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Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Executive Committee Meetings

Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

13 September 1985

United Nations General Assembly Official Records: Fortieth Session

Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Supplement No.12 (A/40/12)


1. During the reporting period, UNHCR faced the challenge of attaining durable solutions to refugee problems in the midst of seriously deteriorating situations in some parts of the world and the onset of a major emergency in Africa. Where possible, existing assistance programmes were consolidated and developed, with particular emphasis being placed on the promotion of refugee self-reliance projects. Where durable solutions could not immediately be attained, care and maintenance programmes had to be continued.

2. UNHCR continued to extend its international protection to large numbers of refugees and victims of man-made disasters across the world. Problems in this field during the period under review were accentuated by the continuing complexity of the causes of refugee movements and the increasing difficulties in finding durable solutions to the plight of persons of concern to the Office. Violations of the physical safety of refugees continued to cause grave anxiety.

3. Major assistance programmes begun in previous years continued, notably in Pakistan, which remained host to the world's largest refugee population, and in South-East Asia, where Indo-Chinese refugees continued to arrive. In Somalia and the Sudan, care and maintenance programmes were complemented by local integration activities until late 1984, when attention had to be diverted to emergency relief (see para. 7 below), and progress was made towards increasing the local settlement component of UNHCR assistance programmes in Central America.

4. As part of its endeavour to achieve durable solutions to the problems of refugees, UNHCR promoted several voluntary repatriation movements. These included the resumption of the UNHCR programme of repatriation from Thailand to the Lao People's Democratic Republic, and the voluntary repatriation of Ethiopian refugees from Djibouti, Ugandan refugees from the Sudan and Zaire and Argentine refugees from Europe and the Americas. Major local integration activities were also undertaken in Mexico, Uganda and Zaire, and till late 1984 in the Central African Republic, Ethiopia and Somalia. Resettlement in third countries remained the primary solution for Indo-Chinese refugees, some 68,500 of whom were resettled in third countries during 1984. An additional 29,000 were reunited with their family members abroad under the Orderly Departure Programme.

5. As in previous years, UNHCR continued to lay considerable emphasis on enhanced co-operation with other United Nations agencies. Non-governmental organizations were also of considerable assistance to UNHCR as operational partners, as well as in undertaking major activities on behalf of refugees in the fund-raising and public information fields.

6. UNHCR played an active part in the Second International Conference on Assistance to Refugees in Africa which met in Geneva in July 1984. The Conference stressed the complementarity between refugee aid and development aid and urged that refugee projects be integrated into the development process.

7. In November 1984, the High Commissioner issued a Special Appeal to respond to a dramatic new refugee crisis in four drought-stricken African countries. As a result of the drastic increases in the number of new arrivals, the High Commissioner's appeal was updated twice in December 1984 and again in January and in February 1985. The emergency severely affected UNHCR programmes in the Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Somalia and the Sudan, where critical assistance was rendered not only to new arrivals but to refugees already established in local settlements, whose progress towards self-sufficiency received a serious setback.

8. UNHCR overall expenditure in 1984 amounted to $458.6 million, including some $345.9 million under General Programmes and $98.1 million under special programmes) the remaining $14.6 million represented administrative expenditure under the United Nations regular budget. The trend towards a high proportion of General Programmes expenditure, which was already noted in the previous year, continued, though three consecutive years of decrease in the total expenditure came to an end in view of increased refugee needs.


A. Introduction

9. Developments during the reporting period have once again demonstrated the magnitude and complexity of the refugee problem, which in the final analysis is a reflection of the troubled conditions of today's world. Concentrations and flows of refugees - often in sizeable numbers - are to be found in almost all geographical areas. While the circumstances leading to these refugee flows are varied and complex, their common feature is the fact that the persons concerned have been compelled to uproot themselves and their families from their home countries in order to find safety and protection elsewhere.

10. It should be recognized that refugees include not only persons who are outside their countries due to fear of persecution but also persons who have fled their country due to armed conflicts, internal turmoil and situations involving gross and systematic violations of human rights. Even though the majority of today's refugees are persons who do not fall within the classical refugee definition in the UNHCR Statute they have, as helpless victims of man-made disasters, come to be recognized as persons of the High Commissioner's concern by successive resolutions of the General Assembly. There can be no doubt that efforts to meet the causes of the current refugee situations, if successful, would go a long way towards minimizing the world's refugee problem, and the various initiatives taken to this end within the competent organs of the United Nations are greatly to be welcomed. This matter, however, is not one falling within the purely humanitarian and non-political character of the mandate entrusted to the High Commissioner by the international community.

11. In accordance with his mandate, the High Commissioner is required to extend international protection to all refugees and to promote durable solutions for their problems. These two functions, which are closely interlinked, can only be effectively discharged with the generous support and co-operation of Governments and non-governmental organizations. During the reporting period the exercise of the High Commissioner's international protection functions encountered serious difficulties in different areas of the world due to the absence of readily available and adequate durable solutions by way of voluntary repatriation, local settlement, or resettlement in third countries. It is very much to be hoped that such solutions will be more readily forthcoming in the future. The need for such a global approach was illustrated during the reporting period by continuing spontaneous movements of individual refugees away from their countries of first asylum - because no appropriate durable solution was available to them there - to other countries which were, in the main, unwilling to undertake the responsibility for them, thus giving rise to serious international protection problems.

12. It should be acknowledged that for the great majority of today's refugee population the most desirable - and probably the most appropriate - solution is that of voluntary repatriation. However, voluntary repatriation, especially if it is to be implemented on a large scale, normally presupposes the establishment in countries of origin of a political climate and conditions conducive to the return of the refugees to their home country in safety and of their own free will. it is also incumbent on both the host and the home countries to collaborate in establishing the framework and providing adequate arrangements, often with the material and moral support of the international community, to achieve the orderly and safe return of those refugees who may wish to avail themselves of this solution.

13. Violations of the physical safety of refugees provide a continuing and tragic dimension to the High Commissioner's international protection function. During the reporting period, as in previous years, refugees suffered injury and death, notably through military or armed attacks on refugee camps and settlements from across international borders and sometimes also from within the territory of the host country, pirate attacks at sea and abduction from camps. The fact that the High Commissioner's international protection function has become increasingly concerned with the physical safety of refugees is a further reflection of the troubled situations in different parts of the world for which remedial action by the international community is urgently required.

14. Despite the various problems mentioned above and elaborated upon in the following sections, the reporting period has also been characterized by the continuing willingness of many States in all regions of the world - even when faced with serious economic difficulties - to grant asylum to refugees and to ensure that they are treated in accordance with internationally recognized standards. It is also encouraging to note that 97 States are now parties to the basic international refugee instruments: the 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees1 and the 1967 Protocol.2 Nevertheless, there has been a perceptible slowing down in the rate of accessions during the last few years, calling for more strenuous efforts on the part of UNHCR to maintain the momentum of accessions which characterized earlier reporting periods. Further accessions to these basic instruments - especially by States in those areas of the world confronted with major ongoing refugee situations - will help strengthen the international legal framework, which is the necessary corollary to effective international action on behalf of refugees. Such a new impetus in regard to accessions, commensurate with the increased volume and complexity of refugee problems throughout the world, may also make it possible to reach the goal of universality in the foreseeable future.

15. Finally, it needs to be reiterated that the High Commissioner's international protection role together with the concomitant search for durable solutions, can only be carried out effectively with the full co-operation of Governments and non-governmental organizations. It is therefore essential that the High Commissioner should be able to continue to rely fully on this support. It is equally essential that parallel efforts to address the root causes of the refugee situations should be further pursued. A more global approach of this kind should make it possible to ensure that the increasingly complex problems of the refugees in the world today can be tackled as a whole.

B. Principles of international Protection and refugee rights

1. Asylum

16. Asylum, which remains an attribute of State sovereignty, is also a most essential need of the refugee, enabling him to enjoy his basic rights. It is for this reason that 'the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - the modern-day Magna Carta - embodies the principle that everyone has the right to seek and enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.3 Underlying this basic humanitarian principle is the universal conviction that every person is entitled to freedom from persecution. It should be added however that the vast majority of those seeking asylum today are not persons fleeing from direct persecution or because of fear of persecution, but rather persons who have been displaced from their countries owing to situations of armed conflict, foreign aggression or occupation, or internal upheavals accompanied by serious human rights violations. There is now an increasing recognition that persons in this latter category should be protected from danger through the granting of at least temporary asylum until such a time as conditions in their country of origin permit their return.

17. Despite the substantial and sometimes dramatic increases in the number of refugees seeking asylum which occurred during the reporting period, it is most encouraging to note that many countries in all areas of the world have continued to maintain fair and generous asylum practices. This is the situation, for instance, in many parts of Africa, where millions have sought to escape from a combination of civil strife and devastating drought. it is one of the most remarkable and commendable acts of humanitarianism that a country like the Sudan, itself ravaged by drought in many areas, has opened its doors to a seemingly endless flow of refugees, currently estimated to be over 1,250,000 and still arriving at an average daily rate of over 1,000. This continued willingness on the part of many States to grant asylum to persons fleeing from persecution or danger has unquestionably served to reinforce the institution of asylum.

18. Nevertheless, as noted in the previous report,4 a number of countries confronted with the arrival of large numbers of asylum-seekers have in recent years sought to adopt restrictive practices with regard to the granting of asylum. There was no sign luring the reporting period that countries which had adopted such restrictive measures were contemplating their withdrawal or relaxation; indeed, there were indications that certain other countries were in the process of adopting similar measures.

19. The restrictive tendencies reflected during the reporting period included the adoption of measures of so-called "humane deterrence" combined with prolonged detention of asylum-seekers and the adoption of summary procedures - sometimes not accompanied by adequate legal guarantees - for dealing with "abusive" or "manifestly unfounded" claims; the refusal to examine asylum requests based on a strict application of the notion of "country of first asylum" which has led to an increased incidence of rejections at the border and attempts to return refugees to countries through which they have merely transited; and the unduly strict interpretation of the term "refugee" as defined in the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention and the 1967 Protocol, coupled with the requirement that the asylum-seeker discharge an unduly heavy burden. of proof. The tendency noted in cent years for certain States to treat asylum as purely temporary was also apparent during the reporting period.

20. There has also been a continuing reluctance on the part of some States to grant asylum to certain groups of refugees out of fear of compromising bilateral relations with their country of origin, especially if these are neighbouring countries. Such concern should not, however, be of decisive importance in view of the universally accepted principle that the granting of asylum is a peaceful and humanitarian act and that, as such, it should not be regarded as unfriendly by any other State5 It is obvious that such restrictive trends, if allowed to continue and to intensify, will seriously erode the concept of asylum and cause substantial and irreparable damage to this essential humanitarian institution.

21. Finally, mention should be made of a developing problem which, in some parts of the world, could have serious implications for asylum. This is the steady build-up in the number of persons in holding centres in several countries for whom no durable solution by way of voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement has yet been found. Some of these "long-stayers" have been waiting in camps for a number of years. Unless appropriate solutions are found in accordance with the principle of international solidarity and burden-sharing, there may be adverse consequences for asylum, not to mention the suffering of the human beings concerned.

2. Non-refoulement

22. The fundamental importance of the principle of non-refoulement as a cornerstone of international protection has become universally recognized. The principle requires that no person shall be subjected to such measures as rejection at the frontier, or, if he has already entered the territory, expulsion or compulsory return to any country where he may have reason to fear persecution or serious danger resulting from unsettled conditions or civil strife. A person claiming to be a refugee should therefore also be protected against forcible return while his claim to refugee status is being adjudicated. The application of the principle of non-refoulement does not, of course, presuppose the formal recognition, of refugee status. It should be recalled, in this connection, that the Executive Committee at its twenty-eighth session reaffirmed the fundamental importance of the Observance of the principle of non-refoulement of persons who may be subjected to persecution if returned to their country of origin "irrespective of whether or not they have been formerly recognized as refugees".6

23. The principle of non-refoulement has found expression in a number of international instruments adopted both at the universal and at the regional levels and has been incorporated in the national legislation of a number of countries. Due to its repeated reaffirmation at the universal, regional and national levels, the principle of non-refoulement has now come to be characterized as a peremptory norm of international law. During the reporting period, the principle received strong endorsement at the regional level, at the Colloquium on the International Protection of Refugees in Central America, Panama and Mexico, which met in Cartagena, Colombia in November 1984. The Colloquium adopted the "Cartagena Declaration on Refugees" in which the participating States unanimously concluded, inter alia, that the principle of non-refoulement was "imperative in regard to refugees and in the present state of international law should be acknowledged and observed as a rule of Jus cogens,", i.e. an overriding legal principle having a normative character independent of international instruments.

24. While the principle of non-refoulement was scrupulously adhered to by the majority of States during the reporting period, there were nevertheless instances of violation of the principle in different areas of the world. The victims of these violations were individual refugees as well as large groups. Some of the persons affected were recognized refugees, but the vast majority were persons whose refugee status had not yet been determined. This once again underlined the importance of establishing procedures or arrangements for identifying refugees and of taking appropriate measures to ensure that these can be availed of by persons claiming to be refugees.

25. Whenever the High Commissioner became aware of threatened measures of refoulement, he was able to make appropriate representations to the authorities of the country concerned and in many cases forcible return was prevented. In those instances in which a violation of the principle had already occurred, the High Commissioner expressed his profound preoccupation to the authorities of the States concerned, pointing out the imperative need for the strict observance of the principle of non-refoulement. In some cases it was also possible for the High Commissioner to appeal to the authorities of the country of origin to treat humanely those persons who had been returned in disregard of this principle.

