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20th anniversary of Cartagena Declaration on Refugees next week

Briefing notes

20th anniversary of Cartagena Declaration on Refugees next week

9 November 2004

On Monday and Tuesday (November 15-16), UNHCR and countries in Latin America will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Cartagena Declaration on Refugees, a 1984 document which broadened the refugee definition used in Latin America and offered an innovative approach to refugee protection and solutions. UN High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers is scheduled to attend the commemorative event, which is being hosted by the government of Mexico. The event is co-organized by UNHCR and the Norwegian Refugee Council.

The anniversary will be an opportunity to reaffirm the relevance, endurance and validity of the Cartagena Declaration and to launch a process of international cooperation to improve protection in Latin America and to address the humanitarian needs of people fleeing the violence in Colombia.

The two-day commemoration follows three sub-regional preparatory meetings - Aug 12-13 in Costa Rica for officials from Mexico, Central American countries and Cuba; Aug 26-27 in Brazil for MERCOSUR countries plus Chile and Bolivia; and Sept 16-17 in Colombia for Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.