Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations General Assembly Official Records: Thirty-first Session
Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Supplement No.12 (A/31/12)
1. The period covered by this report1 has been characterized by a considerable increase in the scale and scope of the work of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), particularly through the assumption of important tasks in countries where it had not operated previously. Following the dramatic developments in the Indo-Chinese peninsula during the first part of 1975, UNHCR has been called on to assist a very large number of uprooted persons. At the same time there were growing influxes of refugees in Africa and additional needs in Latin America which called for an increase in the assistance programmes launched in those areas. A set-back was also encountered in Angola where the rate of voluntary repatriation of the large number of former refugees was considerably slowed down by the events in that country during 1975. An added difficulty has arisen from the geographical spreading of the new groups of refugees and displaced persons, from the increasing diversity of their problems and, therefore, also of the solutions required. All these difficulties have been compounded by the consequences of recession, inflation and rising costs. On balance, the Office has been confronted with new problems of considerable magnitude which have emerged much more rapidly than the time it takes to phase out current programmes. In addition to the human suffering this situation causes to hundreds of thousands of uprooted persons, it has increased the burden on the already strained resources of the Office.
2. It is the new developments in various parts of the world which have required UNHCR to widen its range of humanitarian activities beyond its traditional assistance to refugees. Thus, in order to promote conditions conducive to the voluntary repatriation to newly-independent countries previously under colonial administration and to assist displaced persons facing the same problems as refugees, the High Commissioner has been called on to launch assistance and rehabilitation programmes within countries of origin, that is, in Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique. Furthermore, the need has made itself increasingly felt to provide humanitarian assistance to victims of civil strife and armed struggle who have been uprooted and find themselves in a situation comparable to that of refugees. The High Commissioner has, thus, undertaken special operations in areas such as Indo-China and Cyprus, with the concurrence of the Secretary-General and the support of the General Assembly.
3. The fact that requests for assistance were received from many countries in all parts of the world, facing problems of a very different nature, is in keeping with the increasing universality of UNHCR action - as is also the spirit of international solidarity in which over 100 Governments responded favourably to the High Commissioner's appeals for contributions or received refugees on their territory. Their support enabled the High Commissioner to pursue his activities for the benefit of refugees and displaced persons in keeping with General Assembly In so doing, however, resolutions 3454 (XXX) and 3455 (XXX) of 9 December 1975. In so doing, however, the High Commissioner has become increasingly concerned at the fact that the number of new refugees and displaced persons is very high in relation to the number of those for whom permanent solutions could be achieved during the period under review. The High Commissioner is equally preoccupied by the problems which his Office continues to encounter in seeking to ensure the protection of refugees which is one of its principal functions.
4. In seeking to overcome these problems it may be helpful to recall some of the basic principles followed since the inception of UNHCR over 25 years ago: first, always to try to avoid the emergence or perpetuation of refugee problems by encouraging a better understanding between the parties concerned; secondly, once a refugee problem has emerged, to focus international assistance on the rapid achievement of permanent solutions through voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement in another country; thirdly, in the frame of the protection function of the Office, to help refugees to cease being refugees and, meanwhile, to encourage Governments to grant them the treatment provided for under the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees of 19512 and the Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees of 1967.3 These same principles still fully apply today and, clearly, their more effective implementation would go a long way towards solving some of the major problems of refugees and displaced persons with which the international community is at present confronted. In achieving these objectives, Governments have an important role to play. Thus, for example, a more flexible attitude combined with greater tolerance towards certain groups or persons would considerably reduce the number of asylum seekers: the offer of increased resettlement opportunities for refugees admitted to certain countries in transit would not only help solve the problems of the refugees concerned but would also alleviate the financial burden involved in providing for their care and maintenance, thus making more funds available for the achievement of lasting solutions similarly the granting of work permits, even on a temporary basis, to newly-arrived asylum seekers would help them make a modest living and at the same time reduce the need for immediate relief.
5. To achieve these objectives, considerable further efforts will be required on the part of States Members of the United Nations and members of the specialized agencies. At a time, however, when the international community is geared to the establishment of a new economic order - aimed at reducing the gulf between the rich and the poor nations - and also to the observance of fundamental human rights, it should prove feasible for all States to make a new, concerted and collective effort in favour of the uprooted, while paying special attention to the observance of the human rights of refugees.
CHAPTER I INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION
6. The large-scale new movements of uprooted persons which occurred in the period under review resulted in a considerable increase in UNHCR's protection caseload. These movements gave rise to a number of problems, some of them traditional, others new, particularly in cases where the asylum country was experiencing a substantial influx for the first time and was not a party to the basic intergovernmental instruments providing for the protection of refugees. Such problems called for measures by UNHCR to expand its protection activities in several areas and to engage with the authorities concerned in an open and constructive dialogue, in accordance with the responsibilities entrusted to the High Commissioner by the General Assembly.
7. As will be seen from the sections on asylum and individual cases below, there have again been serious violations of the principles of asylum and non-refoulement4 during the period under review. Furthermore, a number of refugees have been abducted and subsequently killed. The High Commissioner would again urge that the basic rights of refugees be scrupulously observed in accordance with the letter and spirit of the legal instruments concerned and that every effort be made to ensure the physical security of the refugees, some of whom continue to be exposed to a serious risk of abduction.
8. In the wider context of human rights, the past year has been characterized by several important events such as the entry into force in the early months of 1976 of the International Covenants on Human Rights (International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Optional Protocol thereto (General Assembly resolution 2200 A (XXI), annex)). The High Commissioner trusts that these instruments, which are designed to safeguard the fundamental rights of the individual, will also serve to strengthen the protection of refugees.
9. With regard to the important social problem of maintaining family unity, expression has been given at European level to the principle of freedom of movement between countries, as embodied within the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe.5 Effective application of this principle could greatly facilitate the reunion of separated refugee families.
B. Asylum and related questions
10. In his report to the General Assembly at its thirtieth session,6 and in his statement to the Third Committee,7 the High Commissioner had occasion to refer detail to the increasing number of violations of the principles of asylum and non-refoulement and to the fact that these violations had in some cases affected sizable groups of persons. It was therefore a source of encouragement to the High Commissioner that many representatives in the Third Committee should have stressed the fundamental importance of the principle of granting asylum and of the prohibition of refoulement, and should have expressed their support for the convening of a conference of plenipotentiaries to consider and adopt a Convention on Territorial Asylum. Such views echoed the grave concern previously expressed the twenty-sixth session of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme in October 1975, which had unanimously endorsed the proposal that:
"an appeal be made urging States Members of the United Nations and non-member States to conform fully with the humanitarian principles governing the protection of refugees and, in particular, to abide by the provisions of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and of its 1967 Protocol and scrupulously to observe the principle whereby no refugee should be forcibly returned to a country where he fears persecution."8
This appeal, reflected by the High Commissioner in his statement to the Third Committee, was further publicized through UNHCR's public information network, by means of the tabloid UNHCR, a publication which is distributed to all States Members of the Unite Nations and members of the specialized agencies.
11. Regarding specifically the question of the Convention on Territorial Asylum, it is recalled that the Group of Experts on the Draft Convention on Territorial Asylum, established by the General Assembly under resolution 3272 (XXIX) of 10 December 1974, met at Geneva from 28 April to 9 May 1975 in order to review the existing text of the draft Convention.9 In conclusion of its discussions, the Group adopted a report (see A/10177 and Corr.1, annex), which was submitted by the Secretary-General to the Assembly at its thirtieth session. This report recommended certain limitations in respect of the scope of some of the articles, particularly that concerning non-refoulement. In the course of its twenty-sixth session, held in October 1975, the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme considered that the conference of plenipotentiaries should be convened as envisaged.10 In resolution 3456 (XXX), subsequently adopted at its thirtieth session, the Assembly requested the Secretary-General, in consultation with the High Commissioner, to convene a conference of plenipotentiaries from 10 January 1 4 February 1977 to consider and adopt a Convention on Territorial Asylum. It further requested the Secretary-General to refer the report of the Group of Experts.
12. The High Commissioner is gratified to record that, in the period under review., a number of countries have admitted large numbers of new refugees, thereby giving an inspiring example of the true spirit of international solidarity. Unfortunately however, there have been recurrent instances of the forcible repatriation of individuals and groups of refugees while, in other cases, asylum-seekers fleeing their homeland have been rejected at the frontier. Whenever indications of such action reached his Office in time, the High Commissioner immediately intervened with the authorities concerned, either through the Permanent Mission of the Government concerned in Geneva or New York, through the local UNHCR representative, or by means of a visit to the capital of the country concerned by the Director of the Protection Division. While these interventions have been successful in a number of individual cases, there have also been instances in which either individual refugees or groups of refugees have been returned to their country of origin before any such intervention could take place. In renewing his appeal to all States Members of the United Nations and members of the specialized agencies that they should scrupulously observe the basic rights of refugees and, in particular, the principles of asylum and non refoulement, the High Commissioner would also like to draw attention to the following positive developments during the period under review, which have served the interests of refugees and which could also result, in future, in facilitating the task of the country of asylum.
13. The first such example concerns the practice, already in force in a number of countries and now also adopted by the New Zealand Government, whereby no asylum-seeker may be extradited or deported without first apprising the UNHCR representative in the area, thus allowing the Office time in which to study the problem and seek alternative solutions, in consultation with the authorities concerned. A further positive measure concerns the liberal implementation of article 11 of the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules of Law with Respect to Assistance and Salvage at Sea, signed at Brussels on 23 September 1910.11 Under this Convention the master of every ship is bound, in so far as he can do so without serious danger to his vessel, passengers and crew, to render assistance to any person found at sea and whose life is in danger. Through this practice it has been possible to save the lives of several thousands of refugees and uprooted persons on the high seas and provide them with the necessary assistance. These persons were taken on board ships navigating in the area, and upon arrival at the next port of call, they were usually allowed, through the intervention of UNHCR, to disembark and remain in the country temporarily or more permanently.
14. It is through measures such as these, and notably through ensuring that the treatment afforded to asylum-seekers for whom admission, albeit on a temporary basis, may be a matter of life and death, that Governments may effectively contribute to defending and strengthening the fundamental principles of asylum and non - refoulement. It is furthermore essential that the Convention on Territorial Asylum contain the necessary safeguards and guarantees and that the application of the Convention should be wide-ranging and effective. The High Commissioner is aware that accession to, and implementation of, intergovernmental legal instrument offering protection to refugees in respect of asylum may pose complex problems to Governments, and may require adjustments to national legislation and administrative practice. In order to facilitate the task of Governments and achieve further progress towards universal and effective observance of the principles involved, the High Commissioner is ready at any time to make available the legal expertise of his Office to Governments, should they so desire.
C. International legal instruments concerning refugees
15. Slow progress continued to be made in respect of new accessions to international legal instruments concerning refugees. As shown in annex I to this report, the number of parties to the 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees had reached respectively 66 and 60 as at 31 March 1976.12 These figures represent a low increase by comparison with the previous year, although sustained efforts have been made by UNHCR to encourage new accessions. The significance attached to further accessions, especially to the aforementioned basic instruments concerning refugees, was again reflected in the conclusions on international protection adopted by the Executive Committee at its twenty-sixth session13 and in General Assembly resolution 3454 (XXX). While, in view of the universal character of the refugee problem, it would seem fitting for all States Members of the United Nations and members of specialized agencies to accede in due course to the 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol, it is essential, from the point view of the well-being of refugees and of the day-to-day work of the Office, that these instruments be ratified as soon as possible by Governments of countries which have received large numbers of refugees in their territory or were recently confronted with refugee problems for the first time.
16. Discouraging response was also recorded in 1975 in gathering information with regard to the implementation of the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees, a task performed by the High Commissioner in accordance with articles 35 and 36 of the Convention and articles I and II of the Protocol. Replies to the questionnaire addressed to States parties to these instruments in order to obtain detailed information on the implementation of the Convention, and laws, regulations and decrees relating to refugees, have so far been received from 39 States out of 65 to which the questionnaire was sent. Supplementary clarifications have been requested in a number of cases where the information provided was inadequate.
17. As is also indicated in annex I, 30 States have now acceded to the Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons of 1954.14 The importance of this Convention lies in the protection it affords to stateless refugees who find themselves in countries which are not parties to the 1951 Convention.
18. Another instrument of interest to refugees is the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness of 28 August 1961,15 which entered into force in December 1975. This Convention provides for the acquisition by operation of law of the nationality of the contracting State by children born of stateless parents in its territory, and is thus designed to help eliminate the perpetuation of refugee status. It is hoped that further States will accede to this legal instrument, particularly those where nationality is based on jus sanguinis. In resolution 3274 (XXIX) of 10 December 1974, the General Assembly requested UNHCR to act provisionally as supervisory body for this instrument by performing the functions provided for under its article 11. The High Commissioner has accordingly consulted the Governments of States parties to the 1961 Convention16 regarding the measures undertaken to ensure its effective implementation and will in due course report in more detail on the matter. Under the aforementioned resolution, the Assembly is to review, not later than at its thirty-first session, the question of the establishment of the body provided for under article 11 of the Convention.
19. In the period under review, several additional accessions were recorded to the Protocol of 197317 to the Hague Agreement relating to Refugee Seamen of 1957.18 The Protocol-, which entered into force in March 1975, extends the scope of the Agreement to seamen having acquired refugee status as a result of events occurring after 1951. The Agreement is designed to regulate the status of refugee seamen who have no country in which they may lawfully stay and who cannot even land in the country under whose flag they are sailing. Parties to the Agreement, which came into force in December 1961, undertake to issue to refugee seamen the travel document provided for under the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, or a similar document, and to accept them on their territory.
20. With the spreading of refugee problems throughout the world, the regional legal instruments affecting their status are also gaining in significance.
21. One of the most important of these instruments is the Organization of African Unity (OAU) Convention of 1969 Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa which entered into force in June 1974. Through the accessions of Burundi and Ghana, the number of States parties to this instrument has now reached 18. It includes 15 States which are also parties to the 1951 Convention and 14 which are parties to the 1967 Protocol. This instrument not only constitutes an invaluable regional complement to the 1951 Convention in a continent where refugee problems continue to be particularly acute, but also goes beyond it in providing that no person should be subjected by a member State to measures such as rejection at the frontier which would compel him to return to, or remain in, a territory where his life, physical integrity or liberty would be threatened. It is of course essential from the point of view of human rights of refugees that this particular clause should be scrupulously observed.
22. The increased scope of problems of refugees in Latin America has given added significance to a number of legal instruments adopted in the frame of inter-America co-operation. These include, in particular, the Caracas Convention of 1954 on Territorial Asylum,19 and the American Convention on Human Rights of 196920 which contain clauses on asylum and non-refoulement which are particularly favourable to refugees. Here, as elsewhere, it is of course essential that the letter and spirit of the provisions be fully observed in their day-to-day application.
