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Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 1990

Executive Committee Meetings

Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 1990

24 September 1990
General Assembly Official Records. Forty-fifth Session. Supplement No.12 (A/45/12). United Nations, New York, 1990


1. The period covered by this report witnessed occurrences or developments which were in many ways epochal, and whose impact will in all probability be felt throughout the last decade of the twentieth century which also began during the reporting period. During this last said period, both the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees approached their respective fortieth anniversaries. In view of the present and almost intractable world refugee situation, these milestones offered the opportunity for a sobering reflection upon the hopes maintained forty years ago that the refugee problem would be both transient and definitively solvable. There were also, more importantly, phenomenal and very rapid developments in the international political, human rights, and environmental arenas which created a new context and focus of concerns, perceptions and interests. The impact of these developments on current and future refugee problems, and indeed the role of the Office, has yet to become apparent or to be fully grasped. The High Commissioner's response to these dramatic and historical developments has been alert yet flexible, designed to ensure that the international community's concern for refugee problems remains adequate, while also maintaining interest in possibilities that may be presented for reducing refugee movements and/or enhanced opportunities for finding durable solutions.

2. In many other respects however, developments in the global refugee situation continued to be characterized by the three considerations which formed the backdrop for the High Commissioner's last report to the General Assembly through the Economic and Social Council.1 These were: the attainment of durable solutions to some of the world's long-lasting refugee situations; the deterioration, nevertheless, of the overall global refugee situation in that new influxes occurred amidst a generally less receptive international environment for refugees and asylum-seekers; and, finally, the financial crisis faced by the Office which worsened considerably, putting in ever more serious jeopardy the capacity of the Organization to meet even the most basic needs of refugees.

3. All these developments are considered in detail in the relevant parts of this report and need only be highlighted here. In connection with the attainment of durable solutions, the single most notable of these was in Namibia. The emergence there of an independent state on 21 March 1990, was preceded by the successful repatriation, between June and September 1989, of up to 43,000 Namibians as part of the implementation of the Independence Plan for Namibia under Security Council resolution 435 (1978). In the same region, recent developments in South Africa have created the hope that meaningful progress could be made towards a political settlement to the problems of that country. Such settlement, if reached, would not only bring to an end the conditions that have caused several thousand South Africans to seek refuge outside their country, it would also have a similar impact on the conflicts and insecurity that have led to the uprooting and displacement, both internally and externally, of even larger numbers of Mozambicans.

4. Similar events took place elsewhere. For example, in August 1989, the Presidents of the countries of Central America approved a Joint Plan for the voluntary demobilization, repatriation or relocation in Nicaragua or third countries, of members of the Nicaraguan resistance and their families. Subsequent developments within the region, and in Nicaragua in particular, created the possibility that this Plan would go into effect. As of the close of the reporting period, the International Support and Verification Commission (CIAV), called for under the Plan, had been established by the Secretaries-General of the United Nations and the Organization of American States (OAS) to implement the Plan with the support of their agencies that have the relevant capacities and experience. Accordingly, it is envisaged that UNHCR will be involved in the humanitarian aspects of the operation pertaining to voluntary repatriation, initial assistance and monitoring of the safety upon return to Nicaragua of the persons affected. Moreover, the implementation of the repatriation and reintegration phases of CIAV are likely to include some development projects proposed in the Declaration and Concerted Plan of Action adopted by the International Conference on Central American Refugees, Returnees and Displaced Persons (CIREFCA) which took place in Guatemala in May 1989.

5. At the same time however, these encouraging and positive developments were not always achievable in areas where otherwise favourable prospects appeared to exist. Thus, the repatriation of over three million Afghan refugees in Pakistan, hoped for since the signing of a bilateral agreement between Afghanistan and Pakistan in April 1988, together with another two and a half million Afghan refugees in the Islamic Republic of Iran, remained stalled by an intractable political situation in Afghanistan. Although a few did return spontaneously, the majority did not, and yet more persons from Afghanistan were forced to seek refuge in neighbouring countries. Similarly, the prospects for peace in Cambodia which were signalled by a Peace Conference on Cambodia held in Paris in August 1989, did not materialize, making the hoped for repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Cambodian refugees and displaced persons impossible. This meant that the problems of refugees in South-East Asia, including Vietnamese and Lao asylum-seekers and refugees, continued to be the cause of considerable preoccupation. Thus it was necessary for an International Conference on Indo-Chinese Refugees (ICIR), held in Geneva in June 1989, to adopt the Comprehensive Plan of Action for Indo-Chinese Refugees, known as the CPA, whose provisions are considered in chapter II. Significant achievements have been scored in many areas of the CPA, including the creation of region-wide refugee eligibility determination mechanisms and the voluntary repatriation of asylum-seekers. Nevertheless, the need is recognized for more decisive progress in other areas of the CPA, particularly the return to Viet Nam of those determined not be refugees.

6. Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, the Office had to contend with the problem of increasing numbers of refugees. Malawi, Somalia, the Sudan, Uganda and, most recently, Côte d'Ivoire and Guinea all experienced additional or new influxes. In the early part of 1989, the most serious of these influxes occurred in the Horn where over 300,000 Somali refugees entered the Jijiga and Aware districts of south-eastern Ethiopia. That year, also, events in Mauritania and Senegal caused large-scale displacement of people from both countries, with some 50,000 Mauritanians arriving in northern Senegal and 20,000 Senegalese, arriving ill Mauritania. In the months of 1990 covered by this report, the biggest influx has been of almost 150,000 Liberians who have been forced by civil strife in their country to seek refuge in Côte d'Ivoire and the Republic of Guinea. In most of these cases, it was necessary for the Office to deliver emergency assistance in difficult geographical and environmental conditions often lacking seriously in resources and infrastructure.

7. For the Office to continue, in these and other increasingly more difficult and complex circumstances, to discharge the responsibilities entrusted to it by the international community, required the most imaginative and courageous responses. Yet, additionally, the office was faced with the most difficult and critical financial crisis ever in its 40-year history. The details and impact of this financial crisis are set out in chapter III. Suffice it to say that throughout 1989, and to date in 1990, the Office was constrained to undertake repeated cuts in programmed and assessed needs, leading to serious consequences for refugees and the Office's ability to protect and find durable solutions for them. Thus a Temporary Working Group established by the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme at its fortieth session in October 1989, met between November that year and May 1990 to consider, among other things, ways and means to more effectively deliver assistance to refugees. The report of this Working Group will be considered by the Executive Committee at an extraordinary session to be held in May 1990.

8. The financial crisis not only affected the Office's ability to effectively assist refugees, it evidently, together with other developments in the international economic, political and migratory areas, also impacted adversely on the asylum and protection policies and attitudes of various countries. Some of these negative developments in the area of international protection are discussed in chapter I of this report which states that, among others, admission and asylum were denied, and refoulement, expulsion and arbitrary detention occurred. The efforts of the Office to protect refugees against these actions are also discussed in the same chapter.

9. Finally, chapter II and other relevant parts of the report show the close attention that the issues related to refugee aid and development. These include: voluntary repatriation; resettlement; local integration on the one hand and emergency preparedness and response capabilities on the other; phasing-out of relief activities and promoting actions beyond the programmes of UNHCR; and co-operation, in order to facilitate these actions, with other agencies of the United Nations system such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

10. For all these activities, the Office continued to rely on the generous support of the international community. Expenditure from voluntary funds was $386 million under General Programmes and $184 million under Special Programmes and other Trust Funds.

11. Mr. Jean-Pierre Hocké resigned as High Commissioner with effect from 1 November 1989. Mr. Thorvald Stoltenberg, a former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Norway, was elected by the General Assembly as the new High Commissioner for a four-year term and took up his duties in January 1990.


A. Introduction

12. Protection involves using law and principles to secure the rights, security and welfare of refugees. Beyond attaining immediate objectives, such as the prevention of refoulement, the ultimate aim of protection is to achieve solutions to the problems of refugees, either through voluntary return to their countries of origin in conditions of safety, or through integration in new national communities. In other words, protection is a continuous process which calls for action during flight, admission, the emergency phase, the period of stabilization and the search for solutions as well as their implementation.

13. In overall terms, the period under review was marked by several positive developments in the area of protection. In particular, continued and improved consultations took place between States and UNHCR on region-specific concerns, and Governments increasingly addressed refugee problems in a comprehensive manner with a view to developing broad strategies to respond positively to these problems. There was also continued general willingness by States to provide asylum to refugees and a renewed commitment to improve their protection and to identify solutions to their problems. These attitudes were evident at two international conferences held during the reporting period, which dealt respectively with refugee problems in Central America and South-East Asia. The effective attainment of durable solutions through the voluntary repatriation of refugees in several parts of the world constituted another positive development, as did greater co-operation between States in facilitating family reunification. Such developments were nevertheless partially offset by certain negative trends which are considered in other parts of this report.

14. In view of the overriding need to achieve solutions which respect fundamental protection principles and concerns, the fortieth session of the Executive Committee considered the interlinked issues of durable solutions and refugee protection. During the debate, States underlined the close inter-relationship between protection and solutions and recognized the need for strengthened and joint international efforts to deal with causes of refugee flows. They called for the active promotion of solutions by countries of origin, asylum and resettlement, and by the international community at large, in accordance with their respective obligations and responsibilities. The session called on UNHCR to convene an open-ended working group of members of the Executive Committee to examine protection and solutions in a coherent and comprehensive manner.

15. Concerned equally with the need to ensure effective implementation of international refugee instruments, notably the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, the Executive Committee also initiated a comprehensive information-gathering exercise on these instruments which is considered in more detail in Part C of this chapter.

16. It is clear from the preceding that the concept of international protection covers a broad range of activities. These include providing for the protection of refugees by promoting with Governments international conventions and special agreements calculated to improve the situation of refugees, and assisting in efforts to implement durable solutions to their problems. The rest of this chapter focuses on a few major areas of that part of international protection which deals with the legal and diplomatic protection of refugees.

B. Rights of refugees

17. The granting of admission and asylum, and protection from refoulement are indispensable components of the international system for the protection of refugees. During the reporting period, many States continued to respect their commitments in this field and the vast majority of the world's refugees were admitted into the territory of States, granted at least temporary asylum, and protected from refoulement.

18. Nevertheless, in a number of instances admission and asylum were denied on various grounds. These included the refusal by States to examine asylum requests based upon a strict application of the notion of "country of first asylum", even where the persons concerned were not permitted to re-enter or remain in the country from which they had last come or where it was far from clear that they would receive humane treatment.

