Addendum to the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations General Assembly Official Records: Nineteenth Session
Addendum to the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Supplement No. 11A (A/5811/Rev.1/Add.1)
REPORT ON THE TWELFTH SESSION OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER'S PROGRAMME* (Rome, 22-30 October 1964)
OPENING OF THE SESSION AND ELECTION OF OFFICERS
1. At the invitation of the Italian Government, the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme held its twelfth session from 22 to 30 October 1964 in Rome at the Headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
2. Under rule 10 of the rules of procedure, which provides that the officers shall be elected for the whole year, Miss A. F. W. Lunsingh Meijer (Netherlands) and Dr. S. Azimi (Iran) continued to serve as Chairman and Rapporteur respectively.
3. Mr. R. W. Furlonger (Australia), Vice-Chairman, having his post at Geneva and finding it impossible to attend the session, the Committee elected Mr. A. Sanfeli di Monteforte (Italy) Vice-Chairman.
4. The members of the Committee represented at the session were as follows:
|Federal Republic of Germany
|United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
|United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar
|United States of America
5. The Governments of Argentina, the Central African Republic, the Congo (Leopoldville), Portugal, Senegal and Uganda were represented by an observer, as was the Sovereign Order of Malta. The International Labour Office (ILO), The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Council of Europe, the European Economic Community (EEC) and the Inter-governmental Committee for European Migration (ICEM) were also represented.
STATEMENT BY THE CHAIRMAN
6. On behalf of the members of the Committee, the Chairman warmly thanked the Italian authorities for the hospitable welcome extended to the Committee. She also thanked the Director-General of FAO, who had made all the necessary arrangements to enable the Committee to hold its session at FAO Headquarters.
STATEMENT BY MR. L. MONTINI, PRESIDENT OF THE AMMINISTRAZIONE PER LE ATTIVITA ASSISTENZIALE ITALIANE E INTERNAZIONALI (AAI)
7. Mr. L. Montini, member of the Senate and President of the AAI, speaking on behalf of the Italian Government, welcomed the members of the Committee to Rome. Italy's interest in the refugee problem was due both to the considerable influx of refugees into the country and to the democratic spirit animating the Italian people. The right of asylum was written into the Italian Constitution, and his Government participated in the work of the international organizations whose purpose it was to ensure peace and promote social justice.
8. The proposed visits to the Capua and Latina refugee centres would undoubtedly give the Committee an opportunity of appraising on the spot the work being done to assist refugees in Italy. The Italian delegation's statement at the eleventh session, which had outlined the guiding principles of that work, had now been supplemented by a report (A/AC.96/INF. 27) containing particulars of the assistance machinery set up with the participation of the international organizations and voluntary agencies, whose work represented an indispensable contribution to the settlement of refugee problems.
9. The study of the refugee situation in Italy would show the Committee that the refugee problem in Europe had not yet been solved and that the influx of refugees was continuing. The Italian Government, although emphasizing that aspect of the question, was not indifferent to the new groups of refugees who were equally entitled to international aid. In his view, the assistance techniques which had already been used successfully for many years might likewise be applied in that field.
10. In conclusion, he expressed the hope that the members of the Committee would find their visit to Italy a fruitful experience which would help them in their future work.
STATEMENT BY THE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF THE FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS
11. Mr. Mekki Abbas, Assistant Director-General of FAO, welcomed the members of the Executive Committee. His Organization took a keen interest in the work of UNHCR, and more particularly in the preparation and execution of projects for the settlement of refugees in agriculture.
ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA
12. The Committee adopted the following agenda;
1. Election of a vice-chairman.
2. Adoption of the agenda (A/AC.96/Rev.3, A/AC.96/INF. 25/Rev.1).
3. Introductory statement by the High Commissioner.
4. Report on international protection (A/AC.96/227, 227/ Add.1, A/AC.96/INF.30).
5. Report on the resettlement of refugees (A/AC.96/254, A/AC.96/256)
6. Report on the mental health of refugees in the special cases category (A/AC.96/255).
7. Situation of refugees in Europe, in particular in countries of first asylum (A/AC.96/243, 244, A/AC.96/INF.27).
8. Note on the use of the Emergency Fund (A/AC.96/257, A/AC.96/INF.26).
9. Report of the Board of Auditors on financial statements for 1963 (A/AC.96/258).
10. Administrative expenditure for 1965 (A/AC.96/253).
11. Status of contributions (A/AC.96/260).
12. Questions relating to the financing of the future work of UNHCR in the field of material assistance (A/AC.96/261, A/AC.96/261/Add.1 and 2).
13. Inter-agency co-operation on urgent economic and social development projects affecting refugees (A/AC.96/259).
14. UNHCR programme for 1964 - new projects (A/AC.96/256,262,264 and 265, A/AC.96/INF.26, 28 and 29).
15. UNHCR programme for 1965 (A/AC.96/263/Rev.1, A/AC.96/INF.31).
16. Any other business.
17. Adoption of report on the session.
INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT BY THE HIGH COMMISSIONER AND GENERAL DEBATE
13. In his introductory statement, the text of which is annexed to this report, the High Commissioner outlined the progress achieved since the previous session in assistance to "old" refugees and the execution of the current programme for new refugees in the various European countries, in Latin America, and in Africa, where serious difficulties had to be overcome. He also gave some information on the assistance provided for the Tibetan refugees. He went on to stress the effort still required to ensure the complete financing of the last of the major aid programmes and the current programme for 1964. There was a danger that UNHCR might have to bear even greater burdens, particularly in view of the present situation in Africa, and he appealed to the Governments concerned to take that possibility into account in determining the size of their contributions for 1965. The question of financing the future work of UNHCR was of great importance. He also emphasized the progress accomplished in the international protection of refugees, which was the very essence of his task, and he again recalled the need for close co-operation with Governments, the specialized agencies of the United Nations, ICEM, other inter-governmental organizations and the voluntary agencies.
14. The representatives who took part in the general debated congratulated the High Commissioner on his statement and on the results achieved during the current year. Several speakers expressed their satisfaction at the rate at which the last major aid programme of assistance to the "old" refugees was being implemented. The Government of the Federal Republic of Germany was commended for the efforts it had made to provide housing for non-settled refugees living outside camps.
15. With regard to the current programme, one delegation expressed its conviction that the results obtained corresponded to the size of the funds committed.
16. As regards resettlement, appreciation was expressed of the co-ordinating work accomplished in Italy in the field of emigration and of the recent activities of the Swedish selection mission in Africa.
17. Several representatives stressed the importance of the excellent collaboration established between UNHCR and ICEM in regard to resettlement, which continued to play a vital part in the solution of refugee problems.
18. Most speakers referred to the situation of the refugees in Africa and particularly of those from Rwanda. The representative of Madagascar drew attention to the breadth of the refugee problem on the African continent and expressed the hope that with the aid of other humanitarian organizations, UNHCR would be able to satisfy Africa's needs more fully.
19. With regard to the financing of the work of UNHCR, some representatives expressed the view that larger funds would have to be made available in order to enable the High Commissioner to meet the new refugee problems. Some speakers stressed in this connexion that the largest possible number of States Members of the United Nations should make their financial contribution to the humanitarian work of UNHCR, the purpose of which was to relieve distress among refugees and at the same time reduce tensions.
20. With regard to the financing of the future work of UNHCR, the representative of the United Kingdom suggested consideration of new methods which are outlined in paragraph 154 of the present report.
Decision of the Committee
21. The Executive Committee took note with interest and appreciation of the High Commissioner's introductory statement.
AUDIENCE WITH THE POPE
22. At the end of its session, the Committee was graciously received in audience by His Holiness Pope Paul VI who expressed the Holy See's profound interest in the humanitarian cause of refugees.
II. Reports on the activities of UNHCR
INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION (agenda item 4)
23. Under item 4 of the agenda, which was held over from the eleventh session, the Committee considered the report on international protection submitted by the High Commissioner at its request in documents A/AC.96/227 and Add.1.
24. In introducing the report, the representative of the High Commissioner gave an historical review of the work carried out in the field of international protection since the inception of refugee assistance under the League of Nations. The text of his statement has been circulated to the Committee as document A/AC.96/269.
25. The High Commissioner recalled that his Office had encouraged the granting to refugees of the benefit of integration measures adopted by regional organizations. He drew attention in this connexion to the fact that the member Governments of EEC had adopted a Declaration of Intention in March 1964 to the effect that in the matter of freedom of circulation of manpower, for which the EEC had adopted new regulations, refugees in the territory of member States would receive as favourable treatment as possible.
26. The representatives who addressed the Committee stressed the importance they attached to the task of international protection, which was the basic function incumbent on the High Commissioner under his mandate, and expressed appreciation for his activities in this field. They emphasized various important aspects of the work of protection including the action that was being taken to ensure that refugees were not returned to a country against their will, the need for active promotion of the conclusion of international legal instruments in particular and, furthermore, the need to achieve as much uniformity as possible in the treatment given to refugees, particularly by contracting parties to the 1951 Convention.
27. The representative of Belgium also mentioned the recent agreement between the Benelux countries and Switzerland for the abolition of visas for refugees and stressed the importance of facilitating refugee travel. He thought it might be desirable for the High Commissioner to promote action to encourage the general abolition of visas for refugees.
28. The representative of Switzerland stated that his country, which had already concluded several bilateral agreements of this type, intended to adhere to the European Agreement on the Abolition of Visas for Refugees. He also drew attention to the recurrent emergence of new refugee groups not covered by the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees, a problem which would in some cases be solved on the basis of Recommendation E of the Final Act of the Conference of Plenipotentiaries which adopted the Convention, as mentioned in paragraphs 6 to 9 of the report. This, however, was only a limited measure since, in certain countries such as Switzerland, special status could not, for constitutional reasons, be granted on the basis of a recommendation.
29. During the discussion of the situation of refugees in Europe, the representative of Italy announced that on 19 October his Government had informed the Secretary-General of the withdrawal by Italy of its reservations to articles 6,7,8,22,23,25 and 34 of the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees. The Italian Government confirmed that it maintained its declaration made in accordance with Section B of article 1 and that it recognized the provisions of articles 17 and 18 as recommendations only. In December 1963 the Italian Government had adopted provisions which implement the contents of paragraph 2 of article 17.
30. In the course of the general debate on the High Commissioner's statement, the representative of Austria made a statement on the granting of asylum in his country, which has been circulated to the Committee in document A/AC.96/266.
31. The Observer for Portugal announced that his Government was ready to accede to the Hague Agreement relating to Refugee Seamen.
32. In the course of the general debate the question of indemnification and of the new Aliens Bill before the Federal German Parliament was raised by the representative of the International Council of Voluntary Agencies in a statement the details of which may be found in the summary record of the 101st meeting.
33. The Committee noted that the High Commissioner was studying ways and means by which the personal scope of the 1951 Convention might be liberalized. It expressed the wish to be kept informed of the results of the examination of this problem by the High Commissioner. It also expressed the wish that the High Commissioner should pursue his efforts in the field of international protection in co-operation with Governments and organizations which could give him their support, in particular by promoting the conclusion of, or accession to, legal instruments for the benefit of refugees.