23. In the European context, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has put forward a number of proposals21 designed to improve the position of de facto refugees, many of whom face the same problems as refugees and would qualify under the Mandate, but who are unaware of the possibilities open to them prefer not to be registered as refugees. Special attention has also been given by the Parliamentary Assembly to the problems arising when refugees move from one member State of the Council of Europe to another. A number of bilateral agreement have already been concluded on the subject, but they differ in substance and are applied between certain member States only. The Parliamentary Assembly has therefore recommended to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe22 that a multilateral agreement be prepared concerning the transfer of responsibility for refugees who move legally from one member State of the Council of Europe to another.
D. Determination of refugee status
24. It is essential for any new asylum-seeker to obtain rapid recognition by the authorities concerned of his refugee status, since the granting of permanent asylum normally depends upon this prerequisite. The criteria applied for official recognition are usually those contained in article 1, A of the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees, and in article I of the 1967 Protocol. By the very nature of his exceptional situation, the asylum-seeker has to overcome major problems linked to his sudden flight to new and unfamiliar surroundings - which make it essential for his application to be examined swiftly and in full knowledge of the facts by qualified personnel, within the framework of special procedures which provide the asylum-seeker with adequate legal guarantees and, in case of refusal, possibility of appeal.
25. The efforts of UNHCR over the years to promote the establishment of special eligibility procedures have met, on the whole, with encouraging results. Such procedures now exist in 16 countries23 and mostly provide for UNHCR's active participation or consultation at some stage of the examination of applications. The latest country to have established an eligibility procedure is the People's Republic of Benin, under a decree and ordinance of 16 July 1975, while in Gabon, similar arrangements are now under discussion. In several other countries in Africa and Latin America, where no specific mechanism exists, eligibility is determined by the UNHCR representative or by ad hoc commissions, set up for this purpose, whose decisions are accepted in practice by the authorities. In Argentina, which has faced large-scale refugee problems since the events in Chile in 1975, eligibility commissions now function in Buenos Aires and Mondoza. Dubious cases are referred to the UNHCR Regional Office. In Peru, the Oecumenical Commission of Social Assistance has been entrusted with eligibility determination, while in Ecuador a similar arrangement has been made.
26. In view, however, of the wide variety of procedures applied from country to country in respect of the determination of refugee status, much still remains to be done in order to achieve some degree of uniformity of the criteria used, in the interest both of refugees and of the States parties to the Convention. This problem was recently examined at a consultation on refugees and exiles in Europe organized in January 1976 by the International University Exchange Fund, and which resulted in a series of proposals aimed at harmonizing criteria for the recognition of refugee status in member States of the Council of Europe.
27. Other notable developments in the period under review included the introduction in Austria, by ministerial decree of 4 June 1975, of more liberal criteria in determining refugee status. In the Federal Republic of Germany, the number of outstanding applications by asylum-seekers was also considerably reduced during the past year.
E. Legal problems of individual cases
28. As indicated in the High Commissioner's report to the General Assembly at its thirtieth session,24 a survey of individual cases presenting difficult legal problems was undertaken by UNHCR in 1974, in view of the tragic human aspects involved in such cases, which were tending to multiply with the over-all increase in the number of refugees of concern to the Office. The aim of the survey was to identify more clearly the specific problems involved and to determine appropriate measures to prevent their recurrence.
29. By the end of August 1975, the survey, undertaken on a sample basis, had covered over 700 persons, selected for the special difficulties they presented. Areas where the largest numbers occurred were eastern and southern Africa and Latin America.
30. As in 1974, the cases examined during 1975 revealed that the problems most frequently encountered were linked to the refusal of asylum, rejection at the frontier, refoulement and expulsion. Next in order of frequency came arbitrary detention for prolonged periods. Other problems included cases of abduction. the time of writing, solutions had been found to about one third of the cases examined.
31. The situation of refugees who fear for their lives or who are threatened with abduction requires urgent action, preferably in the form of suitable resettlement opportunities. As partial remedy to these and other tragic individual cases, even effort is currently being made to strengthen further the co-operation between the UNHCR representatives and the authorities in the country or area concerned. The general conclusions which emerge from the survey confirm, however, the vital need for universal and effective application of the basic international instruments relating to refugees. It remains, moreover, of particular importance that Governments should fully accept that the granting of asylum does not constitute a hostile or unfriendly act towards the country of origin of the refugee.
F. Family reunion
32. The Office has continued to promote measures to permit the reunion of separated families, pursuant to the provisions of section IV (B) of the Final Act of the United Nations Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Status of Refugees and Stateless Persons,25 held at Geneva in 1951, which related to the protection of the refugee family. In the period under review, a number of applications were submitted to national authorities by UNHCR on behalf of the relatives of refugees seeking authorization to leave the country for reunion purposes. Positive replies were received in half the number of cases submitted so far, and it is earnestly hoped that sympathetic consideration will be given to all outstanding application in order to curtail the periods of separation and alleviate the acute hardship suffered.
33. In other cases, the reunion of families depends upon the speedy admission of family members by the country of immigration to which the head of family has already been admitted for resettlement purposes. In the period under review, this was notably the case of many refugee families from Chile. The High Commissioner gratified to record that by the end of the year the problem of these divided families had practically been solved, due to the understanding and expedition shown by the countries concerned. Special facilities were provided in many of these countries with regard to the issue of the necessary travel and identity documents.
34. A special mention should be made, in respect of more general developments in 1975, of the intention expressed by the States participating in the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, to deal in a positive and humanitarian spirit with requests for family reunion, and to give special attention to requests of an urgent nature such as those submitted by old and sick persons.
G. Economic and social rights of refugees
35. In view of the trend towards higher rates of unemployment in many countries 1975, renewed and intensified efforts were made by UNHCR throughout the year to promote effective application of article 17 of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees of 1951, which concerns access to wage-earning employment.
36. In Europe it would appear that the recession had not, in general, resulted in the application of more restrictive practices with regard to the employment of refugees. In some cases, refugees have received the same treatment as nationals of their country of residence, or that of nationals of other members of the European Communities, while in others they have been treated as aliens from non-Community countries, though benefiting from a number of exemptions or dispensations in view of their special status. In Denmark and Norway, for example, refugees are assisted in their quest for employment by the Danish and Norwegian Refugee Councils. In Belgium and France, several special measures are applied to encourage and protect the employment of refugees.
37. In the Federal Republic of Germany, the authorities have agreed to allow asylum-seekers to take up employment while awaiting an eligibility decision, should a suitable vacancy be available at their place of residence. An asylum-seeker who has not found employment, will, in any event, receive public welfare assistance in the form of a daily allowance and payment of accommodation.
38. Another welcome development has been the withdrawal by the Government of Austria of its reservation in respect of article 17, paragraph 2a, of the 1951 Convention, which provides that after three years' residence a refugee shall not be subject to restrictive measures as might be applied to aliens or the employment of aliens.
39. In African countries, where the vast majority of refugees are of rural background, the principal form of employment is in agricultural activity, whether through spontaneous settlement among the local population, or in the organized rural settlements established under the UNHCR programme. Refugees who settle spontaneously in rural areas may experience difficulty in gaining secure access to adequate land or employment, especially where the population is already dense. Refugees in the organized settlements have access to land without payment but are sometimes subject to varying degrees of restriction on their freedom of movement in search of other employment. Some of these problems are shared with nationals of the countries concerned, whose difficulties may be aggravated by a refugee influx. In urban areas employment opportunities are scarce and some Governments restrict the access of refugees to urban work. Since it is anticipated that in the years ahead a growing number of refugees will be qualified for and will seek urban employment, it will become increasingly important that Governments apply the provisions of the 1951 Convention which relate to access to employment in the most liberal sense.
40. In Latin America, European refugees, usually admitted as immigrants, as well as other refugees who have been resident for a number of years, are entitled to take up wage-earning employment and self-employment. However, persons benefiting only from temporary asylum, such as the refugees from Chile in Peru and part of those in Argentina who have not received permanent residence permits, do not have access to employment. A similar situation prevails in respect of the large number of uprooted persons admitted temporarily to Thailand.
41. As regards social security, the Austrian authorities have confirmed that all relevant agreements shall henceforth specifically cover refugees within the meaning of the 1967 Protocol. Existing social security agreements will, moreover, be interpreted wherever feasible as applying to refugees under the 1967 Protocol.
42. In Belgium, the benefits of a law passed in 1974 establishing the right to minimum means of existence have been extended to refugees by decree of January 1976.
43. Another sector to which close attention was paid by UNHCR in 1975 is that of education, especially at the post-primary level for which no provisions are included in the 1951 Convention. Grants from the Education Account were again made available by UNHCR in 1975 to large numbers of refugees, especially in Africa, as described in a subsequent chapter, to ensure that they might benefit from the same opportunities as nationals. In addition, UNHCR has taken part in discussions concerning a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) draft convention on the recognition of studies, diplomas and degrees in higher education in the European and Arab countries bordering the Mediterranean, in order to ensure that the benefits of this instrument will be extended to refugees.
44. The acquisition by refugees of the nationality of their country of asylum is essential to their successful assimilation and represents a welcome conclusion to the precarious status of refugee. In view of the special importance attached to this objective, UNHCR has pursued its efforts throughout the period under review to encourage States to give effect to the provisions of article 34 of the 1951 Convention, which concerns naturalization procedures. These efforts, addressed either to individual Governments or undertaken in co-operation with regional organizations, have led to reductions in certain countries of the qualifying period of residence or of the administrative charges and costs involved. In some cases refugees have also been exempted from the requirement to prove the loss of their previous nationality.
45. Preliminary results were encouraging in Africa, where an estimated 2,000 refugees have now been naturalized in Burundi, with financial assistance from UNHCR towards the administrative costs incurred. In the same country 238 heads of family applying for naturalization have been exempted from the payment of fees, in conformity with Burundi legislation on destitute persons. In the Sudan, the qualifying period for naturalization has been reduced from 15 to 10 years. In Botswana, an estimated 500 Angolan refugees have been naturalized.
46. Tentative estimates indicate that in Europe, over 8,000 refugees were naturalized in 1975. Notable developments included the adoption by the Government of Luxembourg on 26 June 1975 of a new law on nationality, whereby the qualifying period of residence for refugees and stateless persons has been reduced from 10 to 5 years. Under the new law, refugees wishing to acquire the nationality of Luxembourg are no longer required to produce a certificate of loss of their former nationality.
47. Although provisions such as these represent welcome developments, it is essential also, in view of the considerable influx of new refugees which occurred in the period under review, that the rate of naturalization should be further accelerated, especially in countries where refugees have been living for a long period of time and have achieved their economic and social integration.
I. Travel and identity documents
48. In the period under review, continued efforts were made by UNHCR to encourage the issue by Governments of travel documents for refugees, in accordance with the provisions of article 28 of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. These efforts concentrated mainly on countries of Latin America where the majority of new refugees are awaiting resettlement through migration and where the need for travel documents was particularly acute. Travel documents for refugees were issued in the course of the year by the Government of Argentina.
49. Welcome measures were also taken by the Sudanese authorities to extend the validity of travel documents held by refugee students to enable them to return freely to the Sudan after completion of their studies.
50. In addition, the Government of Ghana agreed to issue identity cards to refugees, with the technical and financial assistance of UNHCR.
J. Registration of assets of Asians of undetermined nationality from Uganda
51. The Assets Records Unit for Asians of undetermined nationality from Uganda which, by agreement with the Government of Uganda, is responsible for registering claims for the assets of these persons has now been in operation for just over a year.
52. As at 31 March 1976, 1,700 sets of registration forms had been sent out and 845 returned to the Unit, after completion. A total of 600 forms had been transmitted to the Ugandan authorities, while 245 forms had to be returned to the claimants for supplementary information, or because the persons applying did not qualify for registration with the Unit, being either British subjects or nationals of another country.
53. Discussions have taken place between UNHCR and the Ugandan authorities on some of the basic issues involved, and further negotiations are anticipated in the near future.
54. By the beginning of 1975, final payments had been made from the indemnification funds26 put at the High Commissioner's disposal by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany for the benefit of refugees having suffered persecution under the National Socialist Regime, by reason of their nationality. Additional payments made in the course of the year were from a small reserve benefiting persons who, at any time between 8 May 1945 and 31 December were refugees in the sense of the 1951 Convention and who had been detained for over 90 days in a concentration camp by reason of their nationality. The reserve accrued from reimbursements by the authorities of the Federal Republic of Germany in respect of persons who initially received payments under one of the indemnification funds made available to UNHCR, but who were subsequently found to qualify for larger payments under indemnification legislation of the Federal Republic.
55. As at 31 December 1975, 3,200 persons had benefited from indemnification payments made by UNHCR since 1960, totalling $16,741,861.
56. As at the same date, over 3,300 refugees were receiving a regular monthly pension under the indemnification legislation of the Federal Republic of German at a total cost of $10,434,967. Decisions had still to be reached on a limited number of outstanding applications.
L. Contribution of non-governmental organizations to the work of international protection
57. Increased awareness of the importance of the international protection of refugees was reflected in the work of a number of non-governmental organization In addition to the International Council for Voluntary Agencies, these include International University Exchange Fund, whose initiative is outlined in paragraph 18 above, and the World Peace Through Law Center, which organized a Conference on Law and the World in October 1975. The resolutions adopted at the Conference related, inter alia, to family reunion, and to the right of asylum based on the principle that no refugee should be subject to rejection at the frontier or to any measures compelling him to return to his country of origin.
CHAPTER II ASSISTANCE ACTIVITIES - GENERAL REVIEW
58. As in recent years, UNHCR assistance activities included the UNHCR annual assistance programme and a number of special operations implemented under the good offices resolutions of the General Assembly. The following paragraph give a general review of the activities carried out under both types of programme, while subsequent chapters of this report give more detailed information on assistance provided for refugees and displaced persons in the various countries or areas.
A. Assistance activities in the framework of the annual programme
59. In 1975, the major developments in the assistance activities of UNHCR under the annual programme again took place in Africa and Latin America.
60. In Africa, considerable numbers of refugees from the Territories formerly administered by Portugal needed assistance in their voluntary repatriation to Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique. At the same time, new influxes of refugees, notably into the Sudan, made additional demands upon the resources of the Office.
61. In Latin America, the serious problem posed by the large numbers of Chilean refugees, most of whom are located in Argentina, called for special measures in view of limited possibilities for local integration, difficulties in securing suitable resettlement opportunities, and the consequent need for large-scale relief assistance.
62. In view largely of these developments, the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme, at its twenty-sixth session, approved an increase in the financial target of the 1975 Assistance Programme, from $12,656,000 to $14,117,000.27
63. A total of some 360,500 refugees benefited under the 1975 assistance programme. Financial and statistical data relating to the assistance programme may be found in annex II, tables 1 to 4.
