Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations General Assembly Official Records: Twenty-first Session
Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Supplement No.11 (A/6311/Rev.1)
1. During the year 1965 the Office of the United Nations High commissioner for Refugees continued its work of protection and assistance, not without considerable anxiety at times because of the proliferation of refugees in some regions of the world. Owing to events, this work has constantly increased in scope, while at the same time its nerve centre has been shifting from Europe towards Africa and Asia.
2. In Europe, fortunately, the situation today seems to be stabilized. From the point of view of material assistance, the problem of the "old refugees", to the solution of which so many efforts have been devoted during the last ten years, may now be considered to belong to the past. In the present state of the economies of the host countries, and provided, of course, that there are no new and unexpected upheavals, it can be assumed that it will be possible for those countries, with the modest but effective assistance of the present programme, to cope not only with the inevitable aftermath of the former problems but with the various instances of the limited but constant movement of new refugees. In Europe, therefore, protection is once again assuming the primary place that was originally assigned to it in the activities of the High Commissioner's Office, upon which it lays obligations that are as diverse as they are compelling, since they cover the manifold aspects of advisory, administrative and legal aid, in their broadest sense. It is indeed through this persistent daily effort to mobilize in each country the co-operation and energy required for the solution, from day to day, of the innumerable individual problems connected with the refugee status that the Office is endeavouring to prevent a recurrence of the earlier situation, characterized by the desperate crowding of refugees in the camps and by so much stark misery. Let us remember that in Europe emigration occupies an important place in the solution of the refugee problem. The Office of the High Commissioner has accordingly continued to encourage the countries of immigration to adopt a more and more liberal policy with regard to the admission of refugees, especially handicapped refugees.
3. During the same period there has been a considerable increase in the number of refugees in Africa, which is now approaching 600,000. New groups have appeared in the Central African Republic and Zambia, while the number of refugees whom various countries were already sheltering has itself been increasing. In developing countries which have no large stocks of food and no solid economic structures that would enable them to deal unaided with these sudden influxes of population, the first task of the Office of the High Commissioner has been to see that the essential and immediate needs of refugees are supplied, after which it has worked with the Governments concerned, and at their specific request, to seek ways of overcoming once and for all the problems which affect, in some cases seriously, their social, economic and political balance.
4. The general objectives towards which the Office of the High Commissioner is working in Africa and Asia are no different from what they have always been: freely agreed repatriation when that is possible, failing that, integration on the spot or - and this is much rarer in Africa - emigration to other host countries. Where there is, generally speaking, a difference is in the ways and means of attaining the objective which is most often sought: namely, the establishment of the refugees on land made available to them by the Governments of the countries which have given them asylum. Here it has been necessary to adapt the methods to the individual conditions of each of those countries. Moreover, in drawing up the integration plans the Office of the High Commissioner has naturally sought the technical advice of the various specialized agencies of the United Nations which are concerned, on the spot, with the economic and social development of the countries in question. Their collaboration is even more necessary in cases where the work initiated by the High Commissioner's Office for the benefit of the refugees alone is to be consolidated for the benefit of all the people of the country or zone concerned. Consequently, whether it is a question of protection or assistance, the work of the High Commissioner's Office in dealing with the new refugee problems is fundamentally unchanged: all it needs is to be suitably adapted to the particular needs which arise from the very nature of the environment in which the refugees are to settle.
5. A rapid review of the results achieved brings out two points: the first is that only prompt, flexible and pragmatic action on the part of the High Commissioner's Office can make it possible to circumvent the problems in good time, to prevent the most harmful consequences or developments, and to tackle their practical, and if possible final, solution successfully and constructively. While there have been delays, and even disappointments, here and there, they have been due mainly to circumstances and to the vicissitudes of the internal political life of the countries concerned. Nevertheless, multilateral aid, in the form and the humanitarian spirit that the High Commissioner's Office imparts to it, appears to have proved, once and for all, its value and effectiveness.
6. Another point that the experience gained, especially during the last twelve months, seems to have brought out is that in many cases this action should be somewhat intensified and prolonged if its results are not to be prejudiced or questioned. The necessary support for longer-term assistance for the development of the whole country or region is not something that is easily organized. It requires time, and for the refugees, uprooted as they are, such delays may prove harmful, if not catastrophic. It therefore seems essential that the High Commissioner's action should be continued up to the point at which it can provide a solid basis for the integration of the refugees and for the subsequent action to be taken in the more general framework of the development of the country in question. Moreover, the financing of programmes for regional development covering both refugees and the local population raises a delicate problem which the High Commissioner's Office is making every effort to solve, in co-operation with the Governments and specialized agencies concerned.
7. Thus the events which have occurred in past years and which have brought about the extraordinary geographical expansion of the activities of the Office of the High Commissioner have in no way affected the unity of its work. The example of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where a strong intervention was necessary to prevent the carrying out of an expulsion order in 1964 applying to all the Rwandese refugees who were being sheltered in that country, is enough to demonstrate, if that were necessary, the close interdependence of protection and assistance. In fact, the assistance in connexion with integration of this particular group of refugees had to be interrupted until the necessary guarantees for their establishment there had been obtained. The purely legal function of the Office of the High Commissioner and its social function are more often than not practically inseparable, whatever the theatre of operation may be.
8. Another point to be noted, at the close of this year of intensive work carried on within an increasingly extensive geographical framework which reflects the universality of the mission entrusted to the Office of the High Commissioner, is the increasing support of the international community for the principles governing the Office's activities and the rules established by the Convention of 28 July 1951 on the attitude to be adopted and the guarantees to be granted to refugees by the countries sheltering them. It is encouraging to note the respect that is generally shown, on all continents, to the humanitarian principle of the right of asylum and its corollary of not driving refugees back to their country of origin. Similarly, there is cause for satisfaction in the favourable reactions of many Governments to the draft protocol which was drawn up at the seminar held at Bellagio last year and which is designed to extend the effects ratione personae of the Convention to refugees who are victims of events that have occurred since 1 January 1951.
9. There is still need, however, for a tremendous effort to extend this support still further and to consolidate it, to have it inscribed in the texts and to ensure that it does not remain a dead letter. Only thus will it be possible to create the most favourable conditions for prompt and satisfactory solution of the refugee problem. It is impossible to exaggerate the importance, in this respect, of the action of regional organizations such as the Organization of African Unity, the Organization of American States and the Council of Europe. Praise is also due to the very many voluntary organizations, including the League of Red Cross Societies, without whose generous support the Office of the High Commissioner, which is a non-operational body, would often lack the intermediary it needs for the carrying out its programme. In this context mention should also be made of the role played by national or inter-governmental agencies such as the United States Escapee Programme (USEP) and the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration (ICEM).
10. In short, it seems that the progress of international co-operation in the refugee question is both real and continuous. It leaves the door wide open for concerted action, corresponding to today's increasing needs, on the part of the various organizations which, whether in the public or private, national or international, sector, take part in the solution of the refugee problem, from a distance or close at hand. Faithful to the demands of its mandate, the Office of the High Commissioner works unremittingly to arouse, stimulate and co-ordinate their action, without ever departing from the neutrality that its purely humanitarian and social mission imposes upon it.
CHAPTER I INTERNATIONAL CO-OPERATION IN FAVOUR OF REFUGEES
A. General observations
11. In his report to the General Assembly at its twentieth session, the High commissioner stated the importance which he attaches to the motto of International Co-operation Year, "peace and progress through co-operation". Another year has since elapsed in which relations with Governments and other organizations have been further developed for the benefit of refugees. The serious problems which nowadays face the Office of the High Commissioner call for the concerted efforts of governmental, municipal and local authorities, and of inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations alike. They also demand the support of the public at large, of the Press, radio and television, and of other media of information which are so important in the humanitarian field. Constant efforts are accordingly being made to utilize every source of goodwill that can be geared to the work of assistance to refugees.
12. The new pattern of co-operation is developing steadily so that whenever a new problem arises, a mechanism of assistance is readily available and can be put into motion at short notice with the co-operation of the authorities and organizations that are, in the circumstances, in the best position to help. Largely through this co-operative effort it has proved possible to launch and implement a number of comprehensive programmes for important groups of refugees, which have been brought to a successful conclusion. Only by maintaining and expanding this effort will it be possible to contain the new problems now facing the international community in the field of assistance to refugees.
B. Co-operation with Governments and local authorities
13. The work of the Office of the High Commissioner continues to depend, very largely, on the support and co-operation received from Governments. This support is playing an increasingly significant role in view of the fact that during the past year, the Governments of over sixty countries were in one way or another connected with the work of the Office. Each of these countries has welcomed refugees who are the concern of this Office. Over fifty-five made financial contributions to the work of the Office in 1965 and, at the time of writing this report, the fiftieth accession to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees was expected in the very near future.
14. The growing interest shown by Governments in the work of UNHCR was highlighted in three resolutions adopted by the General Assembly at its twentieth session. The Assembly decided to dedicate United Nations Day, 1966, to the cause of refugees, invited States Members of the United Nations and members of the specialized agencies to increase their support for the humanitarian action of the High Commissioner's Office and asked them to devote special attention to the problems of refugees in Africa. Since his election in December 1965 the High Commissioner has consulted with a number of Governments on the manifold tasks facing his Office. Visits were made by senior officials of UNHCR to at least twenty countries where the problems of refugees are particularly acute, and where assistance programmes have been put into effect or new problems of refugees are being investigated by UNHCR. Essential governmental support was given in all the countries concerned. Particular mention should be made of the role played by the local authorities. They are in many cases in daily contact with the refugees and are often responsible for the implementation of assistance programmes. Their co-operation is, therefore, an indispensable part of the mechanism of international solidarity for assistance to refugees.
C. Co-operation with members of the United Nations family and other inter-governmental organizations
15. For many years now it has proved essential for the Office to join efforts with other members of the United Nations family and inter-governmental organizations working in the humanitarian, economic and social field, in order to be able to deal with the manifold aspects of the problems of refugees. This co-operation is proving increasingly important as new problems emerge, particularly in developing areas where solutions are closely bound up with the implementation of development projects for the benefit of the refugees and the local population alike. As indicated in chapter III, two projects of this kind have already been put into effect by the International Labour Organisation with the co-operation of experts from FAO and from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). During the past year, an increasing need was felt for co-operation in this particular field as well as in the matter of education, training and health. There has also been an increasing need for the advice of UNDP experts in the field, particularly when new problems arose and solutions had to be worked out at short notice on the spot. Useful contacts are maintained with the resident representatives in many areas of operation of UNHCR and bilateral consultations are conducted on an increasing scale between UNHCR and some of the specialized agencies including, in particular, the ILO, FAO and UNESCO. Close links are also maintained with WHO, UNDP, UNICEF and UNRWA. With regard to practical co-operation in the field, special mention should be made of the World Food Programme which has made a most important contribution to the work of UNHCR by providing large-scale food supplies for thousands of refugees in Burundi, the Central African Republic and the United Republic of Tanzania, and has shown its readiness to continue to provide this indispensable support for the work of UNHCR in these and other areas.
16. The Office has also further developed its contacts with members of the United Nations family through participation in the Administrative Committee on Co-ordination, its Preparatory Committee, its Special Committee on Education and Training and its Working Party on Rural and Community Development, where the Office was able to indicate its particular requirements in these specific fields. The Office has, as heretofore, participated in the meetings of the Consultative Committee on Public Information, which are particularly important in the co-ordination of United Nations public information activities for the benefit of refugees.
17. As indicated in the interim report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Development Decade, the work of UNHCR, though limited to a specific sector, forms part of the over-all United Nations effort in the field of development. It is hoped that the increasing co-operation of members of the United Nations family, particularly in the humanitarian, economic and social field, will contribute to alleviate the plight of refugees and to ease the burden of Governments which have generously granted them asylum.
18. On the occasion of International Co-operation Year, a special effort was also made in furthering the close relations which had already been established between UNHCR and a number of inter-governmental organizations interested in the work of assistance for refugees. As heretofore, ICEM continued to play its important role in the resettlement of refugees through migration to countries where they can establish themselves on a permanent basis. That organization has also been associated with the fund-raising scheme launched by UNHCR under the motto "Greetings from the skies", with a view to financing the transportation of refugees. Details of the scheme are given in chapter IV below.
19. The Office continued to receive solid support for its work from the Council of Europe, which actively promotes improvements in the status of refugees in its member countries. Consultations between UNHCR and OECD have continued on the freedom or circulation of refugees taking up employment in other countries. This subject, as well as a number of other legal problems affecting refugees in European countries, have also been considered by a Working Group established by the Commission of EEC and UNHCR. Relations were also established between UNHCR and the International Committee on Civil Status (Commission internacionale de l'état civil), which was set up to co-ordinate administrative practices concerning personal status, in force in various European countries.
20. The Organization of African Unity continued to show its close interest in the status of refugees and considered further action with a view to drawing up of a convention relating to the status of refugees in Africa, as explained in more detail in chapter II below. Its support of the work of UNHCR is of great importance for the activities of the Office in Africa. Close relations continued to be maintained between the Office and the Afro-Asian Legal Consultative Committee which takes a continuing interest in basic principles concerning the treatment of refugees. The Organization of American States, which had already devoted attention to the particular problems of the right of asylum, was also brought into relationship with the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme at its thirteenth session.
21. The joint efforts of members of the United Nations family and other organizations which co-operate with UNHCR are gradually leading to improvements in the position of refugees in many parts of the world. In accordance with its role, which is essentially promotional, the Office will need to rely more and more on the willing co-operation of these organizations in order to be able to deal effectively with the new problems which it is facing.
D. Relations with voluntary agencies and other non-governmental organizations working for refugees
22. The role of the non-governmental organizations continued to be of vital importance in providing assistance to refugees. The gradual shift in emphasis from major aid programmes for assistance to "old" European refugees to the various new problems which have emerged on an increasing scale during 1965, has also been reflected in the work of the non-governmental organizations concerned with refugees. Considerable attention to new refugee problems, particularly those which come within the sphere of development aid, was devoted by the International Council of Voluntary Agencies and its General Conference. The Council now groups over eighty-five organizations interested in refugees, migration and development. Members of the Council as well as other voluntary agencies continue to implement a number of projects which form part of the UNHCR programmes. An increasing number of agencies have appointed representatives or established offices in areas where new problems of refugees have arisen in Africa and Asia. The Red Cross continues to be important in certain areas. In several countries, the emergence of a refugee problem gave rise to the establishment of a National Red Cross Society, which is instrumental in implementing assistance programmes for refugees and is also in a position to devote attention to the local population.
23. In many countries which admit considerable numbers of refugees of refugees for permanent settlement, the voluntary agencies interested in refugees and migration are grouped in a Central Committee which acts as a co-ordinator and provides a valuable link between UNHCR and the other organizations concerned. During 1966, a number of European agencies have begun a special effort in raising funds for refugees. They have established a Working Group to prepare for a special fund-raising campaign to be launched in October 1966, as explained in more detail in the chapter on administrative and financial questions (chapter IV below).
24. The non-governmental organizations constitute an invaluable intermediary between the thousands of people who wish to contribute to a humanitarian cause and help the refugees in need. In doing so they not only participate in the work of assistance but they also supplement the limited resources available so that the refugees may receive greater individual attention and a little more than bare subsistence. A list of non-governmental organizations and voluntary agencies which are implementing UNHCR programmes of assistance for refugees, or contributing financially or otherwise to the UNHCR programmes, are listed in annex VIII to the present report.
E. Award of the Nansen Medal for 1965
25. The Nansen Medal for 1965 was awarded to Mrs. Lucie Chevalley of France in recognition of the exceptional service she has rendered to the cause of refugees in France and in a number of other European countries during the past forty-five years. In 1921 she founded the Service social d'aide aux emigrants which under her direction, developed into a large agency and one of the main channels for international assistance to refugees in France. Mrs. Chevalley is still a member of the Council of the Office français pour les réfugiés et les apatrides, the French body which deals with the protection of refugees and stateless persons, and actively participates in meetings to promote solutions for handicapped refugees in France.
26. The Nansen Medal Award Committee also made two posthumous awards in 1965 to Mrs. Ana Rosa de Martinez Guerrero of Argentina and Mr. Jorgen Norredam of Denmark. Mrs. de Martinez Guerrero, until her death in 1964, was associated with many charitable societies and institutions and was a staunch supporter of human rights. She promoted the establishment of a home for aged refugees in Buenos Aires, and her example has led to a growing awareness of the problem of refugees in Argentina and beyond.
27. Mr. Jorgen Norredam rendered dedicated service to refugees in Europe, North, Central and East Africa for many years. In 1965, he lost his life in an air crash in the United Republic of Tanzania where he was directing a programme for the settlement of 3,000 Rwandese refugees in the Mwesi highlands.
CHAPTER II INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION
A. General observations
28. The exercise of the Office's basic function of international protection has continued undiminished in the many areas of the world where it has been carried out during previous years. It has also been extended to those areas where new refugee situations have arisen.
29. The General Assembly, in its resolution 2039 (XX) of 7 December 1965, recognized the increasingly universal character of the refugee problem. It invited Member States to increase their support of the humanitarian action of the Office, and to continue to co-operate in this respect with the High Commissioner, who was requested to pursue his efforts with a view to ensuring adequate international protection of the various groups of refugees within his competence.
30. The Office has endeavoured, within the limitation of its resources, to expand its protection work, particularly with regard to refugees in Africa. In recent years numerous States in Africa have acceded to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the chief legal instrument for the protection of refugees. Eighteen African States, out of a total of forty-nine, are now parties to the Convention whose application is supervised by the High Commissioner. The Organization of African Unity, at its Conference of Heads of Sate and Government held at Accra in October 1965, specifically requested its member States, if they had not already done so, to ratify the Convention and, meanwhile, to apply its provisions to refugees in Africa.
31. The Office has continued to fulfil its function of promoting the accession to and following up the application of other relevant international instruments which deal primarily with refugees, or contain specific provisions for their benefit. At the request of Governments, the Office has also provided expert advice in assisting Governments in the implementation of the 1951 Convention. It is the continuing task of the Office to strive for the improvement of the status of refugees by encouraging the adoption or amendment of appropriate legislative or administrative measures on the national level. In particular, the drafting of new legislation, the establishment of administrative procedures and the documentation required by refugees have been the subject of discussions between newly independent States and the Office, and Governments, in general, have sought the Office's advice on the revision of existing legislation affecting refugees. In order to facilitate refugee travel, UNHCR has also assisted in the preparation and issuance of uniform travel documents according to the 1951 Convention.
32. As explained below, UNHCR has made efforts to promote action by States to extend the personal scope of the Convention, which is at present limited to persons who became refugees as a result of events occurring before 1 January 1951. A recommendation to this effect had been made by a Colloquium on Legal Aspects of Refugee Problems held at Bellagio, Italy, in April 1965.
33. As stated in chapter I above, close co-operation has been maintained with inter-governmental organizations to ensure that the principles established by the United Nations for the treatment of refugees are adopted generally, and that, where possible, provisions for the adequate protection of refugees are incorporated in regional instruments such as those established under the auspices of the Council of Europe and the Organization of African Unity.
34. The UNHCR legal assistance programme continues to form part of the current programme of the Office, and makes it possible to provide legal advice and aid to refugees in those cases where it cannot be obtained from any other source. The integration or resettlement of refugees has thus been facilitated and in certain cases problems have been solved through legal assistance without there being a need for other UNHCR action.
35. As in previous years, this report can only highlight certain basic activities and developments in the field of protection. The Office has continued its day-to-day work of maintaining close contact with national authorities concerning legislative and administrative measures affecting refugees with a view to safeguarding their interests and improving their legal position. The Office also continues to deal with the protection problems of individual refugees. These can generally be solved with the co-operation of Governments, and frequently raise points of general importance requiring consultations between UNHCR and the authorities concerned.
B. Inter-governmental legal instruments
36. Inter-governmental legal instruments continued to constitute one of the main bases for the international protection of refugees and one of the important means through which their status could be improved in the sense of being brought as close as possible to that of the nationals of their country of residence or their particular problems overcome. The relevant intergovernmental legal instruments may be divided into those which directly and exclusively affect refugees, i.e., the 1951 Convention, the Agreement, signed at The Hague on 30 November 1957, relating to Refugee Seamen and the European Agreement of 20 April 1959 on the Abolition of Visas for Refugees, and those which include clauses relating to refugees or are otherwise of special benefit to refugees. Developments in respect of these legal instruments are given below.