RESETTLEMENT (agenda item 5)
34. The Committee considered the report on the resettlement of refugees (A/AC.96/254). It also had before it a note concerning the promotion of resettlement (A/AC.96/256) informing the Committee of the payment, from the proceeds of the long-playing record "All-Star Festival", of certain transportation costs which could no longer be met by ICEM and requesting the Committee to authorize the High Commissioner to cover the amount of $20,000 involved from the resettlement allocation included in the current programme for 1964.
35. The Deputy Director of ICEM, Mr. W. M. Besterman, addressing the Committee drew attention to increased demands for refugee movements, compliance with which would lead to a substantial budgetary deficit, amounting to $250,000 for 1965 on movements estimated at 36,000 persons, which ICEM was prohibited from incurring. Appeals for additional financial contributions had been made, but unless those contributions materialized it would be impossible for ICEM to satisfy requests for movements during the last four months of 1964. There was a danger that refugee camps might again appear in some countries. He was pleased to inform the Committee, however, that the Government of Australia had decided to make a special contribution of $30,000 to ICEM in 1964 for the transportation of refugees.
36. The representatives of Italy and Australia expressed concern at the situation described by the Deputy Director of ICEM. The United States representative stated that his delegation shared this concern and hoped that every effort would be made by Governments to cover the need.
37. The representative of France pointed out that there was still a great need for foreign workers in certain countries in Europe which might appear to be in contradiction with the efforts of ICEM to resettle refugees overseas. In this connexion the Deputy Director of ICEM explained that in accordance with its constitution ICEM could only transport refugees to a country in which they had chosen to resettle although voluntary agencies were competent to counsel refugees on their choice.
38. The High Commissioner expressed his concern at the difficulties at present confronting ICEM; these difficulties might jeopardize the smooth working of the international co-operation machinery of which ICEM was an essential part and could therefore not be viewed with indifference. He would accordingly keep in touch with ICEM in order to see how he might help in finding a solution to the problem.
39. The representative of the High Commissioner, introducing the report, emphasized the importance attached by the High Commissioner to avoiding any break-down in the machinery established for the movement of refugees, in which ICEM, the United States Escapee Program (USEP) and the voluntary agencies all played their part. Encouraging progress had been made in matching able-bodied and handicapped refugees to resettlement opportunities which had been developed on a large scale. There remained, however, certain stubborn problems, in particular the residual group of severely handicapped refugees covered by the Jensen Survey. Solutions still had to be found for 306 of the 1,104 severely handicapped refugees for whom dossiers had been prepared. New and imaginative measures such as the special centre in Capua Camp which was planned for forty-six refugees in this group were necessary. A new problem had been created by the Cuban refugees in Spain for whom a special programme had been approved by the Committee. The representative of the High Commissioner also briefly mentioned various developments which had taken place since the report had been issued.
40. In reply to the Australian representative's observations the High Commissioner stated that reference would be made in UNHCR statistics to the figures published by ICEM under the heading of refugee movements.
41. The representatives of various Governments expressed satisfaction at the progress achieved in the resettlement of handicapped cases, in particular through the Jensen Survey. In a statement to the Committee, Dr. Jensen explained that the "Jensen" dossiers had now been expanded that the "Jensen" dossiers had now been expanded and special attention was being given to follow-up research. The representative of Norway informed the Committee that follow-up research was also being applied in his country, which would play its part by accepting a limited number of socially handicapped cases. The representative of the Netherlands announced that, in spite of population and housing difficulties, his country would accept fifteen "Jensen" cases and their families, up to a total of fifty persons, subject to appropriate agreement being reached. The representative of Canada, recapitulating the current Canadian policy concerning the admission of refugees from Europe, informed the Committee that the Canadian Government intended to continue its policy of relaxing admission criteria in the hope that many more refugees would thus find an opportunity for a new and productive life in Canada.
42. During a visit to the Latina Emigration Centre, which is operated by the AAI, the Committee was able to observe the effective mechanism established to promote the resettlement of refugees. The Committee also had an opportunity of seeing the activities of the Swedish Selection Mission, described in detail in document A/AC.96/INF.32, which was at that time interviewing refugees who wished to emigrated to Sweden. Selection missions from Australia and Canada were also carrying out their work at Latina during the visit of the Committee.
43. In the course of a general statement to the Committee, the details of which may be found in the summary record of the 101st meeting, the representative of the International Council of Voluntary Agencies made various points regarding resettlement, and in particular emphasized the importance of continuing without interruption the machinery for the movement of refugees.
Decisions of the Committee
44. The Executive Committee, having considered the report on the resettlement of refugees (A/AC.96/254):
(a) Took note with satisfaction of the report and of the general progress achieved in the field of resettlement by the Office of the High Commissioner in co-operation with USEP, ICEM and the voluntary agencies;
(b) Took note of the statement made by the Deputy Director of ICEM;
(c) Shared the concern expressed at the fact that financial difficulties might delay or otherwise hamper the resettlement of refugees;
(d) Endorsed the High Commissioner's that no effort should be spared to assist refugees, including in particular the especially difficult cases, to start a new life through resettlement in another country;
(e) Authorized the High Commissioner to cover from the resettlement allocation included in his current programme for 1964 the amount of $20,000 involved in the transportation of the refugees referred to in document A/AC.96/256.
REPORT ON THE MENTAL HEALTH OF REFUGEES IN THE SPECIAL CASES CATEGORY (agenda item 6)
45. The Committee considered the report on the mental health of refugees submitted by Dr. P. Berner, former Mental Health Adviser to the High Commissioner (A/AC.96/255). In introducing the report, the representative of the High Commissioner explained that it had been prepared in order to give the Committee the latest results achieved in respect of refugees in the special cases category in Austria, Germany, Greece, Italy and Turkey. He further explained that Dr. Berner and his predecessor, Dr. Strotska, had suggested that they would prepare a study of the problem of the mental health of the refugees which would be available towards the latter part of 1965. One of the important effects of the work of the Mental Health Adviser was that considerable interest had been stimulated for this type of assistance to refugees, so that in several instances it was being continued by the local authorities. Yet this was more important since new cases were arising. Consequently, arrangements had been made for the former Mental Health Adviser to undertake short-term assignments when necessary.
46. The representatives who spoke on the subject agreed on the importance of the work undertaken in the field of mental health and on the suggestions contained in the report, including those concerning the need for specialized personnel to deal with individual cases.
47. The representative of Italy stressed that the support given by his Government to mental health projects for refugees was based on its humanitarian approach to this problem.
Decisions of the Committee
48. The Executive Committee:
(a) Took note with satisfaction of the report on the mental health of refugees submitted by the Mental Health Adviser;
(b) Welcomed the suggestion that a special publication be devoted to the Mental Health Programme put into effect by Office of the High Commissioner.
III. Situation of refugees in Europe
49. In considering the situation of refugees in Europe, the Committee had before it the statements made on that subject by the representative of Italy (A/AC.96/243) and the High Commissioner (A/AC.96/244) at the eleventh session. It also considered the report submitted by the Italian delegation on assistance to alien refugees in Italy (A/AC.96/INF.27).
50. The representative of Italy made a statement (A/AC.96/268) in which he made it clear that his delegation, in emphasizing the continued existence of the refugee problem in Europe, did not attach any less importance to the new, urgent refugee problems in other areas.
51. He stated that international efforts with respect to refugees in Italy should be directed mainly towards resettlement and protection. He said he was sure that every effort would continue to be made to maintain and strengthen the machinery of co-operation which had been established with the assistance of government authorities, international organizations and voluntary agencies to facilitate the resettlement of refugees and, in particular, of handicapped refugees in countries of immigration which were prepared to admit them. He considered it essential to correct the false impression that the refugee problem in Europe had already been solved.
52. In emphasizing the importance of the protection of refugees, the Italian representative drew attention to the fact that the Italian Government had just withdrawn the reservations it had entered at the time of signing the 1951 Convention. Referring more particularly to the protection and assistance given to refugees in Italy, he underlined the close and fruitful co-operation which had been established between the branch office of the High Commissioner's Office and the commissions and committees responsible for dealing with the various aspects of the refugee problem. He pointed out that the Convention might give rise to differences of interpretation. In his opinion, it was desirable that the methods employed should be as uniform as possible; that applied, for instance, to the procedures for recognition of the status of refugees, and for the issue of travel documents and the determination of their period of validity. He proposed that questions of a legal nature as well as problems of assistance should be the subject of discussions between the representatives of the Governments concerned and the High Commissioner's Office.
53. The representative of Austria gave information about the influx of new refugees and emigrants, particularly into Austria, and about the procedure which that country followed with respect to them (A/AC.96/266). He also supplied statistics on the categories of refugees and emigrants.
54. During the session the members of the Committee were invited by the Italian authorities to visit the Capua Refugee Centre, which is directed by the AAI. The Chairman gave a report on that visit and paid a tribute to the Italian authorities for the work being done on behalf of the refugees at Capua. In her opinion, it was obvious that the refugee problem in Europe still required the full attention of the international community.
55. For his part, the High Commissioner expressed satisfaction with the degree of co-operation which could be achieved in the matter of refugee assistance in countries of asylum, as illustrated by Italy. During the discussion, questions were asked concerning statistics on refugees in Europe. Particulars of these questions and the replies given to them are to be found in the summary record of the 104th meeting.
Decisions of the Committee
56. The Executive Committee, having considered the statements made by the representative of Italy (A/AC.96/243, A/AC.96/268) and the High Commissioner (A/AC.96/249) at the eleventh and twelfth sessions of the Committee on the subject of European refugees as well as the document submitted by the Italian delegation at the twelfth session (A/AC.96/INF.27), and having considered the position of refugees in countries of asylum in Europe and particularly in Italy,
(a) Took note of the fact that the influx of new refugees in Europe continues to constitute a burden for some of the countries of first asylum;
(b) Paid tribute to those countries which generously grant asylum to these refugees;
(c) Recommended a continuing generous admission policy on the part of immigration countries in Europe and overseas, and to the extent possible, the integration of refugees wishing and able to build up a new life in their country of asylum;
(d) Approved the suggestion that the High Commissioner consider the possibility of periodic meetings being held between representatives of Governments members of the Committee and UNHCR;
(e) Recommended that every effort be made to speed up the completion of camp clearance in Europe.
IV. 1964 Programme: new projects (agenda item 14)
PROJECTS UNDER CONSIDERATION
57. The Committee considered new projects submitted to it by the High Commissioner within the framework of the 1964 Programme amounting to a total of $341,080 broken down as follows;
|(a) Settlement of a group of refugees in Uganda (A/AC.96/265)
|(b) Settlement of a group of refugees in Senegal (A/AC.96/264)
This sum, together with the sum of $2,709,000 approved by the Committee at its eleventh session (A/AC.96/262) in respect of the 1964 Programme, would bring the total amount of projects under that Programme up to $3,050.080.
58. The problem of refugees in the Central African Republic was raised in the course of the session and an additional allocation of $14,000 within the above financial target for the 1964 Programme was proposed for the purpose of assisting these refugees.
