Addendum to the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations General Assembly Official Records: Eighteenth Session
Addendum to the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Supplement No.11A (A/5511/Rev.1/Add.1)
OPENING OF THE SESSION AND ELECTION OF THE RAPPORTEUR (agenda item 1)
1. The Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme held its tenth session from 30 September to 9 October 1963 at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, Mr. H. F. Alaçam (Turkey), the Chairman in office, opened the session.
2. In accordance with rule 10 of the rules of procedure, which provides that the officers of the Executive Committee shall be elected for the whole of the year in which they are elected, Mr. H. F. Alaçam (Turkey) and Mr. H. Aponte (Venezuela) remained in office as Chairman and Vice-Chairman respectively.
3. As the Rapporteur, Mr. E. Tavor (Israel), was unable to attend the session, the Committee decided to elect a new rapporteur. Mr. H. Gleissner (Austria) was elected unanimously.
4. All the members of the Committee were represented at the session follows:
|Federal Republic of Germany||United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland|
|France||United States of America|
5. The Governments of Algeria, Cuba, Iraq, New Zealand, Portugal and the United Arab Republic were represented by an observer, as was the Sovereign Order of Malta. The International Labour Organisation (ILO), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Council of Europe, the European Economic Community (EEC), the Inter-Governmental Committee for European Migration (ICEM) and the League of Arab states were also represented.
6. The Chairman, referring to the programme of work for the session, stated that the Committee would be called upon in particular to consider the 1964 Programme submitted to it by the High Commissioner, as well as certain other important problems such as those concerning the financing of the future work of UNHCR in the field of material assistance.
ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA (agenda item 2)
7. The Committee decided that an item "Any other business" should be included in the agenda for the tenth session of the Committee as well as for future sessions, on the understanding that no matters of substance would be raised under that item. The Committee also decided to include an item "Adoption of the report on the session" as the last item on the agenda.
8. Taking into account suggestions made in respect of the order of items, the committee adopted the following agenda:
1. Election of the Rapporteur.
2. Adoption of the agenda (A/AC.96/203/Rev.2).
3. Introductory statement by the High Commissioner.
4. International protection: resolution on refugees adopted by the United Nations Conference on Consular Relations (A/AC.96/204).
5. Resettlement of refugees (A/AC.96/205).
6. Report on the mental health of refugees in the special cases category (A/AC.96/206).
7. Note on the use of the Emergency Fund (A/AC.96/208).
8. Report of the Board of Auditors on the financial statements for 1962 (A/AC.96/210).
9. New groups of refugees (A/AC.96/207 and A/AC.96/INF.16).
10. UNHCR Programme for 1964 (A/AC.96/209 and Add.1 and A/AC.96/213).
11. Administrative expenditure (A/AC.996/212).
12. Questions relating to the financing of the future work of UNHCR in the field of material assistance (A/AC.96/213).
13. Status of contributions to UNHCR (A/AC.96/211/Rev.1 and A/AC.96/INF.15/Rev.1).
14. Any other business.
15. Adoption of the report on the session.
INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT BY THE HIGH COMMISSIONER AND GENERAL DEBATE (agenda item 3)
9. The High Commissioner, in the his introductory statement,1 stressed that while continuing the completion of the Major Aid Programme for "old" refugees, his office must carry on its current work and face simultaneously substantial new refugee problems which had arisen in other parts of the world. The High Commissioner gave a brief account of the progress made by his Office since the Committee's ninth session, both in the field of international protection and of material assistance. He recalled that the main purposes of his Office were, in his view, to ensure that the system of international co-operation for refugees should remain fully effective and to keep alive the spirit of international solidarity for the benefit of refugees.
10. In the course of the session, the Deputy High Commissioner gave an account of the problems of new groups of refugees in Africa, as indicated in more detail in paragraph 44 of the present report.2
11. The members of the Committee paid tribute to the High Commissioner's statement and to the progress achieved by his Office. Some of the speakers emphasized the importance of the function of international protection and it was suggested that this aspect of the High Commissioner's work should be reviewed by the Committee at least once a year.
12. With regard to the problems of the "old" European refugees, members of the Committee stated that they were satisfied with the results of the Major Aid Programmes. Some delegations expressed their concern at the influx of new refugees in Europe, which seemed to be of the order of 10,000 a year, and they hoped that those who required assistance would be helped as rapidly as possible in order to avoid an accumulation of problems. Delegations of Governments of some of the countries of first asylum as well as several other delegations questioned the possibility of an increased effort on the part of countries of asylum whose considerable burden tended rather to increase, and they considered it essential to maintain appropriate international machinery for assistance to the refugees.
13. The Committee also recognized the need gradually to adapt the work of the Office to cover the requirements of new groups of refugees such as those in Africa and Asia. Agreement was expressed with the High Commissioner's policy to provide the necessary modest financial stimulus which would effectively mobilize assistance from other sources, in this way keeping the commitments of UNHCR within its constitutional limits. It was recommended in this connexion that the closest relationship and co-ordination should be maintained between UNHCR and other United Nations organizations concerned. A delegation also suggested that it would be useful to establish certain criteria with regard to activities under the good offices function of the High Commissioner. One delegation suggested in the course of the session that UNHCR representatives be appointed in all countries of asylum as members of the Executive Committee.
14. Several members of the Committee expressed their agreement with the High Commissioner's suggestion for closer and more permanent contact between his Office and the Executive Committee through periodic consultations or otherwise.
15. With regard to the financial proposals before the Committee, attention was drawn by several representatives to the need for further close study and it was suggested that in presenting future proposals on this subject, the methods followed by other United Nations organizations might be taken into account.
16. In the course of the debate, one representative, referring to a particular group of refugees, expressed his Government's hope that every effort would be made to prevent activities of refugees which might become the source of tension between states.
17. The representative of the Council of Europe informed the Committee that in addition to the resolution recently adopted by the Consultative Assembly in support of the High Commissioner's last Major Aid Programme, the Assembly had approved a recommendation to the Committee of Ministers to promote the facilitation of travel by refugees. The Committee expressed its thanks to the Council of Europe for the continued support it was giving to the work of the High Commissioner.
18. The Committee paid a special tribute to the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA) which had been awarded the Nansen Medal for 1963.
Decision of the Committee
19. In conclusion, the Executive Committee took note with appreciation of the High Commissioner's introductory statement. The Committee also agreed that every effort should be made to keep alive the spirit of international solidarity for the benefit of refugees.
II. International protection
RESOLUTION ON REFUGEES ADOPTED BY THE UNITED NATIONS CONFERENCE ON CONSULAR RELATIONS (agenda item 4)
20. The Committee considered a note, submitted to it by the High Commissioner, for advice on this subject.
21. The representative of the High Commissioner recalled that the United Nations Conference on Consular Relations had decided not to include a substantive article on refugees in the text of the proposed Convention on Consular Relations. It had however, unanimously adopted a resolution which left the position of refugees unaffected by any provision in the final text of the Convention or any decision of the Conference.
22. The United Kingdom representative stated that her delegation considered that paragraph 10 of the note was a generally acceptable statement of the legal status and powers of the High Commissioner under the Statute of his Office and under the 1951 Convention. Her delegation sympathized with the High Commissioner's anxiety that States which received refugees should protect them in all respects according to the highest canons of international conduct.
Decision of the Committee
23. The Executive Committee, on the proposal of the representative of the United Kingdom, took note with appreciation of the note submitted by the High Commissioner and noted further that the special status of refugees and their international protection were in no way prejudiced by any provision in the Convention.
III. Reports on UNHCR activities
RESETTLEMENT OF REFUGEES (agenda item 5)
24. The Committee considered the report on the resettlement of refugees (A/AC.96/205) which contained a cumulative account of the past and future tasks of UNHCR in the field of resettlement of refugees, as well as a detailed account of the present resettlement activities of the High Commissioner.
25. In his address to the Committee, the Deputy Director of the Inter-Governmental Committee for European Migration. Mr. J. B. McFadden, stated that ICEM's main concerns were, first, to clear the backlog of the old cases which had accumulated and, secondly, to provide speedy emigration opportunities for the continuing flow of new refugees who cannot be integrated in the economies of the countries of first asylum. In the eleven years of its existence, ICEM had been able to move over 550,000 refugees at a total cost of $150 million, including 420,000 refugees within the mandate of the High Commissioner. He thought that the decision to transport refugees for resettlement together with national migrants had contributed to the economy and efficiency of the whole operation and enabled some immigration countries to absorb far more refugees than might otherwise have been the case. In 1964, ICEM expected to move some 33,000 refugees at a cost of approximately $6.7 million. Referring to the position of handicapped refugees, he added that ICEM would be glad to continue its co-operation with UNHCR and the United States Escapee Programme (USEP) in preparing the Jensen dossiers and in providing assistance for the aged, chronically sick, and other refugees who required care in institutions.
26. In introducing the report, the representative of the High Commissioner emphasized the great strides which had been made in recent years in the resettlement of both handicapped and able-bodied refugees. The number of non-settled refugees who wished to migrate had been reduced to approximately 8.300 as of 30 June 1963, including several hundred severely handicapped refugees covered by the Jensen Survey, in respect of whom the most determined efforts would be required if they were to be resettled. Those refugees who did not succeed in being accepted by Governments or who refused to accept resettlement opportunities would have to be placed in their country of present residence, under special arrangements which were now being considered by the Office. In conclusion he emphasized that resettlement remains one of the basic continuing tasks of UNHCR, its essential object being to prevent the accumulation of refugees in countries of first asylum by ensuring their onward movement to countries of permanent settlement.
27. The representatives who spoke congratulated the High Commissioner on the continued progress made in the field of resettlement of refugees and expressed their satisfaction with the significant results achieved in finding resettlement opportunities for the handicapped refugees covered by the Jensen Survey. Many representatives paid tribute to the work done by the voluntary agencies and welfare services, both internationally and within their own countries. They emphasized that the task was not yet complete and that continuing efforts needed to be made to avoid a new backlog of refugees. They recognized, in addition, that many of the remaining refugees who wished to be resettled presented difficult problems for which there was no easy solution. These tasks made imperative the maintenance of the excellent working relationship between UNHCR, ICEM, USEP and the voluntary agencies.
28. Several representatives of countries of first asylum referred to the heavy financial burden which their countries had to bear in supporting refugees without opportunities for emigration. They considered, therefore, that it was of vital importance that resettlement opportunities should be maintained. The representatives of Italy and Turkey referred to paragraph 127 of the report concerning those refugees who, once having been resettled by UNHCR, returned to their former country of asylum. The representative of Turkey considered that the practice of UNHCR in not presenting these refugees for other emigration schemes, unless no further financial assistance from UNHCR was involved, might induce countries of first asylum to put difficulties in the way of returning refugees. He hoped that means could be found to reduce the financial burden on the countries of first asylum and that UNHCR would formulate precise proposals on this subject at a subsequent session of the Committee. The representative of Italy thought that the two-year return clause encouraged the refugee to feel some uncertainty as to whether his resettlement was final. He suggested that it should be reduced to one year, with the possibility of being prolonged where special reasons existed.