3. Expulsion

26. It is recognized by article 32 of the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention that circumstances may arise justifying the expulsion of a refugee who is lawfully in the territory of a Contracting State. While expulsion may not have as grave implications as refoulement, it is evident that such a measure may involve considerable hardship for a refugee and may have particularly disruptive consequences if the refugee has close family members residing with him. It is recalled in this connection that the Executive Committee at its twenty-eighth session considered it essential that measures of expulsion against a refugee should be taken only in very serious and exceptional cases and after due and careful examination of all the circumstances and available alternatives, including the possibility for the refugee to be admitted to a country other than his country of origin.7

27. During the reporting period, refugees in a number of countries were subject to expulsion measures for reasons not justified by article 32 of the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention. Refugee delinquents, sometimes after serving their sentence, were given expulsion or deportation orders by application of ordinary national legislation or administrative regulations concerning prohibited immigrants, without regard to their special situation. It is evident that refugee status does not afford any immunity from criminal process, but once a refugee has been tried and punished for an offence, he should not be subject to an expulsion measure except on serious grounds of national security or public order.

28. A disquieting development during the reporting period was a tendency on the part of a number of States to refuse or withdraw asylum for some refugees in order to maintain good relations with their countries of origin which were seeking to have them returned or expelled. When expulsion measures were adopted in such cases, UNHCR was usually given a very short period within which to secure admission to another country for the refugees affected. 'In this connection, the High Commissioner would like to express his gratitude to a number of resettlement countries which - sometimes at very short notice - agreed to admit such refugees. This occurred, for instance, when hundreds of refugees had to leave their countries of asylum, where some had lawfully resided for as long as 15 years, due to the conclusion of security agreements between their country of origin and neighbouring countries.

29. During the reporting period, a number of States also resorted to measures of expulsion with respect to asylum-seekers without regard to their possible refugee character, merely on the ground of their illegal entry or presence. Such expulsion measures were contrary to article 31 of the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention, which exempts refugees from penalties for unlawful entry or presence provided they come directly from a country where their life or freedom is threatened and provided they have made their presence known to the authorities and shown good cause for their illegal entry or presence.

4. Physical safety of refugees

30. The serious problem of the physical safety of refugees continued to manifest itself in the reporting period, mainly in regions of the world with the largest concentrations of refugees - Africa, Asia and Central America. While it is, of course, the primary responsibility of the country of asylum to ensure the safety of refugees on its territory, UNHCR, in the exercise of its international protection function, also has a clear and direct interest in ensuring, on behalf of the international community, that the safety of persons under its mandate is not threatened or violated.

31. In his previous report, the High Commissioner referred to the question of military and armed attacks on refugee camps and settlements which in recent years had resulted in the death of thousands of innocent persons. On the basis of a report prepared by a former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Ambassador Felix Schnyder, the Executive Committee had studied various aspects of the problem including the respective responsibilities of the country of asylum, the country of origin, the international community and the refugees themselves in avoiding such attacks. At its thirty-fifth session, the Executive Committee continued its consideration of a statement of draft principles on this matter but was unable to reach a consensus. It is hoped that negotiations on this matter, which are currently proceeding, will make it possible to identify practical modalities to respond to the humanitarian aspects of this problem. The need for a response has become increasingly urgent since armed attacks on refugee camps and settlements continued during the reporting period. It is however, encouraging to note that the General Assembly at its thirty-ninth session unanimously adopted a resolution which, inter alia, condemned such attacks.8

32. It is also disturbing to note that during the reporting period refugees in camps and settlements were the object of military or armed attacks not only from across international borders but also from within. in a few countries armed elements were routinely allowed access to refugee camps with the ostensible object of maintaining security, but on a number of occasions they proceeded to resort to serious acts of violence against refugees and to rob them of their possessions. In another country, heavily armed groups continued an earlier practice of illegally entering a UNHCR camp in order to harass refugees, some of whom were killed, raped or robbed. The matter has been duly taken up by UNHCR with the authorities of the country concerned.

33. While deplorable acts of piracy continued to be committed against asylum-seekers in the South China Sea, 1984 witnessed an encouraging decline in the percentage of boats attacked. Of the total number of boats arriving in both Thailand and Malaysia, 34 per cent were attacked in 1984, as compared with 43 per cent in 1983. The level of violence associated with such attacks has, however, remained high. During 1984, the number of known deaths attributed to piracy was 59, while 130 abductions were reported and 110 women were known to have been sexually assaulted. Under the Anti-Piracy Arrangement established by the Royal Thai Government, which has now been extended for a third year through the co-operation of a number of donor Governments, efforts have continued to combat the problem. Measures currently undertaken under this Arrangement include preventive sea and air patrols, follow-up investigation and prosecution of suspects on land and the nationwide registration of fishing boats. UNHCR notes with satisfaction that compared to previous years, there was a marked increase in the number of individual suspects brought to trial during 1984 and the first quarter of 1985.

34. Another aspect of ensuring the physical safety of asylum-seekers to which UNHCR has continued to devote further attention is the rescue of asylum-seekers in distress at sea. It may be recalled that the Executive Committee at its thirty-fifth session noted with concern that the rescues of asylum-seekers in distress at sea had decreased significantly in 1983 and again in 1984 and strongly recommended that the proposed Rescue at Sea Resettlement Offers (RASRO) scheme be implemented on a trial basis as soon as possible and that additional resettlement places for this purpose be provided as a matter of urgency.9 The objective of this scheme is to facilitate the disembarkation of asylum-seekers; by setting an annual maximum resettlement intake for each participating country, the scheme provides for an equitable sharing of the burden of resettlement arising from rescue. The RASRO scheme is expected to come into operation in May 1985 and already more than 2,500 places have been pledged by some 14 subscribing countries.

35. During the reporting period, the Office updated and distributed to all shipmasters a booklet entitled "Guidelines for Disembarkation of Refugees" which contains detailed information regarding disembarkation procedures. The Office also continued a scheme for the reimbursement of expenses incurred by shipmasters for the care and maintenance of rescued asylum-seekers on board and is currently looking into the possibility of improving this scheme further. At its thirty-fifth session, the Executive Committee welcomed actions taken by UNHCR to draw attention to the continuing need to rescue asylum-seekers in distress at sea and expressed the hope that these actions would receive the widest possible support of Governments.10

36. The Office has also maintained contact with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) with regard to the rescue of asylum-seekers in distress at sea and the question of piracy. The High Commissioner greatly welcomes the recent designation by IMO of an expert to study the general problem of piracy in South-East Asian waters.

5. Detention

37. Detention of refugees and asylum-seekers remained a major problem in the area of international protection during the period under review. it is of course a basic principle of human rights that a person should not be subject to unjustified measures of detention or imprisonment.11 Such measures when taken in respect of refugees may be at variance with article 31 of the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention which provides for non-penalization of refugees merely on the ground of their illegal entry or presence and which calls upon contracting States not to apply to the movements of such refugees restrictions other than those which are necessary.

38. During the reporting period, thousands of refugees in all areas of the world found themselves in detention for no reason other than that of illegal entry or of having overstayed the validity of their entry visa, without regard to the circumstance that such irregular entry or presence was due exclusively to the need to find refuge from persecution or to avoid the dangers resulting from civil strife. While it may be unavoidable in certain cases to detain individual asylum-seekers during an initial period after entry, in order to establish their identity and the bona fide character of their asylum claim, the indeterminate deprivation of liberty beyond such an initial period is unjustifiable, except for serious reasons of national security or public order, a criminal record, or the likelihood that the asylum-seeker may abscond before his claim to refugee status can be adjudicated. UNHCR therefore sought to stress the importance of asylum countries refraining from applying measures of detention to persons of its concern, save as an exceptional and temporary measure. The treatment of refugees with particular reference to the problem of detention was the subject of a Round Table discussion held in San Remo, Italy, in September 1984, under the auspices of the International Institute of Humanitarian Law. The Round Table adopted a number of important conclusions on the subject for the consideration of Governments.

39. During the reporting period some countries adopted or maintained a blanket detention policy under which all 'illegal" or "excludable" entrants were automatically detained even if their identity and the bona fide character of their asylum claim had been established. A few countries kept asylum-seekers in detention as part of a series of measures aimed at deterring further arrivals. A number of refugees, whose status as such was not in question, were detained in some countries for irregular entry and/or in connection with intended measures of expulsion or deportation to a third country, where they were supposed to have found protection. In some of these cases, however, expulsion measures could not be implemented because the so-called "countries of first asylum" were not willing to readmit such refugees. Since they could not be returned to their country of origin, where it was recognized they had reason to fear persecution, they had to face the prospect of being kept in detention for an indeterminate period. in one country, refugees in this situation went on hunger strike to call attention to their predicament.

40. A major problem which UNHCR encountered in a number of countries during the reporting period was lack of access to asylum-seekers in detention, who in the main, were not informed of UNHCR availability to assist them. In many countries, however, UNHCR was regularly apprised of the detention of persons claiming to be refugees and was given access to such persons.

6. Economic and social rights

41. It is of course important that refugees be granted basic social and economic rights. Where refugees have received durable asylum, this is necessary not only for humanitarian reasons but also to facilitate local integration. Where refugees have been granted asylum only on a temporary basis, the enjoyment of certain social and economic rights is necessary in order to preserve the human dignity and self-respect of refugees, especially by being able to engage in some productive and creative activity.

42. The 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention and the 1967 Protocol provide for a range of social and economic rights for refugees. While States parties to the Convention are permitted to make reservations to the relevant provisions - and a number of States, particularly but not exclusively in the developing world, have in fact done so - this does not appear to be a decisive element. Thus, in many of these States refugees are in fact treated according to the standards as defined in the Convention while States which have not entered reservations may find it difficult to comply with the obligations assumed due to the absence of the necessary economic and social infrastructure. In the latter situation UNHCR assistance programmes may be useful in helping create the necessary facilities which may be of benefit not only to refugees but also to the local population.

43. It is encouraging to note that during the reporting period many States continued to accord, not only to recognized refugees but also to asylum-seekers pending the determination of their status, adequate access to social and economic facilities, in some instances even going beyond the minimum standards stipulated in the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention.

44. As regards access to gainful employment, the situation for refugees remained substantially the same as during the previous reporting period. While their right to seek employment was generally recognized - and was sometimes specifically provided for in national legislation - the actual possibilities varied from country to country, and within countries, from region to region. Current recessionary employment trends n many countries have a generally adverse impact on the possibilities for refugees to engage in gainful employment.

45. The treatment of recognized refugees in most developed countries as regards access to gainful employment remained at par with that accorded to nationals. In some of these countries, however, cultural and linguistic barriers made it difficult for refugees to compete on the labour market for reduced job opportunities. In practice, refugees have also found it difficult to obtain and retain employment due to the fact that employers tend to give preference to nationals. in a few countries, refugees, while formally permitted to take up employment, found themselves in a "vicious circle" where the authorities could only issue them with work permits if they had a firm job offer, which prospective employers were reluctant to make before the refugees had obtained a work permit.

46. In developing countries, the possibilities for refugees to secure gainful employment have continued to be precarious. The fact that the majority of the world's refugee population remains concentrated in poorer countries with extremely high levels of underemployment or unemployment is a major impediment to efforts by refugees to become economically self-supporting. In one such host country, for instance, not a single refugee found employment during 1984 and in another host country, during the same period, the rate of refugee unemployment stood at 90 per cent.

47. The situation with regard to access to gainful employment for asylum-seekers whose status is still to be determined varied from country to country during the reporting period. On the whole, their situation tended to be more vulnerable and precarious than that of recognized refugees. While in some countries asylum-seekers were allowed to work if they could find a job, in many countries such persons were generally denied access to the labour market, sometimes as part of a pattern of restrictive measures designed to deter further arrivals. In one country a law was adopted in mid-1984 under which asylum-seekers, with the exception of certain categories, were prohibited access to gainful employment.

48. Asylum-seekers who are precluded from taking up employment are frequently obliged to approach state and/or private agencies for medical, social and educational assistance while awaiting a determination of their asylum claim. Considering the relatively slow pace in the processing of asylum claims in many countries, the effects of prolonged idleness on the asylum-seekers concerned may involve considerable hardship both materially and psychologically and can prove to be a serious strain on family relationships. It is therefore hoped that, despite the economic recession still prevailing, many States will see their way to permitting at least those asylum-seekers whose claims appear to be bona fide to take advantage of available employment opportunities.

49. As regards access to public welfare, it will be recalled that under article 23 of the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention, refugees are supposed to be accorded the same treatment as nationals. The practice of States in this area continued to vary widely from host country to host country and sometimes even within countries, especially in those having a federal structure. These differences are in many cases a reflection of the general availability of facilities, which is dependent on the level of economic activity and the degree of development of public welfare and social security structures.

50. With regard to access to educational facilities, the practice of States has generally continued to be liberal and generous both with respect to recognized refugees as well as to asylum-seekers, particularly as regards access to primary or elementary education.

51. Refugees in developed countries were usually able to take advantage of the secondary and post-secondary educational facilities in the same way as nationals, provided that they had acquired the minimum proficiency in the relevant national or official language and/or had taken any preparatory courses required.