SETTLEMENT OF A GROUP OF REFUGEES IN UGANDA
59. In introducing the new projects submitted for inclusion in the 1964 Programme, the representative of the High Commissioner stated that, further to the decision taken by the Committee at its eleventh session, a plan for the settlement of a group of refugees in Uganda had been submitted to members of the Committee by mail poll on 11 September 1964. Net all the members of the Committee had given their views on the plan but a majority had expressed themselves in favour. The plan included provision for emergency assistance and for the settlement in agriculture of some 11,400 refugees. The total cost included, in addition to the $100,000 which the Committee had authorized to be taken from the Emergency Fund, an amount of $492,100 of which $258,020 was required for projects to be put into effect under the 1965 Programme. Only a token provision had been made for health measures pending further discussions with the Uganda Government. Any project for medical assistance would be co-ordinated with WHO and the possibility of assistance from UNICEF, the Red Cross or other voluntary agencies would also be explored. As regards food supplies, the World Food Programme had already approved an emergency project for three months. The Uganda Government would bear a considerable share of the cost of the programme as regards security measures, administrative costs, the running cost of vehicles and sanitary control of cattle. Since settlement possibilities for the group were only available in remote areas, provision had also to be made for capital investment. He added that some 2,500 of the estimated 7,000 refugees in North Eastern Uganda had been moved form the reception centre to the new resettlement area in Karamoja. While the number of such refugees requiring settlement might be less than 7,000, the number in the West-Nile and Gulu groups had risen to 10,000-13,000 persons, largely owing to a new influx. These developments might require certain adjustments in the budget contained in the document and it was important that the High Commissioner should have latitude to effect those adjustments within the frame of the proposed allocations.
60. The Observer for Uganda made a statement on the situation of refugees in Uganda and on the steady influx of refugees from neighbouring countries. Of the total of 100,000 persons who had received asylum in his country, 50,000 were receiving government aid. The others were scattered throughout the country and plans were being made to settle them at least fifty miles from the border. His Government was now including an amount of *337,000 in its 1964/1965 budget for the settlement of the refugees. In addition about 100 square miles of the best agricultural land had been allocated for them. He emphasized the need for more social projects and medical care and in this connexion stated that his Government was prepared to arrange, through the offices of the High Commissioner, offers of employment to European refugees who were qualified doctor.
61. The High Commissioner stated that the presence of the refugees was indeed creating a huge problem for the Government of Uganda and he suggested that pending a study of the situation of the refugees from the Congo and the drawing up of a constructive plan, an amount of $20,000 be made available from his Emergency Fund in order to meet the immediate needs of the women and children among the refugees. An exchange of views took place on the possibility of increasing the proposed allocation of $20,000 so that assistance could be rendered to men, women and children among the newly arrived refugees. Several representatives supported such an allocation.
62. The representatives who participated in the ensuing discussion paid a tribute to the Uganda Government for its generous policy of asylum and agreed that an effort should be made to alleviate the heavy financial burden which the Uganda Government was shouldering in providing assistance to refugees.
63. Several representatives pointed out that in view of the remote location of the area in which the refugees were to be settled, there would be a need not only for assistance to the refugees but also for the establishment of medical services and education facilities which came more within the sphere of long-term development projects. It would be too great a strain on the resources of the Government of Uganda to launch such projects and it was therefore suggested that the support and co-operation of other organizations such as WHO and UNESCO should be sought. It was also suggested that such projects might benefit from bilateral assistance.
64. The representative of the High Commissioner stated that efforts were being made to obtain long-term arrangements for the health centres. The full programme had not been included in the submission, since discussions were still continuing as to the type of health units to be financed. UNHCR proposed to provide basic medicines and simple medical equipment until such time as a plan to cover the total need for health services had been agree. UNICEF would make contributions towards equipment; WHO could supply experts and advice by it could not build hospitals. As regards education, UNHCR was prepared to cover the cost of salaries for one year. The High Commissioner was confident that the Uganda Government would be able to finance these costs in the subsequent year. Assistance from UNESCO was at present being discussed with that organization and it could perhaps offer fellowships. However, its functions were mainly advisory.
65. The Committee noted from a statement by the representative of the ILO that, upon the request of the Uganda Government, the services of an expert were to be made available by ILO to that Government for the drawing up of a development project for the benefit of refugees from Rwanda in Uganda.
66. Further detailed questions in respect of the proposed plan and the replies given by the representative of the High Commissioner may be found in the summary record of the 107th meeting.
67. The Committee welcomed the suggestion made by the Observer of Uganda that refugee doctors meeting the required qualifications might find employment in Uganda, and noted that the matter would be closely followed up by the Office of the High Commissioner.
SETTLEMENT OF A GROUP OF REFUGEES IN SENEGAL (A/AC.96/264)
68. Introducing the subject, the representative of the High Commissioner pointed out that by August 1964 there were already some 30,000 refugees in the province of Casamance. The refugees had been warmly welcomed by the local population, who shared housing and food with them. It was no longer possible, however, to deal with the problem in that way. Since most of the refugees were farmers the proposed programme followed the usual pattern of agricultural settlement in Africa, with the Government providing land and as far as possible local public services, while contributions for relief and subsequently for seeds, tools and basic equipment would be required from the international community. As regards health services, the full need was not yet known. The figure of $20,000 related to known needs and the High Commissioner would use his good offices to obtain help in that field from specialized sources. While other programmes in Africa were based on a twice yearly food crop, in Casamance there was a food crop only a year.
69. The Observer for Senegal made a statement in which he described the problem of refugees in his country which, he emphasized, was being treated on an entirely humanitarian basis. While it had been possible for his country to absorb the first wave of refugees in 1960, the major influx of some 30,000 refugees from May to July 1964 had created a serious problem towards the solution of which his Government hoped that the international community would be willing to contribute. Senegal already had a food deficit of 200,000 tons per year and at the moment was planning to distribute 1,800 tons of foodstuffs to 60,000 persons to enable them to survive during the difficult months of September and October, an operation which alone would cost 250,000 French francs. He also gave further details concerning the area of Casamance where the refugees were being settled, and stressed the economic possibilities of that area where refugees would be able to meet their basic needs. Assistance was already being received from some of the voluntary agencies. His country, however, was counting on the prevailing spirit of international solidarity to help it to alleviate its burden.
70. Several representatives noted with satisfaction that the High Commissioner had already made available an amount of $60,000 from his Emergency Fund to deal with the refugee problem in Senegal. They considered that since there had been an emergency it was appropriate that assistance measures be financed from the Emergency Fund, and that there was therefore no need to reimburse this amount to the Fund from a new allocation included in the 1964 Programme for that purpose. Furthermore, the contemplated refund did not seem to be prescribed by the Financial Rules. It was accordingly decided not to include the amount of $60,000 from the 1964 Programme target.
71. Appreciation was expressed for the considerable amount of bilateral assistance provided by the Governments of France and the United States.
72. The representative of France gave details of the assistance provided on a bilateral basis by his Government which would, in addition, propose to the other States members of the European Economic Community the establishment of a project for refugees within the framework of the European Development Fund.
ASSISTANCE TO REFUGEES IN THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
73. The representative of the High Commissioner drew the attention of the Committee to a new refugee problem which had arisen in the Central African Republic. While the numbers involved were relatively small, limited but rapid action would be desirable and it was therefore proposed to include an allocation of $14,000 within the present budgetary framework of the 1964 Programme to meet the immediate needs of the refugees concerned. The Observer for the Central African Republic made a statement on the action taken by his country with a view to assisting the refugees. He also raised the question of refugees from the Congo, totalling about 3,000, who were located near the Bangui river. He drew attention to the difficulties arising from the great distance between the area of location of the refugees and Bangui, the capital of the country from which all supplies must necessarily come. Consequently transportation costs were very considerable. The situation of these refugees was a precarious one since their influx had occurred during the rainy season when there was no possibility for them to earn their livelihood.
74. In reply to a question, the representative of the High Commissioner stated that the $14,000 allocation was intended for the first of the two groups of refugees mentioned by the Observer for the Central African Republic. UNHCR, on the other hand, would examine the possibility of using its good offices to stimulate initiative in favour of the groups.
Decisions of the Committee
75. The Executive Committee, having considered the new projects submitted to it by the High Commissioner in respect of assistance to refugees in Senegal (A/AC.96/264) and in respect of assistance to other refugees in Uganda (A/AC.96/265), and having also heard the proposal put forward in respect of assistance to refugees in the Central African Republic;
(a) Approved the project for assistance to refugees in Senegal in a total amount of $218,100 of which $107,000 should be included in the 1964 Programme;
(b) Approved the projects for assistance to the refugees in Uganda submitted in document A/AC.96/256 in a total amount of $492,100 of which $234,080 should be included in the 1964 Programme;
(c) Authorized the High Commissioner to include a project in an amount of $14,000 for assistance to refugees in Central Africa, within the target of the 1964 Programme;
(d) Authorized the High Commissioner to raise the financial target for the 1964 Programme to $3,050,080;
(e) Authorized the High Commissioner to transfer to the 1965 Programme those projects or parts of projects for which the necessary funds would not be available within the 1964 Programme as of 31 December 1964;
(f) Took note which satisfaction of the allocation of $20,000 which the High Commissioner had made from his Emergency Fund for assistance to newly arrived refugees in Uganda;
(g) Authorized the High Commissioner to transfer funds between projects approved under the 1964 Programme, subject to their being reported as soon as possible thereafter to the Committee.
V. UNHCR Programme for 1965 (agenda item 15)
76. The Committee considered the UNHCR Programme for 1965 (A/AC.96/263/Rev.1.) in a total amount of $3,200,000 including $733,000 to complete projects already approved and new allocations in an amount of $1,550,500 for expected further allocations.
77. In presenting the 1965 Programme, the representative of the High Commissioner stressed that the problems facing the Office had assumed a new character and constituted an even greater challenge. The influx of refugees in Europe was continuing unabated and modest allocations were required in order to enable UNHCR to play its catalytic role effectively in respect of those who could not find resettlement opportunities. They needed some help to achieve local integration. There was also still a problem of European refugees in Latin America. However, by far the most acute problems were now in Africa and Asia.
78. Referring to the allocation in chapter II of the document, which had already been approved by the Committee at its eleventh session, he pointed out that the Armand Kuijpers Project had run into serious difficulties, since it now appeared that the movement of 10,000 refugees from Burundi to Tanganyika was unlikely to take place. In the meantime, however, the Government of Tanganyika had completed the necessary arrangements to receive the refugees.
79. He stated that in view of the difficulties that were being experienced at present by some of the refugees in the Kivu Province of the Congo (Leopoldville), their transfer from that area had become necessary, and the Government of Tanganyika had generously agreed to receive immediately some 2,000-3,000 of these refugees. As for the refugees in Burundi, further plans were at present being explored co-operation with the Burundi Government.
80. He recalled that details had been given to the Committee in respect of projects included in the Programme to deal with known problems. Since, however, all new problems which might face the Office in the next year could not be accurately forecast, a special allocation had been included in chapter VIII to meet these looming, though as yet unclearly defined, problems. Since the submission of the 1965 Programme, a new project to meet the needs of refugees in Senegal had already been put before the Committee and another more modest one would also be submitted in response to a request from the Central African Republic. More recently, a request had been received from the Government of Tanganyika for assistance to some 10,000 new refugees in that country and from the Government of Uganda for some 6,000-7,000 new arrivals from the Congo (Leopoldville). Assistance to some 12,000 Tibetan refugees in Nepal might also be required.