19. In this context, a noteworthy achievement of the fortieth session of the Executive Committee was the adoption, after five years of ongoing discussion, of a Conclusion on the problem of refugees and asylum-seekers who move in an irregular manner from a country in which they had already found protection.2 Although in joining consensus on the text several States recorded a number of reservations, the Conclusion nevertheless contains important guidelines of broad application. In particular, it recognizes that return to a country in which individuals have already found protection may only take place if the persons concerned are protected there, permitted to remain there and be treated in accordance with recognized basic human standards until a durable solution is found for them.

20. The Conclusion also draws attention to problems posed by false documents or lack of documents. These problems are often compounded by the practice of certain States to apply immigration measures which restrict the number of persons who could seek admission and asylum. Such measures include the introduction of visa requirements for nationals of specific countries, and the imposition of sanctions on airlines transporting improperly documented persons, including refugees and asylum-seekers. The problem with such immigration controls is that while they may be directed 'at non-refugee groups or those who abuse the asylum process, they also work indiscriminately to hinder access by refugees to status determination procedures and the rights and protection these persons should enjoy.

21. Another growing practice was the increasingly restrictive interpretation of various elements of the refugee definition contained in the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, coupled with the demand that applicants for refugee status satisfy an excessively stringent burden and standard of proof. In addition, a few countries limited or discontinued their previous practice of granting asylum to persons who were compelled to leave their countries of origin as a result of generalized violence, foreign aggression, internal conflicts, massive violations of human rights or other circumstances which seriously disturbed public order. The result was that some persons were returned to countries where their lives, safety or freedom could not be guaranteed.

22. Concern did not lessen during the reporting period over violations of the principle of non-refoulement. A considerable number of rejections at the border and so-called push-offs led to the forced return of individuals to situations of danger. In a single country, for example, more than 5,000 persons in search of asylum were pushed off to the high seas. In another, several hundred refugees were forced to return to their country of origin. Refoulement took place from several other countries, albeit on a much reduced scale.

23. Unjustified detention of refugees is clearly contrary to basic human rights. In Conclusion 44 (XXXVII), the Executive Committee recommended that the detention of refugees and asylum-seekers be considered an exceptional measure which should only be resorted to on specific grounds prescribed by law. Those grounds are limited to the need to verify the identity of the individual, to determine the elements on which the claim to refugee status is based, to deal with cases where the persons concerned have destroyed their travel and/or identity documents or used false ones, and to protect national security or public order. The Executive Committee, at its fortieth session, reiterated its concern that large numbers of refugees and asylum-seekers in different areas of the world were the subject of detention or similar restrictive measures by reason of their illegal entry or presence in search of asylum, pending resolution of their situation.

24. While the detention of refugees and asylum-seekers constituted the exception rather than the rule, in some countries such persons were automatically detained and had to spend considerable periods in detention with no possibility of judicial or administrative review. In a few countries, refugees were detained on account of their illegal entry or presence, regardless of the fact that this was exclusively, or at least mainly, due to their need to find protection.

25. In several countries, refugees and asylum-seekers were kept in closed camps as a matter of policy. Surrounded by barbed wire and surveyed by police and armed personnel, they were obliged to remain in such camps until either resettled elsewhere or returned to their respective countries of origin. Many have been kept in such camps for more than a decade and there are children born there who know no other reality. Such circumstances have led to severe strain among the camp inhabitants and serious outbreaks of violence have occurred which, in a few .instances, led to deaths. In other situations, refugees have attempted suicide and several instances of rioting have also occurred.

26. Despite such disturbing incidences, the physical safety of refugees granted asylum was generally ensured in most countries. Exceptions however, occurred and, in particular, many refugee women were subjected to physical violence and sexual abuse. Although the number of reported incidences involving such violence remained high, there was also an encouraging trend towards apprehending, prosecuting and convicting the perpetrators of these crimes.

27. The physical safety of refugees was also threatened in some parts of the world by military and armed attacks on refugee camps and settlements, although the incidence of such attacks continued to decrease. However, considerable and increasing numbers of refugees, including children, were forcibly recruited into belligerent forces. Such actions clearly constitute an unacceptable practice. They put the lives of refugees at risk and are contrary to the internationally accepted notions that refugees are civilians and that their camps and settlements have a strictly humanitarian and civilian nature.

C. Promotion of refugee protection

28. No country acceded to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol during the reporting period. The number of States Parties to one or both of these instruments therefore remained at 106. Nevertheless, a number of States were considering accession as of the close of the reporting period. Moreover, two States, Brazil and Italy, withdrew their geographical limitation to the 1951 Convention.

29. These instruments are the most comprehensive adopted to date on a universal level to safeguard the fundamental rights of refugees and to regulate their status in countries of asylum. They help to ensure that refugees are granted basic humanitarian treatment and, as such, are fundamental to the international regime of refugee protection.

30. In many countries, implementation of these instruments was satisfactory, particularly where specific legislative and/or administrative measures to implement them have been adopted, and where these are known and understood by the concerned officials. There are even countries where such laws and measures go beyond the minimum standards of the Convention and its Protocol. At the same time, a number of obstacles impede the full and proper implementation of these instruments in the territory of many contracting States. Such obstacles are either of a socioeconomic, legal, policy or practical nature. It was in order to enhance the practical effectiveness of the 1951 Convention and its 1967 Protocol that the Executive Committee, at its fortieth session, requested UNHCR to undertake a detailed investigation of how these instruments are implemented.

31. Fair and expeditious procedures for the determination of refugee status are of paramount importance in ensuring that refugees receive adequate protection. During the period under review, UNHCR continued to provide advice and training to government officials and others on the appropriate content of such procedures and how to implement them. In the context of the Comprehensive Plan of Action for Indo-Chinese Refugees, UNHCR assisted all receiving countries in South-East Asia in establishing procedures for the determination of refugee status and provided advice and guidance throughout the process both to the officials charged with their implementation and to asylum - seekers.

32. Within the constraints of severely limited financial resources, UNHCR also pursued its traditional promotion and dissemination activities with respect to refugee law and protection principles. The Centre for Documentation on Refugees (CDR) continued to strengthen and systematize the information and documentation policies of the Office, particularly as they relate to the protection of refugees. In addition to the continued publication of its quarterly Refugee Abstracts, the Centre directed the development and subsequent publication by the International Refugee Documentation Network of an international thesaurus on refugee terminology. Finally, UNHCR continued to extend co-operation to Oxford University Press in its publication of the International Journal of Refugee Law, the first four issues of which appeared in 1989.


A. Major trends in assistance

1. Introduction

33. During 1989, UNHCR continued to co-operate with concerned Governments and the international community in efforts to meet the humanitarian needs of refugees throughout the world and to direct programmes towards durable solutions, i.e. voluntary repatriation, local integration and resettlement. UNHCR also responded to requests for emergency assistance for several new situations and continued to pursue care and maintenance for refugees for whom no immediate durable solution could be found.

34. These activities had to be carried out at a time when UNHCR was experiencing a most severe financial crisis. Throughout the year, the Office had to implement austerity measures against a backdrop of mounting needs and the requirement to adopt comprehensive and radically new policies which required additional resources. The General Programmes budget of $428.9 million, initially approved by the thirty-ninth session of the Executive Committee in October 1988, had to be adjusted downwards to $389.4 million despite additional operational needs totalling some $40 million which had developed since the thirty-ninth session of the Executive Committee, and the necessity to use $6.8 million of the 1989 Programme Reserve for 1988-related activities. Only through rigorous and continuous assessment of priorities, which in many cases resulted in limiting operations to life-sustaining activities and phased resource allocation, was it possible to complete the year without stopping some refugee operations.

35. By the time the fortieth session of the Executive Committee met in October 1989, it was apparent that General Programmes income would remain far below the much reduced budgetary target of $389.4 million, and that most activities could not be reduced further without closing down complete operations and cutting life-sustaining activities. UNHCR was therefore authorized by the Executive Committee to carry over into 1990 a deficit of up to $40 million. Final expenditure for General Programmes in 1989 amounted to $386.6 million of which $38.0 million had to be brought forward to be met from 1990 income. A further $183.7 million were incurred in expenditure under various Special Programmes. Thus total voluntary funds expenditure in 1989 amounted to $570.3 million, some $24.8 million higher than in 1988, due mainly to the emergence of new refugee situations and large repatriation programmes. Expenditure met from the United Nations Regular Budget amounted to $17.1 million.

36. The following paragraphs provide a summary of the major areas of assistance as well as significant developments in each of the regions covered by the five Regional Bureaux. Detailed information on expenditure levels for each country or area programme is given in tables 1 and 2.

2. Emergency relief

37. The provision of relief assistance is a major aspect of UNHCR's response to refugee emergencies. In 1989, almost the totality of $10 million that the High commissioner is authorized to allocate annually from his Emergency Fund was needed, mainly for new situations requiring urgent intervention in Angola ($1.05 million), Ethiopia ($0.6 million), Malaysia ($0.5 million), Mauritania ($0.48 million), Pakistan ($0.73 million), Senegal ($2.7 million), Uganda ($2.6 million) and Zaire ($0.95 million). The first few months of 1990 witnessed new refugee influxes of Liberians into Côte d'Ivoire and Guinea and Sudanese into Zaire. By the end of March 1990, some $3.7 million had again been allocated from the Emergency Fund for this year.

3. Care and maintenance

38. In Africa, large care and maintenance programmes were implemented in Ethiopia, Malawi and Somalia. The 350,000 Somali refugees in eastern Ethiopia are located in inhospitable terrain in the Ogaden and are completely dependent on relief assistance. Similarly, due to the scarcity of land, the more than 800,000 Mozambican refugees in Malawi will continue to rely on care and maintenance pending the establishment of conditions favourable for their voluntary repatriation. In Somalia, care and maintenance support continued, together with efforts to promote voluntary repatriation and local integration.

39. In South-East Asia, the Comprehensive Plan of Action includes an important care and maintenance component aimed at assisting refugees and asylum-seekers in camps in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. New arrivals of Vietnamese "boat people" reached an all-time high and further stretched UNHCR resources under both General and Special Programmes. In Latin America, substantial care and maintenance programmes continued in Honduras and Mexico, concurrently with efforts to promote voluntary repatriation as well as self-sufficiency activities. In Europe, large numbers of asylum-seekers and refugees in Greece, Italy, Turkey and Yugoslavia required UNHCR's assistance while awaiting the identification of a durable solution.

4. Durable solutions

40. The primary objective of all UNHCR activities is the achievement of durable Solutions through either voluntary repatriation, local integration in the country of first asylum, or, where these are not possible, resettlement in another country. In 1989, $255.2 million were obligated towards promoting these three durable solutions. Included in this amount are some $71 million spent under Special Programmes to facilitate voluntary repatriation and the rehabilitation of returnees in their countries of origin.