29. The Committee heard with interest statements by the representatives of Australia, Belgium, Canada and the United States regarding opportunities for resettlement in their countries and the contribution which refugees had made to their communities.3
30. The representative of Canada described the development since World Refugee Year of certain programmes and procedures in respect of the migration of refugees to Canada, which had now become part of the over-all Canadian immigration policy. He gave a detailed description of special refugee movements carried out since out since 1959, with particular reference to the years 1962 and 1963 and stated that these policies would be continued in Canada's 1964 programme in respect of the resettlement of refugees.
31. The representative of Australia announced that his Government would consider sympathetically any special request from UNHCR and ICEM concerning the 1,400 refugees in the Sinkiang Province of China who might wish to be resettled in Australia; his Government would consider granting them the same facilities as for the Three Rivers group. The Australian Government had announced that it was willing to accept a minimum number of 2,100 refugees from various countries between 1 July 1963 and 30 June 1964 but he wished to emphasize that this target figure was flexible and could be increased if more of these refugees required resettlement opportunities and in the light of circumstances in Australia. The representative noted that the number of refugees received by Australia in the first half of 1963 was some 25 per cent higher than the corresponding figure for the same period of 1962 and stated that his Government had continuing interest in assisting in the resettlement of refugees, including the handicapped.
32. The representative of China voiced the hope that the pilot project for the resettlement of Chinese refugee farmers in Brazil would be speeded up and that the High Commissioner would use his good offices to facilitate the resettlement of Chinese refugees.
33. The representative of the United States said that his country was now a country of first asylum, having accepted some 200,000 Cuban refugees. In 1962 it had also accepted some 8,000 Chinese refugees from Hong-Kong and there were several thousand more to come. Five hundred difficult cases were to be admitted to the United States under Public Law 86/648 of whom 350 had already been selected.
34. The representative of the United Kingdom announced that her Government, which had taken one-third of all refugees who emigrated under the special World Refugee Year programme for handicapped refugees would, as a token gesture, take six more handicapped refugees covered by the Jensen Survey.
35. The representative of Switzerland stated that his Government had agreed to continue its action for aged and sick refugees and again to provide fifty places for them in each of the years 1964, 1965 and 1966.
Decisions of the Committee
36. The Executive Committee took note with interest and satisfaction of the report on the resettlement of refugees submitted by the High Commissioner. It welcomed the progress achieved in the field of resettlement, particularly as regards the handicapped, and paid tribute to the Governments, organizations and voluntary agencies participating in this task which, however, was not yet finished. It endorsed the objectives of UNHCR, as set out in paragraph 120 of the report on resettlement and recommended that Governments facilitate the task of High Commissioner, in particular by giving favourable consideration to applications for visas submitted on behalf of refugees in countries or regions where selection missions of these Governments do not normally carry out their activities.
REPORT ON THE MENTAL HEALTH OF REFUGEES IN THE SPECIAL CASES CATEGORY (agenda item 6)
37. The Committee considered the report on the mental health of refugees in the special cases category (A/AC/96/206), which recapitulates the activities carried out in this field since 1962 and shows that the case-load of over 1,800 special cases in Austria, Germany, Greece, Italy and Turkey had decreased to 937. While in Greece, Italy and Turkey the problem was on its way to a solution, in Austria and Germany responsibility for cases who needed to be followed up was being transferred to the local authorities.
38. In introducing his report, the Mental Health Adviser to UNHCR stated that the experience gained in the past four years had provided fresh insight into psychopathological behaviour of refugees and a better understanding of the important influence of environment, particularly in the case of refugees. The results which had thus been achieved were due to a large extent to the co-operation of the competent authorities in the countries concerned. He stressed that the mental health aspect was an important factor in dealing with refugees and should be taken into account when new refugee problems emerged. He further pointed out that there were some cases for whom appropriate care could be more easily arranged in immigration countries, particularly chronic cases, as well as cases who suffered from linguistic isolation in countries of first asylum, and who might find a more substantial number of persons of the same national origin in certain immigration countries. The Mental Health Adviser expressed the hope that the immigration countries would accept a certain number of chronic sick.
39. The members of the Committee voiced their appreciation for the results achieved in assisting the special cases. They considered that the mental health problems of refugees should continue to receive full attention. It was suggested in this connexion that further assistance to refugees in the field of mental health be arranged by the countries of residence, in accordance with the policy outlined in paragraph 67 of document A/AC/96/206. It was argued, on the other hand that countries where psychiatric services were not yet highly developed would not be in a position to assume this responsibility. The representative of Italy stated that problem of special cases could not be considered as entirely solved in Italy and that the protected community referred to in the report was being established for these cases, as well as for other handicapped refugees, at considerable cost to the Italian Government.
40. In reply to a question by the representative of Australia, the mental health adviser explained that, with a view to identifying new cases which might emerge in the future, he had recommended in paragraph 67 of the report that a special social worker should be employed as a counsellor in social and medical matters in each country where UNHCR is represented by a branch office.
41. The representative of WHO said that that Organization was deeply interested in the work carried out by UNHCR in the field of mental health. The emphasis on the prevention of mental illness through appropriate assistance from the moment refugee problems emerged was in full accord with the views of her Organization. She thought, therefore, that a positive contribution might be made by working out preventative measures in the psychological field for the benefit of refugees in the future.
Decisions of the Committee
42. The Executive Committee took note with satisfaction of the results achieved in the field of assistance to refugees in the special cases category. It paid tribute to the work of the mental health adviser, Dr. Peter Berner, and approved the conclusions contained in paragraphs 66 to 71 of document A/AC.96/206, and in particular the recommendation contained in paragraph 67 of the report. It requested the High Commissioner to present to the Committee at its next session a brief cumulative report on assistance to refugees in the field of mental health.
NEW GROUPS OF REFUGEES (agenda item 9)
43. The Committee considered the report on new group of refugees submitted by the High Commissioner, together with document A/AC.96/INF.16 concerning assistance to refugees in Tanganyika.
44. In introducing the report, the Deputy High Commissioner gave an eyewitness account of his recent mission to Africa4 where he visited Tanganyika, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, the Congo (Leopoldville), Nigeria, Dahomey, Togo and Ghana. The purpose of his visit was to obtain up-to-date information on the refugee problems in Africa and the requirements for their solutions, to explain the work of UNHCR, to seek support and financial contributions, and to introduce the newly appointed UNHCR regional representative in Africa.
45. He explained that there were three categories of uprooted people in Africa: those who had moved within their own countries because of pressure from other groups, starvation or natural calamities; national refugees who had been forced to return to their own countries; and persons who had sought asylum in neighbouring countries and who could be assisted under the "good offices" functions of UNHCR.
46 The Deputy High Commissioner gave a detailed account of the various refugee problems in Africa. He described the major problem at present confronting the Office; that of the refugees from Rwanda in Burundi, the Kivu Province of the Congo, in Tanganyika and in Uganda. He felt that it was important that the High Commissioner should succeed in finding a solution to these problems, particularly in countries where the local authorities were experiencing difficulties in carrying out the assistance programme.
47. He also reported to the Committee on various other refugee problems in Africa with which UNHCR had previously had to deal, and certain new problems of refugees in the Congo, Nigeria, Tanganyika and Uganda.
48. The Deputy High Commissioner further stated that it was difficult to make a clear-cut distinction between the first stages of a relief operation and its subsequent consolidation. It was, however, essential to seek a form of consolidation which would provide the refugees with more than just a subsistence economy. This could be done by providing, at small cost, schools, dispensaries, self-help projects and community centres. He thought that it would be useful for the Committee to consider the need to grant a limited fund to the UNHCR regional office in Usumbura for small community project.
49. The humanitarian approach of the Office was well understood and fully appreciated by the Governments he visited. This was borne out by the financial contributions received from the Governments of Ghana and Nigeria.
50. In conclusion, the Deputy High Commissioner stressed that the United Nations presence in the areas he had visited had given a sense of confidence and security to the refugees.
51. Members of the Committee expressed their appreciation to the Deputy High Commissioner for the vivid way in which he had reported on the problems of refugees in Africa and for the Informative data he had given to the Committee. The representative of the United Kingdom suggested that in another year a similar eyewitness report should be presented to the Executive Committee.
52. The representative of Belgium emphasized that the broad projects proposed in the 1963 programme for assistance to refugees in Africa were clearly justified by the Deputy High Commissioner's statement and he expressed the hope that the committee would soon be in a position approve these project.
53. The Committee paid a tribute to the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief for the considerable contribution it was making to the solution of problems of refugees in Africa.
54. The Committee also paid a tribute to the assistance given by the Swiss Red Cross and by the Government of Switzerland to the Tibetan refugees in Nepal.
55. In connexion with part IV of the present report, the representative of China stated that the problem of Chinese refugees remained a serious one and that the number of these refugees was bound to increase under present circumstances. When large numbers of Chinese refugees tried to leave the mainland in the spring of 1962 the Government of China had declared that it was ready to admit to Taiwan an unlimited number of Chinese refugees. The difficulties experienced by these refugees in leaving the mainland were a cause of concern to the Government of China. The first General Conference of the International Council of Voluntary Agencies had also adopted a recommendation on the subject. The representative wished to appeal through the High Commissioner and the United Kingdom Government to the Hong Kong authorities to urge them to enable these refugees to leave the mainland of China, His Government appreciated the assistance already given to Chinese refugees under the terms of General Assembly resolutions 1167 (XII) and 1784 (XVII) and voiced the hope that the High Commissioner would continue to use his good Offices to assist these refugees. The representative also hoped that the necessary assistance would be forthcoming for the Chinese refugees in Macao.
Decision of the Committee
56. The Executive Committee took note with satisfaction of the introductory statement of the Deputy High Commissioner and of the results achieved by the Office of the High Commissioner in the field of assistance to new groups of refugees.
IV. Administrative and financial questions
REPORT OF THE BOARD OF AUDITORS ON THE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS FOR 1962 (agenda item 8)
57. The Committee considered the report of the Board of Auditors (A/AC.96/210) and the attached report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions. In introducing the report, the representative of the High Commissioner stated that UNHCR had been encouraged by the report of the Board of Auditors and would make every effort to improve still further its financial report and accounts.
58. One delegation enquired into the extent to which outstanding loans were being repaid and suggested that the Office of the High Commissioner give the Committee further data on this matter.
Decision of the Committee
59. The Executive Committee took note of the report of the Board of Auditors.
NOTE ON THE USE OF THE EMERGENCY FUND (agenda item 7)
60. Introducing the note on the use of the Emergency Fund (A/AC.96/208), the representative of the High Commissioner explained that it gave the position of the Fund as of 15 August 1963 and an account of movements which had taken place in the Fund from 1 January 1963 until that date. The question of the ceiling of the Emergency Fund formed part of the item "Questions relating to the financing of the future work of UNHCR in the field of Material Assistance" (agenda item 12).