81. The representative of the High Commissioner added that the necessary projects, together with all supporting data, would be submitted to members of the Executive Committee as soon as possible.
82. Mr. G. Jaeger, of the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees, who had been on a special mission with Mr. R. Gorgé, representing the Secretary-General, gave an eyewitness account of the situation of Rwandese refugees in Burundi and in the Republic of the Congo (Leopoldville), in particular in the Kivu Province.
83. Of the 50,000-60,000 Rwandese refugees in Burundi, some 23,000 were benefiting in three centres from existing projects and would also benefit from the Zonal Development Plan referred to in document A/AC.96/240 while some 30,000 refugees, of whom approximately 5,000 had arrived following recent events in Kivu, were living in precarious conditions; in the north-east some 18,000-19,000 persons were living in camps and another 7,000-8,000 around the capital.
84. As regards the 10,000 refugees who had refused to accept resettlement in Tanganyika, the joint mission informed the Burundi Government that the international community could only continue to support the refugees if there was a permanent solution in sight and if the refugees were moved to a more secure region.
85. Mr. Jaeger stated that in the Republic of the Congo (Leopoldville), an expulsion decree had been issued by the Central Government affecting certain categories of foreigners and refugees. Their expulsion had fortunately been avoided. Arbitrary measures had, however, been taken against the Rwandese refugees by the local authorities in the Kivu Province and many refugees had been victims of physical ill treatment. The refugees wished to leave, the majority to go to Tanganyika. Some had already left for Uganda. From conversations which Mr. Jaeger had had with the authorities in Leopoldville, a general solution was in the realm of possibilities. A government mission was to study the situation in Kivu in co-operation with the UNHCR representative in the area. Furthermore, the local authorities were very interested in the zonal development plan in the Kivu Province.
86. The representative of the International Labour Office reported that since the issuance of document A/AC.96/INF.28, the Burundi Government had approved the ILO agreement with the Association internationale de développement rural outre-mer, so that the project had now reached the stage of active implementation in co-operation with the FAO. Experts had been making a topographic survey of the Rukuvu marshes, assisted by refugees and local inhabitants. When the survey had been completed, marsh drainage could commence. The establishment of artisanal workshops and agricultural centres would depend upon the choice of sites which was to present being made.
87. In Kivu, two ILO experts had been seconded to assist in the UNHCR evacuation programme for scattered Rwandese refugees. With regard to economic development, a number of activities had been initiated by the ILO representative prior to July 1964.
88. The representative of FAO recalled that the latter was closely co-operating in the Burundi project. The appointment of an FAO land expert had just been approved and an FAO soil expert stationed in Rwanda would be making a soil survey in Burundi.
89. In the course of the ensuing debate, members of the Committee expressed their general approval of the Programme submitted to them. They recognized the broadening scope of the work of the High Commissioner and emphasized the need for international support for the work of assistance being carried out in favour of new groups of refugees outside Europe. Particular stress was laid on the burning new problems of refugees which had emerged in Africa where the necessary facilities to receive refugees were limited. The Committee paid a tribute to the generous asylum policy that was being practised by the receiving countries and to their humanitarian approach to the problem. Particular mention was made in this connexion of the Governments of Tanganyika, Senegal and Uganda which, in spite of their limited resources and heavy commitments, had organized the work of assistance for thousands of refugees on their territory prior to approaching UNHCR for assistance.
90. Some representatives drew attention to the uncertain situation prevailing in the areas where new groups of refugees were being settled and advised caution in launching new projects which might need to be reviewed in the light of changing circumstances.
91. With regard to the size and contents of the proposed Programme, several representatives commended the prudent approach which had been followed by UNHCR. Some representatives considered that, in view of the serious new problems facing the Office of the High Commissioner, the target for the 1965 Programme might have been submitted in a larger amount.
92. Some representatives questioned the fact that, while two thirds of the Programme consisted of detailed projects, one third had been submitted in the form of a target allocation amounting to approximately $900,000, for which projects would be submitted at a later date. The High Commissioner explained that when the 1965 Programme had been drawn up, the amount reserved for further allocations in chapter VIII of the document was based on known new problems which had not however been translated into projects. The details could not yet be submitted, since the projects were still under negotiation with the Governments concerned. He added that if the new problems now before the Committee had been known when the 1965 Programme was being prepared, the target would have been substantially higher than the $3.2 million now under consideration.
93. In the course of an exchange of views on the submission of further projects to be financed from the allocations included in chapter VIII of the document before the Committee, several representatives stated that they were not in favour of the submission of projects by mail poll.
94. With regard to the presentation of the Programme, some representatives suggested that it would be preferable to submit projects on a regional basis, while others contended that projects should be submitted on the basis of refugee situations, avoiding geographical considerations. The High Commissioner explained that this matter had been discussed at a previous session when the Committee had decided not to have programmes on a regional basis. Further suggestions were made by representatives in this connexion, the details of which may be found in the summary records of the 108th and 109th meetings.
95. As far as the financing of the Programme is concerned, the representative of Australia expressed his concern lest too much emphasis be placed on governmental contributions and he stressed the need to elicit more support from the private sector. The High Commissioner explained that contributions from private organizations and individuals should serve to carry out those schemes which could not be financed by Governments. Any attempt to obtain support from private sources for the programmes adopted by Governments could not but detract from the invaluable support which was being received from the private sector.
96. In the course of the general discussion, the representative of the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar made a statement in which he described the problem of refugees in his country. He expressed his gratitude for the assistance provided by the Holy See for the education of Rwandese refugees in the amount of $28,000. He summed up the measures taken by the Tanganyika authorities to receive the refugees from Burundi and the steps which had now been taken for the admission to his country of Rwandese refugees from the Kivu Province of the Congo. The movement of 1,000 refugees in this group was to start shortly.
97. He added that the original 12,000 Rwandese refugees in Tanganyika were in the main self-supporting. Supplementary services, particularly in the field of medical and community development would be continued with UNHCR assistance in 1965. A substantial part of the costs were being borne by the Lutheran World Federation. Out of some 2,000 refugees from the Republic of the Congo (Leopoldville), some 550 had been established in a camp financed by the Federation. The remainder were mostly living with relatives in western Tanganyika. If this particular problem did not grow, international assistance would not be required.
98. There was also 10,000 refugees from Mozambique who had crossed the southern border of Tanganyika and the number might increase in the future so that assistance might be requested from UNHCR for this group.
99. The representative of China expressed his appreciation for the project of assistance put into effect for refugees in Macao. He also commended the work of UNHCR for refugees in Nepal and India and hoped that further aid would be given to the refugees in those countries.
100. The Observer for Portugal made a statement in which he gave an account of the implementation of UNHCR projects for assistance to refugees in Macao, the details of which may be found in the summary record of the 109th meeting. He referred in particular to a project for the rehabilitation of refugees, approved by the Executive Committee at its previous session, and to a further project whereby fifty fully equipped fishing boats were being provided for refugees who had lost theirs. As regards housing the plans for a new project were in an advanced stage and it was hoped that implementation could shortly be started. He also mentioned the government works on the island and the results achieved through the Social Rehabilitation Centre established in 1961.
101. With regard to the allocations already approved and recommended by the Committee at its eleventh session, it was pointed out that at that session the Committee had approved an allocation of $198,000 for assistance to Rwandese refugees in the Kivu Province of the Congo and since, as a result of recent disturbances in the area, the project had had to be temporarily suspended be possible to spend the 1964 allocation as well as that proposed for 1965 during the coming financial year. If not, it was suggested that it might be proper to include the 1965 allocation in the programme for 1966 or, in the alternative, to include the amount concerned ($78,000) within the target for 1965, but without allocating it specifically to the Kivu Province. To this the representative of the High Commissioner replied that for purposes of his current negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Congo (Leopoldville) it was highly desirable that the High Commissioner should be able to say at the earliest possible moment that his Executive Committee had agreed that the project be completely financed during the two years 1964-1965. The suggestion for postponement was at once withdrawn.
102. The representative of the Federal Republic of Germany announced that the housing programme for refugees living outside the camps in Germany had recently been started. In order to offset the increase of rents in new apartments, some of the refugee families would be transferred to less expensive houses; in addition, they would enjoy the same rights as German nationals with regard to rent subsidies.
103. Speaking in connexion with the proposed allocation for Greece, the representative of Greece gave a full account of the assistance measures taken for refugees in his country, the details of which may be found in the summary record of the 109th meeting. He expressed the hope that UNHCR would pursue its activities in all European countries where the refugee problem was still acute.
104. The representative of Yugoslavia pointed out that the $75,000 allocation for assistance to refugees under the 1965 Programme would be adequate to ensure the integration of the refugees in his country as in the previous year, but that this could be accelerated by means of an increased allocation. The High Commissioner stated that he attached great importance to integration projects in Yugoslavia and that the request just made for an increased allocation would be carefully studied in the light of further data to be gathered on the implementation of approved solutions and on existing needs. If such a step appeared justified, he would envisage raising the allocation from $75,000 to say $100,000 by drawing from the reserve of $115,000 provided for in the programme.
105. With reference to Latin America, one representative pointed out that a high proportion of refugees who had been admitted in that area during the past decade would still require assistance and he suggested that in making future arrangements for the resettlement of refugees in that area, careful attention should be given to their aptitude to become firmly settled.
Decisions of the Committee
106. The Executive Committee, having considered the 1965 Programme submitted to it by the High Commissioner (A/AC.96/263/Rev.1);
(a) Approved the financial target of the UNHCR Programme for 1965 in an amount of $3,200,000 to meet the requirements of his Office in the field of material assistance in 1965;
(b) Confirmed the allocations in chapter II of the document, in an amount of $731,020, with the following provisions;
(i) In respect of the "Armand Kuijpers" project (A/AC.96/235), the allocations described in sections A and C of the paper were confirmed as described in the document;
(ii) In respect of the project described in section B of the paper, the Executive Committee took note of the High Commissioner's statement that the refugees concerned had so far declined to move to reception areas prepared for them in Tanganyika, but that the Governments concerned had now agreed in principle to the transfer and settlement in the Mwesi Highlands of approximately 3,000 refugees from Rwanda who had previously found temporary asylum in the Kivu Province of the Congo. Accordingly, the Committee approved the High Commissioner's verbal request that the plan should proceed as proposed in respect of the settlement area - subject to such revisions and adjustments as may be necessary in view of the actual number of refugees to be settled in 1964-1965 and that transportation costs should also be charged to the project subject to the subsequent submission of a detailed report to the Committee. The Committee also noted the High Commissioner's intention to submit in due course for approval revised estimates in respect of this project;
(iii) The estimated allocation of $260,000 for other refugees in Uganda under the 1965 Programme now stood at $258,020, in accordance with the detailed submissions in document A/AC.96/256;
(c) Approved the specific allocations mentioned in chapters III to VII of the document in a total amount of $1,550,500;
(d) Approved the allocation of $111,100 for assistance to refugees in Senegal under the 1965 Programme, in accordance with the detailed submission in document A/AC.96/264;
(e) Took note of the High Commissioner's statement that existing refugee situations were likely to require an expenditure of a further $807,380 within the financial target of $3,200,000 and that new projects would be submitted in due course to the Committee for approval in respect of this amount;
(f) Authorized the High Commissioner to transfer funds between projects approved under the 1965 Programme, subject to their being reported as soon as possible thereafter to the Committee.