64. Some 25,000 refugees were assisted by UNHCR under the 1975 assistance programme in their voluntary repatriation which, where feasible, constitutes the most appropriate solution to their problem. Most of them were refugees from Guinea-Bissau returning to their homes following the attainment of independence of their country. Moreover, as referred to above, some 75,000 refugees from Mozambique were assisted in their repatriation and resettlement as reported in chapter III below.
65. Local settlement, to which the largest proportion of programme funds was again devoted, continued to provide a solution for the great majority of refugees, notably in Africa. In 1975, some 290,000 refugees benefited from this type of assistance, for which an amount of $5,397,000 was committed.
66. In spite of the generous admission policy of many Governments, the resettlement of refugees continued to present a challenge in view of the need for increased resettlement opportunities and the uncertain economic conditions still prevailing in 1975. The High Commissioner's efforts have therefore been directed towards meeting the humanitarian need for immigration opportunities on a continuing basis with a view to avoiding a greatly increased caseload of persons awaiting resettlement as a permanent solution. A total of nearly 8,000 refugees, including the handicapped, were assisted in resettling in other countries in 1975; the decrease of nearly 12,000 from the 1974 figure is accounted for mainly by the reduction in the caseload of refugees from the Caribbean awaiting migration from Spain.
67. Further efforts have been made to promote counselling services as a means assist individual refugees in finding a durable solution to their problems. In 1975, UNHCR supported 20 counselling services in various countries, for which an amount of more than $270,000 was committed. In this connexion, UNHCR continues follow closely the effect of present economic conditions on the situation of individual refugees in urban centres, who often face serious difficulties with regard to employment.
68. Educational assistance for refugees has continued to receive a high priority. As in the past, assistance at the primary level was made available under the programme while post-primary educational assistance, totalling some $1,052,000 was provided from the Refugee Education Account.
69. The amounts committed within the framework of the 1975 assistance programme by country or group of countries are indicated in table A at the end of this chapter.
70. A financial target of $13,848,000 was approved for the UNHCR annual assist programme for 1976. As indicated in table 4 of annex II below, major allocations of funds concerned assistance to refugees in Latin America, the Sudan and the United Republic of Tanzania.
71. The considerable increase in the material assistance caseload over the past years, the geographical scope and diversification of refugee problems and the type of assistance required, combined with a relative decrease in opportunities for permanent solutions resulting from more difficult economic conditions, have led the Office to explore new ways and means to achieve such solutions. It is, however, anticipated that the promotion of employment opportunities for refugees whether in agricultural settlements or in urban areas, will become increasingly difficult, expensive and demanding on staff resources. In the field of rural settlement, in-depth studies have been made of requirements with a view to achieving more effective integration of refugees, through the holding of a seminar and special missions by rural experts to the areas concerned. With regard to resettlement through migration, the High Commissioner has approached Governments with a view to promoting refugee immigration legislation based on humanitarian rather than economic criteria.
B. Assistance activities under the special operations
72. The special operations which UNHCR has been called upon to carry out represented a considerable part of its activities in 1975. Such operations, undertaken under the "good offices" resolutions of the General Assembly in fields in which UNHCR has particular expertise and experience, have added a new and important dimension to the action of the Office. From a humanitarian point of view they provide essential assistance to hundreds of thousands of displaced persons who face problems similar to those of refugees, while, on the other hand, they contribute to alleviating the task of Governments in facilitating the rehabilitation of these persons and in improving the economic and social situation in the areas concerned.
73. In financial terms, sizable sums were committed in 1975 for the special operations, as indicated in table B at the end of this chapter. Details of the voluntary contributions made towards the special operations, in cash and in kind, may be found in annex II, table 5, below.
(Note: Statistical and financial tables not included in this online version. See your nearest UN Depository Library.)
CHAPTER III ASSISTANCE ACTIVITIES IN AFRICA
A. General developments
1. Introductory remarks
74. The total number of refugees in Africa at the end of 1975 was estimated at over 1,100,000, as compared with a figure of approximately one million the previous year. The reduction in numbers resulting from the large-scale voluntary repatriation of refugees from Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and, to a lesser extent, Angola was more than offset by new influxes, principally from Southern Rhodesia into Mozambique and from Ethiopia into the Sudan, and refugees from the Western Sahara.
75. The independence of the former Portuguese administered Territories had varied and often fundamental effects on UNHCR assistance in Africa in 1975. Thus, as regards refugees from Guinea-Bissau, the greater part of UNHCR's assistance activities during the year was directed towards voluntary repatriation rather than local settlement assistance as in previous years. Projects for Mozambican refugees were reviewed in view of the large numbers returning to their homes. As regards the Angolan refugees, while many of them have returned independently to their country, considerable numbers remain in Zaire and Zambia, and UNHCR projects will have to be continued pending their voluntary repatriation.
76. Another significant development in 1975 has been the increasing number of refugees from southern Africa. Apart from the influx into Mozambique of a group of approximately 15,000 refugees from Southern Rhodesia, the number of individual refugees from South Africa, Southern Rhodesia and Namibia has risen, especially in Botswana, where increasing numbers of refugees have requested temporary asylum. An allocation of $100,000 from the United Nations Trust Fund for South Africa made it possible for assistance to be provided mainly in the form of living allowances, medical care, establishment and educational assistance to South African refugees.
77. As in previous years, the amounts committed in 1975 for assistance to refugees in Africa, totalling nearly $5,217,000,28 continued to constitute the largest share of funds obligated under the annual assistance programme. In addition, a total of some $2,242,500 was committed from special trust funds.
2. Voluntary repatriation
78. As mentioned above, the independence of the Territories in Africa formerly administered by Portugal brought about the large-scale voluntary return of refugees back to their homelands. Details of the assistance provided through the special operations undertaken by UNHCR for the repatriation and rehabilitation of these persons, pursuant to General Assembly resolution 3271 (XXIX) of 10 December 1974, are given in the relevant country sections below. UNHCR always assisted the return of many of them within the framework of its annual programme mainly by covering transport and related costs for some 25,000, most of whom returned from Senegal and the Gambia to Guinea-Bissau, with smaller numbers to Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique and Sao Tome and Principe.
79. Assistance to refugees voluntarily repatriating to countries other than the formerly administered by Portugal was provided in a small number of individual cases.
80. An amount of approximately $243,500 was committed for voluntary repatriation in Africa in 1975.
81. Resettlement opportunities for refugees through migration within Africa remained severely limited in 1975, despite continuing efforts by UNHCR in co-operation with the OAU Bureau for the Placement and Education of African Refugees. Over, 390,000 were committed for this purpose during the year, benefiting some 390 persons.
4. Local settlement
82. Commitments for local settlement under the 1975 programme amounted to $4,178,000,29 comprising various assistance projects, mostly for land set and, to a lesser extent, counselling and primary education.
83. A total of 284,500 refugees benefited from local settlement assistance the 1975 programme.30 This figure reflects both the large-scale repatriation refugees from Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique and, on the other hand, new influxes into the Sudan and Mozambique.
(a) Rural settlement
84. The establishment of refugees in rural settlements in Africa, where the over-all objective is the formation of economically and socially viable community continued to receive the major part of UNHCR assistance in 1975. Consolidation the settlements for the refugees from Burundi in the United Republic of Tanzania thus involved a comprehensive range of assistance measures including the distribution of land for cultivation, the provision of tools, seed and fertilizer agricultural extension projects and the encouragement of co-operatives, while community social needs were met by educational and health assistance and essential infrastructure projects providing school buildings, medical centres and roads, and ensuring an adequate water-supply system. Similar assistance measures have been either implemented, continued or planned for settlements in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Sudan, Uganda, Zambia and Zaire. Progress has continued to be made despite difficulties and delays in some instances. Two settlements became fully self-supporting during 1975, enabling the Governments concerned to take over full financial responsibility for their operation.
85. The establishment of refugee counselling services is of particular importance in assisting refugees living individually in the urban areas in Africa, who comprise mainly persons whose background or training makes them unsuited to rural settlement, but who face serious difficulties in establishing themselves in the towns. Their qualifications are often not adapted to the type of solution they seek, while employment opportunities are very limited, often owing to difficulties in obtaining work permits. In view of the rising cost of living and general stringency, such refugees often experience severe hardship. They need realistic appraisal of their individual situations in the light of possible openings, which the professional social workers of the refugee counselling services seek to provide.
(c) Education and training
86. The over-all objective of UNHCR assistance for education and training, provided with the technical advice of UNESCO, is to endeavour to obtain for refugees educational opportunities comparable to those open to nationals in their countries of asylum, with a view to facilitating their chances of employment leading to self-support. UNHCR has consistently endeavoured to promote educational projects for refugees, at the post-primary level, providing them with the type of skills needed in the regions where they reside. As regards primary education, assistance under the annual programme has principally comprised the financing of school-building and maintenance and teachers' salaries until such time as the host Governments could themselves assume such responsibility.
87. Education Account funds committed in Africa in 1975 to provide post-primary education for 1,908 refugees totalled $935,730.
88. In 1975, refugees from colonial territories and from southern Africa continued to benefit from scholarships under the agreement concluded between the United Nations Educational and Training Programme for Southern Africa and UNHCR. As in the past, UNHCR has maintained close co-operation with the United Nations Council for Namibia as regards assistance to refugees from Namibia.
5. Immediate relief
89. The urgent needs of groups of refugees in Mozambique, the Sudan and Zaire were met by allocations from the High Commissioner's Emergency Fund totalling nearly $1,419,000.
B. Main developments in various countries
90. The refugee population of Burundi increased by some 1,000 to approximately 49,500 at the end of 1975, all of Rwandese origin. Of this number, the greater part had arrived in Burundi by 1964 and are largely self-supporting.
91. Refugees who have arrived since 1973 have been accommodated and helped to become self-supporting in already existing settlements.
92. Appropriate assistance in individual cases was provided as regards local settlement, family reunion, resettlement, voluntary repatriation, vocational training, aid for the handicapped and for those in immediate need. In this respect the recently established Refugee Counselling Service played an increasingly important role.
93. Total commitments for assistance under the 1975 programme, mainly to new arrivals, amounted to nearly $182,000, of which approximately $90,000 was in rest of local settlement and some $60,000 for multipurpose projects. An amount of $30,000 was made available towards the cost of naturalization of refugees. In addition, grants from the Education Account totalling some $32,000 were made in respect of post-primary education, including assistance at the secondary and university levels.
2. Cape Verde
94. Following the events in Angola, the Government of Cape Verde, in the course 1975, requested international assistance for the return to the islands of several thousands of its nationals who had been living and working in Angola, in certain cases for generations.
95. The Secretary-General of the United Nations made an appeal in October 1975 for international participation in this operation, a substantial part of which was intended for transportation, immediate relief (medical assistance, shelter, blankets food and clothing) and for assistance towards resettlement and integration in Cape Verde.
96. The High Commissioner immediately advanced an amount of $260,000 which, at a later stage, could be recovered from the proceeds of the appeal. The High Commissioner was thus able to finance an airlift for some 850 Cape Verdeans from the central part of Angola to Cape Verde, to cover the cost of inter-island transportation and to provide urgently needed medicaments.
97. The refugee population in Ethiopia, which numbered approximately 6,000 at the beginning of 1975, comprising some 5,800 from the northern areas of the Sudan and individual refugees of various origins living in the Addis Ababa area, increased during the year through an influx of several thousand from the southern areas of the Sudan.
98. UNHCR assistance, mainly in the form of food and medical supplies, was continued for the Sudanese refugee group at Ganduar on a temporary basis owing to postponement of the transfer to a permanent settlement site at Humera. An increased amount was committed for local settlement, largely to finance the initial infrastructure at the new site.
99. The problem of individual refugees in Addis Ababa has been aggravated by several factors, such as the general economic uncertainty and reduced possibility for education, while plans for local settlement were hampered because of difficulties in obtaining trading licences and work permits. Increased funds were therefore required for supplementary assistance, in the form of food, medical care and clothing. Efforts to restructure the Refugee Counselling Service, jointly with the World Council of Churches and the International University Exchange Fund, continue.
100. Total commitments for assistance under the 1975 programme amounted to $444,5000, including over $370,500 for local settlement and nearly $58,000 for supplementary assistance. Commitments from special trust funds of nearly $67,000 included some $14,000 from the Education Account.
101. As mentioned in the High Commissioner's last report to the General Assembly,31 the Government of Guinea-Bissau, in October 1974, turned to the United Nations system for assistance in dealing with the serious economic problems with which the country was confronted. The Government, in particular, requested the High Commissioner to assist in the return to their villages and the resettlement of some 150,000 of its nationals who had been given hospitality in neighbouring countries or had been displaced inside Guinea-Bissau.
102. In response to this request, a programme of assistance, based on the findings of the United Nations interagency mission to Guinea-Bissau, was drawn up by UNHCR in consultation with the Government. The programme provided for the purchase of vehicles, transport of the refugees and displaced persons to their villages, distribution of food pending the arrival of World Food Programme (WFP) supplies, seeds and plants, agricultural tools, water supply equipment, household utensils, medicines and medical equipment, as well as for the construction of dispensaries and health units in settlement zones.
103. In March 1975, the High Commissioner appealed to Governments for contributions to finance this programme, the financial target of which had been set at $4,025,000. By 31 March 1976, the target was virtually attained through contributions from Governments and from other sources.
104. Thanks to the speedy and generous response to this appeal, the programme was started almost immediately, thereby enabling a considerable number of persons to return to their villages and plant crops before the onset of the rainy season in June. These persons had harvested their first crops and were largely self-sufficient in food by the end of the year. The programme rapidly gained momentum and by 31 December 1975 an estimated 64,000 former refugees had returned from the Gambia, Guinea and Senegal. A further repatriation movement is planned for 1976. The initial measures of assistance, such as food supplies, distribution of seeds, agricultural equipment and medicines, were consolidated in the course of the year through medical and rural assistance projects. Five sectoral hospitals with a capacity of 20 beds each, located throughout the country, were started towards the end of 1975.
105. The World Food Programme, in response to a request from the Government, contributed over $2,600,000 in food supplies for the refugees and displaced persons in Guinea-Bissau.
106. A total of $1,538,000 was committed in 1975, including some $800,000 for medical supplies and facilities, more than $460,000 for agricultural projects and equipment, and $109,000 for transportation costs.
107. A specially earmarked contribution will provide for two primary/intermediate schools, the construction of which was started in 1975.
108. Assistance measures will be continued in 1976 with a view mainly to consolidating the resettlement of the refugees and displaced persons, inter alia, through the provision of adequate water supplies and health facilities.
