algerian refugees to Algeria, reported in chapter III below, a certain number of refugees have returned to their country of origin in the course of 1962. According to statistical data at present available to UNHCR in respect of certain countries, the number is in the region of 1,500. The High Commissioner has continued to facilitate voluntary repatriation of refugees. In eighty-four cases, the Office has met the cost of repatriation in the framework of the UNHCR regular programme. During the first few months of 1963, similar arrangements were being made for further cases.
37. Resettlement through emigration to other countries continued to play an important role in solving the problems of "old" refugees and in enabling new refugees in Europe to leave their country of first asylum for countries of permanent settlement. As heretofore the resettlement activities of this Office have been conducted in close co-operation with interested Governments, the Inter-governmental Committee for European Migration (ICEM) and the voluntary agencies concerned with the resettlement of refugees.
38. During 1962, 12,789 refugees immigrants within the mandate of this Office were moved by ICEM, at its expense, to immigration countries, including 6,099 to the United States, 3,682 to Australia, 1,370 to countries in Europe, 1,033 to Canada, 361 to countries in Latin America and 254 to other countries. Within this number, 2,486 were resettled under projects financed or co-financed by UNHCR in the framework of its regular programmes, including the Far Eastern operation referred to below, and 744 refugees emigrated under schemes sponsored by UNHCR. The other 9,559 refugees were resettled under current schemes to immigration countries which traditionally co-operate with UNHCR in the admission of refugees. The above mentioned total of 12,789 includes over 1,500 handicapped refugees and their dependants, most of whom were resettled under projects financed or partly financed by UNHCR.
39. A special tribute is due to the Governments which facilitate the resettlement of refugees by sending selection missions to outlying areas in order to give the refugees who opt for resettlement an opportunity to submit their case and to be considered by the authorities of the country concerned. This is the more important at this stage of the work since part of the remaining non-settled caseload living outside camps is scattered in small groups over certain countries in Europe, in North Africa and in the Middle East.
IMMIGRATION SCHEMES UNDER IMPLEMENTATION
40. In accordance with the recommendation made by the Executive Committee at its eighth session, when the Committee "paid tribute to the countries which had generously liberalized their admission criteria and expressed the hope that they would continue to follow this course and thereby facilitate and speed up the solution of refugee problems", many Governments have continued to grant admission to refugees under special immigration schemes with relaxed selection criteria and to implement special projects for handicapped refugees. The United States Government has indefinitely prolonged the validity of United States Public Law 86-648 which was due to expire on 30 June 1962. Under this law, non-settled refugees living in certain countries may be admitted to the United States on parole, outside their normal national immigration quotas, and a certain number classified as "difficult to resettle" may be included. Australia and Canada, in addition to admitting refugees under ordinary labour schemes, continue to accept handicapped refugees under liberalized criteria and have made arrangements for their reception and care. The fourth New Zealand scheme for handicapped refugees is in operation. Several European countries have also generously continued to admit handicapped refugees, including the aged and sick who cannot fend for themselves and require permanent care in institutions and those who can be expected to become at least partly self-supporting after a period of adaptation. Some countries continued to accept the most severely handicapped refugees without requiring financial grants from UNHCR. Both from a humanitarian and from a financial point of view, they are thus making an important contribution to the solution of this most tragic problem of refugees.
FAR EASTERN OPERATION
41. As in previous years, the joint operation of UNHCR and ICEM was continued on behalf of refugees of European origin leaving the mainland of China for resettlement via Hong Kong. Thanks to the continued co-operation of immigration countries and in particular Australia, a further 1,663 refugees were moved from the Far East in the course of 1962, including 104 persons requiring permanent care in institutions. The remaining caseload was estimated at approximately 2,500 who are already covered by projects.
PROCEDURE FOR THE SELECTION OF THE HANDICAPPED
42. A special feature of the period under review was the effort to promote the resettlement of seriously handicapped refugees, by facilitating the examination of their applications by potential resettlement countries. The special survey under taken in Italy at the end of 1961 by Dr. Jensen, a medical expert whose services had been made available by the Australian Government, has been extended to Austria, Germany, Greece, Morocco, Turkey and Hong Kong. Specialized dossiers have been prepared for selected handicapped refugees who had been repeatedly rejected, an important element of which is a psycho-social evaluation of the person of family unit concerned, including a forecast of their likely response and adaptation to new conditions of life in a country of resettlement. Some 850 seriously handicapped refugees have been covered by the survey, and the utility of this technique had been demonstrated by the fact that as of 31 March 1963 over 300 of them had been accepted within the framework of various schemes for handicapped refugees. With the co-operation of ICEM, and especially of its medical staff, arrangements have been made for the technique of the specialized dossier to continue to be applied as new cases are found whose resettlement might thereby be facilitated.
CONTINUING ROLE OF RESETTLEMENT
43. While remaining an essential factor in bringing the major aid programme for "old" refugees to a successful conclusion, resettlement through emigration is also proving indispensable in order to deal with the influx of new arrivals and to prevent the accumulation of a backlog of human misery in countries of first asylum. Within the remaining non-settled caseload, an estimated 10,000 refugees have opted for resettlement. This number includes some 6,500 persons recognized as refugees during 1961 and 1962 and not covered by the 1963 programme. Furthermore, as stated in paragraph 62 below, there are indications that this number might further increase. It is hoped that many of these refugees will be able to benefit from current immigration schemes, thus ensuring a rapid solution of their problems and at the same time alleviating the burden of those countries of first asylum which are unable to absorb them.
44. In seeking the inclusion of refugees in this schemes and in encouraging the adoption of further special schemes where necessary, the Office of the High Commissioner will need to pursue its close co-operation with ICEM, which is an indispensable link in the mechanism of international solidarity on behalf of refugees.
D. Local integration
45. As in previous years, local integration continued to be the main solution for non-settled refugees including new arrivals, particularly in countries such as Austria, France and Germany, where refugees have been residing for a long period of time and where present economic conditions facilitate their settlement. In these countries international assistance is limited to the handicapped. In areas where the economic situation is less favourable, such as in Greece and other countries bordering on the Mediterranean, a comprehensive plan to find solutions for all the non-settled refugees has been put into effect.
46. Even in countries with a thriving economy, many of the refugees continue to find themselves at a disadvantage as compared with nationals, for although employment opportunities are now open to them, the older and unskilled refugees as well as those who are unable to find employment in their own trade can only secure jobs in the lower branches. Consequently, they cannot earn enough money to be able to rent or acquire suitable accommodation, which continues to be the main requirement of the non-settled refugee.
47. Also in some immigration countries outside Europe where social security legislation is still in the course of development a certain number of refugees had to face difficulties because they were unable to earn more than the bare minimum during their working life and needed assistance once they became aged. Suitable integration projects, including the establishment of institutions, were, however, included in the regular programme for 1962 to meet the problems of these refugees, and further projects will be drawn up if necessary.
48. For several years, the provision of housing has constituted the main part of the integration programme for the camp population and refugees outside camps alike. As of 31 December 1962 a total of 9,574 housing units had been made available or planned, of which 3,256 in Austria, 3,677 in Germany and 2,056 in Greece. During 1962, 1,175 housing units were completed and occupied by 1,329 families comprising 4,198 persons. As a result of the natural turnover of the refugee population, the available housing can be re-utilized to a growing extent, thus 365 apartments have already been reoccupied by refugees included in the programme.
49. Another 1,732 housing units are still to be completed under approved projects. Furthermore, the German authorities have agreed, in consultation with UNHCR, to provide new dwellings without financial participation from UNHCR for all refugee households living outside camps who qualify for material assistance and who are in need of accommodation.
50. Every effort continues to be made to assist refugees to acquire the type of housing which they can afford financially. In Germany, refugees had already been included in a general rent subsidy scheme before 1962. During the period under review, similar measures were taken in Austria, where a joint UNHCR-Austrian rent subsidy scheme was put into effect in October 1962. Facilities of a similar character are being given to refugees in other areas, for example, by placing the necessary funds at their disposal, partly in the form of loans and partly in the form of grants.
ESTABLISHMENT ASSISTANCE AND TRAINING
51. Equally as important as housing are the measures calculated to enable refugees to become self-supporting. These measures include education and vocational training and re-training, as well as assistance to refugees to establish themselves on the land or to engage in crafts and trades and start small shops and enterprises. As in previous years, an important part of the programme was devoted to this purpose. During 1962 a total number of 7,385 refugees benefited from establishment assistance.
ASSISTANCE TO THE HANDICAPPED
52. In the framework of special measures to assist the handicapped refugee, considerable progress was made in the establishment of sheltered workshops and communities where rehabilitable refugees receive housing with care as well as opportunities for their retraining and rehabilitation and for the carrying out of productive work. Over 800 handicapped refugees benefited from this form of assistance in 1962, which is nearly twice as many as during the previous year. The settlement of aged and inform non-rehabilitable refugees in homes and institutions was facilitated by the reoccupation of vacant accommodation reserved for refugees in these establishments. Further progress was also made with regard to the settlement of special cases, i.e. handicapped refugees suffering from serious disturbances of a psychological nature, largely resulting from having lived in camps for a very long period. Of the original number of approximately 1,500 cases, the majority have been to a large extent cured and settled. There remain a limited number, however, for whom solutions will have to be found.
CASEWORK AND COUNSELLING
53. As previously, the casework and integration counselling has occupied a most important place in the programme. This form of assistance has again proved most valuable in that it enables refugees to choose the most appropriate solutions and makes it possible for some refugees to become firmly settled without cost to the international community. In this field also responsibility has been assumed by the local authorities in certain countries which made their social workers available without charge to UNHCR. While this activity forms part of the integration programme, it also serves the purpose of resettlement through emigration, since refugees are often assisted by the caseworkers and social workers in deciding whether to choose local integration or resettlement as a solution to their problems.
METHODS OF FINANCING
54. While the basic principle of local integration remains that refugees should be helped to themselves, it is becoming increasingly necessary, in view of the composition of the caseload, to assist them through grants rather than through loans. The latter are now limited to housing and assistance to refugees in settling on the land or starting a shop or small enterprise of their own. In addition to rent subsides, grants are provided for the purchase of tools and some professional equipment and basic furniture. It should be stated that in most cases where assistance takes the form of loans, reimbursements come up to expectations.
55. In connexion with the granting of loans to refugees, mention should be made of the co-operation developed between this Office and the Bank for the Equalization of Burdens in Germany under the terms of the agreement concluded between that bank and the International Refugee Organization in 1951. As a result of loans provided by the Bank since the conclusion of the agreement until 31 March 1963, 1,925 refugee families were assisted in establishing themselves in independent professions, and 4,417 refugee family units in obtaining accommodation on the free housing market.
E. Other forms of assistance
56. A certain amount of supplementary aid in the form of medical assistance, food parcels and small financial grants was continued for the neediest cases until a solution could be found for their permanent settlement. This type of help was particularly necessary in areas where the social security and public assistance systems are not yet sufficiently, developed.
57. During 1962, 5,167 refugees were assisted through various legal assistance schemes in solving the legal and administrative problems which stood in the way of their integration, or they received legal aid in connexion with court cases, as explained in more detail in chapter I above.
58. This form of assistance has contributed at little or very low cost to the integration of refugees in the countries of residence, and is now being applied through out several countries, particularly in Europe and in Latin America.
F. Further plans for assistance to refugees within the mandate
59. Through the direct impact of the UNHCR regular programmes and as a result of favourable economic conditions in some of the countries which have a large refugee population, the number of non-settled refugees decreased in the major areas of operation from 65,000 on 1 January 1962 to 45,000 at the end of that year, in accordance with the break-down shown in annex IV.
60. Out of this remaining caseload of 45,000, an estimated 11,000 may be absorbed by the expanding economy without direct international assistance, while provision for assistance to some 27,000 refugees is included in the $5,400,000 major aid programme and in projects outstanding from previous programmes.
61. As explained at the beginning of this chapter, the major aid programme is intended to bring the task of material assistance to "old" refugees to a conclusion by the end of 1965. It is fully geared to the solution of the problems of non-settled refugees outside the camps and more particularly the handicapped among them. As in the regular programme for 1962, the main financial allocation within this programme is for local integration in Greece, where the non-settled caseload of refugees requires a great deal of attention in view of the limited possibilities open to them. Substantial allocations are also included for local integration of refugees in France where the physically handicapped are very numerous, for the Far Eastern operation and for the promotion of resettlement through emigration.
62. The remaining caseload of 45,000 includes over 6,500 new refugees who arrived after the dateline of 31 December 1960 and therefore do not qualify for assistance under the regular programmes or major aid programme for 1963. As of 31 December 1962, these refugees had not yet been able to benefit from resettlement opportunities in other countries nor take advantage of the favourable economic conditions prevailing in their country of residence. It would appear that a new refugee problem is thus looming up which might grow into another serious concern of the international community. It should be stressed, furthermore, that within the total number of refugees firmly settled in the course of the last eight years, there are necessarily some who require complementary assistance in order to consolidate their economic and social position so as not to fall back into misery. Experience shows that a rapid intervention in these cases is apt to avert further more serious problems. With this object in view, the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme adopted a complementary assistance programme of $1.4 million for 1963, including an allocation of $700,000 to enable the Office to deal with the above-mentioned problems. The High Commissioner hopes in this way, and through the combined effect of international protection and resettlement, to be able to keep in check further problems affecting refugees within his mandate, and at the same time to maintain the spirit of international solidarity which is indispensable for the accomplishment of his task.
CHAPTER III ASSISTANCE TO NEW GROUPS OF REFUGEES
A. General observations
63. Important developments have taken place in the field of assistance to new groups of refugees where the High Commissioner has continued to act pursuant to the resolutions adopted by the General Assembly on assistance to Algerian refugees4 and on the use of his good offices5
64. The successful conclusion of the joint programme of UNHCR and the League of Red Cross Societies for Algerian refugees through their repatriation brings an end to the problem which for the past five years has demanded considerable financial contributions from the international community, individual Governments and private sources. The problem of refugees in Togo was also solved during the period under review.
65. In accordance with the terms of resolution 1671 (XVI), the High Commissioner continued to concern himself with the problems raised by the situation of Angolan refugees in the Congo.
66. The major outstanding problem, however, with which the High Commissioner is called upon to deal, is that of the refugees from Rwanda, who are spread in large numbers over Burundi, the Kivu Province of the Congo (Leopoldville), Tanganyika, and Uganda. Although progress has already been made with regard to their local settlement in agriculture, their problem is far from solved, and further projects for their settlement will need to be put into effect during 1963, as explained in detail in section E below.
67. There are also several important problems of refugees in Asia in respect of whom the UNHCR action so far has been of a limited nature
68. The policy followed by the High Commissioner in respect of new groups of refugees and outlined in his previous reports and statements to the General Assembly has been further developed in the light of the problems which have arisen during the period under review and of the experience gained in dealing with them.
69. The High Commissioner is upholding the basic principle that refugees should always be given an opportunity freely to choose between the three usual solutions - voluntary repatriation, resettlement in other countries and local integration - and that, wherever possible, they should be assisted in becoming self-supporting as rapidly as possible.
70. It should be recalled in this connexion that the problems with which the High Commissioner is having to concern himself under the terms of the good offices resolutions mainly relate to the needs for material assistance. Unless there is a specific question of international protection involved, the High Commissioner considers the practical aspects of the situation without having to refer to the legal definition of the refugees. He considers it his duty to take an interest in a given refugee problem provided that its scope and character justify special action by the international community through his Office, that he is in a position to play a useful role in contributing to a solution, and that his action is in line with the views and wishes of the Government of the country of asylum.
71. The degree of assistance which the High Commissioner provides and the role which he is able to play in any given problem depend on the resources available to the receiving country and on the extent to which it is in a position to organize and carry out plans for assistance to the refugees. In some new refugee situations, it may prove sufficient for UNHCR to act as a catalyst and to seek the necessary support from Governments and other organizations and co-ordinate the implementation of assistance measures where necessary. On the other hand, the High Commissioner may find himself confronted with refugee problems, the solution of which largely depend upon his own efforts to plan and undertake the necessary action in conjunction with one or more operational voluntary agencies. In such a situation the task of the High Commissioner as he conceives it is to arrange for the refugees to receive immediate emergency relief and at the same time to give them an opportunity to stand on their own feet again as soon as possible.