52. in developing countries, however, the situation with regard to access by refugees to higher levels of education was in general less favourable since refugees had to compete with nationals for very limited educational facilities. In some of these countries, refugees were therefore required to achieve a higher grade than nationals in order to be admitted to secondary and university levels.

53. It is gratifying to note that in all countries where refugees encountered difficulties due to limited educational facilities, efforts continued to be made by the authorities, sometimes in co-operation with UNHCR, to provide refugees with access to available educational facilities at all levels.

7. Documentation

54. The importance of providing refugees with identity documents continued to be recognized during the reporting period. Moreover, the need for travel documents which has been increasingly felt in recent years - remains one of the major concerns for refugees in today's world.

55. During the reporting period, refugee identity documents continued to be issued to refugees, sometimes on a large scale, in a number of countries. In some instances, UNHCR arranged for the printing of these identity documents and made them available to the countries concerned. In other cases, they were printed locally with UNHCR financial assistance.

56. In a number of countries, identity documents were issued to refugees as part of large-scale registration operations undertaken with the co-operation or the financial assistance of UNHCR. Such registration has also proved of value in enabling the authorities of the countries concerned to keep records of the refugee population residing within their respective territories and has also facilitated their efforts to organize appropriate assistance measures for refugees.

57. It should be pointed out that in many cases, identity documents not only establish the holder's identity, but also attest to his refugee status. Such evidence of refugee status is of value in enabling the refugee to take advantage of the various rights established for his benefit under the international refugee instruments and national legislation. It has proved to be of special value in situations where refugees may be caught up in police operations directed against aliens whose presence is considered unlawful.

58. It is gratifying to note that most countries party to the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention issue travel documents to refugees in the form and under the conditions provided for by article 28 of that instrument. Travel documents are generally issued with a return clause enabling the holder to return to the issuing Country within the period of the travel document's validity. In some cases, however, documents continue to be issued either without a return clause or with a return clause of limited duration. This has given rise to considerable difficulties for the holders and has made it necessary for UNHCR to make appropriate representations with the authorities of the issuing country and/or the present host country of the refugee.

59. During the reporting period, the office received requests from a number of Palestinian refugees holding Lebanese travel documents and living in areas outside the area of operations of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for assistance in securing the renewal of their expired documents. The Office drew the matter to the attention of the authorities concerned and hopes that a solution will be found to this urgent humanitarian problem.

8. Naturalization

60. The acquisition by refugees of the nationality of their country of asylum is an important permanent solution to the refugee problem, being the most effective means of ensuring their integration in that country. The Office has therefore welcomed and supported measures taken in recent years in a number of countries to naturalize substantial numbers of refugees for whom voluntary repatriation - the ideal solution - could no longer be envisaged and where the refugees had attained a sufficient degree of integration in their asylum country. This was, for instance, the case of some 36,000 Rwandese refugees in the United Republic of Tanzania who were offered naturalization in 1982 and some of whom were still undergoing naturalization proceedings during the reporting period. The Tanzanian authorities have also indicated their willingness to naturalize a large group of refugees from Burundi who have now resided in the country for over a decade. It is understood that a naturalization programme for these refugees may be initiated once the Present programme for the naturalization of Rwandese refugees is completed. In Zaire, the authorities have assured UNHCR that a recent decree, repealing an earlier one under which thousands of refugees had been naturalized, would not be applied retroactively to the detriment of the beneficiaries. It is to be hoped that other countries will give favourable. consideration to the adoption of similar liberal naturalization policies having regard to the importance of full integration and to the possible destabilizing consequences of maintaining successive generations of refugees for whom voluntary repatriation cannot be envisaged.

61. The adoption of measures making it easier for refugees to acquire the nationality of their country of asylum is of course in line with article 34 of the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention. This article calls upon States parties to facilitate the assimilation and naturalization of refugees and to make every effort to expedite naturalization proceedings and to reduce as far as possible the costs of such proceedings. It is therefore encouraging to note that in a number of countries, refugees have continued to benefit from provisions permitting naturalization after relatively short or reduced periods of residence. In the United States, naturalization is possible after a residence period of five years and several thousand refugees were enabled to take advantage of this possibility during the reporting period. In Canada, where naturalization of refugees is possible after a three-year period of residence, thousands of "landed" refugees were naturalized during the same period. In Australia, an amendment to the Citizenship Act which came into effect in November 1984 has facilitated naturalization of refugees inasmuch as it reduces the qualifying period for citizenship from three to two years in the case of persons who are permanent residents in the country.

62. During the reporting period, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted recommendation No. R(84)21 on the acquisition by refugees of the nationality of their host country. In this recommendation the Committee of Ministers, inter alia., called upon Governments of member States to consider the fact of refugee status as a favourable element for naturalization purposes and to make use of existing legislative possibilities to reduce the required period of residence and the cost of naturalization proceedings. The recommendation also called upon Governments of member States to facilitate the acquisition of their nationality by refugee children born or habitually resident in the host country.

63. In many countries, however, refugees are still effectively excluded from acquiring the nationality of their host country, either because the nationality laws do not permit this (or no identifiable naturalization procedure exists for aliens) or because of the high charges and costs of naturalization.

64. Nevertheless, in many of today's refugee situations, especially those involving large-scale influxes, naturalization may not present an appropriate solution. In some of these situations, refugees are anxious to maintain their national links as well as their cultural identity and wish to return to their homeland as soon as the circumstances which led to their flight have changed.

9. Family reunification

65. Very often, the circumstances that force a refugee to leave his country of origin do not permit the organized departure of the whole family. Separation from close family members is frequently one of the most tragic aspects of a refugee's plight. The splitting up of families can involve great hardship for the dependent family members who are left behind and may also render difficult the integration in their new surroundings of refugees who have been separated from their close family members.

66. In conformity with the universally agreed principle of family unity and guided by the Statute of his Office and the conclusions of the Executive Committee adopted at its thirty-second session,12 the High Commissioner has continued his efforts to promote family reunification in all cases that have been brought to his attention and that have met the established criteria. During the period under review, the High Commissioner has been instrumental in facilitating the reunification of separated refugee families in every part of the world and has thus contributed to the harmonious integration within new national communities of a great many refugees.

67. In such situations, the UNHCR role is to approach either the authorities of the country of asylum to secure entry visas for the close family members of the refugee and/or the authorities of the country of origin to obtain exit permits and, if necessary, to obtain transit visas and to arrange for the payment of travel costs.

68. A growing number of Governments subscribed to the principle of family reunification between refugees and their immediate families (spouses and minor children) and extended the High Commissioner considerable co-operation and goodwill in his family reunification efforts. The positive attitude in granting exit permits, mentioned with regard to one region in the previous report, has been maintained and during the reporting period enabled 94 close family members (mostly spouses and/or minor children) to join the refugee head of family outside the country of origin and so to resume a normal family life.

69. In some regions, the High Commissioner has been unable to secure any relaxation in existing restrictive attitudes and, in other regions, he has been faced with new restrictive attitudes where formerly the principle of family reunification was generously applied. in one instance, a number of minor children in possession of tourist visas, intending to join relatives in the country of asylum, were held up at the entry point and were returned to the country of origin. In other cases, the formalities required from refugee parents seeking reunification with their minor children still in the country of origin were so exacting that compliance was difficult or sometimes even impossible. in other instances, repeated applications for permission to join refugee family members abroad have remained without any response on the part of the competent authorities. The consequences of such restrictive attitudes for young children, many left with aged grandparents, gives rise to serious concern.

70. During the reporting period, the High Commissioner encountered many obstacles with regard to the admission of dependent family members who are handicapped. Moreover, the High Commissioner's attention has been drawn to cases where the validity of certificates of marriage contracted outside the refugee's country of asylum has not been recognized by that country's authorities, despite the recommendation adopted by the Executive Committee at its thirty-second session that absence of documentary proof of the formal validity of a marriage or of the filiation of children should not per se be considered as an impediment to family reunification.13

71. Family reunification has proved to be very difficult, if not sometimes impossible, in cases where the refugee applicant is experiencing economic difficulties and/or is unable to find suitable accommodation for the family members whose admission has been sought. This situation continued despite the recommendation of the Executive Committee at its thirty-second session that special measures of assistance should be made available to the refugee head of family experiencing economic and housing difficulties in the country of asylum, in order to avoid undue delays in the granting of permission for the entry of the family members concerned.14

C. Voluntary repatriation

72. It is generally recognized that in accordance with basic principles of human rights, a refugee is entitled, if he so wishes, to leave his country of asylum and to return to the country of his nationality. This is reflected in the UNHCR Statute which requires the High Commissioner to facilitate and promote the voluntary repatriation of refugees as one of his primary tasks. The importance of voluntary repatriation as a solution to refugee problems has also been reaffirmed in successive resolutions of the General Assembly.15

73. While it is generally accepted that voluntary repatriation, whenever feasible, is the most desirable durable solution to any given refugee situation, it is equally evident that it is not necessarily an easy solution to attain. It normally presupposes the elimination or at least the substantial removal of the cause of fear or danger which had led to the departure of refugees from their home country and, in many situations, the willingness of the country of origin to readmit its nationals and to co-operate with the country of asylum in arranging for their safe return. In many large-scale influx situations, voluntary repatriation would nevertheless appear to be the only appropriate solution, provided of course that the necessary conditions are established in the country of origin.

74. During the reporting period, the Cartagena Declaration on Refugees referred to above also recognized the importance of voluntary repatriation as an ideal solution to current refugee problems in Latin America. The Declaration stressed the need for repatriation to be "voluntary" and "declared to be so on an individual basis" and to this end supported the establishment of "tripartite commissions" consisting of representatives of the countries concerned and those of UNHCR. The importance of voluntary repatriation as a durable solution was reaffirmed in the African context by the second International Conference on Assistance to Refugees in Africa held in Geneva in July 1984. It was also reaffirmed by two intergovernmental seminars held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Yaoundé, Republic of Cameroon respectively by way of follow-up to the recommendations of the 1979 Pan-African (Arusha) Conference on the Situation of Refugees in Africa which had itself recognized the value of voluntary repatriation as a durable solution to refugee problems. The Asian-African Legal Consultative Committee (AALCC) has also recently adopted the principle of voluntary repatriation as a subject for its further consideration.

75. In facilitating the voluntary repatriation of refugees, the primary role of UNHCR is to ensure, as a corollary to the principle of non-refoulement, that the voluntary character of repatriation is respected in all cases and that no refugee is repatriated against his will. The Office also seeks to ensure, preferably through direct access to areas where recently repatriated refugees are located in their country of origin, that the safety guarantees which may have been offered prior to repatriation are being fully respected.

76. It is encouraging to note that during the reporting period refugees have continued to avail themselves of the possibility of repatriation. Such repatriation has either been on an individual basis or within the framework of large-scale repatriation programmes. As in the previous reporting period, the most significant large-scale repatriation programmes took place in Africa - the continent hosting the largest number of refugees today. The principal repatriation programme was that involving Ethiopian refugees from Djibouti, which was initiated in 1983 and completed at the end of 1984. This programme, it will be recalled, was conducted under the auspices of a Tripartite Commission composed of representatives of the two Governments concerned and those of UNHCR. Under the programme, a total of 32,000 refugees repatriated from Djibouti, some 13,000 of them being considered as having returned in an organized manner and the balance as having spontaneously returned. in a separate development, a registration exercise financed under a UNHCR legal assistance project was carried out in Ethiopia by the League of Red Cross Societies. Following the completion of that exercise at the end of 1984, it was determined that some 317,000 persons had returned spontaneously from Somalia during the course of 1983 and 1984.

77. Other major repatriation operations in Africa involved the spontaneous return of some 300,000 Guinean exiles following the events in that country which took place in April 1984. The organized repatriation of Ugandan refugees continued, with a total of some 27,000 being repatriated from Zaire and nearly 5,000 from the Sudan. It is also estimated that several thousand Ugandans returned spontaneously, mainly from Zaire, outside the organized repatriation programme.

78. The repatriation of Latin American refugees, both from within and outside the region, to Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay and Chile, following political changes in the first three countries and a declaration of amnesty in the last, continued steadily during the reporting period. The most significant repatriation operation involving Latin American refugees from outside the region occurred when some 1,200 persons in Spain were repatriated with UNHCR assistance to their countries of origin, with the largest number returning to Argentina. The question of the possible large-scale repatriation of Salvadorian refugees in Honduras was the subject of discussion between UNHCR and the two Governments concerned. Some 2,000 Salvadorian refugees repatriated from Honduras on an individual basis during the reporting period. The voluntary repatriation to the Lao People's Democratic Republic of Lao refugees in Thailand continued, albeit in reduced numbers.

D. Determination of refugee status

79. There was a continuing recognition by many States of the importance of the determination of refugee status in enabling refugees to take advantage of the various rights and standards of treatment accorded them by the international community and to avail themselves of the international protection extended to refugees by the High Commissioner's Office.

