Close sites icon close
Search form

Search for the country site.

Country profile

Country website

Refugees and Displaced Persons: France: Draft Resolution

Refugees and Displaced Persons: France: Draft Resolution

2 November 1949

The General Assembly,

Recalling its Resolution of 12 February 1946, in which it proclaimed that the problem of refugees and displaced persons was international in scope and nature,

Having examined resolution No. 268 (IX) A of the Economic and Social Council, dated 6 August 1949, the Secretary-General's report (A/C.3/527) of 26 October 1949, and the communication dated 11 July and 20 October 1949 from the General Council of the International Refugee Organization,

Considering that the International Refugee Organization's mandate with respect to refugees will, in the normal course of events, cease on 30 June 1950 and will not be extended for nine months unless the States Members of the IRO comply with the recommendation adopted by the General Council on 20 October 1949,

Considering that the various documents aforesaid show that the existence of a large number of refugees after the termination of the IRO will create problems necessitating co-operation between an international organ and the various Governments concerned,

Considering that in its aforesaid resolution the Economic and Social Council requested the Governments of States Members of the United Nations, and of other States, to provide the necessary legal protection for refugees, and recommended the General Assembly at its fourth session to decide the functions and organizational arrangements within the framework of the United Nations necessary for the international protection of refugees after the IRO terminates its activities, and to make the necessary budgetary provisions for the financial year 1950,

Considering, with regard to the form of the organization to be set up, that the Secretary-General has stated in his report that the most suitable solution would be the establishment of a High Commissioner's Office having special status within the United Nations and possessing the degree of independence and prestige required for the exercise of its functions,

Considering that the General Council of the IRO, desirous of avoiding any interruption of continuity in protection and assistance, has requested the General Assembly to take decisions of principle forth with and to make preparations for the establishment of machinery which should come into force at a date no later than 1 January 1951,

Decides to establish a High Commissioner's Office for Refugees in accordance with the principles and procedures defined in the document annexed to the present resolution,

Requests the Secretary-General to undertake the study of a complete plan of administrative and budgetary arrangements, with a view to submitting the same to the Economic and Social Council at its eleventh session and enabling the General Assembly at its fifth session to ensure the establishment of the High Commissioner's Office no later than 1 January 1951,

Decides further to resume consideration of the problem of refugees at its fifth session, with a view to making any financial arrangements which may appear essential for assisting particular categories of refugees.


Chapter I - General principles

(a) The final solution on the problem of refugees is to be sought in their voluntary repatriation and in their assimilation into national communities.

(b) The improvement of the situation of refugees necessitates close and loyal collaboration between the High Commissioner and the Governments concerned.

(c) In view of the large numbers of refugees, their dispersion throughout the countries of the world, the nature and complexity of the problems requiring solution and the responsibility in this regard of the countries of reception or immigration, the High Commissioner's functions shall not, save under special arrangements necessitated by exceptional circumstances and based on agreements concluded between the High Commissioner and the Governments concerned, be exercised in the form of executive service. They shall therefore as a rule concern groups and categories of refugees.

(d) The States Members of the United Nations and all other States of good will shall be called upon to grant the High Commissioner all the facilities required to enable him to discharge his mission.

(e) In order to bring States not Members of the United Nations which may be interested in this problem into association with the work of the High Commissioner, he shall set up a consultative council in which such States may be represented.

(f) In order to fulfil the tasks assigned to him, the High Commissioner shall co-operate with the various specialized agencies, which shall be called upon to lend him their assistance to the full extent of their powers.

(g) The High Commissioner's work shall be entirely non-political and shall not be used to justify interference of any kind in the powers of the countries of residence.

Chapter II - Organization

(a) The High Commissioner's Office for Refugees established under the United Nations shall have its headquarters at Geneva.

(b) The Office shall be directed by a High Commissioner assisted by a Deputy Commissioner appointed for a term of five years by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Economic and Social Council.

(c) The High Commissioner shall be responsible to the United Nations through the General Assembly and shall report to the General Assembly through the Economic and Social Council. Between sessions of the General Assembly he shall be required to report to the Economic and Social Council at its request and shall comply with the directives of the Council.

(d) The High Commissioner shall bear responsibility for programme decisions and actions within the directives which he receives from the General Assembly and from the Economic and Social Council. He shall maintain contact with the Secretary-General, keep him informed of his activities and consult him when necessary.

(e) He shall appoint and dismiss his own staff, which shall be subject to the Staff Regulations of the United Nations.

(f) Pursuant to the foregoing he shall appoint in every country where such liaison appears to him necessary, with the agreement of its Government, a representative responsible for maintaining liaison with such Government.

(g) He shall as far as possible avail himself of the services of the United Nations in matters of general administration.

(h) The administrative expenses of the High Commissioner's Office shall be borne in the regular budget of the United Nations, and the High Commissioner's budget estimates shall be submitted by him for the approval of the General Assembly.

Chapter III - Powers of the High Commissioner

(a) The powers of the High Commissioner shall extend to all refugees.

(b) The definition provisionally adopted shall be that contained in the Constitution of the IRO.

The High Commissioner shall be responsible to the General Assembly for his interpretation of that definition.

He shall consider the inclusion in his mandate of categories of refugees which the IRO was unable, for purely financial reason, to bring under its protection.

In addition, he shall at the earliest possible date examine, with particular reference to the work of the Committee appointed to prepare a convention for the protection of refugees, the conditions under which the aforesaid definition should be modified so as to include all categories of persons who, for political, religious or racial reasons, are or may in the future be deprived of the protection of their country of origin.

(c) The High Commissioner's powers of interpretation aforesaid shall include decision of the question whether refugees are permanently established.

(d) In pursuance of the principles laid down in paragraph © of Chapter I, refugee status shall be determined, in accordance with the terms hereinbefore defined or later to be defined, by the national authorities, and the High Commissioner shall intervene solely in order to supervise the implementation by such authorities of the provisions laid down.

Chapter IV - Powers

(a) Any problem concerning groups of refugees may be referred to the High Commissioner by the United Nations or by a Government; and the High Commissioner may himself take up such a problem, or refer it to the United Nations and to the government concerned. The High Commissioner shall seek, initiate and facilitate the execution of the most suitable solutions to such problems.

(b) To this end the High Commissioner shall promote the conclusion and ratification of international conventions providing for the protection and assistance of refugees and laying down conditions of repatriation, emigration and resettlement, and shall supervise the application of such conventions and propose any necessary amendments thereto.

(c) The High Commissioner shall promote, through special agreements with Governments, the execution of any measures calculated to facilitate the solution of the problems within his mandate and to improve the situation of refugees.

(d) The High Commissioner shall undertake general inquiries and may when called upon to do so take up individual cases. Where necessary he shall make recommendations to the Governments with which he maintains relations through his representative.

(e) The High Commissioner shall administer the assistance funds place at his disposal by the General Assembly, by Governments or by national or international public or private institutions, and shall distribute them among Governments, groups, associations and charitable institutions, supervise their application, and co-ordinate activities designed to assist refugees.

(f) The High Commissioner shall periodically convene the consultative council provided for in paragraph (e) of Chapter I, report to it on his activities and, where necessary, consult it on any decisions required to be made.

(g) The High Commissioner shall study and submit as soon as possible to the Economic and Social Council the final statute of his organization, which shall be drafted with due regard to the general principles laid down in the General Assembly's resolution and in the annex thereto.