1951 CONVENTION RELATING TO THE STATUS OF REFUGEES
37. At the end of March 1966, forty-nine States were parties to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.1 On 19 July 1965 the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Leopoldville) deposited its instrument of accession to the 1951 Convention with the Secretary-General. On 28 December 1965, the Republic of Guinea made a declaration to the Secretary-General that it considers itself bound by the Convention.
38. In August 1965, UNHCR was informed that the Republic of Zambia considered itself bound by the 1951 Convention, as extended by the United Kingdom to Northern Rhodesia, as by all bilateral and multilateral treaties previously acceded to on its behalf by the United Kingdom. The Office is in contact with many Governments with a view to their acceding to the Convention, and accession is under active consideration in a number of other States.
39. In order to promote the issuance of Convention travel documents by States which have recently become parties to the Convention, the Office has assisted in the preparation of uniform documents, to be delivered to persons who qualify for them under the terms of the Convention or, under recommendation E, to persons who may be excluded in view of the date-line, pending measures to extend the latter.
40. In the High Commissioner's report to the twentieth session of the General Assembly,2 reference was made to a Colloquium on Legal Aspects of Refugees Problems, held from 21 to 28 April 1965 at Bellagio, Italy, under the sponsorship of the Carnegie Endowment. The Colloquium recommended the adoption of a protocol whereby the scope of the 1951 Convention would be widened so as to include refugees at present not covered by its terms owing to the date-line of 1951. The High Commissioner is consulting Governments of States parties to the 1951 Convention and of States members of this Executive Committee regarding measures to extend the Convention's personal scope.
AGREEMENT RELATING TO REFUGEE SEAMEN
41. Through the application of The Hague Agreement relating to Refugee Seamen, to which fourteen States are now parties,3 a solution to the special problems of this group of refugees has been brought nearer. In co-operation with the Netherlands Government, the Office has continued to engage the services of a counsellor who interviews and advises refugee seamen calling at the Port of Rotterdam. Approximately 470 refugees were interviewed in 1965; the great majority have a country of asylum which they may enter although a certain proportion still have not obtained adequate documentation.
EUROPEAN AGREEMENT ON THE ABOLITION OF VISAS FOR REFUGEES
42. The Government of Italy acceded to the European Agreement on the Abolition of Visas for Refugees in June 1965. Italy is the ninth State4 to become a party to this Agreement. It provides that refugees holding "1951 Convention" or "London" travel documents may travel to the territories of other States which are parties to it, without the requirement of a visa, provided that their visits do not exceed three months and are not for the purpose of taking up employment.
OTHER LEGAL INSTRUMENTS AFFECTING THE POSITION OF REFUGEES
43. On 2 April 1965, Sweden ratified the 1954 United Nations Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons. Uganda did so on 15 April 1965. The Malagasy Republic denounced it on 2 April 1965. It is understood that this denunciation was made with the object of enabling the Malagasy Republic to re-accede to the Convention with certain reservations. As of 31 March 1966, seventeen States were parties to this Convention.5
44. On 29 March 1966, the United Kingdom ratified the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, the first State to do so. The Convention requires six ratifications to enter into force. The Convention will benefit, inter alia, refugees by conferring a nationality at birth on certain persons who would otherwise be stateless.
45. In September 1965, Austria acceded to the Convention of 4 September 1958 on Changes of Surname and First Name. France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Turkey are already parties to the Convention. According to its article 3, changes of name of nationals as well as of stateless persons and refugees resident in a Contracting State shall be effective in other Contracting States.
C. Question of the right of asylum
46. The right of asylum continues to be the cornerstone of the whole work of protection of refugees. As will be seen elsewhere in this report, new problems of refugees emerged in the course of 1965. It is gratifying for the High Commissioner to state that many Governments again gave proof of a liberal asylum policy and admitted considerable numbers of new refugees. The legal aspects of the right of asylum continue, however, to create serious problems. Developments in the context of international action may be summed up as follows.
47. A draft Declaration on the right of Asylum has been before the General Assembly since its seventeenth session. It had previously been discussed by the Third Committee but, by decision of the General Committee will, in future be considered by Sixth Committee of General Assembly.
48. In resolution 2100 (XX) of 20 December 1965 the General Assembly decided to take up the draft Declaration on Right of Asylum as soon as possible at its twenty-first session with a view to completing the text of the draft Declaration as a whole.
49. Considerable interest in the right of asylum has been shown by the Consultative Assembly of the Council upon the Committee of Ministers to speed up the elaboration of a legal instrument designed to give full legal recognition to the practice of granting asylum in Member States. Pending the adoption of such an instrument, it also invited member Governments to practice a liberal asylum policy in respect of refugees, and to give a liberal interpretation to the concept of refugees, taking into account recommendation E of the Final Act of the Conference of Plenipotentiaries which adopted the 1951 Convention. The problem is under consideration by the Committee of Ministers, which transmitted in to a Committee of Experts on Human Rights for study.
50. The Office was represented by an observer at a Colloquium on the European Convention of Human Rights, held at Vienna in October 1965 under the aegis of the Council of Europe. The UNHCR observer also acted as a representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and submitted a paper on the right of asylum within the context of protection of human rights in regional and municipal law.
51. An Advisory Council on Asylum ("Asylbeirat") was established in Austria. It met for the first time at Vienna on 22 September 1965. This Council, scheduled to meet at monthly intervals or whenever necessary, advise the Austrian Minister of the Interior on questions concerning asylum policy and eligibility. It consists of representatives of the Ministries for Foreign Affairs, of Justice, and of Social Affairs, several members of Parliament, and the representative of UNHCR in Austria.
52. In Denmark, there have been consultations between UNHCR and the authorities on the granting of asylum and the treatment of asylum seekers. A means of co-operation in connexion with the determination of refugee status is being sought.
53. The new United States Immigration Law, passed by Congress on 30 September 1965 and signed by President Johnson on 3 October 1965, includes the following revised provision dealing with protection against the deportation of persons to their country of origin:
"The Attorney General is authorized to withhold deportation of any alien within the United States to any country in which in his opinion the alien would be subject to persecution for reasons of race, religion or political opinion and for such period of time as he deems to be necessary for such reason" (section 243 (H)).
This revision brings the United States law with respect to measures of protection against deportation more into accord with the internationally accepted phraseology of the 1951 Convention and the Statute of the Office of UNHCR.
D. Recognition of refugee status
54. The Office of UNHCR has continued to co-operate with Governments on this question, under procedures which vary from country to country, in determining which persons are entitled to be considered as refugees according to the definition of the 1951 Convention. In some countries, UNHCR participates in the procedure, or is itself entrusted with the determination of refugee status. In others, UNHCR acts in an advisory capacity or as an observer. During 1965, some 10,500 persons were recognized as refugees in these countries.
55. The Office also continued, when necessary, to examine and certify the refugee status according to its statute of persons seeking admission to the United States under the provisions of Public Law 86,648 while that law remained in force. Under the new United States Immigration Law, certification of status under the mandate of UNHCR is no longer required. The Office has also examined and certified refugee status for other resettlement programmes.
E. National Legislation and Bilateral Agreements especially affecting refugees
56. As hitherto the Office of the High Commissioner has encouraged Governments to adopt legislative or administrative measures of benefit to refugees or to insert clauses in existing laws, taking the interest of refugees into account. Action was taken accordingly in several countries as explained below.
57. In Austria, the new Nationality Act, adopted in July 1965, and due to come into force in July 1966, contains a number of provisions specifically favourable to refugees. Thus, while the normal period of residence to qualify for naturalization has been increased from four to ten years, it may be reduced to four years for persons considered refugees under the 1951 Convention. Moreover, the fact that an applicant for naturalization is a refugee under the terms of the 1951 Convention, is to be given special consideration by the authorities dealing with the application. Lastly, refugees applying for naturalization are expressly exempted from the normal requirement of submitting proof of loss of former nationality.
58. A new aliens law in the Federal Republic of Germany was mentioned in the High Commissioner's last report to the General Assembly. It entered into force on 1 October 1965, and UNHCR is being consulted with regard to the implementing ordinance of this law. In particular, UNHCR is seeking to ensure that under this ordinance all asylum seekers in the Federal Republic are given an opportunity to have their applications decided upon by the competent authorities at the federal level, and to promote the resettlement of those asylum seekers who are not permitted to remain in the Federal Republic.
59. In Italy, the Ministry of Public Education has agreed that refugee students may now benefit from scholarships granted by the Ministry on the same conditions as Italian nationals.
60. In the United Republic of Tanzania, a Refugee (Control) Act was passed by Parliament in 1965. It provides for the control of entry, residence and deportation of refugees as well as of access to the areas where they live.
61. Bilateral agreements have been concluded and have entered into force between the Federal Republic of Germany and Switzerland, and between the Federal Republic of Germany and Turkey, on the subject of social security. Each of these agreements contains a protocol according to which the Agreement shall apply, in general, to persons considered as refugees according to the 1951 Convention and normally resident in the territory of one of the Contracting States.
F. Improvement of the rights of refugees within the framework of regional legal instruments
ORGANIZATION OF AFRICAN UNITY: DRAFT CONVENTION RELATING TO THE STATUS OF REFUGEES IN AFRICA
62. During 1965, further discussions concerning a draft Convention relating to the Status of Refugees in Africa took place within the Organization of African Unity. The Committee of Legal Experts of the countries of the OAU Commission on Refugees met at Leopoldville in July 1965 to examine the draft Conventions previously submitted to the Council of Ministers of the OAU when it met at Nairobi in March 1965. The Committee of Legal Experts amended this draft text, and subsequently presented its new draft to the OAU Council of Ministers at its Accra meeting in October 1965. The OAU Council of Ministers did not adopt this draft text, but unanimously adopted a resolution which, inter alia, requested those member States of the OAU who had not already done so to accede to the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees of 28 July 1951 and, in the meantime, to apply its provisions to refugees in Africa.
63. The meeting of the OAU Council of Ministers was immediately followed by a meeting of Heads of State and Government of the OAU. A resolution on the problem of refugees in Africa was adopted on 24 October 1965 which, in terms generally similar to those of the Council of Ministers, expressed appreciation for the assistance provided UNHCR, and requested OAU members to ratify the 1951 Convention relating to refugees and, meanwhile, to apply its provisions. At the same time, member States of the OAU Commission on Refugees were requested to provide legal experts at the highest possible level to re-examine the draft Convention on refugees in Africa, with due regard to the views expressed at Accra.
64. The OAU Heads of State and Government also adopted a Declaration on the Problem of Subversion, which also refers to refugees. The OAU Heads of State and Government pledged themselves not to tolerate subversion against member States and to oppose it in every possible way. Moreover, they resolved strictly to observe the principles of international law with regard to political refugees who were nationals of any OAU member State; to seek to promote the return home of refugees with their consent and that of their countries of origin; and to continue to guarantee the safety of political refugees coming from non-independent territories in Africa.
COUNCIL OF EUROPE
65. The Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe had already adopted resolution 213 in 1961 on the improvement of the status of refugees in the framework of European integration. At its October 1965 session, it adopted recommendation 435 to the effect that the Committee of Ministers would invite Governments of member countries to incorporate, in agreements and conventions concluded or to be concluded in the context of European organizations, clauses to permit refugees within the mandate of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and lawfully resident in the territory of contracting parties to these instruments to benefit from the facilities granted to nationals of other contracting parties under these instruments.
EUROPEAN ECONOMIC COMMUNITY
66. A Working Group, comprising representatives of the Commissions of EEC and UNHCR, discussed various problems connected with the participation of refugees resident in States members of EEC in measures of European integration.
ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
67. The Office was represented at a meeting of the Human Rights Commission of OAS held at Washington, D. C., on 11 and 12 October 1965, when the situation of refugees in the American Hemisphere was discussed. Recommendations were adopted concerning the issuing of travel documents to refugees, and the extension of the scope of the 1951 Convention.
COMMISSION INTERNATIONALE DE L'ETAT CIVIL
68. A meeting of the Commission interationale de l'état civil was held at Vienna in September 1965, at which ten European countries were represented. The meeting was also attended by a member of the UNHCR Legal Division. The Commission will examine to what extent it could usefully act in favour of refugees, more especially concerning the implementation of articles 12 and 25 of the 1951 Convention. It decided to invite UNHCR to be represented by an observer at its future meetings.
G. Indemnification by the Federal Republic of Germany
INDEMNIFICATION AGREEMENT OF 5 OCTOBER 1960 UNHCR Indemnification Fund
69. As previously reported to the General Assembly, the UNHCR Indemnification Fund was closed on 30 September 1964. Final payments from the Fund were effected during the last quarter of 1964. A small reserve was maintained, however, to enable the High Commissioner to make payments in cases where appeals lodged by the applicants proved to be successful, as well as to cover the few outstanding cases. Some further payments have thus been made. By 31 March 1966 nearly $US 12 million had been paid to applicants out of the UNHCR Indemnification Fund. Payments totalling a further $US 20,000 had been approved and were in the process of being completed at that date. Payments made correspond to some 12,500 positive decisions out of a total of over 40,000 applications. A total of 3,652 appeals against negative decisions had been received by 31 March 1966; 150 of these were still being processed at that time.
Article I of the Indemnification Agreement
70. As of 31 March 1966, the authorities of the Federal Republic of Germany had received a total of 23,500 applications under article I of the 1960 Agreement, of which 3,943 had been settled at that date. The number of positive decisions taken was 1,023, and payments amounting to approximately DM44 million had been made. In accordance with paragraph 3 of the protocol to the Agreement, UNHCR has continued its consultations with the German authorities and has endeavoured to achieve speedier decisions on these applications, as well as to solve certain questions which have arisen concerning the qualification of former forced labourers and alleged members of resistance groups to receive indemnification.
FINAL INDEMNIFICATION LEGISLATION
71. The Final Indemnification Law was promulgated in the Federal Republic of Germany on 18 September 1965. The law provides, inter alia, for the establishment of a fund in an amount of DM1.2 billion, to benefit those persons who were persecuted for reasons of race, religion or political opinion and who became refugees after 1 October 1953. The law also incorporates certain provisions of the Indemnification Agreement concluded on 5 October 1960 between UNHCR and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany (see above), and provides for grants to those national persecutees who, thus far, did not benefit from the law because they did not have refugee status on 1 October 1953. Discussions between UNHCR and the German authorities have taken place with regard to measures of assistance for those national persecutees still not covered under the new legislation. The Office has since been informed by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany that, because of budgetary considerations, no such measures can be considered for the time being, but it continues actively to follow up this matter.
DEFERMENT OF INDEMNIFICATION PAYMENTS
72. A law for the safeguarding of the German budget (Haushaltssicherungsgesetz) was adopted in the Federal Republic of Germany in December 1965. It reduces the amount of certain payments to be made under the German Indemnification Law in the years 1966 and 1967. This decision gave rise to concern on the part of various organizations, and UNHCR has appealed against this reduction. Although full exemption of indemnification payments from this law has not been granted, payments up to DM5,000 have excluded from these measures. Furthermore, payments to persons who have reached the age of sixty-five will be made in full. Current pension payments are not affected.
CHAPTER III MATERIAL ASSISTANCE TO REFUGEES
A. General observations
73. The UNHCR programmes for material assistance to refugees have again proved to be an indispensable corollary to its basic function of international protection. In Africa there was a further influx of refugees in several countries which had already admitted a considerable number of them and new problems emerged in another three countries, so that in the course of 1965, the total number of African refugees had gone up to 575,000. While the number of non-settled "old" European refugees continued to diminish as a result of the implementation of the major aid programmes, there was a slight increase in the number of new asylum seekers in Europe.
74. In the light of these developments, the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme, at its fourteenth session, held in October 1965, decided to adopt a financial target of $3.9 million for the 1966 programme as against the $3.5 million target set for the 1965 programme.
75. In the course of 1965, UNHCR put into effect and partly completed current material assistance projects in a value of over $7 million, in addition to projects included in the last major aid programmes for "old" European refugees still under implementation. Nearly half the current projects were financed under the UNHCR current programmes, its emergency fund and trust funds (see annexes III and IV). They benefited a total of over 240,000 refugees as against 175,000 in 1964, the majority, i.e. nearly 210,000, in Africa, where the proportion of refugees assisted constitutes a much higher percentage of the over-all refugee population than in other areas (see annex II).
76. In accordance with the policy whereby the country of asylum has a primary responsibility for assistance to refugees, supporting contributions in a total amount of over $3.5 million were made available from within these countries and from other sources. This amount does not include a certain number of items, the value of which cannot easily be assessed, such as social security benefits, agricultural land, emergency relief and other types of assistance given by governmental or local authorities in certain cases. In addition, large scale bilateral aid was provided by Governments, in particular a substantial part of the food donated by the United States.
77. As previously, contributions were made by Governments, as well as by the non-governmental sector, for essential assistance projects outside the current programme. The total amount of these funds, referred to as trust funds for operations outside the programme, committed in 1965, was close to $560,000 (see annex IV).
78. There has been no fundamental change in the types of solutions provided under the programmes, i.e. voluntary repatriation, resettlement and integration. The fluctuating and often unpredictable character of the problems of refugees was reflected by the fact that a number of those whose repatriation had been anticipated indicated their desire to establish themselves in the countries to which they had been admitted, whereas an important number of others opted for voluntary repatriation.
79. In accordance with the provisions of its statute, UNHCR sought to facilitate the voluntary repatriation of refugees wherever possible, and whenever its attention was drawn to the desire of refugees to return to their homeland. According to information received from various areas of operation, the number of those repatriated in the course of 1965 was in the region of 30,000, the great majority of whom returned to their homelands in Africa. As indicated in more detail in annex II to the present report, a total of 1,271 refugees were thus assisted by UNHCR at a cost of over $21,000.
80. Resettlement through migration in other countries continued to play essential role, particularly in countries of first asylum where the demographic situation is such that new arrivals cannot easily be absorbed into the local economy. The liberal and generous attitude of a number of immigration countries has contributed to easing the burden of those countries which, in accordance with their traditional asylum policy, are called upon to admit new refugees.
81. The settlement of refugees through local integration in their country of asylum or residence has again proved to be the only solution for the great majority of refugees, during the period under review. One of the basic principles of international assistance to refugees, whereby should be "helped to help themselves", continued to be applied wherever possible. In several areas of maximum impact of UNHCR programmes in Africa and Asia, a new pattern is gradually emerging. The new problems of refugees and the unpredictable occurrence of natural phenomena, such as droughts and storms, made it necessary at time to provide emergency relief for certain groups. The main trend of the programmes, however, has been to help the refugees to become self-supporting as rapidly as possible. Progress is also being made in areas where programmes have been put into effect only in recent years, such as Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Macao, Nepal, the United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda. In Africa experience has shown that even after the first few harvests, the position of the refugees remains precarious unless they are given an opportunity to undertake additional agricultural activities which may make the difference between a bare subsistence level and a reasonable standard of living. A major problem, also in Africa, stems from the fact that existing rural communities are usually not large enough to absorb newcomers. When a new group of refugees is being settled in agriculture this is usually tantamount to the establishment of a new rural community with all the infrastructure that this entails. It is becoming increasingly necessary, therefore, for refugee settlement areas to be included in more comprehensive development programmes, such as those which are envisaged by the United Nations Development Programme and some of the specialized agencies of the United Nations.
82. Another significant aspect of the settlement of refugees in Africa is the need for educational assistance, to which UNHCR has been called upon to devote more and more attention in close consultation with UNESCO.
83. While the emphasis was fully placed on the achieving of permanent solutions, the provision of emergency or supplementary aid to refugees in need continued to be required on a limited scale. As indicated in more detail in annexes II and III, a total number of 26,772 refugees benefited from these forms of assistance at a total cost of some $105,000 to UNHCR while special contributions for this purpose were made available in the form of special trust funds in an amount of some $28,700.
84. Legal assistance also proved a constructive element in facilitating the permanent settlement of refugees, particularly in certain areas where their establishment is closely bound up with their legal and administrative position in the country. In the course of 1965, a total of 5,719 refugees benefited from this form of assistance at a cost of some $96,400 to UNHCR.
85. Although good over-all progress was made during the period under review, it is clear that further measures of assistance will be required in order to consolidate the results achieved and to assist Governments in dealing with the new refugee problems with which they are confronted. The Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme has accordingly adopted financial target in an amount of $3.9 million for the UNHCR current programme for 1966. The allocations adopted within the programme, and those which will be submitted to the Committee for consideration at its fifteenth session, are given in annex V below. The decisions taken by the Committee on these proposed allocations and on the corresponding modifications in the financial target of the 1966 programme may be found in the report on the fifteenth session of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme.