80. The need for the establishment of procedures for the determination of refugee status has repeatedly been stressed by the Executive Committee since its twenty-eighth session when the hope was expressed that all States parties to the international refugee instruments which had not yet done so would take steps to establish such procedures. The Committee also recommended that procedures for the determination of refugee status should satisfy certain specified minimum requirements and that States should give favourable consideration to UNHCR participation in such procedures in an appropriate form.16

81. The recognition of the importance of the determination of refugee status is. reflected in the steady increase in the number of States which, during the reporting period, adopted new procedures for determining refugee status or took measures to improve or streamline the existing procedures. In Spain, procedures for dealing with applications for asylum and refugee status came into effect in September 1984 following the enactment of a basic Asylum Law in March of the same year. Under the new law, provision has been made for a single central authority competent to make the initial determination, with possibilities for review and appeal. The law also provides for a UNHCR advisory role at both the initial and review stages. In Latin America, Nicaragua adopted legislation, which became operative in April 1984, outlining rules of procedure for the determination of refugee status to be followed by the National Refugee Office. Colombia and Peru also adopted national legislation to implement the provisions of the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention and the 1967 Protocol in late 1984 and early 1985, respectively, providing in both countries for detailed procedures and for the application of liberal criteria in the determination of refugee status. in Africa, Benin, Gabon and Somalia adopted new procedures for the individual determination of refugee status during 1984, while in the Ivory Coast, active consideration was given to the establishment of a refugee status eligibility commission.

82. It is encouraging to note that some 40 States have now adopted refugee status determination procedures. This, however, represents only about one half the number of States presently parties to the international refugee instruments. It is hoped therefore that more States parties will see their way to establishing such procedures in due course. It is also important that procedures for the determination of refugee status, once established, should function effectively, a matter which needs to be kept under constant review. It is therefore encouraging to note that during the reporting period a number of States adopted or were considering the adoption of measures aimed at making their procedures more effective. Thus in the Congo, in Senegal, in Somalia and in Zimbabwe, measures were taken to complete the necessary institutional framework to make existing procedures operational. In North America, both Canada and the United States were in the process of introducing major modifications into their existing procedures.

83. The need to keep asylum procedures constantly under review is of particular importance in countries faced with an increasing number of asylum-seekers, in order to prevent the development of a serious backlog and to minimize potential abuses of the asylum process. In such situations it is important to ensure that procedures continue to function expeditiously while at the same time maintaining legal guarantees and preserving the liberal asylum traditions of the country concerned. During the reporting period a number of States took positive steps in this regard and it is hoped that other States confronted with a perceptible increase in asylum applications will adopt similar measures.

84. It should also be mentioned that the judiciary in a number of countries has continued to play an important and largely liberalizing role in the determination process. It is encouraging to note in this regard that, in elaborating criteria for determining refugee status, reliance has been placed by courts in various countries on the UNHCR Handbook on Procedures and Criteria for Determining Refugee Status.

85. Finally, it should be recalled that procedures for the determination of refugee status are principally intended to deal with individual asylum applications. In situations of large-scale influx - which today comprise the vast majority of the world's refugees - it is normally not feasible to resort to individual determination. It therefore becomes imperative to resort to ad hoc arrangements for group determination based on an objective evaluation of the circumstances obtaining in the country of origin which led to the departure of the persons concerned. Ad hoc arrangements of this nature have been regularly resorted to during the reporting period with regard to the various large-scale influx situations currently obtaining in different parts of the world.

E. International refugee instruments

1. The 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol

86. It is recalled that the basic minimum standards for the treatment of refugees are defined and elaborated in various international instruments, notably the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention and the 1967 Protocol. It is therefore one of the essential functions of UNHCR to promote accession to these instruments. It is gratifying to note that, with the recent accession of Haiti, the number of States parties to one or both of the two basic international refugee instruments has now risen to 97. The 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention and the 1967 Protocol cannot, however, be regarded as having acquired a truly universal character until all or most of the Member States of the United Nations have become parties to them.

87. in Central America, one of the regions where large-scale refugee situations exist but where only a small number of States have so far acceded to the basic instruments, the recently adopted Cartagena Declaration on Refugees calls upon the States in the region that have not already done so to accede to both instruments without making reservations limiting their application. The Declaration also calls on those States parties which have made reservations to consider the possibility of their withdrawal. Recommendations for further accessions to the Convention and Protocol were also made by the two seminars of government experts from the central and southern African regions which took place at Addis Ababa and Yaoundé in January and February 1985 respectively. As mentioned earlier, these seminars were held by way of follow-up to the recommendations of the 1979 Pan-African (Arusha) Conference on the Situation of Refugees in Africa, which similarly called for accessions to the international refugee instruments.

88. The Office continued its efforts to encourage, where appropriate, the withdrawal of reservations introduced by States in respect of the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention and the 1967 Protocol. The office also sought to encourage the withdrawal of the geographical limitation by which contracting States may limit their obligations under the Convention to persons who had become refugees as a result of events occurring in Europe before 1 January 1951. Such limitation, unless withdrawn, also applies in respect of a State's obligations under the 1967 Protocol. The High Commissioner is pleased to note that the geographical limitation was withdrawn by Argentina during the reporting period with the result that it is now maintained only by seven States.17 It is hoped that those States still maintaining the geographical limitation will find it possible to withdraw it in the near future.

89. The standards of treatment for refugees and the rights to be accorded them have found expression in a number of other instruments adopted at the universal and the regional levels, in addition to the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention and the 1967 Protocol. The adoption and acceptance by States of such additional standard-setting instruments has continued to provide valuable support to the High Commissioner in carrying out his international protection tasks. A current list of States parties to the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention, the 1967 Protocol and other intergovernmental legal instruments of benefit to refugees is to be found in annex I to this report.

2. Statute of the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

90. The Statute of the Office defines refugees who come under the competence of the High Commissioner and outlines the functions he is called upon to perform on their behalf. The refugee definition in the Statute is substantially the same as that contained in article 1 of the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention and article 1 of the 1967 Protocol. By various resolutions adopted subsequent to the UNHCR Statute, the General Assembly has extended the High Commissioner's competence to deal with other categories of persons. These are, in general, persons who have been displaced outside their home countries and are in a refugee-like situation. They have also been referred to as externally displaced persons, victims of man-made disasters. Persons in these categories frequently constitute the majority in many of today's large-scale influx situations. They are considered to be of concern to the international community as refugees even though they cannot establish a "well-founded fear of persecution" according to the statutory definition.

91. The conceptual development of the High Commissioner's "extended mandate" also owes much to the wider definition of the refugee concept figuring in certain regional instruments, notably the 1969 OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa. This regional instrument defines the term "refugee" to include any person compelled to seek refuge outside his own country owing to "external aggression, occupation and foreign domination or events seriously disturbing public order". In 1979 the General Assembly, by resolution 34/61 on the Situation of African Refugees, endorsed the conclusions of the Arusha Conference which, inter alia, had recommended that the 1969 OAU Convention "be applied by the United Nation s and all its organs in dealing with refugee problems in Africa".

92. The wider formulation of the refugee concept has also received support in the Cartagena Declaration on Refugees which considered that it was necessary to extend the concept of the term "refugee" to be used in the region to include those persons who had fled their countries "because their lives, safety or freedom are threatened by generalized violence, foreign aggression, occupation or domination, internal conflicts, massive violation of human rights or other circumstances seriously disturbing to public peace".

93. When dealing with refugees as defined by the Statute or with the wider category of displaced persons referred to in subsequent General Assembly resolutions, the Office has always been guided by the injunction in the Statute that its work should be entirely non-political and humanitarian in nature.,

F. Promotion, advancements and dissemination of the principles of refugee law

94. The High Commissioner has continued his activities in the field of the promotion, advancement and dissemination of the principles of refugee law. These activities form an integral part of his protection function and are aimed not only at advancing the acceptance of and adherence to existing principles but also at promoting the development of international refugee law to meet the demands of contemporary refugee situations.

95. At the international level, the High Commissioner has monitored the work of various United Nations bodies dealing with topics relevant to the protection activities of his Office. The High Commissioner has also continued to maintain close contact with regional intergovernmental organizations, with a view to promoting the development of refugee law at the regional level. For this purpose the High Commissioner has maintained close contact with, inter alia, the Council of Europe, the League of Arab states, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Asian-African Legal Consultative Committee (AALCC).

96. The Council of Europe continues to provide an effective framework for constructive co-operation in favour of refugees, a long-standing tradition of Western Europe. As in past years, UNHCR actively co-operated with the Council of Europe both at the intergovernmental and parliamentary level in areas of mutual concern. In co-operation with the Organization of African Unity, the High Commissioner has organized a number of seminars of government experts by way of follow-up to the 1979 Arusha Conference. 'It is hoped that the conclusions of these seminars will be of value for the international protection of refugees in Africa. The second of a three-phase co-operative venture between the Organization of American States and UNHCR to examine the concept of asylum and refugee status as well as relevant naturalization regulations has now been completed.

97. At its fourth session in September 1984 the Commission on Human Rights of the League of Arab States adopted a resolution requesting member States to accede to the international refugee instruments and to prepare a supplementary Regional Refugee Convention. It should also be mentioned that in November 1984 the Arab Lawyers' Union endorsed a similar request and drew the attention of Governments to the need for the issue and renewal of travel documents for refugees.

98. As mentioned earlier, the Asian-African Legal Consultative Committee, at its twenty-fourth session held in Kathmandu, in February 1985, considered the topic of voluntary repatriation and decided to undertake a study together with UNHCR with a view to the possible adoption of an addendum to the principles concerning the treatment of refugees, adopted by the AALCC at its eighth session held in Bangkok in 1966.

99. The third course on Refugee Law and Protection intended for national authorities, organized jointly by the High Commissioner and the International Institute of Humanitarian Law, was held in San Remo, Italy, in December 1984. So far, participants from over 60 Governments have participated in these courses. In addition, the High Commissioner's representatives in various countries organized meetings and seminars for governmental authorities at the national level to advance understanding of the principles of refugee law.

100. The High Commissioner also attended a number of meetings where questions concerning refugee law in general and particular refugee problems were discussed. Thus the High Commissioner opened the Colloquium on International Protection of Refugees in Central America, Panama and Mexico, which took place from 19 to 22 November 1984. The Colloquium, which was sponsored jointly by UNHCR, the University of Cartagena and the Centre for Third World Studies, was attended by senior government leaders from ten countries. The conclusions adopted by the Colloquium, embodied in the Cartagena Declaration on Refugees, will undoubtedly contribute to the further development of refugee law in Latin America. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner also attended the December 1984 session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers. In addition, the Office was represented at a number of meetings held under the auspices of the International Institute of Humanitarian Law, including a Round Table on the Detention of Refugees, held in Florence, Italy, in June 1984.

101. The activities of the High Commissioner in the field of the dissemination of the principles of refugee law have included translations of the refugee instruments in various languages and the publication and wide distribution of several documents on refugee law. The High Commissioner is in the process of streamlining his activities in the field of documentation by consolidating a number of publications and information materials on all aspects of the refugee problem in a Refugee Documentation Centre at UNHCR headquarters in Geneva.


A. Introduction

102. During 1984, UNHCR continued to co-operate with Governments of countries asylum to refugees and with the international community In its efforts to met the humanitarian needs of refugees throughout the world. In this context, continued to seek the active participation of concerned international and non-governmental organizations which provide expertise and often financial resources of their own.

103. While the Promotion of durable solutions through voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement remained the primary objective of the assistance programmes of the Office, UNHCR responded to requests for emergency assistance for new arrivals and continued to pursue care and maintenance programmes for refugees for whom no immediate solution could be implemented. Whenever possible, relief-oriented programmes have also included measures aimed at promoting self-reliance activities among refugees.

104. The office has continued to strengthen its efforts to improve the management of assistance programmes. Such efforts have included the training of UNHCR staff in Management techniques, the organization of programme management workshops for agencies in charge of UNHCR-funded projects and of regional seminars on refugee-related issues, the development and adoption of a sound project monitoring resorting system and the further use of policy and operational guidelines embodied in various manuals and many specialized instructions.

105. Total UNHCR expenditure in 1984 amounted to $458.6 million, as shown in table 1 of annex II. Of that total, voluntary funds expenditure represented $444.1 million, including $346 million under General Programmes and $98.1 million under Special Programmes. Voluntary funds expenditure has thus increased by approximately 10 percent between 1983 and 1984, reflecting additional refugee assistance requirements, particularly in Africa and the Americas.

106. The following paragraphs provide a summary of the major areas of assistance as well as an overview of major developments in each of the geographical areas covered by the four UNHCR regional bureaux. Detailed information on the levels of expenditure for each country or area programme is given in tables 1 and 2 of annex II.

B. Major trends in assistance

1. Emergency response

107. Emergencies requiring quick action may result from new influxes into a country of asylum or from a deterioration of internal conditions affecting existing refugee situations. The High Commissioner has the authority to respond to requests for emergency assistance and can allocate up to $10 million annually from his Emergency Fund for needs arising in such cases, provided that the amount made available for a single emergency does not exceed $4 million.18

108. In 1984, $9,760,787 were obligated from the Emergency Fund, as shown in table 4 of annex II. A significant part of these funds was used in Africa. An amount of $2.4 million was used to finance assistance to Ethiopians arriving in eastern Sudan while $3.1 million were allocated for refugees from Chad in the Central African Republic. Mozambican refugees in Swaziland and Zimbabwe and Angolan refugees in Zaire (Shaba region) and in Zambia also benefited from allocations from the Emergency Fund. In other regions, $940,000 were allocated to assist refugees from Irian Jaya (Indonesia) in Papua New Guinea while smaller amounts were utilized to assist needy displaced Lebanese in Cyprus, Spain and Syria as well as within Lebanon itself.

