Addendum to the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations General Assembly Official Records: Twenty-second Session
Addendum to the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Supplement No. 11A (A/6711/Add.1)
REPORT ON THE EIGHTEENTH SESSION OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER'S PROGRAMME1 (Geneva, 30 October - 7 November 1967)
1. The Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme held its eighteenth session from 30 October to 7 November 1967, at the Palais des Nations, Geneva.
Tribute to the memory of Mr. Charles Jordan
2. The Committee paid a solemn tribute to the memory of Mr. Charles Jordan, Executive Vice-President of the American Joint Distribution Committee, and one of the founders of the International Council of Voluntary Agencies, who had devoted a lifetime to the cause of refugees and whose death was a great loss to the international community and to refugees all over the world.
Election of a Vice-Chairman
3. Under rule 10 of the rules of procedure, which provides that the officers shall be elected for the whole year, H. E. Mr. B. C. Hill (Australia) and Mr. P. Schönfeld (Federal Republic of Germany) continued to serve as Chairman and Reporter respectively. Mr. R. Bachbaouab (Tunisia), Vice-Chairman, having left his post in Geneva and finding it impossible to attend the session, the Committee unanimously elected H. E. Dr. A. Rakoto Ratsimamanga (Madagascar) Vice-Chairman. At the 174th meeting, Mr. P. Schönfeld, Rapporteur of the Committee, was unanimously elected as Vice-Chairman to preside over the meeting in the absence of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman.
Representation on the Committee
4. All the members of the Executive Committee were represented at the session as follows;
|Belgium||Germany (Federal Republic of)|
|China (Republic of)||Iran|
|Italy||Tanzania (United Republic of)|
|Nigeria||United States of America|
5. The Government of Argentina, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Congo (Democratic republic of), New Zealand, Senegal, Spain, Sudan, Uganda, United Arab Republic and Zambia were represented by an observer, as was the Sovereign Order of Malta.
6. The International Labour Office (ILO), the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), The World Food Programme (WFP), the Council of Europe, the Commission of the European Economic Community (EEC), the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration (ICEM), the Organization of American States (OAS) and the League of Arab States were also represented.
Adoption of the Agenda - Decision of the Committee
7. The Executive Committee decided to adopt the following agenda:
(1) Election of a Vice-Chairman
(2) Adoption of the agenda (A/AC.96/373/Rev.1)
(3) Statement by the High Commissioner
(4) Frequency of sessions of the Executive Committee (A/AC.96/380)
(5) International protection (A/AC.96/377)
(6) Resettlement of refugees (including handicapped refugees) (A/AC.96/381 and 383)
(7) financial statements and report of the Board of Auditors on the audit of the accounts for 1966 (A/AC.96/365 and 374)
(8) Status of contributions (A/AC.96/375 and 385)
(9) Financial status of UNHCR programmes (including the use of the Emergency Fund) (A/AC.96/382 and 384, A/AC.96/INF.73, 78/Rev.1, 79 and 82)
(10) UNHCR programme for 1967 - new and revised projects (A/AC.96/378 and A/AC.96/INF.80)
(11) UNHCR programme for 1968 (A/AC.96/379 and A/AC.96/INF.80)
(12) Administrative expenditure for 1968 (A/AC.96/376)
(13) Any other questions
(14) Consideration of draft report
II. GENERAL QUESTIONS
Statement by the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe
8. The Chairman, welcoming the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, Mr. P. Smithers, who was attending the Committee in person for the first time, interpreted the feelings of the Committee in voicing deep appreciation for the support which the Council of Europe was giving to the work of UNHCR.
9. In his address, the Secretary-General stated that, while the problems of material assistance to European refugees could be considered as largely solved, the Council of Europe was continuing to give its active support to the work of the High Commissioner, including the promotion of improvements to the status of refugees and the provision of vocational training opportunities. The Council of Europe was also investigating the possibility of an instrument guaranteeing the human rights of refugees in connexion with Human Rights Year. The work of the Council of Europe was based on the conception of "Man in a European Society", a society which would enable him to exercise fully his capacities. During recent years the Council of Europe had devoted considerable study as to how it might make a constructive contribution to the wider work of the United Nations and its specialized agencies.
Statement by the High Commissioner and general debate
10. The High Commissioner made an introductory statement, the text of which may be found in annex I to this report.
11. Recalling the Nansen Medal Award Ceremony, which had been held on the preceding day to honour His Royal Highness, the Prince of the Netherlands, the High Commissioner highlighted the significance of the results of the European Refugee Campaign 1966 which, as announced by His Royal Highness, amounted to $18 million. However, only a small proportion of the funds collected would be available to meet the requirements of the UNHCR current programme. The High Commissioner was, therefore, deeply concerned about the financing of the UNHCR programmes of material assistance for the future.
12. The High Commissioner gave an account of the main developments since the Committee's previous session. 1967 had been a year of consolidation, and progress in the settlement of refugees had been achieved in several areas. However, problems of refugees in some of the countries bordering on the Mediterranean had increased, as a result of recent events, and in certain areas in Africa changing in local conditions and the fluctuating character of the problems of refugees had created the need to adapt assistance programmes and had sometimes delayed their implementation. The situation would have to be closely watched. He added that the generosity of the United States Government in making available large quantities of cereals had made it possible to meet a critical situation in two refugee settlements.
13. The High Commissioner also referred to the situation of refugees in Asia and Latin America and to the problems of the severely handicapped in Europe for whom a solution was at last in sight.
14. He further mentioned major developments in the important field of international protection, including the coming into force of the Protocol Relating to the status of Refugees and the recommendations adopted by the OAU Heads of States meeting in Kinshasa. He reported on the Conference on the Legal, Economic and Social Aspects of African Refugee Problems sponsored by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation and his Office, which had just taken place in Addis Ababa. He also gave an account of recent positive developments in the field of indemnification.
15. The High Commissioner further brought the Committee up to date on the results achieved in the field of inter-agency co-operation, including educational assistance. He expressed his thanks to other members of the United Nations system for their increasing co-operation with his Office. He reaffirmed that, in keeping with the wish expressed by members of the Executive Committee, the consolidation of the settlement of refugees in Africa should be included in the over-all development programmes of other members of the United Nations system, as was envisaged for the eastern part of Burundi. In the course of the session, the High Commissioner stated that, to enable his Office to maintain the necessary contact with the organizations concerned, it was essential that it should be able to participate in the planning of various inter-agency activities, inter alia within the framework of the Administrative Committee on Co-ordination and its committees.
16. The High Commissioner also noted the close and fruitful co-operation between his Office and other inter-governmental organizations such as the Council of Europe, ICEM, OAU and the OAS and with the non-governmental organizations, many of which were acting as his operational partners.
17. In conclusion, the High Commissioner emphasized again the universal character of the work of his Office.
18. The representatives who spoke paid tribute to the results achieved by the High Commissioner and endorsed the humanitarian and non-political principles which constituted the basis of his work. They expressed appreciation for the truly concerted efforts made by UNHCR, the Governments concerned and the inter-governmental and the non-governmental organizations with a view to alleviating the plight of the thousands of refugees who had not yet found a new permanent home.
19. Many representatives paid a warm tribute to the national committees and all the voluntary agencies which had participated in the European Refugee Campaign, and especially to the Working Group, which, under the inspiring guidance of His Royal Highness, the prince of the Netherlands, had led this venture to a successful conclusion. They realized, however, that the major part of the funds were intended for essential projects outside the UNHCR programme and that an increase in governmental contributions would be necessary to enable the High Commissioner to meet the financial target of his 1968 programme.
20. In the course of the session, the representative of the Holy See recalled the interest which His Holiness attaches to the problems of refugees in Africa.2 He drew the Committee's attention in particular to the recent message in which the Pope had stressed the urgency of helping the African continent to overcome the difficulties it was facing at present. The message emphasized the need for active co-operation between men of all creeds as for example Christians and Muslims and it reaffirmed the hope and confidence of His Holiness in a speedy return to peace and stability The representative assured the Committee that the Catholic institutions would always be ready to lend their co-operation to that end.
21. The High Commissioner further informed the Committee that the diamond cross and ring which High Holiness Pope Paul VI had presented to the Secretary-General on the occasion of his historic visit to the United Nations, were intended as a contribution to the alleviation of human suffering. They had been auctioned, and the proceeds were to be distributed in equal parts to UNICEF, UNHCR, UNRWA and the Freedom from Hunger campaign. The Committee expressed its deep gratitude to the Holy See for this new token of attachment to the humanitarian cause of refugees.
22. The representatives who spoke recognized that considerable problems faced UNHCR, particularly in respect of new groups of refugees. Some representatives stressed the influx of new refugees in several European countries, particularly during the second half of 1967. They felt that allocations for assistance to these refugees, as envisaged in the 1968 programme, would continue to be required. The Committee noted from a statement by the representative of Greece that the housing programme for refugees in his country would be completed as rapidly as possible. The Committee also heard statements by the representatives of France, Italy, Turkey (a country which had recently been visited by the High Commissioner) and Yugoslavia, and by the observer for Burundi, concerning the problems of refugees in those countries, the details of which may be found in the summary records of the 166th and 168th meetings.
23. Most speakers stressed the importance which their Governments attached to the close co-operation of UNHCR with other members of the United Nations system, with a view to ensuring the consolidation of the settlement of refugees in the framework of development aid to their countries of residence, particularly in Africa. It was in their view essential that once the settlement of refugees had reached a certain stage, the refugee settlement areas should, whenever possible, be included in the over-all development programmes of other members of the United Nations system. They expressed appreciation for the close and fruitful relations which had developed between UNHCR and other agencies, and for the practical results already achieved in certain areas of Africa. In the course of the session they particularly emphasized that this take-over of responsibility should become effective before UNHCR programmes were discontinued in the areas concerned. They considered that this was a very important matter of principle which should be further carefully studied by the Office of the High Commissioner, in consultation with the United Nations agencies and with the Governments concerned. In the course of the session, the representative of Norway proposed that the decision concerning the High Commissioner's statement and the general debate should highlight a number of important aspects of inter-agency co-operation (see paragraph 28 below).