VI. Co-operation between the Offices of the High Commissioner and other organizations (agenda item 13)
107. The representative of the High Commissioner, introducing the note on inter-agency co-operation on urgent economic and social development projects affecting refugees (A/AC.96/259), recalled that at its eleventh session the Executive Committee had requested the High Commissioner to submit to the Administrative Committee on Co-ordination (ACC) the question of the pattern of co-operation to be followed when Governments requested at short notice urgent action on economic and social development projects affecting refugees. He said that the principal point of policy in the statement of the ACC was the willingness of the United Nations and the specialized agencies to co-operate with UNHCR whenever economic and social development projects could be used to assist refugees. The agencies might employ refugees on development projects and provide permanent solutions for their problems in the frame of development projects for the local population. The nature of the co-operation would depend upon the conditions of the refugee situation in each particular case. The action of the ACC was a first step in the evolution of inter-agency co-operation in seeking solutions to refugee problems. It was important to emphasize, however, that such co-operation must at some stage be financed. As far as UNHCR participation was concerned, any projects involved would be submitted to the Executive Committee for approval. UNHCR was already deriving great benefit from this co-operation, in that the Resident Representatives of TAB and the Special Fund were lending their valuable support and assistance on a variety of problems.
108. The members of the Committee agreed with the statement of the ACC that development projects from which refugees might benefit should be treated as part of the over-all development programme for the country or area concerned, and that, in putting development projects into effect in countries where the standard of living was not very high, every care should be taken not to place the refugees in a privileged position, so as to avoid unfavourable reactions in their country of residence, which might in turn adversely affect the work of assistance.
109. With regard to the financing of projects which might be carried out through inter-agency co-operation, some representatives considered that an important problem of financial responsibility was involved and expressed reservations about UNHCR undertaking the financing of development projects. Other delegations took the view that, for the time being, the High Commissioner's Office was the principal source for short term financing. They considered that, in accordance with its role of catalyst, UNHCR should only be expected to provide the modest initial contribution required to launch those projects which were of benefit to refugees, and that large-scale capital investment and long-term financing should be the responsibility of other agencies created for that purpose. One representative, referring to the point made in the ACC statement that because of their budgetary procedures the specialized agencies were unable to provide initial financing for projects, suggested that these organizations might envisage the possibility of including some provision in their budgetary planning which would enable refugee groups to be included in their programmes at a later stage, should the need arise. It was pointed out on the other hand that the specialized agencies could not be a source of financing for development projects but could assist through the provision of expert, fellowships and certain items of equipment. Some representatives considered that efforts should be made to obtain the necessary funds for initial capital investment from United Nations voluntary funds as well as non-governmental sources.
110. The Committee noted from the report before it that Governments of the countries of asylum were recognized by the ACC as the primary authority for development projects; some representatives laid emphasis on the important fact that responsibility for the implementation of such projects must be accepted by the receiving States.
111. With regard to co-ordination, several representatives stated that they could agree in principle on the suggested guiding principles put forward in the statement of the ACC. Some representatives stressed the importance of bilateral assistance. One representative, while agreeing in principle with the recommendations, doubted whether the need for rapid action in refugee situations in Africa was compatible with the delays which would inevitably arise through co-ordination procedures among the various United Nations bodies. One speaker stressed that every effort should be made to avoid overlapping among the agencies participating in development projects for the benefit of refugees. Another representative pointed out that by merely noting the guiding principles, the Committee was not accepting that the UNHCR had thereby assumed any new responsibility.
112. The representative of the International Labour Office mentioned the difficulty of initial capital expenditure. Refugee problems did not coincide with the timing of budgetary planning in the agencies. When programmes benefiting refugees reached the stage of implementation the High Commissioner should retain responsibility during the period of transition. From the point of view of priorities, agencies like the ILO could rarely undertake development projects for refugees alone. Governments of asylum countries were unlikely to give priority to refugees rather than to their own people. He was unable to state whether the ILO could make special provisions, as had been suggested. At any event, co-ordination procedures could be adopted to meet the requirements of the Executive Committee after the initial stage of UNHCR financial participation.
113. The representative of FAO endorsed the principles and procedures outlined in document A/AC.96/259. He stressed that the initial financial contribution towards projects should come from the High Commissioner's Office since the FAO could not give a general undertaking to carry out emergency operations. Moreover it also received requests for assistance from other bodies, such as UNICEF.
114. The Observer for the World Food Programme stated that close co-operation had been developed between the Programme and UNHCR. The former had provided food for assistance to refugees in a number of emergency situations, particularly in Algeria, Tunisia, Tanganyika and Dahomey.
Decision of the Committee
115. The Executive Committee, having considered the note on inter-agency co-operation in urgent economic and social development projects affecting refugees (A/AC.96/259), took note of the report before the Committee.
VII. Administrative and financial questions
NOTE ON THE USE OF THE EMERGENCY FUND (agenda item 8)
116. The Committee had before it the note on the use of the Emergency Fund submitted by the High Commissioner (A/AC.96/257), which showed that from 1 January 1964 to 15 September 1964, an amount of $190,000 had been obligated for assistance to refugees in Uganda, in Burundi and in Senegal. However, the Fund had been credited with income to the same amount, leaving the balance of the Fund at the ceiling of $500,000 as at 15 September 1964.
117. In reply to a question the representative of the High Commissioner recalled that the Fund was being replenished from the repayment of loans and that sums repaid exceeded the amount needed to finance the obligations and to maintain the balance of the fund at its ceiling of $500,000.
118. The Observer for Senegal made a statement concerning the problem of refugees in his country, details of which may be found in the summary record of the 102nd meeting, which it was decided would be considered under items 14 and 15 concerning the 1964 and 1965 programmes of UNHCR.
Decision of Committee
119. The Executive Committee approved the note on the use of the Emergency Fund (A/AC.96/257).
REPORT OF THE BOARD OF AUDITORS ON THE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS FOR 1963 (agenda item 9)
120. The Committee considered the report of the Board of Auditors on the financial statements for 1963 (A/AC.96/258), transmitted by the High Commissioner together with the review of this report at the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions and an explanatory note submitted by the High Commissioner in respect of some of the items particularly mentioned by the Board of Auditors.
121. In introducing the report the representative of the High Commissioner pointed out that the auditors' comments could be divided between the projects in Greece on the one hand and on the other hand accounting procedures and arrangements between UNHCR and implementing voluntary agencies.
122. He stated that as regards the projects in Greece, the Legal Counsel of the United Nations paid a visit to that country in July 1964, and his visit appeared to have provided a basis for the elimination of the difficulties which had existed. As regards the other points raised by the Board of Auditors, they were mainly technical matters on which UNHCR could give the Committee all further information in the course of the session or at any Working Party that might be set up for this purpose.
123. The Deputy High Commissioner who had recently visited Greece gave the Committee an up-to-date account of developments regarding the repayment of housing loans by refugees. Pending the settlement of this matter a decision had been adopted by the Ministry of Social Welfare in September 1964 which would come into force on 1 November, whereby a fixed fee would be levied from refugees for the use of property given to them which would subsequently be deducted from their commitment. Furthermore, at the High Commissioner's request the Legal Counsel of the United Nations had suggested to the Greek authorities that they might repay the loans given to refugees on a fixed annual basis. It would thus be possible to give the future financing of UNHCR a more stable basis.
124. The Committee noted from a statement made by the representative of Greece that the proposal was being favourably considered by the Greek Government and that only the amount of the sum to be paid on an annual basis had still to be determined. Furthermore, the Supreme Board of Auditors of Greece was already undertaking the task of auditing the accounts of UNHCR projects in Greece, in accordance with the requirements of the United Nations Board of Auditors. The first repayment of loans to UNHCR had already taken place. As regards the observations made in paragraphs 9 and 12 of the document, a sum of $60,000 would be paid at the end of the year and authority had been given to refund the remaining $103,000 by the end of 1965. The Greek Government was in agreement with paragraphs 14-16 of the document relating to projects in Greece. Regarding paragraph 10, the refund had been effected within a very reasonable time after completion of the projects and was the result of a careful scrutiny of the accounts by the Government auditors.
125. Various representatives expressed satisfaction with the explanations contained in annex II of the document to the points raised in the report of the Board of Auditors. Several speakers, however, emphasized the need for more frequent reporting since that would remove the incorrect impression that proper financial control was not being exercised. They supported the recommendation made in the report of the Board of Auditors that a complete review of unspent balances refundable to UNHCR be carried out.
126. One representative pointed out that sometimes a year or more would elapse form the time a project was approved by the Committee and an agreement was concluded in order to implement it and it would be useful for the Committee to be informed of the progress made towards the speeding up of this procedure.
127. Members of the Committee also raised a number of specific points in connexion with the report. Details concerning their enquiries and the replies given by the representative of the High Commissioner may be found in the summary record of the 104th meeting.
128. In view of the technical nature and of the complexity of the matter before the Committee, the suggestion was made that a small sub-committee be appointed to consider the report of the representatives of the Board and of the High Commissioner's Office.
Decisions of the Committee
129. The Executive Committee;
(a) Took note of the report of the Board of Auditors;
(b) Expressed its thanks to the High Commissioner for the comments he had given to the Committee in his explanatory included in annex II to the report;
(c) Appointed an ad hoc sub-committee consisting of Mr. S. Azimi (Iran). Mr. C. P. Scott (United Kingdom) and Mr. E. A. Westerlind (Sweden) which would examine the problems raised in the report of the Board of Auditors and report to the Committee at its thirteenth ordinary session.
STATUS OF CONTRIBUTIONS (agenda item 11)
130. The Committee considered the report on the status of contributions submitted by the High Commissioner to UNHCR as at 31 August 1964 (A/AC.96/260).
131. In introducing the report, the representative of the High Commissioner Stated that if the new projects and proposals submitted to the Committee were approved, the original $2.6 million target for the 1964 Programme would need to be increased to $3 million. Contributions announced so far totalled $2,918,000 leaving a balance of some $200,000 still to be raised. As regards the 1963 Programme, there was still a shortfall of over $300,000 in the $6,945,000 target set for that programme. He further stated that the increasingly universal scope of the UNHCR programme had attracted the support of new States, including ten on the African continent, one in Latin America and one in Asia. Further efforts were being made in this direction. In addition to these contributions, over $700,000 had been received for the financing of operations outside the 1964 Programme.
132. With reference to the $3.2 million target proposed for the 1965 Programme, the representative of the High Commissioner pointed out that it exceeded the proposed 1964 target by only $100,000. He expressed the High Commissioner's hope that it would be met through voluntary contributions from Government. Since the General Assembly of the United Nations would start later than usual this year, it would be helpful for the High Commissioner to be informed as soon as possible of the intention of Governments in respect of their contributions towards the 1965 Programme, without having to wait for the Pledging Conference which would be held in the course of the General Assembly. He further informed the Committee that a new UNHCR record of classical music had been produced, the proceeds of which would enable the High Commissioner to meet special situations which fell outside the regular programmes.