109. UNHCR continued to improve its capability in the vital area of emergency response. In particular, a series of profiles on countries receiving large numbers of refugees was launched. These profiles provide basic data to facilitate planning and rapid action. The Spanish-language version of the Handbook for Emergencies was finalized and widely distributed. Demand for the English and French language versions has remained high and some 3,000 copies for distribution outside UNHCR had been ordered by the end of the year. A total of 119 UNHCR/WHO Health Kits, 30 Field Kits and 26 Office Kits were distributed. A Nutrition Kit was added to the specialized emergency equipment available to staff members and operational partners.

2. Care and maintenance

110. Political, physical, environmental or socioeconomic factors often preclude the rapid identification or implementation of durable solutions or measures which would make refugees self-sufficient within a short time. Under such circumstances,, and at the request of the host Government, UNHCR provides intermediate assistance in the form of care and maintenance. This may include the provision of food, shelter, water, health services and sanitation, clothing, household utensils and equipment, and primary education. Whenever feasible, care and maintenance programmes also include vocational training or income-generating activities that prepare refugees for a more productive life and promote a certain degree of self-reliance in camps or refugee villages.

111. In 1984, intermediate care and maintenance assistance amounted to approximately 59 per cent of total UNHCR General Programmes expenditures as compared to 65.3 per cent in 1983, confirming the declining relative importance of this type of assistance. The largest single care and maintenance programme continued to be the assistance programme for Afghan refugees in Pakistan, for which $59.2 million were obligated under the 1984 General Programmes. An increasing proportion of this amount is devoted to income-generating and other self-sufficiency measures.

112. An amount of $48.3 million was obligated in 1984 under General Programmes for Indo-Chinese refugees in East and South-East Asia of which $24.3 million were for the care and maintenance of refugees in Thailand pending the identification of a more durable solution (which, in most cases, was resettlement in a country outside the region).

113. In Somalia, a total of $22.7 million was allocated for intermediate care and maintenance of Ethiopian refugees during 1984. The shift of activities in Somalia and particularly in the Sudan towards local integration programmes was hampered in the latter part of 1984 by large influxes of persons of concern to UNHCR for whom emergency assistance was required (see para. 7 above).

114. In Central America, $20 million were obligated for care and maintenance activities, although significant progress towards more durable local settlement programmes could be observed in Costa Rica, Mexico and Nicaragua.

3. Self-sufficiency activities

115. Whenever possible, UNHCR continued to include non-agricultural income-generating and other self-sufficiency activities in its care and maintenance programmes. The promotion of self-reliance and self-help reflects the desire to reduce the financial burden of refugee aid on the host Government and on the international community at larger it also represents an effort to reduce the "dependency syndrome" which often develops in prolonged care and maintenance situations.

116. The implementation of appropriate self-sufficiency activities was actively pursued in all major care and maintenance programmes. In Zaire, for example, under a joint ILO/UNHCR project, 40 self-sustaining refugee co-operatives were set up in the Bas-Fleuve region. Activities undertaken by these co-operatives include fishing, pisciculture, baking, tailoring, carpentry, shoemaking, soapmaking handicrafts, blacksmithing and the processing and marketing of agricultural produce.

117. In the Sudan, ILO, in co-operation with the competent Sudanese authorities and UNHCR, began the implementation of income-generating projects funded by UNHCR and other donors for both urban and rural refugees. These projects, which are intended to benefit directly some 55,000 refugees, will cover activities such as dairy and poultry farming, fishing, bee-keeping, electrical and mechanical workshops, handicrafts, carpentry, leatherwork and secretarial services. Similarly, projects aimed at small-enterprise development are being developed and carried out by ILO with UNHCR funding in Lesotho and Kenya.

118. In 1984, reviews of self-sufficiency activities were carried out in Djibouti, Pakistan, Somalia and West Africa (Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo). The objective of this exercise was to seek ways and means to improve and expand these activities. The findings and recommendations arising from these reviews are to be implemented in 1985.

4. Durable solutions

119. The primary objective of all UNHCR assistance activities is the achievement of durable solutions through voluntary repatriation, local integration in the country of first asylum or, when these are not practicable, resettlement in another country. In 1984, over $103.4 million, or some 30 per cent of resources obligated under the General Programmes for all types of assistance, were used directly for the promotion of one of the three durable solutions. Some $9.5 million made available under Special Programmes for rehabilitation assistance to returnees in their countries of origin should also be considered as directly related to the promotion of durable solutions.

120. Voluntary repatriation: During 1984, the office continued to promote and support efforts towards the voluntary repatriation of individuals or groups of refugees. In South-East Asia, following the voluntary repatriation under UNHCR auspices of 148 persons from Thailand to the Lao People's Democratic Republic early in 1984, the programme was temporarily suspended. Movements resumed in December 1984 and by the end of the year 204 persons had repatriated. This brought to 2,603 the total number of persons who had repatriated voluntarily with assistance from UNHCR since the inception of the programme in 1980. Returnees to the Lao People's Democratic Republic continued to benefit from assistance designed to facilitate their reintegration in their home villages. Thirteen individual cases repatriated to Viet Nam during 1984, while one Kampuchean refugee was assisted to return voluntarily to his country.

121. The Special Programme of Assistance to Ethiopian Returnees was virtually fully implemented by the end of 1984, except for one agricultural project in Hararghe Province which, due to severe drought, will need support for a further planting season. The programme, which was originally valued at $20 million, has provided some $11 million in relief and rehabilitation aid and $6.1 million in food to some 120,000 returnees. The various projects were implemented by the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission of the Government of Ethiopia, the League of Red Cross Societies (LRCS) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF).

122. At the same time, the LRCS undertook, at the request of UNHCR, to register returnees in the Hararghe Province and to provide socioeconomic data on which further assistance programmes could be based. The worsening condition of the returnees due to the effects of the drought in the area made it necessary to launch an additional programme in October 1984 to provide basic food and health assistance and to cover the immediate relief needs of over 300,000 returnees at a cost of some $8.9-million. This programme is currently being implemented jointly by the World University Service of Canada and the Ethiopian Relief and Rehabilitation Commission.

123. The programme of voluntary repatriation of Ethiopian refugees from Djibouti and their initial rehabilitation continued throughout 1984, except for the period between January and April when damage to the Djibouti-Dire Dawa railway caused the operation to be suspended. At the request of the Governments of Djibouti and Ethiopia, UNHCR participated in the Tripartite Commission meeting held on 21 November 1984 in Djibouti where it was agreed that the programme would be concluded by 31 December 1984.

124. The final statistics of this operation show that UNHCR assisted in the voluntary repatriation of 13,281 persons. The rehabilitation programme for these persons and others who repatriated by their own means was severely hampered by the drought which caused delays in the implementation of an agricultural project and many animal losses amongst the pastoralists who had received livestock under the programme. The total cost of the programme was some $5.9 million.

125. At the request of the Governments of the Sudan and Uganda, UNHCR has participated in informal tripartite consultations on the promotion of voluntary repatriation of Ugandan refugees living in southern Sudan. By the end of December 1984, more than 19,600 persons had voluntarily repatriated from the Sudan and Zaire under the auspices of UNHCR. Concurrently, a special rehabilitation programme for returnees in the West Nile Province of Uganda was implemented under a tripartite agreement among the Government, LWF and UNHCR. The World Food Programme, UNICEF and "Médecins sans Frontières" also co-operated in this effort.

126. Following the change of Government in Argentina in the last quarter of 1983, there was a marked increase in the number of Argentine refugees seeking UNHCR assistance for their voluntary repatriation. In April 1984, the High Commissioner launched an international appeal for an amount of $3.5 million, $1 million of which was for a rehabilitation fund in Argentina and the balance to cover direct repatriation costs for Argentine refugees in Europe and the Americas. Voluntary repatriation to Chile also continued in 1984.

127. Local integration: Where voluntary repatriation is unlikely for the foreseeable future and the host Government agreeable, local settlement or local integration of refugees is often the best possible durable solution. The objective of local integration projects is to assist refugees to attain a level of self-sufficiency which is comparable to that of the local population.

128. In urban and semi-urban environments, assistance is normally given to individual refugees. This may include, inter alia, the provision of housing, social amenities, education, language courses and the purchase of professional tools and equipment. Large rural groups of refugees are assisted mainly through the creation of rural settlements with the objective of making them self-reliant communities.

129. Expenditure on local settlement activities in 1984 amounted to some $87 million, which corresponds to 25 per cent of total expenditure under General Programmes. Specialized staff within UNHCR as well as consultants from the United Nations system and other intergovernmental or non-governmental agencies provided the technical advice and support necessary for both the planning and implementation of many local settlement projects, such as those in the Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Mexico, Somalia, Uganda and Zaire.

130. Resettlement: When voluntary repatriation is not feasible and refugees cannot be settled in the country of first asylum, resettlement remains the third option for a durable solution. While it provides refugees an opportunity to start new lives, it usually also entails drastic changes from their previous ways of life, with the problems of adjustment that this entails. Resettlement assistance is often provided for special groups of refugees, such as those who are separated from their families and disabled refugees who may be in need of physical or mental rehabilitation in countries where the required facilities for such treatment are more readily available.

131. During 1984, some 68,500 Indo-Chinese refugees were resettled in third countries. of these about 33,000 were Vietnamese, 26,000 Kampuchean and 9,500 Lao. Although the availability of resettlement places decreased in some countries, many continued to admit refugees on the basis of family reunion criteria. An additional 29,000 Vietnamese were reunited with their family members abroad under the Orderly Departure Programme from Viet Nam.

132. Many countries admitted Indo-Chinese rescued on the high seas by vessels flying their flags. A new scheme, RASRO (Rescue At Sea Resettlement Offers), was elaborated in 1984 in order to share more equitably the burden of resettling persons rescued at sea. The scheme will be operational in 1985. Meanwhile, the DISERO (Disembarkation Resettlement Offers) Scheme, which has been in operation for some years, continued to ensure the resettlement of persons rescued by vessels flying flags of convenience or of countries which were not in a position to accept refugees for resettlement.

133. Over 19,000 refugees of various origins in Europe benefited from resettlement opportunities offered by the traditional countries of immigration. Approximately 3,800 refugees were resettled from Africa, some 2,000 from the Middle East and South-West Asia, and some 600 from the Americas. Since 1981, more than 1,500 refugees and their families have been resettled under specific programmes of assistance to disabled refugees. Substantial assistance has also been provided to resettle and provide treatment to refugees who have been victims of torture.

134. Expenditure incurred by UNHCR for the promotion of resettlement and for the transportation costs of refugees to countries which were not in a position to assume such costs themselves amounted to some $11.8 million under General' Programmes.

5. Social services in pursuit of durable solutions

135. Counselling and community services; During 1984, counselling and community services continued to be provided to refugees both in urban and rural areas. Social workers, in collaboration with other UNHCR staff, recommend appropriate measures of temporary financial support, offer guidance to individual refugees towards employment, self-employment and income-generating activities and plan educational assistance programmes which include education and vocational training at various levels including non-formal education. Both social workers and counsellors contribute to community development activities and offer guidance to individual and group self-help schemes. Counselling services also call upon legal experts for advice in guiding interested refugees towards voluntary repatriation and resettlement opportunities.

136. In 1984, the main focus of UNHCR efforts in the social services sector was on intensive in-service training of social workers from implementing agencies in order to improve their capacity to assess needs, identify local resources to meet those needs and, together with the refugees develop realistic projects leading to self-support.

137. The provision of effective social services in the - rural settlements by trained refugee social workers continued to be a major preoccupation. Refugee Social workers participated actively in preventive health and nutrition programmes in settlements in southern Sudan, in family planning programmes in the United Republic of Tanzania, in the counselling of urban-refugees in Somalia, and in encouraging involvement in settlement community development, adult literacy and income-generating activities in Rwanda and Zaire.

138. Education: The provision of essential educational assistance to refugees continued throughout 1984. Elementary education was provided in local government schools or in specially established settlement schools. UNHCR sponsored 114 programmes world-wide in the fields of post-primary vocational/technical and academic education. in-service teacher training, literacy programmes, special skills training, pre-school education, curriculum development and textbook production were the main activities under UNHCR programmes of non-formal educational assistance.

139. Assistance was provided to enable nearly 17,000 refugee students to study at the secondary and tertiary levels, an increase of 19 per cent over the 1983 figure. An amount of some $13.2 million was used in 1984 for this scholarship assistance programme. Approximately 22 per cent of the students followed technical training courses while 67 per cent pursued academic training at the secondary level and 11 per cent at university. Renewed emphasis was put on orienting students towards vocational technical training, which is considered more likely to lead to employment.

140. Assistance to handicapped refugees: UNHCR continued to make special efforts to ensure that handicapped refugees benefit from medical facilities and services in their respective countries of asylum. Where local medical services are inadequate, handicapped refugees who require specialized medical care are sent to other countries for treatment. The costs of transportation, surgery, medicines and prostheses or equipment are met from either General Programmes or from the Trust Fund for Handicapped Refugees established from the cash award from the 1981 Nobel Peace Prize.

6. Phasing-out of assistance

141. Once one of the three durable solutions has been successfully achieved, international assistance ceases and the overall responsibility for further assistance to refugees rests with the host Government. This normally involves the provision of services at levels comparable to those offered to nationals in the surrounding villages or towns. In phasing-out its assistance, UNHCR focuses on creating self-sustaining structures and services in refugee communities and on integrating refugee projects within existing regional development plans. The development of refugee settlements on the east bank of the river Nile in southern Sudan is, for example, an integral part of a regional development project, both activities being implemented by the same agency. On the west bank, the Equatoria Regional Agricultural Programme (ERAP) was identified to assume gradually the responsibility of managing the agricultural sector of the refugee settlement programme by late August 1985.