61. In reply to questions concerning the funds required for assistance to refugees in Tanganyika, the representative of the High Commissioner explained that a total amount of $140,000 would be required, as indicated in more detail in paragraph 3 of document A/AC.96/INF.16. The Government of Tanganyika would be unable to provide the sum of approximately $35,000 towards the cost of inland transportation, as had originally been hoped. Furthermore, the number of refugees concerned, which had been estimated at between 6,000 and 8,000, was much closer to the latter figure. He further explained that the Office had had to give the League of Red Cross Societies a guarantee in respect of the financing of the total amount of $14,000. While $90,000 had been made available from the Emergency Fund in 1963, the remaining amount of $50,000 had, for the time being, been earmarked from the Fund. That amount was being held in reserve until such time as the Committee had decided whether to include it in the 1964 Programme.
62. One delegation drew the attention of the Committee to the rules governing the use of the Emergency Fund as laid down in General Assembly resolution 1166 (XII). The directives for the use of the Emergency Fund, referred to in operative paragraphs 5 (f) and 7 of that resolution, and contained in document A/AC.96/8 of the Executive Committee, provided that:
"Whenever an emergency arises which would normally require action by the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme under paragraphs 5 and 6 of resolution 1166 (XII), the High Commissioner should be enabled to give interim financial assistance from the Emergency Fund pending action by the Committee."
63. Referring to the problem of refugees from Algeria in France, the representative of France recalled that voluntary agencies in France had assisted 528 of these cases in 1962.
Decision of the Committee
64. The Committee approved the use made of the Emergency Fund from 1 January to 15 August 1963, as shown in document A/AC.96/208.
NOTE ON THE STATUS OF CONTRIBUTIONS TO UNHCR (agenda item 13)
65. The Committee considered a note on the status of contributions as of 15 September 1963 (A/AC.96/211/Rev.1), and a note concerning the promotion of the UNHCR long-playing record scheme (A/AC.96/INF/15/Rev.1). In introducing these documents the High Commissioner announced that considerable progress had been made since the ninth session, thanks mainly to the increased efforts of Governments which had made special contributions amounting to nearly $1 million to date in the framework of the movement of international solidarity, which had been launched for the benefit of the "old" refugees. Efforts to meet the financial needs of the 1963 Programme had also greatly benefited by the sale of the "All-Star Festival" record, and by private contributions earmarked for special projects. The High Commissioner said that there was nevertheless a gap of nearly $2 million in the financing of the 1963 Programme which still had to be bridged, and that the financial situation which he had indicated rested on the assumption that the matching conditions attached by the Governments of the United Kingdom and the United States to their respective regular and special contributions would be met. In conclusion, he appealed to Governments which had not yet made a special gesture to join those who had already done so.
66. In the course of the session, special contributions to the 1963 Programme were announced as follows: the representative of Australia stated that his Government would make a special one-time contribution of $56,000, subject to the approval of Parliament, which would make a total of $168,000 for 1963. The representative of Austria stated that his Government had decided to make a special contribution, details of which would be announced later. The representative of the Federal Republic of Germany explained that within the frame of his Government's considerable obligations in the social field, refugees had been and were still benefiting from assistance which had amounted to approximately $200 million in recent years. However, his Government was prepared to give its full support to the High Commissioner for the integration of refugees in Greece. He hoped that with the co-operation of the Central Office for Development Aid of the Protestant Church in Germany it would be possible to raise a sum of $250,000 by the end of the year. The representative of the Netherlands announced that, in response to the action launched by the Council of Europe, the Netherlands Parliament was considering a proposal for the granting of a special contribution of $75,000 for assistance to "old" refugees in Europe, in addition to the $146,132 regular contribution. The representative of Norway stated that his Government was at present considering a proposal for a special contribution of $14,000 to the 1963 Major Aid Programme. If approved, the contribution would be payable in 1964. In addition the Norwegian Government had allotted 250,000 kroner to assist refugees from South Africa. The Norwegian Refugee Council had allotted $20,000 for assistance to Chinese refugees in Macao. The representative of Portugal informed the Committee that his Government had approved a special Contribution of $1,000. The representative of Switzerland stated that, subject to ratification by Parliament, the Government of Switzerland would make a special contribution of 200,000 Swiss francs in addition to its regular contribution of 500,000 Swiss francs and the special contribution of 300,000 Swiss francs which had already been announced, thus making a total of 1 million Swiss francs for 1963. The representative of Turkey announced a special contribution of $2,000 on the part of his Government towards the 1963 Programme, which would be made available early in 1964.
67. In reply to a question by the representative of the Netherlands, the High Commissioner informed the Committee that, encouraged by the success of the "All-Star Festival" record, the High Commissioner intended to issue further gramophone records in the future. The planning would be carried out in close co-operation with the traditional partners of UNHCR, the voluntary agencies as well as its commercial partners. He added that the Office had been authorized by the Secretary-General to sell its records under United Nations labels.
Decisions of the Committee
68. The Executive Committee was gratified to note the support which had been given to the High Commissioner's programmes by Governments and from Private sources in assisting him to reach the financial target of his 1963 Programme. The Committee further expressed the hope that, thanks to the generosity of Governments which not yet made special contributions, it would be possible to reach the financial target of $6,800,000 which would allow the High Commissioner to bring to a successful conclusion the major aid projects of material assistance to "old" refugees. The Committee authorized the High Commissioner to receive and commit funds in 1964 and 1965 towards the 1963 Programme for the completion of major aid projects.
ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENDITURE FOR 1964 (agendas item 11)
69. The Committee considered a note submitted by the High Commissioner on the administrative expenditure of his Office for 1964 (A/AC.96/212) including the proposal that a grant-in-aid of $350,000 for administrative costs in 1964 be made to the United Nations budget.
70. The representative of the High Commissioner explained that the UNHCR estimates of administrative with the gradual phasing out of the Major Aid Programme, there would be a reduction in the number of posts required for this Programme and that, on the other hand, the complex and growing activities in the field of international protection and of assistance to new groups of refugees would, to a considerable extent, offset the possible reductions in the over-all budget. He also explained that the savings resulting from previous reductions in staff had been counterbalanced by the increased remunerations of staff.
71. Although the Office had made every effort to reduce the budget to a minimum, the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions had recommended an additional reduction of $19,200 which, together with unforeseen increases in administrative expenses in Africa, would make it very difficult for the Office to live within the income available to it and might even make it necessary to seek additional funds from the General Assembly. Several representatives said that they were prepared to accept the amount of administrative expenditures submitted in respect of 1964.
72. One representative pointed out in this connexion that the UNHCR budget had already been submitted to the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, and raised the question as to whether the Committee should not be more closely informed of the arrangements made with regard to the submissions of the UNHCR budget to the United Nations. The representative of the United Kingdom recalled that the amount of the grant-in-aid worked out at between 4.5 and 4.7 per cent of the value of the Major Aid Programme plus the value of projects in process of being carried out amounting to approximately $7,500,000 as at the beginning of 1964. Her delegation wished to make a reservation in so far as it considered that the Committee should take no decision which would involve an increase in the net appropriation in the regular budget of the United Nations. Referring to the statement made by the Advisory Committee and reported in paragraph 10 of document A/AC.96/R.2, she felt that it might be wise for the Committee to consider whether any reduction in the grant-in-aid to the United Nations should be proposed.
Decision of the Committee
73. The Committee took note of the administrative expenditures submitted by the High Commissioner in respect of 1964 in document A/AC.96/212. It approved the grant-in-aid proposed in the amount of $350,000 and decided that it should be financed as indicated in paragraph 81 (a) below. It also decided that the Committee should receive for its information at its spring session each year budgetary proposals submitted for administrative expenditure by the High Commissioner to the United Nations.
QUESTIONS RELATING TO THE FINANCING OF THE FUTURE WORK OF UNHCR IN THE FIELD OF MATERIAL ASSISTANCE (agenda item 12)
74. The Committee considered the report submitted by the High Commissioner in document A/AC.96/R.2.
75. In introducing the report, the representative of the High Commissioner pointed out that it was dealing with three questions: a grant-in-aid for administrative expenditure, the Emergency Fund, and the working capital that would be needed to finance current programmes of assistance to refugees. He explained briefly the origin of the grant-in-aid, and pointed out that the High Commissioner envisaged a grant-in-aid, of $350,000 for 1964 and $100,000 for 1965.
76. He recalled that since the $500,000 ceiling of the Emergency Fund was about to be reached, suggestions had been made to increase that ceiling in order to enable the High Commissioner to initiate immediate action in the event of a new major refugee crisis. The decrease of purchasing power since the Fund had been established would alone justify the increase. It would also be necessary to provide working capital for the current programme to replace the funds hitherto available from the accumulated resources of the Major Aid Programmes.
77. The representative of the High Commissioner pointed out that in the report before the Committee it was suggested that the Emergency Fund and the proposed working capital fund be merged into a single fund which might be called the Contingency fund. The establishment of such a fund would require formal action by the General Assembly. Since it seemed that the Executive Committee would be called upon to decide from time to time on the size of the Fund and the conditions for its use, it might be appropriate to submit a proposal to the Assembly to the effect that the Committee receive the necessary authority to deal with this problem.
78. The representative of the United States, supported by the Australian, Canadian and United Kingdom delegations, proposed that since the grant-in-aid of $350,000 for administrative expenditure had already been submitted to the Advisory Committee on Administrative and budget Questions, the Committee should, without prejudice to the principle involved or to its decisions on the amount of the grant-in-aid in future years, adopt the figure of $350,000. He also proposed that the question of the grant-in-aid should be further discussed at the Committee's spring session in 1964. The representative of the United Kingdom stated that her delegation was ready to accept the figure on the understanding that the decision to be taken by the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly would not be prejudiced by the action taken by the Executive Committee.
79. While there was general agreement on the amount of $350,000, the question arose as to whether the grant-in-aid should be financed independently from the 1964 Programme by means of interest on investments and savings in the programmes, or be added to the cost of the 1964 Programme and financed from income accruing to it. It was pointed out that the two methods differed only with regard to accounting.
80. In expressing their views on chapters IV to VII of the report, several representatives stated their preference for one fund instead of two. They were also of the opinion that too much allowance had been made for contingencies in the proposals which had been placed before the Committee. They expressed the view that in order to enable the Committee to pronounce itself on these proposals, further data would be required, as listed in the summary record of the 83rd meeting.
Decisions of the Committee
81. The Executive Committee decided that:
(a) The $350,000 granted for 1964 be financed from interest on investments and savings;
(b) It would continue the consideration of the questions included in chapters IV, V, VI and VII of document A/AC.96/R.2 at a subsequent session, after the receipt of fuller information.