72. With regard to the practical difficulties encountered in dealing with new groups of refugees in Africa, it will be recalled that most of them are being settled in agriculture. In view of their considerable numbers, vast areas of arable land have to be placed at their disposal, often located in virgin territory where the ground has to be cleared yard by yard. To this should be added the difficulties of communication in regions hitherto unpopulated.
73. The work of assistance is helped by the co-operative and generous attitude of the reception countries which are making land available to the refugees. Further valuable support has also been received form UNICEF, the technical assistance services of the United Nations and the specialized agencies, including in particular FAO, ILO and WHO which are able to give invaluable advice and can, through their development aid to the countries concerned, contribute to the improvement of the situation of the refugees. An important role also continues to be played by the League of Red Cross Societies and other voluntary agencies and the religious missions which are often the first point of contact for refugees in outlying areas.
74. The financing of assistance to new groups of refugees during 1962 has been facilitated by important bilateral financial contributions from Governments, by financial contributions from specialized agencies and voluntary agencies, by contributions made to the League of Red Cross Societies through its affiliated societies and by the availability of a certain amount of ONUC supplies to the Congo. A total amount of over 1 million dollars6 was made available to UNHCR during 1962 for assistance to new groups of refugees under the good offices resolutions. To this should be added an amount of over $340,000 which had to be taken from the Emergency Fund, mostly for assistance to the refugees from Rwanda.
75. As from 1 January 1963, the cost of assistance to certain new groups of refugees was met from the $700,000 allocation reserved for this purpose within the 1.4 million complementary assistance programme for this year. In view of the important demands which still have to be met, particularly with a view to achieving solutions for the problems of refugees from Rwanda, the amount of $700,000 is likely to prove insufficient, and it is hoped that increasing extra support from interested Governments and non-governmental sources will be found to enable the High Commissioner to pursue effectively his tasks for assistance under the good offices resolutions.
B. Assistance to Algerian refugees
76. As a result of the successful repatriation of over 181,000 Algerian refugees, the joint operation of the Office of the High Commissioner and the League of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and Red Lion and Sun Societies for assistance to these refugees in Morocco and Tunisia was concluded in July 1962.
77. The primary object of the joint operation was to keep the refugees in good health and to provide them with accommodation food and other basic necessities and to assure for mothers and children a special diet to prevent undernourishment. Assistance was thus given from February 1959 until July 1962 to a number of persons often exceeding 250,000, at a total cost of over $22 million. The financing of the programme was entirely based on voluntary contributions from governmental and private sources raised by the High Commissioner's Office and the League of Red Cross Societies.
78. Several times in the course of the joint operation the High Commissioner found it necessary to appeal to Governments Members of the United Nations and members of the specialized agencies for financial support to enable him to finance expenditures not covered by contributions in kind. On the conclusion of the Evian agreements, the High Commissioner again appealed to Governments for the support needed for the repatriation operation and the subsequent action of the League of Red Cross Societies in the border areas of Algeria.
79. One of the most significant features of the financing of the joint operation was that it opened up a wide variety of possibilities for world participation in the programme by making it possible for Governments to contribute either directly to the UNHCR programme or to contribute to their national Red Cross societies. As a result, the operation benefited from an almost unique universality of support, as shown by the fact that UNHCR and the League of Red Cross Societies received contributions from Governments, non-governmental organizations and private agencies in over sixty-five countries throughout the world. The humanitarian character of the operation was also highlighted by the important financial contribution made by the French Government.
80. From the beginning of the joint operation until its conclusion in July 1962, a total of $7,487,624 was contributed in cash and in kind to UNHCR, including $4,814,113 from thirty-two Governments and $2,673,511 from private organizations and voluntary agencies. At the same time the League of Red Cross Societies received contributions in a total amount of $4,827,057 from fifty of its member societies, $6,640,005 from Governments and $3,204,198 from various private contributors; most of these contributions were made in kind. In addition to substantial contributions in cash, the United States Government provided the refugees with the most essential items of their diet, and their support amounted to about half the total value of all contributions made to the operation. Special mention should also be made of the important role played by the host Governments of Morocco and Tunisia which granted asylum to the refugees, gave them free access to schools and medical services and shouldered a large part of the financial burden involved in receiving and distributing supplies. A detailed break-down of the above-mentioned contributions may be found in document A/AC.96/179 of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme.
81. As a result of the Evian Agreement of 18 March 1962 on the future status of Algeria, UNHCR was invited, and agreed, to participate tripartite in commission established to facilitate the repatriation of Algerian refugees living in Morocco and Tunisia. A central commission and three sub-commissions were established at the end of April 1962, comprising three members each, of whom one was nominated by the High Commissioner of the French Republic in Algeria, one by the Algerian Provisional Executive and one by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
82. Each of the members of the commission made available their own means of action in order to accomplish the common task. To obtain the financial and physical means required for the repatriation operation, UNHCR and the League of Red Cross Societies launched simultaneous appeals to Member States of the United Nations and the specialized agencies, and in the case of the League to the Nations Red Cross, Red Crescent, Red Lion and Sun Societies. The League, with the assistance of UNHCR, was thus able to provide twelve medical teams and some 15,000 tents needed to organize the departure centres and to shelter the refugees on arrival in Algeria.
83. The commission established a detailed plan of operations for the repatriation including the organization of the departure centres in Morocco and Tunisia, the establishment of the crossing points on the Algerian borders, the timing of the actual crossings and the organization of reception centres in Algeria itself.
84. The Office of the High Commissioner, in co-operation with the League of Red Cross Societies and its member societies in Morocco and Tunisia, undertook the transportation of the refugees to the departure centres in Morocco and Tunisia. The transportation of the refugees across the Algerian border was the responsibility of the French authorities and the Provisional Algerian Executive. The competent authorities in Algeria also assumed the responsibility for the reception and resettlement of the refugees on Algerian territory. To carry out these tasks they had at their disposal financial means made available by the French Government within the over-all budgetary arrangements for Algeria. UNHCR and the League of Red Cross Societies also provided certain facilities, particularly medical, personnel and food, towards the reception of refugees inside Algeria.
85. The repatriation of the refugees from Morocco began on 10 May 1962 and was concluded on 25 July 1962, with the return of some 61,400 persons. In Tunisia the first movements began on 30 May 1962. The operations on the Tunisian side were concluded on 20 July 1962 with the repatriation of some 120,000 persons to their former homes in Algeria.
FURTHER MEASURES OF ASSISTANCE
86. As stated by the High Commissioner in his interim report submitted to the General Assembly in June 1962 (A/5132), his main concern, on the conclusion of the repatriation was in this particular case, to ensure that the refugees, the great majority of whom were from the border areas, were not deprived of all support upon their return and that they could be effectively reintegrated into the economy of their country. In resolution 1672 (XVI) the General Assembly had already recognized that the settlement of these people, in areas which had been abandoned for several years, could not take place automatically and it requested the High Commissioner to "consider the possibility, when necessary, of facilitating their resettlement in their homeland as soon as circumstances permit". It was clear that assistance to the former refugees could not be dissociated from relief measures for other groups of former displaced persons living in the same areas and consequently a relief operation was put into effect by the League of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to assist all distressed persons in the frontier areas. In accordance with the terms of resolution 1672 (XVI), the High Commissioner endeavoured to ensure a smooth transition between the joint operation of the League and his Office the more extensive action undertaken by the League subsequently. He accordingly appealed to the international community for funds to support the new enterprise of the League. By the end of 1962, a total amount of $429,920 had been made available for this purpose.
87. With the participation of the Office of the High Commissioner in the Tripartite Repatriation Commission, UNHCR became the first organ of the United Nations to have an official relationship with the Algerian authorities. After the achievement of independence and at the request of the Algerian authorities, the Office of the High Commissioner took practical steps to facilitate co-operation between the Algerian authorities and other United Nations organs and specialized agencies. In addition, the High Commissioner's representative in Algeria, pending the arrival of a representative of the Technical Assistance Board, maintained liaison between the United Nations specialized agencies and the Algerian Government.
C. Assistance to refugees from Angola in the Congo (Leopoldville)
88. As reported in more detail to the General Assembly at its seventeenth session, the problem of refugees from Angola in the Congo arose at the beginning of 1961. The number of refugees grew to 150,000 in the course of that year. Pursuant to the request addressed to him by the Government of the Congo (Leopoldville), the High Commissioner concerned himself with the problem, and practical plans for the relief and settlement of the refugees were drawn up by his Office with the Congolese authorities, ONUC, the League of Red cross societies. Caritas Congo and the Congo protestant Relief Agency. In order to prevent the refugees from becoming permanently dependent on relief supplies, they were given land, tools and seeds with which to cultivate the soil and thus to become self-supporting as early as possible. It was decided to bring the relief measures to a close by the end of January 1962, by which time the refugees could expect their first harvest. Generally speaking, the first harvest proved successful in the main area of settlement of the refugees. The refugees were thus able to provide themselves with crops of beans, maize and peanuts.
89. The General Assembly, which had concerned itself with the problem from the outset, in its resolution 1671 (XVI) recommended, inter alia, that the United Nations in the Congo, in close co-operation with UNHCR, the Government of the Congo (Leopoldville) and the League of Red Cross Societies and other voluntary agencies, should continue to provide emergency assistance for as long as is necessary and enable the refugees to become self-supporting as soon as possible.
90. In January 1962, when most of the refugees had harvested their first crop and were able to provide for their own needs from their own resources, the emergency relief operation was ended. The voluntary agencies continued to provide limited assistance on an individual basis for those refugees who were not able to fend for themselves or who had subsequently become unsettled. At that time the refugees were also able to benefit from the general measures of assistance given to the population in the area, and in particular from the distribution of milk from a joint UNICEF-League of Red Cross societies programme.
91. During the first half of 1962 a new influx of refugees into the Congo was reported. This influx coincided with reports from the area indicating that conditions of life for the refugees who had arrived a year earlier had deteriorated considerably owing to the serious food shortage which was affecting the local population as a whole. Furthermore, several thousands of refugees who had had an unsuccessful harvest were unable to support themselves. This situation was brought to the attention of ONUC, which immediately made available food supplies from the United Nations famine relief stock. In addition, the United States Government made surplus agricultural products available to the voluntary agencies, which organized their distribution to the refugees.
92. In accordance with the wishes expressed by the Congolese Government and with the directives adopted by the General Assembly in resolution 1671 (XVI), the High Commissioner also drew up two further projects, together with the Congolese authorities, Caritas Congo and Congolese Protestant Relief Agency, to enable the refugees to become self-supporting as speedily as possible. These projects, like the previous ones, provided for the local settlement of refugees in agriculture. They were put into effect at the beginning of 1963 for some 13,000 refugees.
93. The first project, the cost of which amounts to $11,200, calls for the provision of seeds and additional tools to some 7,500 refugees who suffered crop failure. The second project involves the settlement of some 5,500 refugees. Under this project the refugees in two areas of the southern Congo are to be given land in another region as well as seeds and tools. The cost of moving these refugees, the building of accommodations, which is undertaken by the refugees themselves, and the provision of rations, seeds and tools, amounts to an estimated $300,000, of which UNHCR is supplying $72,000 and Caritas Congo $48,000, while food valued at $180,000 is being provided by the United States under the United States Agricultural Assistance Act.
94. The High Commissioner considers that by putting into effect these two projects he will have made an effective contribution to the solution of the problems of refugees from Angola which the Government of the Congo (Leopoldville) is at present facing, by enabling the refugees to satisfy their basic needs and by giving them an opportunity to fend for themselves. However, while these projects will contribute to the solution of an important part of the social problem resulting from the presence of the refugees, it is evident that they will not have an immediate alleviating effect on the plight of the population in the area where most of the refugees are living. This is a problem which, by virtue of its nature and scope, requires concerted efforts going beyond the limits of the High Commissioner's terms of reference.
D. Assistance to refugees in Togo
95. There were at the beginning of 1962 some 4,000 refugees in need of assistance in Togo
96. At the suggestion of the High Commissioner, and at the request of the Togolese Red Cross, the League of Red Cross Societies agreed to undertake a programme of assistance for the refugees in Togo for a period of six months from April to September 1962. UNHCR effectively supported this programme of assistance by lending its good offices for the purpose of co-ordinating activities and seeking contributions in kind and cash from all available sources. The High Commissioner appointed a Chargé de mission in Togo for this purpose.
97. The operational programme was carried out in three phases in the course of 1962: (a) relief programme; (b) settlement on the land; (c) settlement in trades.
98. Under the relief programme, the refugees received enough food for their subsistence; they were also provided with seeds and tools so that they could start working on the land. Subsequently, a plan for the settlement of refugees in agriculture was drawn up and put into effect with the co-operation of the Government which set up a National Committee for Refugees consisting of representatives of various ministries, of TAB, of the Togolese Red Cross, of religious groups and of the refugees. The customary chiefs placed suitable land at the disposal of the refugees, and the Government provided agronomists to assist those not very experienced in farming.
99. In September 1962, this relief operation was ended. By then some 2,600 refugees had received land, and many of them had reaped their first harvest. Subsequently, the National Committee for Refugees supervised the distribution of food and the provision of medicaments to the small groups of refugee farmers whose crops could be harvested in the first quarter of 1963.
100. The remaining group of 1.400 refugees consisted mainly of craftsmen, traders, white-collar workers and teachers. With the assistance of the ILO, a detailed study was made of their problems and needs. An expert made available by UNHCR to the Togolese Government came to the conclusion that the best way to settle these refugees would be to provide each of them with the tools or equipment required for the exercise of their trade or profession. During the four-month period between December 1962 and March 1963, over 1,100 of these refugees were firmly settled at a cost hardly exceeding $10,000. Most of the remaining refugees were aged or invalid, and they are being provided for by a voluntary agency. The whole assistance programme for the 4,000 refugees in Togo required a total of $55,000 from UNHCR. Of this amount, $27,500 was made available from the High Commissioner's Emergency Fund, $22,500 from the joint UNHCR/UNRWA Stamp Plan and $5,000 was contributed to UNHCR by the Holy See. The above total does not include donations in kind, such as food, medicaments and clothing, received by the League of Red Cross Societies, which totalled $68,999.
101. The High Commissioner, stimulating international understanding and action in order to meet the needs of the refugees in Togo, has thus been able to help that country to cope with a burning humanitarian problem with which it was confronted, and to eliminate a source of misery and friction. The co-operation between all concerned constitutes an example of how to help refugees to help themselves and has proved particularly beneficial, not only for the refugees who have thus found a new basis of life, but also by providing the Government and national organizations - especially the newly founded Togolese Red Cross Society - with useful experience in dealing with a difficult social problem.
E. Assistance to refugees from Rwanda
102. The number of refugees from Rwanda amounted to 135,000 at the beginning of April 1962. Partly as a result of repatriation, particularly from Burundi, the total had been reduced to 130,000 by February 1963. During the period under review, a certain number of refugees left Burundi for Tanganyika and the Kivu Province of the Congo. As a result, the distribution of the refugees in February 1963 was as follows: Burundi - 21,000; Kivu Province of the Congo - 60,000; Tanganyika - 14,000; Uganda - 35,000.
103. Whereas at the early stage of the problem immediate relief measures were taken to ensure the refugees' mere survival, in the course of 1962 a major effort was made by the Office, in co-operation with the Governments of the receiving countries, the League of Red Cross Societies and other agencies, to assist the refugees in their settlement.
104. Taking into account the economic possibilities of the countries of reception, it was clear that establishment in agriculture would constitute the most appropriate solution. With this end in view it was necessary to provide the refugees with land, tools and seeds, and to ensure their basic care and maintenance until such time as they could harvest their first crops. In Tanganyika and Uganda, plans for the settlement of the refugees were dawn up and put into effect by the local authorities, while the Office of the High Commissioner was called upon to make a financial contribution for this purpose. In Burundi and in the Congo, UNHCR was requested by the Governments of these countries to assist them in drawing up and implementing similar plans. In response to these requests, the High Commissioner helped to launch a programme in co-operation with the League of Red Cross Societies in each of these countries, with a view to providing the refugees with relief and to promoting their settlement on the land.
105. In the autumn of 1962 the refugees in two areas of the Kivu Province of the Congo and in one area in Uganda were on their way to becoming self-supporting. In other areas, however, the implementation of the programmes was delayed in view of the need to reallocate agricultural land to the refugees and to move certain groups of refugees to other region where land is more readily available. It thus became evident that some of the refugees would need help for a longer period of time than had originally been expected.