B. African refugees
RWANDESE REFUGEES IN BURUNDI
86. The number of refugees from Rwanda in Burundi, which had increased to between 55,000 and 60,000 by the beginning of 1965, decreased by some 6,500 during that year, 4,500 of whom returned to Rwanda and some 2,000 crossed the eastern border of Burundi. Taking into account demographic changes occurring in 1965, their number at the end of that year was estimated at 52,000 including 46,000 in the settlements at Kayongozi, Kigamba and Muramba and in the new settlement at Mugera, and 6,000 scattered throughout the country, a number of whom were expected to move to Mugera during the early part of 1966.
87. In spite of the difficulties which faced Burundi in the course of 1965, it proved possible to continue and intensity the work of assistance to refugees through the concerted efforts of the Burundi authorities, the Fonds Roi Mwambutsa IV, the Association internationale pour le développement rural outre mer (AIDR), the ILO, FAO, the World Food Programme and several voluntary agencies.
88. A number of projects within the 1963 and 1964 programmes, amounting to $130,000 mainly for local settlement and emergency relief, were completed in the course of 1965. In addition, a total amount of over $815,000 was committed under the 1965 programme and from the Emergency Fund, largely for the local settlement of refugees in agriculture in Mugera and towards the ILO/FAO project to consolidate the establishment of the refugees already settled in Kayongozi, Kigamba and Muramba. Some 21,000 refugees are benefiting from the latter project and 25,000 from that in Mugera.
89. Approximately 4,500 refugees opted for voluntary repatriation in 1965, of whom 4,000 returned to their homelands through their own means. In addition, 345 cases, comprising 925 persons, applied for financial aid towards their repatriation. At a cost of some $800, UNHCR assisted in their voluntary repatriation 188 cases, comprising 435 persons, whose repatriation had so far been accepted by the Rwandese Government.
90. As in several other parts of Africa, the exceptional drought which occurred in the autumn of 1965 resulted in a bad harvest. To combat the ensuing malnutrition which affected the refugees and local population alike, additional food and seeds were made available through UNHCR. These measures were financed from special contributions made for this purpose. By the end the year, the situation had notably improved.
91. A number of measures were taken under the ILO/FAO integration and zonal development project at Kayongozi, Kigamba and Muramba, towards which $160,000 was contributed by UNHCR under its 1965 programme. These included the establishment of a vocational training centre, the draining of marshland and the creation of a pilot farm. Medical and educational assistance was also provided at a cost of $15,000 to the programme through the establishment of dispensaries and primary schools, the running of which was subsequently taken over by the Government.
92. The other major project concerns the settlement of some 25,000 refugees in Mugera, in the eastern part of Burundi which, as explained in paragraphs 84 and 85 of the High Commissioner's report to the General Assembly at its twentieth session, was chiefly intended to assist the considerable number of Rwandese refugees who had arrived in 1964 and for whom there was no room in the settlements at Kayongozi, Kigamba and Muramba. Under a tripartite agreement between UNHCR, the Fonds Roi Mwambutsa IV, designated as implementing agency by the Burundi Government, and the AIDR acting as financial trustee of UNHCR, a settlement programme involving a UNHCR contribution of $617,000 was put into effect in 1965.
93. The vast area of Mugera was originally populated by only some 5,000 Burundi. By the end of 1965, 25,000 refugees had settled in the area in sixty-two new villages and had received two hectares of land per family. It was necessary at the same time to establish a basic infrastructure, including access roads, clearance of marshland, and construction of water pipelines to provide the refugees with food and other basic necessities pending their settlement on the land. The allocation of $617,000 is as follows:
|Transportation of refugees to the settlement||67,000|
|Emergency relief, including accommodation basic, necessities and medical assistance||41,000|
|Transport and local purchase of food||305,000|
|Basic infra-structure, including access roads water supply and eradication of tsetse fly||63,000|
|Purchase and maintenance of vehicles||64,500|
|Settlement in agriculture and cattle breeding||40,500|
94. The World Food Programme made a major contribution to the programme by pledging some 7,000 tons of food valued at $1.6 million for the initial settlement phase in 1965/1966. Difficulties resulting from the unavoidable delay in the initial supply of this food were overcome through a loan of maize by the Burundi Government and local purchases. The above-mentioned amount of $305,000 was allocated for these local purchases and for the transportation of the food, for which the World Food Programme does not assume financial responsibility.
95. A water pipeline 20 km long was completed. Some 70 km of access roads were built and extensive surveys were conducted with a view to clearing a considerable surface of marshland in 1966. Good results have been obtained in the eradication of the tsetse fly through air and ground operations - a prerequisite for the settlement of 3,000 refugees and their cattle. A medical centre, a field laboratory, a dispensary and other medical facilities were provided through the concerted efforts of the Burundi Red Cross and the League of Red Cross Societies, which made available the services of a doctor and medical assistance. A limited amount of educational assistance was also given in the frame of the Mugera project which made it possible to build simple elementary schools for some 2,900 children.
96. Special contributions amounting to nearly $16,000 were received by UNHCR during 1965 for the benefit of Rwandese refugees throughout Burundi. They include over $12,200 which were used to promote secondary school and university education in the academic year 1965/1966, and $3,600 for various other types of educational assistance.
97. Supplementary aid on a limited scale was provided for some 900 needy Rwandese refugees living outside settlements.
98. In 1966 emphasis will be placed on increasing agricultural output in the settlements of Kayongozi, Kigamba and Muramba and on completing the infrastructure of the Mugera settlement as well as further measures for establishment of the refugees in agriculture. Assistance from UNHCR will be required on a scale similar to that in 1965 for the facilitation of individual voluntary repatriation, educational assistance and the provision of supplementary aid.
99. An allocation of $600,000 has been provided in the UNHCR current programme for 1966 by the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme at its fourteenth session, which includes $570,000 for the Mugera settlement.
RWANDESE REFUGEES IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
100. In the course of 1965, the number of refugees from Rwanda in the North and Central Kivu Provinces of the Congo further decreased from 28,000 to an approximate 25,000 as a result of voluntary repatriation and of the resettlement of 1,700 refugees in Tanzania. In addition to projects amounting to some $210,000 from previous programmes, which were largely completed during 1965, an amount of some $79,000 was committed under the UNHCR programme for 1965, mainly with a view to consolidating the agricultural settlement of the refugees.
101. Of the estimated number of over 1,000 refugees who opted for voluntary repatriation, 278 were assisted, at a cost of $1,275 to the programme, in returning to their home country. Through the generosity of the Tanzania authorities, a further 1,700 Rwandese refugees in the Congo were admitted for resettlement in the Mwesi Highlands of Tanzania during May and June 1965. This brought to 3,000 the total number of refugees who were able to benefit from the airlift set up between Goma in the Congo and Mwesi. Arrangements for their movement were made by UNHCR with the participation of the Tanzania authorities and the Congolese Red Cross Society.
102. The general situation of the Rwandese refugees remaining in the Democratic Republic of the Congo further improved during 1965. Pending the revocation of the expulsion and sequestration decrees, the ILO Integration and Zonal Development Project was maintained in the form of a holding operation mainly with a view to safeguarding the results already achieved in consolidating the rural establishment of some 10,000 refugees. An amount of $78,000 was committed under the UNHCR programme for this purpose.
103. Emergency relief was provided by the High Commissioner in 1965 at a cost of $14,000 to assist those Rwandese refugees in the Kivu provinces whose situation became very precarious following a severe famine in 1964 and devastating storms in March 1965.
104. The refugees also benefited from various projects for education and training, financed from special contributions, in an amount of $14,000.
105. An allocation of $50,000 was included in the 1966 programme to consolidate the settlement of Rwandese refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and to consolidate the position of some 3,000 other Rwandese refugees who are living in difficult circumstances on the island of Idjwi in Lake Kivu. Modest educational facilities must also be continued during 1966 as well as supplementary aid for a limited number of individual cases, until a permanent solution has been found to their problems.
RWANDESE REFUGEES IN TANZANIA
106. The number of Rwandese refugees in Tanzania, which amounted to 13,300 at the beginning of 1965, was increased by the admission of a further 1,700 resettled from the Kivu provinces of the Congo in the Mwesi Highlands. At the same time, approximately 1,000 opted for voluntary repatriation, so that at the end of 1965, their number in Tanzania was approximately 14,000, of whom 3,000 were in the Mwesi Highlands, 7,000-8,000 at Muyenzi, 2,000 at Karagwe and an estimated 2,000 were living outside settlements.
107. During 1965, projects from previous programmes, amounting to $165,000, mainly for establishment assistance, were completed. In addition, an amount of $100,000 was committed under the 1965 programme and also for the rural establishment of the 3,000 refugees in the Mwesi Highlands and for the consolidation of the rural settlements at Karagwe and Muyenzi. Whereas the refugees at Karagwe can now be considered as adequately established, the 6,000 at Muyenzi suffered a setback through a bad harvest and were in need of emergency food which was made available by the Would Food Programme and Lutheran World Federation/Tanganyika Christian Refugee Service (LWF/TCRS).
108. In the Mwesi Highlands, satisfactory progress has been made in settling the Rwandese refugees with the active co-operation of the LWF/TCRS.
109. The High Commissioner would like to pay special tribute to the memory of the former programme co-ordinator of LWF/TCRS, Mr. Jorgen Norredam, who lost his life in an air crash at Mwesi at the beginning of 1965.
110. Pending their harvest, the refugees received food rations, most of the food being donated by the United States Government. Sufficiently favourable progress has since been made to justify the expectation that food rations may be decreased in 1966.
111. The refugees, many of whom were undernourished on arrival, recovered extremely well with the help of the LWF/TCRS which arranged for medical care in accordance with the provisions of the programme. They were also provided with educational facilities whereby eight teachers gave tuition to 377 pupils. In addition, the refugees took the initiative of establishing a school of their own, nine teachers having volunteered to give lessons to some 300 pupils.
112. Further assistance will be required under the 1966 programme in order to enable the refugees in the Mwesi Highlands to become self-supporting and also to consolidate the settlement of the refugees in Muyenzi. A 1966 allocation of $160,000 has accordingly been approved by the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme for this purpose.
RWANDESE REFUGEES IN UGANDA
113. Uganda has become one of the countries harbouring the largest number of Rwandese refugees, i.e., some 67,000 at the beginning of 1965; a figure which had grown to 69,000 by the end of 1965. Of these refugees 32,000 found relatives and friends who offered them hospitality and gave them an opportunity to settle among them. The other 37,000, who are scattered over the Ankole, Toro and Bunyoro districts in Western Uganda, receive international assistance. Like other Rwandese refugees, most of them are settling in agriculture; some 6,000 who arrived in Uganda with 10,000 head of cattle are being assisted in cattle breeding.
114. During 1965 settlement projects from previous programmes in an amount of $307,000 were continued and to a large extent completed. As outlined in paragraph 93 of the last report to the General Assembly, these projects are intended mainly to consolidate the rural establishment of refugees in the Ankole and Toro districts, through such measures as the establishment of a clinic, the improvement of the water system and the eradication of the tsetse fly.
115. An amount of $110,000 was committed under the 1965 programme, including $80,000 to further the establishment of Rwandese refugees on the land in Toro and Bunyoro and $30,000 to consolidate existing settlements. Educational facilities were provided on a limited scale from special trust funds.
116. Speaking more generally, the rapid increase in the number of refugees in Uganda has necessarily affected the work of assistance for those who were already in the country. The Government has had to review constantly the measures to be taken in favour of the refugees. In this connexion, it has requested the International labour Organisation to carry out a three months' planning mission to study the possibility of a zonal integration and development project to assist refugees and the local population living in adjacent areas.
117. A task still lies ahead to make the Rwandese refugees in Uganda self-supporting and an allocation of $60,000 was accordingly included in the 1966 programme by the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme at its fourteenth session.
SUDANESE REFUGEES IN THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
118. At the end of 1964, there were some 300 Sudanese refugees in the area of Obo in the eastern part of the Central African Republic. There was a further influx of refugees during the second part of 1965 and by the end of the year their number had increased to some 18,000, who were located mostly in the Banbouti area, also in the eastern part of the country.
119. An amount of $14,000 was allocated under the 1964 current programme, to provide emergency relief and initial assistance to enable the first group of 300 Sudanese refugees to settle on the land. Implementation of a project was started at the end of 1964. It was hampered by the great distance between Obo and the nearest supply centres and by problems of communication. Added to these difficulties was the fact that some of the refugees did not have an agricultural background. A solution to the problem is being worked out in consultation with implementing voluntary agency.
120. The new arrivals in the Banbouti area found it easier to adapt themselves, as they moved into a familiar tribal pattern with the same language. Furthermore, most of them were farmers by profession. The local authorities, assisted by the Government, provided land, equipment and materials to enable the refugees to build their own accommodation and start work on the land. In November 1965, the Government of the Central African Republic requested the High Commissioner to assist in its efforts to find a solution to the problems of these refugees, for whom both emergency measures, particularly as regards the provision of food and medical assistance and further effort towards settlement were required. In response to this request, the High Commissioner made available an amount of $50,000 from his Emergency Fund and agreed to underwrite a further $40,000 for initial basic assistance projects covering the period from January to April 1966.
121. At the time of writing this report, a concerted international effort was being made towards developing a solution to the problem of these refugees with the participation of the host Government as well as the United States and a number of local and international voluntary agencies. Arrangements have been agreed in principle between the Office of the High Commissioner and the League of Red Cross Societies whereby the League would assume responsibility for the co-ordination of various activities under the assistance programme put into effect for these refugees.
122. Plans for assistance to these refugees will be considered by the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme at its fifteenth session.
SUDANESE REFUGEES IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
123. By the end of 1964 some 8,000 Sudanese had arrived in the provinces of Ueli and Kibali-Ituri in the northeastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. By the end of 1965 their number had grown to an estimated 20,000 and possibly more. As indicated by the observer from the Democratic Republic of the Congo at the fourteenth session of the Executive Committee, the Congolese Government might request the Office of the High Commissioner to assist in solving the problems of these refugees.
SUDANESE REFUGEES IN UGANDA
124. As of 1 January 1965, there were some 12,000 Sudanese refugees in Uganda located mainly in the Karamoja and Acholi districts. A new influx of Sudanese refugees occurred during 1965 when a further 28,000 were generously admitted by the Uganda authorities, so that by the end of the year, their number had grown to 40,000. It had been thought at one time that a certain number would return to their homeland but this has not so far materialized. Most of the newcomers were in need of immediate assistance, which was provided for them, as far as possible, by the local authorities.
125. As regards the first group of 12,000 refugees, projects in an amount of some $324,000 under the 1964 programme and from the Emergency Fund for immediate relief and subsequent settlement in agriculture, were continued in 1965. Of the 12,000 refugees concerned, 4,500 were settled. The others left the settlement areas when they learned that most of their cattle would have to be slaughtered because they were suffering from a contagious disease. A further allocation of $218,000 was included in the 1965 programme for assistance to these refugees. Educational facilities were provided on a limited scale from special trust funds.
126. Many of the 28,000 refugees who arrived in the course of 1965, are successfully settling in agriculture. With the help provided through the local authorities, some of these refugees have already become self-supporting.
127. In view of the continuing influx of Sudanese refugees, the Government was obliged to review the assistance programme several times in the course of 1965. As soon as their reappraisal of the position is completed, further plans will be worked out for the establishment of the non-settled refugees among the Sudanese in Uganda.
REFUGEES FROM ANGOLA
128. The over 200,000 Angolans who had come to the Democratic Republic of the Congo before 1965 continued to settle in villages inhabited by related tribes. They benefited from assistance by voluntary agencies and from projects, mainly for medical and educational assistance, already included in previous UNHCR programmes.
129. Under a $15,000 allocation in the UNHCR programme for 1965, some 10,000 Angolans were given farming equipment and seeds to assist them in settling on the land.
REFUGEES FROM PORTUGUESE GUINEA IN SENEGAL
130. As reported to the Assembly at its twentieth session, the Government of Senegal requested the High Commissioner in 1964 to provide assistance for some 30,000 refugees from Portuguese Guinea who had arrived in the Casamance area of Senegal. Since then, a further influx of 20,000 had brought their number to some 50,000 by the end of 1965. The first groups of refugees were assisted spontaneously by the local population but as their number continued to increase, it became necessary for the Senegal Government to draw up a plan for their local settlement in agriculture and to enlist the help of the international community towards that end.
131. The settlement plan of the Senegal Government, as outlined in paragraph 97 of the report to the Assembly at its twentieth session, has since been put into effect with the participation of the Government of Senegal and the support of the Governments of France and the United States, of UNHCR and of other organizations. The programme is being implemented by a national committee for refugees, in co-operation with the central and local authorities, the Catholic Relief Services/Secours Catholiques, the League of Red Cross Societies and the Senegal Red Cross.
132. The UNHCR contribution included an amount of $99,000 within the 1964 current programme and some $83,000 under the 1965 programme, the latter including $72,100 for the settlement of refugees in agriculture and $10,500 for health services.
133. Within the framework of the over-all plan for assistance to these refugees, 3,200 tons of food donated by the United States Government was distributed to the refugees in 1965, and the drilling of water wells began. Tracks and light bridges were built in order to provide for access to the areas of settlement of the refugees and at the same time, to facilitate the outlet of their agricultural production.
134. The promotion of agricultural and village settlement under the UNHCR programme included the construction of veterinary posts for the refugees cattle, the distribution of farming equipment and the establishment of a pilot rice farm. A variety of measures were taken in the field of medical assistance and health through the generosity and combined efforts of several Governments and voluntary agencies. A number of simple health and social welfare centres were built in the area of settlement. Mobile health units were established for which three nurses were made available through the League of Red Cross Societies. Vehicles were provided by UNHCR under its 1965 programme.
135. By the end of 1965, the health services were operating at full capacity. The distribution of food to those refugees who had not reaped their harvest will need to continue under the 1966 programme. An allocation of $260,000 has been approved by the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme for assistance to these refugees in 1966.
REFUGEES FROM MOZAMBIQUE IN TANZANIA
136. The number of refugees from Mozambique in Tanzania was approximately 10,000 at the beginning of 1965. Most of these were being settled at Rutamba under the programme outlined in paragraphs 99-102 of the High Commissioner's report to the Assembly at its twentieth session. In the course of the year, there was a further influx of some 3,000 refugees from Mozambique in the Mbamba Bay region. On the other hand, some 1,000 returned to their country of origin.
137. In the course of 1965, good progress was made in settling the refugees on the land at Rutamba through the joint efforts of the Tanzania authorities, the LWF/TCRS and the World Food Programme. An amount of some $213,000 was committed under the 1965 programme as a contribution from UNHCR towards the settlement of these refugees. The refugees built their own accommodation. By the end of the year they had cleared 720 acres of bushland out of the total of 2,000 acres made available to them by the Tanzanian Government. The refugees themselves cleared 500 acres by hand. A good crop may be expected from the newly cultivated land. Furthermore, the refugees are growing their own vegetables. A number of individual refugees left the settlement, mostly to take up work elsewhere. This, however, has hardly affected the work of cultivation at Rutamba.
138. As regards educational assistance, the first three classroom units are under construction, in accordance with the provisions of the programme.
139. Further assistance for refugees from Mozambique in Tanzania will be required in 1966 to consolidate their establishment. An allocation of $192,000 for this purpose has accordingly been approved by the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme at its fourteenth session. Furthermore, a request for international assistance is expected from the Tanzanian Government to assist it in coping with the new influx of 3,000 refugees from Mozambique in the Mbamba Bay area.
REFUGEES FROM MOZAMBIQUE IN ZAMBIA
140. Some 5,000 refugees from Mozambique arrived in the Eastern province of Zambia in December 1965. In response to a request from the Zambian Government, UNHCR first contributed $5,000 from its Emergency Fund early in 1966 to meet the basic needs of the refugees, in particular for food and medical assistance. Subsequently UNHCR received the Executive Committee's approval for an interim allocation of $100,000 to be included in the UNHCR programme for 1966 towards the settlement of 2,000 of the above-mentioned refugees on the land. A proposal for a further limited allocation will be considered by the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's programme at its fifteenth session.
REFUGEES FROM THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
141. At the beginning of 1965, there were between 50,000 and 60,000 Congolese refugees in various countries in Africa, including 20,000 in Burundi, 3,000 in the Central African Republic, some 2,000 in Tanzania, and some 34,000 in Uganda. During that year there was a new influx of 5,000 into Burundi and between 5,000 and 15,000 into Uganda. A considerable number have since opted for voluntary repatriation so that by the end of 1965, the number of Congolese had decreased to approximately 48,000, of whom 13,000 were in Burundi, an estimated 3,000 in the central African Republic, some 2,000 in Tanzania and some 30,000 in Uganda. Under the UNHCR current programme for 1965, an amount of $2,258 was committed to facilitate the voluntary repatriation of 497 of these refugees.