24. In the course of the session, the representatives of the ILO and of UNDP made important statements concerning the interest of their organizations in the work of UNHCR in developing areas, the details of which may be found in the summary record of the 175th meeting.
25. The observer for the Commission of the European Economic Community made a statement 2 in which he expressed the interest of the Commission in various aspects of the work of UNHCR and its desire to lend its co-operation to the Office of the High Commissioner.
26. The Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights made a statement in which he expressed the continued interest of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in the work of UNHCR.2 He gave an account in particular of the measures taken by the OAS with a view to promoting the conclusion of inter-governmental legal instruments of benefit to refugees.
27. In the course of the session interest was shown in the Conference on the Legal, Economic and Social Aspects of African Refugee Problems which had recently been held in Addis Ababa. One representative suggested that without any prejudice to the decision taken by the Committee in respect of the frequency of sessions, a special session might be held in this connexion. The Committee also heard a general statement by the observer for the International Council of Voluntary Agencies relating to the various fields of activities of the Office of the High Commissioner, details of which may be found in the summary record of the 168th meeting. Decision of the committee
Decision of the Committee
28. The Executive Committee,
(1) Expressed appreciation for the results achieved by the High Commissioner and endorsed the humanitarian and non-political principles guiding his work;
(2) Paid a warm tribute to the impressive results achieved by the European Refugee Campaign under the inspiring guidance of His Royal Highness the Prince of the Netherlands;
(3) Noted with satisfaction the close relations which had further developed between UNHCR and other members of the United Nations system;
(4) Agreed that UNHCR should pursue this co-operation, particularly with a view to ensuring the consolidation of the settlement of refugees, in the framework of the economic and social development of their countries of residence;
(5) Stressed again the crucial importance of ensuring that, upon completion of UNHCR assistance programmes for the local settlement of refugees in developing areas, the integration of refugees be included in the wider framework of development programmes carried out by other members of the United Nations system;
(6) Agreed that in those cases where the latter programmes did not follow immediately on the completion of the initial settlement programmes, the High Commissioner might consider taking appropriate measures;
(7) Further agreed that UNHCR continue its participation in inter-agency activities and in the concerted efforts of the United Nations organizations towards the purpose of the Development Decade, which should benefit the economic and social position of refugees in developing countries;
(8) Expressed the hope that the General Assembly would take a positive decision in respect of attendance by UNHCR at meetings of the Inter-Agency Consultative board as already recommended by the Executive Committee and the Economic and Social Council.
Frequency of sessions (agenda item 4)
29. The Committee considered the report on the frequency of sessions submitted by the High Commissioner in document A/AC.96/380. Introducing the item, the Deputy High Commissioner recalled that the matter had been brought to the attention of the Executive Committee pursuant to a recommendation of the Ad Hoc Committee of Experts on the Finances of the United Nations, and endorsed by the General Assembly in its resolution 2150 (XXI), to the effect that organs of the United Nations should review their conference programmes with a view to reducing total meeting time to the extent possible. In preparing his report, the High Commissioner had been fully aware that the decision as to whether a change should be made in the schedule of meetings could be taken only by the Governments members of the Committee. The purpose of the report was to indicate the possibilities of introducing such a change and the advantages and disadvantages that might result. The Deputy High Commissioner drew attention to the most important conclusion in the report which stated that"...the functioning of this Office, and in particular the formulation and implementation of its programmes, would not be adversely affected if the Committee were to decide to meet regularly only once a year in the autumn".
30. In reply to questions, the Deputy High Commissioner described the character and amount of savings in terms of staff time, documentation and use of conference facilities which would be expected to result if the Committee were to hold only one annual regular session. He also pointed out as a precedent the reduction in the number of meetings of the Executive Board and Programme Committee of UNICEF.
31. In the course of the ensuing exchange of views, there was general agreement that General Assembly resolution 2150 (XXI), which had been adopted unanimously, should be implemented to the greatest extent possible in the interest of the work of the United Nations and its various organs. Furthermore, the Committee fully agreed that, whatever decision it might take in this matter, the work of assistance to refugees must not be adversely affected in any way.
32. Two main trends emerged in the course of the debate. Many speakers considered that a reduction of sessions would not in any way diminish the effectiveness of the High Commissioner's work. As indicated in paragraphs 28-32 of document A/AC.96/380, a variety of measures could be taken by the High Commissioner, particularly in the financial field, should emergencies arise between two sessions of the Executive Committee. The speakers supporting this view pointed out that under existing arrangements, the High Commissioner was in any case authorized to deal with emergency problems during the period between the sessions of the Committee. Their Governments would continue to give high priority to refugee problems and their support of the General Assembly resolution was in no way an indication of a lessening of interest in those problems. Increased contacts between the High Commissioner's Office and Governments and voluntary agencies should be maintained which would ensure that the world-wide interest in refugee problems would not decrease. They felt that the savings achieved in staff time would enable UNHCR to increase its practical activities in the field of assistance to refugees and to devote more time to the implementation of assistance programmes. They furthermore considered that the present time, referred to by the High Commissioner as a period of consolidation, was particularly suitable for the proposed reduction of sessions.
33. Several speakers, including those of countries which were faced with problems of considerable magnitude in respect of the new groups of refugees to which they had granted asylum, suggested that in view of the acute refugee problems facing certain countries in Africa, the present time might not be a suitable one for the Committee to make the proposed experiment. They stressed that while numbers of new refugees had lately improved their position thanks to international assistance, the essentially dynamic character of the refugee problem should be taken into account. They considered that there was a serious risk that the potential problems to which the High Commissioner had referred in his statement might emerge at any time. They felt that at this particular juncture, when UNHCR was facing more refugee problems throughout the world than there had been since the end of the Second World war, it was essential for personal contact to be maintained between the representatives of the countries of asylum of refugees, the Executive Committee and the Office of the High Commissioner. They doubted whether such close contacts could be replaced by written communications. The consultations between the High Commissioner and permanent representatives in Geneva referred to in paragraph 30 (d)(ii) of the report (A/AC.96/380) might not constitute an adequate solution, since most of the Governments of countries of residence of refugees in Africa were not represented in Geneva and since, in any case, the officials responsible for assistance to refugees were stationed not in Geneva but in the capitals of their countries.
34. Several speakers also emphasized the considerable value of sessions of the Executive Committee in maintaining awareness of the problems of refugees, both among the general public and among government officials and other organizations which come into contact with each other on the occasion of the Executive Committee's sessions. Other representatives argued that the impact of a single two weeks' session might be even greater than that of the present two sessions.
35. Several representatives thought that a decision should be postponed for one year in view of the objections raised by some members of the Committee, especially since, as one representative added, 1968 had been designated as Human Rights year when the problems of refugees were to be specially highlighted. Two representatives also mentioned the possibility of deferring consideration of the draft report to the Committee's next session, with a view to shortening the duration of sessions.
36. In reply to inquiries from several representatives and observers as to the extent to which the work of assistance to refugees might be affected by the proposal to hold one Committee session a year, the High Commissioner reaffirmed that, under the authority which he had at present he would be able to carry on assistance programmes as heretofore, even if there were only one annual regular session. He called attention to the principles stated in paragraph 20 of his report which would guide him in using his Emergency Fund authority. He also emphasized that if he were required to consult the Committee between sessions by mail poll it would be essential for Governments to submit their views promptly.
37. Following the assurances given by the High Commissioner to the effect that the work of assistance to the refugees would not be adversely affected, the Committee unanimously decided to reduce its number of sessions.
Decision of the Committee
38. The Executive Committee,
(1) Having considered the report on the frequency of sessions, submitted by the High Commissioner in document A/AC.96/380, and having heard the statement which he made on this subject at the 168th meeting of the Committee;
(2) Noting that the functioning of the Office of the High Commissioner and, in particular, the formulation and implementation of its programme would not be adversely affected if the Committee were to decide to hold one regular session each year in the autumn;
(a) Took note of the report submitted by the High Commissioner;
(b) Decided henceforth to hold, as a rule, one session annually, to be held in the autumn;
(c) Decided to amend its rules of procedure accordingly;
(d) Decided, in order to enable the High Commissioner to deal rapidly and effectively with the new developments of various kinds summarized in paragraph 29 of document A/AC.96/380, to authorize the High Commissioner to take appropriate action between sessions of the committee, as outlined in paragraphs 30 to 33 of the document;
(e) Requested the High Commissioner to continue to circulate his report on current operations in respect of the preceding year to members of the Executive Committee in the course of April each year.
III. INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION (Agenda item 5)
39. The Committee had before it a report of High Commissioner on international protection (A/AC.96/377), in which special reference was made to the Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees, the question of asylum, the International Year for Human rights and the promotional aspect of international protection. The report listed in particular the various practical measures through which refugees might be able to benefit from Human Rights Year, including the accession by States to a number of important legal instruments.
40. The Committee also heard a statement by the representative of the High Commissioner Highlighting developments which had recently taken place in the field of international protection and including in particular the coming into force of the Protocol and the action taken by various inter-governmental organizations with a view to promoting improvements in the status of refugees.
41. The Committee noted with satisfaction that the Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees had come into force, that several States were on the point of depositing their instrument of accession and that in many other countries similar steps were under consideration.
42. Several speakers stressed the considerable value which should be attached to the Protocol, as that instrument, which eliminated the 1951 dateline, made it possible for any refugees coming within the purview of UNHCR to benefit from the provisions of the 1951 Convention, thus reflecting the universal character which the international community had conferred upon the task of UNHCR. The representative of China voiced the hope, in this connexion, that Governments which acceded to the Protocol would apply it without making any geographical restriction.
43. During the debate and also in the course of the session, several representatives highlighted the crucial questions of the right of asylum and non-refoulement. They expressed the hope that positive action would be taken in respect of the proposed Declaration on Territorial Asylum at the present session of the General Assembly. Several representatives stated that they would support the adoption of this instrument. The Committee subsequently welcomed the news that the proposed Declaration had been adopted by the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly. In the course of the session a tribute was paid to the generosity with which refugees were being granted asylum in many countries throughout the world.