142. In the United Republic of Tanzania, the planned hand over of the management and administration of the Mishamo settlement to the Government is being carried out. In Aru, Haut-Zaire, most assistance to Ugandan refugees is scheduled to be phased out in September 1985 after which only limited assistance to some sectors, such as health and education, will still be provided. Special Programmes for Mozambicans in Zimbabwe and returnees to Guinea are currently being phased out.

143. In China, where over a quarter of a million refugees from Indo-China have been settled, discussions are under way with the authorities with a view to establishing a schedule for the phasing-out and eventual termination of UNHCR assistance.

7. Ongoing evaluation of assistance activities

144. During 1984, UNHCR undertook a range of evaluation activities intended to provide managers with information on programme and project results and with lessons that could be used to improve implementation and to plan future activities. Throughout the year, the UNHCR Evaluation Unit coordinated the annual self-evaluation of all assistance projects as well as a number of in-depth evaluations of material assistance to refugees in the Philippines, assistance to Lao refugees in Thailand, assistance to spontaneously settled refugees in the United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia, assistance to rural refugees in Angola and assistance to urban refugees in the Congo, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Kenya, and Zaire.

C. Regional developments in Africa

145. In 1984, UNHCR voluntary funds expenditures in Africa amounted to some $178.2 million of which some $131.6 million were obligated under General Programmes and $46.6 million under Special Programmes. Statistical details relating to expenditure by country and area are given in tables 1 and 2 of annex II.

146. UNHCR's efforts in pursuit of durable solutions for refugees in Africa were affected by the continuing drought, particularly in the Horn of Africa and the Sudan. During the latter part of 1984, the High Commissioner had to launch a special appeal for emergency relief programmes intended to ensure the survival of affected populations of concern to UNHCR in the Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Somalia and the Sudan. Total requirements for this Africa refugee emergency were estimated at the end of the reporting period to be more than $100 million.

147. In December 1984, the voluntary repatriation of Ethiopian refugees from Djibouti was completed. The large number of refugees who repatriated spontaneously from Somalia to the Hararghe region of Ethiopia, coupled with the adverse effect of the drought on earlier rehabilitation efforts, prompted UNHCR to renew and expand its relief assistance to the area.

148. In the Sudan, the refugee situation changed dramatically during the latter months of 1984. In eastern Sudan, the harvest in the 20 Ethiopian refugee settlements, where food self-sufficiency was expected to be attained soon failed and UNHCR, in co-operation with the World Food Programme, had to revert to full food aid for the 130,000 refugees in the settlements. This was coupled, at the end of 1984 and the beginning of 1985, with the arrival from Ethiopia of up to 3,000 persons a day in search of food, medical care and water as well as a haven from civil disorder. In western Sudan, an influx of some 60,000 persons from Chad was reported and emergency relief assistance made available to them. In southern Sudan, the consolidation of the Ugandan refugee settlements has been proceeding despite delays due to security conditions.

149. The number of refugees assisted in the Gambela/Itang region of south-western Ethiopia increased to some 59,000 by the end of 1984. The relief programme, started in 1983, continued whilst plans to start a rural settlement on land made available by the Government were being finalized at the end of the reporting period.

150. Donor Governments, WFP and UNHCR renewed their efforts to ensure a regular flow of food supplies into Somalia which continued to host a large refugee population. The influx of some 50,000 new refugees into the north-west and Gedo regions of Somalia towards the end of 1984 required emergency measures, including the provision of additional food. Efforts by a UNHCR-financed Technical Unit have generated rural settlement projects such as the one proposed at Furjano in the Lower Shebelle region. The implementation of the project will start as soon as a final decision has been reached concerning the refugees' right to occupy land in that area.

151. In the central, south-western and western regions of Uganda, a large number of refugees of Rwandese origin, who had long been spontaneously settled in these regions, were displaced as a result of unrest in the area and moved into previously established settlements such as Nakivale, Oruchinga and Kyaka in search of food, water, shelter and security. Following these events, a new settlement was established - Kyaka II - for some 17,000 refugees and 22,000 head of cattle. Plans are now under way to further expand the facilities at Kyaka II.

152. More than 27,500 South African refugees continue to reside in various countries in southern Africa, namely Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Swaziland, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. UNHCR assistance to South African refugees comprises subsistence allowances, scholarships and the promotion of self-sufficiency, either in rural settlements or through individual income-generating activities. The southern African liberation movements recognized by OAU received further support through international procurement of agricultural equipment for their farms in Angola and the United Republic of Tanzania. Developments in Namibia are being closely followed and UNHCR is prepared to assist in facilitating the voluntary repatriation of Namibian refugees when conditions permit. In the meantime, UNHCR continues to assist some 70,000 Namibian refugees in Angola, Zambia and other countries in Africa.

153. New influxes of 6,000 refugees in the Republic of Cameroon and some 35,000 in the Central African Republic occurred during 1984. In both countries, emergency relief assistance was provided while steps were taken to prepare plans for the refugees' local settlement. Following events in northern Angola, some 40,000 refugees sought asylum in the neighbouring Shaba province of Zaire. In March 1984, the High Commissioner launched an emergency relief programme for these refugees.

154. UNHCR continued its active involvement in following up the results achieved at the second International Conference on Assistance to Refugees in Africa, held in Geneva from 9 to 11 July 1984. In particular, UNHCR intensified its close co-operation with UNDP on refining programmes and funding plans of the refugee-related development projects which were presented to the Conference by 19 African Governments. By the end of the reporting period, a significant number of projects were being implemented or reviewed in preparation for later implementation. A separate report on ICARA II will be submitted to the Economic and Social Council by the Secretary-General.

D. Regional developments in the Americas and Europe

155. The general trend in Latin America during 1984 showed a relative stability in the number of refugees in Central America and Mexico and continuing voluntary repatriation movements to Argentina and Chile.

156. The number of refugees in Central America and Mexico increased only slightly, from some 330,000 persons at the beginning of 1984 to 338,000 persons at the end of the year. There was a proportional increase in the number of refugees assisted by UNHCR through its different programmes, which benefited some 103,200 persons by the end of 1984. The general objectives of UNHCR in the region continued to be the provision of intermediate care and maintenance assistance to groups of refugees and, when appropriate, the promotion of measures for their local settlement in countries of asylum. Efforts to integrate refugees in rural areas were pursued in Belize, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico and Panama. Measures aimed at urban integration were undertaken primarily in Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Panama.

157. In Honduras, some 19,500 Salvadorian and 500 Guatemalan refugees continued to receive assistance in camps near the western border, notably in Colomoncagua, Mesa Grande and El Tesoro. The living conditions of the refugees remained satisfactory in 1984. Towards the end of 1983, the Honduran Government had decided in principle to transfer these refugees from the border area to the northern part of the country near the town of Olanchito (Yoro Department). The Government later reversed this decision and care and maintenance assistance had to continue throughout 1984. Approximately 15,500 Nicaraguan refugees of Indian origin, who began arriving in Honduras in 1982, continued to receive assistance towards their local integration in numerous rural villages along the three main rivers of the area: Rio Patuca, Warunta and Mocoron. It is expected that most of the refugees will become self-sufficient with respect to their basic food requirements in 1985. Some 3,700 other Nicaraguan refugees have benefited from UNHCR care and maintenance assistance in two small villages (Jacaleapa and Teupasenti) in the area of Danli (El Paraiso Department).

158. In Mexico, nearly 26,500 Guatemalan refugees, residing in numerous sites in the state of Chiapas, continued to receive care and maintenance during 1984 despite a difficult logistical situation. During the latter part of 1984, the Government of Mexico and UNHCR began to establish local settlements for some 16,500 Guatemalan refugees in the States of Campeche and Quintana Roo. International assistance is channelled through the National Commission for Refugees (COMAR).

159. There has been a continued increase in the flow of asylum-seekers into Western Europe, particularly from developing countries and from certain countries in Eastern Europe. These included refugees and persons in refugee-like situations who, before proceeding to Europe, were either in transit or had spent relatively short periods in countries of first asylum. An increasing reluctance on the part of many European Governments to accept such applicants was noted and restrictive measures sometimes taken to curb the flow. To further discourage economic migrants from utilizing the asylum procedure, certain deterrents continued to be applied by some Governments, including prohibition from working and reduction of social benefits while applications were being examined. Preoccupied by domestic economic difficulties and the increasing financial burden caused by the continued influx of asylum-seekers, whose cases often take years to determine in view of the lengthy eligibility procedures, certain Governments have been unwilling to maintain their traditionally generous admission criteria. Unfortunately, this trend coincided with a decrease in the admission of refugees b the traditional resettlement has become more apparent in first asylum countries such as Austria, Greece, Italy, Turkey and Yugoslavia.

160. The insecurity of asylum-seekers in countries of first asylum frequently made it necessary for UNHCR to appeal to Governments in Europe for transit facilities, enabling these persons to remain temporarily in a country where their physical safety could be assured pending a more permanent solution. Countries such as Austria, Greece, Italy and Spain responded generously to requests of this kind. The number of persons seeking asylum in European countries during 1984 totalled approximately 103,500. The countries receiving the most asylum-seekers continued to be the Federal Republic of Germany and France: the influx into the Federal Republic almost doubled to 35,300 persons and that of France increased marginally to 15,900 persons. Sweden occupied the third position with some 14,000 asylum-seekers during 1984. In relation to its population, Switzerland again received the highest percentage of refugees in Europe. Austria also registered an increase, as did Italy and Turkey which granted transit facilities despite the fact that both countries still maintain the geographical reservation to the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention, under which asylum-seekers from non-European countries are not, eligible for refugee status.

161. Unsatisfactory economic developments continued to make it increasingly difficult for European Governments to meet all the needs of asylum-seekers and refugees. As a result, UNHCR was called upon to contribute to a number of projects, particularly in the fields of legal assistance, counselling, assistance to handicapped refugees and the promotion of self-help activities.

162. A Contact Group consisting of government and NGO representatives and UNHCR staff, which was established following the 1983 Seminar on the Integration of Refugees in Europe, met on two occasions in 1984 to follow up on the recommendations of the Seminar. The Contact Group reviewed and discussed these recommendations and made proposals for a legal and institutional framework for refugee integration, including mobilizing public opinion and promoting the employment and self-employment of refugees. The Contact Group suggested that UNHCR prepare a note on significant developments in refugee integration in each country. To assist UNHCR in this task, Governments and voluntary agencies were asked to inform UNHCR, on a regular basis, of any new legislative and/or practical measures relating to refugee integration taken by the countries concerned.

163. UNHCR obligations in the Americas and Europe totalled $57.4 million in 1984, of which $54.9 million were under General Programmes and $2.5 million under Special Programmes.

E. Regional developments in East and South Asia and Oceania

164. By the end of 1984, the total number of Indo-Chinese refugees in camps and centres in asylum countries in the region stood at 160,217, of whom 36,117 were boat people. This represented the lowest number of refugees registered in camps and centres in the region since 1977. By far the largest population of refugees was in Thailand, which hosted 82,094 Lao, 41,619 Kampucheans and 4,726 Vietnamese. Other countries and territories providing temporary asylum to significant numbers of Indo-Chinese refugees included Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Macao, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore. in addition, two refugee processing centres, at Bataan in the Philippines and Galang in Indonesia, were providing temporary accommodation for nearly 16,000 Indo-Chinese refugees who had already been accepted for resettlement and were in transit to third countries. There were also some 276,000 Indo-Chinese refugees in China and an estimated 21,000 benefiting from UNHCR assistance in Viet Nam.

165. Resettlement in third countries continued to be the most practicable solution for large numbers of Indo-Chinese refugees, and some 961,000 departures for resettlement have been recorded since 1975. Voluntary repatriation, though the most desirable solution, has unfortunately not attained the scope hoped for by UNHCR. Nevertheless, UNHCR continued to promote voluntary repatriation in the region. Large numbers of Kampucheans and Lao who returned to their home countries from Thailand in either organized or spontaneous repatriations have benefited from UNHCR assistance designed to facilitate their return and reintegration.

166. In China, the planned phasing-out of assistance to the 276,000 Indo-Chinese refugees settled on state farms in various provinces continued a step further) at the end of 1984, only some 56,000 refugees were still receiving assistance. Some 1,200 Kampucheans opted to remain in the Lao People's Democratic Republic, following the repatriation of the majority of the Kampuchean refugees. These persons are now considered self-sufficient. Some 21,000 Kampuchean refugees in Viet Nam have benefited from UNHCR assistance for a number of years and have not yet reached a satisfactory level of self-sufficiency.

167. Assistance to refugees in the East Malaysian State of Sabah aims at achieving socioeconomic integration through the improvement of housing, the construction of schools and the further development of counselling services to deal with refugee needs.

168. Following the arrival in Papua New Guinea Of some 10,000 refugees from the province of Irian Jaya, Indonesia, UNHCR, at the request of the Government of Papua New Guinea, launched a programme of emergency assistance in a number of refugee camps along the border, pending the identification of an appropriate durable solution. This programme, which is implemented by the authorities of Papua New Guinea, allows for the provision of basic necessities such as food, water, shelter, medicines and domestic supplies.