106. The total number of refugees requiring assistance nevertheless decreased from 130,000 to 95,000 by 31 December 1962. Of this number, some 23,000 were established, but still required some material assistance, while over 70,000 refugees needed further help towards their local settlement.
107. A total amount of $502,900 was made available by UNHCR for assistance to these refugees during 1962. This amount includes $283,086 from the Emergency Fund, $120,000 from the proceeds of the joint UNHCR-UNRWA Stamp Plan, $50,000 from the Government of Belgium and $49,702 including $32,904 received in 1963 from the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief. Furthermore, considerable quantities of foodstuffs were made available by the United States Government under its Agricultural Act, and in addition the Government of Belgium also made available to the Government of Burundi $168,000 for assistance to the refugees. Contributions in kind were also mad by the voluntary agencies. In addition, TAB, FAO, WHO and UNICEF have given technical advice and provided assistance in the form of medical supplies and milk rations. More recently, the ILO has agreed to co-operate with UNHCR in the drawing up of a plan for the economic and social development of nine settlement areas in Burundi and in the Kivu Province of the Congo, where refugees from Rwanda are living. The plan, which will be fitted into the national programmes of these two countries, is designed to enable the refugees to derive the maximum benefit from the available natural resources.
108. As shown above, the plans of action have been so conceived that the High Commissioner's Office should, as far as possible, elicit help for these refugees from all available sources, and add from its own funds the means of action required to ensure that the basic vital needs of the refugees are met. This should enable the refugees through their own efforts to make a new life for themselves on a level comparable with that of the indigenous populations. However, as the operations progressed, it became increasingly clear that the term "basic vital needs" had to be interpreted in a more liberal way to achieve this purpose. Consequently, the increased requirements of the local settlement programmes already made heavy demands in the course of 1963 on the $700,000 allocation included in the complementary assistance programme, and it might be necessary for the High Commissioner to seek further financial support for assistance to the refugees from Rwanda in the course of this year.
DEVELOPMENTS IN BURUNDI
109. A relief programme for refugees from Rwanda in Burundi was first launched by the local authorities and voluntary agencies. When Burundi acquired independence in July 1962, the new Government requested the Office of the High Commissioner to assist in drawing up a plan of action to make the refugees self-supporting as soon as possible. In response to this request, a programme was elaborated by the Office of the High Commissioner and the League of Red Cross Societies, which provided for the settlement of some 15,000 refugees in agriculture in Eastern Burundi, while the remaining refugees would be resettled in Tanganyika and in the Kivu Province of the Congo.
110. Under this programme, which was put into effect by this Office and the league, three settlements were established in the Eastern part of Burundi: Kayongozi, Muramba and Kigamba. The movement of the refugees to the resettlement areas has been slowed down by several unexpected factors. In the first place, the allocation of land to the refugees formed part of an over-all Government plan for distribution of land, and refugees could only be moved after a decision had been taken on the acreage to be made available to them. Also, some of the refugees feared being resettled in virgin territory. As a result of consultations between this office, the League and the local authorities, and with the active support of a National Committee for Refugees created in Burundi, it was agreed that the refugees would receive the same acreage for cultivation as the local population. Furthermore, some of the refugee leaders were encouraged to visit the proposed settlement areas, and brought back favourable reports, which allayed the fears of the refugees.
111. Consequently, considerable progress was made in establishing the refugees, particularly since December 1962. The refugees have built their own huts. Pending the harvest they are receiving food at a level of 1,500 calories per day. They have planted sweet potatoes, some manioc and maize, and are envisaging the growing of other products.
112. The Office of the High Commissioner has provided funds for the purchase of tractors in addition to the hoes and machetes which the refugees have hitherto been using to clear land and to till their own plots.
113. Great attention has been paid to the health needs of the refugees. In each centre the league has set up a dispensary and in addition to the services of a qualified nurse who is in charge, some of the refugees render voluntary assistance. In due course these medical facilities will be part of the Burundi health scheme.
114. During 1962 UNHCR provided a total of $151,560 towards this programme. The Government of Burundi has made an important contribution in terms of land for the settlement of the refugees, while the cost involve in transporting the refugees and the supplies was met partly out of the balance of an amount of $168,000 made available to Burundi by the Government of Belgium for assistance to the refugees from Rwanda before Burundi had acquired independence. Furthermore, FAO and the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief have provided tools and seeds, while medical supplies were made available by the League of Red Cross societies.
115. The total amount required to continue the operation in 1963 is estimated at $1,033,000. By 15 February 1963, $678,000 of this was available in cash or in kind. The outstanding amount of $355,000 will have to be partly met from the allocation included in the UNHCR Complementary assistance Programme.
DEVELOPMENTS IN KIVU PROVINCE OF THE CONGO
116. At the request of the Government of the Congo (Leopoldville), the Office of the High Commissioner, in co-operation with the league of Red Cross Societies, Planned and put into effect a programme similar to that in Burundi for the relief and local settlement of some 35,000 refugees in Kivu Province.
117. By the end of March 1963, some 23,000 refugees who had been established in the settlement areas of Bibwe, Ihula and Lemera, no longer required food rations. New problems, however, have arisen. An estimated 6,000 refugees who had previously received help towards their settlement from relatives and friends in Bukavu, required organized assistance before they could be considered as settled, and at the request of the local authorities, the Office is seeking ways to solve this problem. It appeared, furthermore, that in one area insufficient arable land was available to enable the refugees to become self-supporting. A certain number will therefore have to be moved to another area in Kivu.
118. As in Burundi, the programme provides for the issue of food rations at a level of 1,500 calories per day. The Refugees are given material to build their huts, and are provided with a certain amount of household equipment. They are benefiting from medical services. As far as their actual settlement is concerned, they are given the necessary tools and seeds. During 1962 the Office of the High Commissioner provided an amount of $248,440 towards the cost of this programme.
119. This programme is being continued during 1963.
120. The total amount required to continue the operation in 1963 is estimated at $890,000. By 15 February 1963, $100,000 of this was available in cash or in kind. The outstanding amount of $790,000 will have to be partly met from the allocation included in the UNHCR Complementary Assistance Programme.
DEVELOPMENTS IN TANGANYIKA
121. The Government of Tanganyika was faced during 1962 with a rapid increase of from 5,000 to 14,000 in the number of refugees from Rwanda on its territory, most of whom arrived via Burundi and were in need of assistance.
122. In consultation with this Office, the Government drew up a plan for the settlement of 12,000 refugees in areas where they could receive suitable agricultural land. Since the Government could not bear the entire financial burden involved, it requested assistance from this Office. The High Commissioner accordingly approached certain Governments and some of the specialized agencies of the United Nations as well as some non-governmental organizations. The Oxford Committee for Famine Relief immediately offered a financial contribution of $32,900 to pay for blankets, seeds and tools urgently required by the refugees. In addition, it has provided the services of a voluntary worker. The Food and Agriculture Organization and UNICEF have given technical advice to the Government of Tanganyika as to how they might be able to assist and the United States Government continued to provide basic food supplies for the refugees under the Agricultural Assistance Act.
123. In the course of 1962 the High Commissioner contributed $52,900 to this programme, including the contribution of $32,900 from the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief. At the end of the period under review, the programme was still in the course of implementation, and considerable further efforts and also more financial support will be required in the course of 1963 to bring it to a successful conclusion.
SITUATION IN UGANDA
124. While a large number of refugees were able to settle with friends and relatives the majority of the 35,000 refugees from Rwanda were in need of material assistance on their arrival. The Government of Uganda therefore first organized a programme for the relief and local settlement in agriculture of some 11,000 refugees in the Orichinga Valley. While these refugees have already harvested their first crops, the Government is planning to move about 5,000 to another area in Uganda to ensure that they have enough land for rotation of crops to ensure permanent settlement. Another problem still facing the Government of Uganda is that of between 12,000 and 15,000 refugees who brought an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 head of cattle with them. During 1962 the Government organized the movement of these refugees, along with their cattle, to the Lake Nakivali area where the land and conditions are more suitable for breeding cattle. UNHCR contributed $50,000 to meet part of the costs involved in this operation, and particularly for the provision of veterinary equipment and drugs to combat cattle disease.
125. At the end of the period under review, the programme was still in the course of implementation. As in the case of Tanganyika considerable further efforts and also more financial support will be required in the course of 1963 to bring the programme to a successful conclusion.
F. Assistance to other groups of refugees
126. In accordance with the terms of the good offices resolutions adopted by the General Assembly, the High Commissioner has continued to channel contributions for assistance to other groups of refugees, and has, when requested to do so, provided marginal assistance to these refugees from his own funds.
ASSISTANCE TO CHINESE REFUGEES
127. The High Commissioner has continued to concern himself with the problems of Chinese refugees under the terms of resolutions 1167 (XII) and 1784 (XVII). In the latter resolution, the General Assembly reaffirmed its concern over the situation of Chinese refugees, appealed to Governments and interested non-governmental organizations to increase their contributions for assistance to these refugees, and requested the High Commissioner to continue his good offices for this purpose. As reported to the General Assembly at its seventeenth session, the Government of Hong Kong has undertaken an economic integration programme from which refugees and new arrivals benefit on the same basis as other residents. The Office of the High Commissioner remains in contact with the United Kingdom Government on this subject and is ready, as in the past, to use its good offices to channel contributions to that Government for assistance to the Chinese refugees. In the course of 1962 a total amount of $129,386 was transmitted through UNHCR for assistance to the Chinese refugees in Hong Kong.
128. In Macao, where some 80,000 Chinese refugees had been admitted, a plan for economic integration, including the housing of the refugees, has also been put into effect, and the government of Portugal has requested that the High Commissioner use his good offices in appealing to the international community for financial support. In response to this request, the Government of Belgium has contributed $14,000, and the Holy See $10,000. The High Commissioner himself has made available $20,000 from the proceeds of the UNHCR/UNRWA Stamp Plan. These funds will be used for the establishment of a light industries project which is part of the over-all Government plan to settle some 30,000 of the refugees in Macao.
REFUGEES FROM TIBET
129. During 1962, the International Committee of the Red Cross has continued its programme of assistance to refugees from Tibet in Nepal, and under his good offices functions the High Commissioner has transmitted a total of $14,000 towards this programme in addition, the High Commissioner has received a contribution of $20,162 to be used for the education of twenty Tibetan refugee children in France.
OTHER GROUPS OF REFUGEES
130. A further amount of $8,000 was channelled to the Government of Cambodia for assistance to refugees in that country. An amount of $13,050 was made available by the High Commissioner for assistance to a certain number of refugees in the Caribbean and Latin America.
CHAPTER IV FINANCING OF UNHCR ACTIVITIES
131. As in preceding years, the activities of the Office of the High Commissioner were largely financed from voluntary contributions obtained from both governmental and private sources. During 1962, a total amount of $6,987,504 was made available, pledged or promised to the UNHCR regular programme for 1962 and for other programmes during 1962, as follows:
a Including final allocations in the amount of $291,888 from the proceeds of UNHCR/UNRWA Stamp plan.
Within this amount, $4,478,895 pertained to the UNHCR regular programme for 1962 (target $5,000,000), $105,426 for the joint programme of the UNHCR and the League of Red Cross Societies for assistance to refugees from Algeria, including their repatriation, $1,017,001 for assistance through the good offices of UNHCR and the balance for other programmes, indicated in annex V to this report. In addition, contributions in an amount of $2,798,756 had been paid, pledged or promised towards the UNHCR programmes for 1963 (target $6.8 million) as of 31 March 1963.
132. The financing of UNHCR programmes was made much more difficult by the fact that the High Commissioner was simultaneously confronted with the problems of the remaining "old" refugees in Europe and with those of new groups of refugees in other areas, to whom he is giving assistance under the terms of the good offices resolutions.
133. With regard to the financing of the $5.4 million major aid programme, which forms part of the $6,8 million programme for 1963, the High Commissioner is counting on a new effort of international solidarity on the part of all countries which would wish the important task of material assistance for remaining non-settled refugees from the first and second world wars to be brought to a final conclusion. Although his appeals for support met with a favourable response from a certain number of Governments traditionally interested in the problems of European refugees, as of 31 March 1963 a large gap still remained to be bridged in order to reach the target of the 1963 programme. It is hoped that further contributions from Governments as well as the proceeds of the sale of the record "All Star Festival", referred to in more detail in chapter V, paragraph 164 below, which is being issued for the benefit of the refugees, will also help towards bridging the gap.
134. As far as the new groups of refugees are concerned, attention has already been drawn, in chapter III, to the financial requirements of the assistance programmes promoted or put into effect by UNHCR. During 1962, the High Commissioner had to draw on his Emergency Fund in order to meet some of these requirements. As from 1 January 1963 the High Commissioner was able to make use of the $700,000 allocation for new groups of refugees included in the $1.4 million complementary assistance programme for 1963. It is hoped, however, that further contributions will be transmitted through this Office for assistance to new groups of refugees so that the heavy demands made in this respect can be met in the course of this year.
135. At the eighth and ninth sessions of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's programme, a suggestion was made to the effect that the ceiling of the Emergency Fund be raised to enable the High Commissioner to deal more rapidly with new refugee situations as they arise. The Committee decided to consider the over-all question of the financing of assistance programmes at its tenth session, so that its recommendations on the subject might be available for consideration at the eighteenth session of the General Assembly.
Financing of the UNHCR regular programme for 1962
136. Governmental and non-governmental contributions towards the $5 million UNHCR regular programme for 1962 totalled $2,856,752 on 31 December 1962, thud leaving a shortage of over $2 million. However, the Office benefited from the results of the general review of projects in previous programmes which the High Commissioner was in a position to make at the end of 1962. As a result of the refund of balances and of the cancellation of some of these projects, an exceptional saving of $1,188,000 could be effected. Further income in the amount of $434,143 resulted from interests on investments and differences on exchange. The remaining gap could be bridged through reductions in the size of allocations which partly resulted from unexpectedly favourable resettlement opportunities for the handicapped, and partly from the increasing local integration possibilities connected with the continuing development of the economic situation in some of the countries of residence of refugees.
137. The unusually high figure for refunds and cancellations of obligations resulted from a one-time sweeping review of all projects which was feasible at this stage of the programme and cannot be expected to be repeated.
Financing of the UNHCR programme for 1963
138. At the meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee of the Whole Assembly for the announcement of pledges of voluntary contributions held in New York on 27 November 1962, twenty-one Governments announced contributions totalling $2,371,972 to the UNHCR $6.8 million programme for 1963. In response to the High commissioner's pleas for special contributions, and following on the Council of Europe's call for a demonstration of European solidarity, extra contributions were announced in an amount of $396,786 by the following Governments: Ireland-$5,000; Italy-$241,545; Liechtenstein-$3,472; Sweden-$77,325; Switzerland-$69,444. As of 31 March, therefore, contributions to this programme amounted of $2,798,756.
139. At the ninth session of the Executive Committee, held in April 1963, further special contributions were announced by Greece ($80,000), the Holy See ($10,000) and the United Kingdom (up to $224,000). The United Kingdom contribution is subject to certain matching conditions described in detail in the report on the ninth session of the Executive Committee, which is attached as an appendix to the present report.
140. Unlike the regular programme for 1962, there is little scope for bridging this gap through savings in programme allocations, and most of the funds will have to be secured from governmental and non-governmental sources.
Assistance under the good offices resolutions
141. In the course of 1962 an amount of $1,017,001 was made available to UNHCR for assistance to new groups of refugees under the good offices resolutions as follows:
|Contributions towards the League operation for displaced persons in the border area of Algeria||429,920|
|Assistance to refugees from Angola||39,000|
|Assistance to refugees in Togo||27,500|
|Assistance to refugees from Rwanda||188,067|
|Assistance to Chinese refugees in Hong Kong||129,386|
|Assistance to Chinese refugees in Macao||44,000|
|Assistance to refugees in Cambodia||8,000|
|Assistance to refugees in Pakistan||25,000|
|Assistance to Tibetan refugees||34,162|
|Assistance to refugees in the Caribbean and Latin America||13,050|
|Assistance to various other groups of refugees||78,916|
Contributions for assistance to other programmes
142. As shown in annex V, contributions in a total amount of $167,909 were specifically earmarked for assistance to refugees within the mandate of UNHCR and $218,273 for transfer to ICEM for the transportation of refugees.