44. The Committee noted from statements made by some representatives that plans were being drawn up in their countries for Human rights Year and that in some cases special committees had been established to work out the necessary arrangements. It was hoped that the problems of refugees, which belonged in the field of human rights, would be given a prominent place in such arrangements. The Committee was also informed by representatives of a considerable number of other positive measures which had been taken or were envisaged for the benefit of refugees as indicated in the summary records of the 168th and 169th meetings.
45. As regards indemnification, the members of the Committee noted from the introductory statement of the High Commissioner that his Office had promising discussions with the German authorities and heard the representative of the Federal Republic of Germany, who confirmed that agreement had been reached on a considerable number of points and that it was hoped to achieve final solutions for the remaining problems soon.
46. Several representatives stressed the interest of their Government in a speedy and final settlement of this question; one representative and the observer for the voluntary agencies expressed the hope that the indemnification procedures before German authorities would be expedited and that a liberal interpretation would be given by the competent German authorities to the relevant provisions of the German Indemnification Law so that persons who had been persecuted on grounds of their nationality would benefit from these provisions to the greatest extent possible.
47. The Committee further noted from the introductory statement made by the representative of the High Commissioner and from a statement by the representative of Switzerland that, taking into account article 35 of the 1951 Convention, it would be advisable for UNHCR to receive from Governments more detailed information in respect of the implementation of its provisions.
Conclusions of the Committee
48. The Executive Committee,
(1) Noted with appreciation the measures taken in the field of international protection as indicated in the report on the session;
(2) Expressed the hope that the measures which had been announced or were at present being undertaken would be pursued, and in particular;
(a) That further Governments would accede to the 1951 Convention and to the Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees;
(b) That Governments would be prepared to support the measures proposed by the High Commissioner in order to follow the implementation of the 1951 Convention and of the Protocol;
(c) That prominence would be given to the problems of refugees in any arrangements which were being made by Governments and organizations for the celebration of Human Rights Year, with emphasis being placed on the right of asylum and on the principle of non-refoulement, as well as on further accessions to legal instruments of benefit to refugees;
(d) That negotiations between UNHCR and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany with a view to solving outstanding problems in respect of indemnification be pursued and soon completed in a satisfactory manner.
IV. RESETTLEMENT OF REFUGEES, INCLUDING THE HANDICAPPED (Agenda item 6)
49. The report on the resettlement of refugees (A/AC.96/381) and the note on the problem of the residual group of severely handicapped refugees in Europe (A/AC.96/383) were considered together by the Committee. The representative of the High Commissioner, introducing the documents, reported a continued influx of asylum-seekers, coupled with a decline in the number of refugees within the mandate of UNHCR moved to resettlement countries. He also referred to the arrival, mainly in France and Italy, of new groups of asylum-seekers. As a result, there was temporary overcrowding in reception centres in some countries of first asylum. Among other measures being taken to meet this situation, the Government of Sweden had agreed to accept immediately a group of over 200 refugees selected in Italy in September 1967. He also mentioned that a further group of seventy Turkmen refugees in Afghanistan would shortly leave for Turkey.
50. Mr. Besterman, Deputy Director of the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration (ICEM), expressed his appreciation of the co-operation between ICEM and the Office of UNHCR. He reported that, owing to the arrival of several thousands of new refugees in countries of asylum in Europe, the caseload of ICEM, USRP and the voluntary agencies was now higher than it had been at the end of 1966 and that ICEM movements of refugees in 1967 would exceed 30,000. The influx of refugees in reception centres was likely to become a heavy burden on the European countries of first asylum unless action was taken rapidly with a view to their settlement. He appealed for further resettlement opportunities, improved and accelerated processing procedures, and also for the funds needed to finance transportation. The international machinery necessary to deal with the problem was available as evidenced by the fruitful, day-to-day co-operation between the Governments and non-governmental organizations concerned, UNHCR and ICEM.
51. Dr. Schou, Senior Medical officer of ICEM, spoke of his efforts in conjunction with UNHCR to find resettlement opportunities for severely handicapped cases. He illustrated by case descriptions that delays in accepting the handicapped for resettlement often caused their situation to deteriorate. Dr. Schou emphasized that most of the handicapped were in their present state because of a prolonged stay in camp and that many of them could be enabled to resume a normal life provided they first benefited from appropriate rehabilitation measures. His discussions over the past two months with government representatives and voluntary agencies in thirteen countries had shown him that resettlement was not the solution for some of the refugees concerned. Most of the handicapped, however, could be resettled satisfactorily through migration to other countries. Provided they were established in appropriate surroundings and given the type of work of which they were capable, many would eventually be able wholly or partly to support themselves.
52. He appealed for special schemes under which Governments would undertake economic responsibility for the care of severely handicapped refugees now in many instances borne by private sponsors, and stressed the need for resettlement countries to take the risk of accepting handicapped refugees. Referring to the handicapped among newly arriving refugees, he pointed out that by rendering adequate assistance to them without delay, it would be possible to prevent the accumulation of severely handicapped cases in the future.
53. Members of the Committee who participated in the debate stressed the importance of resettlement as a solution to the problems of refugees, including the handicapped. They paid tribute to the work which had been undertaken jointly by UNHCR, ICEM, the voluntary agencies and a number of Governments in this field and expressed satisfaction that a solution to the problem of the severely handicapped in Europe was now in sight.
54. The representatives of Australia, Canada and the United States gave an account of the immigration of refugees, including the handicapped, into their countries. The representatives of Belgium, France, Norway and Switzerland reported on measures taken in their country for the benefit of the handicapped. Details of these statements may be found in the summary record of the 172nd meeting.
55. The Committee noted with appreciation from the statements made that the following further positive measures were being considered with a view to the admission of refugees;
(a) In Australia the Government's contribution under the Assisted Passage Scheme had been increased so that refugees no longer had to repay transportation loans on arrival in Australia, and per capita grants to voluntary agencies in cases of family reunion had been extended until June 1968. The Australian Government was furthermore willing to continue to accept for immigration into Australia persons belonging to the new groups of refugees who had recently arrived in Italy, and Cubans at present in Spain.
(b) In Canada new immigration regulations had been adopted which applied the same criteria to all immigrants. The Canadian Government was expected to consult with the High Commissioner concerning several proposals relating to refugees as outlined in the Canadian White Paper. Furthermore, a special programme for the admission of fifty handicapped refugees and their families would be implemented in the coming fiscal year, in which some seriously handicapped cases might be included.
(c) In Norway arrangements were being planned by the Norwegian Refugee Council jointly with the Danish Refugee Council with a view to the admission of new groups of handicapped refugees to their countries.
(d) In the United Kingdom consultations were taking place between the Government, UNHCR and the British Council for Aid to Refugees for the admission of a further small number of handicapped refugees.
(e) In Belgium, France and Switzerland the present policy of admission of handicapped refugees would be continued.
56. From the statements made by representatives of countries of first asylum and countries of reception, the Committee learnt that missions from Norway and Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland would shortly be selecting refugees in Austria and Italy.
57. In the course of the discussion, it was stressed that refugees could make a valuable contribution to the economic and social life of their new home country, and that through modern rehabilitation methods a considerable proportion of the handicapped could, with proper care, be enabled to resume a normal life.
58. The representative of Yugoslavia said that over 900 refugees there were at present awaiting resettlement and made a plea for a greater use of the new centre of Banja Koviljaca.
59. The Committee paid particular attention to the problem of resettlement of individual African refugees. The High Commissioner pointed out that this problem which concerned essentially refugees who had received higher education had been thoroughly discussed at the Addis Ababa Conference with the participation of the representative of the Secretary-General concerned with vocational training in Africa and of other members of the United Nations system. The main problem to be faced in this respect was that of the "brain drain" and it was hoped that with the co-operation of the Governments concerned it would be possible to encourage the refugees to exercise their profession in African countries. The establishment of a bureau for placement and education of refugees, within the secretariat of OAU, which would be responsible for the resettlement of these refugees, had been recommended by the recent conference on African refugees at Addis Ababa. The bureau would co-operate with UNHCR, ECA, UNESCO, the ILO and the voluntary agencies.
Decision of the Committee
60. The Executive Committee,
(1) Having considered a report on the resettlement of refugees (A/AC.96/381) and a report by the High Commissioner on the progress of negotiations with Governments concerning the problem of severely handicapped refugees in Europe (A/AC.96/383);
(2) Noting with appreciation that as a result of the increasingly generous admission criteria of the main countries of immigration, a great deal has been achieved towards the successful resettlement of refugees;
(3) Noting, however, that new developments in various parts of the world have resulted in an increase in the number of applicants for resettlement through migration;
(i) Recommended that Governments of immigration countries pursue their efforts to increase immigration opportunities so as to avoid any accumulation in countries of first asylum;
(ii) Appealed to the Governments of immigration countries to consider what steps they might take to select refugees in Yugoslavia using the special facilities of the Banja Koviljaca Centre;
(iii) Took note of the very encouraging response of Governments to the special appeal by the High Commissioner to solve the problem of the residual group of severely handicapped refugees in Europe and expressed the hope that these efforts would be vigorously maintained in the future until this problem could be finally solved.
V. UNHCR PROGRAMMES
A. UNHCR programme for 1967 - new and revised projects (Agenda item 10)
61. The Committee considered document A/AC.96/378 in which the High Commissioner proposed increases in the allocations for Burundi ($80,000) and Uganda ($125,800), as well as a reduction of the existing allocations for the Central African Republic ($110,000) and European refugees in the Far East ($115,000), resulting in a net over-all reduction of the 1967 target by $19,200.
62. In presenting the item, the Representative of the High Commissioner explained to the Committee that the proposed changes were due, inter alia, to the fluid character of the situation of refugees, especially in Africa, where it was difficult to foretell the exact needs of the refugees, or to assess the actual cost of projects intended for them, at the time when the High Commissioner submitted his programme to the Executive Committee.