169. During 1984, a total of $71.6 million was obligated for assistance to refugees in East and South Asia and Oceania under General Programmes and $10.2 million under Special Programmes. of the total obligated some $53.2 million were used for multipurpose assistance for Indo-Chinese refugees in the region.

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

170. Afghans in Pakistan continued to represent the single largest refugee concentration not only in the region but also in the world. UNHCR humanitarian assistance programme for these refugees in 1984 was based on assessed needs, available resources and implementation capabilities. To the extent that a planning figure was required, calculations were based on a figure of 2.3 million beneficiaries. The World Food Programme continued its essential role as food aid coordinator for Afghan refugee programmes in Pakistan.

171. In 1984, UNHCR further shifted the emphasis of its assistance programme from care and maintenance towards self-help and self-reliance. The Office continued to fund projects designed to provide employment and training opportunities for Afghan refugees. Vocational training projects, funded by UNHCR and implemented by ILO and the Agency for Technical Co-operation of the Federal Republic of Germany, continued in Baluchistan and the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP).

172. A UNHCR-World Bank project was finalized in 1983 to provide employment and income for refugees as well as the local Population in the NWFP and Baluchistan. After a relatively slow start, the pace of implementation accelerated and by the end of 1984, most of the targets for the first Year of the three-year project were met, notably its refugee labour component.

173. The relocation by the Government of Pakistan of part of the refugee population from the NWFP to the Punjab progressed slowly. By the end of 1984, approximately 90,000 refugees were registered at Kot Chandana in Mianwali district. A new site was developed nearby, in Darratang, which is scheduled to accommodate an additional 15,000 refugees.

174. Continued discussions between the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and UNHCR led to the establishment, in October 1984, of a UNHCR office in Teheran. The number of Afghan refugees in the Islamic Republic is estimated by the authorities at 1.8 million persons, of, whom more than 50 per cent reside in the provinces of Khorasan and Sistan-Baluchistan. The balance live in 10 other provinces. During 1984, a total of $7.5 million were obligated in support of programmes implemented by the Council for Afghan Refugees in the following sectors: health, nutrition, water and sanitation, reception infrastructure, household and personal equipment, transport and logistics, agriculture and livestock, skills training and self-help activities.

175. In 1984, UNHCR continued to provide emergency assistance to some 100,000 families who were uprooted in Lebanon during 1983 as a result of the continuing strife in that country. in the first part of 1984, UNHCR allocated an amount of $500,000 for the purchase and transport of basic relief supplies such as heaters, mattresses, blankets, kerosene stoves, and cooking and kitchen utensils.

176. In the Syrian Arab Republic, UNHCR provided similar relief items for Lebanese and Palestinians not registered with UNRWA who took refuge in that country and were residing in the Sitti Zeinab camp.

177. Despite the precarious circumstances, the UNHCR Regional office in Beirut continued to provide assistance to some 2,900 refugees living in Lebanon.

178. In Cyprus, UNHCR also continued in 1984 its role as the coordinator of United Nations humanitarian assistance for Cyprus, which provided aid to displaced persons within the island as a result of the events of 1974. UNHCR also assisted some 1,750 Ethiopian refugees of Eritrean origin residing in the Al Khaukha camp on the Red Sea coast in the Yemen Arab Republic.

179. Total voluntary funds expenditure in the Middle East and South-West Asia region amounted to $104.3 million in 1984, of which $68.7 million were obligated under General Programmes and $35.5 million under Special Programmes.


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

180. In the course of the last few years and in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly, UNHCR, in close co-operation with other members of the United Nations system, has developed within the system a growing awareness of the complex needs of refugees and of the wide range of skills and resources required to meet those needs. Bilateral relationships between individual agencies and UNHCR have thus grown considerably and have featured the participation by certain agencies in UNHCR assistance programmes and the provision of technical advisory services and expertise by others.

181. As in previous years, the World Food Programme (WFP) has continued to meet most of the basic food needs of refugees in many affected areas of the world. WFP has also in certain situations provided assistance in favour of refugees involved in productive activities linked to development projects. There are ongoing development projects established by WFP in favour of refugees in Angola, the Sudan and the United Republic of Tanzania. Emergency assistance was also provided by WFP, notably in the Sudan. It continued to assume the role of food aid coordinator in Somalia and Pakistan as well as to assist with the procurement of food for Kampucheans in Thailand.

182. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has continued to provide support to various refugee programmes in fields related to care and maintenance and community development such as emergency rehabilitation, water supply and sanitation, health care and education for refugee children.

183. As a result of the establishment of joint guidelines and procedures for co-operation in situations requiring longer-term assistance to refugees, UNHCR traditional collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been further strengthened. These guidelines apply to situations where projects to enable refugees to support themselves or to integrate into the local community need to go beyond the scope of UNHCR programmes, i.e. to benefit also substantial members of local people and thus contribute to the development of the area. The agreed guidelines further review various funding mechanisms and cover, as appropriate, the provision by UNDP of management and technical services in the formulation, execution or evaluation of certain projects. A seminar for UNDP staff dealing with refugee affairs in the Middle East was also organized by UNHCR in Geneva in June 1984 and the "Handbook on Procedures for Dealing with Refugee Matters by UNDP Offices in Countries where There is no UNHCR Representative", which was prepared and published by UNHCR, was delivered to UNDP offices at the end of 1984.

184. Following the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and UNHCR in 1983, and the secondment of an expert in income-generating activities by ILO to the Specialist Support Unit of UNHCR, co-operation between the two organizations further increased, especially in the fields of small-scale enterprise development and income-generating activities. ILO has provided technical expertise on co-operative development in Bas-Zaire and Burundi and vocational training activities were undertaken in Pakistan. UNHCR has also continued to collaborate with ILO in the rehabilitation of disabled Namibian refugees.

185. Close collaboration has also developed in recent years between UNHCR and the World Bank. A joint mission was organized by the World Bank in November 1984 and another in February 1985 to examine the income-generating project for refugee areas in Pakistan. A Programme of Action Towards Sustained Development in Sub-Saharan Africa is being prepared by the World Bank which could benefit both the local population and refugees in the area.

186. The World Health Organization (WHO) has continued to supply medicines to refugees assisted under UNHCR programmes in Africa, and joint appointments of UNHCR-WHO health coordinators have been made for refugee programmes in Pakistan and Somalia. WHO has also seconded to UNHCR a public health/nutrition adviser as a member of the Specialist Support Unit. A publication entitled "Refugee Community Health Care" has been prepared and issued by WHO using data supplied by UNHCR and with UNHCR financial support. Special attention has been given by WHO to the preparation of health assistance projects in Africa which were submitted to ICARA II. Collaboration between the two organizations in Cyprus has continued.

187. UNHCR participated in a workshop on "Post-Disaster Health Care for Displaced Persons" in Central America, organized by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO). The Ministers of Health of five countries in the region visited UNHCR headquarters in Geneva in November 1984. They reviewed with UNHCR officials the problems of health amongst the refugee population and adopted a "Basic Plan on Priority Health Needs of Central America and Panama". It has also been agreed in principle that refugees should have access to WHO fellowship programmes.

188. The United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) has been co-operating with UNHCR in family planning programmes in Hong Kong, where UNFPA offers such facilities to Indo-Chinese families. Further possible collaboration is being explored.

189. A revised Memorandum of Understanding between the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and UNHCR, approved in August 1984, will remain in force until the end of 1985. UNESCO associate experts are currently working with UNHCR both at headquarters and in the field. At the request of UNHCR, UNESCO has undertaken exploratory steps towards an agreement with the West Africa Examination Council in Ghana to develop a testing system in Africa for refugees who have lost their educational certificates.

190. With regard to emergency situations, UNHCR regularly participates in inter-agency consultations of the Office of the United Nations Disaster Relief Co-ordinator and has confirmed its interest in computer access to UNDRO data bases. UNHCR is also studying an UNDRO draft convention to expedite relief supplies for victims of disasters, which was presented to the Economic and Social Council at its second regular session of 1984.

191. UNHCR is collaborating with the International maritime organization (IMO) in the preparation of a resolution on piracy and rescue at sea, for consideration by the IMO Assembly. In December 1984, an agreement was reached between UNHCR and IMO under which IMO will provide a maritime expert for the whole of 1985 to assist in tasks related to anti-piracy and rescue at sea operations.

192. The United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) has seconded to UNHCR the expert services of a physical planner/construction engineer who has been attached to the Specialist Support Unit to provide technical advice on matters relating to refugee settlements.

193. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has been requested to provide the services of an agronomist to be associated with UNHCR programmes in Pakistan.

194. UNHCR long-standing collaboration with the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) has been further promoted through the standardization of terms of co-operation. At present, some 40 volunteers are engaged in UNHCR programmes in Djibouti, Honduras, Kenya, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia, the Sudan and Uganda.

195. UNHCR continues to benefit from the support of the United Nations Educational and Training Programme for Southern Africans (UNETPSA) and the United Nations Trust Fund for South Africa (UNTFSA) with regard to training facilities and assistance to refugees from southern Africa. Assistance has been granted by UNHCR to the United Nations Institute for Namibia in Zambia and close co-operation continues with the United Nations Council for Namibia. Refugees have also benefited from fellowships awarded by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

B. Relations with intergovernmental organizations

196. Close co-operation with the Organization of African Unity (OAU) continued, particularly with respect to refugee problems in Africa. UNHCR and OAU have worked together on several important occasions, notably as members of the Steering Committee for the organization of the Second International Conference on Assistance to Refugees in Africa held in Geneva in July 1984. UNHCR has been invited to all important meetings convened by OAU on refugee issues and maintains daily contacts with OAU through UNHCR regional liaison office in Addis Ababa. The High Commissioner was represented by the Head of the Regional Bureau for Africa at the forty-first session of the OAU Council of Ministers, held from 27 February to 3 March 1985.

197. The Deputy High Commissioner visited OAU headquarters in Addis Ababa from 10 to 13 November 1984 and OAU participated actively in the thirty-fifth session of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme as well as in the two regional seminars organized in Addis Ababa and Yaoundé as part of the follow-up to the 1979 Pan-African Conference on the Situation of Refugees in Africa.

198. UNHCR continued to co-operate with the Intergovernmental Committee for Migration (ICM) in all regions. Substantial budgetary savings were achieved in the transportation of refugees accepted for resettlement in third countries due to ICM access to concessional rates for travel fares and to other arrangements provided by the organization.

199. UNHCR maintained regular contact with the Organization of American States (OAS). There was particularly close co-operation with OAS Under-Secretary for Legal Affairs and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The joint programme for the study on the legal condition of refugees, asilados and displaced persons in the member States of OAS continued into its third year. As in previous years, UNHCR attended the OAS General Assembly. UNHCR was also represented at the ceremony in Washington commemorating the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in September 1984. In November, experts from the Commission and from the OAS Legal Secretariat made important contributions to the Cartagena Colloquium (see para. 100 above).

200. UNHCR continued to strengthen its relations with the League of Arab States. The High Commissioner paid an official visit to the League's headquarters in Tunis from 3 to 8 April 1984 where he discussed matters of common concern with the Secretary-General. For the first time, a UNHCR delegation attended the session of the Arab League Permanent Committee on Human Rights, where the refugee situation in general and in the Arab countries in particular was discussed.

201. Co-operation was also pursued with the Organization of the Islamic Conference. In addition to regular contacts between officials of the two organizations, a UNHCR delegation attended the meeting of ministers of the Islamic Conference, held in Sana'a in December 1984. The meeting adopted a resolution of support for UNHCR activities. UNHCR has been designated a "focal point' for humanitarian questions for a forthcoming meeting on co-operation between the Islamic Conference and the organizations of the United Nations system.

202. UNHCR maintained close and frequent contacts with the European Community and the Council of Europe. UNHCR and the Council of Europe pursued their excellent relationship in the field of international protection (see para. 96 above) and the European Community continued to offer financial support to UNHCR programmes. UNHCR has been enabled by a new EEC budgetary line to implement longer-term projects for the rehabilitation of refugees. The third Lomé Convention between the countries of the European Community and the States of the African, Caribbean and Pacific regions (ACP) contains expanded articles concerning relief to refugees during emergencies) the EEC now has the necessary instruments to provide assistance to UNHCR for countries other than those associated with the ACP group, and in both the emergency and post-emergency phases. UNHCR appeals in late 1984 and early 1985 for assistance to refugees and drought victims in a number of African countries elicited a quick and generous response from the EEC.

C. Co-operation with liberation movements

203. In accordance with the relevant General Assembly resolutions, close co-operation has continued with the liberation movements recognized by OAU and the United Nations. Several UNHCR programmes for Namibian and southern African refugees are implemented by the South West Africa People's organization (SWAPO), the African National Congress (ANC) and the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC). SWAPO, the ANC and the PAC all attended ICARA II and participated as observers in the thirty-fifth session of the Executive Committee. SWAPO and ANC also attended the UNHCR workshop on Refugee Education held in Dakar, Senegal in November 1984.

D. Relations between UNHCR and non-governmental organizations

204. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have continued to provide important services to the Office, both as operational partners in the field and as proponents of the refugee cause in the donor and resettlement countries.. While strengthening links with its traditional NGO partners, UNHCR has also diversified its NGO contacts and now deals with some 300 NGOs.