(a) Voluntary repatriation

41. Voluntary repatriation is the most desirable of all. durable solutions to the refugee problem. Within the limited resources available, UNHCR prioritized activities related to voluntary repatriation. The Office continued to emphasize the need for States to create the necessary conditions in concerned countries of origin to make voluntary repatriation a viable option and advocated the establishment of tripartite commissions to promote and facilitate voluntary return whenever possible.

42. Although organized and large-scale repatriation of Afghan refugees from the Islamic Republic of Iran and Pakistan did not take place, UNHCR worked closely with the Co-ordinator for United Nations Humanitarian and Economic Assistance Programmes Relating to Afghanistan and the World Food Programme to strengthen United Nations presence in Afghanistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Pakistan with a view to being adequately prepared for future large-scale voluntary repatriation.

43. In Africa, the voluntary repatriation of over 43,000 Namibians mainly from Angola and Zambia was successfully completed within the framework of Security Council resolution 435 (1978). In Angola and Zaire, a two-way repatriation began in September 1989, but was suspended in early 1990 due to financial constraints and security considerations. By then, some 6,500 Angolans and 3,000 Zairians had already repatriated. Other developments in Africa are considered in Part B of this Chapter. In Asia, the Comprehensive Plan of Action places great emphasis on voluntary repatriation to Viet Nam. Developments in this connection are discussed in detail in Part C of this Chapter. In Latin America some 9,000 persons repatriated, mainly from Honduras to El Salvador. Another 5,000 persons repatriated to Nicaragua from Honduras and Costa Rica. Some 1,800 Chileans repatriated under UNHCR auspices in the period from mid-1989.

(b) Local integration

44. Where voluntary repatriation is unlikely for the foreseeable future, and where the host Government is agreeable, local settlement or integration of refugees within the host country is often the best possible durable solution. UNHCR assisted refugees in this connection through the provision of rural settlement facilities to enable groups of refugees, to resume a more normal life and become self-sufficient. These projects were planned so as to require capital investments and other support for not more than three to five years, after which all material assistance would be brought to an end. Rural settlement projects were implemented in China, Mexico, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Viet Nam, Zaire and Zambia.

45. In urban and semi-urban environments, assistance was also given to individual refugees to promote (self-)employment. Education, vocational training, counselling services, housing facilities and social amenities too were provided. Case-management systems for urban refugees were reviewed with the objective of redirecting social services and counselling activities towards the promotion of viable local settlement options. The financial crisis faced by UNHCR coupled with increased refugee caseloads obliged the Office to give priority to life-saving and life-sustaining assistance measures, thus reducing local settlement activities. This may have the effect of extending the period during which refugees are in need of care and maintenance assistance.

(c) Resettlement

46. The upward trend in resettlement continued in 1989, with a total of 124,244 refugees resettled in third countries under the auspices of UNHCR. However, this increase was composed essentially of Indo-Chinese (1988: 71,732, 1989: 89,970) and contrasted with slightly fewer refugees resettled from most other areas compared with 1988. Only Africa showed a welcome increase of some 26 per cent to 4,563 persons resettled.

47. The June 1989 International Conference on Indo-Chinese Refugees focused resettlement Governments' attention on the needs of this refugee population. However, while adequate resettlement guarantees were given in the context of the Comprehensive Plan of Action, too few additional extra-quota places were provided. Places were largely reallocated from other sub-quotas, thereby reducing opportunities for resettlement of refugees in other parts of the world.

48. Developments in Eastern Europe have had a less immediate effect on resettlement needs than had initially been anticipated, as requirements remain for resettlement of significant numbers of Romanians and some Bulgarians, among others. At the same time, arrivals from Middle Eastern countries of origin continued, and in some instances increased, so that world-wide needs do not yet show a significant downturn. Nevertheless, expectations for a gradual positive effect from Eastern European developments remain.

49. To the pioneer programme offering special provisions for refugee women-at-risk were added two more such programmes by other traditional resettlement countries. Furthermore, special procedures for processing emergency resettlement applications were introduced by two resettlement countries.

(d) Refugee aid and development

50. UNHCR continued its co-operation with development agencies in connection with projects that reinforce ongoing assistance or facilitate the phasing-out of such assistance. Co-operation with the World Bank in the "Second Income-Generating Project for Refugee Areas in Pakistan" proceeded successfully, with agreement reached for a third phase in 1991-92, pending the voluntary repatriation of refugees to Afghanistan. In Somalia, a joint World Bank/UNHCR/UNDP/European Economic Community mission was undertaken to make initial assessments for a "Refugee-Affected Area Project" to help refugees who will opt to remain in Somalia when the majority repatriate. In the Sudan, implementation of the "South Kassala Agricultural Development Project", benefiting refugees in the project area, was awaiting funding as far as the refugee component was concerned. UNHCR undertook project-preparation work with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Mexico (for Guatemalan refugees) and Ethiopia (for returnees). The joint "South Khorasan Rangeland Rehabilitation and Refugee Income-Generating Project" in the Islamic Republic of Iran was also awaiting the necessary funding for implementation to commence.

51. In order to promote a better linkage between refugee assistance and development aid, and especially to assure better funding from development resources of development projects for refugees and the areas that host them, the subject of Refugee Aid and Development was considered by the Consultative Committee on Substantive Questions (Operational Activities) (CCSQ (OPS)), at its meeting held in Geneva in April 1990. It is hoped that, in time, the question will result in a aeries of decisions by the Administrative Committee on Co-ordination (ACC).

5. Programme management and implementation

(a) General

52. The Programme Management System (PMS), which is applied to all projects irrespective of the source of funds or the type of implementation arrangement, was further enhanced by the implementation of the integrated Financial and Management Information System (FMIS). The FMIS was developed during 1987 and 1988, and has been progressively implemented since January 1989.

53. Through the linkage between the microcomputer-based FMIS/Field applications with the mainframe computer-based FMIS/Headquarters, integrated financial and narrative management information is available on-line to facilitate financial accounting, project planning, monitoring and control. The system permits budgetary and trend analysis, comparisons across projects, and the consolidation of information according to the requirements of the various levels of management.

54. Implementation of the FMIS proceeded within the absorption capacity of the Organization. The receptivity of staff to new systems and procedures, and the ability to use them efficiently, is dependent on effective training at all levels. FMIS training courses were held at Headquarters and in the Field for this purpose. Meanwhile, review of country Statements of Field Objectives, and their use as the basis for formulating each country programme, continued and was being institutionalized to ensure that all programmes benefited from a dynamic approach that was adaptable to evolving political situations.

55. Audits by the United Nations Internal and External Auditors, evaluation reports, operational review missions, and expertise provided by the Technical Support Service (TSS) remained important management tools. The implementation of their findings and recommendations had considerable bearing on the effectiveness and cost-efficiency of programmes.

56. As reflected elsewhere in this report, a special effort was made during the reporting period to more adequately and systematically address the special needs of refugee women and children. Among other things, Field Offices were provided with specially developed check-lists covering all technical sectors so as to ensure that women and children's issues were fully integrated into the programming cycle.

(b) Evaluation

57. Evaluation activities carried out during the reporting period concentrated primarily on improving field operations through in-depth evaluations of country programmes. The objective was to bring about significant changes to important programmes by providing management with information needed to make operational improvements. Major programmes in the Horn of Africa, southern Africa, Latin America and South-East Asia were the subject of evaluations.

58. Evaluations focused on all operational areas, but emphasized assistance activities. Among the various assistance issues examined was the extent to which the material assistance provided was consistent with the durable solutions envisaged in the various country programmes. Evaluations also considered whether assistance was making a substantial contribution to the refugees' well-being, and whether operational activities were being carried out in an efficient and economical manner. In addition, other operational aspects, such as protection activities, implementing arrangements, organizational structures and staffing levels were covered. Systematic reporting on refugee women's issues was also begun, with a view to improving their situation.

(c) Emergency preparedness response

59. Strong emergency preparedness and response mechanisms are fundamental to the effectiveness of UNHCR in the field. While considerable progress was made in these areas, room for improvement remained, in particular in developing a system that would permit UNHCR to respond faster and more effectively to refugee emergencies.

60. The emergency preparedness of the Organization was strengthened with the introduction of a new Refugee Contingency Plan format in October 1989, which provides the basis for field-level preparation of new or revised contingency plans. This Plan is complemented in high-priority locations by the UNHCR "Emergency Preparedness Profile", containing infrastructural and institutional resource data designed to facilitate emergency preparedness planning. Profiles covering 19 countries were either completed or neared completion, including 15 new or revised profiles developed during the reporting period.

61. The Emergency Management Training Programme, long a mainstay among UNHCR training activities, continued in 1989 and 1990 with two courses in Ethiopia and Hong Kong and one regional course in Central America. Three more courses are planned for 1990. UNHCR continued its co-operation with five other United Nations agencies in national disaster planning for east and southern Africa. Several new ventures in emergency preparedness continued to be prepared to enhance UNHCR's capacity to prepare for and respond to refugee emergencies. These include a central emergency stockpile, an emergency staffing roster, an emergency registration kit, and a field-level emergency alert system. Finally, the revision of the UNHCR Handbook for Emergencies neared completion and will provide updated managerial and technical data required for the planning and implementation of an emergency response programme.

62. Organizations such as the German Technisches Hilfswerk (THW) and the Swiss Disaster Relief Corps provided technical specialists at short notice in emergency and repatriation programmes. Co-operation agreements with United Nations agencies, national disaster teams (such as THW), and non-governmental organizations were either concluded or reviewed to effect improvements in all relevant sectors (see chap. IV).

(d) Refugee women

63. At the fortieth session of the Executive Committee, a report was submitted outlining progress towards integrating refugee women's issues into ongoing programmes.3 The Executive Committee adopted extensive conclusions calling on the High Commissioner, inter alia, to develop a policy framework and organizational work plan, to revise guidelines on the protection of refugee women, and to ensure that data on gender roles and responsibilities was used in planning UNHCR activities.

64. A course designed to enable a thorough analysis by project planners and implementers of the situation of women in any refugee population, through examination of the gender-based division of socioeconomic roles, was developed. The design of all project components would thus better facilitate the full integration of refugee women into the assistance process. Four of these courses were held, including one for senior management and another for the purpose of training trainers. The training programme would now be shifted to Field Offices where it will be adapted to specific refugee situations, with particular emphasis placed on protection, with the objective of integrating the principles underlying the course into appropriate components of all UNHCR training courses. To support this effort, videos focusing on the participation of refugee women in the planning and implementation of projects, and taking due account of the relevant protection and assistance considerations, were being produced.

65. To more systematically promote the Office's concern with refugee women's issues, a Senior Co-ordinator for Refugee Women was appointed in July 1989, with responsibilities for coordinating and monitoring the process of integrating women's issues into all activities of the Organization; preparing a policy framework to include refugee women in all levels of programme/project planning and implementation; reviewing existing programmes and procedures to ensure full participation by refugee women; identifying appropriate action-oriented research on specific refugee women's issues; contributing to the review and assessment of protection and assistance programmes; and assisting in the development of training programmes on gender impact analysis.