142. The International Committee of the Red Cross has been assisting the Governments of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda in the negotiations relating to the voluntary repatriation of the Congolese refugees.
143. In 1965 an amount of over $43,000 was committed from the UNHCR Emergency Fund to provide emergency relief for the Congolese refugees in Burundi and $16,000 to provide measures for initial assistance to Congolese refugees in the Central African Republic.
144. Supplementary aid on a limited scale was given to forty-eight individual cases of various origins in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Through joint action of the Resident Representative of the United Nations in Dar es Salaam and UNHCR, a number of refugees from South West Africa were assisted to move to Tanzania under a project financed from special trust funds.
C. Assistance to European refugees
ASSISTANCE UNDER MAJOR AID PROGRAMMES
145. It will be recalled that the "old" European refugees were assisted in achieving permanent solutions to their problems under the UNHCR major aid programmes, drawn up and approved between 1955 and 1963. By 31 December 1965, these programmes had reached a stage when their early completion could be envisaged. As of that date, nearly 150,000 refugees had benefited under the programmes. Over 96,500 had become firmly settled as a direct result of the help provided through UNHCR, and some 43,000 through other means.
146. Of the total cost of more than $100 million involved in these programmes over $56 million were contributed from within the countries where the projects were put into effect. Thus many of these countries, which had generously granted asylum to refugees, also played an important role in contributing to the permanent solution of their problems.
147. Of the 150,000 beneficiaries under these programmes, over 18,000 refugees were assisted in 1965. By the end of the year over 6,750 of them had become firmly settled as a direct result of UNHCR programmes and another 1,700 to 1,800 through other means.
148. Solutions for most of the beneficiaries were achieved through settlement in their country of residence. Some 1,140 were resettled in other countries with the help of the Inter-governmental Committee for European Migration, over 700 of whom came from the mainland of China via Hong Kong. With the continued support of a number of interested countries of immigration, a substantial effort was made to assist members of the sect of "Old Believers" among them. Resettlement from a number of countries where the refugees find it increasingly difficult to consolidate their economic and social position was also continued. Physically handicapped refugees, mainly in the Far East and North Africa, benefited from special arrangements for their admission to a number of immigration countries in Europe and overseas. A contribution was made under the programme towards the operation of a protected community at Capua, Italy, and of a psychiatric centre in Belgium, aimed at providing initial rehabilitation measures for the handicapped.
149. As in previous years, an important factor in achieving the local integration of refugees was the provision of housing. Over the past ten years, 10,164 housing units were completed for the benefit of 11,211 refugee households (comprising 35,790 persons). Of these, 434 units were completed in 1965, most of them in Austria, France, Germany and Greece, and the remainder in Italy, Jordan and Latin America. Of the 1,384 housing units still under construction or preparation at the end of 1965, over 920 are in Greece where implementation of the housing projects has been considerably delayed.
150. A further important element in the completion of major aid programmes was the settlement of handicapped refugees and particularly those who need permanent care. Of a total of nearly 900 cases, some 500 were settled in institutions in their country of residence or in other countries, while the others were provided with annuities or accommodated in housing where arrangements are made for them to receive the necessary care. A further 278 handicapped refugees benefited from rehabilitation measures which should enable many of them to become at least partly self-supporting.
151. Other measures undertaken towards the successful integration of the remaining "old" European refugees include vocational training and education. Experience has shown that this type of assistance often enables its beneficiaries to settle down successfully in their country of residence. In the course of 1965, some 3,000 refugees also benefited from a variety of other measures aimed at enabling them to become fully self-supporting. The remaining caseload at the end of the year comprised 14,700 refugees, 9,700 of whom were already in the course of settlement, as shown in the following table:
|Country or area||Total caseload on 31 December 1965||In course of settlement on 31 December 1965|
|Federal Republic of Germany||7,100||7,070|
152. Further assistance will therefore be mainly required for some 1,200 refugees in the Far East with a view to their resettlement in other countries; for some 800 refugees in France, mostly handicapped, many of whom await the completion of housing with care for the aged or infirm; over 2,000 in Greece who cannot yet be settled in view of the delay in implementing the housing projects in that country, and a group of 1,200 in the Middle East and Morocco who, owing to changing economic and social conditions, had to apply for resettlement in other areas. Final measures of assistance for some of these groups may have to be provided under the UNHCR current annual programmes.
153. The important investment made by the international community in the major aid programmes over the past ten years has not only contributed to alleviating the misery of thousands of refugees, but has also established a basis on which the UNHCR current programme can be operated more effectively and at a reasonable cost. Under projects for housing and institutions for the handicapped, for example, places vacated by the present refugee tenants may be reoccupied by other needy refugees for as long as the need exists. Furthermore, the reimbursement of loans previously made to refugees through implementing agencies in an approximate amount of $12,650,000 is likely to continue at an annual average of $320,000 for a number of years to come. Loans repaid by refugees will thus help towards the financing of the current programmes.
ASSISTANCE UNDER UNHCR CURRENT OPERATIONS
154. Whereas the major aid programmes were intended for the non-settled "old" European refugees, the UNHCR current programmes are designed to meet the new needs of European refugees, particularly in the case of newcomers who are unable to fend for themselves and require assistance in addition to that which can be granted by the country of first asylum. The number of newly recognized European refugees increased from 9,974 in 1964 to nearly 10,500 in 1965.
155. As in previous years, many of the refugees were young and able-bodied and were able to find resettlement opportunities in other countries or to settle in their country of first asylum without too much difficulty. A number of them, however, including a certain proportion of physically and socially handicapped, were unable to become self-supporting without complementary assistance from UNHCR. This was the case in particular in a few countries in Europe where the increased rate of arrivals exceeded in varying degrees the number of departures for resettlement.
156. Resettlement activities during 1965 had therefore to be geared to the increase in the number of asylum seekers, particularly during the second half of the year, when the transit and processing centres in several countries of first asylum were filled to capacity. Thanks to the full co-operation of the main countries of immigration, USEP and ICEM, a serious accumulation of new arrivals in countries of first asylum was avoided.
157. The resettlement of over 1,150 European refugees was promoted, financed or co-financed by UNHCR under its current programme for 1965. UNHCR assistance included mainly resettlement counselling, the financing of resettlement grants for handicapped refugees, and arrangements for the movement of 234 Turkmenians admitted to Turkey for resettlement.
158. Over 3,400 refugees received assistance towards their integration in their country of residence in several countries in Europe and in Latin America, as indicated in annex IV to the present report. The majority were located in Austria, Germany and Greece. There was also a substantial number in Argentina, France, Italy and Yugoslavia. In certain countries or areas where comprehensive plans for the solution of the problem of refugees had not been put into effect, international assistance continued to be required under the current programme in particular to solve newly emerging needs of refugees who had reached old age or had become sick or infirm before they had been able to achieve permanent settlement.
159. The type of assistance given to refugees who could neither emigrate nor become locally integrated through their own efforts followed the usual pattern and included, in particular, housing, establishment assistance, rehabilitation measures and placement in institutions. As indicated above, a number of refugees were able to benefit from vacancies in housing and institutions in which places had been reserved for refugees under earlier UNHCR projects.
160. Counselling again played an essential role in helping the refugees to choose the most appropriate solution to their problems. As mentioned in the last report to the General Assembly, the question of the extent to which counselling should be provided for under the current programme was considered by the Executive Committee at its fourteenth session when the Committee decided that counselling services for refugees should, as far as possible, be integrated into the framework of the social welfare services in the countries concerned. At the same time the Committee requested the High Commissioner to ensure that sufficient funds were available to provide counselling to those refugees who were unable to obtain the necessary counselling services from the local authorities.
161. In addition to the funds committed for assistance to European refugees under 1965 programme, substantive contributions were received which were earmarked by the donors for projects outside the current programmes. In the course of 1965, an amount of over $391,000 was thus received for assistance to European refugees, including some $143,000 for assistance to refugees in Greece and over $248,000 for projects in other countries (see annex IV).
D. Assistance to other groups of refugees
CHINESE REFUGEES IN MACAO
162. The number of Chinese refugees in Macao, approximately 75,000 at the beginning of 1965, had risen to some 80,000 by the end of that year. The local authorities and voluntary agencies have continued their efforts to provide relief for the new arrivals. During 1965, they also made increasing efforts to help the refugees to become self-supporting.
163. Two important projects begun in 1964 were continued in 1965. Towards these, UNHCR contributed $65,000 during that year. Under one of these projects, UNHCR contributed $55,000 for the building of a causeway between the islands of Taipa and Coloane. The building of the causeway created opportunities for a large number of workers, including a majority of refugees. Under the other project, to which UNHCR contributed $10,000 in 1965, a rehabilitation centre on the island of Taipa was extended so as to provide vacancies for refugees. The project was completed during the period under review. In 1965, over 250 Chinese refugees benefited from treatment at the centre.
164. An amount of $105,000 was committed under the 1965 programme for the construction of housing. Under one project, 242 dwellings will be made available for an equivalent number of refugee households. This project has required considerable efforts, particularly with regard to the reclamation of land from the sea. Under a second project, eighty to ninety individual refugees will be housed.
165. Further assistance for these refugees will be required in 1966, particularly as regards housing and employment opportunities. An allocation of $54,000 has accordingly been approved by the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme for inclusion in the 1966 programme, and a further allocation of between $100,000-$130,000 will be considered by the Committee at its fifteenth session.
CHINESE REFUGEES IN HONG KONG
166. The High Commissioner continued to follow with interest the position of Chinese refugees in Hong Kong who, it will be recalled, are benefiting from large-scale development projects put into effect by the Hong Kong authorities.
167. The number of Cubans in Latin America remained between 20,000 and 30,000 during 1965. Some 950 benefited from UNHCR assistance in their resettlement or integration. Of these 867 were assisted under a $21,000 project in the UNHCR programme while in transit in Mexico and Jamaica, pending their resettlement in the United States of America. Others received limited UNHCR assistance with a view to their resettlement from the United States to various countries in Latin America, mainly for the purpose of family reunion.
168. In Spain, the number of Cubans, estimated at over 10,000 on 1 January 1965, increased by approximately 2,000 through a new influx of some 4,800 in the course of that year. Some 3,000 were able to leave Spain for resettlement so that by the end of 965 approximately 12,000 still remained in Spain.
169. The rate of departures kept pace with the rate of new arrivals during the early part of 1965. Following amendments to the United States Immigration and Naturalization Act, which became effective in December 1965, the rate of Cubans who could emigrate from Spain to the United States decreased considerably during the first two months of 1966. Since March 1966, the number of visas issued has again increased. However, the number was still insufficient to provide resettlement opportunities for the total number of new arrivals wishing to be resettled in the United States.
170. Assistance continued to be provided through a network of governmental and voluntary welfare services and agencies. It was given mainly in the form of promotion of resettlement, assistance towards integration for those who wish to remain in Spain and supplementary aid for the newly arrived.
171. Under the UNHCR current programme for 1965, an amount of $150,000 was committed for assistance to Cuban refugees in Spain, including some $136,000 for assistance towards their integration, $6,000 for resettlement counselling, and $8,000 for supplementary aid to the neediest among them. To facilitate the resettlement of those migrating to other countries, 182 cases faced with particular hardship received assistance towards their transportation costs from funds contributed to UNHCR for operations outside the current programme.
172. The number of Cubans admitted to the United States increased from 225,000 at the beginning of 1965 to 249,000 at the end of the year.
TIBETAN REFUGEES IN NEPAL
173. The number of Tibetan refugees in Nepal at the beginning of 1965 was estimated at between 7,000 and 8,000. Some 2,500 of them are receiving assistance in five organized settlements at Pokhara Lake, Pokhara Hyangja, Kathmandu, Chialsa, and Dhorpatan. In addition to the Swiss Association for Technical Assistance, UNHCR and the Nepal Red Cross Society, several voluntary organizations were assisting the refugees in these settlements.
174. In 1965 a start was made in carrying out projects for the firm settlement of the refugees, for which the Government of Nepal have generously made land available for the construction of housing for the refugees. UNHCR committed an amount of $125,000 to assist approximately 900 of the refugees to acquire accommodation and become self-supporting. Projects to this effect are being implemented by the Nepal Red Cross Society. They provide for the construction of housing and the setting up of a workshop and multipurpose centre at Pokhara Lake, to which UNHCR allocated some $66,000 and for the construction of housing in Kathmandu, for which UNHCR earmarked $45,000. Under two further projects, amounting to $5,000 and $9,000 respectively, UNHCR is providing the finances required for the medical care of tuberculosis patients and counselling. Supplementary aid was also given to the neediest refugees. Three volunteers from the United Nations Association in the United Kingdom assist in the implementation of the UNHCR programme at Pokhara Lake.
175. In the course of 1965, efforts were concentrated on providing the able-bodied with regular work. A number of refugees found employment as labourers on construction sites. Others found an occupation in the handicrafts centres established by the Swiss Association for Technical Assistance. It is anticipated that the distribution of food rations donated under the United States Agricultural Assistance Act may be discontinued by June 1966, except at Pokhara Lake and Pokhara Hyangja, where rations are likely to be needed until the end of 1966. During 1966, therefore, it will be particularly necessary to assist the refugees in obtaining employment in order to become fully self-supporting.
TIBETAN REFUGEES IN INDIA
176. There were at the end of 1965 an estimated 45,000-50,000 Tibetan refugees in India. A number of them had found employment opportunities in activities such as agriculture, cattle breeding and animal husbandry, while many others were engaged in road construction.
177. Assistance was provided for the refugees by some twenty voluntary agencies in co-ordination with the Central Relief Committee of India. In accordance with the wishes expressed by the Indian Government, contributions for assistance to the refugees were made available by UNHCR from the proceeds of the sale of the UNHCR record "All Star Festival", in an amount $100,000 in 1964 and some $57,000 in 1965. These funds, as well as a special contribution of $5,000 from the Holy See, are being used for medical assistance, settlement in agriculture, the installation of flour mills, and the provision of tents for a number of refugees living in road camps. Further assistance will be required in 1966, in particular to meet the needs of the refugees in the road camps and of those who are too old or too sick to fend for themselves.
CHAPTER IV ADMINISTRATIVE AND FINANCIAL QUESTIONS
178. In the past year there has been a widening gap between the financial requirements of the work of international assistance for refugees and the resources which could be mustered to finance the UNHCR current programmes. There was a shortfall of approximately $500,000 in the $3.5 million programme for 1965, and at the time of writing this report, pledges and promises from Governments towards the $3.9 million target of the current programme for 1966 amounted to a little over $2.9 million.
179. This development, largely caused by the emergence of new refugee problems, had already received the full attention of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme at its fourteenth session. On that occasion the Committee drew the attention of Governments to the financial needs of UNHCR. The General Assembly itself, fully aware of the financial problems facing the work of UNHCR, endorsed the Committee's recommendations.
FINANCING OF THE 1963 PROGRAMME
180. Through adjustments in allocations within this programme, its financial target had been reduced from $6,945,000 to $6,824,259 by 31 March 1966. Further contributions are still required in an amount of over $195,000 to meet that target but nearly $70,000 of these have been conditionally pledged or promised.
FINANCING OF THE CURRENT PROGRAMME FOR 1965
181. The financial target for the 1965 current programme was set at $3.5 million. During the year, cancellations or reductions in approved allocations under this programme amounting to $272,975 were made, particularly with respect to items which could be carried forward into the 1966 programme. This brought down the total requirement for 1965 to $3,227,025. Fifty-seven Governments contributed to the programme as against fifty-two in 1964 and, in response to the appeal of the High Commissioner, nine of them increased their contribution. There was, nevertheless, a shortfall of $261,750 by the end of March 1966. To finance this deficit, an equivalent amount was transferred to the programme from the "funds set aside", a special reserve established by the High Commissioner with a view to ensuring the financing of the work of UNHCR.
182. By 31 March 1966, government contributions, paid or pledged, amounted to $2,868,661 (see annex VI), non-governmental contributions to $83,924 and other miscellaneous income to $12,690, making a total of $2,965,275.
FINANCING OF OPERATIONS OUTSIDE THE 1965 PROGRAMME
183. As previously, funds were made available to UNHCR chiefly from private sources, for essential projects not included in the current programme. These special trust funds for operations outside the programmes were paid or pledged in an amount of over $684,255 and comprised some $126,967 from Governments and some $557,288 from non-governmental sources. The latter amount included proceeds from the sale of the record "All Star Festival" amounting to $32,485 and from the second record, "International Piano Festival" which was put on sale in the autumn of 1964, amounting to $125,532. At the end of 1965 the sale of the latter record was encouraged through a new plan called "Greetings from the Skies". Under this plan, during the months of November and December 1965 airlines took orders for the record thus enabling passengers to send the record as a gift to their friends.
USE OF THE EMERGENCY FUND IN 1965
184. The High Commissioner continued to rely on the Emergency Fund to enable him to intervene quickly in emergencies. During 1965, a total amount of $210,189 was drawn from the Fund, mainly to provide emergency relief to refugees in Africa. Refunds and cancellations of prior years' commitments in an amount of $93,875 and reimbursements of loans made under earlier programmes amounting to $116,314 were credited to the Fund in order to replenish it to its ceiling of $500,000 in accordance with the terms of General Assembly resolution 1166 (XII).
FINANCING OF THE 1966 PROGRAMME
185. By 31 March 1966, thirty-three Governments had announced contributions in a total amount of $2,904,287 towards the $3.9 million financial target of the UNHCR current programme for 1966 (see annex VII below). The General Assembly, in its resolution 2039 (XX), specifically invited States Members of the United Nations and members of the specialized agencies to make available to the High Commissioner the financial means required to ensure the full implementation of his programme. Five Governments belonging to the main traditional contributors to UNHCR programmes responded to this appeal either by considerably increasing their contribution to the 1966 programme, or by making available a special contribution for essential projects outside the programme. The High Commissioner is pursuing his efforts to encourage Governments to participate financially in the work of the Office so as to give the financing of UNHCR programmes the truly universal character which pertains to its humanitarian task.
REFUGEE CAMPAIGN 1966
186. As stated above, a number of voluntary agencies joined forces with a view to organizing a large-scale fund-raising campaign for refugees in the autumn of 1966. The main object of this campaign will be to raise a substantial amount of money to finance permanent solutions for refugees outside Europe. The campaign will be launched on United Nations Day, 24 October, which, as stated elsewhere in this report, will be dedicated to the cause of refugees. His Royal Highness Bernhard, Prince of the Netherlands, accepted the chairmanship of the Working Group of voluntary agencies, which is organizing the campaign. It is hoped that the European Refugee Campaign will be another milestone among successful efforts to arouse international interest in the needs of refugees. The participating agencies do not, however, regard it as a substitute for the financial participation of Governments but as a contribution to essential supplementary projects intended to give refugees a little more than the bare minimum which they would normally receive.
ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENDITURE IN 1966
187. The Assembly, on the basis of proposals by the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions also took a number of decisions concerning the financing of UNHCR administrative expenditure. Taking into account the scope of the UNHCR programmes, the Assembly approved an amount of $3,011,800 for UNHCR administrative expenditure within the framework of the United Nations budget for 1966. It also decided that a grant-in-aid, amounting to 10 per cent of the actual commitments under the UNHCR current programme, was to be contributed from voluntary funds to the United Nations budget towards administrative expenditure incurred by UNHCR in connexion with the implementation of the programme.
FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS TO ENSURE CONTINUITY IN THE WORK OF UNHCR
188. Dependent as he is for the continuity of his programmes on annual voluntary contributions which may be transferred to UNHCR at any period of the financial year, the High Commissioner thought it prudent, in 1964, to seek the Executive Committee's approval of setting aside funds which would enable him to meet essential programme payments covered by government pledges until these pledges were actually paid, and to guarantee to the operational partners of UNHCR the continuity of projects until their full implementation. In addition, such funds could be used to fill, until such time as the financial target had been reached, any temporary gap which might exist between the requirements of the approved programme and the contributions pledged. The Executive Committee agreed that funds from the repayment of loans not required to replenish the Emergency Fund, the interest on invested funds which would otherwise be treated as income under his financial rules, and all savings from the current programme accrued on or after 1 January 1965, be thus set aside.
189. These "funds set aside" proved invaluable in permitting the High Commissioner to commit funds at the beginning of the year for urgent measures under the current programme. They also enabled him to complete, before 31 December 1965, essential parts of the programme which could not be postponed until 1966.