V. UNHCR Programme for 1964 (agenda item 10)
82. The Committee considered the 1964 Programme submitted by the High Commissioner, in a total amount of $2,590,000 broken down as follows: for the Programme in Europe $450,000, in Africa $700,000, in Asia $450,000. in Latin America $420,000, for over-all allocations $393,000 and for reserve $177,000.
83. In introducing the report, the representative of the High Commissioner first summed up the progress achieved in carrying out the $5.4 million major Aid Programme for 1963 and the $1.4 million Complementary Assistance Programme for that same year. He recalled that when the 1963 Programme had been approved by the Committee, it had been agreed that its implementation might take up to the end of 1965. In some areas the Programme would be completed before the end of 1965 while in others it might take even a little longer. Every effort, however, was being made to proceed as rapidly as possible.
84. He recalled that at the beginning of 1963 there were 32,800 non-settled refugees covered by those programmes, a third of whom were expected to be settled in the course of the year. At the present time the problems of 6,640 had been successfully solved. Of the $5.4 million allocated to the Major Aid Programme, $3.6 million were available at the beginning of October 1963. The rate of implementation of the projects was of course affected by the speed at which the funds were paid in, for once they had been received supporting contributions had to be sought from within the countries of residence. Some of these would be forthcoming in 1963, some in 1964, and some in 1965. As for the voluntary agencies, they tended to reduce their activities in certain areas for the same reasons as UNHCR: because the completion of the programme was in sight. He appealed, however, to the agencies to carry on their activities. The representative of the High Commissioner also gave an account of the progress made in each different area of operation, as indicated in detail in the summary record of the 79th meeting and in document A/AC.96/209/Add.1. As far as the complementary Assistance Programme was concerned, which Provided $700,000 for assistance to refugees in Europe and a similar amount for assistance to new groups of refugees, the problems to be solved were of a different nature and the experience gained so far had shown that there was a real need for this kind of Programme.
85. Referring to the 1964 Programme, the representative of the High Commissioner stated that where for reasons beyond his control the High Commissioner had not been able to submit specific allocations, as in the case of problems in Africa and Asia, he would subsequently present specific projects to the Committee. With regard to the propose Programme in Africa, the amount of $170,000 required for assistance to refugees from Rwanda included $50,000 to be used for assistance to these refugees in Tanganyika. If the Committee approved this allocation, it would no longer be necessary to reserve the amount of $50,000 previously earmarked from the Emergency Fund for this purpose. In order to consolidate to settlement of refugees from Rwanda, the High Commissioner had addressed himself to some of the specialized agencies to encourage them to put projects into effect to further the integration of the refugees in their new communities. He had also been in contact with the International Labour Organisation on this matter which was proposing a zonal development plan for Burundi and the Kivu Province of the Congo which would benefit the refugees. The Technical Assistance Board had already agreed to make funds available for the experts required. As for the Programme in Asia, the problems of refugees in Macao were shortly to be discussed with the local authorities and the High Commissioner would present a detailed project to a subsequent session of the Committee.
86. The representative of the High Commissioner expressed the hope that the Committee would approve the scope and nature of the Programme as well as the proposed projects in so far as they were specific, it being understood that more detailed projects would be submitted in respect of other parts of the programme at a later stage.
87. In reply to questions, the representative of the High Commissioner added that there was a total of 3,450 refugees in camps as of 1 July 1963. In accordance with the decision taken by the Committee, this information, together with other data concerning the numbers and situations of refugees, were issued in document A/AC.96/209/Add.1.
88. The representative of the Holy See expressed his satisfaction with the fact that, as shown by the high commissioner's policy statement contained in document A/AC.96/213, he was concerned not to exclude any refugee from his Office's scope of action. The delegation of the Holy See had always stressed that one of the most important duties of the international community was to ensure that no discrimination was made between refugees, and the good offices resolutions left latitude to the High Commissioner to intervene wherever a difficult situation arose from a new influx of refugees. He questioned the Policy whereby the High Commissioner could only intervene when requested to do so by the Government concerned, for certain large groups of refugees were thereby excluded from international assistance and were consequently facing a serious plight.
89. In the course of the ensuing discussion, most of the speakers agreed that the Office of the High Commissioner was reaching a new phase in its existence and they were aware of the gradual shift in emphasis of the High Commissioner's task to continents other than Europe. Different views were expressed as to the extent to which this shift should be made and on the extent to which the Office would be able to concentrate on these new tasks. Most representatives were of the opinion that the problems of refugees in Europe could not yet be regarded as solved, for indeed the Major Aid Programme for assistance to "old" refugees would not be completed. Before another two or perhaps even three years, while there was, further, a continuous influx of new refugees which, according to provisional information given by UNHCR, was of the order of 10,000 a year and included a certain proportion of cases which could not be settled without international assistance. They stated that the impression should not be given that the European refugee problems would be solved after the completion of the Major Aid Programmes.
90. Several representatives questioned the extent to which the responsibility for the well-being of refugees could be assumed by the Governments of countries of asylum. Representatives of some of these countries indicated that they would assume responsibility for the refugees in so far as they were able to do so. Beyond this point, however, they expected that the Office of the High Commissioner would support them in carrying out this task. The representative of Greece pointed out that this support would also encourage the countries concerned to continue their asylum policy. His Government was prepared to give asylum to all refugees seeding admission to Greece, irrespective of their race, religion, or political concepts. There was general agreement that a close watch should be kept on the problems of European refugees and that to avoid an accumulation of a new backlog their problems must be solved as they arise.
91. Referring to the general role of the Office of the High Commissioner, as reported in document A/AC.96/209, and in his policy statement contained in document A/AC.96/213, some representatives expressed the view that the High Commissioner's role must, in certain instances, be more than that of a catalyst and that where necessary, the scope of the High Commissioner's action should be so extended as to ensure that refugees, whoever they are and wherever they may be, receive support from the international community. One delegation suggested in the course of the session that UNHCR representatives be appointed in all countries of asylum as members of the Executive Committee.
92. Several representatives also stressed the urgent problems of new groups of refugees, particularly in Africa and Asia, and hoped that they would continue to receive full attention. Some representatives, in this connexion, emphasized the need for close co-ordination of the activities of UNHCR with those of the United Nations agencies concerned with development aid.
93. In the course of the discussion the representatives stressed the importance of the continued support of the voluntary agencies. The Committee note that several agencies had reduced their activities in various countries of residence of refugees in Europe, since they were engaging in new problems in other areas, and one delegation stated that close co-operation would also be required between UNHCR and the voluntary agencies in those areas.
94. Some representatives pointed out that the 1964 Programme submitted by the High Commissioner consisted of two parts: one included reasonably firm estimates in the amount of $1.5 to $1.6 million, while the second part, amounting to $1 million, included projects of a less specific nature. They realized that in view of the changing nature of the Office's activities, it was difficult to forecast financial requirements with a reasonable degree of accuracy and to give detailed information in respect of some of the projects concerned. Some delegations wondered if it would not be preferable for the projects to be submitted, as previously by broad categories rather than by continents, which might impair the flexibility so important to the work of UNHCR.
95. The representative of France, supported by most representatives, proposed that as suggested by the High Commissioner's representative the Committee be asked to approve as a financial target an amount of $2.59 million and also to approve the specific projects in an amount totalling between $1.5 and $1.6 million, while the remaining $1 million worth of projects should be submitted to the Committee for approval at a subsequent session.
96. The representative of Belgium stated that his delegation would support the co-operation of the Office of the High Commissioner in the carrying out of the zonal development plan drawn up by the ILO for Burundi and Kivu Province of the Congo (Leopoldville).
97. The representatives of the United Kingdom and the United States stated that while supporting the suggestion put forward by the representative for France, they wished to reserve the position of their delegations with regard to certain proposals in that part of the Programme for which full details were not yet available. They questioned, in particular, the $400,000 allocation proposed towards the ILO project for economic and social development in Burundi and Kivu Province of the Congo (Leopoldville), referred to in paragraph 56 of document A/AC.96/209, and certain other proposals. The United Kingdom representative also wished to reserve the position of her delegation with regard to in paragraph 60, for an unspecified problem in Asia, and she was doubtful about the need for a reserve allocation of $177,000 which had been included in chapter V and which she felt might be reduced to $100,000.
98. The representative of the ILO stated that two projects had been worked out by that organization to facilitate the economic and social integration of refugees from Rwanda within the framework of the rural development plan which would also benefit the indigenous population. The projects included settlement in agriculture vocational training, and establishment in small industries. The United Nations, FAO, WHO and UNESCO had also been invited to make a contribution to the projects by sending out experts.
99. The High Commissioner declared that the 1964 Programme was of vital importance for the work of international assistance to refugees. The comments in Europe would certainly be borne in mind. Two years previously he had feared that the problems of European refugees might sink into oblivion and he had considered, therefore, that a last Major Aid Programme must be put into force in order effectively to solve the material assistance problems of the backlog of "old" European refugees.
100. However, as had been stated in the Committee there were other refugee problems to be solved in Europe and many new refugee problems outside Europe. It was very important for the High Commissioner to know that the interest of the international community continued to be focused on these problems.
101. The High Commissioner stressed furthermore that the essential role of his Office was to keep alive the mechanism of international solidarity by fostering the co-operation of Government, international organizations, voluntary agencies and any other interested organizations or persons. The Programme of his Office was limited to the vital minimum required for this role. The Governments of the countries of asylum were doing their utmost in the light of circumstances. If the nature of the problem was such that additional efforts had to be made by the Office of the High Commissioner to prevent these problems from developing into a major concern for the international community, his Office would need adequate means of action; these were provided for in the 1964 Programme which he had submitted to the Committee.
102. The difficulties arising from the absence of detailed project could be overcome as in the case of the 1963 Programme, when the Committee had first adopted tentative allocations and subsequently specific projects. It was important, however, that the full value of the Programme, amounting to $2,590,000, be regarded as a financial target, so as to enable the necessary budgetary decisions to be taken by governments. This amount was the minimum required to give his Office the necessary means of action. As in the past, the allocations within the Programme had been broken down by countries or continents for practical convenience only, it being understood that each programme and project must be considered on its own merits.
103. The closest contact was maintained with other Offices of the United Nations and with the specialized agencies, particularly in connexion with the assistance programme for refugees from Rwanda. His Office had assisted these refugees in becoming self-supporting; additional assistance, including self-help projects and educational assistance would be required however, if they were not to become a burden on the country of asylum. If one of the United Nations organizations could participate in this task, under its own specific terms of reference, the High Commissioner would strongly encourage it to so.
104. Upon a proposal made in the course of the general discussion, the Committee decided to consider only the specific projects included in the 1964 Programme.
CONSIDERATION OF THE PROGRAMME BY COUNTRIES AND AREAS
105. The summary of the discussions on detailed aspects of the projects may be found in the summary records of the 80th and 81st meetings.
106. In reply to a question by the representative of the Netherlands, the High Commissioner stated that the fundamental principle concerning responsibility for the well-being of refugees referred to in paragraph 6 of the document applied equally to Europe and other continents.