143. The Emergency Fund, which was established with a ceiling of $500,000 under the terms of resolution 1166 (XII), proved to be particularly useful in 1962, since the regular programme for that year did not include an allocation to assist new refugee groups, as has since been provided in the framework of the complementary assistance programme for 1963. During 1962, therefore, UNHCR assistance to new refugee groups was financed from governmental or private contributions donated specifically for this purpose, and supplemented when required by allocations made from the Emergency Fund.
144. As of 1 January 1962 the uncommitted balance of the Emergency Fund amounted to $412,146.55. In the course of 1962 an amount of $224,439.45 accrued to the Fund through repayment of principal and interest on housing loans granted under the UNHCR regular programmes, and a further amount of $100,000 was returned to the Fund as a result of the cancellation of a previous commitment.
145. During 1962, expenditure and obligations incurred from the Fund amounted to a total of 340,586, of which $283,086 was allocated for refugees from Rwanda.
146. As indicated in paragraph 135 above, the question of the ceiling of the fund will be considered by the Executive Committee at its tenth session.
CHAPTER V GENERAL ACTIVITIES
Relations with other offices of the United Nations and with other organizations
147. The High Commissioner has continued to develop the existing pattern of co-operation between his Office, other offices of the United Nations, the specialized agencies, the inter-governmental organizations concerned and the voluntary agencies, which play such an important role in the implementation of refugee programmes. This co-operation has taken the form of exchanges of information and documents, consultations at all levels, representation at meetings and concerted action in promoting and carrying out programmes of benefit to refugees and in raising funds for this purpose.
148. The role of the technical assistance services of the United nations, UNICEF and the main specialized agencies is becoming increasingly important in those areas where this Office is dealing with new groups of refugees, and particularly in Africa, where refugees can benefit from technical assistance projects which also benefit the local population in particular countries or areas.
149. ONUC continued to give support to the High Commissioner's activities in favour of refugees in the Congo (Leopoldville) and it has given advice and assistance and provided food supplies for the refugees from Angola. In Burundi and the Kivu Province of the Congo (Leopoldville) FAO has participated in refugee programmes and in Burundi it has provided tools and seeds for the settlement in agriculture of the refugees. The FAO representative in Kivu assisted in the planning and supervision of one of the refugee centres in that province. UNHCR is also maintaining close contact with FAO in connexion with the freedom from Hunger Campaign and World Food Programme. In North Africa an important contribution was made by UNICEF, which provided substantial relief supplies for Algerian refugee children. In Tanganyika and Togo, UNICEF, FAO and TAB have given effective support to the work of the Office, particularly through their technical advice and the provision of vital commodities, such as dried milk and blankets.
150. The ILO assisted the Office in solving the problem of refugees in Togo by making a study of the problems and needs of the remaining non-settled 1,400 refugees. Furthermore the ILO is co-operating with this Office in drawing up a plan for the economic and social development of a certain number of settlement areas for refugees from Rwanda in Burundi and the Kivu Province of the Congo. Close co-operation is also being maintained with ILO in connexion with matters of a more general nature, such as the promotion of social security for migrant workers, including refugees.
151. Both UNESCO and WHO continued to give the Office technical advice on the educational and health problems of refugees. The former also cooperates in the dissemination of information concerning the refugee problem and in other public information activities of this Office.
152. Inter-governmental organizations directly concerned with the work of assistance to refugees, or with legal and social problems affecting refugees, have again rendered valuable assistance to the Office. Special mention should be made of ICEM, the operational partner of this Office in the field of resettlement through migration. The Council of Europe also has continued to show special interest in the work of UNHCR, and has made a plea for a demonstration of European solidarity in support of the High Commissioner's major aid programme for assistance to "old" European refugees. Fruitful contact has also been maintained with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and the European Economic Community, with a view to the improvement of the status of refugees in the framework of European integration.
153. The invaluable co-operation which has developed between this Office and the voluntary agencies working for refugees has been continued during the period under review. The Commission on Refugees of the International Council of Voluntary Agencies, which superseded the former Standing conference of Voluntary Agencies working for refugees and the Conference of non-governmental organizations interested in migration, was brought into relationship with the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme.
154. The agencies which traditionally implement the material assistance programmes for assistance to "old" refugees have joined in the concerted effort to bring these programmes to a successful conclusion. As increasingly heavy demands are made on these organizations by new problems of refugees in other areas, some of them had to withdraw or partly withdraw from certain European countries, where their role was taken over by affiliated local agencies. As stated in chapter III above, the agencies are taking an active part in helping the new groups of refugees. Special mention should be made in this connexion of the League of Red Cross Societies, which was the High Commissioner's operational partner in the North African operation, and which is now also putting into effect relief programmes in various other parts of Africa. A special tribute is due to the members of religious missions, who are often the first point of contact for refugees in outlying areas.
155. In many countries, particularly those which admit large numbers of refugees for resettlement, this Office benefits from the active support of the voluntary agencies, which promote the admission of refugees and assist in their reception and placement.
156. Other organizations, like the World Refugee Year committees and the United Nations associations, also render valuable services to the cause of refugees through their general support of the work of this Office, and often by stimulating general interest in the problem of refugees and by supporting fund-raising campaigns. This has been the case particularly with regard to the production and sale of the refugee record "All-Star Festival".
Award of the Nansen Medal for 1962
157. The Nansen Medal for 1962 was awarded to Sir Tasman Heyes, C. B. E., in recognition of the major contribution which he and the Australian Government and people have made and are making to the solution of refugee problems, in particular through the generous admission of handicapped refugees.
158. Upon the invitation of the Government of Australia, the medal will be handed to Sir Tasman by the High commissioner, accompanied by the members of the Nansen Medal Award Committee, in the framework of the Citizenship convention which is to be held in Canberra from 4 to 6 June 1963.
159. The Office of the High Commissioner continued to make use of all available media for the dissemination of information on refugees, including television, films, radio broadcasts, exhibitions and illustrated publications. Its activities in this field have been adapted to the change in emphasis from the refugee camp population to the handicapped refugees outside camps and to the new groups of refugees in Africa.
160. The main public information activities concerned in particular the publicizing of the work of Dr. F. A. S. Jensen, special consultant, as part of an over-all effort to promote the resettlement of most difficult cases; the launching of a long-playing record as a means of raising public funds to finance the major aid programmes for assistance to "old" European refugees; the relief operation undertaken jointly with the League of Red Cross Societies for the benefit of the refugees from Algeria in Morocco and Tunisia and their subsequent repatriation: the new refugee situations, and particularly the re-establishment of the refugees from Rwanda in Kivu Province of the Congo.
161. During the repatriation of the refugees from Algeria in the first half of 1962, the Office of the High Commissioner established in Tunis and Morocco information points which provided a liaison between the tripartite commissions and the Press. The United Nations Office of Public Information lent one of its experienced officers to assist in this operation.
162. Under the auspices of UNHCR, French television services visited the Congo in order to make a film entitled New Life, which is at present being given general distribution. The film illustrates the situation of the refugees in Kivu province of the Congo and the work being undertaken to assist them.
163. A publication entitled The Opening Door, which illustrates the work done by Dr. Jensen to promote permanent solutions for the most handicapped cases living outside camps, has been published. Many governmental services and voluntary agencies warmly welcomed this book, and have given it a wide distribution.
164. In order to stimulate public interest in refugee problems and to attract funds which would normally be available for refugee work, preparations were made in the latter half of 1963 to issue and distribute a long-playing record of popular songs by well known artists. Many famous international artists donated a song to the record as a personal contribution to refugee work. In co-operation with the phonographic industry, the voluntary agencies and various national refugee committees, the world-wide sale of the record was organized.
ANNEX II International protection
A. INTERNATIONAL INSTRUMENTS AFFECTING REFUGEES
1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees
1. During the period under review, five further States have become parties to the above Convention and Ghana has acceded to it. In addition, four newly independent States, formerly French territories, have informed the Secretary-General that they consider themselves bound by the Convention: these are Togo, Central African Republic, Congo (Brazzaville) and Algeria. Of these States, the Central African Republic and Togo have made a declaration in accordance with article 1 (b) (1) of the Convention to the effect that they interpret the term "events occurring before 1 January 1951" in the definition as "events occurring in Europe or elsewhere before 1 January 1951", thus widening the scope of their obligations under the Convention. Furthermore, in May 1963 Senegal and Cyprus became parties to the Convention.
2. The Government of Denmark has notified the Secretary-General that it has withdrawn its reservation made in respect of article 14 at the time of ratification. This article concerns artistic rights and industrial property.
3. The Government of Switzerland has informed the Secretary-General that it withdraws its reservation made at the time of ratification to article 24 (Labour Legislation and Social Security) paragraphs 1 (a) and 1 (b) and to paragraph 3, in so far as that reservation concerns old age and survivors' insurance.
4. The Governments of Greece, Tunisia, Turkey and Yugoslavia are now issuing travel documents in accordance with the convention, bringing to twenty-one the number of States which issue such documents. The documents are valid for one or two years and have a return clause of the same duration.
5. Thirty-nine States have now ratified or acceded to the 1951 Convention, or have formerly made a declaration to the Secretary-General that they consider themselves bound by the convention. These are: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Colombia, Congo (Brazzaville), Dahomey, Denmark, Ecuador, Federal Republic of Germany, France, Ghana, Greece, Holy See, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
1957 Agreement relating to Refugee Seamen
6. The Government of Switzerland has deposited its instrument of ratification of this Agreement with the Government of the Netherlands Switzerland is the eleventh country to become a party to this Agreement.
7. The following States are parties to the Agreement relating to Refugee Seamen: Belgium, Denmark, Federal Republic of Germany, France, Monaco, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
8. In co-operation with the Netherlands Government, UNHCR has maintained a special counsellor in the Port of Rotterdam, whose role it has been to contact refugee seamen calling at that port, and to advise them on how to regularize their situation and, if appropriate, how to benefit from the terms of the Agreement relating to Refugee Seamen.
1952 Universal Copyright Convention
9. During the period under review Finland, Ghana, Greece, Norway and Panama ratified the Universal Copyright Convention and Protocol No. 1 extending its benefits to refugees habitually resident in contracting States.
1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons
10. Four additional States became parties to this Convention during the period under review: Ireland, Italy, the Republic of Korea and the Netherlands.
11. The Government of the United Kingdom has notified the Secretary-General of the extension of the above Convention to the following territories:
|British Honduras||North Borneo|
|Falkland Islands||St. Helena|
|Fiji Islands||State of Singapore|
|Gilbert and Ellice Islands||Uganda|
12. The following States, were already parties to the Convention prior to 1 April 1962: Belgium, Denmark, France, Guinea, Israel, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Norway, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Yugoslavia.
1956 Convention on the Recovery Abroad of Maintenance
13. The following additional States have now ratified this Convention, which frequently benefits separated refugee families: Central African Republic, Finland, the Netherlands and Upper Volta.
1961 Convention on the Reduction of statelessness
14. The Government of France has signed this Convention, adopted by a United Nations conference of plenipotentiaries on the Elimination or Reduction of Future Statelessness, which was held in Geneva in March and April 1959, and continued in New York in August 1961.
15. The following five States have signed subject to ratification: Dominican Republic, France, Israel, Netherlands, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
16. The Convention will enter into force two years after the date of deposit of the sixth instrument of ratification or accession.
ILO Convention on Equality of Treatment of Nationals and non-Nationals in Social Security
17. At its forty-sixth session held in Geneva from 7 to 29 June 1962, the International Labour Conference adopted a Convention concerning the equality of treatment of nationals and non-nationals in social security. The Convention provides that a Member State having ratified it shall grant, within its territory, to the nationals of any other Member State which has also ratified it, equality or treatment with its own nationals under its social security legislation. The provisions of the Convention apply to refugees and stateless persons without any condition of reciprocity. Draft Declaration in the Right of Asylum
18. The draft Declaration in the Right of Asylum which was adopted by the Commission on Human Rights in 1960, was considered by the Third Committee of the General Assembly at its seventeenth session. The Committee adopted the preamble and article 1 of the Draft Declaration. The debate on other articles is to be continued at the eighteenth session of the General Assembly.
United Nations Consular Relations
19. On 4 March 1963 a conference convened by the United Nations met in Vienna to establish a Convention on Consular Relations. Articles 5 and 36 of the draft prepared by the International Law Commission as a basis for the Conference's discussion suggested the possibility of a conflict between the right of consular officers to protect their nationals and the duty imposed on the High Commissioner by his Statute to provide international protection for refugees within his mandate. Consequently the High Commissioner submitted for circulation to the Conference a memorandum which outlined the relevant passages in his Statute and in the Convention of 28 July 1951 relating to the Status of refugees and was represented at the Conference by observers. At the close of the Conference a resolution was accepted referring to this memorandum and requesting the Secretary-General of the United Nations to submit, for the consideration of the appropriate organs of the United Nations, all documents pertaining to discussion of the refugee question mentioned in the memorandum and meanwhile resolved not to take any decision on this question. Statements were made by various delegations which considered that nothing in the convention prejudiced the special status of refugees and their right to international protection.
20. Further progress was made in the implementation of the Agreement of 5 October 1960 concluded between the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany and the High Commissioner for Refugees on the subject of payments to persons who have been persecuted by reason of their nationality. As reported to the General Assembly at its seventeenth session, a total of some 40,000 applications to the Fund established by the Office under article 2 of the Agreement had been received by the date limit of 31 March 1962. During the period under review, positive decisions were taken in respect of over 5,000 applications, while almost as many had to be rejected after screening. In more than 9,000 other cases it was found that the applicants did not qualify, because they were not refugees on 1 October 1953 under the terms of the 1951 Convention, or because they had not been persecuted because of their nationality.
21. An initial payment, varying from $100 to $800 according to the circumstances of the case, is made to each applicant when a positive decision has been taken. On 1 April 1963, the sums disbursed as initial payments to applicants residing in many different countries of the world exceeded $1.2 million. It is hoped that a second more substantial payment will be made about the middle of 1963, when the approximate number of qualifying cases has been determined. By a third payment, the balance of the Fund will be paid out to beneficiaries at a later date.
22. The voluntary agencies are continuing to give most valuable assistance at all stages of the operation. particularly in the screening operation, UNHCR is receiving the co-operation of these agencies as well as that of various national and other authorities and of refugee organization.
23. An appeals board has been established, consisting of three members from a panel of nine experts representing the High Commissioner's Office, the interested voluntary agencies, and the refugee organizations. The function of the appeals board is to make recommendations to the High Commissioner in respect of appeals made by applicants against negative decisions taken by the section administering the Fund. During the period under review 482 cases have been considered by the Appeals Board.
24. With regard to the implementation of article 1 of the Indemnification Agreement, 125 positive decisions have been taken by the German Federal Administration Office during the period covered by the report. The Office of the High Commissioner is continuing its functions provided in the Protocol to the Indemnification Agreement with a view to facilitating the effective implementation of the Indemnification Agreement.
German indemnification legislation
25. The Office of the High Commissioner is Continuing to co-operate with the competent German authorities with regard to problems that have arisen in connection with claims of refugees under the German Federal Indemnification Law, in particular by assisting these authorities in establishing proof of refugee status required by the regulations.
26. In connexion with the final German legislation which is contemplated on the matter of indemnification, UNHCR remains in contact with the German Federal Government with a view to ensuring that the interests of the refugees are safeguarded.
C. Admission and residence
27. In those countries where the Office of the High Commissioner takes part in the procedure established to determine whether refugees come under the scope of the 1951 Convention or within the mandate of the UNHCR, some 11,320 persons were recognized as refugees during 1962. This number includes those refugees who moved from one country of asylum to another, and refugees who have lately arrived, or who, although having resided from some time in the country, have only been formally recognized as refugees during the year.
28. The United States Congress has approved legislation indefinitely extending Public Law 86-648, which was due to expire in June 1962. Under this law, a certain number of refugees who are within the mandate of the Office may be paroled into the United States each year. UNHCR has continued to examine and certify the refugee status or applicants for admission to the United States under this law in cases where the persons concerned could not otherwise produce the required evidence of their refugee status.
D. RIGHTS OF REFUGEES IN THEIR COUNTRIES OF RESIDENCE
29. In Belgium, a law has been adopted according to which aliens who have taken up residence in Belgium prior to the age of fourteen years may apply for Belgian nationality when they have completed five years' residence. The law further stipulates that, these conditions having been fulfilled, applications may be made by persons of sixteen years of age. It is foreseen that many refugee children, whether born in Belgium or abroad, will benefit from the new law.