63. The observer for the World Food Programme stated that, since the seventeenth session, new allocations totalling some $550,000 had been approved for World Food Programme emergency aid to refugees in the Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia, respectively. Two development projects, both designed to provide further help to refugee settlements in Tanzania, were likely to be approved shortly and would bring the cumulative total of the World Food Programme assistance to refugees to some $6 million. The members of the Executive Committee noted with particular interest that World Food Programme operations were considerably facilitated by the resources made available to countries of asylum by the UNHCR and benefited also from the work of the non-governmental organizations which acted as operational partners of UNHCR.
64. The government observers who took part in the debate stressed the burning character of the problems which their respective Governments were still facing, mostly as a result of new influxes or due to the fact that existing problems were as yet unsolved. The observer for the Central African Republic informed the Committee that some 6,000-7,000 Sudanese refugees had recently gone to the Bambouti area to harvest their crops but would return to the new settlement in M'boki.
65. While noting with satisfaction the progress achieved in the implementation of approved projects in Nepal, the representative of China expressed his Government's deep concern at the fact that the implementation of some of the projects in Macao had had to be deferred. He voiced his Government's hope that they would be resumed as soon as possible.
66. In reply to a question concerning the continuation of the programme in Macao, the Director of Operations stressed the vital necessity of continuing to provide even limited assistance to the refugees in that area, despite the difficulties which were being encountered and to retain the allocations already approved by the Committee until such time as they could be fully used. Support was expressed for this view.
67. Answering a question from the representative of Norway as to the long planned opening of a sub-office at Isiro, the Representative of the High Commissioner told the Committee that the opening of the sub-office had been delayed as a result of the uncertain situation prevailing until recently in the area.
Decision of the Committee
68. The Executive Committee,
(1) Took note of the New and Revised Projects submitted in document A/AC.96/378 for inclusion in the UNHCR programme for 1967;
(2) Approved the proposed changes in the existing projects and noted that their inclusion in the 1967 programme would imply a net over-all reduction of $19,200 in the financial target of that programme;
(3) In view of the smaller amount expected to be spent for the Isiro sub-office from the allocation of $161,000 for administrative expenditure approved by the Executive Committee at its sixteenth session, authorized the High Commissioner to draw on this allocation to cover the administrative expenditure incurred in 1967 in relation to the appointment of a Chargé de mission in Khartoum;
(4) Further recalled the proposal contained in document A/AC.96/379, paragraph 78, regarding the financing of local settlement projects in Latin America and authorized the High Commissioner to carry forward and commit in 1968 the balance of the allocation approved for this purpose under the 1967 programme.
B. UNHCR programme for 1968 (Agenda item 11)
69. The Executive Committee considered the UNHCR programme for 1968 submitted by the High Commissioner in document A/AC.96/379 and Add.1 in a total amount of $US 4, 531,600.
70. In introducing the report, the Director of Operations advised the Committee that in its 1968 programme two projects had been included which, although not completely documented, would need to be implemented as soon as practical. They related to the settlement of Sudanese refugees in the north-eastern part of the Congo and of refugees from Ethiopia in the Sudan. In the light of the experience of the Office, the total cost of these two projects could be estimated at rather more than $600,000.
71. Referring to the refugees in Europe, the Director of Operations explained that the reduction in the size of the proposed allocations was largely due to the fact that the Governments and voluntary agencies were shouldering the larger part of the burden. Assistance to refugees in Latin America consisted mainly in providing for the handicapped. He stressed that it was essential to consolidate the settlement of refugees in Africa and to ensure that past investments would bear full fruit. He further pointed out that although there were many refugee problems in Asia, only a few of them came within the competence of UNHCR.
72. In the course of the general discussion, attention was drawn to the modest target set by the High Commissioner for his 1968 programme, which reflected the progress already achieved, and also highlighted the catalytic role of UNHCR. Concern was expressed, however, at the widening gap between UNHCR's financial target and the level of governmental contributions, which for the year 1967 represented only 60 per cent of the financial target, while 40 per cent of the necessary funds had had to be obtained from non-governmental sources.
73. Referring to the reduction of UNHCR's financial allocations in Europe, some speakers expressed their Government's appreciation for the transfer of further responsibilities to the local authorities and organizations which had taken place over the last few years. Tribute was paid to the generosity with which several European countries had admitted and looked after hundreds of thousands of refugees over the years and it was pointed out that allocations for these countries, where the problems of refugees were of an individual and not a collective nature, were the indispensable counterpart to much more considerable expenditure borne from local sources.
74. On the problems of refugees in Africa, the Committee had the privilege of hearing eye-witness accounts by the representative of the United Kingdom who had made a recent visit to refugee settlements in Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda and statements by the representative of Tanzania and by the observers for Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Senegal, Sudan, Uganda, and Zambia in respect of problems in their countries and their respective requirements. Details of these statements may be found in the summary records of the 169th, 170th, 171st and 173rd meetings. The Committee noted from these statements that in some areas the settlement of the refugees was being consolidated, that a number of refugees were cultivating cash crops and that improvements had been made, in the economic and social infrastructure of the area concerned, so that an increasing number of the refugees could be regarded as self-supporting.
75. The Committee, however, was also aware of the serious problems which had arisen for instance in certain areas of the Congo, the Central African Republic and in Uganda. It noted from the statements made that sometimes unavoidable delays occurred in the implementation of the programme, due to the need to move refugees inland from the border area for security reasons. The Committee paid a tribute to the active participation of the Governments and of the local population in the settlement of the refugees.
76. The Committee noted from a statement by the observer for the Sudan that special measures had been taken in his country with a view to creating favourable conditions for the return to their homes of Sudanese refugees who opted for voluntary repatriation. The Observer also recalled that a series of bilateral agreements on this question had been concluded between his Government and those of the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda.
77. With regard to the important question of educational assistance to refugees in Africa, the observer for UNESCO stated that a senior education officer was being made available to UNHCR by his organization. Furthermore, the agreement which was at present being negotiated between UNESCO and OAU would also facilitate the placement of refugees in the African institutions of higher education. This latter problem was considered more particularly in the course of the discussion on the resettlement of refugees (see section IV of this report).
78. In the course of the discussion of the various country programmes, the Committee was informed of the progress made in providing educational assistance to refugees and also of the considerable requirements which still had to be met, particularly in some of the countries concerned. The Director of Operations emphasized that additional funds for educational assistance were more needed than ever since the contributions so generously provided by several countries so far had to be used for the purpose for which they were earmarked, as soon as they were received.
79. During the session, the representative of Sweden, while agreeing with the policy that primary education was regarded as part of the High Commissioner's current programme, emphasized that secondary education was also the concern of UNHCR inasmuch as certain countries of asylum were not able to provide it for the refugees and were not in a position to give priority to projects for this type of assistance in the framework of their requests for educational projects from UNESCO. This view was supported by the representative of Norway.
Consideration of country allocations
80. The Committee received from the representative of Austria an account of the considerable problems his Government was still facing in assisting the numerous asylum seekers arriving in Austria. The representative said that the refugee problem in his country was not decreasing and his Government regretted that a reduction had been made in the allocation.
81. From statements by the representative of the United Kingdom, and the observer for Burundi, the Committee noted that in some areas of Burundi, such as Kigamba and Mugera, remarkable progress had been achieved whereas in Muramba the situation was less favourable. The main need there was for a good water supply. The hope was expressed that the services of FAO experts would be ensured.
82. The representative of the United Kingdom expressed the hope that every effort be made to consolidate the settlement of refugees in Burundi and that the High Commissioner's assistance would not be discontinued too soon. This view was strongly supported by the observer for Burundi, who informed the Committee that, since the proposed stabilization plan of the United Nations Development Programme which had been scheduled to take effect at the beginning of 1968 was still to be studied, an allocation of an order of magnitude of $250,000 to $300,000 would be required instead of the $30,000 included in the 1968 programme.
83. The High Commissioner informed members of the Committee that this highly important matter would be discussed by himself with the Administrator of UNDP and that in the meantime every effort would be made to ensure that refugees in Burundi would receive the necessary assistance. The allocation of $30,000 would be used to begin with. One of the further measures envisaged would be for his Office to seek special contributions from various sources which could be earmarked for assistance to these refugees, pending the coming into effect of the proposed programme of UNDP.
84. The High Commissioner stressed that a matter of fundamental principle was involved. As had already been mentioned in the course of the general debate the consolidation of the settlement of the refugees in Africa was to be effected in the frame of the global development programmes put into effect by other members of the United Nations system and his Office was actively pursuing this matter with the organizations concerned.
85. The Committee endorsed the practical suggestions put forward by the High Commissioner. One representative, supported by several others, indicated that his Government which was also a member of the Governing Board of the United Nations Development Programme would make every effort in order that priority be given to the proposed development programme for the area of Burundi where the refugees were located. On the question of the general principle of the assumption of responsibility for the further development of refugee settlement areas by other members of the United Nations system the Committee reaffirmed its position as stated in the decision relating to the general debate (see paragraph 28 above).
86. With regard to the Central African Republic, the representative of the United Kingdom drew attention to the difficult conditions in which the recent transfer of Sudanese refugees from Bambouti to M'boki had been operated. He voiced the hope that in the future means of transport would be made available in order to avoid unnecessary suffering. He further supported the High Commissioner's initiative for the establishment of a consultative committee for the implementation of the M'boki settlement project which would include representatives of the Government and of inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations concerned. The observer for the Central African Republic told the Committee that, despite his country's goodwill to help refugees, it could only count on limited means and he once again appealed to the international community to help in assisting them.
87. In considering the allocation for assistance in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Committee heard from the representative of the United Kingdom a first-hand account of the progress made in the settlement of Rwandese refugees. The refugee communities which he had visited seemed to be quite prosperous. Furthermore, in certain parts of the country refugees did not constitute separate communities and had become integrated into the local population. However, the continuing increase in the population of certain villages had created a need for the authorities to expand considerably the existing infrastructure. The establishment of an open fund for assistance to these refugees was welcomed by some representatives.