107. In connexion with the discussion of the projects for Austria, the representative of the High Commissioner explained that since the international voluntary agencies had withdrawn from that country, the Office had been closely co-operating with their counterparts in Austria to overcome the difficulties which were being met in the field of resettlement. The local agencies were well equipped to assist in local integration.
108. The Committee approved the allocations for Austria in an amount of $65,000.
109. The representative of France made a statement concerning the composition of the refugee population in France and the assistance given to the refugees by the French Government and UNHCR in this country, the details of which may be found in a document circulated by the French delegation (conference room document no. 1) and in the summary record of the 80th meeting. The representative stressed the exceptionally high average age of the refugee population in France, as well as the high percentage of refugees unable to support themselves and, therefore, in need of assistance. Under the 1962 and 1963 Programmes, 6,600 refugees had been settled and an equal number were still awaiting settlement. A study of these cases had revealed great misery amongst the refugees, many of whom were suffering from incurable diseases. The $80,000 allocation for 1964 seemed very small compared to the $1,100,000 to assist the previous group of 6,600 refugees. Experience in France had shown that in its role of catalyst, the Office of the High Commissioner could generate considerable sums from public, semipublic and other sources which would otherwise not be available. He added that there was a constant flow of new refugees including many very difficult cases who should receive assistance as soon as possible.
110. In reply to a question by the representative of France, the representative of the High Commissioner pointed out that the refugees from North Africa would not be assisted from the $80,000 allocation under discussion, but from an allocation for the promotion of resettlement under chapter V of the Programme.
111. The Committee approved the allocation for France in an amount of $80,000.
112. When considering the proposed allocation for the Federal Republic of Germany, the Committee had before it a memorandum submitted by the German delegation (conference room document no.2) giving an account of the assistance granted to refugees by the Government of the Federal Republic during the past twelve years.
113. The Committee approved the allocations for Germany in an amount of $70,000.
114. In the course of the discussion on the programme for Greece, the Committee received more detailed information from the representatives of Greece and of the High Commissioner on the public assistance system in force in that country and on the way in which refugees could benefit under this system. The representative also spoke of the efforts made by the Greek Government to provide subsistence and shelter for the refugees upon their arrival in Greece. This effort represented an expenditure by the Greek Government of approximately 500 million drachmas or $17 million in the last fifteen years.
115. The Committee approved the allocations for Greece in an amount of $110,000.
116. In connexion with the proposed programme for Italy, the Italian representative made a detailed statement on the assistance given to refugees in Italy, on their legal status in that country and on important legal problems, including the eligibility determination of refugees and the question of return visas.5
117. The representative recalled that in Italy also the influx of new refugees was increasing. Referring to the arrangements made to determine eligibility for refugees, he pointed out that the Joint Commission of UNHCR and Italian officials which was responsible for this task had, for humanitarian reasons, often accepted doubtful cases. For this reason, and because of the two-year validity of the return visa, there was a growing proportion of difficult cases in Italy for whom it became increasingly difficult to find a solution. Furthermore, some of the UNHCR projects for Italy had had to be cancelled because the only possible solution had proved to be too expensive. The representative emphasized that a considerable amount of material assistance, including medical care, was given to refugees in Italy through the Administration for Italian and International Assistance Activities (AAI). The Italian Government had been and was making considerable efforts to settle the largest possible number of refugees in Italy, including the handicapped. He mentioned in particular the project under consideration by UNHCR, the Council of Europe and the Italian government for the establishment of a protected community at Salerno. The representative also mentioned the considerable amount of funds spent by the Italian Government to assist refugees since 1946.
118. On the question of the period of validity of the return visa, the question arose as to how the refugees could best be encouraged to settle down in the country in which they had been resettled. The representative for Norway expressed the view that it might be easier for handicapped refugees to be admitted to a new country if they had a two-year return clause. With regard to the implementation of UNHCR projects in Italy, the representative of the High Commissioner added that projects had sometimes to be held up until supporting contributions were forthcoming from within the country where they had to be implemented, and that, furthermore, some of the projects in the 1961 and 1962 Programmes in Italy had been cancelled because the handicapped refugees concerned had been resettled overseas, as a result of the Jensen project.
119. The Committee approved the allocations for Italy in an amount of $50,000.
120. In connexion with the proposed allocation for Yugoslavia, the representative of Yugoslavia stressed that since 1946 some 62,000 refugees had found asylum in Yugoslavia, 30,000 of whom had settled in the country. The expenditure incurred by his Government in assisting refugees amounted to 13,000 million dinars. In supporting the proposed allocation, one representative pointed out that further financial support would be needed in the case of Yugoslavia, which was a country of first asylum and also the point of departure for refugees migrating to other countries.
121. The Committee approved the proposed allocation for Yugoslavia in an amount of $75,000.
122. His Excellency, Professor Gökay, Minister for Reconstruction and Housing of Turkey, who attended the session, gave an account of the assistance his government had given to immigrants and refugees since 1950, as well as of the results achieved in respect of their integration into Turkish national life. He stated that during the past decade, 88,000 families of immigrants comprising 338,425 persons had been established in Turkey, including 38,200 families who had been financially assisted by the Government. The majority had been settled in agriculture. Vast surfaces of land and over 35,000 housing units had been made available for this purpose. Turkey had been a traditional asylum country for centuries. It was a party to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. With the assistance of UNHCR and voluntary agencies, two projects for housing with care were being carried out in Turkey for refugees within the mandate of UNHCR. In conclusion, the Minister thanked the Office of the High Commissioner and the voluntary agencies for the support they had thus given to the Turkish authorities.
123. The Committee subsequently considered the four projects for assistance to refugees in Africa referred to in paragraph 56 of the 1964 Programme.
124. The representative of the High Commissioner explained that it was the High Commissioner's purpose to assist the refugee from Rwanda in burundi, in kivu Province of the Congo, Tanganyika and Uganda to become self-supporting and rations would probably no longer be required beyond the first months of 1964. The position of the refugees, however, needed to be consolidated and a supplementary budget had been prepared for this purpose and submitted to the Committee at a previous session in document A/AC.96/190, annex I. This Programme was very necessary, considering that it made provision not only for self help projects and education, but also for such items as soap, additional food and clothing.
125. The representative of Tunisia, while prepared to support the allocations, considered that they were inadequate for the purpose.
126. The Committee learnt with appreciation from the representative of Turkey that they were inadequate for the purpose.
126. The Committee learnt with appreciation from the representative of Turkey that the Turkish Red Crescent had contributed 5,000 Turkish pounds to the League of Red Cross Societies for assistance to the refugees from Rwanda.
127. The Committee approved the proposed allocations in the amount of $170,000.
128. The Committee also paid a tribute to the League of Red Cross Societies for its outstanding work and co-operation in rendering assistance to the refugees from Rwanda.
129. In introducing the projects in an amount of $500,000 for assistance to European refugees in the Far East, the representative of the High Commissioner stated that these additional funds were required because of the slower rate of arrival of refugees in Hong Kong and also because of the very poor physical condition of most of the refugees, which meant that the cost of medical assistance would be higher than in former years.
130. The representative of Belgium recalled that his Government had contributed towards the construction of a village of 300 families in Hong Kong; it had also made a contribution for the establishment of a school for merchant seamen in Hong Kong, as well as a contribution for assistance to Chinese refugees in Macao. The representative of the high Commissioner said that information on contributions made to assist this group would be included in the next progress report.
131. The representative of China expressed satisfaction that an allocation had been included for assistance to Chinese refugees in Macao and regretted that no provision had been made in the 1964 Programme for assistance to Chinese refugees in Hong Kong.
132. The Committee approved to allocation of $50,000 for European refugees in the Far East.
133. The Committee approved the allocations for Latin America in an amount of $420,000.
OVER-ALL ALLOCATIONS AND RESERVE
134. During the consideration of chapter V, it was agreed that in future programmes detailed information would be given to the Committee concerning the projects for supplementary aid and for individual permanent solutions, with special reference to the number of beneficiaries under these projects.
135. The Committee approved the over-all allocations for legal assistance ($13,000), individual permanent solutions ($80,000), the promotion of resettlement in other countries ($250,000) and supplementary aid ($50,000). It also decided that the item "over-all reserve" should constitute a separate new chapter VI in the 1964 Programme.
136. In considering the item "over-all reserve", the question arose as to whether the amount of $177,000 could not be reduced, particularly since only part of the total value of projects submitted to the Committee had so far been approved. The representative of the United Kingdom, supported by the representative of the United States, proposed that the UNHCR allocation for an over-all reserve be approved in an amount of $100,000.6
137. In reply to a question by the representative of Norway and Greece, the representative of the High Commissioner explained that the $30,000 required to replenish the public Information Fund would come from the over-all reserve. In reply to a question by the representative of the United States, the representative of the High Commissioner recalled that the Committee had laid down that reserve could only be used within the programme in which it had been included. The $5.4 million Major Aid Programme for 1963 would be committed over a period of three years. This Programme included a reserve of $450,000 of which $100,000 had so far been spent in areas where the provision made had proved inadequate.
138. The Committee decided by 6 votes to none, with 18 abstentions, to approve the over-all reserve to an amount of $100,000, it being understood that it would include an amount of up to $30,000 required to replenish the public information fund.
STATEMENT BY THE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF VOLUNTARY AGENCIES
139. Mr. C. Ritchie, speaking on behalf of the International Council of Voluntary Agencies, made a statement7 in which he expressed their gratitude at the fact that ICVA had been awarded the Nansen Medal for 1963. He explained the reasons for the transfer by some international voluntary agencies of their work to counterpart agencies. He urged the Office of the High Commissioner to continue to assist refugees in finding permanent solutions when they still required international assistance, particularly as far as the aged and sick were concerned. He also expressed ICVA's appreciation of the High Commissioner's work of assistance for refugees in Africa.
Decisions of the Committee
140. In conclusion, the Executive Committee decided:
(a) To take note of the 1964 Programme submitted by the High Commissioner in document A/AC.96/209 and of the financial target estimated by the High Commissioner at $2,600,0008 required to meet the needs of refugees under his Programme in 1064;
(b) To approve the High Commissioner's estimates in respect of the specific projects in the amount of $1,583,000 already considered by the Committee;
(c) To distribute the balance on the basis of more detailed projects which the High Commissioner will present to the Committee in the course of 1964.
141. The Committee furthermore decided that at its autumn session a report should be submitted to it which would show expenditures under the budget for the current year, as well as numbers of refugees still in camps in Europe and figures showing the influx of new refugees in Europe during the year.
VI. Other questions (agenda item 14)
VISIT TO REFUGEE IN SWITZERLAND
142. On behalf of members of the Committee, the Chairman asked the Swiss delegation to convey to the Swiss Federal Government the Committee's sincere thanks for the opportunity to visit refugee homes in Switzerland and its deep appreciation for the way in which the handicapped refugees were being cared for in these homes.