133. The question of the financial target for the 1965 Programme was raised by several representatives. One speaker drew attention in this connexion to the fact that the shortfall in the 1963 Programme, if added to the present shortfall in the proposed new target for the 1964 Programme, would result in a total deficit of over half a million dollars for the two years' period concerned. The suggestion was made by some representatives that if resources were inadequate, new projects submitted at the present stage should be included in the 1965 rather than in the 1964 Programme, unless they were of an emergency nature, in which case they might be financed from the Emergency Fund.
134. The High Commissioner explained that it was normal practice to submit projects for approval before the availability of the necessary funds was assured. Furthermore, owing to unforeseen circumstances, some projects in the 1964 Programme might not reach the point during that year where funds for their implementation were required and in accordance with previous practice the projects concerned would then be transferred to the 1965 Programme.
135. One representative enquired whether the savings and cancellations which, according to the footnote to paragraph 4 of document A/AC.96/258, amounted to over $3,120,000 could be taken into account in financing the 1963 and 1964 Programmes. The High Commissioner recalled in this connexion that the figure of over $3 million was a cumulative one, covering previous years. An account of the position was given in annex I to document A/AC.96/261 which indicated that the funds concerned came from earlier major aid programmes. They might be needed to complete the major aid programmes, such as for instance, to supplement the large scale action taken by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany in providing housing for refugees living outside camps.
136. The suggestion was subsequently made that the information on savings and cancellations contained in annex I of document A/AC.96/261, should be submitted to members of the Committee on a semi-annual basis in between sessions, if necessary.
137. An exchange of views took place on the various sources from which the UNHCR programmes and projects outside the programme were being financed.
138. One representative referred to the question of the relationship between governmental and non-governmental contributions to the programme, and drew the Committee's attention to the importance of embarking upon a more vigorous fund-raising campaign among non-governmental organizations. He further requested some modifications in the method of presentation of the report on the status of contributions, the details of which may be found in the summary record of the 104th meeting.
139. The High Commissioner recalled that the allocation of contributions from private sources generally depended upon the donors' wishes. Moreover, there were cases in which such marginal funds could be used particular country which had expressed the wish that assistance projects for these refugees should not be financed under the regular programme but from the proceeds of "All-Star Festival".
140. In the course of the session, the Committee noted with appreciation the following announcements in respect of contributions to the UNHCR programmes; the representative of the Netherlands stated that, subject to parliamentary approval, his Government had decided to increase its contribution for 1965 by $14,000, thereby bringing the total contribution to $112,000. The representative of the Holy See announced that a payment of $5,000 would shortly be made. This contribution was earmarked for that part of the UNHCR programmes which related to the refugees from Tibet. The Holy See would furthermore contribute $10,000 for the programmes in Africa. The representative of Switzerland stated that his Government would contribute 500,000 Swiss francs (approximately $116,000) to the 1965 Programme. The representative for Israel announced his Government's firm promise that its contribution to the 1965 programme would not be below its 1964 contribution.
Decisions of the Committee
141. The Executive Committee, having considered the report submitted by the High Commissioner on the status of contributions announced during the session;
(a) Welcomed the new contributions announced during the session;
(b) Recorded with satisfaction that the number of Governments contributing to the High Commissioner's programme was showing a progressive increase;
(c) Requested that the comments and observations put forward in the course of the discussion be taken into account by the office of the High Commissioner in submitting information to the Committee in respect of the status of contributions;
ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENDITURE FOR 1965 (agenda item 10)
142. The Executive Committee considered a note submitted by the High Commissioner on administrative expenditure for 1965 (A/AC.96/253) which contained a summary of the proposed administrative budget of the High Commissioner for 1965, included as section 20 of the over-all budget of the United Nations. As shown in the document, the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions had recommended that the UNHCR estimates submitted in an amount of $2,384,400 be reduced to $2,335,000; and had further proposed that the grant-in-aid to the United Nations budget which had originally been estimated in an amount of $100,000 should be increased to $150,000.
143. In introducing the subject, the representative of the High Commissioner pointed out that the greater part of the Advisory Committee's report was concerned with the grant-in-aid. The High Commissioner's position of this question was defined in annex II to the document before the Committee. He further informed the Committee that, upon the suggestion of the High Commissioner, an expert had been assigned by the Controller of the United Nations to make a management survey of the functioning of the Office. He would also made a study of the way in which the grant-in-aid to the United Nations being calculated.
144. The representative of the United States recalled that, unlike the practice of many other organizations, the work of UNHCR was financed under a dual system whereby the cost of material assistance programmes was defrayed by voluntary contributions, while the administrative expenditure was part of the United Nations budget to which all members of the United Nation contributed on the basis of the United Nations scale of assessment. He suggested, therefore, that the list of Governments contributing to the assistance programmes of UNHCR should also include an indication of the amount which they contribute to the administrative expenditure of UNHCR. The assessed contributions from other Members of the United Nations could be shown as one global figure. He further expressed satisfaction over the fact that a management survey was being made of the functioning of UNHCR.
145. The representative of the United Kingdom traced back the history of the grant-in-aid which had been introduced in 1959 in order to meet the cost of temporary staff formerly paid direct from the UNREF programme whose posts had been transferred in 1958 to the manning table of the High Commissioner's Office. In his Government's view, the question of the grant-in-aid could be answered simply by the High Commissioner applying for a revision of the authorized number of posts in his regular establishment.
146. The United Kingdom representative suggested that the High Commissioner should inform the competent United Nations authorities that the completion of the Major Aid Programmes would not entail a reduction in his establishment equivalent to the total number of posts added in 1958 and accordingly that he should ask for such former UNREF posts as he would continue to need to be integrated into his establishment. The grant-in-aid would then them cease in respect of all former UNREF posts added to the High Commissioner's staff and would continue only in respect of such posts (if any) as the United Nations considered should remain temporary until they were absorbed into permanent establishment or were abolished. He hoped that it would be possible to reach agreement with the United Nations authorities on this basis. If no decision were reached within fifteen months, then it would be for the Executive Committee to advise the High Commissioner to provide for a grant-in-aid.
147. As regards the size of the grant-in-aid proposed for 1965, he pointed out that the basis for calculation as indicated in paragraphs 309 and 310 of the report of the Advisory Committee (A/AC.96/253) was admittedly arbitrary although it conformed with past practice. If, however, this method of calculation were adopted in respect of the grant-in-aid for 1965, its size for that year should be in an amount of no less than $350,000, considering that the combined total of major aid projects to be put into effect during 1965 and the current programme for that year might reach an order of magnitude of $8 million to $9 million.
148. In the course of the ensuing discussion most speakers supported the general principles enunciated by the United Kingdom representative. The representative of Israel raised the question as to whether the Committee should continue to make a grant-in-aid from voluntary contributions to the United Nations. This was a question of principle which according to the note submitted by the High Commissioner (A/AC.96/253) had not yet been settled in the Advisory Committee and in the Fifth Committee. He consequently urged members of the Committee to make every effort to ensure that action be taken by the General Assembly in the spirit of the decision that would be adopted by the Executive Committee.
149. The question of the staffing of the Office of the High Commissioner was brought up by several representatives who considered that in view of the considerable refugee problems facing the Office of the High Commissioner a reduction in staff was not to be thought of and that there was in fact a considerable need for trained personnel in Africa and in other areas. Some of these representatives also raised the question of security of tenure of those staff members who had held their posts in UNHCR for many years and who were dedicated to their work. As regards the non-permanent staff, the representative of Sweden asked whether the best method would not be to include the salaries of the few temporary posts on the UNHCR establishment on the relevant assistance programme.
150. In reply to the representative of the Netherlands who enquired into the proportion between staff members with a permanent contract and those who could be terminated at short notice, the representative of the High Commissioner explained that since the mandate of UNHCR was renewed on a five-years basis, his staff were not given permanent contracts similar to those granted to other United Nations staff. Most of UNHCR personnel received indefinite contracts, which differed from permanent ones in respect of sickness and separation benefits, and in that they did not give the same advantages with regard to the possibility for a staff member to be transferred to another United Nations agency. Members of the UNHCR staff were entitled to three months' notice, as were also other United Nations staff holding permanent contracts. He added that the Office was making every effort to protect the interests of those staff members who had served with it for a numbers who had served with it for a number of years.
Decisions of the Committee
151. The Executive Committee, having considered the report submitted by the High Commissioner on administrative expenditure for 1965 (A/AC.96/253), requested the High Commissioner to;
(a) Take urgent action in 1965 to ensure that such of the posts transferred in 1958 from the UNREF programme as can be justified on a continuing basis by the current programme of complementary assistance are authorized as part of his regular establishment provided by section 20 of the United Nations budget;
(b) Arrange that the costs of such former UNREF posts as are not foreseen as part of the continuing establishment are covered by a grant-in-aid until the post is either abolished or absorbed into the continuing establishment;
(c) Make such provision as may be necessary in 1965 to cover the cost of the grant-in-aid as indicated in (b) above, in an amount of up to $150,000 and to report to the Committee if this sum should prove insufficient.
QUESTIONS RELATING TO THE FINANCING OF THE FUTURE WORK OF UNHCR (agenda item 12)
152. The Committee considered the report submitted by the High Commissioner in documents A/AC.96/261 and Add.1 and 2. The last of these documents recommended the opening of a programme guarantee account which would serve the purposes of meeting essential programme payments covered by governmental pledges, guaranteeing the continuity of projects until their full implementation and of filling in temporary financial gaps until such time as the fund-raising target for a given programme had been reached.
153. In introducing the subject, the representative of the High Commissioner gave an account of the method of financing at present in force in UNHCR, the details of which may be found in the summary record of the 103rd meeting. He also explained the purpose of the programme guarantee account which would be constituted from three sources, i.e., repaid loans not required to maintain the Emergency Fund at its $500,000 ceiling; interest not required to meet the grant-in-aid to the United Nations budget, and refunds, cancellations and adjustments arising from the current programme. The size of the account might reach an amount of $1 million by 1 January 1967, If calls on the Emergency Fund were not excessive. It was proposed that, in the meantime, the Committee might authorize the High Commissioner to use up to one half of governmental promises as a basis for financial commitments for the implementation of projects approved under its 1965 Programme, it being understood that at the end of 1965 all pending project commitments of UNHCR must be covered by programme funds in hand and unconditional governmental pledges. He stressed that the High Commissioner regarded the programme guarantee account as essential for the efficient implementation of his programme.
154. Speaking on the general subject of methods of financing, the representative of the United Kingdom raised the question as to whether it was likely that in future the High Commissioner would be able to count on receiving regularly large lump-sum contributions in cash as he had done in recent years, in particular as a result of World Refugee Year. He suggested that there might be an advantage in compiling future estimates of programme expenditure on the basis of the projects or the parts of projects likely to be carried out during the year in question. Projects spread over several years might more easily be financed from subscriptions by being divided into a series of slices for each of which provision would be made in the budget of successive financial years. The representative of Sweden, on the other hand, felt that this formula would not obviate the risk of incurring considerable commitments for years ahead, which would not be covered by contributions paid, pledged or promised or by other existing assets. In his opinion such a system could only be effective in the case of short-term projects.