88. The observer for the Democratic Republic of the Congo made a statement in which he recalled the liberal policy of his Government in admitting large numbers of refugees and also the financial contribution it was making to the solution of the problem of both foreign refugees in the Congo and of the 125,000 Congolese refugees who had gone to neighbouring countries. He pointed out that, while the Rwandese and Sudanese were benefiting from various projects included in the UNHCR programmes, the Congolese Government had to assume practically the whole burden of assistance for some 400,000 Angolans who included a very large number of women and children. He further confirmed that the situation was back to normal in the eastern part of the Congo and voiced his Government's hope that the sub-office of UNHCR would be opened shortly.
89. The representative of the International Labour Office subsequently informed the Committee that, as a result of the recent disturbances which took place in Kivu province, his organization had been obliged to discontinue its activities in the area, pending an improvement of the situation. However, the ILO would maintain a rural development expert in Kinshasa in the meantime.
90. Consideration of the allocation for the Federal Republic of Germany gave the Committee and opportunity to hear from a representative of UNHCR some detailed information as to the influx of refugees in Germany and the functioning of the legal counselling system in that country.
91. In connexion with the proposed allocation for assistance in Italy, the Italian representative told the Committee of the considerable increase in the number of asylum seekers in his country over the last few months and recalled his Government's liberal policy in dealing with refugees and the continuing action undertaken by voluntary agencies in Italy in respect of the handicapped.
92. In considering the proposed allocation for assistance to Tibetan refugees in Nepal, the Committee noted from an eye-witness account given by the representative of Norway that considerable progress had been achieved in a few years through the joint efforts of the High Commissioner, the Swiss Association for Technical Assistance, the Nepal Red Cross Society whose action had been so effective and the refugees themselves. He subsequently urged the Committee to approve the proposed allocation in view of the needs, the efforts being made and the tangible results already achieved.
93. In connexion with the question of refugees in Senegal, the observer for Senegal stressed in particular the liberal policy adopted by his Government in admitting refugees and listed the considerable expenditure incurred by his country in this connexion. He furthermore confirmed that the refugees were enjoying the same advantages as nationals with regard to education, the right to work and social benefits. He also announced that the Senegalese authorities were considering the adoption of a law which was expected to help solve most of the problems facing refugees, in the field of international protection. In conclusion, he appealed to the Committee to assist the Senegalese authorities to solve the new problems arising from the displacement of both refugees and Senegalese nationals living near the border, caused by incursions of military forces into Senegalese territory.
94. The representative of Sweden who had personally visited the Casamance province reported on the effective assistance which was being provided for the refugees by the Senegalese authorities in conjunction with UNHCR and other organizations.
95. In considering the allocation proposed for assistance to Cubans in Spain, the representative of the United States reported on the measures of assistance provided for these refugees, as indicated in more detail in the summary record of the 170th meeting. He stressed that considerable efforts were being made by the United States Government in co-operation with the Spanish Government, ICEM, UNHCR and various voluntary agencies with a view to speeding up their movement to the United States and other countries of resettlement. The Committee noted from a statement by the observer for Spain that assistance to these refugees involved a heavy burden on the Spanish authorities and on a number of voluntary agencies in that country. The Committee also noted from a statement by the administration that travel costs were not included in the allocation but that the Cubans were moved with the help of ICEM at special reduced rates and that UNHCR contributed to the travel costs of some of the handicapped refugees among them who were without resources.
96. When considering the proposals for assistance to refugees in Latin America, the Committee heard a statement from the representative of Venezuela in which he reaffirmed the open-door policy which Venezuela applied in granting asylum to many refugees despite the very limited means at its disposal as a developing country.
97. The observer for the Sudan informed the Committee that his Government, in consultation with UNHCR, was working out plans for the settlement of the refugees from Ethiopia, a problem which was complicated by such questions as grazing rights and land ownership rights which were very important, since a number of the refugees concerned were cattle owners.
98. The speakers who took part in the debate expressed their Government's full appreciation for the efforts made by the Sudanese Government to solve the refugee problems confronting it and for the understanding with which these authorities were dealing with them.
99. Reporting on a visit he had recently paid to some refugee settlements in Uganda, the representative of the United Kingdom expressed appreciation for the manner in which the Government had assessed the needs of the refugees and for the positive action which it was taking. He had been impressed by the progress achieved in the fields of agriculture, education and medical assistance and stressed the necessity for the results to be consolidated.
100. The Committee also heard a statement by the observer for Uganda who reported on the recent influx of new refugees into the country. The observer stressed in particular the security and economic problems, resulting from the presence of large numbers of refugees in his country. He stated that in view of the strained resources of Uganda and of its limited absorption capacity, international assistance for the refugees continued to be indispensable. Additional funds were also required to enable the Uganda Government to set up a refugee counselling service in Kampala. In the course of the ensuing discussion reference was made to the importance of providing refugee settlements with appropriate educational facilities, such as the youth training centre scheme at Kahunge, as well as appropriate health facilities. A tribute was paid to the Government of Uganda for admitting refugee children both in its high schools and at its university college.
101. The Committee noted from the High Commissioner's proposal in document in document A/AC.96/379/Add.1 that the allocation for Uganda was to be increased by $12,000.
102. In considering the allocation for assistance to refugees in Tanzania, the Committee heard a statement by the representative of the United Republic of Tanzania who informed the Committee that his Government was considering approaching the High Commissioner with a view to the establishment of a new settlement for Mozambiquan refugees, as the existing settlements were rapidly reaching the ceiling of 10,000 people fixed by the Tanzanian authorities for administrative and social reasons. He, therefore, advised the Committee that in approving the allocations for 1968 the possibility of this development should be borne in mind. He also drew attention to the fact that two water supply points were required for the settlements at Muyenzi and Karagwe for which no allocation had been included in the 1968 programme.
103. He furthermore emphasized that difficulties which were being met by refugees in the Mwesi highlands were mainly due to the high transport costs of cash crops to the nearest centre which was many miles away. His Government, however, would continue to encourage the settlers to increase their agricultural production so as to become eventually self-supporting.
104. Consideration of the proposed allocation for assistance to refugees in Zambia gave the observer for that country an opportunity to report in detail on the situation of refugees in Zambia, the types of difficulties confronting his Government in dealing with them and the efforts it was making to keep the situation under control. He stated in particular that due to its geographical situation Zambia had admitted some 10,000 refugees from Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Rhodesia, South Africa and South West Africa. Since his country was not in a position to accept an unlimited number of refugees it had reluctantly decided to admit only those refugees who were seeking first asylum and those individual cases which would not require financial assistance.
105. He added that while some 3,500 refugees had returned to Mozambique there had recently been a new influx so that it might be necessary for the Government to open a new camp near Nyimba. He stressed in conclusion his country's most urgent need for help from the international community.
Decision of the Committee
106. After consideration and approval of all the proposed allocations and after having agreed to increase the programme reserve from $200,000 to $300,000 as provided for in the Committee's decision on the frequency of sessions, the Committee adopted the following decision;
107. The Executive Committee,
Having considered the UNHCR programme for 1968 submitted to it by the high Commissioner in document A/AC.96/379 and Add.1;
(1) Approved the financial target for the UNHCR programme for 1968 in an amount of $4,631,600 to meet the requirements of the High Commissioner in the field of material assistance in 1968;
(2) Approved the specific allocations in a total of $4,631,600 listed in the summary of proposed allocations under the UNHCR programme for 1968 contained in document A/AC.96/379 as amended, it being understood that as regards the two allocations descried respectively in paragraphs 38 to 40 (Rural settlement of Sudanese refugees in the Province orientale of the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and paragraphs 136 to 142 (Rural settlement of refugees from Ethiopia in the Sudan), the High Commissioner would report as soon as possible on the detailed projects to be implemented.
(3) Authorized the High Commissioner to adjust the allocations approved by transfers between projects or parts of projects subject to their being reported to the Committee in the report of UNHCR current operations;
(4) Agreed to the proposals referred to in paragraphs 57 (a) and 86(b) of document A/AC.96/379 concerning the utilization of funds for assistance to refugees in France and Latin America, respectively;
(5) Noted the oral request of the Government of Burundi to the effect that funds be made immediately available to ensure the continuation of the aid to refugees being settled in East Burundi pending the coming into operation of the global development project to be prepared by the government with the assistance of the UNDP;
(6) Consequently agreed that the High Commissioner should
(a) Draw the attention of the UNDP to the urgency of the development project,
(b) Make available the fund for Assistance towards Local Settlement in the amount of $30,000 approved by the Committee under paragraph 12 of document A/AC.96/379,
(c) Try to find ad hoc contributions outside the UNHCR current programme, and
(d) Take such other appropriate measures as might be required, subject to his reporting to the Executive Committee in due course.
VI. ADMINISTRATIVE AND FINANCIAL QUESTIONS
Status of contributions (agenda item 8)
108. The Executive Committee considered the Status of Contributions submitted by the High Commissioner in documents A/AC.96/375 and Add.1 and the final report on income and allocations from the proceeds of the long-playing records "All-Star Festival" and " International Piano Festival" (A/AC.96/385)
109. In introducing the item, the representative of the High Commissioner recalled the results of the European Refugee Campaign 1966. He pointed out that, apart from trust funds earmarked for essential projects outside the UNHCR programme, an amount of $500,000 was available from Campaign Funds for the 1965 and 1966 programmes, and an amount of $1.3 million for the 1967 programme. If governmental contributions continued to cover only 62 per cent of the total financial target the situation in 1968 would be very serious. The High Commissioner intended to launch an appeal again early in 1968 in the hope that Governments which had not yet done so would see their way to increasing their contributions significantly and that the number of those regularly contributing would be increased. In drawing the Committee's attention to the success of the long-playing record scheme, the representative of UNHCR mentioned that the possibility of further similar schemes was being studied.
110. In the course of the meeting and throughout the session new or increased contributions were announced by representatives of Governments members of the Committee as follows:
The contribution to the 1968 programme would be at least as high as that which had been made to the 1967 programme ($6,000).