30. An amendment to the Netherlands Nationality Law, which came into force on 1 October 1962, contains two articles which will benefit certain refugees; article 1 (b) grants Netherlands nationality to minors adopted by nationals of the Netherlands, and article 2 (c) confers Netherlands nationality on a person who does not acquire the nationality of his alien father at birth but whose mother is a Netherlands national at the time of his birth.
31. The Italian Ministry of labour has given instructions to the three Italian national insurance institutes to the effect that multilateral and bilateral agreements already concluded or about to be concluded between Italy and other countries relating to social insurance, shall apply also to refugees.
32. On 4 October 1962 the Federal Parliament of Switzerland issued a decree whereby refugees are assimilated to Swiss nationals with regard to ordinary pensions in matters of old age, survivors' and invalidity insurance. The decree also contains provisions favourable to refugees with regard to extraordinary pensions, and measures of rehabilitation, as well as with regard to refugees who transfer their residence from Switzerland to another country.
Right to work
33. The Austrian Ministry of Social administration, by a decree of 13 February 1963, put forward the dateline for the exemption of refugees in Austria from the requirement of labour permits from 1 January 1959 to 1 January 1960. Refugees recognized as such under the 1951 Convention who arrived in Austria before 1 January 1960 are therefore on an equal footing with Austrian nationals with regard to the right to work in wage-earning employment. Relatives of refugees who arrived after that date-line are also included under the decree if they entered Austria for the purpose of reuniting with their families.
34. The Belgian Government has decided to grant work permits of unlimited duration, regardless of the situation of the labour market, not only, as hitherto, to refugees who fulfil the conditions of article 17, paragraph 2 of the 1951 Convention, but also to refugees who have worked for two years in Belgium, and whose families reside with them in the country. In this matter refugees are treated in the same way as French, Italian and German nationals in Belgium.
35. The Italian Government, upon ratification of the 1951 Convention, had made a reservation to article 17 relating to wage-earning employment. By a declaration of 27 July 1957, the Italian Government accorded to refugees the right to work upon the fulfilment of certain conditions. This declaration originally provided that the period of residence in Italy required for permission to work had to be completed as of a specific date; it has now been amended so that all refugees in Italy living outside camps and who have lived in Italy living outside camps and who have lived in Italy for more than three years, or who have a spouse or child of Italian nationality, will receive a work permit upon application.
E. MOVEMENT OF REFUGEES
36. An agreement was concluded on 4 May 1962 between the Federal Republic of Germany and Switzerland which provides for the abolition of visas for refugees travelling between the two countries, who are normally resident in one of the two countries who are normally resident in one of the two countries and who hold convention or London travel documents. In accordance with this agreement the visa requirements are waived for refugees travelling between the two countries on visits of less than three months for the purposes other than gainful employment.
37. The Organization for economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which superseded the Organization for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC), resolved by Decision No. OECD/C (61) 41, to retain the decision adopted by OEEC concerning the freedom of movement of workers, including refugees, wishing to take up employment in Member countries and the recommendations on administrative measures concerning refugees. These are the OEEC Decision C (56) 258, of which article 7 relates to refugees, and recommendations C (58) 196 (Final) and C (60) 65 (Final).
F. WAR DAMAGES
38. On 11 October 1962 an agreement between Austria and the Federal Republic of Germany came into force to indemnify, inter alia, refugees according to the 1951 Convention who are either of German ethnic origin, or who acquired Austrian nationality by 27 November 1961, for material damage they have suffered owing to events following the Second World War. The agreement has been supplemented by laws of 13 July 1962 and 24 July 1962. The date-line for the submission of claims under this legislation has been extended from 31 March 1963 to 1 March 1964.
(Note: Financial and statistical data tables not included in this online version. See your nearest UN Depository Library.)
APPENDIX Report on the ninth session of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme
Opening of the session and of officers
1. The Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme held its ninth session from 18 to 22 April 1963, at the Palais des Nations, Geneva.
Mr. H. F. Alaçam (Turkey), Acting Chairman in office, opened the session.
2. The Committee elected the following officers by acclamation: Chairman: Mr. H. F. Alaçam (Turkey); Vice-Chairman: Mr. H. Aponte (Venezuela): Rapporteur: Mr. E. Tavor (Israel).
3. The members of the Committee were represented at the session as follows:
|Federal Republic of Germany||United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland|
|France||United States of America|
4. The Governments of Algeria, Iraq, the Lebanon, New Zealand and Portugal were represented by an observer, as was the Sovereign Order of Malta.
5. The Council of Europe, the Inter-Governmental Committee for European Migration, the International Labour Organisation and the League of Arab States were also represented by observers.
6. The Chairman welcomed the members of the Committee, the observers of other Governments and the representatives of specialized agencies, inter-governmental organization, voluntary agencies and the Press. Referring to the Committee's calendar for 1963, he recalled that this year the main session would be held exceptionally in the autumn, when detailed plans would be submitted to the Committee in respect of 1964.
Adoption of the agenda
7. The Committee adopted the following agenda:
1. Election of officers.
2. Adoption of the agenda (A/AC.96/191/Rev.1)
3. Statement by the High Commissioner.
4. Action taken by the General Assembly at its seventeenth session (A/AC.96/192).
5. Progress report on UNHCR regular programmes and on the former UNREF programme as of 31 December 1962 (A/AC.96/193).
6. Report on the resettlement of refugees (A/AC.96/198).
7. Report on the use of the Emergency Fund (A/AC.96/194).
8. Report on the status of contributions (A/AC.96/195).
9. Financial questions, including
(a) Provisional financial statements for 1962 (A/AC.96/196);
(b) Note on funds committed but not disbursed as of 31 December 1962 (A/AC.96/197).
Action taken by the General Assembly (item 4 of the agenda)
8. The Committee considered document A/AC.96/192 summarizing the resolution whereby the General Assembly at its seventeenth session decided to continue the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for a further period of five years from 1 January 1964, and the resolution which it had adopted on the problem of Chinese refugees.
9. During the discussion on the subject and in the course of the general debate summed up below, representatives expressed their satisfaction at the fact that the Office of the High Commissioner had been continued. They stressed that the practically unanimous vote of the General Assembly reflected the wide-spread interest which was taken in the refugee problem and appreciation for the way in which the High Commissioner was accomplishing his humanitarian task.
10. The representative of Australia stated that the two resolutions adopted by the General Assembly were the subject of gratification for his Government. Referring to operative paragraph 2 of resolution 1783 (XVII) which provides that the High Commissioner should abide by the directives of the Executive Committee, he suggested that decision on important mater should be included in the report on the Committee's session in the form of resolutions. He proposed that the matter should be taken up by the Committee at its next session. The representative of the Netherlands expressed the view that further consideration should be given to this suggestion.
11. The representative of China stated that his Government had been gratified at the fact that resolution 1167 (XII) concerning assistance to Chinese refugees had been reaffirmed by the General Assembly in the resolution which it had adopted on this subject at its seventeenth session.
12. The Executive Committee took note with satisfaction of the report on action taken by the General Assembly.
Opening statement by the High Commissioner
13. In his opening statement, the text of which may be found in annex I to the present appendix, the High Commissioner gave an account of the progress made in solving the problems of non-settled "old" European refugees within his mandate and in obtaining the extra funds required for that purpose. The High Commissioner emphasized the developments which had taken place in the field of international protection - the basic task of his Office. He gave an account of the activities carries out under the complementary assistance programme. He also gave indications of the plans he intended to put before the Committee at its next (tenth) session in respect of the 1964 programme of his Office and of the financing of its future tasks.
Statement by the Deputy High Commissioner on assistance to new groups of refugees
14. The Deputy High Commissioner gave a summing up of the results achieved in the field of assistance to new groups of refugees. The full text of the statement may be found in annex II to the present appendix. He stressed that while the problems of Algerian refugees and refugees in Togo had been satisfactorily solved, further steps had to be taken to achieve solutions for the refugees from Angola in the Congo, and there remained the considerable problem of the refugees from Rwanda in Burundi, the Kivu Province of the Congo (Leopoldville), Tanganyika and Uganda. The Deputy High Commissioner also outlined the policy which was being followed by the Office in dealing with new groups of refugees.
General debate on the statements made by the High Commissioner and the Deputy High Commissioner
15. Members of the Committee expressed their appreciation of the statements presented by the High Commissioner and Deputy High Commissioner, and of the results achieved by the Office. They were gratified that several important problems should have been solved or practically solved, such as those of the camp population in Europe, the Algerian refugees and refugees in Togo. Several representatives indicated that they would be in a better position to state their views on the prospective plans of the Office when these were submitted for consideration at the Committee's next session.
16. The representative of the Holy See emphasized the interest which the Holy See continued to take in the humanitarian task of UNHCR as reflected in the special passage on refugees and the right to migration included in the encyclical letter that had recently been issued by His Holiness the Pope.
17. In the course of the ensuing discussions, special contributions to the 1963 programme were announced by the representatives of the Holy See, Greece and the United Kingdom, details of which may be found in the section of the report concerning the status of contributions.
18. With regard to the scope of activities of the Office, the representative of the Netherlands stated that her delegation would be interested in receiving more information in respect of various groups of refugees in Asia other than the European refugees in the Far East. In this connexion the representative of China endorsed the principle enunciated in the statement of the Deputy High Commissioner to the effect that under the good offices procedure the Office could seek practical solutions to the humanitarian problems of refugees without needing to identify the underlying causes of these problems. The High Commissioner pointed out that information on refugees in Asia had been included in the statistical summary presented to the Committee. His Office was always ready to concern itself with these problems where appropriate and if requested to do so by the Governments concerned. The activities mentioned in the Deputy High Commissioner's statement were those which had been carried out in response to requests addressed to the Office by the interested Governments.
19. Some representatives recalled that the problems of "old" European refugees had been the concern of the international community for many years. They noted that provided the present rate of resettlement was maintained and necessary funds were made available, there was a reasonable prospect of solving the problems of the remaining non-settled "old" refugees by the end of 1965. The representative of Germany informed the Committee that his Government was doing all in its power to speed up the completion of housing which it was providing for non-settled refugees living outside camps. The representative of the United Kingdom, supporting a similar suggestion made by the representative of Australia, expressed the hope that the Office would complete the major aid programme by 1965 or at an earlier date if possible. Upon completion of the major aid programme, there would be a heavy burden falling on the "host" Governments Her delegation was gratified to learn of the progress achieved in camp clearance, which had been one of the main objectives of fund-raising in the United Kingdom during the World Refugee Year.
20. The role of resettlement in achieving solutions for the problems of "old" European refugees including the handicapped, was highlighted by several representatives, as reported in detail in the section of this report concerning resettlement. The High Commissioner informed the Committee in this connexion that he would be visiting New Zealand and Australia, where he would attend the Citizenship Convention in the course of which the Nansen Medal would be awarded to Sir Tasman Heyes, former Secretary of Australia's Commonwealth Department of Immigration. He paid tribute to the major contribution made by Australia to the resettlement of refugees of European origin from China.
21. The Committee also noted the results achieved in the field of international protection, particularly with regard to the increased number of ratifications of the 1951 Convention and the co-operation which was developing between UNHCR and the European Economic Community.
22. The High Commissioner expressed the hope that he would continue to receive the support necessary to enable him to complete the major aid programmes for "old" refugees so that the international community, which had so generously contributed to the solution of that problem would derive the full benefit of a job well completed.
23. The Committee gave considerable attention to the important question of assistance to new refugees, including new arrivals in Europe as well as new groups of refugees in other parts of the world. Some representatives considered that the complementary assistance programme which had been put into effect in 1963 would enable the High Commissioner, while consolidating the results of recent years, to provide some insurance against the resurgence of new large-scale problems. They hoped that the High Commissioner would thus be able to keep alive the mechanism of international solidarity on behalf of refugees.
24. The representative of Australia expressed concern at the rate of influx of new refugees in Europe, whose number amounted to 6,500 during 1962. His delegation would be interested in receiving more information in respect of these refugees. He expressed a wish that an analysis of the situation be submitted to the Committee at its next session.
25. The High Commissioner shared the concern expressed with regard to the possible development of a new large-scale problem of refugees within his mandate in Europe. He hoped that this could be avoided through the methods outlined in his statement. He informed the Committee that a country by country investigation was being carried out with this in view. In spite of the efforts made by other organizations such as ICEM and USEP as well as the local authorities, a certain amount of complementary assistance would be required, and his Office would submit concrete proposals on the matter at the Committee's next session.
26. With regard to assistance under the good offices approval was expressed by some delegations of the efforts made by the Office in order to prevent new refugee problems from becoming intractable. The representatives of Canada and of the United Kingdom emphasized the importance of the time factor in dealing with these groups of refugees, and recognized that the High Commissioner's role should be to act as a catalyst in enlisting the support of Governments and other organizations with a view to broadening the responsibility for support of the programmes on an economical basis.
27. With regard to the problem of the refugees from Rwanda, some representatives expressed concern at the considerable sum of money required to finance the programme in 1963. They hoped that the additional funds required outside the allocation included in the complementary assistance programme would be secured from private sources.
28. The Belgian Government fully endorsed the approach of the High Commissioner to the problems of new groups of refugees, in particular for the refugees from Rwanda, and was aware of the financial implications. It had already made two special contributions for this purpose and was considering the possibility of a third substantial contribution.
29. The wish was further expressed by some delegations that the Committee should receive more detailed reports on the programmes carried out for assistance to new groups of refugees, including in particular those from Rwanda, and on prospective plans for solving their problems.
30. The High Commissioner pointed out that in the past his Office had been dealing with old and well known and well defined refugee problems. Those of the new groups of refugees were quite new and different and called for different methods. He emphasized that these new problems had to be dealt with as they arose and that speed was therefore an essential factor.
31. Reference was made to methods of financing the future activities of the Office including the possibility of raising the ceiling of the emergency fund and the High Commissioner's suggestion for the establishment of a working capital fund. While delegations were unable to state their government's position, several representatives indicated that in their opinion it would be preferable to avoid the establishment of separate funds. Some delegations expressed themselves in favour of rising the ceiling of the emergency fund - a matter which would of course require a decision by the General Assembly. The High Commissioner stated that he was also in favour of a solution whereby the financing of the Office would be simplified to the greatest possible extent.
32. The representative of Yugoslavia stressed that his Government had spent a considerable sum of money in assisting refugees in Yugoslavia, many of whom were handicapped. He expressed the hope that proposals for assistance to these refugees would be included in the programme for 1964 and that other related problems would be satisfactorily solved.
33. The Committee was informed by the representatives of Belgium and the United States of the part that their countries had taken in assisting in the solution of refugee problems in Yugoslavia. The representative of the United States stated that he would be interested in seeing the report on the survey which had been carried out by the High commissioner's Office in Yugoslavia. The representative of Belgium noted with interest that the High Commissioner was considering the possibility of including refugees in Yugoslavia in his current programme for 1964. The High Commissioner confirmed that he would submit to the Committee at its next session proposals for the inclusion of refugees in Yugoslavia in the UNHCR assistance programme.
34. In the course of the discussion, representatives emphasized the usefulness of consultations between the Office of the High Commissioner, the Executive Committee and its member Governments or permanent delegations, as the case might be. This was considered to be particularly important in the case of new refugee problems requiring action by the Office of the High Commissioner. Members of the Committee also suggested that the High Commissioner should continue to use the method of giving the Executive Committee advance communication of future plans and proposed policy particularly as far as new groups of refugees were concerned. The High Commissioner in reply stated that he attached the greatest importance to continued consultations with Governments members of the Committee, and that he would continue to provide them with detailed information.
35. Appreciation was expressed for the fruitful cooperation which had developed between UNHCR, the Technical Assistance Board, UNICEF, the specialized agencies and the inter-governmental organizations and for the considerable support which continued to be received from the voluntary agencies and the religious missions in outlying areas.
36. At the end of the debate the Committee heard a statement by the Vice-Chairman of the Refugees Commission of the international Council of Voluntary Agencies, emphasizing the requirements of refugees in Latin America, in Africa and Asia including the Tibetans and the need for increased resettlement opportunities. He expressed the view that more funds would be necessary to satisfy the large number of claims received by UNHCR under the indemnification fund.