66. Public information activities played an important part in UNHCR's efforts to raise public awareness of the situation of refugee women. A photographic display was mounted at the thirty-fourth session of the Commission on the Status of Women, a film focusing on refugee women was co-produced and released in early 1990, while a visit by journalists to southern Africa was being planned to take place later in the year.

67. UNHCR continued to expand its contacts with other United Nations agencies in order to benefit from their experience in women's issues. The Office participated actively in several international conferences focusing on women's issues and was working closely with the Secretariat of the Commission on the Status of Women in preparing for an Expert Group meeting on Refugee and Displaced Women and Children. The Expert Group will submit documentation to the thirty-fifth session of the Commission on the Status of Women which will consider this subject in 1991. In addition, UNHCR co-operated with the Centre against id which undertook a mission in 1989 to focus attention on the situation of refugee and returnee women and children in southern Africa.

68. The NGO Working Group on Refugee Women continued to be a close partner in UNHCR's activities on behalf of refugee women. NGO representatives participated in UNHCR's courses on gender impact analysis, and the NGO community continued to play an advocacy role for refugee women both within their own organizations and externally. A book entitled Working with Refugee Women; a Practical Guide was published in 1989, documenting the conclusions of an international consultation on refugee women held by the NGOs in Geneva, in November 1989, with participation by UNHCR.

(e) Refugee children

69. The majority of the world's refugees are children. Recognizing that children have special needs which must be taken into account in the protection and assistance activities of the Office, the Working Group on Refugee Children, established in 1987, had accomplished the first phase of its mandate by 1989 (issuance of the UNHCR "Guidelines on Refugee Children" in 1988), and of a related workplan for the Office. During the second phase of its work, it will monitor and review implementation of the Guidelines and strengthen planning and reporting systems to more adequately address the needs of refugee children.

70. The continued financial difficulties faced by the Office delayed the desired level of implementation of the Guidelines in several areas. Various reports, for instance, indicated that refugee children continued to face serious problems with respect to protection and general welfare. Nevertheless, close co-operation between UNHCR, non-governmental organizations and other United Nations agencies resulted, to a certain degree, in the improvement of protection and assistance for refugee children. It was further planned, within the context of such co-operation, to review the situation of refugee children in selected areas, for example, in Malawi in the second half of 1990 together with the International Save the Children Alliance.

71. With regard to identifying the most appropriate durable solutions for unaccompanied minors, UNHCR issued "Draft Guidelines for Interviewing Unaccompanied Refugee Children and Adolescents and Preparing Social Histories". The Office also contributed to the finalization of the Convention on the Rights of the Child which was adopted by the General Assembly in December 1989. It also maintained close contact with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to ensure that concerns relating to refugee children would be adequately addressed at the United Nations World Summit on Children to be held in late September 1990.

B. Regional developments in Africa

72. The overall number of refugees in Africa increased again. The influxes into Malawi from Mozambique and into south-western Ethiopia from the Sudan continued, the latter at a reduced rate. Events in Mauritania and Senegal in May 1989, and in Liberia beginning at the end of 1989, necessitated new emergency operations in a part of Africa that had been relatively free of large-scale refugee movements.

73. The solution to the problems of refugees in Africa necessitates the establishment of conditions that would allow them to return home voluntarily and remove the need for others to flee. Thus, one of the longest-standing and most intractable refugee problems was solved in 1989, with the successful voluntary repatriation of over 43,000 Namibians. Close co-operation between the Governments of Ethiopia and Somalia and UNHCR resulted in an appeal by UNHCR to the international community for the financing of a programme to solve the problem of Ethiopian refugees in Somalia.

74, Were it not for UNHCR's financial crisis, a guarded optimism would be justified. However, this crisis - the nature and extent of which is explained elsewhere - seriously affected the quality of life of refugees in Africa and risked prejudicing the international community's ability to seize the opportunities for solutions as they presented themselves. Enforced reductions brought expenditure below the level necessary to meet agreed needs. Because the great majority of refugees in Africa have found asylum in countries facing major economic problems, and often in the more remote and poor areas of those countries, the impact of successive reductions relative to objectively assessed needs was particularly severe.' These countries are unable to absorb the extra burden, and may not even be in a position to provide adequate services to their own nationals. Reduced budgets, allowing little or no provision for unforeseen extra needs, are ill-adapted to programmes with major inherent constraints and variables resulting from such factors as logistical difficulties and lack of natural resources. Financial support was also not forthcoming for development projects that would both lighten the burden on nationals and promote solutions.

75. The economic and social pressures engendered by a shortfall in financial support had an evident influence on attitudes to asylum and protection. African Governments continued to offer generous asylum to refugees, but their increased burden brought greater difficulties in maintaining past liberal practices. During the reporting period, the major protection problems were once again largely the result of a breakdown in arrangements to ensure respect for the strictly humanitarian and civilian nature of some refugee camps and settlements. These, and some cases of Refoulement, were brought to the attention of the authorities concerned. Positive developments relevant to the protection of refugees during the reporting period included the work of such bodies as the African Commission on Human and People's Rights and the adoption of the African Charter for Popular Participation in Development and Transformation. These and a number of other initiatives addressed, at least indirectly, the preventive action essential to remove the need to seek asylum and protection in another country.

76. Developments in west Africa during the reporting period added a new focus of attention for UNHCR. By the end of the period, assistance to some 50,000 Mauritanian refugees who arrived in northern Senegal in the second quarter of 1989 could be consolidated and the emergency phase was over. (The situation with respect to Senegalese refugees in Mauritania is discussed in part F of this chapter.) Emergency assistance to some 150,000 Liberian refugees who had sought asylum in Côte d'Ivoire and the Republic of Guinea since the end of 1989 was still being mobilized. The long supply lines, particularly through Guinea, made the operation both difficult and expensive.

77. The number of refugees in the Horn of Africa and the Sudan, and the complexity and inter-relationship of the problems there, made this area a continuing major focus of UNHCR's attention and resources. The most immediate concern at the end of the reporting period was whether events in northern Ethiopia would lead to a new exodus into eastern Sudan. Limited contingency planning was undertaken but no significant influx occurred. Over 30,000 Sudanese refugees arrived in western Ethiopia during the 12 month period. Armed conflict in the region of Assosa in January 1990 resulted in the flight of some 41,000 refugees from Tsore camp, which was thought to have been deserted. Several thousand ex-residents of this camp arrived in the other three camps, whose populations totalled 348,000 as at 31 March 1990. This programme was stabilized, but remained vulnerable to the problems caused by the remote location and difficult supply lines to the camps. A further 20,000 Sudanese refugees sought asylum in northern Uganda in the second half of 1989, bringing their total there to 54,000. Another 30,000 Sudanese refugees sought asylum in Haut Zaire in the first quarter of 1990. Their needs were being assessed and a response mobilized at the end of the reporting period.

78. The situation of the some 350,000 Somali refugees in eastern Ethiopia improved, but this operation remained precarious due to their isolated location and the lack of local resources, particularly ground water. As noted in the High Commissioner's last report to the General Assembly through the Economic and Social Council4 prospects for the achievement of any significant level of self-sufficiency for these refugees are very slight. Not only will a difficult and costly care and maintenance operation continue to be necessary until conditions allow voluntary repatriation, but the political and social problems inherent in the situation will increase. A further 30,000 Somalis sought asylum in Djibouti, where UNHCR and WFP were mobilizing assistance.

79. In March 1990, UNHCR appealed to the international community for funds to solve the problem of Ethiopian refugees in Somalia. This appeal followed three successful meetings in the second half of 1989 of a Tripartite Commission comprising the Governments of Ethiopia and Somalia and UNHCR, with WFP as an observer. The work of the Commission built on an earlier broad agreement between the Government of Somalia and UNHCR on the approach to a solution. By the end of February 1990, the intentions of some 446,000 ration card holders in southern Somalia had been registered. Some 336,000 opted for local integration in Somalia, 107,000 for voluntary repatriation and 3,000 submitted claims for continued refugee status. The appeal covers all these persons plus the voluntary repatriation of some 60,000 refugees from north-western Somalia.

80. Developments in north-western Somalia did not allow the planned relocation of refugees still in camps there to areas where their security could be better assured and conditions for the delivery of humanitarian assistance met. In August 1989, UNHCR and WFP informed the Government that they were unable to continue humanitarian assistance to refugees in north-western Somalia. Despite every effort over many months, it had not proved possible to ensure respect for the basic principles governing such assistance: the civilian status of beneficiaries; access to them; and security for, and international monitoring of, the delivery of assistance. It was not possible to resume humanitarian assistance in the reporting period, although UNHCR lent its "good offices" to a short-term emergency programme which began in February 1990 under the auspices of the Secretary-General.

81. The situation of refugees in the Sudan remained relatively stable during the reporting period. The World Bank refugee-affected area development project referred to in the High Commissioner's last report was ready for implementation but the necessary funds for the refugee component were not forthcoming in response to UNHCR's appeal.

82. The number of Mozambican refugees in Malawi increased by over 150,000 during the reporting period, to a total of some 800,000. The impact of this greatly increased burden on Malawi was exacerbated by the effects of enforced budget reductions. Twelve of the 24 districts of Malawi now provide asylum to refugees and there are serious problems of overcrowding in the extreme south.

83. Assistance continued to over 120,000 Mozambicans in Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Notwithstanding the continued exodus of the Mozambicans, some voluntary repatriation occurred, largely spontaneously. Safe areas in Mozambique offered the opportunity to assist initial reintegration of returnees. The UNHCR special programme for this purpose was insufficiently funded in 1989. A further appeal for assistance to Mozambican refugees and returnees in southern Africa was made on 30 March 1990.

84. A two-way repatriation between Angola and Zaire began by air in September 1989. Some 6,500 Angolans and 3,000 Zairians had been repatriated when the operation was temporarily suspended in early 1990 due to financial constraints and security considerations. More Angolan refugees were expressing the wish to repatriate and if political developments and resources permit, it should be feasible to greatly expand this operation. There are over 400,000 Angolan refugees in Zaire (310,000) and Zambia (97,000), the majority spontaneously settled.

85. In discharge of the responsibilities assigned to UNHCR in Security Council resolution 435 (1978), and within the framework of the activities of the United Nations Transition Assistance Group, a total of 43,387 Namibians were repatriated during the reporting period. Of this number, 35,553 returned from Angola, 3,841 from Zambia and 3,993 from 40 other countries. Between 12 June and 7 August 1989, a major airlift from Angola and Zambia repatriated 34,765 Namibians. Despite a number of delays and difficulties beyond UNHCR's control, the operation was a success and played an important factor in Namibia's transition to independence.