109. By the end of 1975, the total refugee population in Kenya was estimated at 2,450, as compared with 2,140 at the beginning of the year, consisting mainly of small groups of individual refugees living principally in the urban areas. The increased total reflects new arrivals from Ethiopia and other African countries, partially offset by departures for resettlement.
110. The Joint Refugee Services of Kenya continued to administer the UNHCR assistance in all but exceptional cases, as well as to counsel refugees. Over 20 refugees were given supplementary aid and more than 300 benefited from grants for local settlement. Some 250 primary school children benefited from payment of school fees, an increase of approximately 50 per cent over the previous year.
111. Total commitments under the 1975 assistance programme amounted to $118,000, which some $57,300 was for local settlement and some $51,200 for resettlement. In addition, nearly $102,000 was committed from special trust funds, including almost $67,000 in respect of grants enabling refugee students to pursue courses at the secondary, vocational/technical or university levels.
112. The influx of refugees into Mozambique, which began in the middle of 1975, continued throughout the rest of the year and by 31 December some 15,000 had entered the country, most of them from Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), with small numbers of individual refugees from neighbouring countries.
113. Following a request from the Government for assistance in meeting the needs the refugees from Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), a first allocation of $100,000 we made from the High Commissioner's Emergency Fund, followed later by a further allocation of $350,000, for immediate relief assistance in the form of food, blankets, medical supplies and transport, and to facilitate rural settlement by the provision of such items as agricultural tools, vehicles and seed.
114. In addition to the Emergency Fund allocations, $10,000 was provided under the 1975 programme, of which $9,000 was for equipment for a refugee centre and for supplementary aid to individual refugees.
115. Following the establishment of a Transitional Government in Mozambique in September 1974, large numbers of the Mozambicans who had taken refuge in neighbouring countries began to return spontaneously to their country. By March 1975 some 50,000 had returned from Malawi, Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), the Unit Republic of Tanzania and Zambia, while a further 33,700 in the United Republic of Tanzania were expected to return.
116. Faced with serious economic problems following the years of struggle for liberation, the Transitional Government turned to the United Nations system for assistance and in particular asked the High Commissioner to assist in meeting the urgent needs of the returning refugees and the displaced persons.
117. In response to this request, and pursuant to General Assembly resolution 3271 (XXIX) and the directives of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme, and in consultation with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, a programme of assistance was prepared by UNHCR, in an amount of $7,150,000, to provide for the repatriation and resettlement of the refugees and displaced persons. The programme included provision for transportation costs, food and health facilities, as well as seeds, tools and essential agricultural equipment.
118. An appeal to Governments to contribute towards the financing of the programme was made by the High Commissioner in April 1975, and measures for its implementation were initiated shortly thereafter. The transport by air of some 1,800 persons from the United Republic of Tanzania, including in particular mothers and children, orphans and handicapped persons, took place in June 1975, and the first large-scale, organized movements of refugees from the United Republic of Tanzania and from Zambia were carried out in October/November 1975, when over 25,000 persons were repatriated with UNHCR assistance.
119. The refugees and displaced persons were provided with food supplies and other immediate relief, seeds, agricultural implements and equipment, and at the time of writing this report good progress had been made in their rural integration in Mozambique. The first phase of the repatriation and resettlement programme having been carried out successfully, it is expected that a second repatriation movement from the United Republic of Tanzania will take place in the course of 1976.
120. The Lutheran World Federation/Tanganyika Christian Refugee Service (LWF/TCRS) is acting as UNHCR's operational partner in the repatriation of refugees from the United Republic of Tanzania.
121. By 31 March 1976, apart from $500,000 mad e available from the High Commissioner's Emergency Fund, $5,246,350 had been contributed by Governments and from other sources towards the financial target of $7,150,000 for the repatriation and resettlement of the refugees and displaced persons in Mozambique. Some $2,387,000 of this amount had been committed by 31 December 1975, including over $1,450,000 for land settlement, nearly $322,000 for repatriation costs and $315,500 for transportation.
122. The programme will be continued in 1976 with a view to completing the repatriation and resettlement of Mozambican refugees from the United Republic of Tanzania and to consolidating their rural settlement in Mozambique.
123. The number of refugees in Rwanda, most of whom are from Burundi, increased from approximately 6,000 at the beginning of 1975 to some 7,400 at the end of the year. The new arrivals comprised mainly wives and children rejoining their families.
124. UNHCR assistance during 1975 was again directed mainly towards the consolidation of the Mutara rural settlement, which has now reached full capacity with over 3,000 refugees settled on individual plots. The dispensary of the new medical centre was opened at the beginning of the year. More than half of the children at the two primary schools are refugees. The salaries of teaching staff are covered by the Government. Substantial quantities of seed, plants and fruit trees have been distributed. Food rations were provided for new arrivals and, the limited extent, earlier arrivals who suffered from the poor harvest at the beginning of the year. A water supply system in the settlement is to be financed by a bilateral contribution from a Government. AIDR (Association internationale de développement rural outre-mer) continues to implement the project.
125. Total commitments for assistance in Rwanda in 1975 amounted to over $205,000 of which an amount of nearly $195,000 was for local settlement assistance at the Mutara settlement. Some $10,000 was provided to assist 245 individual refugees with regard to installation, resettlement, subsistence and family reunion. In addition, Education Account grants totalling nearly $61,000 were made available post-primary educational assistance.
126. Following the voluntary repatriation of some 40,000 refugees to Guinea-Bissau,32 the refugee population in Senegal at the end of 1975 totalled approximately 46,000, of whom some 36,000 were still living in the Casamance region and some 10,000 were living individually in the urban areas.
127. With the likelihood that departures from the Casamance region to Guinea-Bissau would be resumed after the March 1976 harvest, UNHCR assistance, other than assistance towards voluntary repatriation, has been directed mainly towards the urban areas, where refugees have been facing similar economic and employment difficulties as in other African cities. Supplementary aid was given to many of these refugees, and multipurpose assistance grants included support for the social services of the National Committee for Aid to Refugees which, as in previous years co-operated closely with UNHCR assistance and was particularly active in counselling.
128. Total commitments under the 1975 assistance programme amounted to nearly $223,000 of which some $204,000 concerned mainly voluntary repatriation. Trust fund allocations totalling some $72,000 included Education Account grants for scholarships for 20 students at the University of Dakar.
129. By the end of 1975, the total number of refugees in the Sudan was estimated have reached 90,000, an increase of some 36,500 over the figure for 1974, due mainly to a further influx of refugees from Ethiopia. The other refugee group comprises approximately 4,500 refugees from Zaire.
130. In the spring of 1975, an amount of $168,500 was allocated from the Emergency Fund to meet the immediate needs of new refugees from Ethiopia. Pending selection of a permanent settlement site, this group is concentrated in the Kassala Province, where it is receiving essential assistance in the form of WFP food supplies, shelter materials, household utensils, medicaments and agricultural tools. The services of consultants have been retained with a view to accelerating the, surveying and planning of settlement sites. This firm is currently engaged in surveying the Esh Showak area, which has been designated for the settlement of an earlier group of some 22,000 non-settled Ethiopian refugees living mainly in the Esh Showak and surrounding areas. The existence of adequate water supplies at this site has now been confirmed.
131. Completion of the infrastructure at Qala-en-Nahal enabled responsibility for the administration of this settlement, which provides accommodation for some 24,000 refugees to be taken over by the Government. A survey was undertaken to determine the needs of the settlement as regards post-primary education and vocational training.
132. The Rajaf settlement for some 4,500 Zairian refugees has continued to progress. It is expected that responsibility for the administration of this settlement will be taken over by the Government in 1976.
133. Individual refugees in Khartoum benefited through 1975 from the UNHCR-financed counselling service. Some 700, most of whom were in need of short-term assistance in Khartoum, also benefited from supplementary assistance. Plans have been made for the establishment of a joint counselling service with the participation of the Government, voluntary agencies and UNHCR.
134. Total commitments under the 1975 assistance programme amounted to some $432,000, by far the greater part of which was utilized for local settlement assistance. Supplementary aid commitments totalled some $88,000. From total Trust Fund commitments of nearly $85,000, Education Account grants for post-primary courses totalled some $65,000, benefiting refugee students at the university, technical college and secondary school levels.
135. Further action had to be taken by UNHCR in 1975 with regard to assistance undertaken in south Sudan under the special programme which first began in May 1973 for the benefit of the many thousands returning to their homes following the Addis Ababa Agreement. The outstanding projects, which related to health and educational assistance, incurred commitments in 1975 of $360, 570.
136. There was little change during 1975 in the number of refugees in Uganda, estimated to be some 112,500 at the end of the year, comprising the two principal groups of Rwandese (78,000) and Zairians (34,000), together with a small number from other African countries.
137. UNHCR assistance in 1975 has been directed primarily towards consolidation of the eight settlements accommodating some 41,000 refugees where, for the most part, 4 measure of economic self-sufficiency comparable to that of the local population has been achieved.
138. In 1975 the Government carried out a reappraisal of past years' projects in settlements for Rwandese refugees, with a view to concentrating funds on projects with a high priority-rating and a reasonable chance of completion before the end 1976. The project allocations were readjusted accordingly with the approval of the UNHCR Executive Committee.
139. Refugees living individually in the urban areas have faced the same difficulties as elsewhere in Africa, although benefiting from relatively freer access to employment and education. Agricultural tools, seeds, household utensils and food were provided for those willing to move to the settlements. Supplementary aid through medical care, rent subsidies, transport costs and other assistance was provided for some 650 refugees in particularly difficult circumstances.
140. A total of nearly $94,000 was committed in 1975, including $80,000 for local settlement. An amount of nearly $75,000 was committed from special trust funds, while assistance from the Education Account for post-primary education was provided for 164 students under projects totalling over $50,000.
11. United Republic of Tanzania
141. With the repatriation of some 37,000 of the Mozambicans, the total refugee population in the United Republic of Tanzania decreased from the Government's revised figure of approximately 208,000 at the beginning of 1975 to some 171,000 at the end of the year. This total comprised approximately 110,500 Burundi refugees, 33,700 Mozambicans, 23,100 Rwandese and 2,400 Ugandans with small number from other African countries.
142. The Burundi refugees continued to be concentrated mainly at the Ulyankulu and Katumba settlements, the populations of which had, by the end of the year, increased to some 54,000 and 52,000 respectively. Administered under tripartite agreements between the Government, the Lutheran World Federation/Tanganyika Christian Refugee Service (LWF/TCRS) and UNHCR, with LWF/TCRS acting as implementing agency, both settlements made progress towards the objective of establishing economically and socially viable communities. The settlements' co-operatives have continued to expand.
143. The extensive building programme at Ulyankulu included a health centre, road co-operative headquarters, and two rural dispensaries. Agricultural extension staff provided advice and assistance. The principal food crops grown were maize, beans, ground-nuts, cowpeas and sorghum, while tobacco and beans were cultivated as cash crops. Some 36,000 refugees, the first arrivals of 1972, no longer needed World Food Programme rations.
144. An additional area was opened for newcomers at Katumba settlement, where the construction programme included a health centre, community day centres, a second permanent primary school, a maize mill for the new settlement area, a dam bridge, large piggery and poultry houses. Several new temporary school buildings were erected by self-help methods. Food crops were mainly maize, cassava, sweet potatoes, beans and ground-nuts, while tobacco and soybeans were grown as cash crops.
145. At the beginning of the year, the two remaining UNHCR-assisted settlements for Mozambicans, Matekwe and Mputa, had refugee populations of 12,700 and 13,300 respectively. By the end of the year, their numbers had been reduced to some 6,000 and 7,500 respectively through voluntary repatriation.33 Both settlements had reached advanced stages of development, which in the case of Matekwe enabled it to be taken over by the Government in the middle of the year. The transfer of Mputa is envisaged for 1976. There was extensive cultivation of tobacco as a cash crop at Mputa and its co-operative had the largest cash turnover in the region.
146. The Kigwa settlement for Ugandan refugees made significant progress in 1975, especially in agriculture with the development of tobacco as a cash crop and in charcoal production. Permanent buildings were constructed for a market, community development centre and a nursery school.
147. The number of individual refugees in urban areas remained constant, as reflected in the caseload of the refugee counselling service of the Christian Council of Tanzania, which assisted nearly 1,500 persons in 1975. UNHCR contributes to the administrative costs of the service.
148. UNHCR contributed to the Dr. Americo Boavida Hospital, administered by the Frente de Libertação de Mozambique (FRELIMO), during 1975 under a project for the care of Mozambican refugees.
149. As regards post-primary education, secondary school, vocational training and university scholarships were provided under UNHCR projects administered by the Government and by the Christian Council of Tanzania. English language training was provided for selected post-primary Burundi students to enable them to continue their interrupted secondary education in Tanzanian schools.
150. Of the total commitments for assistance under the 1975 programme of $2,230,000, the major proportion (some $2,183,000) was for local settlement, mainly at the Ulyankulu and Katumba settlements, $24,700 for the voluntary repatriation of Mozambicans, and $19,000 for supplementary aid. Commitments for post-primary educational assistance to 213 refugee students totalled nearly $142,000.
151. The refugee population in Zaire at the end of 1974 was assessed at around 500,000, of whom some 200,000 Angolans were estimated to have left the country by mid-1975. In the latter part of the year, the Government undertook a detailed survey which revealed a total of some 460,000 Angolans by the end of 1975. There was little variation in the numbers of the other groups of some 24,300 Rwandese, 24,000 Burundi, 750 Zambians and a number of Namibians and South Africans, making a total refugee population of approximately 510,000 at the end of the year.
152. Assistance for the principal groups of Angolan refugees remaining in Bas-Zaire province and elsewhere along the Angolan frontier was necessarily modified in view of the potentially large-scale voluntary repatriation. Projects included educational assistance, through the payment of school teachers' salaries at the primary and secondary levels, subsistence allowances for students, as well as medical assistance in the form of supplies and equipment and payment of nurses' salaries. Assistance was also provided to cover immediate agricultural needs.
153. The influx of Angolan refugees in the latter part of the year prompted an allocation of $300,000 from the Emergency Fund to cover immediate needs such as food, medical supplies, shelter material and transport costs under a project to be implemented by AIDR (Association Internationale de développement rural outre-mer).
154. The decision to consolidate assistance for the Burundi refugees in Kivu was taken following indications from the Zairian Government that this group would be permitted to remain in the region. By the end of the year, 100 families had already been transferred to a site at Lubarika. However, plans regarding the principal settlement site at Mutambala still await the decision of the regional authorities. Assistance measures in the field of health, education and agriculture covered the provision of two mobile health units, the construction of 37 primary and 15 secondary school classrooms, the provision of tools and seed as well as equipment for some 400 fishermen. Funds have also been committed for community development, vehicle maintenance and food distribution to relocated families.