Everything possible would be done to maintain the contribution at the same level in the future ($10,000 to the 1967 programme).
The 1968 contribution would be increased by 50 per cent over that for 1967 from $5,000 to $7,500.
Subject to parliamentary approval the 1968 contribution would be increased by one third from $10,000 to $136,000. A proposal to make available from technical assistance funds for the Mkushi Agricultural Training Centre in Zambia an amount of $74,780 would be taken up with the governing body of the Danish Technical Assistance Programme at its next meeting. Suggestions from the High Commissioner for further contributions to the Education Account would be considered sympathetically.
Federal Republic of Germany:
Subject to parliamentary approval the contribution would be raised in 1968 from $300,000 to $325,000
The contribution had been increased in 1967 from $10,000 to $12,000 and would be raised again to $13,000 for 1968.
The contribution would be raised 50 per cent from $5,000 in 1967 to $7,500 in 1968. The representative of Israel also announced that her country was prepared to share its experience in the establishing of rural communities with UNHCR and the Governments concerned and to include refugees from developing countries in the technical training courses organized in Israel.
Subject to parliamentary approval the contribution would be raised from $139,000 in 1967 to $175,000 in 1968. The Norwegian Government also intended to intensify its activities in the field of refugee education.
The regular annual contribution would be raised from $200,000 to $250,000 in 1968. Furthermore Sweden hoped to supplement this later in the year by special contribution and would make a separate unearmarked contribution to the Education Account.
The contribution would be increased from $2,667 in 1967 to $5,000 in 1968.
United States of America:
A contribution of $600,000 to the 1968 programme exceeding by $200,000 the contribution to the 1967 programme was under consideration by congress. The United States Government hoped to announce this contribution at the forthcoming Pledging Conference. It was also making a contribution of a considerable size through the United States Refugee Programme and through food and other aid.
Announced a contribution of $4,000 to the 1967 programme.
The Government decided to contribute $2,000 to the 1967 programme.
111. The representative of Italy, at an earlier stage in the debate made a statement in which he indicated that, as a country of first asylum, Italy was spending some $2 million annually for assistance to refugees in that country. His Government was nevertheless considering the possibility of an increase in its contribution to the programme.
112. The representatives who took part in the debate expressed their appreciation to the many Governments which had announced new or increased contributions or had indicated measures which their administration hoped to be able to take in this connexion. They realized. however, that the sum total of the increases which had been announced (i.e. some $170,000) would still leave a sizeable shortfall in the UNHCR current programme and they stressed the need for further increases in contributions and for increased participation of Member States of the United Nations and specialized agencies in the financing of UNHCR programmes.
113. One representative welcomed the new procedure instituted by UNHCR, whereby advance information was being given to Governments in respect of the financial requirements of the High Commissioner's next year's programme. This would no doubt facilitate the task of the government services concerned.
114. In reply to a suggestion by the representative of Tanzania that a small committee be established with a view to negotiating voluntary contributions from Governments, the High Commissioner recalled that a similar committee had been once set up in the United Nations, referred to as the Negotiating Committee for Extra-budgetary Contributions. That Committee, however, had not produced the results expected. The High Commissioner felt that the Executive Committee as a whole could fulfil the role of the proposed sub-committee, the more so in view of the stimulating effect of the numerous increased contributions which had been announced by the Committee's members.
Decision of the Committee
115. The Executive Committee, Having considered the report on the Status of Contributions (A/AC.96/375 and Add.1) and the report on income and allocations from the proceeds of the long-playing records "All-Star Festival" and "International Piano Festival" (A/AC.96/385),
(1) Noted that as a result of the successful European Refugee Campaign 1966, contributions from participating national committees together with other non-governmental contributions, had considerably reduced the gap between the financial target of the UNHCR programme for 1967 and the total of governmental contributions so far announced;
(2) Paid a tribute to the Governments which had announced increased contributions;
(3) Felt nevertheless that in 1968 a large gap might occur between total contributions and the financial target unless Governments were to make a significant increase in their annual contributions, as compared with those which they made to the 1967 programme;
(4) Recommended that the High Commissioner should again appeal to Governments which regularly contribute to the UNHCR programme to consider the possibility of increasing their annual contributions if they have not already done so and to other countries Members of the United Nations or of its specialized agencies which do not regularly contribute to participate in the financing of UNHCR programmes;
(5) Approved the final report on income and allocations from the proceeds of the long-playing records "All-Star Festival" and "International Piano Festival", noting with satisfaction that the two long-playing record schemes had been successfully completed;
(6) Took note of the High Commissioner's intention to use the provision established from the proceeds of "All-Star Festival" in the amount of $200,000, to cover also the costs of travel and other related expenses arising from fund-raising activities which are necessary to meet the gap in the financing of his programme.
Financial statements and report of the Board of Auditors (agenda item 7)
116. The Committee considered the financial statements for voluntary funds for 1966 and the report of the Board of Auditors thereon, contained in documents A/AC.96/365 and A/AC.96/374, respectively.
117. The representative of the High Commissioner, introducing the documents, said that a complete review of the presentation of financial statements had been made in order to provide the Committee with clearer, more concise and at the same time more complete information. The financial statements before the Committee had also been examined by the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary questions whose report was contained in annex I to document A/AC.96/374.
Decision of the Committee
118. The Executive Committee took note of the financial statements for the year 1966 contained in document A/AC.96/365 and of the reports of the Board of Auditors and of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions submitted in respect of the financial year 1966(A/AC.96/374).
Financial status of UNHCR programmes (agenda item 9)
119. The Committee had before it a note on the financial status of UNHCR programmes (A/AC.96/382) and a note on the discounting of a loan (A/AC.96/384).
120. The representative of the High Commissioner said that thanks to the increase in contributions promised or paid and to several other factors, the deficit of the 1967 programme had been reduced to some $330,000 at the end of September. Operations under the Emergency Fund were summarized in table III of the document. He also drew attention to the proposal contained in document AC.96/384 for the advance reimbursement of an interest-free loan for a housing project in Germany.
121. In reply to a question concerning this proposal, he stated that a new influx into the area where the project was located was not anticipated.
122. The representative of Australia stressed the importance of concise, well-presented financial data to governmental departments when considering their appropriations for voluntary programmes. He suggested that such estimates for the year 1968, as well as estimates of income and expenditure for 1969, should be submitted to the next regular session of the Committee.
Decision of the Committee
123. The Executive Committee,
(1) Took note of the financial status of UNHCR programmes submitted by the High Commissioner in document A/AC.96/382;
(2) Took note of the allocations made from the Emergency Fund, as reported in document A/AC.96/382 and the relating information documents A/AC.96/INF.73 and Corr.1, INF.78/Rev.1,79 and 82;
(3) Took note of the note on the discounting of a loan (A/AC.96/384);
(4) Authorized the High Commissioner to accept the offer of a building society in Germany to pay by 31 December 1967 the sum of $11250 in complete settlement of the long-term interest-free loan of $13,375 made by the UNHCR to the building society for a housing project in Germany.
Administrative expenditure for 1968 (agenda item 12)
124. The Committee had before it a note submitted by the High Commissioner in document A/AC.96/376.
125. The Deputy High Commissioner, introducing the document, recalled that the Executive Committee had taken note of the budget estimates for 1968 at its seventeenth session (A/AC.96/370, para.157). Document A/AC.96/376 contained the report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions on those estimates. The report contained a recommendation to the General Assembly for a reduction of $30,000 in the UNHCR budget which was based on the feeling that there should be a larger deduction for the turnover of staff. While somewhat dubious about this basis for reduction, the High Commissioner, who had a high regard for recommendations of the Advisory Committee, would make every effort to keep for recommendations of the Advisory Committee, would make every effort to keep expenditures within the reduced appropriation if approved by the General Assembly.
126. The ACABQ had also suggested that further reductions in the staffing of Branch offices in Europe might be made in order to enable the High Commissioner better to respond to new emergency situations in other areas, especially in Africa. The ACABQ had approved the new method of calculating the grant-in-aid to the United Nations budget which had been approved by the Executive Committee at its last session. This method had therefore been used in the 1968 programme submission.
127. In reply to a question, the Deputy High Commissioner said that the Advisory Committee had always been considered competent to make recommendations for the best use of available staff resources.
Decision of the Committee.
128. The Executive Committee,
(1) Took note of document A/AC.96/376 submitted by the High Commissioner in respect of the administrative expenditure for 1968;
(2) Agreed that an allocation should be included in the over-all financial target of the annual UNHCR programmes for the total amount of the grant-in-aid, while interest on invested fund should be credited to the income of the programme in accordance with UNHCR financial rule 6.1.
Annex I OPENING STATEMENT BY THE HIGH COMMISSIONER
Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates and observers, may I first be permitted to say how very pleased I am to be here with you with the Executive committee, to review once again, in the spirit which has always inspired us, the work for refugees. I would like to say also how pleased I am to see how many international organizations are represented here, not only the members of the United Nations system, but also the private voluntary agencies that do so much to help us in our work and which are always widely represented at meetings of the Executive Committee. May I also be permitted to extend my warmest congratulations to Ambassador Ratsimamanga of Madagascar on his election yesterday to the position of Vice-Chairman. I am confident that he will be of great value to our work, as he has been in the past that he will be of great value to our work, as he has been in the past.
This is an auspicious meeting in many ways, first of all because we had the opportunity yesterday afternoon to participate in the Nasen Medal Award Ceremony to honour the Prince of the Netherlands who visited Geneva to receive this award. I was also very happy to note yesterday the presence of the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, Mr. Peter Smithers. Because of the importance which we attribute to the co-operation of the Council of Europe we felt that his presence amongst us was indeed most welcome and gave us an opportunity also to discuss together continuing co-operation with that European body.