86. The number of South African refugees reported to have found asylum in southern Africa remained broadly stable at some 35,000, of whom over half received UNHCR assistance. The implications of developments in South Africa were reviewed and initial contingency plans were under preparation at the end of the reporting period.

87. During 1989, expenditure in Africa under UNHCR voluntary funds totalled $257.8 million, of which $176.7 million were obligated under General Programmes, the greater part for care and maintenance operations, and $78 million under Special Programmes, the greater part for repatriation operations and the needs of newly arrived refugees.

C. Regional developments in Asia and Oceania

88. The refugee scene in South-East Asia underwent fundamental changes in 1989. The International Conference on Indo-Chinese Refugees (ICIR), held in Geneva in June 1989, adopted a Declaration and Comprehensive Plan of Action (CPA) as part of a longer-term strategy to resolve the growing problem of asylum-seeker arrivals in South-East Asia and Hong Kong in a rational and humane way. A return to Viet Nam from the asylum camps in the region began during the reporting period, while an ongoing repatriation programme to Laos also peaked to record high figures. Lawful departures from Viet Nam under a UNHCR-sponsored programme attained the highest number ever. In July 1989, amidst rising hopes for peace in Cambodia, the Secretary-General designated UNHCR as the lead agency for the repatriation of some 300,000 Cambodian refugees and displaced persons. The organized repatriation of Sri Lankan Tamils from south India started in December 1987 and continued until April 1989. In general, the financial problems faced by UNHCR had a disruptive impact on the activities of the Office in the region.

89. The rising spiral of arrivals of Vietnamese asylum-seekers continued during 1989, bringing the overall number of Indo-Chinese asylum-seekers in the UNHCR-assisted camps to over 195,000. Of these, approximately 100,000 persons were in Thailand, 56,000 in Hong Kong and the rest spread throughout the countries of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Japan. The number of registered asylum-seekers rose by 33 per cent compared to the previous year. On the other hand, close to 45,000 refugees left various countries of first asylum for resettlement in third countries, a remarkable achievement. In addition, over 43,000 persons left Viet Nam under the Orderly Departure Programme (ODP).

90. With respect to Vietnamese and Lao asylum-seekers, the aforementioned CPA presents a package of inter-related measures covering such aspects as clandestine departures, regular departure programmes, reception of new arrivals, determination of the status of asylum-seekers, resettlement programmes and repatriation. The objective is to rechannel departures, to the extent possible, through legal means while limiting resettlement to recognized refugees. Preservation of the practice of first asylum and access by UNHCR to asylum-seekers are among the main elements of this package. The task of overseeing implementation of these measures was entrusted to a Steering Committee which held three sessions since June 1989. Despite funding constraints, significant progress was achieved, notably in the creation, with the close involvement and support of UNHCR, of a region-wide refugee eligibility determination mechanism.

91. Efforts to promote voluntary repatriation also yielded significant results. Over 900 Vietnamese asylum-seekers returned home voluntarily, mainly during the second half of 1989. This rising trend continued. During the first three months of 1990, a total of 748 individuals were repatriated while close to 2,000 awaited processing for return. Seen against an historical background, this was an unprecedented development. The repatriation of Lao asylum-seekers in Thailand also gathered momentum. A tripartite Thai-Lao-UNHCR arrangement has allowed simplification of procedures. As a result, close to 2,000 persons returned to Laos in 1989, the biggest number in any year since the programme began in 1980. During the first three months of 1990, another 301 persons returned to Laos.

92. In another development, the Government of the Philippines agreed to host a regional transit centre for resettlement processing, allowing for early transfer to this centre of resettlement-eligible refugees from camps in other countries in the region. When operational, the centre will help relieve pressure caused by high arrival rates, notably in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, efforts were undertaken to speed up the resettlement of categories of refugees for whom resettlement guarantees have been provided under the CPA. By the end of March 1990, some 60 percent of the persons in this category had been processed for departure to third countries, an achievement in excess of the targets set at the June 1989 International Conference.

93. On the other hand, no consensus could be reached on the thorny problem of return, other than voluntary, to Viet Nam of those persons determined not to be bona fide refugees. in December 1989, the Hong Kong authorities deported some 51 screened-out Vietnamese. A debate followed in early 1990 in the Steering Committee On the need for a moratorium on such compulsory repatriation measures. No unanimous agreement had been reached on this subject by late March, although the Commissioner continued to play an active role in maintaining dialogue on this as well as related issues. On 13 March 1990, he submitted to members of the Steering Committee a number of proposals aimed at preserving and reinforcing the multilateral approach as formulated in the CPA. Another disturbing development was Partial denial of asylum to "boat people", practiced in the form of redirecting riving boats to neighbouring countries. By the end of March 1990, over 5,000 Vietnamese asylum-seekers had thus been redirected.

94. Intensive ground work and contingency planning for the repatriation of some 300,000 Cambodian refugees and displaced persons were undertaken during the reporting period. UNHCR was part of the Secretary-General's delegation to the Paris Peace Conference (August 1989), where it acted as a resource agency in the debate on repatriation which developed certain informal guidelines. Following the conduct of various technical surveys, draft proposals for a Cambodian repatriation plan were prepared by UNHCR in December 1989, which served as the main working document for inter-agency consultations conducted since then. Three technical inter-agency workshops were held in Bangkok, from 26 to 30 March 1990, in which 14 United Nations agencies and some 30 non-governmental organizations were represented. The workshops have set the stage for an inter-agency approach to the repatriation. Further preparatory work, including an inter-agency mission to Thailand and Cambodia, was foreseen to take place in April and May 1990 in close co-ordination with United Nations Headquarters.

95. In China, the younger generation among some 280,000 Vietnamese refugee settlers suffer from the absence of job opportunities, low per capita income and scarcity of cultivable land. A total of 42 projects related to water supply, crop production, forestry, education, animal husbandry, health and income-generation were implemented to expedite self-sufficiency. Upon completion of these projects, some 6,000 jobs were created, some 400 children and youths were admitted to primary schools and a vocational training centre, while some 700 families were provided with housing and drinkable water. UNHCR's financial contribution to these projects totalled $4 million.

96. In Japan, some 1,500 Vietnamese "boat people" were assisted by UNHCR through five implementing agencies pending either resettlement abroad or local settlement. Non-Indo-Chinese asylum-seekers were provided free legal assistance and counselling services by the Japan Legal Aid Association and International Social Service respectively. The Government of Japan also decided to determine the status of all new Vietnamese arrivals in accordance with the CPA and with UNHCR support.

97. The number of asylum-seekers in both Australia and New Zealand increased significantly. In Australia, the Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS), supported by NGOs, expanded its counselling activities in favour of needy asylum-seekers. UNHCR made a symbolic financial contribution of $25,000.

98. The Government of Papua New Guinea agreed to allow the Irian Jayan refugees to settle on its territory if they so wished. Refugees, including women, were encouraged to engage in income-generating activities such as carpentry, metalwork, gardening, animal husbandry and sewing. A total of 71 refugees voluntarily repatriated to Indonesia during 1989. The International Committee of the Red Cross has now opened a branch in Jayapura, Irian Jaya, which will have, inter alia," responsibility for monitoring the reintegration of returnees in their home villages. UNHCR provides a limited financial assistance to these reintegration efforts.

99. The movement of Sri Lankan Tamils from south India, which began in 1987, continued until April 1989 when the last group from the refugee camps departed for their homesteads in north-east Sri Lanka. Other significant developments took place. The Governments of India and Sri Lanka reached an agreement under which the Indian Peace-Keeping Force (IPKF) was to be completely withdrawn from Sri Lanka by March 1990. The Sri Lankan Government undertook negotiations with the predominant Tamil group, namely the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE), to reach an acceptable solution to the strife involving this group, thereby increasing prospects for Tamils still abroad to return voluntarily to Sri Lanka.

100. At the beginning of 1989, there were 9,549 registered refugees in India comprised of some 8,322 Afghans and 1,010 Iranians. Pending durable solutions, assistance to refugees in India was mainly in the form of care and maintenance including primary and secondary education for children as well as higher education and vocational training for adults. Some 125 handicapped refugees were also assisted. A total of 1,231 refugees departed for resettlement in third countries in 1989. During the same year, 33 Afghans and 19 Iranians voluntarily repatriated to their countries of origin with UNHCR assistance.

D. Regional developments in Europe and North America

101. Contacts and collaboration between Eastern European countries and UNHCR intensified during the reporting period as significant developments and events in the region had an impact on UNHCR activities. For example, the Hungarian Government's accession to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, and its 1967 Protocol, which had been made in March 1989, entered into force in June that year, and UNHCR opened an office in Budapest. In collaboration with the Hungarian authorities, UNHCR elaborated a programme to help the Government, inter alia, establish adequate infrastructure for asylum-seekers in that country, and an appeal amounting to $5.2 million was launched for this purpose. Some East European Governments participated in meetings of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme in an observer capacity, while, for its part, UNHCR undertook missions to a number of countries in that region during which various topics of common interest, such as accession to international refugee instruments, assistance to refugees and asylum-seekers, repatriation, resettlement and family reunification, were considered.

102. In Western Europe, the number of asylum-seekers continued to increase in 1989, reaching approximately 320,000 compared to 290,000 in 1988. These persons originated in most cases from outside the region. The continuous influx of asylum-seekers has created a large backlog of undecided applications, leading to a serious strain on reception facilities and increased expenditure on public relief and assistance. Furthermore, rates of recognition of refugee status decreased and considerable problems were caused by rejected cases. More generally, a less favourable public opinion towards asylum-seekers and refugees developed. Governments took a series of measures to control or regulate admission of what they considered irregular movements of asylum-seekers and refugees. As a result, the number of "orbit cases", and the detention of asylum-seekers at the border, increased. Some asylum-seekers and refugees were placed at risk of refoulement.

103. Meanwhile, consultations between 14 European and North American Governments and UNHCR continued with a view to intensifying the joint search for multilateral solutions to the new asylum situation in the region, through the establishment of burden-sharing schemes and development of appropriate long-term strategies. Several meetings took place in Geneva, one major consultative meeting was held in Semmering, Austria, at the invitation of the Austrian Government (June 1989), and a second was held in Nyon, Switzerland, at the initiative of the Swiss Government (March 1990). More generally, UNHCR continued to follow closely the movement in Europe towards unified policies and practices in the economic, financial, social and political areas and the consequences that these developments may have for refugees and asylum-seekers.

104. Despite its existing geographical reservation to the 1951 Convention, Turkey continued to provide assistance and protection to some 30,000 Iraqi nationals. On 20 December 1989, the High Commissioner made an appeal to the international community to raise funds for a shelter project intended to improve the living conditions of some 13,500 Iraqi nationals housed in the temporary accommodation centre near Mardin in south-east Turkey.