155. Individual refugees, living mainly in the urban areas, benefited under a multipurpose project from grants for various forms of aid including medical care, subsistence, clothing, voluntary repatriation and local settlement.
156. Total commitments for assistance to refugees in Zaire under the 1975 programme amounted to nearly $529,000, including some $446,000 for local settlement, mostly for Burundi refugees, and $80,000 for multipurpose assistance. In addition, trust funds commitments totalling some $230,000 included a contribution towards the transport and reception facilities for Zairians returning from the United Republic of Tanzania, grants for Namibians and South African refugees, and allocations from the Education Account for post-primary education benefiting Angolan, Burundi and Rwandese refugees, such projects being administered by voluntary agencies.
157. The reduction of the refugee population in Zambia in 1975 to some 36,000 compared with over 40,000 at the beginning of the year has been accounted for principally by the voluntary repatriation of the majority of the Mozambicans, offset to some extent by an additional influx of Angolans. The total number by the end of the year comprised some 30,000 Angolans, 3,400 Namibians, 500 South Africans and 450 Mozambicans, with the remainder coming from other countries in Africa.
158. Established for the purpose of enabling the Angolan refugees in Zambia to become self-supporting, Meheba rural settlement has inevitably reflected the uncertainties of the situation in Angola during the past year. Numerically, the population decreased to 8,100 by the departure from the settlement of some 400 Angolans, while the possibility of repatriation in the near future had a generally unsettling effect, illustrated by a lack of enthusiasm for increasing agricultural output. However, greater interest in improving agricultural and other productive activities was shown towards the end of the year. Poultry and fish-farming co-operatives continued to thrive and the primary schools functioned well, while limited infrastructure measures, such as the construction of a dispensary, a training centre and staff housing, were completed. Recent arrivals at the settlement benefited from World Food Programme food supplies. Under the tripartite agreement between the Government, the Lutheran World Foundation/Zambian Christian Refugee Service (LWF/ZCRS) and UNHCR, LWF/ZCRS acts as operational partner.
159. The situation of refugees living individually in the urban areas has tended to deteriorate during the past year in view of increasing economic difficulties and the severe shortage of employment opportunities. UNHCR has continued to assist these refugees by providing financial assistance for voluntary repatriation, resettlement elsewhere and local settlement. Supplementary assistance to cover such items as clothing, lodging, school fees and medicaments was also provided. Some 160 refugees from southern Africa benefited from similar forms of assistance made available from special trust funds. A counselling service was created in January 1976.
160. Post-primary educational assistance provided by UNHCR in 1975 included support for some 90 refugee students from southern Africa at Nkumbi International College and for some 80 of various origins undergoing technical and vocational training elsewhere. In addition, some 16 Namibian refugees benefited from intensive English language courses and vocational training, provided in consultation with the Council for Namibia.
161. By the end of 1975, all the refugees living in Nyimba settlement had returned voluntarily to Mozambique.
162. Of the total of nearly $216,000 committed under the 1975 programme, some $147,000 were used for local settlement and some $60,000 for supplementary aid of the variety mentioned above. Grants from the Education Account for post-primary courses benefiting 187 refugees totalled some $199,000.
14. Other countries in Africa
163. The number of refugees of concern to UNHCR in various other African countries at the end of 1975 was estimated at nearly 130,000.
164. By the end of 1975, there was an estimated over-all total of some 100,000 refugees in the Central African countries, including 5,000 Angolans, 5,000 refugees from neighbouring countries in the Central African Republic, and some 90,000 refugees from Equatorial Guinea, whose numbers would appear to be considerably larger than those indicated in previous years. No significant UNHCR assistance has so far been channelled to the latter group. UNHCR-financed multipurpose projects provided supplementary aid, local settlement assistance, resettlement and repatriation, and were administered by the respective United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) resident representatives, often with the assistance of local voluntary organizations. Total commitments under the 1975 programme and special trust funds for assistance to these refugees amounted to some $25,000. Furthermore, trust funds, totalling some $30,000, were expended in respect of a group of approximately 10,000 persons from Sao Tome and Principe returning from Angola, mainly towards the cost of reception arrangements in their country of origin.
165. In North Africa, the total number of refugees in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia at the end of 1975 was estimated at 22,700. Supplementary aid was provided, as in previous years, for small groups of these refugees, principally through annuities for aged and handicapped refugees of European origin. Resettlement grants were also provided to a group of Latin American refugees. Total commitments under the 1975 programme for assistance in these three countries amounted to nearly $52,000.
166. The above figure includes refugees from Western Sahara in Algeria, who were estimated by the Algerian authorities to number some 20,000 in December 1975. The High Commissioner made available early in 1976 an amount of $500,000 from his Emergency Fund for assistance to these refugees through the Algerian Red Crescent with the support of the League of Red Cross Societies.
167. In Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland, refugees numbered over 2,600 at the end of 1975.
168. In Botswana, the over-all number of refugees remains unchanged at some 2,500,000 the effect of the naturalization of approximately 500 Angolans having been offset by an increase in the number of refugees from Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe). The group of some 1,800 Angolans at the Etsha settlement is now economically self-supporting. UNHCR contributed to the construction of the Government's transit centre for newly-arrived refugees at Francistown. A contribution from the Council for Namibia supplemented a Government grant for the construction of a medical clinic at Makunda to serve both the local inhabitants and Namibians in the area. Individual refugees benefited from establishment assistance and supplementary aid. Some 40 Southern Rhodesian refugee students were assisted, while South African refugees received aid from the United Nations Trust Fund for South Africa. In Lesotho, the small community of some 180 refugees has achieved a measure of relative stability. After the departure of the Mozambicans from Swaziland, the refugee population in that country comprised mainly South Africans, for whom supplementary assistance was provided from funds made available by the United Nations Trust Fund for South Africa. Total commitments under the 1975 Programme for these three countries amounted to some $69,000 while grants from trust funds, particularly those for refugees from southern Africa, totalled some $94,000.
169. There was little change in the total refugee population in West African countries34 in 1975, estimated to comprise approximately 4,000 refugees of various origins, mostly living in the towns. As in the past, assistance towards voluntary repatriation, local settlement and resettlement was provided mainly by means of multipurpose projects administered by the respective UNDP representatives and in some cases implemented by voluntary agencies. Over 200 refugees benefited from such assistance, for which $49,000 were committed, principally in Ghana, the Ivory Coast and Liberia, where significant progress was made in establishing counselling services, and to a lesser extent in Benin, the Gambia, Mali, the Niger Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo and Upper Volta. In addition, commitments totalling some $47,000 were made available from trust funds, including the Education Account
CHAPTER IV ASSISTANCE ACTIVITIES IN ASIA
A. General developments
1. Introductory remarks
170. During 1975 the assistance programmes in which UNHCR was involved in Asia were principally special operations undertaken by the High Commissioner within the framework of his good offices functions, in fields in which UNHCR has particular expertise and experience, as recognized by the General Assembly. From a humanitarian point of view, they have provided essential assistance to hundreds of thousands of displaced persons who face problems analogous to those of refugees while facilitating the task of Governments with regard to the rehabilitation of these persons, thus improving the economic and social situation in the areas concerned.
171. The relative importance of these operations in Asia is reflected in the fact that commitments under the 1975 programme for assistance to refugees in Asia totalled some $130,000, whereas assistance activities in the context of special operations in various parts of Asia amounted to over $42 million. Of these, the humanitarian programme for assistance to Indo-Chinese displaced persons increased very considerably in 1975 as compared to 1974. In resolution 3455 (XXX) of 9 December 1975, the General Assembly urged the international community further to strengthen its support of the efforts of the High Commissioner in bringing assistance to these displaced persons, thereby endorsing the decision already taken by the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme at its twenty-sixth session.35
172. In addition to marginal assistance from the over-all allocation, three distinct programmes of assistance were elaborated:
(a) Assistance to displaced persons within the Indo-Chinese peninsula, totalling some $20 million;
(b) A relief programme for displaced persons from Democratic Kampuchea, the Lao People's Democratic Republic and the Republic of South Viet Nam in Thailand;
(c) A special programme of resettlement and repatriation of Indo-Chinese displaced persons.
In addition, emergency assistance was provided where necessary, particularly after the events of April 197, q in South Viet Nam. Details of all these assistance activities are to be found in the country sections below.
173. Besides the Branch Offices in the Lao People's Democratic Republic and Thailand, new offices were established by UNHCR during 1975, in the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam, Malaysia and the Philippines. Moreover, UNHCR Chargés de mission were temporarily posted in Hong Kong and Singapore while missions were undertaken to other areas such as Guam, Indonesia, Japan and other places.
2. Voluntary repatriation
174. As in other cases elsewhere in the world, the High Commissioner continued his efforts on behalf of the Indo-Chinese displaced persons in the field of voluntary repatriation, which constitutes one of the most suitable solutions to the problem of uprootedness. However, in 1975 very little success could be achieved in this domain. UNHCR Branch Offices directly involved carried out the registration of candidates for voluntary repatriation and necessary procedures were elaborated for submission of these cases to the authorities concerned, with a view to facilitating their eventual return.
175. A very small number of persons were repatriated during 1975 with the direct assistance of UNHCR. On the other hand, over 1,600 South Vietnamese returned independently to their country by boat, without the involvement of UNHCR. Other small groups also returned spontaneously in the course of 1975. The possibility of sizable movement of persons to their countries of origin, particularly the Lao People's Democratic Republic and the Republic of South Viet Nam, remains under current review by UNHCR.
176. By the end of 1975, it was estimated that there were more than 240,000 displaced persons from Indo-China outside their country of origin, in addition to some 18,000 persons from the region who were stranded in various countries due to events. More than half of all these persons found permanent places in the United States of America during 1975, with the assistance of the Government, of that country. Some 30,000 persons were resettled in other countries, principally France, Canada and Australia. There remain some 20,000 displaced persons in various countries in South-East Asia, principally in Thailand, who are registered with UNHCR for resettlement in third countries.
177. During 1975, UNHCR provided more than $1.5 million through the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration for the transportation of these persons to the countries of resettlement. Movement to France, mainly from Thailand is continuing at the rate of some 1,000 persons per month, while a further 11,000 persons will be accepted by the United States for resettlement. Where necessary, UNHCR also provided assistance in the countries of resettlement in order to promote the rapid rehabilitation of these persons.
4. Local settlement, counselling, education and training
178. Major projects of local settlement were under implementation throughout 1975, particularly in the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam, the Lao People's Democratic Republic and the Republic of South Viet Nam. Main emphasis was in the rural areas where UNHCR's assistance was principally directed to agriculture in order to increase food production and thus ensure a large measure of self-sufficiency. Counselling services to Ugandan Asians in India and Pakistan benefited from limited support under the annual assistance programmes. On the other hand, important allocations were included in the programmes for education and training of displaced persons within the Indo-Chinese peninsula. Details of these activities are to be found in the following country sections.
B. Main developments in various countries and territories
1. Democratic Republic of Viet Nam
179. UNHCR's assistance in the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam, where the Government was faced with the task of rehabilitating some 2.7 million displaced persons, has been aimed at meeting urgent needs in respect of agriculture, health, clothing and reconstruction. Assistance has been for the benefit of displaced persons mainly in the southern provinces of the country where the need was greatest.
180. To refurbish medical stocks, which were at a critically low level throughout the country, UNHCR provided 21 tons of medicaments, distributed by the national Red Cross, over the 1974-1975 period.
181. In addition, several tons of cotton, woollen and acrylic yarn were made available for processing and spinning into cloth for the manufacture of clothing which was distributed to many thousands of displaced families. This assistance served not only to meet an urgent need for clothing, but also to provide employment and training.
182. In the field of agricultural assistance, UNHCR directed its efforts to the development by the Tuy Phoung Experimental Centre near Hanoi of a poultry-breeding system, suitable for exploitation on a country-wide basis. The aim again was to help meet an essential material need, while providing training and employment for a number of displaced persons. In addition, urgent supplies of fertilizer were made available, at the request of the Government, in order to accelerate and increase food production.
183. Commitments in 1975 for medical supplies ($7,714), textile yarn ($105,149) and agricultural assistance ($610,000), as described above, supplemented the substantial commitments already made in 1974.
184. At the request of the Government, UNHCR has undertaken further measures of assistance to respond to urgent needs, particularly of persons in the four most devastated southern provinces. They mainly include the provision of farm and irrigation machinery to clear and prepare arable land, the supply of fertilizer to boost food production and help in reconstructing an agricultural training school. The cost to UNHCR of such assistance in 1975/76 is estimated at $6 million.
2. Hong Kong
185. In the context of its annual material assistance programme, UNHCR contributed financially towards the temporary care and maintenance of a small number of European refugees in transit in Hong Kong. This was done in collaboration with the World Council of Churches, which continued its work of helping resettle these refugees in third countries.
186. Exceptional measures were required, on the other hand, in the framework of UNHCR's special operations on behalf of Indo-Chinese displaced persons, to assist some 4,000 displaced persons, mostly from the Republic of South Viet Nam, who sought temporary asylum in Hong Kong having been rescued by vessels on the high seas.
187. UNHCR contributed $120,000 to the Hong Kong authorities towards the care and maintenance of these groups. As in other countries in the region, a UNHCR Chargé de mission was assigned to Hong Kong to assist the authorities in finding durable solutions. By the end of the year, some 3,700 persons had been permanently resettled in third countries, while over 100 were settled locally. The UNHCR Regional Office in Kuala Lumpur continues to attend to residual problems of those remaining.
188. In the course of 1975, small groups of South Vietnamese were given temporary asylum in Japan after rescue at sea by foreign-owned vessels. At the request of the authorities, UNHCR entered into an agreement with Caritas Japan to provide care and maintenance for these groups during their stay in Japan, and made available some $80,000 for this purpose in 1975. A further sum of $6,600 was made available to the Japanese Red Cross Society for temporary assistance to a small group of ship-wrecked Vietnamese fishermen who were repatriated voluntarily under UNHCR auspices in January 1976. Of the new arrivals, 50 persons were resettled in third countries with UNHCR assistance.
4. The Lao People's Democratic Republic
189. At the request of the authorities, UNHCR's assistance programme in the Lao People's Democratic Republic was designed to contribute to efforts of the Government aimed at the rehabilitation of some 700,000 displaced persons, representing one quarter of the entire Lao population, mainly by facilitating their transfer to and settlement in areas of their choice.
190. A programme of material assistance was begun in 1974, concurrently with the opening of a branch office in Vientiane. Early in 1975, UNHCR's efforts took the form of an organized transfer of displaced persons residing mainly in the Vientiane and Borikhane Provinces, who wished to return to their home villages. Since it was essential that the move should take place rapidly, before the planting season began an airlift was organized between Vientiane and the Plain of Jars. Other displaced persons were helped to travel to their destinations by road or river. By July, over 40,000 had thus returned, more than 22,000 by air.