155. In the course of discussion which was continued at the 105th and 106th meetings, members of the Committee agreed that new methods of financing would need to be worked out in order to enable the High Commissioner to deal with the new situation which would shortly face him. It was recognized that when the major aid programmes came to an end the consequent reduction of his cash assets might on occasion result in the High Commissioner having insufficient funds in hand to meet day-to-day financial needs.
156. Members of the Committee expressed appreciation for the prudent approach reflected in the proposals submitted to the Committee in document A/AC.96/261/Add.2. Some delegations considered, however, that wholly new methods of financing need not be adopted at the present stage, pending further developments. They did not think that the time had come to establish a new fund with a specific designation. They considered that it might be possible for the Office of the High Commissioner to finance long-term programmes on a year-to-year basis and to carry over from one year to another a certain amount of cash which would be necessary and sufficient for the purposes the High Commissioner had described.
157. The representatives of Australia, Belgium. Canada, Switzerland and the United States indicated that they would ask their respective Governments to consider making part or all of their financial contributions available early in the year so that the High Commissioner would be certain of having funds always available at short notice.
158. With regard to the size of the Emergency Fund, the representative of the Emergency Fund, the representative of the United Kingdom expressed view that it had proved satisfactory and that no change was necessary at this stage. The representative of Sweden recalled in this connexion that he had at an earlier session proposed that the Emergency Fund should be increased. There were several reasons for such an increase, including in particular the emergence of new refugee situations, the possibility of these arising simultaneously and the fact that the purchasing power of money had considerably decreased since 1958 when the Fund had been established with ceiling of $500,000
159. With regard to the action that action that might usefully be taken now, the representative of the United Kingdom proposed that the High Commissioner should be authorized to set aside Funds made available from the repayment of loans over and above the ceiling of the Emergency Fund, and from other sources indicated in paragraph 6 of document A/AC.96/261/Add.2 and that the Committee be regularly informed of the progress made in the accumulation of such funds and periodically review the Office's need for liquidity. That procedure would make provision for the current period of transition and still permit the Committee to reassess the position from time to time. Further, he suggested that the Committee might agree to the permanent suspension of article 8.1 of the UNHCR financial rules, subject to review in a year's time. The effect of this would be that up to 50 per cent of the value of promises of governmental contributions (i.e. conditional pledges) could be used as a basis for financial commitments for the implementation of projects approved under its programme.
160. The representative of Sweden, while agreeing that the need for liquidity could be met from the early payment of governmental contributions, from the repayment of loans and from interest on investments, considered that what the High Commissioner required was an arrangement to cover commitments extending beyond the current year's budget and his delegation therefore favoured the suggestion for a programme guarantee account. He realized, however, that the United Kingdom suggestion for a system of carrying forward surpluses would have the same effect.
161. Several representatives supported the United Kingdom proposal, which, in their opinion, contained the necessary elements of flexibility and was calculated to meet the needs for the next two or three years. The representatives of Canada and France entered a reservation with respect to a permanent change to the financial rules and preferred to accept the suspension of the rules for one year only, as suggested by the High Commissioner.
162. In the course of the discussion, exchanges of view took place between the members of the Committee and the High Commissioner in respect of some other aspects of the financing of the UNHCR programme, the details of which may be found in the summary records of the 103rd and 105th meeting.
Decisions of the Committee
163. The Executive Committee, having considered the report submitted by the high Commissioner in respect of the financing of the future work of UNHCR in the field of material assistance (A/AC.96/261 and Add.1 and 2);
(a) Considered that for the time being no recommendation for the amendment of resolution 1166 (XII) should be made to the United Nations General Assembly;
(b) Took note that, in view of the anticipated reduction in the assets and investments of UNHCR as a result of the early liquidation of the major aid programmes, the High Commissioner intends to set aside;
(i) The income from repaid loans which is not needed to replenish the Emergency Fund;
(ii) The interest on invested funds which would otherwise be treated as income under his financial rules;
(iii) All savings from the current programmes for complementary assistance accrued on or after 1 January 1965;
(c) Requested the High Commissioner to keep the Committee regularly informed of the funds set aside as well as of the need for these funds, so that the Committee could consider periodically any action which it should take in the matter;
(d) Decided to modify article 8.1 of UNHCR's financial rules by authorizing UNHCR to use not only financial contributions received and firm governmental pledges and the funds mentioned under subparagraph (b) above, but also up to one-half of conditional governmental pledges, as a basis for financial commitments for the implementation of projects approved under its Programme, it being understood that, at the end of each year, all pending project commitments of UNHCR must be covered by programme funds in hand and firm and unconditional government pledges;
(e) Took note of the reservations made by the delegations of France and Canada in respect of paragraph (d) above;
(f) Requested the High Commissioner to place the matter again on the Committee's agenda at its fourteenth ordinary session.
ANNEX Opening statement by the High Commissioner
I should like to begin, Madam Chairman, by saying how deeply I share the sense of gratitude you have expressed for the generous hospitality accorded to us by the Italian Government and how great a pleasure it is to me, as it is to yourself and all members of the Committee, to be in the Eternal City once again.
For the Committee this might be described as an opportunity to go back to the sources, to renew contact with something very deep which finds striking and almost intimate expression in the remains of the great Roman city; a unique and extraordinarily keen sense of the universal values, both spiritual and human, which should inspire the work of the High Commissioner's Office.
Perhaps I may also, in these brief introductory remarks, express our great satisfaction at the announcement that His Holiness the Pope has consented to receive the Committee at the end of the session. This will certainly be an opportunity of expressing our gratitude for the important part which the Holy See has taken in the activities of High Commissioner's Office since its inception and generous support it has unfailingly given to them.
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In the interests of clarity, I shall follow the practice of discussion assistance and protection activities separately. Since the Committee is to consider the programme prepared for the coming year and now submitted for its approval, I propose to begin with a rapid survey of our assistance activities. I should, however, first like briefly to restate the aims of this programme. Since it was essentially intended to be a means of promoting international co-operation and of fostering the goodwill and initiative of Governments, it can in no way aspire to meet all needs, but only a tiny fraction of them. It is therefore only in so far as the programme fulfils this function that it can be regarded as having effectively achieved its purpose. The visit to the Capua and Latina Centres, to which the Italian Government has kindly invited the Committee, will give us an opportunity of seeing how this machinery of international co-operation is functioning in Italy and of appraising its effects. In passing, I may perhaps point out that what we are doing there, in close co-operation with the Italian Government and with our other traditional partners, at any rate demonstrates that the special efforts now being made by the High Commissioner's Office in other parts of the world, and more particularly in Africa, are not resulting in any neglect of the problems still persisting in Europe and vice versa.
But before dealing with the current programme, I must give a brief progress report on the last of the major programmes for the "old" European refugees.
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The implementation of this programme, as approved last year, has been proceeding at a generally satisfactory rate. On 30 September 1964, funds committed amounted to two-thirds of the total for projects approved in 1963 and to more than half of the total for projects approved at the session in January 1964. Barring unforeseen difficulties, a further substantial proportion of these funds should be committed by the end of this year.
Between 1 January and 31 August, 5,600 refugees were permanently resettled thanks to the last of the major programmes. This means that a rate comparable to that of 1963 was maintained, despite the fact that the remaining cases increase in difficulty as the final goal is approached. As was, however, to be expected in the final phase of long-term projects of this kind under which a large number of refugees have been assisted over a period of years, new cases have been brought to light, particularly in Germany, by the systematic registration of refugees outside camps. Thus, despite an increase of 3,600 in the number of refugees qualifying for assistance under the last of the major aid programmes during the period 1 January to 31 August, the total number of refugees to be resettled under that programme has been reduced from 31,000 to 28,200. With regard to regard to refugees living outside camps, mention should be made of the decision by the German authorities to provide housing for most of these refugees by the end of 1965. Thanks to this new effort, which we warmly welcome, there is every hope of a substantial reduction in the number of refugees outside camps who have not yet been permanently established.
On 30 June 1964, The number of "old" refugees still living in camps was 1,440. It should be noted that this figure represents a reduction of 470 in the first six months of the year or of 25 per cent of the total on 1 January 1964. In other words, we are approaching the target what is left is increasingly a problem of individual cases for which appropriate solutions have to be found. This applies in particular to Germany, which has 1,100 of the 1,440 refugees I have mentioned. It only remains for the German authorities to provide some of these refugees with specially equipped housing and find places in institutions already existing or to be established, since most of these cases are seriously handicapped.
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Anyone glancing at the programme as a whole will immediately be struck by the fact that, on 31 August, 75 per cent of the total allocations made by the Committee were actually committed. We had not hitherto been accustomed to such a rapid rate of investment, and this development unquestionably reflects the changes which have occurred in the very nature of the programme, which is now concentrated on new needs that have to be met without delay.
I shall refrain from quoting the figure reproduced in document A/AC.96/INF.29 on progress in the implementation of UNHCR programmes. The only figure I should like to various European countries during the first six months of this year, In general, these refugees succeed either in becoming integrated or in emigrating, depending on their wishes or on the opportunities open to them, in a relatively short period. Some of them, however, cannot be immediately and satisfactorily integrated in the economy of the country of asylum or have difficulty in obtaining admission to another country. It is these cases with which the current programme is concerned and for which it attempts to find a solution in order to prevent their number from increasing with the passage of time, while their plight deteriorates and the difficulties of rapid settlement become intensified. I venture to say that, in this respect, the current programme, as designed and executed in Europe, does in fact fulfil its purpose and hence the hopes which we have placed in it. Efforts are rightly concentrated on handicapped is most often the case in France, for example, or emigrate to the various countries which generously continue to open their doors to them. A great deal has been done on behalf of European refugees, most of whom are handicapped, coming from North Africa, particularly Morocco, and from Turkey, Greece or Italy. For example, we have just learned that a Swedish mission, during its recent visit to Turkey, accepted thirty-six refugee families comprising seventy-nine persons and representing almost all the cases of concern to us at the present time. Only a few days ago, the Belgian Government agreed to admit 207 refugees from Morocco. I need hardly say how much we welcome these fortunate developments, and in this connexion, I would again express our deep gratitude to the Governments concerned. The Committee will, I am sure, also note with interest the spectacular progress made since last year in Italy in facilitating emigration proceedings and speeding up departures. As you will see from an information paper submitted by the Italian delegation, the average length of stay in AAI centres has declined considerably; the length of stay was less than six months for 40 per cent of the new arrivals as against 18 per cent in 1963, and from six months to a year for 49 per cent of new arrivals as against 59 per cent in the previous year. This has led to a substantial reduction in the number of refugees in for the countries of asylum themselves. Thus, the decisions taken last year on the initiative of the UNHCR Branch Office in full agreement with the Italian authorities, ICEM and the voluntary agencies, with a view to ensuring a better co-ordination of efforts and effective planning of emigration activities have had satisfactory results. The work which is at present being done in Italy and of which we shall have concrete and direct evidence during our visit to the Latina Centre on Wednesday, is a perfect illustration of the need for organized international co-operation and of the many advantages offered by a joint undertaking to which all contribute to the best of their ability and do so willingly because they know in advance that the sacrifices made will not be in vain. Such co-operation is, we are sure, both now and in the future - at least for as long as the influx of refugees continues into countries unable to accept them permanently - the only means of preventing a recurrence of those apparently irremediable situations in which men, women and children languish indefinitely and without hope in camps awaiting an increasingly problematical departure to some promised land.