105. Canada and the United States continued to act as major resettlement countries although, of course, there were many refugees for whom these two were countries of first asylum. During 1989, 24,623 refugees were resettled in Canada and 94,000 in the United States. In the same period, approximately 22,000 persons requested asylum in Canada. One hundred and two thousand persons made a similar request in the United States.

106. During 1989, UNHCR's voluntary funds expenditure in Europe and North America totalled $24.1 million of which $18.8 million were obligated under General Programmes and $5.3 million under Special Programmes.

E. Regional development in Latin America and the Caribbean

107. By the end of 1989, 122,616 Central American refugees were receiving UNHCR assistance. In Costa Rica, 30,471 refugees in both urban and rural areas were provided with assistance. The successful implementation of the programme for the insertion of refugees into employment or other income-generating situations resulted in the closure of the El Limon camp in late 1989. In Honduras, as a result of the repatriation movements of 1989 and especially those of January and February 1990, 26,500 refugees remained as at 31 March 1990. Of these, 14,850 are Nicaraguans of non-Indian origin, 8,500 are Nicaraguan Miskitos, 2,700 are Salvadorians and 431 are Guatemalans. Material assistance continued to be provided to the remaining caseload. There were 41,500 Guatemalan refugees in Mexico at the end of 1989. The implementation of a multi-year plan aimed at achieving refugee self-sufficiency in Campeche and Quintana Roo commenced in 1989. A project for the promotion of income-generating activities in Chiapas was elaborated in 1989 for implementation with effect from March 1990. As at the end of 1989, the estimated refugee population in southern Latin America was 22,700, of whom 6,437 were receiving UNHCR assistance.

108. There was a considerable increase in the number of returnees in 1989 and early 1990, with significant movements taking place from Honduras during the reporting period. By March 1990, approximately 13,200 refugees, most of them Salvadorians, had voluntarily repatriated from Honduras, resulting in the closure of Colomoncagua and San Antonio camps. During the same period, smaller movements of Central American refugees took place bringing the number of returnees to 8,860 as at 31 March 1990. In addition, 492 Haitian refugees repatriated from the Dominican Republic during the reporting period.

109. The welfare of the returnees continued to be assessed by the UNHCR Offices in El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua. In some countries of origin, UNHCR continued to provide immediate assistance and support for the rehabilitation of returnees' communities. The voluntary repatriation of Chilean refugees also increased considerably in 1,989. There were 1,720 returnees or double the figure for 1988. They returned from various countries of asylum, in particular Argentina, Cuba and countries in Eastern Europe.

110. UNHCR opened Sub-Offices in French Guiana and Suriname in 1989. Efforts to facilitate the voluntary repatriation of the Surinamese refugees currently in French Guiana were reinforced within the framework of the Tripartite Commission composed of France, Suriname and UNHCR.

111. During 1989, UNHCR voluntary funds expenditure in Latin America and the Caribbean totalled $39.6 million of which $32.8 million were under General Programmes and $6.8 million under Special Programmes.

International Support and Verification Commission (CIAV)

112. During their summit meeting held in Tela, Honduras, on 7 August 1989, the five Central American Presidents adopted a Joint Plan for the voluntary demobilization, repatriation or relocation of the members of the Nicaraguan resistance and their families. In order to implement this plan, the International Support and Verification Commission (CIAV) was established on 6 September 1989 by the Secretaries-General of the United Nations and the Organization of American States (OAS). The Tela Plan envisages that following their voluntary repatriation the beneficiaries would be integrated into the development process in their country of origin. UNHCR has been requested to co-operate with the CIAV, in accordance with its mandate, in the voluntary repatriation or relocation of the members of the Nicaraguan resistance and their families, as well as of the Nicaraguan refugees in Honduras and Costa Rica. For planning purposes, the number of beneficiaries of this programme has been estimated at 90,000 persons and the financial requirements at $48 million.

International Conference on Central American Refugees (CIREFCA)

113. The International Conference on Central American Refugees (CIREFCA) was held in Guatemala City from 29 to 31 May 1989. The Conference adopted a Concerted Plan of Action in Favour of Central American Refugees, Returnees and Displaced Persons (A/44/527) which sets out a number of national and international mechanisms necessary for the finalization and implementation of projects. States will express their support for these mechanisms during the First International Meeting of the CIREFCA Follow-Up Committee to be held at United Nations Headquarters in June 1990. The process set in motion by the Concerted Plan of Action proved to be of considerable help in facilitating an unprecedented convergence towards durable solutions for uprooted populations. Given recent events in the region, the implementation of the repatriation and reintegration phases of the CIAV under the Tela Plan will include some development projects within the CIREFCA framework.

F. Regional developments in South West Asia, North Africa and the Middle East

114. The durable solutions to the problem of Afghan refugees which it was hoped would result from the positive developments of 1988 did not materialize during the reporting period. An estimated 100,000 Afghan refugees were reported to have returned, mainly from the Province of Baluchistan in Pakistan, to their places of origin particularly in the south-western and northern provinces of Afghanistan, but continued fighting in certain provinces created new waves of refugees to Pakistan.

115. Activities related to the repatriation of Afghans were stepped up in 1989 in conjunction with the Co-ordinator for United Nations Humanitarian and Economic Assistance Programmes Relating to Afghanistan (UNOCA) and other partners of the United Nations system. These included the longest mission undertaken to date inside non-government-controlled areas of Herat Province. UNHCR supported the delivery and distribution of relief items from UNICEF, UNDP, UNOCA, WFP as well as from UNHCR itself. During 1989 and early 1990, UNHCR continued to fund cross-border projects implemented by NGOs in areas of Afghanistan from which high numbers of refugees originate. Of total 1989 disbursements under this sector of some $24.8 million, $14.2 were for activities inside Afghanistan. The remainder was disbursed for activities in the Islamic Republic of Iran and Pakistan.

116. Within the context of its responsibilities and role, UNHCR has developed a strategy for voluntary repatriation designed to meet the following objectives:

(a) Ensure that repatriation is truly voluntary and develop systems to monitor and document repatriation movements;

(b) Put in place a set of incentives designed to redress the imbalance in humanitarian and economic services between areas of asylum and origin.

117. To meet these objectives and implement a successful beginning to voluntary repatriation, the Office plans to carry out various measures in the course of 1990 in the context of a Plan of Action agreed amongst the United Nations agencies involved in the planned repatriation and rehabilitation of Afghan refugees.

118. The High Commissioner participated in a high-level inter-agency mission to Pakistan and Afghanistan from 25 to 30 March 1990. The United Nations as a whole increased its efforts towards achieving peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan, and UNHCR actively promoted voluntary repatriation. Planning and implementation of UNHCR's humanitarian assistance programmes were reoriented to meet the needs of repatriation. For example, the target of 80 per cent full immunization was reached in most of the refugee camps and was expected to be achieved in all camps during 1990. Additional emphasis was being placed on training, with less emphasis on construction of infrastructure.

119. The general shortfall in resources faced by the Office over the past two years also affected the assistance provided by UNHCR to Afghan refugees. The Government of Pakistan met a significant part of this deficiency from its own resources, particularly with regard to food supply. Although the initial results of a Government/UNHCR nutritional survey conducted in February/March 1990 were quite positive, UNHCR continued to monitor the overall situation closely at the end of the reporting period. This was particularly so in the case of new arrivals and those refugees in tribal areas who were less able to benefit from job opportunities to supplement the assistance provided to them through UNHCR.

120. The Second Phase of the "Income-Generating Project for Refugee Areas in Pakistan", implemented by the World Bank on behalf of UNHCR, will come to a close in the latter part of 1990. It should be recalled that a three-year pilot phase of $20 million was initiated in 1984, followed by the current three-year second phase of $40 million which started in October 1987. UNHCR endorsed a further two-year phase for which financial requirements are estimated at $25 million. This phase will continue to provide employment for both refugees and the local population in development schemes aimed at repairing and creating basic infrastructural assets in refugee-affected areas, with an emphasis in fields where experience gained by the refugees will be useful in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Afghanistan.

121. According to government figures, there are over 2 million Afghan refugees and 500,000 others, mainly Iraqis, in the Islamic Republic of Iran. UNHCR's assistance to the Afghan refugees was aimed at extending and improving the rural health delivery infrastructure, water and sanitation systems, access roads, educational facilities and some income-generating activities. With the increased emphasis on repatriation, the programme was gradually moved from infrastructural assistance to assistance measures of direct benefit to refugees. In this context, UNHCR covered, inter alia, the purchase of vaccines, medicines, dental and x-ray units, school materials, bakeries, the training of additional community health workers and of female carpet weavers. The Office has also financed the completion of four access roads and of water distribution systems inside refugee villages. In 1989, $13.7 million were spent in providing assistance to Afghan refugees.

122. Iraqi refugees in the Islamic Republic of Iran, some 90,000 of whom were assisted by UNHCR in 1989, are located in three provinces in the west of the country. Following a small emergency programme during the winter of 1988/89, assistance in 1989 concentrated on the improvement of health, sanitation and housing facilities for this group of refugees, and also provided logistical support. During 1989, $2.9 million were disbursed by UNHCR to provide assistance to Iraqi refugees.

123. The Regional Office for the Middle East continued to fulfil UNHCR tasks towards refugees and asylum-seekers in the Middle Eastern countries from Bahrain. The Office dealt with, and expressed concern over, several cases of refoulement, deportation and expulsion of refugees which occurred in the region. Due to the prevailing security situation in Lebanon, UNHCR was not in a position to maintain an international presence in Beirut, and vital assistance to needy refugees was provided by local staff under precarious conditions.

124. The Sahrawi refugee population living in camps around Tindouf is estimated by the Algerian authorities at some 165,006 persons. Since 1975, most of the needs of this group have been covered by the Algerian authorities. UNHCR provided assistance, including food, education, health, water and domestic needs, to some 80,000 persons, most of them vulnerable groups (women, children, handicapped and elderly persons). UNHCR's long-term aim for the Sahrawi refugees is voluntary repatriation. In August 1988, peace proposals were submitted by the Secretary-General to the concerned parties, and UNHCR continued to follow his initiatives closely so as to be able to fulfil its responsibilities towards the refugee population.

125. Since the April 1989 events between Mauritania and Senegal, a group of Senegalese refugees, estimated by the Mauritanian authorities at some 22,000 persons, found refuge in the country and are at present living in 34 sites. A multi-sectoral emergency programme was drawn up in favour of this group, and implemented with success despite several logistics difficulties. However, since during the reporting period there were no prospects for repatriation, it was necessary to continue assistance activities in 1990 with a view to attaining the economic and social self-sufficiency of the refugee population. It was hoped that UNHCR assistance would be phased-out by the end of the year. (The situation concerning Mauritanian refugees in Senegal is considered in part B of this chapter.).