190. On 31 December 1964, the "funds set aside" amounted to $276,600. By the end of 1965, this sum had increased to $695,925. It had been hoped that a ceiling of $1 million for these funds would be reached by 1 January 1966. The temporary transfer of $261,750 to meet the deficit in the 1965 current programme, however, brought the total amount available in "funds set aside" to $434,175 on 31 December 1965.
CHAPTER V PUBLIC INFORMATION AND PROGRAMME SUPPORT
191. During 1965 public information activities of the High Commissioner's Office again served to stimulate awareness and understanding of the problems of refugees and to enlist widest support from all sources towards their solution.
192. Newly arising refugee problems and the diversity of measures undertaken to meet them have led to marked interest in UNHCR activities on the part of the Press, radio, television, institutes of higher learning and thousands of individual persons. This has resulted in increased coverage given to refugees and UNHCR activities by the various information media as well as a growing demand for briefs and background material for articles, broadcasts and lectures. Talks on refugees have also become a regular feature at seminars for diplomats from developing countries, organized under the auspices of the United Nations.
193. Close co-operation was maintained with other members of the United Nations family, particularly in the dissemination of information on refugees and UNHCR. Of outstanding importance to UNHCR was the support given by the world-wide network of United Nations information centres, especially in those areas where UNHCR is not represented.
194. Fund-raising schemes for the benefit of refugees continued to receive the support of information media. "Greetings from the Skies", the short-term operation undertaken in co-operation with many airlines to provide additional outlets for the long-playing record "International Piano Festival", attracted particular attention. A world-wide distribution network, covering some 100 countries, could be organized with the help of United Nations information centres, Resident Representatives of the United Nations Development Programme, UNHCR branch offices, record clubs and two major record companies.
195. The Office has been associated with the Office of Public Information in planning the observance of United Nations Day, 1966. The celebration will have "refugees" as its central theme and will mark the opening day of the 1966 European Refugee Campaign. Members of the United Nations family have indicated that they would co-operate in accordance with their sphere of competence.
196. A film to help promote the sale of "International Piano Festival" was made with the help of the Swedish Television Organization. Yul Brynner, Special Consultant to the High Commissioner, and Wilhelm Kempff, one of the contributing artists, participated. The film was given world-wide television distribution. Byron Janis, another pianist who gave his talent, took part in a coast-to-coast television broadcast in the United States.
197. New solutions, such as the settlement in agriculture of substantial refugee groups in Africa, provided excellent material for films, articles and photo-stories. They served to illustrate United Nations accomplishments in a field where humanitarian concern is closely linked with assistance to developing areas. UNHCR is producing a film on this subject.
198. The UNHCR-organized airlift, which brought several thousand Rwandese refugees to the settlement area in the Mwesi Highlands provided by the Tanzanian Government, was also filmed and received extensive television coverage, both through world-wide newsreel placement and as a special edition of the news services of various television stations.
199. The Office also produced a colour film, "Promise Fulfilled", in observance of International Co-operation Year. It shows how refugees, particularly those who had been living in camps for years, were helped to resume a normal and dignified existence, and retraces the various phases of the action undertaken during the last twenty years to seek solutions to the problems of European refugees.
200. Throughout 1965, fullest attention was given to UNHCR's current activities and to discussions of the problem of refugees in the General Assembly and other United Nations bodies in the Office's information output, through the issue of over fifty Press releases. The Office also contributed an increasing number of articles to yearbooks, encyclopaedia and various other publications, as well as detailed background information. Through these, authoritative information on the refugee situation reaches an important sector of the public.
(Note: Statistical and financial tables not included in this online version. See your nearest UN Depository Library.)
APPENDIX Report on the fifteenth session of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme6 (Geneva, 16-24 May 1966)
OPENING OF THE SESSION AND ELECTION OF OFFICERS
1. The Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme held its fifteenth session from 16 to 24 May 1966 at the Palais des Nations, Geneva.
2. Under rule 10 of the rules of procedure, which provides that the officers shall be elected for the whole year, the Committee elected the following officers by acclamation:
Chairman: Mr. S. Azimi (Iran);
Vice-Chairman: Mr. F. Alvarez-Chacin (Venezuela);
Rapporteur: Mr. W. R. Clark (Australia).
3. The members of the Committee represented at the session were as follows:
|Federal Republic of Germany||United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern|
|Greece||United States of American|
4. The Governments of Argentina, Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cuba, New Zealand, Spain, Uganda, the United Arab Republic, Yemen and Zambia were represented by an observer, as was the Sovereign Order of Malta.
5. The International Labour Office, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the World Food Programme, the Council of Europe, the European Economic Community, the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration, the League of Arab States and the Organization of African Unity were also represented.
TRIBUTE TO MR. FELIX SCHNYDER AND PRINCE SADRUDDIN AGA KHAN
6. The committee decided to address the following telegram to Mr. Felix Schnyder who had been High Commissioner for Refugees from the beginning of 1961 until December 1965:
"The Members of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme, at the opening meeting of its fifteenth session, join me in paying a tribute to the distinguished leadership and outstanding competence with which you guided the work of international assistance for refugees in your capacity as High Commissioner over the past five years. The Committee would like to express its deep gratitude to you for the close co-operation which you have given it throughout your term of office. Please accept our warmest good wishes for your future work and for the happiness and well-being of you and your family.
(Signed) S. Rae"
The following reply was received from Mr. Schnyder:
"Heartfelt thanks for most friendly and gracious message of Executive Committee which has given me as High Commissioner so much inspiration and support. I am in turn expressing very best wishes for future fortunate and successful work of Committee serving lofty aims of international humanitarian co-operation.
(Signed) Félix Schnyder"
7. The members of the Committee gave a warm welcome to Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan. They paid a tribute to his outstanding qualities and assured him of their full support.
APPOINTMENT OF A DEPUTY HIGH COMMISSIONER
8. The Committee welcomed the appointment of Mr. A. Bender, who is to take up his functions as Deputy High Commissioner in the autumn.
ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA
Decision of the Committee
9. The Committee adopted the following agenda:
1. Election of officers.
2. Adoption of the agenda (A/AC.96/317/Rev.2).
3. Statement by the High Commissioner.
4. Action taken by the General Assembly at its twentieth session (A/AC.96/318).
5. UNHCR major aid programmes (A/AC.96/321 and Add. 1, A/AC.96/322)
6. Report on UNHCR current operations (A/AC.96/325, 330, A/AC.96/INF. 57 and 58).
7. Report on the resettlement of refugees (A/AC.96/324).
8. Note on the use of the Emergency Fund (A/AC.96/327 and Add. 1, A/AC.96/INF.52, 53, 54 and 55).
9. Financial status of UNHCR project funds:
(a) Financial status of UNHCR project funds - General (A/AC.96/323);
(b) Provisional financial statements for 1965 (A/AC.96/329);
(c) Report on investments for the year ended 31 December 1965 (A/AC.96/328).
10. Report on the status of contributions (A/AC.96/326 and A/AC.96/INF. 56).
11. UNHCR programme for 1966 - new projects (A/AC.96/320 and Add. 1, 2 and 3).
12. Educational assistance to refugees (A/AC.96/332).
13. Administrative expenditure:
(a) Administrative expenditure for 1966 (A/AC.96/319);
(b) Administrative expenditure for 1967 (A/AC.96/331).
14. Length, frequency and location of sessions of the Executive Committee - item submitted in accordance with resolution 2116 (XX) of the General Assembly.
15. Other questions.
16. Adoption of the report on the session.
ACTION TAKEN BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY AT ITS TWENTIETH SESSION (agenda item 4)
Decision of the Committee
10. The Executive Committee.
(1) Took note of document A/AC.96/318 relating to action taken by the General Assembly at its twentieth session;
(2) Expressed its satisfaction that the General Assembly had decided in its resolution 2038 (XX) that United Nations Day, 1966, should be dedicated to the cause of refugees.
INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT BY THE HIGH COMMISSIONER AND GENERAL DEBATE (agenda item 3)
11. The High Commissioner gave an account of the present position of some of the main problems facing his Office.7 He recalled that the emphasis had continued to shift from the European refugees to other groups, particularly in Africa, where further new problems had recently emerged, while similar developments might occur in other areas in Africa and perhaps also in Asia.
12. Legal protection continued to play an essential role in Europe, where it was progressively replacing material assistance, as well as in Africa and Asia where the need for protection was becoming more and more evident and would increase as legislation in those areas developed. He stressed that it was important that the principle of non-refoulement (non-return), which was embodied in the 1951 Convention, be observed and that a generous asylum policy be followed. He also mentioned the favourable response given by Governments to the proposed protocol for the extension of the personal scope of the 1951 Convention and drew attention to the question of indemnification in Germany.
13. The High Commissioner emphasized that whereas the methods of providing solutions to problems in Africa differed from those in Europe, the solutions themselves were basically the same: voluntary repatriation, wherever possible, and in other cases integration or emigration to enable the refugees to become self supporting as rapidly as possible. The adoption of its method of approach to the actual realities of any particular refugee situation was one of the vital requirements of the work of his Office. The Office had to be realistic, constructive and reasonable in its intentions and at the same time imaginative in its approach. The difficulties to be overcome were great, but results so far were encouraging and provided conclusive evidence of the necessity and usefulness of co-ordinated international action in facing refugee problems in Africa.
14. The High Commissioner mentioned in this connexion the advantages of multilateral aid, which made for impartial and efficient action. He recalled that in view of the non-operational character of his Office and of the promotional role of his programme, he must enlist the support of other organizations to act as operational partners, and call for financial assistance and various other forms of support from other sources. However, it was imperative that the UNHCR programme, which constituted the basis and starting point for other action, should be fully financed.
15. Since the most appropriate solution for refugee problems in Africa would appear to be settlement in agriculture, it was most important that the High Commissioner's activities be properly co-ordinated with those of other members of the United Nations family which were engaged in development programmes. The High Commissioner stressed, on the other hand, that the collaboration of these agencies had been shown to be essential at a second stage, in consolidating the integration achieved as a result of the UNHCR projects through programmes which would benefit both refugees and the local population.
16. In conclusion the High Commissioner referred to the effects of recent developments in UNHCR activities upon the staffing needs of his office and to the fact that, in accordance with General Assembly recommendations, he was gradually transferring part of the staff from Europe to other areas. This had to be accompanied by a parallel effort to transfer, to national public or private agencies, where possible without harming the interests of the refugees, some of the activities which he had hitherto undertaken.
17. The representatives who took part in the debate commended the statement made by the High Commissioner and expressed general agreement with the basic principles which he had enunciated. They considered that the High Commissioner would be in the best position to achieve his challenging task by pursuing his present policy whereby, acting as an intermediary of the international community, he concentrated on promoting rapid solutions to the problems of refugees and sought to enlist every possible support from Governments and other organizations in order to match his own limited resources.
18. The members of the Committee fully endorsed the humanitarian and non-political approach of the High Commissioner.
19. While recognizing the manifold tasks which the Office was facing throughout the world, many members of the Committee stressed the need for the concerted efforts of the international community to be centred on the problems of new refugees, particularly in Africa. Several representatives emphasized that these problems were of an urgent and in some cases, dramatic nature and that they justified the fullest comprehension and goodwill of the international community. They drew special attention to the traditional hospitality given to refugees by the people of the countries concerned. The heavy burden assumed by those countries in spite of their limited resources and the serious problems facing them in the field of economic and social development were also recognized.
20. Some of the speakers agreed with the High Commissioner that, as the major aid programmes were nearing completion, the problems of refugees in Europe were being reduced to manageable proportions. They might be solved, on a day-to-day basis, mainly through the concerted efforts of the Governments of the countries of asylum and of resettlement and with the help of UNHCR, largely in the field of protection.
21. The representatives of the countries of asylum in Europe shared the concern of other members of the Committee in respect of the new groups of refugees. They emphasized however that there remained serious problems of non-settled European refugees, including many handicapped, and that there was a continuing new influx.
22. The Committee was reminded that one of the countries concerned was facing a new problem of refugees which did not come within the purview of UNHCR's action; in another, the local integration of refugees would only be possible once full employment had been attained and in yet another of these countries, which had admitted large numbers of refugees for permanent residence, there was a continuing problem of the ageing refugee population and of the handicapped; though they were given the same treatment as nationals, they were in a less favourable position, having few or no ties in their country of adoption. The representatives of asylum countries considered, therefore, that international assistance through the UNHCR current programme would continue to be required for some of the European refugees.
23. The consensus of opinion was that, within the resources available to UNHCR, every effort should be made to meet the needs of the new groups of refugees. At the same time it was necessary to continue provision for assistance on a reasonable scale to non-settled European refugees, always bearing in mind that an accumulation of new refugees in camps should at all costs be avoided.
24. Members of the Committee agreed that legal protection was becoming increasingly important both in Europe and in those areas and countries where new problems of refugees had emerged. In particular they endorsed the important principle of non-refoulement (non-return). Some representatives considered that the definition of the term "refugee" should be kept in mind.
25. Members of the Committee noted with satisfaction that, as shown in more detail in document A/AC.96/INF.59, Governments had given generally a positive response to the proposed protocol for the extension of the personal scope of the 1951 Convention. The Committee welcomed the announcements made to this effect during the session by the representatives of Algeria, Burundi and Israel. They expressed the hope that other favourable replies would be received from the Governments consulted.
26. In response to a plea made by one delegation to speed up this matter, the High Commissioner suggested that the most rapid solution would be for the Committee, perhaps at its next session, to recommend that the Secretary-General be authorized by the General Assembly to open the text of the Protocol for signature by Governments.
27. Several representatives expressed the concern of their Government that the Federal Republic of Germany had not yet been able to provide the High Commissioner with funds for the indemnification of persons who had been persecuted on the grounds of their nationality and were not covered by the Fund established under the Indemnification Agreement of October 1960. They also expressed the hope that the difficulties which had arisen with regard to the implementation of article I of that Agreement would be overcome. The representative of the Federal Republic of Germany stated that, in view of legal difficulties, it had not been possible to pursue the method applied in 1960. The problem, however, would be studied again in his Government.
28. The Committee welcomed the news that the Government of Kenya had just acceded to the 1951 Convention, to which there were now fifty parties. It was also gratified to learn that the United Kingdom Government had decided to waive fees for visas granted to the holders of refugee travel documents issued in countries members of the Council of Europe.
29. Members of the Committee also endorsed the approach and methods of work followed by the High Commissioner in the field of material assistance. Some representatives stated that when refugees expressed the desire to return to their country of origin this constituted an excellent solution to their problems, provided that their repatriation was completely voluntary. Other representatives highlighted the important role of resettlement through migration, which is considered in detail in section II below.
30. It was recognized that local integration through rural settlement continued to be the solution for the majority of the refugees in Africa. The Committee paid particular attention to the huge task being faced by the Governments of the countries of asylum in Africa, by UNHCR and by the voluntary agencies. They had to help thousands of new refugees to settle in agriculture, while at the same time seeking to consolidate the establishment of those who had already reaped their first or second harvest. The Committee was apprised of the role of the refugees who, through their hard work and perseverance, were themselves making a contribution to the solution of their problems.
31. The Committee was aware that once the refugees had reached an economic level similar to that of the local population, which sometimes called for somewhat longer-term action by UNHCR, further measures were generally required in order to consolidate their establishment. Since such measures were also necessary for the local population living in the same areas, they would normally come within the framework of projects promoted by the United Nations Development Programme and the specialized agencies at the request of the Governments of the countries concerned. Some members of the Committee recalled that arrangements for the co-ordination of UNHCR activities with those of the interested specialized agencies had already been considered at previous sessions and, as stated by the High Commissioner, at the last meeting of the Administrative Committee on Co-ordination. They emphasized the complexity of UNHCR activities and considered that it was most important that any overlap or duplication should be avoided between these activities and those of other members of the United Nations family.
32. One representative informed the Committee that the ACC, in a report which it had just adopted, had drawn attention to the particular problem which was before the Committee.
33. In the course of the session, the representatives of the ILO and of the FAO pointed out that their organizations were prepared to make every effort to provide technical assistance at the request of the Governments concerned but had no funds for the implementation of development projects, such as those which had been mentioned in the discussion.
34. The Committee agreed that the question of co-ordination should be included as a special item on the agenda of its sixteenth session.
35. With regard to the method of financing assistance to refugees, several speakers underlined the advantages of multilateral aid. They wished to pay tribute at the same time to the important contribution being made by certain Governments in providing bilateral aid, particularly with regard to the provision of food supplies to countries of asylum of refugees in Africa. The World Food Programme was particularly commended for the essential role it was playing in providing emergency food supplies for the newly arriving refugees. Some representatives suggested the possibility that some of the means available in their countries for bilateral aid might be channelled through UNHCR in consultation with the High Commissioner and the receiving Governments.
36. In the course of the debate, the representatives and observers of Governments of countries of residence of the refugees, including countries of first asylum and countries of immigration, gave an account of the numbers and conditions of the refugees in their country and of the measures which had been taken to assist them. The Committee noted from some of the statements that very considerable contributions were made towards the solution of problems of refugees through the admission of large numbers of them and the extension of a variety of assistance measures by Governments, local authorities or welfare agencies throughout many countries. It noted that many refugees were making a positive contribution to the economic and social life of their country of adoption.
37. The Committee heard a statement by the representative of the International Council of Voluntary Agencies, the text of which may be found in document A/AC.96/333.
Decision of the Committee
38. The Executive Committee, having heard the High Commissioner's introductory statement and subsequent statements made in the course of the general debate.
(1) Endorsed the general principles enunciated in his statement;
(2) Recognized the scale of the new problems of refugees facing UNHCR, particularly in Africa, and paid tribute to the High Commissioner for the dynamic and imaginative approach which he had adopted in tackling them;
(3) Recognized the importance that provision for assistance on a reasonable scale be continued to meet the needs of non-settled European refugees, particularly in countries of first asylum;
(4) Noted with satisfaction that, taking into account the increasing needs to be met and the limited means at his disposal, the High Commissioner would, as hitherto, try to enlist every support he could obtain from all sources;
(5) Stressed the importance of increased co-operation between the Office of the High Commissioner and other members of the United Nations family, particularly in the field of long-term projects for refugees in Africa;
(6) Stressed the basic importance of international protection;
(7) Took note with satisfaction of the fact that the High Commissioner was following up the problem of indemnification with the authorities concerned, while several representatives expressed the hope that a solution to this problem would soon be found.
II. Report on UNHCR activities
UNHCR MAJOR AID PROGRAMMES (agenda item 5)
39. The Committee considered the progress report on the UNHCR major aid programmes as at 31 December 1965 and the reappraisal of completion dates of the UNHCR major aid programmes (A/AC.96/321 and Add. 1 and A/AC.96/322).
40. The Administration reported that some 100,000 refugees had found a new life through direct assistance under the major aid programmes, at a cost of $100 million to which UNHCR had contributed $45 million and the balance had been contributed as supporting contributions from within the countries of residence of the refugees. Furthermore, substantial lasting assets had been created which would benefit further refugees for many years to come.
41. The speakers paid tribute to the effective manner in which these programmes were being brought to conclusion. Some of them expressed concern at the considerable delays incurred in certain projects and stressed the adverse effect which such delays might have on the financial participation of Governments in the UNHCR current programme.
42. The Administration explained that delays in the housing programmes in Greece were largely due to the increase in building costs. It would be necessary to reduce the scope of the projects in keeping with the funds available. Every effort would be made to provide enough dwellings to house those non-settled refugees for whom housing was essential for their permanent settlement.
43. The Committee learned with satisfaction from the representative of Greece that the technical and legal difficulties which had impeded the implementation of the housing projects had been largely overcome and that prospects for the completion of the programme were now more favourable.
44. In reply to questions, the Director of Operations recalled that projects were reappraised at regular intervals and either cancelled or replaced by new projects within the major aid programmes such as those which had been adopted by the Committee at its thirteenth session and which were essential to achieve solutions for the refugees concerned. The projects in a value of $2 million to which reference had been made would not yield substantial savings and it was important, therefore, that the financial gap of nearly $200,000 be met.
45. On the question of the basic criteria for the granting of UNHCR assistance, the Administration explained that the object of the High Commissioner was to assist non-settled refugees in becoming self-supporting. A refugee was regarded as settled once he had accommodation and an adequate income, taking into account his original social background and the economic conditions of his country of residence. In order to ensure the most economic use of funds, supporting contributions were sought from within the country of residence and the co-operation of voluntary agencies was enlisted.
Decision of the Committee
46. The Executive Committee:
(1) Took note of the progress report on UNHCR major aid programmes as at 31 December 1965 (A/AC./96/321 and Add. 1) and of the note on the reappraisal of completion dates of the major aid programmes (A/AC.96/322);
(2) Paid tribute to the High Commissioner for the progress he had achieved with a view to the completion of the UNHCR major aid programmes.