191. To help meet needs during the initial resettlement stage, food supplies, mainly of rice, were provided to each returning household, together with a number of basic items with which to build temporary dwellings and cultivate a small area of land. Assistance was also made available to the provincial and district authorities, in the form of agricultural machinery urgently needed to prepare arable land which had been neglected through the war years, and thus stimulate resumption of agricultural production.
192. UNHCR committed $330,160 and $2,270,416 respectively for the transfer and rehabilitation of these persons.
193. Towards the end of 1975, preparations were under way for a second large-scale transfer and resettlement programme, involving over 100,000 displaced and uprooted persons wishing to move to new locations. A rehabilitation programme in an amount of $11 million has been established by the Government, to which UNHCR envisages contributing $6 million for the period up to the end of 1976.
194. An amount of $20,000 was committed for assistance of various kinds to needy Indo-Chinese who arrived in the Lao People's Democratic Republic following events in their respective countries.
195. Of nearly 3,000 persons from Indo-China who arrived in Malaysia in the course of 1975, some 1,600 were resettled in third countries with UNHCR assistance by the end of the year. At the request of the authorities, UNHCR also entered into an agreement with the Malaysian Red Cross Society to provide temporary care and maintenance for those displaced persons in Malaysia seeking permanent solutions elsewhere. An amount of $62,500 was made available for this purpose.
196. Of the new arrivals, Malaysia accepted over 1,200 displaced persons from Democratic Kampuchea for permanent settlement in Malaysia under a project sponsored by PERKIM, a Malaysian Muslim welfare organization, in collaboration with the Malaysian Red Cross Society. UNHCR made available a total of $245,000 to PERKIM to facilitate the local integration of the Indo-Chinese displaced persons in the course of 1975. Towards the end of 1975, a Regional Office was established in Kuala Lumpur to deal both with problems of concern to UNHCR in Malaysia and with those in other countries of the eastern part of South-East Asia where there is no UNHCR presence.
197. Of more than 1,250 arrivals from Indo-China in the Philippines during 1975, some 250 persons were resettled in third countries with UNHCR assistance, and a similar number were settled locally by the end of the year. UNHCR financial assistance was also requested for a further 150 displaced persons from the Republic of South Viet Nam who were temporarily housed by the Government at the Jose Fabella Centre in Manila, pending voluntary repatriation, family reunion or resettlement in third countries. UNHCR made available to the Government an amount of $22,000 for the care and maintenance of this group under a project implemented by the Social Welfare Department, and in addition provided some $6,000 for other displaced persons residing outside the Centre. With further new arrivals, 520 persons from Indo-China in the Philippines were seeking resettlement in third countries at the end of 1975, in addition to 50 persons who had registered for voluntary repatriation. A UNHCR Office was established in Manila in late 1975.
7. Republic of South Viet Nam
198. At the request of the Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Viet Nam, UNHCR's assistance programme within the Republic of South Viet Nam was focused mainly on the promotion of agricultural development, in order to stimulate food production. Land clearance equipment provided for this purpose in 1975 has been operated by three mobile centres, engaged in preparing ground for cultivation in the northern region. This assistance also served to provide specialized training to a selected number of displaced persons who were entrusted with the task of operating and maintaining heavy equipment. A number of fully-equipped diesel tillers were also provided by UNHCR for use as ploughs in the heavily devastated Quang Tri area. In addition, disc ploughs were supplied for use in reclaiming fields in the Central Highlands, which had been abandoned during the conflict. This machinery has been operated by tractor brigades, each covering specific areas.
199. To meet urgent needs in terms of clothing UNHCR provided 300,000 metres of polyester/cotton cloth, at the request of the national Red Cross, benefiting some 25,000 displaced families.
200. UNHCR commitments in 1975 for agricultural machinery totalled $1,256,493. Amounts of $221,316 and $155,526 were set aside respectively for training purposes and the supply of cloth, while a sum of $409,022 was committed to purchase raw cotton from which to make additional clothing.
201. UNHCR's plans for continued assistance in 1976 are to concentrate, at the request of the authorities, on needs in the Central Highlands and the northern region, where large-scale assistance is still required to meet the immediate needs of displaced and uprooted persons returning to their home villages, and to facilitate their permanent settlement. Priority requirements include additional agricultural machinery, chemical fertilizer and hydraulic irrigation pumps in order to promote food production. In the coastal regions, assistance continues to be given to develop fishing as a supplementary source of protein food. There are also other needs in the educational and health sectors. The cost of UNHCR's programme up to the end of 1976, covering these requirements, is estimated at $7 million.
Special emergency programme in South Viet Nam
202. In the spring of 1975, UNHCR was called upon to participate, together with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), in a joint emergency relief operation, to alleviate the human suffering caused by the events in the former Republic of Viet Nam. In an appeal to Governments and individuals everywhere, the Secretary-General urged that increased humanitarian assistance be given to meet essential needs of the civilian population, by means of contributions through UNHCR and UNICEF, both agencies having assistance programmes in the areas affected. In consultation with a coordinating office established at United Nations Headquarters the operation involved the procurement and delivery to the area of urgent supplies on the basis of lists provided by the authorities.
203. In the months which followed, UNHCR made available over 20,000 tons of food, including rice, wheat flour, tinned foods, soya beans and other basic commodities, as well as 45 tons of medicaments, which were procured on behalf of the Red Cross Society in each area concerned. Other supplies provided through UNHCR included shelter material in the form of over 1,500 tons of corrugated iron sheets and 1 million metres of material for clothing purposes.
204. In order to ensure speedy delivery to meet immediate needs, initial consignments were flown to the area in aircraft chartered by UNHCR. This form of transport was later replaced by lower-cost shipment by sea, particularly for less urgently needed supplies.
205. The coordinated efforts to meet urgent needs in South Viet Nam made it possible to phase out the emergency operation towards the end of 1975. Assistance was still required, however, to facilitate the return to normal life of a large portion of the population, many of whom were displaced and uprooted. Such requirements have been integrated, as far as possible, within UNHCR's programme of assistance in the area.
206. Contributions channelled through UNHCR for the emergency relief operation totalled over $14 million, including substantial donations in kind.
207. Throughout 1975, small groups of displaced persons from Indo-China, mainly South Vietnamese, continued to arrive in Singapore in small boats. In some cases, the new arrivals resumed their journey after stopping temporarily in Singapore, but in others, solutions had to be found for those who chose to stay, who numbered some 1,800. As in the case of other countries in the region, UNHCR assigned a Chargé de Mission to Singapore to assist the authorities in solving this problem. Under an agreement entered into with the Government of Singapore, UNHCR provided some $150,000 towards the temporary care and maintenance of these groups.
208. By the end of the year, 1,500 persons had been permanently resettled in third countries under UNHCR auspices. The Singapore authorities agreed to accept more than 100 persons for local settlement while the residual problems in Singapore continue to be attended to by the UNHCR Regional Office in Kuala Lumpur.
209. Within South-East Asia, the largest influx of displaced persons from Indo-China, following events in the spring of 1975, moved into Thailand, where over 88,000 arrivals were registered by the Thai authorities in the course of the year. This number included some 57,000 Lao, over 26,000 displaced persons from Democratic Kampuchea, and more than 5,000 from the Republic of South Viet Nam. By the end of the year, the number of displaced persons still residing in Thailand totalled over 75,000.
210. The immediate needs of the new arrivals were initially met through assistance measures taken by the Thai authorities, which established an operations centre for displaced persons, attached to the Ministry of the Interior. As the influx grew, however, and problems involved in meeting requirements increased, the Thai Government appealed to the High Commissioner for humanitarian assistance. A programme of material aid in an amount of $12.4 million covering the period August 1975 to December 1976 was therefore established, towards which contributions totalling some $7 million had been pledged as at 31 March 1976. Although the programme was designed primarily to meet immediate needs, it also included the components of durable solutions, in accordance with UNHCR's traditional role.
211. In the initial phase, priority was given to improving conditions within the temporary camps and centres established in various parts of the country, to which new arrivals were directed after registration by the authorities. By the end of 1975, there were 20 such centres, constructed on sites made available by the Government, which accommodated over 18,000 in eastern and north-eastern Thailand, and over 55,000 Lao in the rural areas bordering the Lao People's Democratic Republic, while a group of 1,500 displaced persons from the Republic of South Viet Nam was accommodated at Camp Vayama in south-eastern Thailand. UNHCR's assistance at this stage mainly included the provision of food rations, clothing, blankets, mosquito nets and basic household equipment, the construction of temporary shelter, and measures to improve water supplies and medical care. These assistance measures were supplemented by a number of administrative and logistic facilities made available by the Thai Government, especially with regard to the transport and distribution of relief supplies. Hospital treatment and other forms, of medical care were also provided by the Government, supported by UNHCR where necessary. UNHCR's programme in Thailand benefited, moreover, from the support of voluntary agencies and church groups, which had played an important role through coordinated measures to provide relief supplies, particularly in the early stages of the influx. The Royal Thai Red Cross Society, in particular, provided valuable medical assistance.
212. In view of the relative remoteness of some of the camps and the magnitude of the influx, which led to overcrowding and health risks, initial progress in implementing the programme of immediate assistance was rather slow. To improve the efficiency of assistance measures, joint field trips were organized by UNHCR, in co-operation with the Thai Government, in which urgent needs were identified and coordinated arrangements were made to meet them. UNHCR's staff, both in Bangkok and in the various provinces, was also considerably strengthened.
213. Intensive efforts continued, meanwhile, to seek resettlement opportunities in order to provide the permanent solutions so urgently needed. By the end of the year, over 7,000 persons from Democratic Kampuchea, nearly 4,000 Vietnamese and some 1,500 Lao had left for countries of resettlement with UNHCR's assistance. Arrangements were also made to facilitate the transfer of small groups of Vietnamese wishing to return to their country of origin.
214. By 31 December 1975, a total of nearly $13 million had been committed to cover expenditures for food, shelter, medical care, transportation costs and other logistical support, blankets and other needs. An amount of $124,048 was committed for programme support and administrative costs, mainly incurred through the strengthening of UNHCR's staff in Thailand.
10. Other countries in Asia
215. In India, the progress made over recent years in rehabilitating refugee communities enabled UNHCR to close its Branch Office in New Delhi in 1975. This was done in consultation with the Government of India, which bears responsibility for assisting these communities. On the other hand, in order to promote suitable logical settlement or resettlement opportunities for Uganda Asians of undetermined nationality, at present in India, UNHCR provided some financial assistance to the Indian Council of Social Welfare for the counselling services.
216. In Indonesia, small groups of South Vietnamese, arriving in boats, continued to present a problem. In the context of the UNHCR special operation for the Indo-Chinese displaced persons, UNHCR temporarily assigned a Chargé de mission to Djakarta to help identify their problems and promote their resettlement in third countries. Since the establishment of a UNHCR Regional Office in Kuala Lumpur, the remaining problems are being handled by that office.
217. In Nepal, UNHCR undertook the transportation from Kathmandu to Lahore of some 2,000 non-Bengalis accepted by the Government of Pakistan for permanent settlement. This operation was a continuation of an earlier large-scale repatriation movement, mainly between Bangladesh and Pakistan, carried out in 1973 and 1974, at the request of the Secretary-General. A sum of $200,000 was made available by UNHCR for this purpose.
218. In Pakistan, following a survey of the Uganda Asians of undetermined nationality in that country, UNHCR provided financial assistance for counselling services through the Social Services Co-ordinating Council in Karachi.
219. Marginal assistance to meet residual needs in the field of local settlement, as well as in respect of health and vocational training, was provided wherever necessary, from over-all allocations under the normal material assistance programme of UNHCR.
CHAPTER V ASSISTANCE TO REFUGEES IN EUROPE
220. The over-all number of refugees in Europe, estimated at over 560,000 by 31 December 1975, was similar to that at the end of 1974. The great majority have been fully integrated for many years and benefit from social security facilities provided by Governments. UNHCR's complementary assistance is mainly designed to help cover needs of groups requiring special care, such as the old and handicapped, and newly-arrived refugees, particularly in countries of first asylum, which bear a heavy burden in this respect. In most cases, UNHCR's assistance is provided through voluntary agencies who have long experience in caring for refugees.
221. Important developments in 1975 included the continued admission for permanent settlement of considerable numbers of non-European refugees, including those from Argentina and Chile, in various countries throughout Europe. As from the spring of 1975, there was also a considerable influx of displaced persons from Indo-China into countries of Western Europe, notably France, which had received over 12,000 by 31 March 1976. Other receiving countries included Austria, Belgium, the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In addition, many persons originating from Indo-China and already residing in European countries, particularly students, were granted permanent asylum.
222. In co-operation with the Governments concerned and with a number of voluntary agencies, UNHCR's assistance in Europe in 1975 was largely devoted to granting supplementary allocations for the benefit of needy annuitants in Greece, Italy, Spain and Turkey, whose annuities have lost much of their purchasing power in recent years owing to inflation.
223. Emphasis was again placed on counselling services in a number of countries including Austria, the Federal Republic of Germany, Greece, Italy and Spain, in view of the increasingly important role played by such services in times of economic austerity. These services have offered advice to refugees on opportunities available to them, and have intervened with the appropriate authorities where necessary. Their contribution has been particularly useful in advising on possibilities of resettling overseas.
224. Nearly 3,400 refugees were assisted in resettling through migration from European countries in 1975, an encouraging result in view of the difficulties faced by many of the traditional immigration countries at a time of economic recession. Arrangements for their transport were made by the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration (ICEM). In Spain, the caseload of refugees awaiting emigration was reduced to 2,000 by the end of the year as compared with some 17,000 two years earlier, thanks to the introduction by the United States Government of an expanded parole programme from October 1973 to October 1974.
225. Continued efforts were also made to facilitate the resettlement of handicapped cases, and special tribute is due to those countries which have generously received them.
226. Measures were also taken by UNHCR in 1975 to assist destitute refugees arriving from Latin America in Portugal, by covering their immediate needs and providing guidance in respect of local integration and resettlement.
227. As in past years other activities have mainly concerned housing, through the provision of temporary accommodation, housing grants or loans, and placement in dwellings financed under previous UNHCR programmes. Other assistance included supplementary aid to needy cases, establishment assistance of various kinds, and the provision of experienced legal aid to advise refugees on their status, help them comply with administrative formalities, and give legal assistance in courts of law.
228. Total commitments under the 1975 programme for assistance to refugees in Europe amounted to nearly $884,000, benefiting some 7,140 refugees. Major commitments were for local settlement assistance, totalling some $583,000. Commitments for supplementary aid, resettlement and legal aid were respectively $125,695, $100,054 and $66,829.