PUBLIC FUND-RAISING CAMPAIGN IN THE NETHERLANDS
143. The representative of the Netherlands announced to the Committee that a public fund-raising campaign was to be launched in the Netherlands for the benefit of refugees in Greece and Turkey, many of whom were in a serious plight as they belonged to those groups for whom it had been impossible so far to provide sufficient assistance.
144. Her Majesty Queen Juliana of the Netherlands had agreed to become patron of the organizing committee which was presided over by a former Prime Minister. On 21 October, a radio and television "flash" action would be launched which would be followed immediately by a door-to-door collection of funds.
145. The Chairman, speaking on behalf of the Committee, as well as the High Commissioner and the representatives for Greece and Turkey expressed their feelings of deep gratitude to Her Majesty Queen Juliana and the people of the Netherlands for this renewed demonstration of their devotion to the cause of refugees.
REPORTING PROCEDURE AND DOCUMENTARY REQUIREMENTS
146. The representative of Australia recalled that his delegation had suggested at the previous session that the Committee might adopt resolutions when taking decisions on essential points. He suggested, however, that if this was found to be impracticable at least an index of decisions of the executive Committee should be issued and made available to Members of the Committee. The Chairman pointed out that the members of the Committee were free at all times to take a resolution on a given subject.
Decisions of the Committee
147. It was agreed that an index on decisions of previous sessions would be made available to members of the Committee and brought up to date annually, and that in future reports each section would include a separate paragraph concerning the decision and recommendations of the Committee.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS AND DEFINITIONS
148. The representative of Australia suggested, and it was agreed, that a glossary of terms and definitions used in the Executive Committee should be made available to its members.
I. Opening statement by the High Commissioner
The session which opens today is, for a variety of reasons, of unusual importance. As you are aware, we have reached the last phase of the Major Aid Programmes on behalf of the residual group of persons whom we have agreed to call the "old" refugees. If the expected assistance materializes, this task, which for so many years has been our main concern, can now be rapidly completed. At the same time, the work of UNHCR must be carried on, and it must, in particular, face up to the substantial new refugee problems which have arisen in other parts of the world. This day-to-day action, which falls within the terms of the mandate and of the most recent resolutions adopted by the Assembly, we have sought to define in specific terms and to organize it as efficiently as possible, having regard to the Office's facilities and the support it can expect to receive from governments. In doing so we have become aware of the need for certain adjustments in our financial arrangements and methods of work; those adjustments will be referred to as the work of this session proceeds.
In view of the importance of the question raised, I have thought it fitting to submit to the Governments members of the Committee, in advance, a few general ideas on the principles which, so far as assistance is concerned, should, I think, guide the Office's present and future action Those ideas are set forth in document A/AC.96/213.
However, before turning to the programme for 1964 I should like, with your permission, Mr. Chairman, to survey briefly the progress made since the Committee's previous session, last April, with regard to protection and material assistance. It affords me particular pleasure to begin by informing the Committee of the accession of three further countries to the Convention of 28 July 1951. Those countries, in chronological order of accession, are Senegal and Cyprus, in both of which the Convention was put into effect before the States in question achieved independence, and Burundi, whose leaders have entered into consultation with the office of the High Commissioner concerning the procedures for the Convention's implementation. The Convention thus has forty-two contracting States at the present time, a fact which, as was stressed by the United Kingdom representative at the recent session of the Economic and Social Council, testifies to an increasingly wide acceptance of the general principles defining the status of the refugee. I need hardly say that it is my ardent desire to see the number of signatories continue so to increase that those principles may soon be regarded as having been accepted by the international community in its entirety. As that number grows, the task assigned to my Office will naturally increase in magnitude, for it is required to keep in constant touch with the countries concerned and to give them, at their request, guidance and advice on the implementation of the Convention's provisions, which cannot always be fitted straight-away into the legislation, sometimes still at an embryonic stage, of the developing countries.
As you will have seen, moreover, from document A/AC.96/204, the United Nations Conference on Consular Relations finally adopted the text of the resolution to which I referred at the previous session and which, without commitment as to the substance, fully reserves the position of refugees vis-à-vis the Vienna Convention.
I should also like to mention here efforts made in the United Nations to draw up a declaration on the right of asylum. The preamble and article 1 of the draft were adopted last year by the Assembly; discussion of the following articles will normally be resumed this year in the Third Committee. I need hardly say how much we hope that a clear unambiguous text, constituting as it were the legal basis of a right which has not yet been embodied in an international instrument of this nature, will be adopted. For, from the point of view of the refugee, the right of asylum takes precedence over all others and should normally have its place among the many conventions or recommendations formulated under United Nations auspices.
I have had occasion earlier to inform the Committee of a question that is particularly prominent at the present time, namely, the efforts made to enable refugees to benefit by the regional agreements concluded between various States, and more particularly between the members of the European Economic Community. There have been frequent discussions on this topic, as the outcome of which a working party has been set up under the Commission of the European Economic Community to study and discuss concrete measures which could be taken to enable refugees to participate fully in the movement for European integration. I attach the greatest importance to the Further development of this question, to which we shall continue to give the closest attention.
The Committee will doubtless wish me to say a few words also about the progress of the work of the Indemnification Fund established under the agreement concluded on 5 October 1960 with the Federal Republic of Germany . A decision has already been taken on 26,000, or about two-thirds, of the 40,000 applications registered. Consideration of the remaining third has now reached a relatively advanced stage. At this point in our work it has been possible to determine more accurately what share each successful applicant ought to receive. I have already been able to make a second payment, much more substantial than the first. The payments authorized to date represent more than half the total amount of the Indemnification Fund. Obviously, we are doing everything we can to complete this exceptional task as quickly as possible: as you know, it raised many delicate problems at the outset. I should like at this point to stress the importance of the assistance rendered to refugees by the voluntary agencies and similar organizations in dealing with the prescribed formalities, and also the importance of their participation in the appeal procedure. The presence of their participation on the Appeals Board has made possible constant exchanges of views with the administration of the Fund, and that administration, being better informed of the special aspects of certain situations, and confronted with the requirements of the refugees, has taken them into account as far as possible. So far, 1,500 applicants have resorted to this appeal facility.
On this same subject of indemnification, I must mention the new development constituted by the submission to parliament, by the government of the Federal Republic of Germany, of a bill designed to settle once and for all the question of the indemnification of victims of Nazism. Conversation have been begun with that Government concerning some of the provisions of the proposed act. I hope they will be of benefit to various groups of refugees who were the victims of persecution and have so far been unable, under previous legislation, to obtain adequate compensation.
The foregoing are, very briefly, the chief results obtained during the last few months in the all-important domain of protection, with which the day-to-day work of my Office is primarily concerned.
How then does the programme stand at present? I cannot, of course, anticipate the progress report to be drawn up later on the basis of detailed information received annually which is not yet available. I am, however, glad to be able to tell the Committee in very general terms that, in spite of the difficulties we have encountered, the picture before us today may be said to be encouraging. The Committee will, of course, be well aware of the fact that we have had to conduct our campaign on several fronts at the same time: to get vigorously under way and maintain the rhythm of the last Major Aid programmes for the "old" refugees in Europe; to follow very closely the development of the "complementary" programme which will ultimately become the normal programme - which shows the great importance we attach to the current experiment; and, lastly, to devote the requisite attention, within this Complementary Assistance Programme, to the new refugee problems.
With regard to the Major Aid Programmes, a distinction should be draw between the problem of the camps and that of refugees living outside the camps. The former may now be regarded as resolved in Austria and Greece, where only a few dozen non-settled refugees remain to be settled. The same is true as a whole in Germany and Italy, save for a residual core of particularly handicapped cases for whom solutions are at present being sought. In Germany more especially, a few "pockets" of refugees may be expected to remain temporarily in the Camps until certain problems have been overcome, and in particular until new land has been acquired for their rehousing.
As to the refugees living outside the camps, the position differs somewhat in countries where large-scale efforts have been made for a long time past and in countries where the action of the High Commissioner's Office has been more restricted or started later. In the former countries, such as Austria and Germany, the financing of assistance to the old refugees is virtually assured and only very small allocations, mainly intended for social welfare services, have been included in the 1963 Programme. The implementation of certain more or less long-term projects, such as housing projects, has still to be provided for. Although the Federal Government of Germany has itself undertaken to provide refugees living outside the camps with housing in accordance with lists submitted by the High Commissioner's Office two years must be expected to elapse between the time when the first dwellings are ready for them next spring and the completion of this undertaking, the importance of which will be obvious to all. In Italy the problem of refugees outside the camps may be regarded as virtually resolved. In Greece, however, much remains to be done owing to the special difficulties connected with the settlement of these refugees because of the economic and social conditions obtaining in that country. There are not, however, so many of them that solutions cannot be found within the framework of the programmes already approved, but it is impossible to say, how long it will take to implement them. It will be noted with interest that the thorny question of housing contracts and the ownership of dwellings built for the refugees in Greece has been settled satisfactorily following on the recent enactment of a long-awaited law.
In France and Latin America, where the programmes have not been as broad in scope or have been applied more recently, the projects approved within the Major Aid Programmes will be carried out normally within the next two years.
Generally speaking, the implementation of the programme in the various countries has been speeded up considerably. This is, of course, the result of the experience acquired over the years and the sustained efforts made to stimulate their implementation and come to grips with the problem by making the projects more flexible and adapting them precisely to actual requirements. The system of "funds for permanent solutions" applied in France and Latin America provides an admirable illustration of what may be expected from this method, which has consequently been extended to other countries in the Complementary Assistance Programme for 1963.
The collaboration with national administrations required for the administration of the programme has become increasingly closer and more confident as the joint work has progressed, each side becoming more clearly aware of its own responsibilities. For instance, a governmental body in Italy is now resolutely taking over the functions of the major international agencies, which had hitherto been responsible for most of the work involved in preparing refugees for emigration.
These facts cannot fail to encourage us, and I therefore feel most optimistic about the prospects of a speedy liquidation of these residual problems for the solution of which the major aid programmes for the "old" European refugees were originally designed. I have pleasure, in this connexion, in mentioning the appeal which has just been launched by the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe, renewing the invitation it addressed to its members last year to take part in the movement of European solidarity on behalf of the "old" refugees. I should like to express my gratitude to it for its unfailing support of our work and I shall ask its representative, who is always welcome to our meetings, to be good enough to convey to his organization the sentiments I have just expressed.
With regard to current work, the main purpose of which is to see that the machinery of international co-operation remains lively and effective and always on the alert, as this alone can ward off the most serious ills by helping to heal the less dangerous or more scattered wounds as they arise, we also have good reasons, I think, to feel satisfaction at the way in which the first Complementary Assistance Programme has got going. We have, of course, been obliged to advance by trial and error, as is inevitable, due for the most part to the difficulty of coming to grips with the problem closely enough to determine its specific scope. That is true of Europe, where it was not always easy to draw a clear distinction between the new problems and the old ones covered by the previous major aid programmes. But it is even truer, of other regions, particularly Africa, where we have had to tackle without any previous experience entirely new problems arising within a setting completely different from any we had previously encountered. However that may be, the results achieved, which are described in documents submitted to the Committee, show, I believe, that on the whole our action has been effective. With regard to the new groups of refugees, the Deputy High Commissioner will have an opportunity before this session ends of giving you an account of the results of the mission he is at present carrying out in Africa. He will no doubt then be able to inform the Committee of the most recent developments in the problems which are now plaguing that part of the world and which call for speedy and bold solutions.