(3) Noted with appreciation that the major aid programmes were now largely completed with the exception of projects in France, Greece and Italy, that future reports would, therefore, be limited to providing information on these three countries only and that a final report on the major aid programmes would be issued in due course;
(4) Further noted that in view of the problems facing a number of refugees of European origin in the Far East, in the Middle East and in Morocco, assistance to them might have to be continued under the current programme upon completion of the last major aid programmes;
(5) Expressed the hope that the housing programme in Greece would be speeded up as much as possible in order to ensure that satisfactory accommodation be provided at the earliest stage for the refugees concerned.
REPORT ON CURRENT OPERATIONS (agenda item 6)
47. The Committee considered the report on current operations submitted by the High Commissioner (A/AC.96/325) and the final report of the Armand Kuijpers projects (A/AC.96/330), together with two reports by the International Labour Office (A/AC.96/INF.57 and 58) on the integration and zonal development projects in Burundi and the Kivu Provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. These reports gave the Committee information on projects financed, co-financed or promoted by UNHCR under the $3.5 million current programme for 1965; projects in previous current programmes which were continued or completed during 1965; projects financed from the UNHCR Emergency Fund and projects outside the programme financed from special trust funds.
48. In presenting the report, the Director of Operations recalled that current operations had benefited over 240,000 refugees in thirty-eight countries throughout the five continents. He gave an eye-witness account of some of the developments he had noticed while on mission to Greece, Turkey, Tanzania, Uganda and Macao. He reported that the problems of European refugees had remained within manageable proportions though some of the host Governments were bearing a heavy burden. In Africa, where 210,000 refugees had been assisted in 1961, encouraging progress had been made in their rural settlement. The efforts and perseverance of the refugees themselves were reflected in the successful cultivation of land and the building of many new villages.
49. Members of the Committee paid tribute to the results achieved in the implementation of the current programme. Some speakers expressed concern at the fact that the problems seemed to increase in scope while only limited financial means available to meet them. Emphasis was also placed on the fact that projects for the local settlement of refugees in Africa would take longer than had been anticipated and some two years might be required for the initial settlement of the refugees.
50. A tribute was paid to the generous asylum policy which had been adopted by a number of countries.
51. The question of the respective roles of UNHCR and other members of the United Nations family arose, particularly with regard to the implementation of development programmes which might be required to assist the refugees in achieving firm settlement. The Committee noted that UNHCR did not have the necessary funds available for this purpose and no formula had as yet been found for the financing of such programmes from other sources.
52. In considering the section on Burundi, the Committee noted from the statements made by representatives and the observer from Burundi that there was a considerable gap between the available project funds and the needs to be met. The Administration, in reporting on the various phases of the rural settlement of refugees in Burundi, stressed that after the initial phase of settlement was completed, further action was required to enable the refugees to achieve economic and social integration within the country as a whole. The ILO/FAO Integration and Zonal Development Project was an intermediary between the initial phase and the required long-term development projects which should benefit both the refugees and the local population. In Mugera the initial phase was likely to be completed towards the end of 1966, but there was no certainty that the long-term development plan, concerning which the Burundi Government had submitted a request to the United Nations Development Programme, could be launched by that time. He added that since the refugees in Mugera were not farmers by profession they needed to be re-trained and further assistance would, therefore, be required for a certain period.
53. The Committee heard from the ILO representative that the zonal integration project, which had been temporarily slowed down in Burundi through food shortages, was making good progress again.
54. The administration informed the Committee that a number of Congolese in Burundi, the Central African Republic, Tanzania and Uganda had opted for voluntary repatriation. Other Congolese refugees had been hesitant to do so because they were not sure whether they could return to their villages of origin. In co-operation with the International Committee of the Red Cross, UNHCR was encouraging contacts between the Governments concerned.
55. The observer for the Democratic Republic of the Congo expressed the appreciation for the assistance provided by the Office of the High Commissioner to Congolese in neighbouring countries. He recalled that the number of refugees assisted in 1965 in his country constituted some 10 per cent of the total number admitted to the Congo. He further pointed out that the expulsion and sequestration decrees adopted by his Government in August 1964, while not yet rescinded, were not in practice affecting the refugees.
56. With regard to the programmes for Tibetan refugees in India, the Director of Operations explained that the Indian Government had spent several millions of dollars on programmes that included provisions for extensive educational assistance and for some vocational training projects. UNHCR's marginal assistance had been provided from special trust funds, mainly for the purchase of equipment for rural resettlement.
57. The Committee learned from an exchange of views between representatives and the Director of Operations that of the population of 300,000 in Macao some 80,000 were refugees. Here, too, UNHCR assistance formed a limited part of the over-all effort made by the local authorities and the voluntary agencies to help the refugees to become self-supporting. Considerable needs would continue to exist in Macao.
58. In reply to questions concerning assistance to refugees in Senegal, the Administration indicated that the 50,000 refugees in Senegal, which had a total population of 3.5 million, were concentrated in an area where they constituted one-fifth of the local population. New refugees continued to arrive. The Administration also gave information on the rice-growing project put into effect for refugees, with the assistance of Chinese experts.
59. The representative of the United Republic of Tanzania stated that the work of assistance for refugees in his country during the period under review had been a very real challenge, particularly since their number was considerably larger than that of the 23,000 who had benefited from the UNHCR programme.
60. The question arose as to why a number of refugees from Mozambique had left the Rutumba settlement. The Committee noted from an exchange of views between the representatives of the United Kingdom, the United Republic of Tanzania and the Director of Operations, that most of these refugees had either been offered employment on other plantations or had gone to live with relatives, and that new legislation was being put into effect to induce the refugees to remain in the settlements. The Administration indicated that their spontaneous integration could also be regarded as a favourable development which should be generally encouraged in other areas in Africa.
61. The Committee heard with interest a detailed report by the observer for Uganda on the considerable problem caused by the presence of some 139,000 refugees, mainly Rwandese and Sudanese, which his Government was facing. He referred in particular to the continuing influx of refugees and to his Government's firm adhesion to the principle of voluntary repatriation.
62. The Committee noted from further statements by the observer for Uganda, the representative of the United Kingdom and the Director of Operations, who had both recently visited the country, that in view of the new influx and the fact that the Sudanese refugees concerned had not opted for voluntary repatriation as had been first anticipated, a number of settlements and centres were overcrowded. It also noted that there was a growing need for educational projects.
63. In reply to a question, the Director of Operations stressed that the funds committed for assistance to the refugees in Uganda would be fully needed and that more funds might be required.
64. The representative of the ILO said that since the five-year plan of the Government of Uganda had now been published, his organization would shortly be in a position to put forward proposals for an integrated development project which would be based on the preliminary investigation already made by an ILO expert at the request of the Uganda Government and on the experience gained with the zonal integration projects in Burundi and the Kivu Provinces of the Congo.
65. In the course of the discussion, the Administration undertook to supply monographs and visual material on the areas where new refugee problems had emerged and on the projects put into effect for the refugees concerned. Enquiries into technical aspects of the programme and the replies given by the Administration may be found in the summary records of the 132nd and 136th meetings.
66. The Chairman recalled that the projects in document A/AC.96/330 had been named after Mr. Armand Kuijpers, who had represented Belgium in the Committee until his untimely death during the Committee's session in May 1964. He proposed that the Committee should on this occasion pay a tribute to the memory of Mr. Kuijpers.
Decision of the Committee
67. The Executive Committee:
(1) Expressed its satisfaction with the results of the projects carried out under the UNHCR current programmes and with the effective way in which the High Commissioner was dealing with new problems of refugees. as shown in his report on current operations (A/AC.96/325);
(2) Expressed its appreciation to the many Governments and organizations which in various ways participate in the UNHCR current programmes;
(3) Took note of the final report on the Armand Kuijpers Projects (A/AC.96/330) and approved the arrangements referred to in that report as well as the proposed cancellation of the balance of funds still available;
(4) Paid a solemn tribute to the memory of Mr. Armand Kuijpers, who represented Belgium in the Executive Committee and who, until his death in May 1964, stimulated efforts on behalf of refugees by his inspiring faith.
REPORT ON THE RESETTLEMENT OF REFUGEES (agenda item 7)
68. The Committee considered the report on the resettlement of refugees (A/AC.96/324) which showed that the resettlement of some 16,000 refugees who were the concern of UNHCR had been promoted, financed or co-financed by UNHCR during 1965. The report was supplemented by an addendum giving more detailed statistical data.
69. The Director of the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration (ICEM), Mr. B. W. Haveman, addressing the Committee, said that the transport of refugees of European origin by ICEM from 1961 to 1965 had remained at a fairly steady level of some 38,000 to 39,000 persons yearly, and present indications suggested that this yearly average was unlikely to alter in the near future. He assured the Committee of ICEM's continuing concern with the problem of European refugees. In close collaboration with the countries of immigration and the voluntary agencies. ICEM had been able to deal with the increased influx of refugees into certain countries of first asylum which had taken place in 1965. Movements from Austria had increased by 96 per cent, from Germany by 21 per cent and from Italy by 30 per cent during the first four months of 1966.
70. The Director of ICEM paid a tribute to the countries of first asylum and the countries of immigration for their generous policy of admitting refugees. He assured the Committee that ICEM would continue to do everything in its power to facilitate the speedy resettlement of refugees in order to avoid an accumulation in reception centres. In conclusion, he drew attention to the difficulties experienced by ICEM in obtaining all the funds needed to carry out its task.
71. The Administration, in introducing the report on resettlement, highlighted certain important developments such as the introduction of the new United States Immigration Law which would enable 10,200 refugees to be admitted annually to the United States; the opening in Geneva of the Canadian Immigration Office for Continental Europe; the opening of the new Migration Centre for refugees at Banja Koviljaca in Yugoslavia and the recent decisions by the Government of Australia concerning the admission of migrants from Asia. He stressed that there had been a certain increase in the number of asylum seekers in Western Europe in the second half of 1965. The prompt response of the main countries of immigration and the close co-operation of USEP, ICEM, UNHCR and the voluntary agencies had, however, prevented an accumulation of these refugees in the countries of asylum. He recalled that in Africa and in other areas refugees were benefiting from resettlement as a solution to their problems.
72. Members of the Committee expressed their appreciation of the important work being carried out by ICEM in co-operation with UNHCR and voluntary agencies. This valuable partnership was producing highly satisfactory results. Tribute was paid to those countries which continued to accept substantial numbers of refugees, in particular the handicapped.
73. The representative of Australia said that 3,700 refugees would be admitted to Australia in 1966 under assisted passage schemes and a further 4,000 to 5,000 under other schemes. His Government would continue to work closely with Austria and Italy to avoid an accumulation of new arrivals in these countries and would continue to consider the resettlement of handicapped refugees and of "Old Believers" from the Far East. Australia was prepared to consider applications from interested Cuban refugees in Spain.
74. The representative of Canada said that in 1965, in addition to a number of refugees who came to Canada as ordinary migrants, 2,100 refugees were admitted under a relaxation of normal immigration standards. In addition to several hundred persons who sought and received asylum in Canada, a number of refugees were admitted under the private sponsorship programme. The Canadian authorities would continue to apply these practices and facilitate special programmes which apply even to persons who may not be within the High Commissioner's mandate but who deserve compassionate consideration.
75. The representative of the United States, referring to the accumulation of Cuban refugees in Spain, explained that there were at present no numerical limitations on the admission of Cubans to the United States of America. They were considered as residents of the Western Hemisphere even when living in a country of asylum outside the Western Hemisphere. However, for the majority, it was necessary to obtain labour certifications from the Department of Labour before being admitted to the United States. Under an arrangement between the Governments of the United States and Cuba, some 4,000 Cubans were arriving monthly in the United States direct from Cuba. Cubans from other areas would continue to be admitted to his country. He explained, however, that it was preferable for those wishing to settle in the United States to await their turn to enter directly under this arrangement, rather than to leave first for another country of asylum in the hope of emigrating more rapidly from there.
76. The problem was of great dimensions and the United States Government would be grateful if other countries would accept Cuban refugees for permanent settlement. He suggested that some counselling activities might be undertaken to make known to these refugees the possibilities for resettlement open to them in other countries or areas such as Australia and Latin America.
77. In the course of the discussion and also during the previous general debate a number of representatives and the observer for Spain expressed their Governments' concern for and interest in the problem of Cuban refugees, in particular their resettlement. The Committee was informed of the assistance given to these refugees in Spain and Venezuela. It was suggested in the course of the discussion that further offers of resettlement for Cuban refugees would be helpful.
78. A further exchange of views took place on the question of Cuban refugees between the representatives of Venezuela and the United States and the observer for Cuba, the details of which may be found in the summary records of the 133rd and 140th meetings of the Committee.
79. Reference was also made to the resettlement of 3,000 Rwandese refugees from the Kivu Provinces of the Congo in Tanzania and to the possibility of a limited number of Chinese refugees from Macao being admitted to Surinam.
80. A number of representatives paid tribute to those countries which had generously accepted and were continuing to accept substantial numbers of handicapped cases for permanent settlement. Their liberal criteria for the admission of these refugees was helping to alleviate the burden of the countries of first asylum. One representative pointed out that many handicapped refugees were capable of productive activity after rehabilitation and they should not be looked upon as an economic burden; there was still a great need for resettlement opportunities for this category of refugees, in particular for those with the more severe type of handicap, and only through collective action on the part of the international community could this problem be solved; counselling activities were still required, in particular for individual refugees.
81. Attention was also drawn to the continued need for language training in order to open up new resettlement opportunities for refugees.
82. The Administration replied to questions put by several representatives, the details of which may be found in the summary record of the 135th meeting.
Decision of the Committee
83. The Executive Committee:
(1) Took note of the activities of the Office of the High Commissioner in the field of resettlement as reported in document A/AC.96/324;
(2) Noted with satisfaction that indispensable international action in this field was being continued and intensified;
(3) Noted that there was a continuing need for liberal schemes allowing for the resettlement of refugees with various types of physical and social handicaps;
(4) Urged governments:
(i) to continue to provide sufficient resettlement opportunities to keep up with the influx of new refugees;
(ii) to provide increasingly flexible schemes to avoid the formation of new groups of handicapped refugees in the countries of first asylum.
III. Administrative and financial questions
NOTE ON THE USE OF THE EMERGENCY FUND (agenda item 8)
84. The Committee considered the note on the use of the Emergency Fund covering the period from September 1965 until the end of April 1966 (A/AC.96/327 and Add.1). It also had before it documents A/AC.96/INF.52, 53 and 55, which gave more detailed information on the purpose for which funds had been disbursed from the Emergency Fund.
85. In reply to questions, the Administration stated that, in view of the nature of the needs to be met from the Emergency Fund, assistance given under the Fund normally took the form of grants rather than loans. This assistance could benefit any refugee within the sphere of competence of the High Commissioner. Background information on expenditure under the Fund was provided in the form of information papers in order to inform Governments rapidly of developments in between sessions of the Committee. This, however, did not prevent the Committee from considering them at its sessions. Repayments of loans in excess of the ceiling of the Fund were set aside as a special reserve, in accordance with a decision taken by the Committee at its twelfth session.
86. In reply to a question concerning the allocation of an amount of $10,000 from the Emergency Fund for assistance to Khmer refugees in Cambodia, the Administration stated that in December 1960 the Cambodian Government had requested assistance from the High Commissioner for these refugees. At that time there were various groups of refugees in Cambodia, including Khmer refugees from Cochinchina. Their influx had continued over the years and the Cambodian Government had again appealed to the High Commissioner after the increased influx which had taken place in the spring and summer of 1965. More recently a small influx of Khmer refugees from another neighbouring country had been reported. The Cambodian authorities had established a Central Committee for Refugees which was organizing assistance, including rural settlement.
87. The Committee learned from a statement by the observer for the Central African Republic about the use being made by his Government of the funds which had been provided from the Emergency Fund for assistance to refugees in his country.
Decision of the Committee
88. The Executive Committee approved the report on the use of the Emergency Fund, submitted by the High Commissioner in documents A/AC.96/327 and Add.1, and took note of the information contained in documents A/AC.96/INF.52, 53, 54 and 55.
FINANCIAL STATUS OF UNHCR PROJECT FUNDS (agenda item 9)
89. The Committee discussed the general aspects of the financial status of UNHCR projects funds (A/AC.96/323), the provisional financial statements for 1965 (A/AC.96/329) and the report on investments for the year ended 31 December 1965 (A/AC.96/328).
90. The Administration explained the use made of the "funds set aside" and indicated that, on the most optimistic assumption whereby the 1966 programme would be fully financed, these funds at the end of 1966 might reach an order of magnitude of $900,000.
91. One delegation asked if an estimate could be given on the amount which might be expected to accrue to the "funds set aside" over the next five years.
92. The Administration stated that only tentative information could be given in this respect. Reasonably accurate estimates could be made in respect of one of the three sources which yield these funds, i.e., the annual reimbursements of loans which were primarily utilized to maintain the ceiling of $500,000 of the Emergency Fund. While this amount was normally estimated at over $300,000 a year, it might reach $500,000 in 1966 as a result of a project in Austria which should exceptionally provide over $150,000 in the current year. The two other sources of income were constituted by the balances resulting from the adjustments or cancellations of projects and interest, after deduction of the grant-in-aid to the United Nations budget.
93. He further explained that one of the main purposes of the "funds set aside" was to provide the Office with enough funds in cash to finance projects at the beginning of the financial year, pending receipt of contributions from governments.
94. The Committee noted that it would be of assistance to UNHCR if governmental contributions to the UNHCR programmes were paid as early as possible in the year. It decided to adopt a recommendation to this effect, the text of which is included in the Committee's decisions concerning the status of contributions (see paragraph 109 (5) below).
95. Several representatives considered that, while the provisional financial statements should continue to be addressed to member Governments as early as possible in the year, it would be sufficient for the Committee to consider the financial statements once a year, together with the report of the Board of Auditors.
Decision of the Committee
96. The Executive Committee:
(1) Took note of document A/AC.96/323 relating to the financial status of UNHCR project funds;
(2) Took note of the provisional financial statements for voluntary funds for the year 1965 (A/AC.96/329);
(3) Decided that, in future, financial statements should be submitted to the Committee once a year only, at the same time as the report of the Board of Auditors, on the understanding that provisional financial statements would continue to be submitted to Governments as early as possible in the financial year;
(4) Took note of the report on investments for the year 1965 (A/AC.96/328);
(5) Also noted that, in future, reports on UNHCR investments would be submitted twice a year to the United Nations Investment Committee for its advice.
REPORT ON THE STATUS OF CONTRIBUTIONS (agenda item 10)
97. The Committee considered the status of contributions (A/AC.96/326) and a report on income and allocations from the proceeds of the UNHCR long-playing records (A/AC.96/INF. 56).
98. The High Commissioner highlighted the vulnerable financial position of UNHCR and pointed out that there was at present a $1.2 million gap in the $4.2 million target of the 1966 programme. He felt that once Governments had approved a minimum programme which was to serve essentially as a catalyst it should be fully financed from governmental sources.
99. He had appealed to Governments which traditionally contribute to UNHCR and had not yet announced their contribution, to do so generously.
100. He explained that the funds raised in the private sector and in particular the proceeds of the 1966 campaign would chiefly be required by the organizing voluntary agencies and national committees to finance essential projects outside the UNHCR programmes and partly to meet the needs of refugees who did not come within the sphere of competence of his Office.
101. The High Commissioner appealed to Governments which had not yet increased their contribution pursuant to resolution 2039 (XX) of the General Assembly to envisage an increase and expressed the hope that the 1966 programme would be fully financed so that it could properly fill its stimulating role; there would otherwise be a serious risk of a breakdown in the whole mechanism of international assistance for refugees.
102. Most speakers stated they could agree with the views put forward by the High Commissioner. They considered that Governments should continue to share the responsibility for assistance to refugees by considering increases in their financial contribution, and that wider financial participation in the UNHCR programmes was required.
103. The following announcements of contributions were made during the meeting or at another time during the session: the representative of Algeria stated that his Government had given instructions for the payment of $6,000 towards the 1965 programme, and would make a further contribution of $6,000 towards the 1966 programme; the representative of Denmark announced an increase of $22,610 in his Government's contribution to the 1966 programme, subject to formal approval by the Danish budgetary authorities; he added that the Danish Government would make a contribution of 3 million Danish crowns to the 1966 campaign; the representative of the Holy See announced a regular contribution of $2,500 and a special one of $5,000 to the 1966 programme plus its usual contribution of $2,500 to UNRWA which was channelled through UNHCR; the representative of Sweden announced a special contribution of $50,000, and the representative of the United Republic of Tanzania a regular contribution of $2,800 to the 1966 programme.