CHAPTER VI ASSISTANCE ACTIVITIES IN LATIN AMERICA
229. 'The large-scale measures of assistance provided by UNHCR in Latin America in 1974 to refugees from Latin American countries, mainly Chile, following the events of the previous year in that country, have continued in 1975. By the end of the year, the over-all number of refugees in Latin America was estimated at 116,000, of whom 29,000 were Latin Americans as compared to 27,000 the year before. The number of refugees of European origin, on the other hand, most of whom have resided in Latin America for many years, decreased from 91,000 to 87,000 owing to deaths and naturalizations.
230. In 1975, the focus of UNHCR's assistance activities in Latin America was in Argentina where the number of Latin American refugees rose to well over 14,000, most of them Chileans. In view of the magnitude of their number, the Argentine authorities were unable to continue offering permanent settlement to new arrivals and restricted the admission of many to a temporary stay. Pending their departure to countries of permanent settlement, assistance in the form of shelter, food and medical care had therefore to be provided to large numbers accommodated throughout the year in reception centres, while assistance in respect of housing and establishment in various professions or trades was afforded to a number of those admitted on a permanent basis. These various forms of assistance were provided to some 8,000 needy refugees through a Co-ordinating Committee for Social Action, grouping voluntary agencies and established with the agreement of the Argentine authorities.
231. Intensive efforts continued to be made, meanwhile, to secure permanent homes through resettlement for the refugees admitted on a transit basis. As time passed and their physical and psychological conditions deteriorated, the urgency of finding such opportunities increased. Over 1,500 refugees, mainly from Chile, were thus assisted to leave Argentina during 1975, bringing the total number resettled from this country since 1973 to 3,056.
232. At the same time, increasing efforts were also required in order to ensure the international protection of the refugees.
233. Peru continued to receive refugees from Chile on a transit basis during 1975, and resettlement opportunities for these refugees were urgently sought throughout the year. The rate of departures averaged approximately 50 per month in 1975, compared with 190 throughout most of 1974. Of some 2,800 who had been granted temporary asylum in Peru up to 31 December 1975, over 2,000 had been resettled as at that date, leaving 700 still awaiting resettlement. Shelter, food and medical care were provided for the refugees pending their departure by the Oecumenical Committee for Social Assistance, with financial support from UNHCR.
234. In Chile, continued efforts were made in 1975 to facilitate the departure of family members wishing to be reunited with the head of their family in the country of permanent resettlement. They resulted in the reunion with their families of 2,000 persons in 1975. Assistance during the year mainly included measures to meet immediate material needs, as well as legal assistance and counselling pending departure. By the end of 1975, a total of 5,855 persons, including 3,300 family members, had been resettled directly from Chile since the 1973 events.
235. Thanks to the generosity of over 40 Governments, UNHCR, in co-operation with the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration (ICEM) which made transport arrangements, was able to help resettle 11,076 persons from Latin America between October 1973 and December 1975. By the end of 1975, additional opportunities were still urgently needed for those still waiting their turn to found new homes on a permanent basis. In view, however, of the increasing difficulties experienced in obtaining such opportunities, every effort was being made wherever feasible to facilitate local integration within the countries where the refugees were residing.
236. Commitments for assistance to refugees in and from Chile under the 1975 programme amounted to nearly $3,930,000. This included commitments for immediate relief, legal advice and counselling as well as local settlement assistance in Argentina ($1,985,000), Peru ($492,000), Chile ($120,000), and various other countries ($70,000), as well as $1,125,000 for resettlement, mainly transportation costs.
237. Apart from the exceptional measures undertaken for the refugees from Chile, UNHCR has continued its traditional programme of assistance to refugees of both European and Latin American (other than Chilean) origin, numbering respectively 87,000 and 6,000, most of whom are living in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela. In addition to housing and establishment assistance of various kinds, attention has again been given to providing intensive care to those in special need, such as the aged and the physically or mentally handicapped.
238. Of commitments for this programme in 1975, totalling $343,000 the amount of $220,000 was for local settlement assistance. Other commitments were for legal assistance ($29,000) and supplementary aid ($37,000), resettlement ($22,000), voluntary repatriation ($11,000) and counselling ($25,000). Trust Fund allocations totalled nearly $113,000, of which $35,000 was from the Education Account and $50,000 was to cover transportation costs for a group of Latin American refugees resettled in Belgium.
CHAPTER VII ASSISTANCE ACTIVITIES IN THE MIDDLE EAST
239. At the end of 1975 the number of refugees of concern to UNHCR in the Middle East was estimated at 17,000, comprising mainly stateless Armenians and Assyrians and including smaller groups, many of them students, from various European and African countries. The principal countries of residence are Egypt, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates.
240. It may be recalled that in August 1974 the High Commissioner was nominated by the Secretary-General as Co-ordinator of United nations Humanitarian Assistance for Cyprus, following the events which had resulted in the displacement of over 200,000 persons and large-scale disruption of activities throughout the island. At the request of the Secretary-General, the High Commissioner has continued this function throughout 1975.
241. Furthermore, in January 1976 the High Commissioner was requested by the Lebanese Government to assist in dealing with the problems of displaced persons which it is facing. A mission was therefore undertaken by two senior officials of UNHCR in order to assess the needs. Their findings were shared with the Secretary-General of the United Nations and preliminary relief measures were started. Following the Secretary-General's decision to centralize and co-ordinate the assistance to be provided by the United Nations system and taking further events into account, the matter is being kept under current review.
B. Assistance in various countries
242. UNHCR assistance in Egypt, where there was a continued influx of refugees from various African countries, was mainly directed in 1975 to improving the situation of the aged and handicapped through increased annuities to compensate, at least partially, for loss of purchasing power. Other major forms of assistance included the allocation of housing and establishment grants, help to those in need of specialized medical care, and supplementary aid to meet emergency needs, particularly those of new arrivals. Assistance with regard to primary education as well as secondary and further educational needs benefited mainly refugee students of African origin. The Refugee Counselling Service in Cairo was expanded in 1975 to a staff of two social workers and a resettlement assistant to help overcome the problems of those in special need.
243. UNHCR assistance to refugees in Lebanon during the period under review was affected by the disturbances which occurred in that country. However, as in previous years, major efforts were directed towards facilitating resettlement. More than 1,000 refugees, mainly Assyrians and Armenians, were thus able to leave during the year. At the end of 1975, it was estimated that several thousand were still awaiting resettlement. Temporary relief pending departure was provided, mainly from trust funds. Counselling services, operated by voluntary agencies in Lebanon with financial assistance from UNHCR, gave guidance to over 1,000 refugees, particularly those seeking permanent local settlement or resettlement opportunities.
244. Other forms of assistance provided by UNHCR to refugees in Lebanon and in other countries of the Middle East, including Jordan, Iran and the Syrian Arab Republic, concerned housing, medical care, vocational training and monthly allowances, as well as various relief measures to meet urgent needs in terms of food, clothing and immediate medical care.
245. Housing assistance again figured prominently in UNHCR's assistance activities in the United Arab Emirates. The first housing project in Dubai was completed in the second half of 1975, and 50 Zanzibari Arab refugee families moved into their new homes. Work was also begun on a second housing project, due to be completed in 1976. Other groups of Zanzibari refugees were helped by UNHCR to resettle in Oman and Abu Dhabi. The cost of this assistance was met from trust funds made available to UNHCR.
246. In Yemen, emergency relief was provided in 1975 to a group of refugees who arrived from Ethiopia. The measures taken for this purpose included the establishment of a reception centre, and provision of supplies to meet immediate needs pending their local settlement or resettlement elsewhere.
247. Commitments under the 1975 programme for assistance to refugees in the Middle East, as described above, totalled some $519,000, of which the amount of approximately $308,000 was for local settlement assistance, including increased annuities for refugees in Egypt and Lebanon. Some $86,000 were committed for supplementary aid in 1975, notably in Lebanon in view of the exceptional situation there. Commitments for resettlement totalled more than $84,000, again mainly in Lebanon. Grants from the Education Account totalled $81,000, benefiting 218 post-primary refugee students, mostly of African origin. An allocation of $20,000 was made available by the High Commissioner from his Emergency Fund to meet the needs in Yemen. Other commitments from trust funds included an amount of $60,000 for assistance in Lebanon to facilitate resettlement.
C. United Nations humanitarian assistance for Cyprus
248. With the support of other United Nations bodies, the High Commissioner's task in 1975 has involved further emergency relief aid, particularly in the early months of the year. The overseas purchase and transportation of large quantities of basic food supplies was ensured through agreements with the World Food Programme, which also arranged transport to the island of substantial food contributions donated to UNHCR from various sources. Protein foods were purchased locally. To help meet medical and public health needs arising from the situation in the island, quantities of medical supplies and equipment were procured on behalf of UNHCR by the World Health Organization, which also provided invaluable expertise in the assessment of needs. UNICEF helped procure other items of urgent necessity, including blankets, domestic utensils and heaters, to alleviate the hardship of the many thousands living temporarily in tents.
249. As time passed and the need for direct relief aid (such as blankets, basic medicines, heaters) decreased, other needs arose. These called for measures of various kinds to help the displaced and needy persons in attaining a minimum level of self-sufficiency. Assistance was also provided to improve certain welfare facilities available to those requiring special care, particularly the old, sick and handicapped. Moreover, with the approach of a second winter, large-scale assistance was given to help provide more effective temporary accommodation for the displaced persons still living in tents and shacks through contributions to programmes undertaken by the local authorities for this purpose.
250. Valuable support to humanitarian activities in the island has continued to be given by the United Nations Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus, particularly in connexion with the delivery of supplies of food and other urgent items, and in the form of logistic assistance, such as the escort provided to the anti-malarial spraying campaign carried out between May and December, with the co-operation of WHO.
251. Thanks to the generosity of the international community, the target of $9.3 million which was the subject of an appeal launched by the High Commissioner in January 1975, complementary to the initial target of $22 million, had been fully met by April, making it possible to meet emergency food and medical needs during the early part of the year. Since then, UNHCR has remained available to channel contributions from interested donors, in agreement with the authorities. Contributions pledged to the Cyprus programme in 1975 totalled $17,567,462; this included contributions in kind valued at $6,557,626. Major commitments in the course of the year were for food ($5,897,000), emergency shelter and temporary accommodation ($3,240,000) and medical requirements ($902,000).
252. Although in general terms the situation of the displaced and needy persons in the island improved to some extent in the course of 1975, the continued need for humanitarian assistance in Cyprus was still felt. The High Commissioner has, therefore, upon the request of the Secretary-General, undertaken to continue as Co-ordinator for a limited but unspecified period of time into 1976.
253. Further information concerning humanitarian activities carried out by the United Nations in Cyprus in the course of 1975 may be found in the relevant chapters of the progress reports on the United Nations operation in Cyprus submitted by the Secretary-General to the Security Council in the months of June (S/11717)36 and December (S/11900 and Add.1).37
CHAPTER VIII RELATIONS WITH OTHER ORGANIZATIONS
A. Co-operation between UNHCR, the United Nations and other members of the United Nations system
254. UNHCR continued closely to co-ordinate its activities with other members of the United Nations system at headquarters level through participation in meetings of ACC and, where necessary, attendance at governing bodies of other United Nations agencies and programmes, through prior consultations of programme budgets and through close day-to-day co-operation between UNHCR representatives and those of other members of the United Nations system in the field.
255. As in previous years, UNHCR's activities in the field have benefited from the active co-operation of a number of United Nations programmes and specialized agencies. This co-operation has included the valuable assistance of UNDP in administering UNHCR projects in areas where the Office is not represented. It has also played a useful role in following up on UNHCR fund-raising activities in countries where UNHCR does not have a Branch Office.
256. Refugees, particularly those in Africa, receiving emergency relief again benefited from the substantial supplies of food provided by the World Food Programme (WFP). Indeed WFP assistance to refugees throughout the world has in some instances exceeded in value UNHCR's own inputs. The readiness of WFP to respond immediately in refugee situations under its emergency and quick-action arrangements has been especially valuable in avoiding severe hardship among affected populations. In the course of 1975, WFP projects totalling over $15 million were approved for refugee groups in various countries in Africa. UNICEF played an important role in emergency relief, mainly with regard to health needs and supplementary food supplies required by new Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia and by Burundi refugees in Zaire.
257. To facilitate the local settlement in agriculture of African refugees, valuable expertise was provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) with regard to the choice of suitable sites and type of agricultural activity likely to enable the refugees to become rapidly self-supporting. Mention should also be made of FAO's assistance in the survey conducted in 1975 of the settlement site for Sudanese refugees at Humera in Ethiopia. Specialized assistance from WHO has included measures to provide medical care to Burundi refugees in the Bukavu area of Zaire, where it supervises a mobile health service. WHO also acted as implementing agent for a number of medical projects financed by UNHCR in south Sudan.
258. In the educational field, UNHCR has again benefited from the valuable advice of UNESCO which furthermore continued to make available the services of an expert, on secondment. Contact has been maintained, moreover, with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which makes available vocational training scholarships to a limited number of refugees from colonial Territories. UNHCR's post-primary educational assistance to refugees from southern Africa has again complemented that provided by the United Nations Educational and Training Programme for Southern Africa.
259. The efforts of UNHCR to meet the various needs of refugees from Namibia and South Africa have been facilitated through funds made available by the United Nations Council for Namibia ($4,000) and by the United Nations Trust Fund for South Africa ($100,000).
260. In addition to these examples, illustrating interagency co-operation as a feature of UNHCR's regular assistance activities, mention should be made of the importance of this co-operation in the context of UNHCR's humanitarian tasks in Cyprus, Indo-China and elsewhere, as described in chapters III, IV and VII. The scale and variety of needs involved in these assignments and the rapidity with which they have to be met invariably call for a concerted effort on the part of the international community, in which the co-operation of the United Nations system as a whole is an essential factor.
B. Relations with other intergovernmental organizations
261. Close co-operation with the Organization of African Unity (OAU) has continued both at headquarters and field levels, particularly as regards assistance to refugees from colonial Territories, pursuant to General Assembly resolution 3421 (XXX) of 8 December 1975 on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies and the international institutions associated with the United Nations. OAU was represented at the twenty-sixth session of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme by the Director of its Bureau for Resettlement and Education of African Refugees (BPEAR). UNHCR was represented at meetings of OAU, including those of the Conference of Heads of State and Government, some sessions of the Council of Ministers and meetings of BPEAR. A significant event in 1975 was the celebration of the first Africa Refugee Day on 20 June, following the initiative taken by OAU to this effect.
262. UNHCR continued close co-operation with the OAU Bureau for the Placement and Education of African Refugees in its activities for the education and resettlement of refugees in Africa.
263. The Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration (ICEM) has continued its essential task of making transportation arrangements with regard to the resettlement of refugees through migration, particularly With regard to those from Europe, Latin America and Indo-China.