37. The Chairman stressed that in addition to the continuing function of international protection important tasks at present confronted the Office of the High Commissioner: to solve the problems of the remaining "old" non-settled refugees who included a high proportion of handicapped, to ensure that problems resulting from the influx of new refugees in Europe were dealt with as they arose and to take care of the new groups of refugees, particularly of the considerable number of refugees from Rwanda which raised serious practical and financial difficulties.
38. In conclusion, the Executive Committee took note with satisfaction of the progress achieved in the field of assistance to "old" refugees and in applying the good offices procedure. The Committee recommended to the High Commissioner and interested Governments that they have recourse to all means at their disposal with a view to assisting refugees in resuming a normal existence in the economic and social life of the countries which had generously received them.
Progress report (item 5 of the agenda)
39. The Committee had before it the progress report of the UNHCR regular programmes and on the former UNREF programme as at 31 December 1962 (A/AC.96/193). The report showed that in the course of 1962 the total number of non-settled refugees had decreased from 65,000 to 45,000 and that approximately two-thirds of the this group would need assistance from UNHCR in order to become firmly settled. As at 31 December 1962, a total of over 121,000 refugees had benefited from the UNREF programme and UNHCR programmes in over forty countries.
40. In introducing the report, the representative of the High Commissioner stressed in particular that in 1962 alone, 12,239 refugees had been firmly settled under the UNHCR programmes and that this had brought to over 70,000 the number of refugees who had been firmly settled during the past eight years at a total cost of nearly 100 million dollars including $38 million in terms of direct contributions from the international community.
41. In the course of the general discussion, delegation of the progress reported by the High Commissioner and of the form in which the report had been presented.
42. The representative of Australia highlighted the considerable decrease in the number of non-settled refugees which had been reduced by 225,000 since 1 January 1955. He also emphasized the role played by the Inter-Governmental Committee for European Migration which co-operated closely with the Office of the High Commissioner in the resettlement of refugees, as stated in paragraph (iii) of the introduction to the report. In reply to his question as to whether the target set for the solution of the problems of "old" European refugees might be somewhat advanced, the representative of the High Commissioner pointed out that the end of 1965 had been set after most careful consideration of all the factors involved.
43. In connexion with UNHCR assistance to non-rehabilitable refugees in Austria, the representative of Norway inquired into the procedure followed by the Office in those instances where a solution could not be found for a particular refugee and where there would seem to be no alternative but to hand over the case to the Austrian national social services. The representative of the High Commissioner explained that this situation only occurred when refugees would not accept the solutions proposed to them and in those cases all that the Office could do was to inform the local authorities accordingly. 44. The account given of the results achieved in France gave the Committee an illustration of the varied use being made of the Fund for permanent solutions which had been established for the UNHCR programme in France. The representative of France explained in this connexion that under the present system, the Committee of representatives of the French Government, the voluntary agencies and the UNHCR, which was responsible for the implementation of the programme in France, was in a position to work out the most appropriate solution for each case. Assistance was limited to handicapped refugees. He hoped to give the Committee more details on the use of the Fund or permanent solutions in France at its next session.
45. In reply to a question by the representative of France concerning temporary annuities to be granted to aged refugees who had still from two to three years to wait before qualifying for state pensions, the representative of the High Commissioner stated that the terms of reference of the joint board administering the Fund for Permanent Solutions in France were sufficiently wide to permit the board to consider such solutions; he added that substantial supporting contributions would be expected in all cases where annuities were granted.
46. Further to an inquiry by the representative of Norway in respect of the numbers and categories of refugees resettled and assisted in Latin America, the representative of the High Commissioner explained that the new refugees seeking asylum in that area were Cuban refugees, and the newly found needs of "old" refugees referred to those who had immigrated there over the past number of years and who, owing to age or ill health found themselves at present in need of assistance. Whereas 1,946 refugees had been resettled in various countries of Latin America under UNHCR projects up to and including 1962, the 4,099 beneficiaries of the UNHCR programme in Latin America formed part of the over-all number of refugees living in the area.
47. With regard to the situation of refugees in Spain, the representative of the Netherlands recalled that the possibility of the Spanish Government acceding to the 1951 Convention had been mentioned some time ago and she wondered how the matter stood at present. The representative of the High Commissioner stated that it was under study by the Spanish Government and had recently been taken up again by the High Commissioner's correspondent in Spain.
48. The Executive Committee took note with satisfaction of the progress report submitted by the High Commissioner.
Resettlement (item 6 of the agenda)
49. In his address to the Committee, the Director of the Inter-Governmental Committee for European Migration, Mr. B. Haveman, stated that ICEM was continuing to give the highest priority to that part of its programme which concerned refugees and was pursuing its policy of assisting both the "old" refugees and the new arrivals. ICEM was providing transportation facilities for approximately 30,000 refugees each year at an annual cost of some $6 million, and a total of over 400,000 refugees had been so assisted since the inception of the ICEM programmes. He stressed the importance of continued resettlement possibilities in countries of immigration and the need for funds to enable all refugees to take advantage of the resettlement opportunities that were open to them. He was thus particularly grateful for the announcement made by the United Kingdom representative that her Government would make £20,000 available to ICEM for the transport of refugees. He also stressed ICEM's interest in assisting in the resettlement of handicapped refugees and highlighted the close co-operation which existed between ICEM, the Office of the High Commissioner and the United States Escapee Programme (USEP).
50. Introducing the report on the resettlement of refugees (A/AC.96/198), the representative of the High Commissioner stated that the number of refugees of European origin who wished to emigrate had been reduced from approximately 15,500 a year ago to an estimated 11,000. This progress was largely the result of the generous policy followed by governments of immigration countries in providing opportunities for the resettlement of refugees. The survey of the most severely handicapped cases undertaken by Dr. Jensen had been useful in helping to reduce the total caseload of that group of refugees. Encouraging progress had also been made in finding resettlement opportunities, mainly in Australia, for a large number of refugees of European origin in the Far East who had arrived in Hong Kong during 1962. The number of refugees still in the Near East and who were known to wish to emigrate had now been reduced to some 2,200. The largest group consisted of some 1,300 refugees in the Sinkiang Province of China, while the remainder were scattered in smaller groups throughout that country. Additional resettlement possibilities would be needed when they had received exit visas.
51. The representatives who spoke congratulated the high Commissioner on the progress achieved through resettlement during 1962. They were particularly grateful for the statement made by the Director of ICEM and stressed the importance of the close working relationship which had developed between UNHCR and ICEM which was essential in order that the high rate of progress which had been achieved during the past few years might be continued. Representatives also paid tribute to the work of Dr. Jensen and expressed satisfaction with the significant results already achieved in finding resettlement opportunities for the handicapped refugees covered by this survey.
52. The representative of Australia stated that his country, which had already accepted some 300,000 refugees since the end of the Second World War, was very pleased to have been able to assist the High Commissioner by admitting a large number of refugees of European origin coming from the Far East, including recently, under liberalized conditions of admission, 1,000 from the Three Rivers Province of China. Their firm settlement presented some difficulties which it should be possible to overcome with the co-operation of UNHCR, ICEM and the voluntary agencies. He stressed that resettlement was one of the most important functions of the HIGH Commissioner and confirmed the Australian delegation's request that a report on resettlement should be presented to the Committee at each session.
53. The Canadian representative recalled that at the previous session he had made a general statement on the programmes relating to the resettlement of refugees in Canada; it was planned to bring this report up to date at the autumn session.
54. The representative of the United Kingdom stated that her Government had made a special effort during World Refugee Year to admit refugees for resettlement, in particular those suffering from handicaps. At present, however, her government could not envisage the admission of further numbers of refugees except for compassionate cases such as those involving family reunion or where the refugees came in under normal immigration rules, for it had recently proved necessary for the United Kingdom Government to issue new, more restrictive immigration regulations.
55. The representative of Sweden gave the Committee an account of some of the recent measures taken by his country for the admission of refugees. Under the scheme already in progress for the admission of some 500 refugees during 1963, up to 50 would be accepted for care in institutions. He announced that his government intended to admit a further number of refugees, bringing the total up to 1,000, later in 1963, and hoped to include among them, as a pilot project, a few mental cases requiring special treatment.
56. The representative of the United States informed the Committee that his Government was continuing to admit refugees under the parolee programme and in addition had accepted in the last year over 5,000 Chinese under a special programme announced by President Kennedy on behalf of Chinese in Hong Kong one year ago.
57. The representative of China expressed his appreciation for the action of the Australian Government in accepting a large number of refugees of European origin form the mainland of China. This had proved a significant contribution to the solution of this problem. He was particularly interested to note that a colony of Chinese refugee farmers were in the process of being established in Brazil and he requested further information as regards the site which these refugees had chosen, its agricultural possibilities, the qualifications of the farmers who were emigrating and the financial provisions which had been made by the Brazilian Government and UNHCR.
58. In reply the representative of the High Commissioner stated that an advance party of Chinese refugee farmers had been shown several sites in Brazil and had finally chosen one which was close to Brazilia and suitable for market-gardening. Further information would be made available at the tenth session of the Committee.
59. The Committee took note with appreciation of the report on resettlement and expressed approval of the substantial progress made in finding solutions to the problems of refugees through emigration.
Report on the use of the Emergency Fund (item 7 of the agenda)
60. The Committee considered the report on the use of the Emergency Fund (A/AC.96/194) submitted to it by the High Commissioner in accordance with the directives given by the Committee in respect of the use of the Fund. The report showed that in 1962 a total amount of $340,586 had been disbursed from the Fund, including $283,086 for assistance to refugees from Rwanda. This expenditure was largely offset by repayments of loans and cancellation of a formal commitment so that the balance on the Fund amounted to $396,000 as at 31 December 1962.
61. In introducing the report, the representative of the High Commissioner emphasized that the amount of $52,014, which had been taken from the Fund to contribute towards the establishment of a revolving loan fund for housing in France, would be repaid, as an equivalent amount for that purpose would be made available from private sources. He informed the Committee that suggestions concerning the ceiling of the Fund, its future use and the sources which might be available for its replenishment would be submitted to the Committee at its tenth session.
62. The representative of Canada expressed his delegation's satisfaction that funds would be contributed from private sources towards the revolving loan fund for housing in France so that the amount of $52,014 referred to in the report cold be restored to the Fund. He recalled that his delegation had not opposed the original proposal concerning the use to be made of funds in excess of the $500,000 ceiling since a decision of principle had remained in abeyance. His delegation considered, however, that as long as new refugee problems might be expected to arise it might be preferable to consider using repayments accruing in excess of $500,000 to raise the ceiling of the Emergency Fund, since that would give the high Commissioner more flexibility in dealing with new refugee emergencies.
63. In reply to questions by the representative of Switzerland, the representative of the High Commissioner explained that the position of the Fund was reviewed whenever the $500,000 ceiling was reached and also every time an emergency arose. Money accruing to the Fund in excess of the ceiling of $500,000 was put into a suspense account as and when the funds were received. Pending a decision on the ceiling of the Emergency Fund, money accruing to it in excess of $500,000 would not be expended. The representative of Australia was interested to know what would be the income of the Emergency Fund in 1964 and 1965. He also suggested that the advantages and disadvantages of a single fund should be explained in the proposed paper. The representative of the High Commissioner replied that the Office had not had recourse to the Fund since the beginning of 1963, as the complementary assistance programme included an allocation of $700 000 for assistance to new groups of refugees. This allocation, however, would be insufficient to meet the total amount required for assistance to refugees from Rwanda so that the Office might have to draw on the Emergency Fund for that purpose if it could not obtain the necessary resources outside the programme. With regard to the amount of repayments expected in future years, it could be estimated that approximately $300,000 would be received during 1963 and the following years. The suggestions made by the representative of Australia would be taken into account by the Office in submitting plans to the Committee in respect of the possible establishment of a Working Capital Fund.
64. In connexion with the $20,000 allocation made from the Fund towards assistance to refugees within the Mandate of the High Commissioner who had moved from Algeria to France, the representative for France pointed out that as of 15 April 1963 a total of over 1,400 such refugees had arrived in France. He gave the Committee information on the composition of this group of refugees and on the measures of assistance taken by the French Government in that respect. He emphasized that further arrivals could be expected in the course of the year. Details of this statement are given in the summary record of the seventieth meeting.
65. In conclusion, the Executive Committee approved the note on the use of the Emergency Fund.
Provisional financial statements for 1962 (item 9 (a) of the agenda)
66. In introducing the provisional financial statements, the representative of the High Commissioner stated that the auditors had completed their examination of the accounts and that their report would be made available to the Committee as soon as it had been received. He drew attention to the fact that the joint operation of the UNHCR and the League of Red Cross Societies in North Africa had ceased on 31 July 1962 and that the financial statements concerning that operation were included in schedules 8 and 9. Expenditure as from 1 August 1962, in connexion with the relief operation in Algeria, which was a good offices operation, was included in schedule 5.
67. The representative of France pointed out that his government did not appear to have been informed of some of the projects carried out in France which were mentioned in schedule 7 of the document. The representative of the High Commissioner, in reply, explained that these projects had been financed from restricted private contributions made for a specific purpose outside the UNHCR regular programme for 1962 and that such projects were not normally submitted to the Committee for approval. In future, however, they would be transmitted to the French authorities before being implemented.
68. The Executive Committee took note of the provisional financial statements for 1962.
Note on funds committed but not disbursed as of 31 December 1962 (item 9 (b) of the agenda)
69. The Committee considered the note on funds committed but not disbursed as of 31 December 1962 (A/AC.96/197) submitted to it by the High Commissioner pursuant to the wish expressed by some delegations at its eighth session.
70. In introducing the document, the representative of the High Commissioner emphasized that no funds remained undisbursed unless they had been contractually committed to a specific programme or project which had not yet been fully implemented. He pointed out that under the terms of the financial rules for voluntary funds (A/AC.96/148), agreements concerning the implementation of assistance projects could only be designed once all the funds required in respect of the projects where available. Furthermore, the High Commissioner was expected to apply great prudence and care in disbursing the funds available. In the case of projects such as those for housing, in particular, it was normal practice that payment should be made in instalments as and when a satisfactory stage of completion had been reached. It was therefore inevitable that at given moments considerable sums should accumulate in respect of which however the High Commissioner had a contractual obligation. In the meantime, the funds which had thus been obligated and which could not be disbursed were invested. As the programmes where reaching their peak, the amount of disbursements would exceed new commitments in 1963 and 1964, and the funds obligated and undisbursed at the end of 1962 would be utilized at an ever-increasing rate during the next two years.
71. The representative of Australia expressed his delegation's appreciation would also like to receive further data concerning the procedure followed by the Office of the High Commissioner when a surplus remained from the allocation made to a specific project and, inversely, when the allocation to a project proved insufficient. He stated that he would be interested in more information concerning the terminology used in the document. His delegation was also interested to know at what stage proposals for the cancellation of projects and for the reallocation of the amounts involved were submitted to the Committee. He referred in this connexion to the savings in the amount of $1,188,000. In view of the large sum involved, he wondered how such savings could have been brought abut and to what extent such matters, which involved important questions of financial policy, had been submitted to the Executive committee. He was appreciative of the savings which had been effected by the Office of the savings which had been effected by the Office of the High Commissioner and stated that it would be useful for his delegation to receive similar reports in the future.
72. In response to the Australian representative, the representative of the High Commissioner explained that a distinction should be made between the allocations approved by the Executive Committee, the funds actually received by the Office and the funds committee (or obligated, which was used in the same sense). The funds received could only be committed once certain conditions had been met, such as, for instance, the availability of adequate supporting contributions from the country where the project was being put into effect. The position of funds received was being checked every fortnight, and these funds were committed as soon as possible. With regard to the question of authority for the transfer and reallocation of balances, the authority Executive Committee was required at the time when specific projects were submitted to the Committee for approval in respect of every type of assistance. More recently the High Commissioner had been given authority by the Committee to transfer funds from one project to another within the allocations approved by the Committee.
73. With regard to the composition of the amount of $1,188,000, the representative of the High Commissioner explained that it was made up from cancellations of a few larger projects, made possible by the increased resettlement possibilities which had become available for handicapped cases and by the expanding economies in the host countries large part of that figure, however, consisted of small balances and refunds of a considerable number of projects. All of these projects were submitted to constant reappraisal so that any funds which might become available could be transferred to other projects and put to immediate use.