104. The Committee noted with appreciation from document A/AC.96/326 that the Governments of Australia, Canada, France, Norway, Tunisia and the United Kingdom had already announced increases to their regular contribution to the 1966 programme.
105. The Committee agreed on a recommendation concerning the early payment of governmental contributions which it had considered in connexion with item 9 of the agenda.
106. In response to a suggestion, the High Commissioner gave information on the arrangements that were being made for the 1966 fund-raising campaign. He indicated that several countries outside Europe had now decided to participate in this campaign which, he recalled, was being organized by the voluntary agencies in a number of European countries.
107. He added that sponsorship of the campaign had recently been accepted by His Majesty King Baudoin of Belgium, Their Majesties King Frederick and Queen Ingrid of Denmark, Her Majesty Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, His Majesty King Olaf of Norway, Grand Duc Jean of Luxembourg, President Jonas of Austria and the President of the German Bundestag, Mr. Gerstenmaier.
108. He further indicated that arrangements had been agreed with the Secretary-General for highlighting the cause of refugees on United Nations Day, which would also be the opening day of the 1966 campaign in many participating countries.
Decision of the Committee
109. The Executive Committee:
Having considered the report on the status of contributions to UNHCR (A/AC.96/326) and the report on income and allocations from the proceeds of the long-playing records "All-Star Festival" and "International Piano Festival" and information concerning the launching of the scheme "Greetings from the Skies" (A/AC.96/INF.56).
(1) Took note of these reports;
(2) Noted with concern that the High Commissioner was still $1.2 million short of the financial target of $4.2 million set for the 1966 current programme and expressed the fear that, in the absence of the necessary contributions, it would prove impossible to carry out essential projects, with all the consequences which that would entail for the refugees;
(3) Invited the High Commissioner:
(a) To appeal to Governments which regularly contribute to the UNHCR programme to consider the possibility of increasing their contribution to the 1966 programme if they had not already done so;
(b) To urge other countries members of the United nations or of the specialized agencies which had not announced a contribution to the UNHCR programme for 1966 to participate in the financing of UNHCR programmes;
(4) Expressed the desire that governmental contributions should as far as possible be paid at the beginning of the financial year in order to provide UNHCR with the necessary cash resources for the implementation of projects.
ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENDITURE FOR 1966 (agenda item 13 (a))
110. The Committee considered the report of the High Commissioner on administrative expenditure for 1966 (A/AC.96/319). The representative of the High Commissioner gave a summary of the main content of the document and reported on the action taken by the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions and the Fifth Committee. He recalled that while the responsibilities of the High Commissioner had considerably increased in the course of 1965, he was expected by the Advisory Committee to carry out these responsibilities with $88,000 less than he had estimated in March of that year. UNHCR would therefore have to operate under conditions of financial stringency during 1966. The Administration also reported on the solutions which had been adopted by the Advisory Committee and the Fifth Committee to the problem of the grant-in-aid, as indicated in paragraphs 6 to 12 of document A/AC.96/319.
111. Several members of the Committee stated that they were aware of the difficulties which the Office was facing. They also expressed satisfaction at the new procedure which had been adopted for the calculation of the grant-in-aid.
Decision of the Committee
112. The Executive Committee:
(1) Took note of document A/AC.96/319 relating to Administrative Expenditure for 1966;
(2) Authorized the High Commissioner to make a grant-in-aid of $3900,000 to the United Nations budget for 1966, it being understood that this sum would be adjusted to 10 per cent of the amount actually committed under the current programme for 1966, excluding commitments for administrative expenditure covered directly within the programme;
(3) Noted that the grant-in-aid would be paid as far as possible from interest on invested funds but that, if this source should prove insufficient, the balance would be paid from 1966 to the current programme.
ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENDITURE FOR 1967 (agenda item 13 (b))
113. In presenting the report on administrative expenditure for 1967 (A/AC.96/331) the High Commissioner stressed that, in order to be able to carry out the responsibility placed upon him by the Executive Committee and the Assembly, he needed extra staff and financial resources. He stated that, in submitting the 1967 estimates to the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions he would declare himself prepared to continue to transfer staff from Europe to Africa and Asia; there was a limit, however, beyond which reductions in Europe could not go; the few staff increases and reclassifications requested were really very important to enable him to carry out his responsibilities. He expressed the hope that, considering the very tight budgetary estimates in relation to the work which had to be done, the Advisory Committee would give the most favourable consideration to his proposals.
114. Several members of the Committee expressed their support for the 1967 estimates put forward in document A/AC.96/331 and supported the views of the High Commissioner. With regard to the proposed reduction of staff in Europe, attention was drawn to the need to maintain the staff for the effective protection of refugees. One delegation, while fully sympathizing with the problems which the High Commissioner was facing, felt that it might be imprudent to pronounce on the document before it had been submitted to the Advisory Committee and governmental authorities. The majority of speakers expressed the hope that adequate administrative resources would be made available to the High Commissioner to enable him to accomplish the increasing tasks which were incumbent on his Office.
Decision of the Committee
115. The Executive Committee:
(1) Took note of the High Commissioner's budget estimates for 1967 (A/AC.96/331);
(2) Expressed the hope that the administrative resources made available to the High Commissioner would be sufficient to enable his Office to accomplish its task of bringing solutions to the complex and increasing refugee problems which were of concern to the international community.
GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION 2116 (XX) (agenda item 14)
116. The Executive Committee took note of the provisions of General Assembly resolution 2116 (XX) concerning the pattern of conferences of United Nations bodies.
IV. UNHCR programme for 1966 - new projects (agenda item 11)
117. The Committee considered the new projects amounting to a total of $675,360 submitted to it by the High Commissioner in documents A/AC.96/320 and Add. 1 and 2, and listed in document A/AC.96/320 Add. 3. As indicated in the documents before the Committee, approval of these projects would entail an increase in the financial target of the 1966 programme from $3.9 million to approximately $4.2 million, taking into account that the estimates submitted in respect of the new projects were conservative and that allowance should be made for contingencies.
118. In presenting the new projects, which were chiefly for assistance to refugees in Africa, the Director of Operations emphasized that most of the new problems for which projects were submitted had emerged very recently. Their rapid implementation was essential in order to enable the refugees concerned to start planting during the next sowing season and thus reap their first harvest as soon as possible. The High Commissioner had informed Governments of these projects as soon as the need for them had been brought to his attention and the necessary details had been obtained as rapidly as possible in consultation with the Governments and local authorities concerned. The Director of Operations recalled that the projects, which mainly concerned land settlement, had been drawn up according to the usual pattern. The UNHCR contribution constituted only a fraction of the total cost involved. Land was being made available free of charge by the host Government and food by the World Food Programme or the Government of the United States of America. Voluntary agencies had also agreed to make substantial contributions to the projects. He also drew the attention of the Committee to a new problem of refugees which had arisen in Rwanda and to the additional assistance which might be required for the groups of refugees in Uganda.
119. Several representatives stated that they appreciated the urgent need of the refugees for whom the new projects had been submitted and that they could generally agree on the projects as such. Some of the speakers considered however that it would be difficult for them to approve the resulting increase in the financial target, since the new projects had only just been presented to the Committee and had not yet been studied by Governments. One delegation stressed the importance that the programme and budget be matched as far as possible.
120. Some representatives recalled that the High Commissioner had given the Committee an indication at its fourteenth session of the developments which had now taken place and that he had at that time already stated that the $3.9 million target might not be sufficient to meet the new problems which were likely to emerge. They felt that, in view of the rapid evolution of problems of refugees in Africa, it was particularly difficult to make accurate financial estimates a long time ahead.
121. Some representatives pointed out that while the need for increases in the financial target had already made itself felt in the past, the amount ultimately committed at the end of the financial year had proved to be less than the increased target. In any event, they trusted that the High Commissioner would be able to secure the necessary funds. Two representatives asked whether the High Commissioner could provisionally finance the new projects from his Emergency Fund.
122. The Director of Operations stated that, in view of the circumstances of the refugees concerned, the need for new projects often arose unexpectedly and that they had to be put into effect as and when the need arose. He replied in the affirmative to the question as to whether their immediate implementation was necessary to enable the refugees to catch the planting season and added that this would save the additional expenditure entailed in providing the refugees with care and maintenance, pending the following harvest.
123. The observer for the World Food Programme (WFP) informed the Committee that his organization was interested in the new projects for Congolese and Mozambiquan refugees in Tanzania and in the new project in Zambia; parallel requests for food aid had recently been received by WFP from the Governments of both countries. Under a resolution adopted by the Assembly at its twentieth session, the work of WFP had been placed on a continuing basis and pledges had been received in an amount of $209 million for the period 1966-1968. The funds available would be insufficient to meet the many requests submitted to WFP and it was expected that in 1967 and 1968 there would be only a limited possibility for WFP to finance new projects. He expressed the hope, therefore, that the non-governmental organizations would also supply food in the future.
124. The representative of the United States added that his Government would continue to provide food for assistance to the refugees in Africa, both through bilateral aid and through WFP.
125. The representative of the United Republic of Tanzania and the observers for the Central African Republic and Uganda stressed the urgency of the refugee problems which their respective Governments were facing: the representative of the United Republic of Tanzania emphasized that the time-lag of 4 to 6 months which was required for the delivery of food by WFP might result in the loss of lives, unless immediate action was taken to provide emergency relief. The observer for Uganda stated that in order to enable the refugees to catch the planting season it would be essential for his Government to receive a first instalment towards the projects which it was submitting to UNHCR.
126. In the course of the session, the observer for the Organization of African Unity stated the interest his organization was taking in the work of international assistance for refugees, with particular reference to those in Africa.
127. In interpreting the sense of the debate the Chairman stated that it seemed clear that the new projects would meet a most urgent need.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
128. The Committee considered a project in an amount of $300,000 for UNHCR participation in the rural settlement of Sudanese refugees in the Central African Republic.
129. The Committee noted from a statement by the observer for the Central African Republic that the region where the refugees had been admitted was very remote from the capital, and a serious problem of communications was involved in keeping open the access roads to that region. This affected the supply of food and equipment and the outlet for the cash crops which would be cultivated by the refugees. The representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization informed the Committee that in response to a request addressed to his organization by the Government of the Central African Republic, FAO had made an agricultural expert available for the implementation of the rural settlement project which was before the Committee. He suggested that UNHCR might consider increasing the allocation for agricultural extension services once sufficient funds were available from other sources for educational assistance.
130. The Administration pointed out that the proposed UNHCR allocation of $300,000 represented one third of the cost of the global programme and that the work of assistance would be co-ordinated by the League of Red Cross Societies. A second allocation for UNHCR participation in the programme would be submitted to the Committee for consideration at its sixteenth session.
131. The Committee approved the proposed project. It was understood that information in respect of the second proposed allocation for the settlement of Sudanese refugees in the Central African Republic would be given to the Committee as far ahead as possible of its sixteenth session.
132. The Committee considered the proposed allocation of $100,000 for UNHCR assistance towards the housing of Chinese refugees in Macao and the project for the construction and equipment of a hostel for refugee girls and women at a cost of $30,000. In reply to a question by the representative of China, the Director of Operations explained that there was an acute need for housing for the refugees in Macao. There was also a great need for education and training. He hoped that it would be possible in due course to put projects into effect in this field also with the co-operation of the local authorities. They were the more important, since they would generate employment possibilities. He added that UNHCR could only meet a fraction of the tremendous needs. The housing projects were chiefly intended to enable refugees to live in an area where they could benefit from employment opportunities afforded by major land reclamation and by the building of a causeway adjoining two islands. This latter project was partly financed under the UNHCR programme. A third allocation would be submitted at its sixteenth session.
133. He Committee approved the two projects in an amount of $130,000 for Chinese refugees in Macao.
UNITED REPUBLIC OF TANZANIA
134. The Committee considered the project submitted in an amount of $43,760 towards the settlement of Rwandese refugees in Mwesi, a project in an amount of $22,000 towards the settlement of Congolese refugees in agriculture and a project in an amount of $70,000 towards the settlement of refugees from Mozambique in agriculture.
135. The Committee approved the projects in a total amount of $135,760.
136. The Committee considered an allocation in an amount of $19,200 towards the rural settlement of Mozambiquan refugees in Zambia, for which it had already approved UNHCR participation in an amount of $95,000 by Mail Poll.
137. The Committee noted from a statement by the observer for Zambia that his country had admitted some 5,000 Mozambiquan refugees and that the influx of Angolan refugees was continuing. Only a few hundred of them could be accommodated in the transit centre and it was necessary, therefore, to assist them in settling in agriculture as soon as possible. His Government was also facing the problem of South African refugees who, after they had been granted asylum by other neighbouring countries, made their way to Zambia. The observer pointed out that since these refugees were coming from countries of first asylum and since the transit camp in Zambia was filled to capacity, his Government could only admit them for settlement if they could be established with the help of international assistance.
138. In reply to a question, the Administration informed the Committee that a very small UNHCR office was being established in Lusaka where the presence of UNHCR would be useful in assisting the Government to deal with the problems that had been mentioned.
139. The Committee approved the allocation in an amount of $19,200 towards the settlement of Mozambiquan refugees in Zambia.
140. The Committee approved the allocation of $90,400 submitted by the High Commissioner for administrative expenditure in connexion with Africa and Asia, in addition to the $5,000 allocation which had already been approved by the Committee by Mail Poll.
DECISION OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE FINANCIAL TARGET AND NEW PROJECTS IN THE 1966 PROGRAMME
141. The Executive Committee:
Having considered the new projects for inclusion in the programme for 1966, submitted to it by the High Commissioner in documents A/AC.96/320 and Add.1, 2 and 3.
(1) Took note of the information and proposals contained in these documents;
(2) Noted that the High Commissioner was still being faced with new refugee problems, particularly in Africa;
(3) Approved projects in the total amount of $675,360, as listed in document A/AC.96/320/Add. 3, in annex II to this report;
(4) Took cognizance of the fact that, making allowance for certain imponderables, a financial target of $4,200,000 would be required to enable the High Commissioner to implement the projects in question;
(5) Authorized the High Commissioner to raise the financial target of his 1966 programme to $4,200,000;
(6) Agreed in principle of the High Commissioner contributing in 1967 a further sum of $16,550 towards the requirements of the rural settlement of refugees from Mozambique at Nyimba, in Zambia, subject to the position in respect of the 1967 programme being reviewed at the sixteenth session on the basis of a report to be submitted by the High Commissioner;
(7) Authorized the High Commissioner to transfer funds between projects in the approved programme for 1966 so far as is necessary and within reasonable limits, provided that such transfers are reported to the Committee as soon as possible.
(8) Requested the High Commissioner's Office to supply Member Governments, as soon as possible, and desirably well in advance of its next session, with information on the continuation of the new projects in 1967.
V. Educational assistance to refugees (agenda item 12)
142. In introducing the note on education for refugees (A/AC.96/332), the High Commissioner said that some provisions for education had already been included in previous UNHCR projects for the various groups of refugees with which his Office was dealing. The subject had, however, taken on new importance since the advent of major refugee problems in Africa, which called for a more co-ordinated approach. In the document it was proposed that provision for elementary education be included in programmes for the settlement of new groups of refugees and that secondary, technical and higher education be promoted outside the regular programmes through the establishment of a refugee education fund.
143. The High Commissioner explained that in many refugees settlements there were no arrangements for primary school education; furthermore, only limited groups of refugees were able to benefit from the various United Nations special education and training programmes established by resolutions of the General Assembly and Security Council. The terms of reference of the proposed fund would cover all types of educational assistance, though emphasis would be placed on secondary and technical education. His Office had received UNESCO's full support for the project and would collaborate very closely with that organization in administering the fund. The High Commissioner expressed his gratitude to Governments for the interest they had taken in this important problem and for the generosity with which some of them, like Sweden, had already contributed.
144. In the course of the ensuing discussion, the Committee noted from a statement by the representative of UNESCO that his organization was submitting a proposal to its fourteenth General Conference to the effect that technical services be provided by UNESCO to UNHCR for the implementation of educational programmes for refugees. His organization had already been authorized by its twelfth General Conference to co-operate with the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner in the implementation of educational programmes for refugees from Southern Africa and territories under Portuguese administration. These would have to be financed through extra-budgetary funds.
145. His organization fully agreed with the proposals and considerations put forward in the document before the Committee. UNESCO was prepared to offer to UNHCR its technical services for the establishment of primary schools in refugee settlements, including the training of teachers and adaptation of curricula. It was prepared to process applications for scholarships for secondary and higher education and to handle the financial aspects of this work. This co-operation, however, could not entail financial contributions from UNESCO.
146. All speakers supported the view that primary education was indispensable for children among the new groups of refugees in Africa and that facilities for some secondary education, vocational training and higher education would also be needed. They paid tribute to the Governments and organizations which had already provided special contributions for this purpose. Several representatives gave their support to the proposals before the Committee; they pointed out that education and training was a most important factor in the assimilation of refugees and agreed on the recommendations included in paragraph 17 of the High Commissioner's report.
147. The representative of Sweden made a statement - details of which may be found in the summary record of the 139th meeting - in which he stressed the vital importance of vocational training and university education in order to help young refugees to qualify for responsible positions.
148. The Committee was reminded by the representative of the United Republic of Tanzania of the difficulties which the Governments of countries of asylum were experiencing in providing education for their own nationals; thus, for instance, in his own country, only half the children could benefit from elementary education and a very small percentage from secondary school education.
149. A number of speakers pointed out that, while fully agreeing on the importance of primary education for refugee children, they would find it difficult immediately to pronounce on the proposals, as there had been no time to submit them to the competent governmental authorities. With regard to the contents of these proposals, they questioned the establishment of another fund. Some representatives emphasized that in this field the role of UNHCR should be that of a catalyst.
150. The High Commissioner explained that the early establishment of a special fund for the education of refugees might have placed his Office in a better position to receive the contributions which the voluntary agencies propose to earmark for educational projects from the proceeds of their 1966 October campaign.
151. The Committee paid special attention to the question of co-ordination of the respective activities of UNHCR and UNESCO in the field of education. Several representatives emphasized that the basic responsibility in the field of education and training devolved upon UNESCO and that the action of UNHCR in this field should be limited to those spheres where the responsible specialized agency of the United Nations was not in a position to provide the necessary capital investment.
152. Some delegations considered that, in view of the importance of the subject and of the implications of the proposals before the Committee, careful further study would be required.
153. Further to a suggestion made by one representative and after further discussion, the committee agreed on the following decisions.
Decision of the Committee
154. The Executive Committee:
Having considered the information contained in the note on education for refugees (A/AC.96/332) and the statements made on this subject by the High Commissioner and the representative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization,
(1) Paid tribute to the efforts which had been made so far to provide UNHCR with special trust funds to finance educational assistance to refugees;
(2) Was of the opinion that the High Commissioner should encourage further special contributions for the financing of educational assistance to refugees;
(3) Decided to review the important question of education of refugees at its next session.
ANNEX I OPENING STATEMENT BY THE HIGH COMMISSIONER
Mr. Chairman, this is an auspicious occasion for me in many respects, and before I have the opportunity of placing some thoughts before the Committee as I engage in the fifteenth session of our Executive Committee, I would like Mr. Chairman, with your permission, to address my grateful thanks to all the speakers who chose to take the floor here this morning, to the distinguished representatives of the Holy See, of Australia, of Venezuela, of France, of Lebanon, of Iran, of Switzerland and of Sweden. May I particularly thank the representative of Sweden who announced his country's very generous, special contribution of $50,000 towards the 1966 programme of my Office. This is again an indication of Sweden's great concern for the plight of refugees whom it has never ceased to assist in every possible way. This makes Sweden the sixth country in the list of major contributors to the efforts of UNHCR.
I would also like to thank the Ambassador of Iran, His Excellency Mr. Mansour, for choosing to come here personally this morning. I am very grateful that he elected to speak on this occasion and I would also like to address a special word of gratitude to my old friend the distinguished representative of Switzerland for his kind remarks and for reminding the Committee of my links with our host country, Switzerland, where UNHCR has always maintained its Office and where the High Commissioner feels privileged to live. I am in a way continuing these traditional links, as the distinguished representative of Switzerland has said, since two of my distinguished predecessors, both of whom I was honoured to serve, come from this country. May I also pay special tribute to the distinguished outgoing Chairman, Ambassador Saul Rae, and thank him for the way in which he conducted the meetings when he was Chairman of the Executive Committee. He did this with a tremendous concern for the refugees, and he did this with speed and efficiency, without ever losing his sense of humour. I must say that I was very much looking forward to sitting next to you, Mr. Ambassador, but just as I sat by you today, you moved away from the rostrum and returned to your seat with the Canadian Delegation again. May I say how very much we appreciate your interest in our work and your invaluable co-operation.