In the past, Mr. Chairman, during some of the presentations which I had occasion to make before the Executive Committee, I tried to adhere as much as possible to a geographical presentation, giving you, as it were, a "continent by continent" account of the refugee problems as I saw them in different parts of the world: Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America. This time, Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates, the situation is a little different, first of all because the developments, I think, are different, and secondly because I find that since the seventeenth session we are witnessing in our daily work a kind of unity of action all over the world. Therefore, because of these differences in developments since the last session, instead of running through the refugee situations as I see them country by country, I would rather give you an account of the general trend, as I see it, of developments in refugee work, singling out as we go along some examples in certain specific fields and areas.
His Royal Highness the Prince of the Netherlands gave you yesterday the details of the final results of the European campaign which took place in October 1966. The Prince told the gathering that $18 million had been collected during this remarkable effort which, as you recall, brought together eighteen countries, not only European countries, though it was a European campaign to start with, but also countries as far away from Europe as Australia and New Zealand.
This remarkable effort will, I think, make a very decisive contribution to the permanent solution of a number of refugee problems. For one thing, as the Committee well knows, a great deal of this fund-raising activity was concentrated on Tibetans in India and in Nepal. The country which His Royal Highness Prince Bernhard represents so brilliantly, the Netherlands, concentrated in fact essentially in this campaign on the solution of the Tibetan refugee problem. I believe that such particular concentrations, of effort and fund raising on specific problems, like the Tibetan refugee problem in India and Nepal will bring these particular situations very close to a permanent solution. I think a parallel can in a way be drawn between the great achievements of this campaign and the results of World Refugee Year which closed many camps in Europe. This campaign will also help a number of refugee groups to cease to be refugees.
I think it is interesting to note, however, that out of the results of the campaign, the $18 million mentioned by the prince yesterday, only a very small part of that of that large amount of money will be used to cover some of the items in our UNHCR programme. From this campaign we expect approximately $1.8 million, an amount which, thanks to the generosity of the national committees in some of the countries participating in the campaign, was earmarked for UNHCR's programmes. Out of this $1.8 million, $1.3 million would in fact be reserved to cover part of the shortfall of 1967, the rest being used to cover deficits accrued from the 1965 and 1966 programmes. While it is too early to tell, yet, whether or how far we will benefit from this campaign for 1968 or for 1969, I can tell the Committee at this point that if we do get anything to cover a part of the programmes for those future years, it will be a small amount indeed. I believe, therefore, that if a philosophy can be drawn from this it is that, out of a large collective fundraising effort of this kind, remarkable though it is, which brought together $18 million as was said yesterday, only a very small proportion will in fact be used to cover UNHCR's financial commitments under its programme of material assistance. I insist on this point, Mr. Chairman, because the financial problem still faces us in its entirety for 1968. Although part of the shortfall for 1967 about which, I think, we were all very concerned has indeed been covered as a result of the campaign, the problem of financing our programmes of material assistance for the future remains as dramatic and as real as it was in the past. And furthermore we cannot, as we all know, have a campaign like this every year. We cannot engage in really wide-scale private fund-raising efforts of this kind, either at the national level or at the international level, too frequently. Therefore, the Committee should understand my very deep concern at having to seek from non-governmental sources nearly 40 per cent of the funds necessary fully to finance my programme, since at the present time the level of government contributions, if you take the aggregate total of the year, amounts to only 60 per cent of the financial target. Even if it has been possible, as this year, to obtain the 40 per cent, and that not even in its entirety, it certainly cannot be done on an annual routine basis. It is becoming more and more difficult, as the Deputy High Commissioner knows very well, to raise that private money, the 40 per cent needed to cover the programme of material assistance. People are becoming a little tired, a little concerned with constant appeals which they receive not only from UNHCR, but from other sources and particularly in connexion with needs in the Middle East, as a result of the events which took place there recently. Think of how much the international community has been made award of the human suffering in that part of the world for old and new refugees who are not the concern of UNHCR. So when we think about fund raising and covering the needs of the programme all of these questions have to be taken into account.
The financial situation which I have just referred to and which affects the programme as a whole, also affects our Education Account, though I believe that the need is important, urgent and has been recognized by all. Our Refugee Education Account has not sufficiently been financed and for this reason I am particularly pleased and encouraged to announce that two Governments, Denmark and Sweden, have contributed to the account at the same time as non-governmental organizations in these two same countries. These two Governments and the people of these two countries have again given us a very inspiring example. This is not the first time that Scandinavian countries have led the field, and I can only express the hope that this example will be followed by others.
Well, Mr. Chairman, what have been the major developments since the seventeenth session? There have not been any dramatic changes as regards refugees of concern to UNHCR and really no spectacular increase in numbers; I think this is a fact about which we can all feel pleaded and happy. There have certainly been some political developments, like those in the Middle East to which I have referred, and these have had a bearing on our activities. There has been an increased need for assistance to those refugees within UNHCR's competence in the Middle East as a result of the war, which seems to affect everyone, not only local populations but also the refugees living amongst the local people. This is directly related to the war, as it has had an effect on the economic and social standards of living of the people and their needs have increased. My representatives in the field have reported the conditions of these people, and, to give you a concrete indication of the repercussion on UNHCR's activities, we have already had to place an additional $40,000 at the disposal of my branch offices in the Middle East for 1967. This amount has come from the reserve. For 1968, the programme has been more than doubled in countries like Lebanon and the United Arab Republic.
I world like to say in this connexion, as indeed I had the opportunity to tell the Economic and Social Council when I reported to that body in July, that we follow with very great interest and sympathy the efforts of our sister organization the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). Although they are concentrating their efforts on a case-load which is of no direct concern to UNHCR and not within the competence of this office as you well know, we hope very much that this sister organization within the United Nations system succeeds in its effort and brings that particular refugee problem nearer to some permanent solution.
The events in the Middle East have also had a bearing on other parts of the world with which we are concerned. It is interesting to note, for instance, that the closure of the Suez Canal caused a considerable delay in the arrival of World Food Programme supplies which were very badly needed for our refugees in Tanzania. This is the kind of thing which happens in situations like those in the Middle East. I would like on this occasion to express particular gratitude and appreciation to the Government of the United States for making available 180 tons of cereals on a non-reimbursable basis to meet the critical situation which arose in two settlements in East Africa as a result of the closure of the Suez Canal.
The events in the Middle East have also created another problem for us, which is the bearing of the events on certain minority groups which, as a result of these upheavals, have been forced to leave and who may indeed create some problems in countries of asylum. All of them are not necessarily refugees, but amongst them there may be refugees and stateless persons.
In another part of the world, political problems have also caused difficulties to UNHCR, the eastern part of the Congo where again, as you all know, there have been disturbances which the Press has widely reported. Roughly 50,000 new uprooted people who have left the Congo find themselves mainly in Rwanda but also in Burundi and the Central African Republic. The very nature of the situation in the eastern part of the Congo would seem to indicate that changes can occur quickly. We hope that the people might be able to return home soon, but again it is very difficult to predict developments. We are following the situation very closely and the Governments which are faced with this new influx are of course very interested in trying to find some solution if voluntary repatriation cannot take place in the near future.
I should therefore, I believe, Mr. Chairman, not be over-optimistic, as many situations, particularly in the continent of Africa, contain elements of potential refugee problems. One should be prepared, as I think we all were in the past, to act with speed if the need arises.
Mr. Chairman, 1967 is the year of what I would describe as major consolidation in refugee work, and great progress has been made everywhere. The current programme in Europe is working and problems are being dealt with and solved as and when they arise. This must be continued and it can only be continued if this technique is maintained and if the generosity of countries of immigration is maintained since, as we all know, the fact that Europe is no longer a major problem is due largely to the constant movement, the smooth movement, which is implemented to allow those refugees who still wish to move to be welcomed in new countries.
Unfortunately this current Programme concept, which I think has proved itself in Europe, is not always as effective outside Europe and the difficulties to which I have referred, and other ones, would seem to prove this. For instance, certain unforeseen events take place. In Uganda, as we know, for security and other reasons, refugees had to be moved in 1966 from the border areas and new settlements had to be started further inland in 1967. This naturally brought about certain revisions in our estimates and in the amount of money needed to resettle the refugees in that country. The same problem arose in the Central African Republic, where refugees also had to move further inland with resulting changes in the original estimates. All this entails a possible unbalancing of the current Programme concept which has worked so well in Europe. We have to follow this with great care and attention, as I am afraid that occasionally, because of these unforeseen circumstances, there are unavoidable changes in our estimates, and also difficulties and delays in programmes which sometimes have to be completely revised.
This is also true for Asia in the Case of Macao, a problem which is well known to the Committee, where the assistance programmes have in some cases, either been delayed or suspended as a result of the political situation. However, I would like to emphasize, Mr. Chairman, that despite this we are very happy to be able to report to the Committee that some projects such as the vocational training centres in Taipa and Coloane have been completed and that the girls' hostel is also completed and operating at the present time. I think it is rather encouraging to note that, despite the political situation and the instability in the area, UNHCR has been able to complete these projects.
Generally the integration of refugees is progressing very satisfactorily. In Africa, out of the approximately 800,000 refugees of direct or indirect concern to UNHCR, the number of those settled has again risen, by several thousand above the estimated 450,000 people already settled, which I mentioned to you at the last session of the Executive Committee.
The same is true also for the Tibetans in India and Nepal. In India, the campaign will solve, I hope definitely, the problem of the majority of the Tibetans who are still working on the roads. As you know, this was the most difficult question yet to be solved. In Nepal, the UNHCR housing schemes approved at earlier sessions of the Committee have been completed. I must say that the success of the operations was largely due to the splendid co-operation received from the Nepalese Red Cross Society and the Swiss Association for Technical Assistance.
Turning now, Mr. Chairman, to the problem of the handicapped refugees, which has been of great concern to me personally as the Committee well knows. Since our seventeenth session in May, very intensive discussions have taken place between my office and the Permanent Missions of countries of reception here in Geneva. Dr. Schou of ICEM, who has been a wonderful partner in this effort, together with a senior staff member from my office, visited a number of capitals of receiving countries and also field migration missions in Europe of overseas countries. We hope very much that as a result of these efforts the Governments will recognize even further the need for concerted action, and we are grateful for the very warm interest which has already been expressed.