264. Further generous support was received from the European Communities in the form of large-scale contributions in kind for humanitarian assistance in Cyprus and emergency relief in the Republic of South Viet Nam. Further requests for support are being considered.
265. Close co-operation continued with the Council of Europe which has taken a special interest in legal aspects of the problems of refugees, as indicated in chapter I.
C. Relations between UNHCR and non-governmental organizations
266. The traditional role of the non-governmental organizations in the field of international assistance to refugees has continued to represent an essential element in UNHCR's assistance activities. With the growing diversity and ' complexity of these activities, the participation of the agencies as implementing partners in assistance programmes has assumed increasing importance in recent years, particularly in view of their wide experience in this field. UNHCR maintains close contacts with a large number of voluntary agencies, either directly, or through their co-ordination bodies, at the national level, that is, the national refugee committees, or, at the international level, with the International Council of Voluntary Agencies. These contacts are maintained by UNHCR headquarters, Geneva, and by UNHCR representatives and correspondents, who are located in over 50 countries.
267. UNHCR's efforts to develop counselling services for refugees in many areas have also depended largely for their success on the co-operation of non-governmental organizations which frequently operate such services. In Latin America, a major part of the large-scale programmes financed by UNHCR for the benefit of refugees from Chile was implemented within the framework of concerted action undertaken by coordinating committees, grouping voluntary agencies in Argentina, Chile and Peru. In Africa, the non-governmental organizations have continued to co-operate as implementing partners in rural settlement projects, notably those for Burundi refugees in the United Republic of Tanzania. Joint efforts with the voluntary agencies were also made in the educational field, with a view to providing scholarships enabling refugees in need of such assistance to pursue their studies.
268. A number of non-governmental organizations have taken a prominent part in promoting the international protection of refugees. In addition to the International Council of Voluntary Agencies, they include, among others, the International University Exchange Fund and the World Peace through Law Center.
269. In financial terms, 1975 was a difficult year for many of the voluntary agencies, widespread inflation having resulted in increased demands for assistance by those in need, without a corresponding increase in resources. Despite these difficulties, efforts to support UNHCR's fund-raising efforts were continued, particularly by national refugee committees. Contributions by the voluntary agencies to UNHCR in 1975 totalled approximately $2 million, mainly benefiting UNHCR's programmes in Cyprus and Indo-China.
CHAPTER IX ADMINISTRATIVE AND FINANCIAL QUESTIONS
A. General remarks
270. As already indicated in this report, the year 1975 was marked by events which called for increased activities by UNHCR, especially in the field of material assistance. The High Commissioner had therefore to seek additional funds to enable him to carry out the special tasks entrusted to him.
271. As in 1974, the needs of refugees from Chile called for increased financial support. Additional funds were also required to assist new refugees from Burundi in the United Republic of Tanzania. Further, the arrival in the Sudan of a large number of refugees from Ethiopia called for a sizable increase in the funds allocated for that country. The target of the 1975 annual assistance programme, originally set at $12,656,000, had therefore to be reviewed, and the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme, at its twenty-sixth session, approved a revised target of $14,117,000.38
272. In addition to special operations already started in 1974 or earlier, UNHCR was called upon in 1975 to undertake large-scale programmes of assistance for new groups of displaced persons, for which considerable financial support from the international community was required. Details of the financing of these programmes are given in section C below.
B. Financing of material assistance activities in the framework of the annual programme
1. UNHCR assistance programme for 1975
273. As indicated in table 5, annex II, a total of $10,058,599 had been contributed by 78 Governments by 31 March 1976 towards the revised target of $14,117,000 for the UNHCR assistance programme for 1975. Contributions from non-governmental sources, as of the same date, totalled $57,500. Thanks to these contributions and miscellaneous income from other sources, full financing of the programme was achieved.
2. Emergency Fund
274. Expenditure from the Emergency Fund in 1975 totalled $1,438,530. It was financed from the Working Capital and Guarantee Fund ($1,027,684), from refunds ($400,000) and from private donations ($10,846).
3. Complementary projects
275. Table 5, annex II, also indicates contributions to special trust funds as at 31 March 1976 from both governmental and non-governmental sources for complementary projects outside the annual assistance programme. Of the total of $1,981,304, an amount of $868,692 was allocated to the Education Account, and the balance of $1,112,612 was applied to other essential assistance outside the programme.
4. UNHCR assistance programme for 1976
276. The Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme, at its twenty-sixth session, approved a target of $13,848,000 for the 1976 programme.39 Table 6, annex II, lists contributions totalling $8,128,559 announced as at 31 March 1976 by 56 Governments towards this amount.
C. Financing of special operations
1. United Nations Humanitarian Assistance for Cyprus
277. The High Commissioner's activities as Co-ordinator of the United Nations Humanitarian Assistance for Cyprus continued in 1975. BY 31 March 1976, a total of $17,810,976 in cash and kind had been received since 1 April 1975 to assist the displaced population of the island in regaining some degree of economic sufficiency.
2. Assistance to returning refugees and displaced persons in Guinea-Bissau
278. The UNHCR programme of assistance to returning refugees and displaced persons in Guinea-Bissau, which was started in 1974 with a target of $4,025,000, was continued in 1975. BY 31 March 1976, a total of $3,990,376 had been contributed.
3. Assistance to returning refugees and displaced persons in Mozambique
279. In the spring of 1975, UNHCR launched a programme for assistance in the repatriation and resettlement of refugees and displaced persons in Mozambique with a target of $7,150,000. By 31 March 1976 an amount of $5,246,348 had been contributed towards the programme.
4. Assistance to uprooted and displaced persons in Indo-China
280. 1974-1975 programme. By 31 March 1976 an amount of $7,637,909 had been contributed (of which $67,862 since 1 April 1975) towards the $8 million revised target of this programme, which covered the period from 1974 until mid-1975. The programme was directed towards meeting the immediate needs and certain initial resettlement requirements of the displaced persons in Indo-China.
281. 1975-1976 programme. In October 1975, the High Commissioner appealed for funds to continue in 1975 and 1976 the second phase of the programme for displaced persons in Indo-China. By 31 March 1976, an amount of $12,528,088 had been pledged or paid in cash and kind against the target of $20 million for this programme.
5. Emergency relief operation in South Viet Nam (formerly Republic of Viet-Nam)
282. Following the events which occurred in Indo-China in the spring of 1975, UNHCR was called upon to participate, together with UNICEF, in a joint emergency relief operation in South Viet Nam. A total of $14,225,699 was received by UNHCR for this operation which has been completed.
6. Assistance to displaced persons from Indo-China in Thailand
283. In view of the large influx of displaced persons from Indo-China into Thailand in the spring of 1975, the High Commissioner, in August of that year, appealed for funds to finance a $12,400,000 programme of assistance to these persons. As at 31 March 1976, $6,947,144 had been contributed for this purpose.
7. Assistance to displaced persons from Indo-China outside their country of origin40
284. An amount of $5,218,095 had been contributed by 31 March 1976 towards the programme of assistance to displaced persons from Indo-China who were outside their country of origin and for whom durable solutions had to be found, through voluntary repatriation or resettlement in new countries.
CHAPTER X PUBLIC INFORMATION
285. During the period under review, which coincided with the twenty-fifth anniversary of UNHCR, the Office has been called on to deal with new dramatic problems of uprooted persons, particularly in South East Asia. The need to focus public attention on the plight of the hundreds of thousands of persons concerned and on the needs for large-scale humanitarian assistance has represented a considerable challenge.
286. The emphasis on promoting television coverage of UNHCR's work has been continued. Networks have been supplied both directly and via specialized distribution services with footage for immediate use on items of current news value, including, in Indo-China, the first shipments of relief supplies under the Joint Emergency Relief Operation, the return to the Republic of South Viet Nam of a group of handicapped children and the mission of the High Commissioner to countries in the area. Footage on the voluntary repatriation of refugees from Guinea-Bissau returning to their homeland was distributed to African television stations as part of UNHCR support for the OAU-sponsored Africa Refugee Day. In addition, television "magazine" type programmes of broader scope have been prepared, often with a particular regional emphasis, for use in a number of countries.
287. UNHCR documentary films covered such subjects as humanitarian assistance in Cyprus, the Lao airlift, the arrival of a new group of refugees in the Sudan and the establishment of the Ulyankulu settlement for Burundi refugees in the United Republic of Tanzania. The UNHCR film "El Refugio", covering the resettlement of refugees from Chile, was selected by two major film festivals. "Fourth World", another film distributed internationally, dealing with the activities of UNHCR during the year, was seen by representatives attending the twenty-sixth session of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme and by the Third Committee of the General Assembly at its thirtieth session.
288. The Information Service of the United Nations Office at Geneva has continued to co-operate closely with UNHCR, notably with regard to technical assistance and facilities for post-production work on UNHCR films, which has made it possible for most aspects of film editing to be carried out in the Palais des Nations without recourse to outside facilities, thereby enabling UNHCR to provide an improved service to the media while at the same time effecting significant economies.
289. As regards radio broadcasts, UNHCR-sponsored visits to refugee centres and settlements, as well as interviews in Geneva, were arranged for correspondents from a wide variety of broadcasting outlets.
290. Press coverage in general has been mote extensive during the period under review. In addition to press releases and features, briefings were organized to meet the greatly increased number of individual inquiries from journalists. Mention of UNHCR's role in articles on specific situations has been more frequent, while several outstanding national newspapers have devoted features or series of articles to UNHCR's work in general.
291. As in the past, the regular two-monthly news tabloid UNHCR, with a circulation of 16,000 English and 6,000 French copies, has contained articles covering the whole range of UNHCR activities, with a special issue to mark Africa Refugee Day. It continued to carry a high ratio of photos to text and, as an innovation, its end-of-the-year supplement was produced in magazine form. The poster contained in the latter was particularly in demand for use in fund-raising campaigns, for which some 67,000 copies, with locally-adapted texts, were ordered. Articles from the tabloid have been utilized by the press. The arrangement whereby a version of the tabloid is issued in Australia four times a year in co-operation with a voluntary agency was continued, 50,000 copies of each issue being distributed
292. In the UNHCR Reports series, an illustrated publication entitled El Refugio, dealing in greater depth with the same topic as the film mentioned in paragraph 287 above, was printed in 25,000 English, 5,000 French and 5,000 Spanish copies.
293. An up-to-date version of the basic pamphlet describing the work of UNHCR, The Refugee Problem Isn't Hopeless ... Unless You Think So, was published in English (10,000 copies), French (6,000) and Spanish (6,000). Special adaptations were prepared for use by voluntary agencies in a number of countries, particularly in conjunction with fund-raising campaigns. One hundred twenty thousand copies of these special versions were produced.
294. The UNHCR photo library's extensive collection of black-and-white and colour photographs has been augmented by substantial quantities of new material, particularly relating to UNHCR activities in the Indo-Chinese peninsula, and has continued to satisfy requests from a wide variety of sources.
295. Challenging though the period under review has been in view of the need to publicize the new and expanding operations of UNHCR in different parts of the world, it has also been rewarding in terms of the noticeably increased awareness and understanding of the work of the Office.
(Note: Statistical and financial tables not included in this online version. See your nearest UN Depository Library.)
1 1 April 1975 to 31 March 1976, except for statistical and financial data, most of which cover the calendar year 1975.
2 United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 189, No. 2545, p. 137.
3 Ibid., vol. 606, No. 8791, p. 267.
4 That is, non-return of a refugee to a country from which he has fled.
5 Cmnd. 6198 (London, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, August 1975), 53 pp.
6 Official Records of the General Assembly, Thirtieth Session, Supplement No. 12 (A/10012) and ibid., Supplement No. 12A (A/10012/Add.1).
7 Ibid., Thirtieth Session, Third Committee, 2161st meeting, paras. 1-10.
8 Ibid., Thirtieth Session, Supplement No. 12A (A/10012/Add.1), para. 69 (b).
9 Ibid., Twenty-ninth Session, Supplement No. 12C (A/9612/Add.3), annex.
10 Ibid., Thirtieth Session, Supplement No. 12A (A/10012/Add.1), para. 69 (d).
11 Treaties, Conventions, International Acts, protocols and Agreements between the United States of America and other Powers, 1910-1923, vol. III (Washington, D. C,. Government Printing Office, 1923), p.2,943.
12 Sole new accession to the Convention and |Protocol since 1 April 1975 was that of Guinea Bissau.
13 See Official Records of the General Assembly, thirtieth Session, Supplement No. 12A (A/10012/Add.1), para. 69 (c).
14 United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 360, No. 5158, p. 117.
15 For the text of the Convention, see A/CONF. 9/15.
16 Australia, Austria, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
17 Protocol relating to Refugee Seamen, signed at The Hague 12 June 1973 (Cmnd. 6035 (London, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, May 1975)), 5 pp.
18 United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 506, No. 7384, p. 125.
19 Organization of American States (OAS), "Inter-American treaties and conventions on asylum and extradition" Treaty Series, No. 34 (Washington, D. C., General Secretariat of OAS, 1967).
20 Organization of American States, "Pact of San José, Costa Rica", signed at the inter-American Specialized Conference on Human Rights, San José.
21 Council of Europe recommendation 773 (1976).
22 Council of Europe recommendation 775 (1976).
23 Algeria, Austria, Belgium, Benin, Botswana, France, Germany (Federal Republic of), Greece, Italy, Morocco, Netherlands, Senegal, Switzerland, Tunisia, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Zambia.
24 Official Records of the General Assembly, thirtieth Session, Supplement No. 12 (A/10012).
25 United Nations publication, Sales No. 51. IV.4.
26 First UNHCR Indemnification Fund, established on 5 October 1960; Supplementary Indemnification Fund, established on 24 November 1966; Residual Indemnification Fund constituted from reimbursements.
27 See Official Records of the General Assembly, thirtieth Session, supplement No. 12A (A/10012/Add.1), annex I.
28 See annex II, table 2, below.
30 See annex II, table 1, below.
31 Official Records of the General Assembly, thirtieth Session, Supplement No.12 (A/10012).
32 Information on the UNHCR programme for the repatriation and resettlement of refugees and displaced persons is given in the section relating to Guinea-Bissau
33 Details concerning the repatriation and resettlement programme for Mozambican refugees and displaced persons are given in paras. 112 to 122 above.
34 Excluding Senegal.
35 See Official Records of the General Assembly, Thirtieth Session, Supplement No. 12A (A/10012/Add.1), para. 121.
36 For the printed text, see Official Records of the Security Council, Thirtieth Year, Supplement for April, May and June 1975.
37 Idem., Supplement for October, November and December 1975.
38 See Official Records of the General Assembly, Thirtieth Session, Supplement No. 12A (A/10012/Add.1), para. 121(c).
39 Ibid., para. 120 (d).
40 Not including displaced persons in Thailand.