Finally, I wish to extend, on behalf of all my colleagues and myself, my warm congratulations to the officers who have just been elected, particularly to you, Mr. Chairman, and also to the Vice-Chairman and to the Rapporteur. I very much look forward to working with this new team in the interest of the refugees whom we are all trying to help.
Mr. Chairman, I would first like to say how very pleased I am to be able to thank all the members of the Executive Committee for their support during my election, which took place during the twentieth session of the General Assembly. I already expressed my thanks to the General Assembly as a whole after my election, and to the Secretary-General for the confidence which he placed in me.
I am extremely aware of the difficult nature of my task and the tremendous responsibility which it entails. This is indeed a great challenge for a man of my age. I rely greatly on personal contacts with all the members of the Committee here, who guide our efforts, in the interest of better understanding of our work and also so that we can open the way to coherent and generally acceptable action receiving unanimous support, which is what we have always aimed at and which my predecessors were largely able to obtain during their own respective mandates.
Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates, as we open the fifteenth session of the Executive Committee, I wish to place before you some of my thoughts on the present situation which confronts the Office with respect to the refugee picture in the world, and give you very frankly, and to a great extent off-the-cuff, my own personal assessment of this particular problem. What are its main features? If we look at Europe, we have to note that after the implementation, and in the present economic situation of the countries concerned, the problem of "old" refugees may now be regarded as a thing of the past. Some serious difficulties nevertheless persist in certain areas in finalizing the completion of these major aid programmes, and for this reason we shall - indeed we must - thoroughly review in the coming months the various projects which have too long been held up, and whose implementation is blocked for a number of different reasons which are independent of the efforts and the wishes of the High Commissioner. The current programme, however, has adequately played its part and has prevented the appearance of new areas of distress and thereby new accumulations of misery which, in the present state of prosperity of the countries of first asylum in Western Europe, would seem rather paradoxical.
Indeed we may express the hope that events such as those we experienced in the comparatively recent past, no more than ten years ago in fact, will not soon occur again in Europe. The general economic trend indicates quite clearly that European countries will become more and more able to face the aftermath of old problems and the various repercussions of the limited but still continuous influx of new refugees. It is therefore up to the High Commissioner, I think, to work out ways and means with European Governments of first asylum to see to it that refugees are assisted speedily in order to prevent new accumulations of misery from taking place, and this the High Commissioner must do sometimes even at the expense of his own popularity with some of the countries of first asylum.
Mr. Chairman, it can never be over-emphasized that to keep refugees in refugee transit centres - I refuse to call these centres "camps" - indefinitely, is the very negation both of the spirit and of the letter of the 1951 Convention. The granting of asylum in my opinion, cannot be regarded as an end in itself. This means, in the first place, that the States granting asylum must certainly, in their own interests, in the interest of peace and stability and in the interest of the international community generally, do all they can to integrate those of the refugees who desire integration; and in the second place that the countries able to receive those who have been unable or unwilling to remain in the country of first asylum should keep their doors wide open for these refugees, raising their quotas when necessary and continuing to apply increasingly flexible admission criteria. In this connexion, Sir, we have been extremely pleased and encouraged to note - and I had the opportunity to stress this during my statement to the ICEM Meeting quite recently - the new legislation which has been passed by the United States of America, the new immigration law which provides for a special annual refugee quota of 10,200 persons without prejudice to their possible admission under various other categories provided for under the Act.
Only thus, Mr. Chairman, will the periodic recurrence of serious and distressing problems in places where they had already been resolved be avoided in the future.
And so, Sir, we turn to Africa and Asia.
The nerve centre of our refugee situations has moved from Europe to Africa and Asia where new problems constantly emerge, as for instance, quite recently again, in the Central African Republic, in Senegal and in Zambia. Also, again without wishing to prophesy the future, one can see that the problems in and around Rhodesia and South Africa may indeed be increasingly to the fore in the future. We know also that the situations in Asia are unstable; new refugees may require the immediate action and attention of UNHCR. Therefore, from the point of view of my office, the situation in Europe has changed largely from one of material assistance needs to that of simple protection, that is, making sure that asylum seekers are given protection, that they are granted asylum, that the principle of non-refoulement is observed in countries of first asylum. And so we are coming back in a way, in this emphasis on protection rather than material assistance, to the days when the office was established in 1951 when there was no programme and where indeed the essential role of UNHCR was to grant international protection. On the other hand, in Asia and in Africa where the needs are so great, material assistance is for the time being still the most essential part of UNHCR's contribution, although, and I think this must be underlined, protection also is becoming increasingly necessary and essential in Africa. An example, provided by one of my Directors just back from Senegal, illustrates this point. A refugee qualified as a truck driver was offered a job. But because he had no residence permit he couldn't obtain a license and was thus unable to work. Legal protection in this case meant getting him the vital papers which would enable him to earn his living and support himself and his family. There is and will be a need for protection in Africa as well as in Asia. We must make sure, in those countries where political changes are occurring every day, that the refugees also there are not returned by force, against their will, to their country of origin. The principle of non-refoulement, which is so sacred in international work on behalf of refugees, must be applied everywhere, not only in Europe but also in Africa and Asia. Therefore, as legislation develops in these newly independent countries of Africa, we must be ready to make sure that the refugees are not forgotten and that, in the framework of new laws which are being formulated in these States, UNHCR can, in an advisory capacity, make sure that refugees are protected and given opportunities which equal, as nearly as possible, those of the nationals of their countries of asylum. For this reason, we have maintained, as you know, very close relations with the Organization of African Unity. While on the subject of protection, Mr. Chairman, I would like to express my satisfaction and that of my colleagues, especially those from the Legal Division, for the replies which have already reached me from the various Governments which were consulted on the draft protocol prepared last year by the seminar held at Bellagio. These replies are almost unanimous in considering it desirable to extend the scope of the 1951 Convention to persons who are the victims of events which occurred after 1 January 1951.
Also, whilst I am on the subject of protection, may I say that I have been following closely the important question of the establishment of a new fund for the indemnification of refugees who were the victims of Nazism. The Government of the Federal Republic of Germany has not yet seen its way to changing the negative decision which, for budgetary reasons, it has been compelled to take. I have drawn that Government's attention to the extremely harmful consequences which would result from the maintenance of this negative decision. I sincerely hope that a solution will soon be found for this problem in which so many Governments, and indeed so many voluntary agencies, but I think most of all the refugees themselves, are known to be so vitally interested.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to spend a little time on the new problems in Africa. I have heard it said, both here in this Committee when I was Deputy High Commissioner, and also generally in my conversations with Governments in their respective capitals, and through people who are interested in refugee work, that the problems of refugees in Africa are different from those in Europe, that perhaps these uprooted peoples are not refugees. Are we sure here in UNHCR that the type of assistance which we provide is really the one which is needed? In other words, I have found it sometimes difficult to persuade Governments that indeed, although the methods to be followed may differ, although we may have to be extremely pragmatic in looking around for ways and means to solve refugee emergencies in Africa, the problem of the refugees is fundamentally the same. These are people who have been uprooted, who fear persecution, who fear for their lives, who have gone to countries of asylum where basically the solutions to their plight remain the same, as indeed it was in Europe, that is to say: either through voluntary repatriation in due course or through integration in the country of asylum and lastly through resettlement, although in Africa resettlement has not proved to be as practical as a permanent solution as indeed it was in Europe, for various reasons of which the Committee is perfectly aware and upon which I do not want to expand. You will however remember that in certain specific cases, such as for instance with the refugees from Rwanda who had first settled in the Eastern provinces of the Congo, some were resettled, and indeed are successfully integrated today in Tanzania where they are living a normal and useful life in the Mwesi Highlands. But in Africa it has been essentially integration which has best suited the local possibilities. While therefore the actual nature of the solutions does not change, the procedures adopted, as I have said, are necessarily somewhat different from what they were in Europe, where we also had to adapt ourselves depending on the countries where we worked. These particular realities call for action which is more diversified, which is more developed in fields, as for instance in the field of emergency relief, but at the same time for those refugees who wish to integrate it is essential that we should go beyond the stage of relief. We should make sure that their integration is sufficiently consolidated through such measures such as, for instance, educational opportunities for the children, so that the refugees stay and so that they are not maintained in a permanent state of unsettlement because they have no real roots. Now in all these solutions we are assisted in Africa by the availability of land which Governments so far have been willing to place at the disposal of the refugees in a most generous way. Secondly, there is on the whole in Africa, especially for those refugees who are willing and able to establish themselves in agriculture, an absence, at least in the field of agricultural work, of legal obstacles arising from regulations designed to protect national labour, as is the case in Europe. I do not wish to be too optimistic about this, however, because we have witnessed recently an accumulation of refugees in urban centres where indeed there are legal obstacles and regulations designed to protect national labour, to a certain extent such as exist in Europe; and I think the example I just mentioned concerning Senegal in a way illustrates this. Therefore, although we have no legal obstacles in settlement on land, which for the time being is the major part of our efforts, we may still face difficulties in cities where these legal obstacles exist. Thirdly, on the positive side, I would like to make a brief reference to the fact that the ethnic origin of refugees is very frequently similar to the ethnic origin of the people in the country of asylum. This creates indeed an effective bond straight away, and, thanks to the community of language and a community of tradition, it constitutes a psychological factor of prime importance in the process of the complete and rapid assimilation of the refugees in the receiving country. Finally, I would like to say that we firmly believe in UNHCR that the refugees who have been granted asylum in Africa have often been, as in Europe or countries overseas, a useful addition to the population of the receiving country and an asset to its economic and social development.
I think that the programmes we have implemented in the Congo, had it not been for some of the upheavals as a result of the rebellion - what we have done in Burundi jointly with the ILO, what we are doing in Tanzania with the Lutheran World Federation in places like the Mwesi Highlands or Rutamba - where we have the settlement for refugees from Mozambique - this was shown that areas which up till then had not been utilized for agriculture, had not even in fact been cleared of their forests, had suddenly become very prosperous fields where crops are being grown, where food was been produced and where generally the refugees had opened up areas which so far had not been really profitable for the country . Therefore, Mr. Chairman, while difficulties to be overcome have been great in the past, as this Committee well knows, and still are great, the results are nevertheless extremely encouraging; spectacular in some cases, like the ones I mentioned, less satisfactory in others, but everywhere they provide conclusive evidence of the usefulness and necessity of co-ordinated international action to overcome the numerous refugee problems which are arising one after the other on that continent, not to speak of Asia where also there are so many signs that a development of the same kind is to be feared.
In all these efforts, UNHCR has been directed towards one objective, which has been to find as rapidly as possible permanent solutions for refugees, to avoid stagnation, to avoid the existence of pockets of misery similar to the ones which I referred to in Europe. Because of stagnation, African refugees may become a source of friction, of economic, social and political instability, which ultimately will be far more costly and difficult to resolve than if speedy and effective action is brought to bear right away.
In everything we have done, Mr. Chairman, we have tried to follow the principles and respect the rules of multilateral United Nations aid.
What are the advantages of this multilateral aid and where are they most prominently apparent?
First of all, Mr. Chairman, and distinguished delegates, at the political level this multilateral aid offers guarantees for successful co-operation because of the variety of its components and the neutralizing effect which a clearly unbiased intermediary such as UNHCR can bring about. In such a field, especially since refugees are the product of political upheaval, these are guarantees that cannot be offered by bilateral aid which, inevitably, is sometimes suspected of perhaps not being free from self-interest and from political undercurrents. Multilateral aid is therefore, I believe, more readily acceptable both to the countries of origin from where the refugees come and to the countries of asylum themselves. To the former, the countries of origin, the refugee-producing countries, because it is more easy for the High Commissioner to convince them that the assistance of the international community is not directed against the refugee producing country; and to the latter, to the host country, the country of residence, because it avoids occasions for friction between that country and the neighbouring country from where the refugees came. Also it avoids what can be sometimes interpreted inside the country as some sort of political bias or alignment towards the source from which the aid is given. Therefore, Mr. Chairman, in order to fulfil my role and to make practical use of the advantages which are inherent in this multilateral aid, I must be sure that I can meet two requirements, which in my opinion are absolutely basic: first, impartiality and neutrality, and secondly efficiency. These are the two essential principles which I would like to see govern my action in the future. Now, to be able to do this I face problems, Mr. Chairman. One of them is the fact that being non-operational I must necessarily combine my action with that of other agencies which assume responsibility in particular for the implementation of the programmes. These operational partners are in the field, they are the ones who are in contact with the refugees, and often because of the number of their staff, in contact with the government officials more than my representative who is sometimes alone in the capital doing his diplomatic work and co-ordinating the efforts of our operational partners. And so, I must appeal here to my operational partners that they also should bear in mind the criteria of impartiality, neutrality and efficiency, which I am to bear in mind if I wish this multilateral aid of the international community to be really effective. And these operational partners must remember that failure to satisfy these norms might result in the Office's own action, and indeed the prestige of the High Commissioner in terms of protecting refugees, being distorted or wrongly interpreted by the countries of asylum where my operational partners are working. The absence indeed, in Africa for instance, of organizations suitably structured and equipped for social work similar to that being accomplished daily in Europe by the very numerous agencies which have done so much, makes this choice of operational partners, and in fact sometimes the mere discovery of such an organization, extremely difficult.
My other problem, Mr. Chairman, in the implementation of this multilateral aid, is the fact that my resources are extremely limited and that I sometimes have to call for financial assistance from other sources. Indeed, my programme remains the initial nucleus for other measures which are often of much greater and much more varied scope. My action ends when the refugees attain in principle the standards of living of the local population. However, as I said in my introduction, experience has shown that this standard is in the developing countries generally insufficient for it to be possible to regard the refugees as being firmly and permanently settled. In the second stage of integration after emergency assistance both the refugees and the local population are interested in arrangements which have to be made, not only by UNHCR, but also by the competent specialized agencies of the United Nations; assistance which may itself be combined with forms of bilateral aid at the second or third stage of integration. The aim, therefore, is to find ways and means of bringing these different kinds of assistance into play, combining them if necessary and whenever possible. With regard to the United Nations assistance which might be furnished by other members of the United Nations family - I am referring here to the specialized agencies, some of which already work with us in the field - the problem of financing occurs, and its a very real one. It was raised recently in the ACC meetings which I attended, and it is a matter of great concern to me.
As I said, I firmly believe that the experience acquired in past years in Africa shows that in general the action undertaken should be carried a little further, so that it can fully bear fruit, constitute a firm and stable basis for subsequent action in the wider framework of the actual development of the countries concerned, at least of the areas inhabited by refugees, where indeed their mere presence has added to the problems which already existed in these areas.
For this reason, and although I certainly do not want this office to become operational in any way, I firmly believe that many mistakes could be avoided and will be avoided in the future if we can benefit from the sound advice of an agricultural expert, who I intend to request from FAO and who would be seconded to UNHCR, to guide us on the very difficult problem of where land is available, whether it is productive enough, how many refugees it can accommodate, how long it would take for the crops to grow, since, as you know, sometimes one crop only can be grown, at other times two. In other words, I want to make sure that the international funds with which I am entrusted are not wasted through any mistake which could have been avoided in the first stage of the integration of refugees in these host countries in Africa.
So, there is perhaps no need to insist again on the fact that it is essential that UNHCR's small programme, the catalyst around which so much else is done for refugees, that this bare nucleus should be fully financed. Despite this very pressing need, which I think is self-explanatory, we are still faced with a deficit today of $260,000 for the 1965 programme; and so far as 1966 is concerned, we have received to date, or recorded pledges, in a total amount of $2,900,000, to which must be now included the generous extraordinary contribution of Sweden of $50,000. Therefore the potential deficit for 1966 is still close to $1 million dollars, and despite the hopes which all of us place in the success of the European campaign which was discussed here during the last session, and which is mentioned in the resolution of the General Assembly making the 24th of October, United Nations Day, this year a day for refugees, I would like to urge the Committee to remember that a great deal of what will be done by the private sector during this full campaign will be done for refugees outside my programme, refugees who in fact do not necessarily come under the UNHCR mandate. They might be refugees in Vietnam, refugees in Pakistan or in India, refugees anywhere, and also they may be for specific projects which these national committees and voluntary agencies are specifically interested to fund. Therefore the programme may not be covered by the 1966 campaign, and, in any case, my own personal view is - I have said it before and I would like to say it again - that nothing can replace the support which Governments give us.
All these developments Mr. Chairman, have far reaching consequences, of course, on the internal structure and the organization and methods of UNHCR. We must strengthen our staff where the main problem exists, in Africa; we must be ready to face the need in Asia also with staff in the right places at the right time; at the same time we must also make a parallel effort to compress our administrative establishment as much as we possibly can in Europe, and we must accompany this by an effort to transfer to Governments, and particularly Governments of first asylum in Europe or voluntary organizations who have been our partners ever since the office was created, some of the tasks sometimes performed by UNHCR.
At the same time, I believe more frequent visits by my colleagues and by the High Commissioner himself to the areas where we have programmes must take place. We should also, I think, work out a procedure of direct consultation with the Executive Committee, necessitated by the circumstances today - I am referring particularly to the urgency of action needed - also bearing in mind the need to avoid too frequent meetings and too exacting a procedure for the members. Nonetheless, I think personal contact with the Executive Committee is essential.
I also would like to press for an increased activity on the part of and better co-ordination with the specialized agencies of the United Nations. I believe we will do this in a pragmatic way, with FAO in the field of agriculture which I have just referred to, with UNESCO in the field of education to assist us with their expert know-how, on how to implement education projects for refugees in Africa, etc.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, it can be deduced, I believe, that UNHCR's task is particularly heavy for an office equipped such as mine for tasks which until recently did not really extend beyond a relatively restricted geographical area. I have already placed the problem honestly and squarely - and it is becoming daily more urgent - before the Advisory Committee for Administrative and Budgetary Questions of the General Assembly. I have asked the Assembly to understand my problem. They have asked me, on the other hand, to develop my effort of administrative compression, for the sole purpose of freeing personnel hitherto employed on the European front, so that we can direct this personnel to the areas and the countries where it may reasonably be thought that the activities of UNHCR will be concentrated in the future.
I will be reviewing and considering all the steps that can best be taken to achieve these various aims, by contacts with the Governments in Europe, for instance, on the ways and means to implement what is left of major aid. I hope very sincerely that by the autumn session I will be able to deal at greater length with the situation when it has been thoroughly surveyed.
And so, Mr. Chairman, to end this statement, begging your forgiveness and that of the members of the Committee for the length of this maiden speech as High Commissioner, may I say that in all the efforts which the United Nations and the international community as a whole has been putting in for social and economic development in countries of Asia and Africa, in everything that is being done every day by Governments, by voluntary agencies alike, for these areas, my essential task, as I see it, is to ensure that the refugees there should not be forgotten; that a permanent solution can be found for their plight as rapidly as possible, that we can avoid stagnation in the future, as I firmly believe we have avoided it in the past. We can learn through the experience that we have gathered.
We must continue to try and finance at least the basic need of the programme, which in turn encourages and pump-primes the effort of the international community as a whole. Refugees can lead a normal life, can get a feeling of human dignity, can contribute to the countries of residence which have generously opened their doors to them. Indeed, through our concerted effort, these destitute human beings can cease to be refugees as rapidly as possible. Thank you.
(Note: Statistical and financial tables not included in this online version. See your nearest UN Depository Library.)
1 Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Burundi, Brazil, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Colombia, Congo (Democratic Republic of), Congo (Brazzaville), Cyprus, Dahomey, Denmark, Ecuador, Federal Republic of Germany, France, Gabon, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Holy See, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Morocco, Netherlands New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Senegal, Sweden, Switzerland, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania and Yugoslavia.
2 Official Records of the General Assembly, Twentieth Session Supplement No.11 (A/6011/Rev.1).
3 Belgium, Denmark, France, Federal Republic of Germany, Ireland, Monaco, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Yugoslavia.
4 The following States are parties to this Agreement: Belgium, Denmark, Federal Republic of Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.
5 Algeria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Guinea, Ireland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Republic of Korea, Liberia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Uganda, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Yugoslavia.
6 Previously circulated under the symbol A/AC.96/334. The report on the sixteenth session will be printed as an addendum to the present volume (A/6311/Rev.1/Add.1).
7 The full text of the statement is contained in annex I to this report.