I do not want to be over-optimistic, Mr. Chairman, but I would like to say that the indications are very favourable that the problem of the handicapped refugees will be solved partly by the emigration of a great number of the handicapped case-load, and partly through the integration of the remainder. This would seem to confirm the arguments which were expressed here when we were discussing this problem in past sessions. I remember our friends on the Committee - I think it was H. E. Governor Westerlind of Sweden - saying, "well now, what is your estimate, how many can move, how many will have to be integrated?" I think the answer is that the great majority will move and a smaller group will have to be integrated in the countries of first asylum. But the important thing is that the problem should be solved and the indications are that a solution is now in sight. Turning now to international protection, Mr. Chairman, the major development is, as we all know, the fact that the Protocol has come into force following the accession of six Governments, the Holy See, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Mauritania, Senegal and Sweden. I think it is rather remarkable that this Protocol should already be in force today only a few months after it was opened for accession. We hope very much that the example of the States which I have just mentioned will be followed by a great many others and already indications are that more accessions should be forthcoming.
We have witnessed, Mr. Chairman, a most interesting meeting of the Organization of African Unity in Kinshasa. The summit meeting there again showed appreciation of the importance of the refugee problem in Africa and passed a number of recommendations concerning member States of the OAU, asking them, inter alia, to adhere to the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol and at the same time recommending that the Refugee Committee of the Organization of African Unity should be used as an intermediary between countries of origin and countries of reception in Africa to facilitate voluntary repatriation. The Heads of State and Government of the OAU in Kinshasa also recommended that refugees should not become a source of friction between States and appealed to countries neighbouring Non-Self-Governing African Territories to offer transit and travel document facilities to the refugees.
Mr. Chairman, I have just returned from Addis Ababa, where a very important refugee Conference has taken place. I was there for the first plenary meetings of the Conference and delivered a statement at the opening session. As some of the Committee members may know a distinguished friend of ours, Minister Wambura of Tanzania, who represents his country on this Committee, was elected President of the Conference. We were therefore in Addis Ababa together, with other friends who are also here representing their Governments. The visit to Addis Ababa also gave me an opportunity to call on His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor of Ethiopia, to discuss refugee work in Africa generally and particularly the refugee problems in countries close to Ethiopia. The audience which His Imperial Majesty granted me and my talks with the Government gave me an opportunity to establish a climate of understanding with the Ethiopian authorities in respect of the work and the purely humanitarian efforts of UNHCR.
Now the Conference in Addis Ababa, Mr. Chairman, was to me one of the most interesting exercises in recent years in my experience in the field of work for refugees.
The Conference elected two committees, one dealing with the legal aspects of the refugee problem in Africa and the other dealing with the economic and social aspects of the problem. During the meetings of these two committees and the further discussions which took place in the plenary, thirteen recommendations were adopted. We received only yesterday the final text of these thirteen recommendations, but already we know, and I certainly realized this when I was there, that the scope and the depth of the work was most impressive. A number of points were covered. I will mention them very briefly: the right of asylum, the promotion of voluntary repatriation, travel documents, social rights of refugees, emergency aid and land settlement projects, regional development plans, education and training in relation to manpower requirements in Africa, and resettlement and placement of individual refugees; all these points were studied in a very realistic and I would say most humanitarian and non-political spirit.
The constructive aspect of this Conference was emphasized also by the presence of a great many representatives of United Nations agencies. The United Nations itself was represented at the Conference at a very high level by Ambassador Kironde who was sent from New York to attend the meeting. The United Nations Development Programme, the ILO, WHO UNESCO, FAO and the World Food Programme were represented as well. Last, but certainly not least, all the voluntary agencies that had a special interest in our African work were also in a position through their presence at the meeting as observers to state their views.
I think the Executive Committee will understand, Mr. Chairman, that it is very difficult for me at this point to present a detailed analysis of the efforts of the twenty-two African Governments that participated in this meeting, but I would like to pay a very warm tribute to the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation which sponsored this Conference through its generous financial and moral support. I would also like to thank the Economic Commission for Africa which helped us a great deal, inter alia, in making available Africa Hall for the meetings, and the Organization of African Unity which gave us its guidance constantly throughout the meetings. Also I would like to thank the African Governments for the remarkably successful way in which their representatives conducted the debates which were always at a very high level indeed and for the results obtained in the recommendations to which I have referred.
Mr. Chairman, still on the subject of international protection, I have not lost sight of the very important problem of indemnification which is also of great concern to the Committee. I should like to assure you that my office has pursued its efforts regarding the indemnification of refugees who were persecuted under the national socialist régime for reason of their nationality. As a follow-up of previous discussions with the Federal German Government, I have brought the matter to the attention of the German Foreign Minister himself who has assured me of his personal interest in arriving at a solution. I am glad to inform the Committee that agreement has been reached on a considerable number of points, and I hope and believe that a solution of the remaining problems may also be achieved soon so that these negotiations may finally be concluded.
Mr. Chairman, I turn now to the field of inter-agency co-operation. This item has not been included in the agenda of this meeting but since I feel it is vital, and of particular interest to the Committee, I would like to mention, Mr. Chairman, some developments and thank the United Nations system, our traditional partners in this field, and also the members of the Executive Committee, for their whole-hearted support of my efforts to promote further inter-agency co-operation.
You will recall, Mr Chairman, that the Executive Committee recommended that UNHCR should be invited to attend the Inter-Agency Consultative Board. This was endorsed by the Economic and Social Council at its summer session, I am very happy to say, and at this point the final decision rests with the General Assembly. I am proceeding to New York soon to present my report to the Third Committee and this matter of the IACB will be taken up whilst I am.
There have been improvements at policy level for instance regarding the Inter-Agency Consultative Board, and there have also been improvements in the field. With respect to the policy improvements, my contacts with the heads of the United Nations agencies have developed further since the seventeenth session. We have had extensive discussions with UNDP, WFP, FAO and all the range of the agencies and, of course, also with UNESCO on the subject of education, to which I shall come back in a moment. These contacts were further strengthened as a result of my reporting directly to the governing body of the United Nations Development Programme during its meeting in Geneva.
The World food programme naturally continues to be one of our very strongest partners in the area of inter-agency co-operation.
With regard to education, Mr. Chairman, the Director-General of UNESCO has informed me that, following the exchange of the Memorandum of Understanding, of which the Committee knows, an expert will soon be made available to give a new impetus to our Programme for Educational Assistance to Refugees in Africa. We welcome this expert and we are grateful to the Director-General for sending him to Geneva.
As far as the improvements in the field are concerned, in the Central African Republic, the Council of Ministers have adopted a most important principle that any development plan for the country should include appropriate provision for refugees. In Uganda, discussions are presently under way on the possibility to include refugees in zonal development plans in that country, which, as we all know, is bearing a heavy burden.
Mr. Chairman, in line with the wish of the Executive Committee that further development of refugee land resettlement areas should be taken over as soon as possible by the United Nations agencies which are competent for long-term development, a project, as a result of our efforts, is now being envisaged in the eastern part of Burundi which will cover one fifth of the country, including areas in which refugee settlements are located. This project sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme with other United Nations partners will promote development on a global rather than a sectional scale.
In this connexion, I would again like to pay a very warm tribute to all the United Nations agencies which are co-operating with us, and to the other inter-governmental organizations, in particular the Council of Europe which honoured us through Mr. Smither's visit yesterday, to ICEM, our traditional partner in the field of migration and resettlement, to the Organization of American States which I understand will be represented at this session and to the Organization of African Unity which I referred to in connexion with the Addis Ababa Conference.
Mr. Chairman, as you see the developments are on the whole encouraging. This is the year of consolidation. We have to consolidate even further and at the same time we have to be ready for new emergencies if and when they arise.
Yesterday we celebrated once again the Nansen Medal Award Ceremony and this award marked one of the most significant recent events: the Refugee Campaign 1966. We should remember the many thousands of people who worked, who devoted their efforts and their attention to this campaign, all the anonymous workers who did so much in the Committees in every country to raise the funds which brought about this remarkable result. These people were Europeans who were raising funds for refugees in Africa and Asia. This was particularly significant. Yesterday when the medal was presented to the Prince of the Netherlands, we also recalled the tremendous work done by Nansen. It is interesting to note that Fridtjof Nansen concentrated his efforts on solving a problem which had accrued in Europe in a post-war period when Europe faced a tremendous accumulation of uprooted peoples and refugees. Europe also had moral, social and philosophical precepts which allowed it to be the first area of the world to establish certain concrete principles on refugee work - to define a refugee, to evolve the first legal instruments which gave refugees a kind of entity, a kind of identification which they had never possessed until that time. That Europe should have spent time and effort to raise funds for refugees in Asia and Africa and that during this year a Conference should have taken place in Addis Ababa where for the first time twenty-two African Governments worked on the refugee problem, at the same time developing a legal, social frame within which to work for refugees in Africa is indeed worthy of consideration. The fact that they utilized, as it were, as the basis of their study, the international principles which were evolved originally in Europe - the 1951 Refugee Convention, the Protocol of 1967 which enlarged these terms of reference, shows, I believe, that there is today a really international concept of refugee work, both in the legal field and in the field of assistance. The Addis Ababa Conference followed the same international principles as those that were evolved originally in Europe. This was done much more quickly in fact than in Europe where it took much time to develop the legal instruments which exist today for refugee protection. The rapidity with which this was done in Africa reflects great credit on the African Governments.
This on the one hand and the results of the fund-raising effort which has taken place in Europe for refugees in Africa and Asia both underline the international aspect of refugee work, as well as the universal aspect of the solution to refugee problems. This is a source of tremendous encouragement to me in my efforts to consolidate the solution of the refugee problem, in close co-operation with the members of the Executive Committee.
(Note: Financial and statistical data tables not included in this online version. See your nearest UN Depository Library.)
1 Previously issued under the symbol A/AC.96/386.
2 The summary of his statement may be found in the summary record of the 175th meeting.