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The Committee will no doubt wish me to say a few works about recent developments in connexion with a problem which affects both America and Europe, namely, the problem of the Cuban refugees. In Spain their number has increased by over 900 during the past six months, and departures have not offset new arrivals, which now average almost 500 per month. As you know, we are trying to determine precisely what the needs are in order to find some way of meeting them. The caseworkers recruited for this purpose are examining each individual case, for which they try to find a suitable solution by facilitating emigration or sometimes integration. This work, which so far has been carried out only for the most urgent cases, is being energetically continued. Some of these refugees, as you know, are also going to Latin America, where we are trying to help with their resettlement.
However, although the Cuban refugees are of great concern to us at the present time, this is not he ultimate objective of the programme which is being undertaken on the Latin American continent. Our goal is to find a broader and more solid basis for this programme so that it can gradually meet an increasing proportion of the needs, which, as we know from the recent tour by the Deputy High Commissioner, are extremely urgent. We venture to hope that the stimulating effect of the programme will again achieve the desired result, and that, little by little, it will be possible to work out., in conjunction with Governments and the voluntary agencies, a basis for co-operation that will make it possible to expand, through the execution of a larger number of projects on a scale more in keeping with the needs, the joint operation which has for many years been UNHCR's objective in this part of the world.
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So much, Madam Chairman, for the European part of the current programme, which is being carried out without any serious setbacks and virtually in accordance with forecasts. The same is not true, I need hardly say, of all the other aspects of our activities. Plans for the settlement of the Rwandese refugees have been frustrated by two important events, namely, developments in the Congo and the refusal of the Rwandese refugees given asylum in Burundi to move to Tanganyika. The emphasis has now been shifted to a search for new solutions to the very serious problems raised by the existence of these refugees. An on-the-spot survey has just been made by on of my colleagues who visited Tanganyika, and then, accompanied by a representative of the Secretary-General and by the Regional Representative in Central Africa, visited Burundi and the Congo (Leopoldville). The Committee will, of course, be kept informed during the next few days of the results of this mission as well as of any changes proposed in original plans in order to adapt them to new situation. As an inevitable result of these changes, which were necessitated by circumstances beyond the control of the High Commissioner's Office, a solution of the problem of the Rwandese refugees has in large part had to be postponed. I am glad to be able to say, however, that the preparatory work carried out in Tanganyika under the careful supervision of the Lutheran World Federal with a view to the reception of 10,000 Rwandese refugees will not have been wasted. This work will make it possible to meet the particularly urgent need to reduce congestion in certain centres in Kivu and to evacuate a number of the refugees in those centres. This, we hope, will also enable us to consolidate the position of the refugees who are to remain in the Congo and continue to enjoy asylum there. This is a question to which we shall of course have occasion to revert. Until we are able to submit final plans for the Committee's approval, I hope that, when the matter comes up for discussion, the Committee will agree to the measures proposed for the immediate future.
The major difficulties to which I have just referred have also had repercussions on certain other projects, such as the project for resettling in the Kigamba region of Burundi 3,000 refugees from the Murore centre. A disastrous harvest in certain regions of Burundi, combined with difficulties in the execution of the rural development programme drawn up by the International Labour Office, made it necessary for me to draw the sum of $30,000 from the Emergency Fund in order to save the refugees from the threat of famine. Generally speaking, however, and particularly in the case of sectors not subject to the pressure of the events which are at present affecting the Congo, the settlement of the Rwandese refugees is proceeding satisfactorily, despite the need for progress by trial and error and the adjustments that are inevitable in an undertaking of this nature. In Uganda, the withdrawal of $100,000 from the Emergency Fund made it possible to initiate action on behalf of the refugees from the Sudan and 2,500 of them have already been transferred to an area suitable for their settlement.
The Committee also has before it a report on the new projects drawn up after the recent visit to Senegal by the regional representative for Central Africa. This country had requested the High Commissioner's Office for help in solving the problem it faces as a result of the presence of some 30,000 refugees from Portuguese Guinea. The Government of the Central African Republic had also appealed to the High Commissioner's Office for help in the settlement of a group of 300 Sudanese refugees. In both cases the projects which have been worked out are designed to provide temporary subsistence for the refugees, who are also supplied with the minimum equipment needed to establish themselves and cultivate the land made available to them by the Government. A considerable proportion of the expenditure consists of the cost of transporting food which the Government of the United States is expected to provide, this cost being particularly high in areas which in areas which are difficult of access. As always, every possibility of assistance will be explored with a view to ensuring the smooth working and success of the operation, while reducing the expenditure borne by the High Commissioner's Office as much as possible.
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A number of other projects have been drawn up drawn up which are outside the scope of the current programme and on which I have already had occasion to report to the Committee. These are programmes designed to meet needs which are no less urgent, but which, for one reason or another, could not be included in this programme. There are, in particular, projects for Tibetan refugees in India and Nepal. The Director of Operations, who has just visited these two countries, has returned with the hope that there will be a substantial and progressive improvement in the lot of these refugees, a hope based on the understanding attitude of the two Governments concerned and on the present active co-operation particularly of the Red Cross Societies in the two countries, both of which are being supported by the League of Red Cross Societies, and also of other interested voluntary agencies.
Lastly, I am happy to be able to inform the Committee that the Government of Yugoslavia recently advised me that, on 15 October, after the final approval of the project by the competent authorities, work was begun on the reception and transit centre which is to be built not far from Belgrade. The promised contribution of $100,000 drawn partly from the proceeds of the sale of the stamp and partly from the proceeds of the sale of the "All-Star Festival" record, has therefore been paid by the High Commissioner's Office. No decision has yet been taken on the additional assistance which the Government of Yugoslavia has requested.
I very much hope, I need hardly say, that Governments will be able to co-operate in the establishment of the greatest importance for refugees who are submitted to Yugoslavia and wish to emigrate.
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Such is the general position at the present time as regards the material assistance programmes which are now in progress. So far I have referred only to the progress made and the specific difficulties sometimes encountered in carrying out particular projects. I must now say something about their financing. As the Committee will have noted from document A/AC.96/260, efforts to obtain the funds needed for this purpose have already had encouraging results. We have not, however, reached the stage where the financing of the 1964 Programme can be regarded as fully assured. I cannot therefore exclude the possibility that we may be obliged, in the last resort, to consider carrying forward to 1965 some expenditure relating to the 1964 Programme which could not be covered within the framework of this programme, taking advantage, inter alia, of the fact that the implementation of certain projects has had to be deferred for reasons beyond our control.
There is also still some uncertainty over the financing of the last of the major programmes for "old" refugees which the Committee approved in 1963 and to which various additions were made at the special session in January 1964. I still hope, however, that the balance of $330,000 will be found thanks to certain Governments on whose support we believe we can still count. I would point out in this connexion that, in this final phase, all projects not yet carried out and forming part of the major programmes for "old" refugees, are constantly reviewed to make sure that they meet present needs effectively and are fully adapted to those needs. Many readjustments have already been made in this way and others will probably be made in the coming months.
In view of the possibility I have mentioned of having to carry forward certain expenditure, and also in view of the additional and unforeseen expenses which may arise in the present African situation, it would be impossible, I must confess, not to feel some concern about the financial situation which we may well face next year. That is why I should like to appeal now to Governments which are interested in our work to give the maximum weight to these factors in deciding upon their contributions for 1965.
It is not presumptuous, I think, to hope that the increasing universality of our work will soon be reflected in that of the contributions which we count on from Governments. There is no need for me to say in this connexion how encouraging I Find the progress which has already been made in this direction, even if many contributions coming from new sources are, for very understandable reasons, as yet only of a token nature. As the conference at which these contributions coming from new sources are, for very understandable reasons, as yet only of a token nature. As the conference at which these contributions are usually pledged during the General Assembly session in New York has been postponed until February 1965, I should also be grateful if, this year, Governments did not wait until the conference to inform the High Commissioner's Office of the amount of their contributions. I hope that delegations attending this session will draw the attention of their Governments to this important point, so that we ca make a start on the projects which have been approved during this session without delay at the beginning of next year.
Before concluding my remarks on financial questions, I should like to say a work about the problem of financing the future work of the High Commissioner's Office. The salient features of this problem have been set out in document A/AC.96/261. It is necessary to emphasize its importance, because it is the key to the future ability of the High Commissioner's Office to fulfil its function effectively and to be a useful and efficient instrument of international co-operation in the work of assistance to refugees. As early as 1957, the General Assembly provided the Office with the Emergency Fund which enables it, when confronted with dangerous situations, to meet unforeseen needs immediately and to eliminate any time-lag between the moment when these needs arise and the moment when suitable concerted action can be taken if necessary. It now seems no less important that, in future years, the High Commissioner should have a working capital or guarantee fund (the exact title is immaterial), since he would otherwise find himself condemned to inactivity for many months each year. I am convinced that the Committee will take account of the suggestions made to it.
Last but not least, I come to what is the very essence of the High Commissioner's task-protection. It is hardly necessary to say that this continues to be our major concern, even if circumstances relegate it to the background of our preoccupations and immediate activities. Proof of this, if it were necessary, would be furnished by the approaches we have had to make quite recently to the Government of the Congo (Leopoldville) when, for reasons of security connected with the events in progress, the refugees from Rwanda were included in a general measure of expulsion from the territory.
I shall not discuss in detail the material given in the information document prepared at the Committee's request. I should merely like to say how much I welcome the recent accession of three new States to the convention, namely, Gavon, the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, and Jamaica. A total of forty-five States have thus now announced their formal accession to this instrument, which constitutes the charter of the refugee, eighteen having done so during the past three years.
Lastly, here is one item of news which I am sure will please the Committee; the Indemnification Fund for the victims of Nazism, which was the subject of an agreement concluded with the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1960, was wound up on 30 September 1964, after decisions had been taken on most of the 40,000 applications registered. The necessary steps have been taken so that these final payments can be made between now and the end of year.
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It should be emphasized once more that the work of the High Commissioner's Office depends primarily, in all its aspects, on the willing co-operation of Governments. It is also closely connected with that of other bodies, such as ICEM, with respect to the emigration of European refugees, the voluntary agencies, which, by dealing with refugees at the individual level give this work its full human significance; the specialized agencies of the United Nations with which UNHCR is collaborating more and more closely and in a way which we hope will become increasingly constructive and systematic, as will be seen from document A/AC.96/259 concerning inter-agency co-operation on urgent economic and social development projects affecting refugees. Lastly, in this list of our partners, I must not omit certain inter-governmental organizations of a regional nature, such as the Council of Europe, to whose valuable and consistent support tribute was, as you know, paid at the last session of this Committee, and, more recently, the Organization of African Unity, with which we have established contacts that I hope will continue to grow.
The tasks which I have just outlined, and especially the programmes which are being submitted for the Committee's approval today, cannot be successfully carried out without the active assistance of all concerned. In concluding, Madam Chairman, I should therefore like to say how much I am counting on this support and, in the first place, on that of the Governments represented here, so that we can continue, with the maximum efficiency, the great humanitarian work of the High Commissioner's Office.