126. 1989 was a particularly difficult year for UNHCR in financial terms. Total voluntary funds expenditure ($570 million) reflected a marked increase compared to 1988 ($545 million), and exceeded total income ($533 million), which led to a shortfall in the General Programmes of $38 million. General Programmes expenditure accounted for $386 million, and Special Programmes and Other Trust Funds for $184 million. These figures show a proportional increase in Special Programmes expenditure in comparison with 1988 (General Programmes $395 million, Special Programmes/Trust Funds $150 million).

127. Seventy-two Governments made contributions totalling $460 million, while 30 non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations made contributions in cash and kind valued at some $47 million (bringing the total to $507 million). Donor support continued to be strong, in absolute terms, with an increase of 5.6 per cent from the total contributions income figure of $480 million in 1988.

128. Despite this strong donor support, UNHCR experienced very severe funding problems during the year, starting with a negative carry-over of some $6.8 million from 1988 in the General Programmes. This was compounded by a reduction in secondary income, following a trend which had appeared in prior years, while overall requirements continued to increase. The initial General Programmes target was particularly high, at $429 million, due to the many emergencies in 1988 which had increased the caseload in need of international assistance by some 700,000 refugees. In addition, UNHCR had to address new situations during the first five months of 1989, mainly in Ethiopia, Central America, South-East Asia and Hong Kong, with costs totalling some $42.4 million. Only by drastic reassessment of priorities throughout the programmes, representing savings of some $34 million, was the programme target maintained at the initial level, while absorbing the previous year's carry-over.

129. It also became apparent in early 1989 that limited levels of contributions compared to needs would possibly mean a severe shortage in funding for the year. The High Commissioner initiated further reductions in programme implementation for all regions, as well as restrictions in programme support and administrative expenditure. In July 1989, operational projects were cut and austerity measures imposed to effect further savings of some $35 million. Thus the final revised General Programmes target was $389.4 million.

130. In view of the funding difficulties faced by the Office, the Executive Committee, at its fortieth session in October 1989, authorized an exceptional carry - over of a maximum of $40 million into 1990 in order to cover the anticipated shortfall for the year. The shortfall was to be covered by 1990 income, and be fully absorbed by 31 December 1990, with at least half included in the first semester's expenditure. The Executive Committee noted (rather than approved) the target of $414.4 million proposed by UNHCR for General Programmes, and imposed a ceiling on obligations of $190 million for the first six months of the year (including 50 per cent of the carry-over). In view of this restriction, the working budget for the 1990 General Programmes was adjusted to $340 million. In addition, Special Programmes needs for 1990 are high, bringing UNHCR's total programme needs for the year to a staggering $735 million, with funding requirements at $702 million (taking account of balances available in the Special Programmes and Other Trust Funds).

131. As at 31. March 1990, contributions for 1990 programmes, both General and Special, totalled some $230 million, as detailed in Table 3, which provides a breakdown of contributions pledged or paid as of that date. Previous efforts to expand the donor base, which will be pursued in 1990, have not yielded very marked results, and UNHCR's needs continue to be met mainly by contributions from traditional donors. In a letter addressed to the international community on 14 March 1990, the High Commissioner underlined the dilemma faced by UNHCR with high requirements on the one hand and limited projected income on the other (an estimated $550 million). A proposal was submitted to donors that income available during the course of 1990 be allocated to cover the General Programmes as a priority, and meet the minimum needs of Special Programmes, while some activities (Afghanistan, Namibia, Nicaragua) could be placed under the auspices of the United, Nations Secretary-General and financed through non-UNHCR mechanisms.

132. The international community has always responded generously to the needs of UNHCR and this backing has been greatly appreciated. The High Commissioner counts on the continued support of the international community, whose strong commitment is vital in enabling the Office to carry out the humanitarian work with which it has been entrusted.


A. Co-operation between UNHCR and other members of the United Nations system

133. UNHCR continued to strengthen its links and areas of co-operation with the United Nations family. To enhance and formalize such co-operation, the Office has now signed Memoranda of Understanding with the following organizations: International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), International Labour Office (ILO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Office of the United Nations Disaster Relief Co-ordinator (UNDRO), United Nations Educational and Training Programme for Southern Africa (UNETPSA), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), World Food Programme (WFP), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Co-ordinator for United Nations Humanitarian and Economic Assistance Programmes Relating to Afghanistan (UNOCA). The revision of some of these Memoranda has already commenced in order to facilitate more effective co-operation, particularly in light of recent decisions taken on that subject by the Executive Committee5 and endorsed by the General Assembly in its resolution 44/137. Moreover, the Temporary Working Group of the Executive Committee referred to earlier in this report considered this matter in depth, and made several recommendations to be considered by an extraordinary session of the Executive Committee which will take place in May 1990.

134. Arrangements are under way for the establishment of a Memorandum of Understanding between the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and UNHCR. This will formalize existing co-operation which covers not only various aspects of the problems and needs of refugee children but also emergency stockpiling facilities, staff training, material assistance and public information. As from January 1990, contacts with UNICEF have been established at the highest level to ensure that the issue of refugee children is properly reflected in the agenda of the forthcoming United Nations World Summit on Children, as well as in the proposed "World Declaration for the Survival, Protection and Development of Children in the 1990s".

135. Co-operation with UNDP and WFP is of special importance for reasons referred to several times already in this report. UNHCR collaborated actively with UNDP in the follow-up to the SARRED and CIREFCA Conferences, as aid and development issues are a significant component of the Plans of Action of both conferences. In the case of CIREFCA, a joint UNHCR/UNDP follow-up unit became functional in early March 1990.

136. The question of refugee aid and development was also considered by the Consultative Committee on Substantive Questions (Operational Activities) (CCSQ (OPS)) at its first regular session in 1990, based on a presentation by UNHCR. At the end of its deliberations, the Committee reaffirmed the importance of a development-oriented refugee aid policy, and the system's commitment to reinforce existing policies and mechanisms to this end. Furthermore, the Committee supported the creation of task forces both within the system and at field level. These would ensure that the refugee dimension was adequately reflected in the work programmes of individual organizations and the formulation of joint programmes, in order to ensure the mobilization of resources and identification of areas of co-operation at the regional, subregional and country levels. More generally at the inter-agency level, UNHCR is closely following the system-wide initiatives relating to development and international economic co-operation. UNHCR participated in the Task Force on Long-term Development Objectives, held in September 1989, which is monitoring the preparations for the International Development Strategy.

137. In view of the protection and assistance implications for refugees, in particular refugee migrants, UNHCR continued to participate in global efforts aimed at the prevention and control of AIDS and worked in close contact both with WHO and other relevant agencies. In March 1990, UNHCR participated in the "World Conference on Education for All" for which the lead agencies were UNESCO, UNICEF, UNDP and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). The Conference recognized the need to provide basic education for all, especially vulnerable groups such as refugee children. UNHCR will be associated with follow-up action to the Conference. The Office also contributed to the elaboration of the System-wide Plan of Action for International Drug Abuse Control, focusing on certain activities as they relate to refugees, e.g. prevention and reduction of illicit demand for drugs, treatment and rehabilitation, and elimination of the supply of drugs from illicit sources.

138. The majority of the world's 15 million refugees are hosted in areas already suffering from poor or fragile natural and socioeconomic conditions. UNHCR programmes have therefore increasingly had to contain aspects intended to limit, or rehabilitate, damage to the environment arising from the presence of refugees. Accordingly, the Office took part in several important initiatives in this area including the meeting of Designated Officials on Environmental Matters (DOEM). UNHCR was in fact designated a member of DOEM, and will be represented at all its co-ordination and preparatory meetings for the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development.

B. Relations with other intergovernmental organizations

139. UNHCR was represented at the Ministerial Conference of the Co-ordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Harare, in May 1989. In some of its discussions or conclusions, the Conference made specific reference to UNHCR's role in southern Africa (Namibia) and Central America (CIREFCA) and renewed its support for the implementation of the decisions of the ICARA II and SARRED Conferences. UNHCR also attended the Ninth Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Non-Aligned Countries which took place in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, in September 1989. In addition to endorsing the recommendations formulated by the ministerial meeting, the Summit provided a further opportunity for fruitful exchanges on major refugee situations with government delegations at the highest levels.

140. Earlier, the Office had participated in the work of the extraordinary Ministerial Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement on Peace and International Law, convened in The Hague in accordance with the recommendation of the Ministerial Conference of the Movement held in Nicosia, Cyprus, in September 1988. The Conference considered and affirmed the link between international law and peace. UNHCR is interested in this link and the opportunities that peace would provide for solving refugee problems in various parts of the world.

141. The traditionally close co-operation with the Organization of African Unity (OAU) was promoted in various fields of mutual interest. The Office was represented at the forty-ninth and fiftieth Ordinary Sessions of the Council of Ministers, held in Addis Ababa, in February and July 1989 respectively. The High Commissioner led the UNHCR delegation to the twenty-fifth Conference of Heads of State and Government which commemorated a historic anniversary for the OAI. The occasion also provided a forum for discussions on important developments affecting refugees on the African continent, particularly in southern Africa.

142. UNHCR played an active role in the work of those organs of the OAU concerned with refugees, namely, the Committee of Fifteen on Refugees and its Co-ordinating Committee, the Bureau for Refugees, and the Labour Commission, and supported the increasing focus of these organs on the promotion of voluntary repatriation and on ways of securing adequate resources to implement related measures.

143. Relations between the OAU and UNHCR were also marked by mutual agreement to improve various mechanisms and procedures for co-operation. In October 1989, at a meeting of representatives of both organizations, it was decided to revise the Agreement of Co-operation concluded in 1969, in order to reflect changes in the African refugee scene. In particular, the revision would respond to the need for speedy consultation on specific refugee problems/situations on the continent, and also address the growing challenge of resource mobilization for African refugee-hosting countries.

144. UNHCR continued to develop relations with the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) through regular contacts and reciprocal participation in meetings of their respective governing bodies. Exchanges also took place in the context of the co-ordination meeting between the OIC with focal points of the lead agencies of the United Nations, held in Geneva in September 1989. A number of concrete steps were taken to further co-operation with specialized institutions of the OIC concerned with assistance to refugees. In this respect, measures were drawn up with the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) for the eradication of illiteracy in refugee villages in Pakistan hosting Afghan refugees. At the invitation of ISESCO, UNHCR also participated in the Second Extraordinary Session of the General Conference of ISESCO in Jomtien, Thailand, which focused on literacy and basic language training for all within countries and communities of the Islamic world. Progress was also made in discussions with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), regarding an agreement for co-operation in areas of assistance to refugees in Islamic countries and to Muslim refugee communities.