My own visit to Australia and New Zealand last June gave me a striking and most stimulating illustration of the persistence and vigour of this feeling of solidarity to which I referred a moment ago. The admission of a large number of Jensen cases into Australia is the best example of this state of mind, of which I received much evidence during my trip and the importance of which cannot be overstressed. Indeed, the understanding thus shown by oversea countries of the difficulties with which the countries of first asylum are faced offers the greatest encouragement to them to pursue a generous policy in granting the right of asylum. I had much the same experience a few days ago when I visited Austria, where I was able to satisfy myself that the procedure for the admission of persons seeking asylum in that country with a view to subsequent emigration is now no problem.
Reference to the current assistance activities of the High Commissioner's Office naturally brings me to say a few words about the programme submitted to the Committee for the forthcoming year.
I would point out that this programme, in spirit and content alike, reflects the directives laid down by the Executive Committee; moreover, it takes into account the financial assistance to be expected from the governments interested in the activities to be expected from the governments interested in the activities of the Office of the High Commissioner. We have endeavoured, so far as possible, to submit detailed projects to the Committee. In the absence of sufficiently accurate information, we were, however, obliged, in some cases, simply to propose to the Committee a framework, into which specific projects will subsequently be fitted. These projects will, of course, be submitted as soon as possible to the Committee for its formal approval.
In this connexion, I should like to say how valuable we found the recent discussion in the Committee concerning a withdrawal I proposed to make from the Emergency Fund, in order to cope with unforeseen developments in a situation which, as usual, we endeavoured to remedy with extremely limited funds. A similar approach, reflecting the wishes of the Committee, could, in my opinion, be usefully adopted and developed in future, so that we could obtain its views or its formal decision, either to enable us to cope with an unforeseen situation or in connexion with projects which, owing to circumstances, we had been unable to submit to the Committee at its previous regular session and whose urgency was such that they could not be held over until the nest session. I should be particularly grateful, Mr. Chairman, if the members of the Committee would, at the present session, intimate their views on this subject. It is, I think, vital, in view of the nature of the problems with which we are faced at the present time outside Europe, that closer and more permanent contact should be established with the Committee, without in any way imposing on its members obligations which they might consider too onerous.
I should like to emphasize once again that the assistance programme is only a means, and not an end in itself; the importance of the problems involved and of the work done by UNHCR cannot, therefore, be measured by size of a programme which varies from year to year according to circumstances. The fact that efforts at present being made in Europe to deal with current tasks are on a smaller scale than in the past does not, of course, mean that we are dissociating ourselves from the remaining problems there. On the contrary, I feel that the new programme in the form in which it has been devised, will make it possible, in co-operation with our customary partners, and by means of increasing efforts on the part of the host countries, to solve these problems satisfactorily. During my recent visit to Austria, I found that the facilities made available under our previous programme, designed to resolve long-standing problems, will play a much greater part in our current activities, than the modest allocations under the Complementary Assistance Programme. For example, of the 4,000 or so dwellings constructed in Austria for refugees, about 80 will become vacant every year, and will be made available to new refugees. This fact also illustrates the idea which I have often touched on here, namely, that by eradicating the sequelae of the past, the work of this Office relating to current problems will itself be strengthened.
As I remarked at the beginning of my statement, our primary aim should be to keep alive the spirit and machinery of international co-operation. No one, I feel, would nowadays dream of questioning certain of the ideals on which the activities of the High Commissioner's Office are based. Yet history teaches that only recently have these ideals taken shape and been translated into a practical effort of international co-operation on behalf of the refugees. Nevertheless, they are still like a fragile plant which requires the most attentive care if it is to survive. These ideals must be nurtured through our daily activities. It is obviously the duty of UNHCR to see that they do not perish but grow stronger and become rooted more and more deeply in the public mind. My Office is gratified that it can count in this connexion on the active co-operation of the voluntary agencies, which are continuing to make the greatest efforts to transform these humanitarian ideals into an everyday reality. It is in recognition of their efforts that the Nansen Medal Award Committee has, as you know decided to award the Nansen Medal For 1963 to the International Council of Voluntary Agencies, which comprises 74 organizations particularly devoted to the cause of the refugees. This medal will be awarded to them on 10 October 1963, the anniversary of Nansen's birth, at a ceremony to be held here, in the Palais des Nations. Although I have already had occasion to tell these organizations how delighted we are about this, I should once again like to express to them my sincere congratulations and my deepest gratitude.
As to the UNHCR, it could obviously not play the part assigned to it in this union of men of goodwill unless it possessed task and to bind up, wherever and whenever necessary, the succession of wounds that continue to appear before they become infected. I am therefore convinced that Governments, and particularly those which are here represented, will realize how imperative it is both at the present time and in the immediate future, that they should not relax their efforts, so as to enable the activities of the UNHCR to continue. In this way they will help to strengthen, if need be, and to confirm the idea which is so full of promise, that the United Nations can, outside all political controversy, serve as a framework and bulwark for strictly humanitarian activities, and thus ensure to the victims of the upheavals, so common in our day and age, the benefit of effective international co-operation.
II. Statement by Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, Deputy High Commissioner
The Committee has before it for consideration document A/AC.96/207. This document contains a report on new refugee situations. Its title is, perhaps, a little misleading, since some of the refugee situations reported on are by no means new ones and have been receiving attention for some time. What, however, is common to all situations described in the documents, is that the High Commissioner has extended his good offices to them all.
It is hoped that the document has provided the members of the Executive Committee with sufficient information, in order that they may get a clear picture of the High Commissioner's activities in this particular field during the last months.
A study of the document before you will also reveal that among these new refugees from Rwanda has continued to play a predominant role in UNHCR's activities in Africa. With regard to these refugee situations a few comments of a general nature might be indicated and useful.
In comparing the situation as described in the documents, the Committee will note that, in many instances, considerable progress has been achieved. This is particularly pertinent as regards what one might call "first aid" measures which, in addition to the basic necessities, included the distribution of land, seeds and tools. Some progress has also been achieved in the all-important subject of consolidation which is absolutely essential to a successful settlement and thus to a permanent solution. Here some simple self-help projects have done much to win the confidence of the refugees. But it is in this particular field that the efforts of the international community will not only have to be continued, but will have to be intensified, if the refugees are to find a lasting solution in their new settlement. In this connexion, we must remember that in all instances the countries of first asylum are newly independent, and are all confronted with the problems with the problems to new countries.
The Committee may be disappointed that some of the datelines for the solution of the problem given in previous documents could not be adhered to. This is not due to lack of progress achieved, but rather to events beyond the control of UNHCR. Furthermore, the Office and its partners had no experience in dealing with refugee situations in these parts of Africa. The document cites many examples of the adversities which have to be overcome in the implementation of some of the programmes, such as a good or bad harvest, natural disasters causing complete cut-off of communications and last, but not least, the psychology of the refugees themselves.
In his opening remarks, the High Commissioner emphasized that the assistance programme is only a means and not an end in itself and that the importance of the problems involved and of the work done by UNHCR cannot be measured by the size of a programme. I would like to give you an illustration of this philosophy, as applied to the question of UNHCR assistance to refugees from Rwanda: in 1962 and 1963, UNHCR allocated an amount of $1,064,500 to over 130,000 refugees, which amounts to approximately $US 8 per caput.
This total figure does not include the value of assistance provided by non-UNHCR sources. Unfortunately, this figure is not known but it is certain that it considerably exceeds UNHCR's outlay. This extremely valuable and generous assistance has been and is being provided by the host governments, other interested Governments which provided assistance on a bilateral basis - such as the Belgian and United States Governments - the League of Red Cross Societies and its national affiliates, particularly the Norwegian Red Cross Societies and its national affiliates, particularly the Norwegian Red Cross, and all the other non-governmental organizations and last, but not least, the missions, which have played such an important and useful role in bringing closer the solution to these refugee problems.
I have recently had the opportunity of visiting a great many of the countries where we have these refugee problems, in fact all of the countries where we have refugees from Rwanda, and I have Just returned from what has been for me a tremendous experience of realizing for myself, for the first time, what had been done for these people and what the progress of their settlement had been since the beginnings of our programmes. I visited, in this order, the nine following countries: Tanganyika, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, the Kivu Province of the Congo and its capital, Leopoldville, Nigeria, Dahomey, Togo and Ghana. The purpose of my visit covered four points: first, to get up-to-date impressions of the refugee problems and their solutions in the countries where they exist; secondly, to explain our work in general during what I hope was a good-will tour, to the Governments which are interested in the problems which we face, either because they have refugees on their own territory or because being African Governments they are interested in the solution of refugee problems on their continent; thirdly, to seek support from African Governments and financial contributions if possible, within their possibilities of course, for our future operations and this particularly before the General Assembly of the United Nations and its Pledging Conference; fourthly, to install officially our regional representative who, as the Committee knows, has now taken up his post in Usumbura, Burundi, where he will be representing my Office in the future. It may be recalled that this is the first regional office that the High Commissioner has opened in that part of Africa south of the Sahara.
There is no doubt that Africa is in motion and that generally the changes, which the countries in that great continent are going through, produce also displaced persons, uprooted peoples and refugees. There are three different categories of what I would call uprooted peoples. The first are the people who have moved in their own countries because of difficult circumstances, occasionally ethnic pressure, starvation, other natural catastrophes and it may be recalled in this instance that there were great movements in such countries as the Congo, Leopoldville, with Baluba refugees in Elizabethville, a large influx of refugees from other provinces of the Congo into Bakwanga, and so forth.
The second problem is that of refugees who are national refugees who have been forced to return to their countries after having lived sometimes for many generations in other of Africa where they had regular employment. These people were quite often expelled and fled as a result of persecution or fear of persecution and instead of going to a persecution or fear of persecution and instead of going to a neighbouring country as our refugees have done, simply go back to their own country of origin where they cause much concern to their Governments.
I mention these problems because I found it very difficult sometimes, when I was in these African capitals, to explain the difference to the authorities concerned between one group and another, and to explain why we could help the third group, the stateless peoples, who had sought asylum in a neighbouring country and who were refugees that came under the mandate or the "good offices" of the High Commissioner whereas the other groups in fact could not be helped. This may be very clear in our documents, it may be very clear in our terms of reference, it may also be very clear to may colleagues and to myself here in Geneva, but I must confess that sometimes when you are in Africa, it is extremely difficult on human grounds alone perhaps to create a discrimination amongst the needy and to help one group rather than another. I tried my best to explain these difficult and sometimes very narrow differences but I must say that the presence of these other groups in these countries does create considerable difficulties in the work which we are carrying out for the HCR refugees.