74. In reply to a question by the representative of Belgium, the High Commissioner's representative confirmed that the savings in the amount of $1,188,000, mentioned in paragraph 7 of document A/AC.96/195 had been effected in 1962, and formed part of the total amount of $2,210,397, which represented savings in respect of projects in the UNREF and UNHCR regular programmes put into effect from the beginning of 1955 until 31 December 1962.
75. In conclusion, the Executive Committee took note, with satisfaction, of the report on funds committed and not disbursed by 31 December 1962.
Status of contributions (item 8 of the agenda)
76. In introducing the report on the status of contributions (A/AC.96/195 and Add.1), the High Commissioner recalled that at its previous session the Committee had expressed concern at the status of contributions. He stated that every effort had since been made to obtain the extra contributions required to finance the last major aid programme for "old" European refugees.
77. The gap in the $5 million programme for 1962 had now been met partly through savings. However, in the $6.8 million programme for 1963 there was a gap of nearly $4 million to be bridged. In the framework of the growing movement of international solidarity for the completion of the major aid programmes, extra contributions amounting to nearly $400,000 had been announced to date.
78. With regard to the problems of new groups of refugees, the High Commissioner pointed out that the complementary assistance programme for 1963 included a special allocation of $700,000 which constituted a starting point for the financing of relief programmes. It would be equally important also to have additional contributions to allow for supplementary assistance and to contribute to the relief of new groups of refugees who had not benefited from programmes promoted by his Office.
79. The Committee noted with appreciation that, as indicated in paragraph 10 of document A/AC.96/195, extra contributions to the 1963 major aid programme had been previously announced by the Governments of Ireland ($5,000), Italy ($240,000), Liechtenstein ($3,500), Sweden ($80,000) and Switzerland ($70,000).
80. The Committee also recorded with satisfaction the following announcements of further extra contributions made by the representatives of the Holy See, Greece and the United Kingdom in the course of the general debate:
(a) The representative of the Holy See had indicated that in response to the High commissioner's recent appeal for special contributions to complete the major aid programme for "old" refugees, the Holy See would make a special contribution of $10,000 to the 1963 major aid programme in addition to its regular contribution of $10 000;
(b) The representative of Greece had announced that his Government would make a special contribution of $80,000 to the 1963 major aid programme;
(c) The representative of the united Kingdom had stated that following the High Commissioner's appeal to Governments to double their normal contributions in 1963 in order to permit the conclusion of the 1963 major aid programme, Her Majesty's Government proposed, subject to parliamentary approval, to contribute the sum of £120,000 to the 1963 major aid programme. Of that amount £20,000 would be allocated to ICEM to assist with the resettlement of refugees under that programme. Thereafter her majesty's Government were prepared to subscribe on a 10 per cent matching basis a further sum up to £80,000. If fully taken up this would raise the total United Kingdom contribution for 1963 to £200,000 which was double the annual contribution of the United Kingdom in recent years. Contributions eligible for the matching arrangement would be those of regular contributors exceeding their 1962 donation by any amount up to double that donation, specifically allocated to the major aid programme, and all contributions so allocated from Governments who did not subscribe in 1962 to the High Commissioner's programmes. This offer was therefore designed to stimulate both regular and new contributions, and for obvious reasons would not apply to the contribution of the United States of America which in the past had borne the main burden of support for the High Commissioner and whose generosity in that cause had been unstinting. Her Majesty's Government was of the opinion that if its offer was fully taken up the resources so generated would enable the High Commissioner to reach his target for the combined 1962-1963 programmes. They expect that if this were achieved the High Commissioner would succeed in his plans and the international community could confidently look forward to a considerable reduction in the calls that had been made upon their resources in recent years.
81. In reply to a question by the representative of Australia concerning the way in which the $2 million gap in the $5 million target of the 1962 programme had been bridged, the representative of the High Commissioner explained that $1,188,000 had been saved as a result of a sweeping review carried out in 1962. Further income in an amount of $432,684 had resulted from interest on investments and difference in rates of exchange. Reductions in the size of the allocations approved by the Committee for 1962 had brought about further savings in an amount of approximately half a million dollars.
82. The representative of Australia expressed the hope that the gap in the 1963 programme would be reduced as a result of resourceful initiatives on the part of the High Commissioner's Office, such as the sale of the long-playing record "All Star Festival". While he was aware that those financial contributions which constituted the major part of the income of UNHCR varied from time to time, he considered that it would be useful for the Committee to receive estimates, if such were practicable, from the High Commissioner in respect of the income which he might be in a position to expect from governmental sources, non-governmental sources, further savings in projects and allocations, investments and differences in rates of exchange. He would also be interested in an assessment of the possible proceeds of the long-playing of which over 80,000 copies had already been sold.
83. In reply, the High Commissioner stated that while it was very difficult to make forecasts he could already say that the interest from investments in 1963 would be similar to that for 1962; the income resulting from savings in the programme would probably be small in comparison with those made in 1962. As for the long-playing record, both the sales price and the net proceeds to UNHCR varied from country to country. He would however try to obtain the necessary data for the Committee.
84. In conclusion the Executive Committee took note with interest of the report on the status of contributions. It was aware that the financial target of $6.8 million for the 1963 programme was still far from being reached. The Committee was gratified by the support given to the Office of the High Commissioner by Governments which had already announced special contributions to the 1963 programme. It also paid tribute to the High Commissioner for the initiatives which he had taken in the field of fund raising and particularly as regards the launching of the record "All Star Festival". The Committee accordingly expressed the hope that, thanks to the joint efforts of the members of the international community, the amount of nearly $4 million which was still lacking to ensure the completion of the 1963 programme would be secured, thus enabling the High Commissioner to bring to a successful conclusion the major aid programme for "old" refugees.
ANNEX I Statement by the High Commissioner
It is a pleasure to me, Mr. Chairman, to see here again for this short session of the Executive Committee the representatives of countries whose attachment to the humanitarian aims of the High Commissioner's Office has never wavered, and without whose support any useful and effective work would be impossible.
As I have already had occasion to say, the Office of the High Commissioner has now reached an important stage in its history. So far as material assistance is concerned, there are three main tasks to be performed during this stage.
First, the last major programmes on behalf of the "old" refugees falling within the mandate must be wound up. The projects for this purpose have been approved by the Executive Committee as part of the 1962 and 1963 programmes. We now have to see that they are carried out and to find the necessary funds for this purpose, which is what we are busily engaged in at this moment.
Secondly, and still with regard to the refugees within the mandate, the High Commissioner's Offices had to ensure that the unsettled refugees do not gradually re-form into a dense mass with all the accompanying distress and bitterness that that involves.
Thirdly, the Office has also to tackle some new refugee problems in Africa - problems whose development the members of the Executive Committee have already been able to follow through the various reports that have been prepared for them.
To deal with these last two tasks, a current programme for complementary assistance has been prepared for 1963 and approved by the committee. This programme represents a first practical attempt to determine the needs which the High Commissioner's Office will be called upon to meet in the years to come in order, on the one hand, to supplement, as necessary and warrantable, the assistance rendered to refugees by the host country Governments the voluntary agencies, USEP and ICEM and on the other hand, to provide the best solution for new refugee problems as they arise.
So far as the European refugees are concerned, the execution of this programme, which is designed on new lines, has barely begun; we need more time for checking the estimates on which it is based and for judging the efficacy of our methods. Not till then shall we be able to submit for the Committee's approval a plan of action for 1964. The same problem arises in connexion with that part of the current programme which relates to new refugees. Here again by September we shall have a better idea of the needs, and be able to make detailed proposals to the committee.
It is these considerations that have prompted me to ask the Committee to postpone until the autumn session the discussion usually held in the spring of our plans for the following year.
I should now like, however, to deal rather more fully with the various points on which, as I have said, the activity of the High Commissioner's Office is at present concentrated, so far as material assistance is concerned.
The major programmes of aid to those whom we call the "old" European refugees are, as you know, in process of being wound up. We have not yet been able, however, to assemble all the funds necessary for carrying out the last assistance projects approved by the Executive committee, and this somewhat tempers the optimism I should undoubtedly have displayed had I considered only the results achieved in recent years. The progress recorded in 1962 is indeed satisfactory: more than 12,000 refugees settled under our programmes - as many as in 1961, a year which benefited very largely from the stimulus provided by World Refugee Year. In previous years, the average number of refugees settled through our programme was no more than 8,000. At 1 January 1963, the number of refugees permanently settled through the High Commissioner's programme was 70,000. Of the 30,000 "old" refugees whom we still have to settle in order to liquidate this residual problem, 16,000 are covered by the 1962-1963 programme, the other 14,000 having been included in previous programme. It will certainly not have escaped the Committee's attention that, the closer we come to completing this task, the more difficult individual cases become. Provided, however, that the resettlement rate is maintained at its present level and that the necessary funds are available, there is no reason to suppose that we shall not be able to resettle the 30, 000 refugees to whom I have just referred by the end of 1965.
As regards the more handicapped cases, the detailed list drawn up by Dr. Jensen has, as you know, been a great help to us. Of the 850 persons whom he examined, fewer than 500 still remain to be resettled and I am convinced that, thanks to the goodwill and understanding of those Governments which have already indicated their wish to participate in this last-chance effort, we shall find opportunities of resettlement for at least some of these extreme cases. In any event, I shall be able, at the Executive Committee's next session, to report on the situation and submit to the Committee definitive proposals for what I hope will be a final solution of this particular problem. The reason why I have mentioned it again here is that it brings out the qualitative aspect, the human and not merely the statistical side, of our work, which is now being directed to areas where refugees' settlement prospects are, owing to local conditions, extremely limited.
The Committee will also, no doubt, have noted that the number of refugees in camps who came under our programme fell from 6,700 on 1 January 1962 to 3,400 on 1 January 1963. Here, too, we have come to the end of our camp clearance programme, which by the close of this year may be regarded as complete, except for some 600 refugees who will still be in temporary camp accommodation in Germany, until the housing being built for them is ready at the beginning of 1964.
There is therefore every prospect that the great every prospect that the great humanitarian task in which so many countries have generously participated, and which in the end will have enabled some 100,000 "old" refugees to be settled, will soon be discharged. Only when it is finally completed, however, will its full significance become apparent and the international community itself begin to derive from it all the benefit that it is entitled to expect. That does not, of course, mean that all the problems which the international community set out to tackle will have been finally solved, nor does it mean that the Governments of the host countries and the voluntary agencies concerned with refugees will in future have nothing more to worry about; on the contrary, they will still have a heavy burden to carry a burden which in the view which has always prevailed in the High Commissioner's Office, is their normal responsibility.
There is, however, a shadow on the horizon which doubtless has not escaped the notice of members of the Committee. While the arrears constituted by the refugees not settled on 1 January 1961 are being cleared, new refugees are arriving, new problems arising which demand our attention. An examination of the statistics prepared as usual at the beginning of the year reveals a growing tendency for groups of unsettled refugees to emerge for whom, despite all the progress that has been achieved in the spheres both of legal protection and of emigration, solutions have not been found as quickly as they should have been. Thus, the number of unsettled refugees in the principal countries receiving assistance under the programme rose from 4,400 on 1 January 1962 to 6,500 on 31 December, an increase of 2,100 in twelve months. During the same year, however, the number of new arrivals alone in these countries also amounted to 6,500, which shows that while a very considerable effort has been made, it is not yet sufficient to achieve the desired result, namely, to prevent the gradual reconstitution of the expanding residual group.
This problem indeed, affects all the main countries of first asylum, whether countries where there are no camps so that refugees, at least for the time being, have to become integrated where they are, or whether they are generally transit countries were refugees have to stay in camps until they can emigrate. Thus, uncles precautions are taken, the whole question of asylum could arise suddenly, in more or less acute form, so that it is essential, so long as refugee problems continue, to keep intact the machinery of international solidarity which, through the years, has proved its value as a necessary counterpart to the host countries' generosity. Assistance for emigration, to which we shall have occasion to return in discussing item 6 of the agenda, and assistance for integration, as envisaged in the current programme for complementary assistance, are the two main aspects of this delicate and complex machinery, which is based on the search for a constant and equitable balance between the burdens borne by the countries of asylum and the effort accepted by the international community in order, in case of need, to help these countries and, through them, the refugees who would otherwise have to suffer from the inability of the countries of asylum to bear alone the burdens resulting from the refugees' admission.
The last point I have to make in my general remarks on the European aspect of the current programme for complementary assistance relates to the desire expressed, at previous sessions, by the Yugoslav representative that the Office of the High Commissioner should interest itself in the situation of the refugees who have been admitted to Yugoslavia. The further contacts which we have recently had on this subject with the Yugoslav authorities show that they would welcome the co-operation of our Office within the framework of the current assistance programme. Such assistance, which is already rendered for emigration, might then be extended to the local integration of new arrivals who cannot or do not wish to emigrate. Possible ways and means of such assistance are being studied and I shall keep the Committee informed of the results of the investigations which a member of my staff has recently carried out in Yugoslavia.
The second objective of the current programme for complementary assistance is, as you know, to help to solve the new refugee problems. Here the work of the High Commissioner's Office is governed by two important considerations: first, the speed with which it is obliged to act because of the urgency of needs and the generally dramatic character which they present from the very beginning; secondly the fact that its efforts serve primarily as a catalyst and cannot by themselves pretend to meet all requirements but are aimed rather at mobilizing all possible assistance, including, when this is found necessary, that of the international community. The plans which we draw up in such circumstances are conceived with a specific target in mind to be reached as quickly as possible and at minimum expense to the international community.
Perhaps the Chairman will permit me in a few minutes to ask the Deputy High Commissioner to give the Committee a rather more detailed account of our work on behalf of the new refugee groups. I myself would simply like to say how pleased I am with the results already obtained. Following the successful conclusion, last year, of the repatriation of the Algerian refugees, we have just brought our Togo operation to an end and are new completing a limited programme of resettlement of Angola refugees in the Congo. At present, therefore, our attention is focused on the refugees from Rwanda who are being cared for in four neighbouring countries. The Deputy High Commissioner will tell you about our problems in this connexion, as well as about the importance which we attach to the closest and most detailed co-operation possible with the other United Nations agencies which are in a position to provide useful assistance in this task.
After this description of our programmes, I should like to say a word about the financing of them. What is our situation in this respect?
As indicated in document A/AC96/195, our own efforts, together with a certain number of favourable circumstances, made it possible to ensure the financing of the 1962 programme. I am not, unfortunately, able to say the same about the 1963 programme. In spite of the encouraging results already obtained at the European level following the demonstration of solidarity which the Council of Europe did so much to stimulate, we are still far from having reached our set target of $6.8 million. I am firmly convinced, however, that other special contributions will soon be added to the very generous ones which have already been made by Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Sweden and Switzerland. I am confident that Governments are determined that the great work in which they have taken such a large part shall not be left uncompleted. I hope, therefore, to be in a position next autumn to give the Committee some reassuring news in this respect.
As regards the 1964 programme, I am unable, for the reasons already given, to make any specific proposals at the preset time. We should bear in mind, however, that the allocations provided for under the first experimental programme for the current year were arrived at by purely conjectural estimates which were not based on any exact knowledge of the needs to be met. Moreover, this new programme was being carried out pari passu with the last of the major programme for "old" refugees, and its cost obviously had to be reduced as much as possible in order to allow for the maximum effort which could be expected form the international community during the present year of 1963.
At this time, I do not intend to anticipate the results of the detailed study in which we are currently engaged. But neither do I intend to disguise the problems which confront us. I am thinking in particular of the refugees from Rwanda, for whom we provide an allocations under the 1963 programme which has proved inadequate. On the other hand, I can inform the Committee that, in accordance with the view which we have expressed again and again, we shall definitely keep, in our forecasts, to the bare minimum needed to cope effectively with the problems which it is the responsibility of this Office to help solve. At the present time, we are engaged in studying the situation country by country, in full realization of the fact that any action on the part of the international community, in the form of continuing aid of a complementary nature, depends both on the scope of the refugee problems with which each of these countries must cope and on the latter's actual inability to meet the vital needs of the refugees being cared for by them.
Now that the monumental task in which we have been engaged for eight years of uninterrupted effort is drawing to a close, so that we must consequently revise the UNHCR's assistance activities with a view to adapting them to current needs, we are also naturally impelled to review both our administrative budget and our methods of financing.