205. The office continues to have close contact with a number of umbrella agencies involved in refugee assistance and in particular with the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA) in Geneva. Other umbrella organizations which co-operate with UNHCR include: the All Africa Conference of Churches, Australians Care for Refugees (AUSTCARE), the British Refugee Council, Caritas Internationalis, the Committee for Co-ordination of Services to Displaced Persons in Thailand (CCSDPT), the Danish Refugee Council, the European Consultation on Refugees and Exiles, the Finnish Refugee Council, Interaction, the Middle East Council of Churches, The Norwegian Refugee Council, Stichting Vluchteling, The Standing Conference of Canadian organizations Concerned for Refugees, the World Alliance of Young Men's Christian Associations, the world Alliance of Young women's Christian Associations and the World Council of Churches.

206. UNHCR continues to maintain close links with the International Red Cross, including the International Committee of the Red Cross on protection matters, and the League of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is well as national Red Cross Societies on operational questions. UNHCR is represented at the monthly meeting on disasters and emergencies hosted by the League in Geneva.

207. Certain NGOs, particularly in Europe, have expressed growing concern about issues related to asylum and international protection. UNHCR has increasing contact with such agencies, participates regularly in their meetings and will hold its annual informal UNHCR/NGO Consultative Group meeting on International Protection later in 1985. The first meeting of the UNHCR/NGO Consultative Group on Assistance will be held in June 1985 in response to an ICVA request for a small forum bringing together UNHCR and selected operational partners on specific questions related to refugee assistance.

208. As UNHCR operational partners, NGOs are involved in programmes aimed at emergency relief, longer-term assistance and durable solutions. of the approximately 1,000 assistance projects funded by UNHCR annually, over one-third are implemented by international and national NGOs.

209. The Second International Conference on Assistance to Refugees in Africa, held in July 1984 at Geneva aroused a great deal of interest among the non-governmental organizations, almost 100 of which attended the Conference as observers. Several donor countries contributing to projects of the Second Conference specified that implementation should be undertaken by their national non-governmental organizations. As an indication of the level of their interest in the Second Conference, ICVA has created a structure for the follow-up of projects of that Conference.

210. Growing NGO interest in the work of the Executive Committee has led UNHCR to arrange an annual pre-Committee meeting which allows the agencies to familiarize themselves with key topics on the agenda and to discuss issues of mutual concern with UNHCR. In October 1984, some 78 agencies attended the UNHCR/NGO meeting held prior to the thirty-fifth session of the Executive Committee.

211. UNHCR has participated actively in meetings, which began early in 1984, bringing together the non-governmental organizations liaison services of Geneva-based United Nations organizations. One of the results of this new focus on non-governmental organizations by the United Nations system was the publishing of a bulletin by the Secretary-General on "Policies and procedures governing the relationship between non-governmental organizations and the United Nations Secretariat".

212. The Liaison Unit with Non-Governmental Organizations has been given responsibility for UNHCR involvement in the International Youth Year (1985) and has attended relevant meetings in Geneva, Vienna and elsewhere. UNHCR has produced a catalogue of projects specifically aimed at assisting young refugees (see para. 216 below).

213. The Office has had ongoing contacts with non-governmental organizations regarding the United Nations Decade for Women which ends in 1985. UNHCR has attended consultations of the non-governmental organizations on this subject at Vienna and was represented at the NGO Forum in Nairobi and at the World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of the United Nations Decade for Women held in Nairobi in July 1985.

E. United Nations Decade for Women

214. In 1984, refugee women benefited from both new and ongoing programmes established in response to the special needs of refugee women and children. Specific projects were set up with a view to securing maximum protection for refugee women and to provide counselling for victims of rape and other violence, and to help refugee women become self-sufficient through income-generating projects in relevant fields.

F. United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons

215. With funds from the overall allocation under the General Programmes and from the Trust Fund for Handicapped Refugees established with the prize money from the 1981 Nobel Peace Prize, UNHCR has promoted the referral of disabled refugees to appropriate specialized facilities in Cairo, Nairobi, Mexico City, San José, Lagos and Dakar.

G. International Youth Year

216. As part of its contribution to the realization of the objectives of the International Youth Year, UNHCR has made special efforts to identify new projects which will benefit refugee youth. Thirty-seven ongoing projects have also been compiled into a special IYY Catalogue, and a total of $6.5 million has been allocated for the projects in 1985.

H. Nansen Medal Award

217. The thirtieth anniversary of the Nansen Medal was commemorated in 1984 by the publication of a retrospective booklet, "The Nansen Medal and its Recipients", which highlighted the contribution of each recipient since 1954 to the cause of refugees. The booklet was distributed at the Award ceremony, which took place on the opening day of the thirty-fifth session of the Executive Committee.

218. On that occasion, the Nansen Medal for 1984 was awarded to Captain Lewis M. Hiller of the United States Merchant Ship "Rose City" and to two of his crew members, Mr. Jeff Kass and Mr. Gregg Turay, for their night-time rescue at sea of 85 Indo-Chinese refugees adrift in a storm in the South China Sea. The Medal was awarded jointly to the three men in recognition of all those who have contributed to the rescue of asylum-seekers in distress at sea. Captain Hiller announced that the $50,000 prize attached to the award would be donated to a UNHCR project for medical treatment for rescued refugees.


219. In 1984, UNHCR voluntary funds expenditures increased to $444 million as compared with $398 million in 1983. A total of $345.9 million was required for General Programmes together with $98.1 million under major Special Programmes and other Trust Funds. Once again, the international community responded generously to refugee needs. Following a General Programmes appeal in January and further negotiations with donors throughout the year, the 1984 programmes were fully financed. A total of 83 Governments provided contributions, while non-governmental organizations assisted through contributions in cash and kind valued at $5.5 million. Intergovernmental organizations provided contributions amounting to $26.4 million, mostly in food.

220. Urgent needs which arose in the course of the year obliged the High Commissioner to issue special appeals for additional funds. Contributions were requested for assistance to Mozambicans in Zimbabwe and for returnees in the West Nile Province of Uganda. It was also necessary to request Additional funding for the Orderly Departure Programme from Viet Nam.

221. At the Second International Conference on Assistance to Refugees in Africa in July 1984, the attention of the international community was drawn to the funding requirements for assistance to refugees and returnees in Africa within the High Commissioner's General and Special Programmes for 1984 and 1985 as known at that time.

222. In the context of appeals by the Secretary-General of the United Nations concerning the drought and related developments in Africa, the High Commissioner issued a special appeal in November for $8.9 million to fund a six-month emergency assistance programme for refugees and returnees in the Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Somalia and the Sudan. Subsequent developments, particularly in the Sudan, necessitated a revision in December of the emergency programme requirements to $24.8 million. With the influx into eastern Sudan continuing, the programme budget was again revised and UNHCR total requirements for the period November 1984 to December 1985 are currently estimated at $96.4 million.

223. During 1984, members of the Executive Committee and interested donors were regularly informed of the funding requirements and financial situation of the office through periodic information letters from the Director of External Affairs. Reports on major UNHCR programmes were also issued to keep donors regularly informed of the progress of assistance activities and related expenditures.

224. At its thirty-fifth session, the Executive Committee approved a target of $384.2 million for General Programmes in 1985. According to estimates as of March 1985, the total voluntary funds requirements for 1985 for the General Programmes and current Special Programmes (emergency assistance in Africa, returnees to Ethiopia, Kampuchea, the Lao People's Democratic Republic and Uganda, the Refugee Education Account and the Orderly Departure Programme) are likely to be in excess of $500 million. Every effort is being made to reduce funding requirements while delivering adequate assistance to refugees.

225. Total contributions in 1985 for both General and Special Programmes as at 31 March 1985 amounted to $185.2 million. Table 3 of annex II shows contributions to UNHCR General and Special Programmes for the years 1984 and 1985 which were paid or pledged as at 31 March 1985.

226. The High Commissioner is grateful that donor response to refugee needs has remained prompt and generous despite the considerable demands on their financial resources. The High Commissioner depends on donors to maintain such understanding and generosity so that refugees may be assisted effectively through the full implementation of the programmes approved by the Executive Committee.


227. UNHCR continued its efforts to promote greater public awareness and understanding of the worldwide refugee problem through the production and distribution of varied information material, through co-productions of such material with the media and numerous NGOs, through daily supply of information to media representatives (journalists, radio and TV channels) and through the organization of special events such as itinerant media seminars to regions with large refugee populations, a gala concert and a round table on xenophobia. In addition, the Office continued to fulfil its responsibility for the planning and implementation of the public information programme of the Second International Conference on Assistance to Refugees in Africa.

228. Throughout 1984 UNHCR continued and intensified its efforts to sensitize world public opinion to the plight of refugees in Africa and to the background and objectives of the Second Conference. Two simultaneous international media seminars, travelled to a total of six refugee-affected countries in Africa. A gala concert in favour of refugees in Africa, featuring a number of major international artists, was held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva a few weeks prior to the Conference. The concert was broadcast by several television networks. Other activities included a series of public information workshops for non-governmental organizations organized in conjunction with UNHCR offices in New York, Washington, London, Ottawa, Tokyo and Canberra. Close co-operation was maintained with non-governmental organizations in the planning and execution of their Conference-related public information activities. A detailed press kit, a slide set, a series of posters and photographs were among the other material produced within the context of this programme. The Conference itself received wide media coverage.

229. The magazine "Refugees" continued to provide up-to-date information on refugee problems world-wide. it was published monthly in English and French and special editions were published in Arabic, Chinese, German, Italian and Spanish.

230. Other publications included a booklet on UNHCR, a catalogue of information material, photo and thematic posters, a world refugee map and a calendar of photographs of refugee women. A series of 10 "country fact-sheets" provided detailed and regularly updated information on UNHCR assistance programmes in Central America and Mexico, South-East Asia, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Somalia, the Sudan, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zaire, and southern and West Africa. Other language versions of these materials were produced as demand warranted.

231. In the course of the year, the photolibrary distributed some 43,000 photographs (black and white and colour slides) to the media, schools and NGOs. In addition to servicing external demand, the photolibrary continued to provide support for all UNHCR Public information publications and to arrange exhibitions.

232. During the period under review, UNHCR produced two documentary films which will shortly be ready for distribution: "Refugees in Mexico and Central America" (working title) and "The Road to Itang", a film on refugees from southern Sudan in Ethiopia. In addition, UNHCR continued and intensified its policy of film co-productions with major television networks, co-producing several films on refugee situations around the world. These co-production agreements, which contain provisions that the resulting films must be telecast at "prime time" and the spare footage given to UNHCR for non-commercial use, continue to prove very useful. UNHCR films are distributed by UNHCR as well an by some major film distribution agencies.

233. The office produced and distributed taped radio programmes and interviews, especially on ICARA 11, to Branch offices, United Nations Radio and several national and international radio networks.

234. Public information material in the form of films, colour slides, black and white prints, posters, printed material, calendars and education kits were provided in various languages to non-governmental organizations to support their fund-raising projects and information campaigns.

235. In order to assist the world media to develop and sustain an interest in refugee problems, regular contacts were maintained with the press, radio and television, numerous inquiries were answered and interviews given to interested journalists. UNHCR Representatives and Public Information Officers in the field continued to keep the press in their respective countries informed, and requests from journalists and television crews for UNHCR assistance in reporting on refugee situations around the world continued to increase. Journalists, television crews and photographers also participated in Public information's itinerant media seminars, two of which visited six countries in Africa in connection with the Second Conference, and another China and Pakistan.

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

1 United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 189, No. 2545, p. 137.

2 Ibid., vol. 606, No. 8791, p. 267.

3 Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted and proclaimed by the General Assembly in its resolution 217 A (III), of 10 December 1948.

4 Official Records of the General Assembly, Thirty-ninth Session, Supplement No. 12 (A/39/12).

5 Preamble to the Declaration of Territorial Asylum, contained in General Assembly resolution 2312 (XXII) of 14 December 1967.

6 Official Records of the General Assembly, Thirty-second Session, Supplement No. 12 A (A/32/12/Add.1), para. 53 (4) (c).

7 Ibid., para. 53 (5) (c).

8 General Assembly resolution 39/140 of 14 December 1984 on the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

9 Official Records of the General Assembly, Thirty-ninth Session. Supplement No. 11 A (A/39/12/Add.1), para. 87 (2) (d).

10 Ibid., para. 87 (2) (c).

11 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, art. 9.

12 Official Records of the General Assembly, Thirty-sixth Session, Supplement No. 12-A (A/36/12/Add.1), para. 57 (4).

13 Ibid., para. 57 (4) (6).

14 Ibid., para. 57 (4) (9).

15 See, for example, resolutions 39/140, 38/121 and 37/195.

16 Official Records of the General Assembly Thirty-second Session, Supplement No, 12 A (A/36/12/Add.1), para. 53 (6).

17 Brazil, Italy, Madagascar, Malta, Mexico, Paraguay and Turkey.

18 General Assembly resolution 35/41. B of 25 November 1980 on the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

19 Including expenditure amounting to $US 9 760 787 from the Emergency Fund spent in Central African Republic, Cyprus, Lebanon, Papua New Guinea, Spain, Sudan, Syria, Swaziland, Zaire, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

20 Including simple transfers.

21 Does not include $US 790 604 obligated under the Revolving Fund for Staff Housing.

22 And therefore not including expenditure for programme support and administration.

23 Including income-generating activities.

24 Including assistance to returnees.

25 Including donations in kind, e.g. food, etc.