145. Co-operation with the League of Arab States (LAS) continued through periodic contacts and exchange of information. In May 1989, a jointly sponsored seminar on Asylum and the Rights of Refugees took place in Tunis. The seminar brought together more than 40 lawyers and senior civil servants from the entire Arab world to discuss asylum policy.

146. Developments in Central America, particularly those connected with the CIREFCA Conference and the International Verification and Support Commission (CIAV), provided additional opportunities for furthering co-operation between UNHCR and the Organization of American States (OAS). These developments and activities are discussed elsewhere in this report. In order to strengthen field-level co-operation between the United Nations and OAS, UNHCR representatives have been instructed to participate regularly in meetings of the United Nations representatives with OAS representatives in each country member of both organizations, in consultation, as appropriate, with the national authorities of those countries. At the regional level, UNHCR participated in an observer capacity in the Fourth Inter-American Specialized Conference on Private International Law (CIDIP-IV), held in Montevideo in July 1989.

147. Co-operation with the Council of Europe continued in various areas. At the invitation of the Council, the High Commissioner addressed the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in May 1989. The Parliamentary Assembly itself adopted a number of resolutions on refugees and asylum-seekers during the reporting period.

148. UNHCR continued to follow discussions in the Council on refugee matters, particularly within the context of the Ad Hoc Committee of Experts on Legal Aspects of Territorial Asylum, Refugees and Stateless Persons (CAHAR), and in the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography (CMRD). During the period under review, UNHCR participated in the activities of the Council's European Consultative Committee on Global Interdependence and Solidarity. Here, specific mention should be made of the preparations, in which UNHCR participated, for the Europe/Africa Encounter, an event sponsored jointly by the Council and the OAU, which took place in Porto Novo, Benin, in September 1989. In the Conclusions of the Encounter, special attention was drawn to the need to mobilize additional resources to help meet the growing burden of refugee assistance on countries hosting large refugee populations in the "South", particularly in Africa.

149. In December 1989, the Council of Europe's Committee of Experts for the Promotion of Education and Information in the Field of Human Rights organized a meeting on the treatment of asylum-seekers and migrants at the border, entitled "Human Rights without Frontiers". The meeting was attended by representatives of Governments, non-governmental organizations and UNHCR, and made recommendations focusing, on the need for the development of training materials and programmes for border officers.

150. The Commission of the European Communities remained the third major contributor to UNHCR programmes, most of its contribution being in the form of food aid. Additionally, the Commission provided active support for the development of UNHCR programmes. For example, joint EEC/UNHCR technical missions took place in Central America (Mexico and Guatemala), to review refugee projects and consider new approaches to the implementation of refugee assistance programmes in the region. Senior level consultations were held between the two organizations on matters of mutual interest.

151. UNHCR continued to develop relations with the European Parliament, and especially with the Parliament's Commission for Development, which devoted part of a formal session to a presentation on UNHCR's activities. In addition, members of the Commission for Development, and delegates of the Joint African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) - EEC Commission, visited refugee programmes in southern Africa and in the Pacific (Papua New Guinea).

152. The increasingly close co-operation between UNHCR and States members of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) was eloquently reflected in the preparation of the International Conference on Indo-Chinese Refugees, held in June 1989, the outcome of which is discussed elsewhere in this report.

153. Co-operation with the World Bank was substantially strengthened during the reporting period. In this regard, UNHCR increased its participation in World Bank consultative groups and consortia concerned with refugee-hosting countries. At the same time, collaboration in a number of specific projects was carried further, as discussed in the Regional Chapters of this report. Approaches to other international development agencies and financial institutions increased as UNHCR sought to intensify efforts to promote development assistance for the benefit of refugees and returnees, as well as for refugee-hosting communities. A notable example was the consultations with the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) concerning co-operation in Central America leading to the initiation of joint project identification efforts in collaboration with UNDP. Similar steps are envisaged with the African Development Bank.

154. UNHCR continued to co-operate closely with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) (formerly the Intergovernmental Committee for Migration (ICM)) in several areas, mostly in relation to the movement of refugees and asylum-seekers. In South-East Asia the implementation of the Comprehensive Plan of Action led to even closer collaboration between the two organizations, especially in view of the increasing prospects for voluntary repatriation. It is recalled that the IOM has provided support to UNHCR's operations in the region over the years, especially under the Orderly Departure Programme (ODP).

155. In Africa, Europe and Latin America, UNHCR programmes continued to benefit from favourable arrangements provided by IOM for the travel of refugees and returnees. In addition to transportation and processing, co-operation covered areas such as travel-related medical services, language training and cultural orientation, and assistance to handicapped refugees found eligible for resettlement. During the reporting period, over 100,000 persons world wide benefited directly from co-operation between the two organizations. Regular meetings, both at headquarters and field levels, also took place between representatives of UNHCR and IOM, and both organizations actively participated at meetings of their respective governing bodies.

C. Humanitarian co-operation with liberation movements

156. During the period under review, UNHCR continued to maintain cordial relations with the three national liberation movements recognized by the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the United Nations, namely the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO), the African National Congress of South Africa (ANC) and the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC). Humanitarian assistance was provided for refugees in the care of these organizations covering care and maintenance projects as well as other projects designed to enhance the potential to achieve agricultural self-sufficiency for rural refugees, or wage-earning opportunities for urban refugees. With the implementation of Security Council resolution 435 (1978) concerning Namibia's independence, UNHCR collaborated with SWAPO in repatriating some 43,387 Namibian refugees. Overall relations with SWAPO in this exercise were governed by the impartiality package of the said resolution. The budget for the Namibian repatriation exercise was set at $38 million, with appropriations for other programmes implemented by the national liberation movements estimated at $5.0 million. At the political level, these movements continued to maintain their active interest, in an observer capacity, in the discussions of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme.

D. Relations with non governmental organizations

157. In consolidating its working relationship with the non-governmental organizations, UNHCR continued to seek the earliest possible involvement of NGOs in its activities in favour of refugees. The Office also continued to increase its knowledge of NGO implementing partners and the NGO community in general.

158. Formal meetings were held with NGOs during the reporting period. These included Consultations on International Protection and Operations in May 1989 (attended by 45 NGOs), and the seventh consecutive one-day meeting prior to the meeting of the Executive Committee in October 1989, which was attended by representatives of over 100 NGOs. In addition, UNHCR organized informal meetings relating to the emergency situation in Ethiopia; the returnee situation in Central America (particularly El Salvador); the Office's financial situation; and the activities of the Executive Committee's Temporary Working Group, particularly Task Force IV of that Working Group which dealt with relations between UNHCR and other organizations. Thirty NGOs were invited to this informal consultation and provided the opportunity to exchange views on their relations with UNHCR. Through regular briefings, non-governmental organizations were involved in two major regional conferences in which UNHCR played an important organizational and substantive role, namely the CIREFCA Conference and the International Conference on Indo-Chinese Refugees, and continued to be informed on the follow-up actions relating to these conferences.

159. The systematic review of all 1988 projects and sub-projects involving NGOs was completed and the results thereof distributed within UNHCR as a reference document. The results provide a breakdown of 200 local and international non-governmental organizations implementing UNHCR projects in 79 countries. Meanwhile, the results of the 1989 review of NGO operational partners and implementing agencies are expected to become available during the course of 1990. The review includes data on NGOs with whom UNHCR has actual or potential activities in the fields of protection, resettlement, fund raising, training, and information.

160. UNHCR remained active in the NGO Working Group on Refugee Women and distributed the Group's publication entitled Working with Refugee Women; A Practical Guide at joint NGO/UNHCR meetings and to all UNHCR Field Offices. The Office also included non-governmental organization personnel in the first Gender Impact Analysis training provided in autumn 1989. Information-sharing and collaboration continued with various non-governmental organization groups that advocate, or raise funds for, the cause of refugee women and children.


161. There is a recognized link between public awareness of refugee issues and the ability of UNHCR to carry out its protection and assistance functions effectively. In view of the serious financial difficulties facing UNHCR and the negative trends in public opinion in many parts of the world, it became increasingly necessary for the Office to project a strong image of itself and to communicate the needs of refugees to a broad public.

162. In this context, UNHCR continued to carry out a range of public information activities aimed at creating international awareness and understanding of the plight of refugees and the goals and activities of the Office itself. Such activities were nevertheless constrained by scarcity of resources, as UNHCR was still unable to devote more that 1 per cent of its total voluntary funds budget to public information activities. A sum of $3.5 million was spent on such activities in 1989. A similar amount has been foreseen for 1990.

163. Public information initiatives during the period under review included the production and dissemination of written and audio-visual materials, the maintenance and further development of relations with the media on all aspects of refugee issues, and the organization of exhibitions and special events which stimulate the interest of the media and the public.

164. During the reporting period, UNHCR continued production of Refugees magazine. This publication is produced monthly in English, French and Spanish, bimonthly in German and Japanese, quarterly in Italian and twice yearly in Greek. Some 200,000 copies are distributed free of charge in over 100 countries. It has a well-established reputation as an information vehicle and, in addition, brought in over $750,000 in contributions to UNHCR in 1989. Other printed materials produced included an exhibition series of 25 posters, a calendar, fact-sheets and maps.

165. UNHCR's photolibrary, which maintains extensive archives on refugee situations, edited some 30,000 incoming photographs during the year and distributed a similar number for use by the media, NGOs and exhibitions. Material was made available, inter alia, for a major exhibition held in Paris to mark the bicentennial celebrations in 1989.

166. A limited amount of film footage, including a documentary film on repatriation to Namibia, was produced by UNHCR for distribution to television networks and other outlets. In addition, several co-productions on refugee subjects were undertaken with television networks. Subjects covered included refugee children in Ethiopia, victims of torture, Vietnamese "boat people", Afghan refugees in Pakistan and refugee women.

167. In the field of public relations, the Office intensified its efforts to reach the general public and sensitize them to refugee issues through the organization or promotion of special events, the use of high media profile personalities as Goodwill Ambassadors, and the development of a mass media, public advertising campaign. The number of UNHCR's Goodwill Ambassadors rose to six, some being personalities of international and others of regional renown.

(Note: Financial data tables not included in this online version. See your nearest UN Depository Library.)

1 Official Records of the General Assembly, Forty-fourth Session, Supplement No.12 (A/44/12).

2 Report of the fortieth session of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, document A/AC.96/737.

3 Document A/AC.96/727.

4 Official Records of the General Assembly, Forty-fourth Session, Supplement No.12 (A/44/12).

5 Conclusions J and K of the fortieth session of the Executive Committee, ref. document A/AC.96/737.

6 Annual Programme and the Emergency Fund.

7 Excluding North Africa which is included in 5: South-West Asia, North Africa and the Middle East.

8 Excluding expenditure for programme support and administration.

9 Including assistance to returnees in countries of origin.

10 Including income-generating activities.