With respect to the latter, we must bear in mind that in future we shall no longer be longer be able to draw on financial resources comparable with those which have hitherto been available to support the major programme and ensure their continuity. Henceforth our efforts will be directed to meeting needs as they arise. Since the pledged or promised contributions of Governments are, in general, paid fairly late in the year, the High Commissioner's Office will not be able to accomplish its daily task unless it has an adequate working capital fund. Thanks to the financial resources which are still available during the present period of transition, I hope that we will succeed in finding some way of establishing such a fund. Certain representatives have asked me whether it would not be advisable, with a view to allowing he Office the necessary flexibility and efficiency, to raise considerably the ceiling of the Emergency Fund, which is at present fixed at $500,000. These various questions are now under study and will be dealt with in a document to be submitted to the Committee for its autumn session. In this study we shall take into consideration all the factors of the problem, relating both to the tasks assumed by the Office and to the resources on which it can reasonably count in order to accomplish them. As regards the working capital fund for example, we are looking for some way to establish it without appealing to Governments but by using instead the secondary sources on which the Office can still count, such as the repayment of loans for refugees housing, interest on investments and cancellations, adjustments of projects after other priority obligations have been met.
The change in the tasks of the High Commissioner's Office naturally calls for a simultaneous adjustment of its administrative budget. This adjustment, which should follow step by step the progress made in implementing the final aid programmes for "old" refugees, had already begun. For example, reductions have been made in the staff of the offices in Austria and Italy. At Vienna and Rome, in particular, we have made careful studies with a view to determining how many staff need later be assigned to these two posts, in the light of the regular duties which they will be called upon to perform. And we are drawing up plans for a smooth adjustment to be carried out between now and the beginning of 1965. In this same connexion, I might mention the closing of our office in Tunis, where the protection of refugees will from now on be in the hands of an honorary representative. The head of our Algiers mission has also been recalled to other duties, while the staff of the Morocco office has already been reduced. Lastly, one final point in connection with these administrative and financial problem: in my opinion, the charge on the assistance budget for administrative expenditure, amounting this year to $600,000 as against $650,000 in 1962, including $70,000 for the Algerian operation, should be, if not eliminated, at least gradually reduced in 1964 and 1965, during which years the final major programmes approved in 1962-1963 will still be in course of execution. The obvious difficulty is that during this period when these programmes are being completed. We can hardly ask for voluntary contributions towards their administrative costs. If it proves absolutely necessary to draw on the resources of the high Commissioner's Office for this purpose during 1964 and 1965 - the sums involved are estimated at $350,000 and $100,000 respectively it is our intention to charge these expenses in the main against the interest due from the funds still available to us for financing these programmes.
When these exceptional tasks have been accomplished and the Office can concentrate on its essential duties of providing protection and assistance, I think that the whole of this administrative expenditure should then be included, in conformity with article 20 of the Statute, in the administrative budget of the United Nations.
After this rapid review of the problems arising out of the development of the Office's work in the field of material assistance, I should like now to take stock very briefly of the progress made in carrying out the Office's primary duty towards refugees recognized as within its mandate, international protection.
First of all, I have great pleasure in informing the Committee that since its last meeting two new States, Algeria and Ghana, have acceded to the Convention of 28 July 1951, bringing the number of signatory States up to thirty-nine I would mention in this connexion one fact that seems to me to be significant, namely, that of the fifteen ratifications obtained since 1960, ten are by African States. In the same period two Governments have withdrawn the reservations they had made when acceding to the Convention: Switzerland its reservation to article 24, thereby greatly improving with respect to old age and disability insurance the legal status of the refugees sheltered by that country; and Denmark its reservation to article 14, concerning artistic rights and industrial property.
At the Committee's last session I informed you of the steps taken to induce the six States members of the European Economic Community to extend to refugees the benefit of the arrangements made for their own nationals under the Treaty of Rome, more particularly with regard to the free movement of workers within the Community. This is a concrete example of the efforts which must be constantly pursued in the present historical context to ensure that refugees not only are not forgotten, but in fact participate to the full in the advantages accruing from the trend towards a gradual change in the relations between States. In this connexion I am happy to inform you that the European Parliament approved at its most recent session, and transmitted to the Council of the European Economic Community, a draft regulation under which refugees recognized as such within the meaning of the Convention of July 1951 and residing in the territory of one of the Community's member States are assimilated to nationals of that State. This provision is also applicable to the stateless persons covered by the New York Convention of 1954.
With great satisfaction, too, I recently learned of the Belgian Government's decision to grant labour permits of unlimited validity, regardless of the labour-market situation, not only, as hitherto, to refugees meeting the conditions of article 17 paragraph 2, of the Convention, in other words, to those who have resided in Belgium for only two years, but also to refugees who have worked there for only two years and whose families live in Belgium with them. These refugees will henceforth be treated on the same footing as French, German and Italian workers.
I think the Committee will also wish me to say a word about the discussions which recently took place at Vienna within the framework of the United Nations Conference on Consular Relations. We had sent a memorandum to the Governments participating in the Conference drawing their attention to the special position of refugees under certain measures contemplated in connexion with the protection of nationals by their consuls. A new article had been proposed by nine Governments of which only two, Argentina and Nigeria, are not members of this Committee. Under the terms of this article, States would not be bound to regard another State's consul as competent to act on behalf of one of that other State's nationals who was recognized as a refugee unless the national so requested. However, as the result of objections by a number of countries, a sub-committee has prepared a draft resolution stating that the Conference takes note of the memorandum submitted by the Office of the High Commissioner and requests the Secretary-General of the United Nations to submit to the appropriate organs of the United Nations for consideration, all documents or records concerning the discussion of this question, on which the Conference is for the time being refraining from taking a decision. This draft resolution, which was adopted by the First Committee by 61 votes with 6 abstentions, is to be submitted to the Conference in plenary meeting. I will inform the Committee later of the outcome of these discussions.
To conclude with the subject of international protection, I would like to give the Committee a few details of the progress made in the implementation of the Indemnification Agreement concluded on 5 October 1960 between the Office of the High Commissioner and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Of the applications received, numbering about 40,000, 9,000 were held to be unacceptable, most of them because the applicants did not fulfil the conditions which would have given them refugee status. The Secretariat has taken 9,000 decisions, more than half of them positive, on the substance of other applications. An amount of more than $US 1 million has been distributed among the beneficiaries, most of whom reside in Europe, on the American continent or in Australia. This sum represents only a part of the indemnities which will be paid over to those concerned; a second and larger payment will be made when a decision has been taken on a number of cases large enough to enable the share to be allotted to each beneficiary to be assessed. All being well, this point will be reached before next autumn. There is reason to hope, therefore, that a major part of the administrative work in connection with the implementation of the Agreement will have been completed by the end of the present year.
In this report I have referred to the Offices regular partner, namely, the voluntary agencies, USEP and ICEM. To say that their assistance is of the utmost value to us would be an understatement; their co-operation is in many respects essential, and indeed vital, to this Office. It is difficult to see how the Office could hope to perform its duties, whether in material assistance or in the field of emigration, if it were not able to rely on one or the other of these partners or on all three of them together. Our readiness to co-operate with these organizations is, therefore, entire; it has always imbued, and will never cease to imbue, the close and cordial relations we have with them.
I have also mentioned our desire to develop to the greatest possible extent the co-operation which already exists between ourselves an other organs or specialized agencies of the United Nations and which has proved particularly fruitful and rewarding in connection with the Office's work n behalf of new groups of refugees.
In both cases our aim has been to achieve to the maximum that essential co-ordination of effort by which alone the best joint use can be made of the facilities available to each, in the attainment of a common objective.
Perhaps you will allow me, Mr. Chairman, to recall in conclusion that this year the Red Cross is celebrating its centenary, and to extend both to the International Committee of the Red Cross and to the League of Red Cross, Red Crescent and Red Lion and Sun Societies, which likewise have participated so closely, or are still doing so, in the accomplishment of our task, my warmest and sincerest good wishes for the continuance of the great humanitarian work with which they are and always will be identified.
Finally, I should, I think, be failing in my duty if I did not refer briefly to the lofty terms in which his Holiness Pope John XXIII mentioned the refugee problem in his recent encyclical on peace among all nations. The words of encouragement which His Holiness was good enough to address to all those who are doing their utmost to heal this wound in the body of the international community will, I feel sure, meet with a heartfelt response; for us, I need hardly say, those words are a matter of deep satisfaction.
ANNEX II Statement by the Deputy High Commissioner concerning assistance to new refugees groups
As the High Commissioner has just said, the refugees from Rwanda form one of the new refugee groups with which we are at present most concerned.
Before discussing this topic and its related problems, however, it may be useful briefly t review what has already been done in this new branch of UNHCR's activity, which, as you know, comes under the heading of "good offices".
As regards the Algerian ex-refugees, I shall merely recall that following the success of the repatriation operations carried out jointly with the League of Red Cross Societies, the League has undertaken assistance work in Algeria itself from which these refugees should derive considerable benefit. In June 1962, the High Commissioner's Office, being anxious to meet the wishes of the General Assembly by taking such further action as might still be required to facilitate the resettlement of the ex-refugees in their own country, joined with the League in an appeal to Governments to support the League's action in the border areas where most of the persons in question live. This appeal did not go unanswered, and many Governments have contributed, in money and in kind, to an operation which is so happily continuing the work done in the past by UNHCR and the League of Red Cross, Red Crescent and Red Sun Societies. When it recently thanked the High Commissioner for the support given by him to this programme the Algerian Government asked him to extend its gratitude and that of the Algerian people to the Government and private donors who had responded to the appeal addressed to them on that occasion. I am very happy to transmit this message to the Committee today, and on behalf of the High Commissioner, myself and the Office as a whole, I should like to add the expression of our own deep appreciation.
In Togo, too, UNHCR action has been completed. Although the original idea was that the approximately 4,000 refugees in need of UNHCR assistance should be covered by a programme for the development of certain areas of Togo, it seemed more practical to deal with the refugee problem separately. It was indeed urgently necessary to enable the refugees to become self-supporting, and not to permit a continuation of hardships which could only grow progressively worse. A plan of limited action was therefore drawn up and carried out, and all the refugees I have mentioned were re-established in various occupations, mostly agricultural, at the cost of a very modest financial outlay by the High Commissioner's Office. The expert whom we had appointed for that purpose was thus able to leave Lomé last month, with his mission accomplished.
The initial programme for resettling the refugees from Angola in the Congo in regions close to their point of arrival has also, on the whole, been successfully completed. However, the risks inherent in such a large-scale operation, and also the new arrivals registered during the past year, have induced us to undertake an additional programme, which has been described in general terms in information document A/AC.96/189. Once this programme has been taken to rehabilitate these refugees and enable will have been taken to rehabilitate these refugees and enable them henceforth to satisfy their own basic needs.
At present, therefore, the main remaining problem is that of the refugees from Rwanda; for although the action taken on their behalf by the High Commissioner's Office has already produced results, it is still far from being completed. I shall not refer in detail to the various projects which have been drawn up for the settlement of these refugees in the four countries which have admitted them - Burundi, the Congo (Leopoldville), Uganda and Tanganyika. These projects, which are described in document A/AC.96/190, are divided, as you have seen, into two categories: those belonging to the basic programme, aimed at meeting the basic vital needs of the refugees, and those included in the supplementary programme, which is aimed at giving the refugees an opportunity to improve their living conditions and to consolidate their settlement in the host country. The fact that we have made this distinction is, I think significant. It clearly illustrates the objectives which the High Commissioner's Office is pursuing in this matter, and which are primarily to enable the refugees to make a new life for themselves, on a level comparable with that of the indigenous populations, while leaving the door open to possible improvements which can facilitate, both materially and psychologically, their resettlement, in particular by making resettlement more attractive. All measures taken along these lines should, of course, be included within the general development plans of the countries in question. In this connexion, the UNHCR chargés de mission have established contact with the representatives of the various specialized agencies or similar bodies represented in those countries and are working in close touch with them and, of course, with the Governments themselves. Moreover, we have established contact with the directors of these bodies, and particularly with the Technical Assistance Board, FAO, UNICEF, and the ILO, with a view to investigating the possibilities of even closer co-operation which will enable us to make the best possible use of practical and financial resources of each of them. The Technical Assistance Board has already promised us the assistance of several experts who will help to prepare and launch projects for the resettlement of refugees from Rwanda in Burundi and the Congo. It is still too early to say how far this co-operation can go, but the Committee will certainly be interested to know that we are deliberately working in this direction.
An encouraging feature which becomes apparent when these efforts of the High Commissioner's Office on behalf of new group of refugees are considered as a whole is the generosity and the spirit of realism displayed by the Governments of the countries of reception. The vast areas of arable land placed at the refugees' disposal provide a concrete example of this outstanding co-operative spirit. Nevertheless, the pioneering work that we then invite the refugees to carry out is in itself an arduous labour, calling for both energy and perseverance. One cannot really be surprised if those concerned are sometimes frightened by the innumerable difficulties they have to overcome in making this virgin territory yield crops where nature is both exuberant and hostile. This means that they must be made to find for the refugees the most suitable sites for settlement.
When the land has been cleared and the crops have been sown, the refugees must, of course, continue to be supplied, till the crops have ripened, with the food rations they need in order to subsist. In this connexion, we are trying to overcome the tendency sometimes shown by certain refugees to limit the area under cultivation in such a way that the future crops provide only a modest supplement to the food rations they are accustomed to receive, although the distribution of these rations must be regarded as exceptional and temporary. It is, indeed, essential for each refugee family to develop a large enough area to enable it eventually to become entirely self-supporting.
I have mentioned these few practical aspects, these daily vicissitudes, of UNHCR's work on behalf of the new refugee groups in Africa both to illustrate the many problems which the Office must help in solving and to emphasize how difficult, if not impossible, it is to foretell exactly when a resettlement operation of this size can definitely be regarded as completed. We must therefore continue to draw up plans that are limited in both time and scope; and we must then do all we can to carry them out within the time laid down. Our experience with the refugees from Angola and Rwanda shows, however, that UNHCR must also be prepared to intervene again, and, if need be, to promote further action to fill in the gaps and complete where necessary the work started under its impulsion.
The aim of this work is, I repeat, none other than to enable the refugees to become basically self-supporting and play a useful part in the activity and economic development of the host countries as soon as possible, instead of continuing to be a burden on them. To this end, the Office of the High Commissioner tries to mobilize all possible assistance, thus keeping at a minimum the financial aid which Governments are called upon, though UNHCR, to provide.
There is one last point which seems worth emphasizing: it is the flexibility and speed with which we must act to meet these new refugee situations if we wish to prevent them from deteriorating and rapidly assuming proportions which might in some cases become catastrophic. From now on, the Office of the High Commissioner can rely on the good offices procedure to ensure flexibility: without having to identify the underlying causes of this or that refugee problem in each individual for practical solutions to the humanitarian problem involved. Action taken under the good offices procedure can, of course, in no way prejudice the possible eligibility or ineligibility of the refugees benefiting from such action for assistance under the mandate. Should a problem eventually arise that was not one of material assistance, but one of legal protection, the Office of the High Commissioner would have full latitude to assess the eligibility of the claimants under its mandate, and it would therefore be able to intervene within the framework of its traditional functions of international protection.
I may perhaps be allowed, in ending this brief outline, to tell the Committee how much we owe to the League of Red Cross Societies, one of our principal partners in this activity on behalf of the new groups of refugees, and also to the local voluntary agencies and particularly the religious missions on the spot, which have all devoted themselves unstintingly to the task of meeting situations, sometimes of extreme urgency, in which the initial problem was not to provide the refugees with a decent subsistence, but purely and simply to save them from death by starvation.
All who have given this support to UNHCR - Governments, voluntary agencies and organizations attached directly or indirectly to the great United Nations family - are operating today in a constructive activity which, while conceived primarily in the interests of the refugees, is also of advantage to the countries of reception, an activity in which all, I am sure, will one day be able to take pride.
1 Except for statistical and financial data which largely relate to the calendar year.
2 Refugees qualifying for assistance under these programmes and whose needs were known as of 31 December 1960.
3 April 1962 to 31 March 1963, except for statistical and financial data which largely relate to the calendar year.
4 Resolutions 1286 (XIII), 1389 (XIV), 1500 (XV) and 1672 (XVI).
5 Resolutions 11167 (XII), 1388 (XIV), 1499 (XV), 1671 (XVI), 1673 (XVI) and 1784 (XVII).
6 Including $231,055 from the proceeds of the Joint UNHCR/UNRWA Stamp Plan.