I think that before I go into the actual relief side of our work in the countries I visited, it might be useful to start first of all with Rwanda, since obviously my trip to Kigali, its capital, was closely related to the problems faced by the Rwanda refugees in the neighbouring countries. I went to Rwanda to seek possibilities of a closer understanding with the authorities of that country with a view to being able to consider the repatriation of some of the Rwandese refugees. I think, to put it in a nutshell, since this has a very great bearing on all our work in the host countries where there are Rwandese refugees, there is indeed very little possibility of any of these refugees returning home. Although officially the Government would have no objection to certain groups applying for repatriation, the names and the villages of origin of which could be transmitted to the authorities in Kigali, through UNHCR, there is obviously such a problem of an economic and demographic nature in Rwanda, that it is highly doubtful that even in practical terms the 150-odd thousand refugees abroad would be able to settle again in Rwanda.
There have been in Rwanda itself great problems of movements of population due to events which took place in that country and also due to natural causes, such as floods and, at one point, rather a bad famine. They have had, as a result, to resettle a great many of their own people and there is a very large resettlement centre in Rwanda which is called Nyamata, which I did not have the chance to visit (and in any case this of course does not come under our own authority) where the Government of Rwanda is carrying out what seems to be very much the same type of operation that we are carrying out in the neighbouring countries for the refugees from that country. So it would appear offhand that the chances of repatriation are very slight. The economic and social changes in the country have been such, with land redistribution and many reforms, that even if certain groups could be repatriated to Rwanda, my feeling is that our Office would be called upon, rather as it was in the case of the refugees from Algeria in Tunisia and Morocco, not only to repatriate them but also to reinstall them in their country of origin.
With this in mind, I turn to the countries where the refugees are and where as a result of my visit to Rwanda it appears that we would have to settle them on a permanent basis. My first visit in terms of host countries was Tanganyika where, the Committee will recall, we have 12,000 refugees from Rwanda. I visited the settlement centres around Muyenzi and my impression was on the whole positive in the sense that I felt that the refugees were working very hard and applying themselves as much as possible to the difficult job of making themselves self-supporting. There is no doubt that the task which we face in Tanganyika is perhaps more difficult than the one we face in other countries. The reason for this is that, as you may recall, Tanganyika attempted, single-handed, to settle these refugees. Because of various circumstances usually associated to young countries which have recently acceded to their independence, Tanganyika found it extremely difficult to settle this large group satisfactorily without outside help. As a result, and because of the various breakdowns which occurred, the Committee will recall that Tanganyika requested the high Commissioner to lend direct assistance. As a result, the League of Red Cross Societies sent representatives on the spot and subsequently an agreement was signed between the Tanganyika Government, the League and my Office laying down the type of association which would lead to the settlement of these people.
I mention this, because I feel very strongly that it is important for HCR and the League to succeed where in fact the Government of the country itself failed. I don't think the Government can certainly be blamed for this but in the sense that we now have representatives on the spot and in the sense that we are in fact responsible from an operational point of view, I would say that our task there is extremely challenging.
The problems which remain are on the whole rather elementary and if they could be solved I would say that installation and integration in a permanent sense would be rapidly achieved. The water which the refugees rely on is still very far away and sometimes not at all clean and drinkable. This problem could be solved by the drilling of bore holes closer to the areas where the refugees are settled and where the water would be much purer than the areas from which they gather it now. Their housing should be improved: unfortunately the areas where they have built their huts does not have much available resources to consolidate housing and so I think that during the forthcoming rainy seasons the settlement will be considerably hampered because of the very poor nature of their shelter and the fact that the roofs will be leaking a great deal.
Another problem with which we are faced is that the Government in the beginning tried to spread out the refugees over a vast area to avoid concentration and also to a certain extent because it was felt that land could be more easily attributed to them if they were divided. This has created serious difficulties. Families have been divided and people who were naturally inclined to work together were separated occasionally by five or ten miles. Thanks to the presence of the League, we are hopeful that these people will be regrouped in as near a future as possible so that the feeling of confidence which is so important to permanent settlement is again created.
Another problem we have faced there is that due to a certain amount of political unrest which took place in the Muyenzi area, quite a number of refugee leaders had been jailed temporarily and the refugees without their leaders felt that somehow the whole process of settlement was severely handicapped, because there was no order and no organization amongst them. The leaders are now being released, following interventions on my part in Dar es Salaam, and they are slowly being returned to the areas where they originally taken from. The other problem which I think we have faced in Tanganyika is occasionally the lack of co-ordination between the central Government in Dar es Salaam and implementation in the areas where the refugees are. This is a problem which is inherent to all new countries with such distances as those in Tanganyika, where communications are extremely difficult, and I am only stressing this fact to illustrate how difficult and frustrating it is sometimes for us here and also for our representatives on the spot to be able to ensure this co-ordination. If such projects as the water-holes, schools, dispensaries, such projects as the self-help and community developments which we are hoping to encourage, are carried out within a reasonably short time, and if we can, through the re-grouping of the refugees in Muyenzi, create again this climate of confidence which was lost, I am fully persuaded that the refugees will be self sufficient within a very short time. The land is beginning to yield, and I have seen crops coming up.
I then visited Uganda and here I would like to emphasize particularly the tremendous effort of the Government. The problems there have been solved perhaps more than in any other country where there are refugees from Rwanda. This is even more remarkable in view of the fact that Uganda has 40,000 Rwandese on its territory, and that their efforts have been so effective and so well-planned that most of these do not consider themselves refugees any more. I had an opportunity of speaking to many of them and already they are talking about becoming Ugandans, they are talking about belonging to a new country, and this constant feeling which you get in other countries of wanting to return home is gradually fading away. I think this is very positive indeed, and it may be due partly (as opposed to Tanganyika) to the fact that the Government has delegated central authority representatives to the areas of Oruchinga, Nakivali and Kahunge where the refugees are being settled. This is not under the local authorities, it is not the responsibility of the regional offices of the Ugandan Government. It is directly under the central Government in Kampala. A great deal of money has been spent by Uganda for this effort, and during a meeting which I had in Kampala, which was attended by the representatives of the Treasury of that country, it was stated that over $840,000 had been spent by the Government of Uganda for this great effort. If you consider that we have so far spent less than $150,000 in this effort, I think, compared to some of the programmes which we have carried out elsewhere and particularly in Europe, with its different economic conditions, this is not a bad matching contribution.
When I left Uganda I proceeded to Burundi, where unfortunately the taking over of the operation by the Government of Burundi has created many difficulties. There has been a rather bad breakdown in the distribution of rations, which has created considerable hardship to the 20,000 refugees in that country. I visited the centre of Kayongozi, and the centre of Kigamba, and although land was being cultivated actively, and although you could feel that the refugees were working very hard to settle, anyone would declare that there still remains a great deal to be done. The rations which were distributed until approximately a month ago suddenly ceased because of a breakdown in the transportation, which had become the responsibility of the Government of Burundi, and as a result the refugees in that area were fed nothing but white flour and oil. I saw for myself that some of these refugees and particularly the children had suffered a great deal as a result of this. There were widespread nutritional disorders, grave intestinal problems, and also sever night-blindness due to a very strong avitaminosis. I did my best when I returned to Usumbura (the capital of Burundi) to urge the authorities immediately to start distributing rations again, since unfortunately the crops had not yielded sufficiently, and you can say in those areas that the refugees are definitely not self-sufficient. Luckily, the Government has placed in all the centres some new Commissaires aux réfugiés, who have been in charge of implementing these settlement schemes, and who have been actively helped by our own representatives there, whom we have chosen to call "Settlement Promoters", and who are helping this climate of confidence, which so far has been lacking because of the breakdown of the distribution of rations. The problem we have faced there too has been the question of seeds, and I would like the Committee to know that thanks to a decision which was recently taken by Headquarters here and followed by the League, that new seeds will be distributed in sufficient quantities to those refugees so that they can plant during the present planting season, and will in approximately six months obtain crops which I hope will make them more independent from the rations which still have to be distributed.
I refer to the problems of the Government take-over here, because I think we have to be extremely careful in our work, and this has been outlined in my introduction, to avoid giving the Committee the impression that when any Government takes over the HCR/League operation that all the problems are solved: we have perhaps been a little optimistic an hasty in feeling that we could simply pull out and that the operations would be continued smoothly. I think there are certain stages in the installation process when a government take-over can be carried out without any type of new emergency arising. But settlement has to be more complete before this can take place, or we will have to make sure that some kind of a bridge is established between the end of our action and the taking-over of the Government. Otherwise you may face, as was nearly the case in Burundi, a new crisis which might necessitate the League stepping in again, new rations being distributed, and in fact a sort of partial take-over, once more, of the operation. This is obviously to be avoided in the future.
From Burundi I proceeded to Kivu Province, Congo, where, as you know, we have the greatest number of refugees from Rwanda. The 60,000 refugees there are divided between the central province of Kivu and the northern province of Kivu where we have 23,000 Rwandese. I would like to emphasize here the tremendous work that has been carried out by the refugees themselves. We travelled sometimes for nine or ten hours per day, in Land-Rovers, on very difficult roads where the cars, even Land-Rovers, would break down frequently, where we had to pull them out of the mud, and we climbed to altitudes of 2,500 to 3, 000 metres, where the refugees have carved out settlement areas from the virgin forest. The land there is extremely rich, but it does take a great deal of time to prepare it, as it were, because of the thickness of the virgin forest in the areas. Nevertheless, when I was there I could see very good crops coming up everywhere, maize beans, sweet potatoes, manioc, yams, and all kinds of different things, even here and there an occasional banana tree, which is the symbol of settlement, since bananas take at least on year to grow. I must say that this is practically exclusively due to the remarkable efforts of the representative of the League, Mr. Boshard, to whom I wish to pay special tribute, and also to our representative on the spot, Mr. Preziosi. I mention this because I was in a position to see what tremendous obstacles these gentlemen faced on a daily basis, what harassment was caused through very bad communications, and I think what they have done is a tribute to the work which we are carrying out.
Within a reasonably short time, the refugees there are going to be completely independent from any outside help. I saw schools being built, new dispensaries going up, which are going to benefit not only the refugees but also the local population, and generally the spirit was excellent. There is, however, one dark spot here in the Kivu area, and that is north Kivu, where unfortunately owing to a breakdown of administrative infrastructure in the province, and owing to a burning problem of security, which is affecting the whole area, our refugees have been under tremendous pressure from the local authorities and the population who, ethnically, are very different from the Rwandese against whom discrimination is considerable. This dramatic issue is such that at one point the centres and the areas of settlement where our refugees are, in the northern province of Kivu, were surrounded by the local tribes, and at one point in danger of being physically eliminated, but luckily thanks to last-minute energetic interventions on the part of the authorities and especially our own representatives there, this catastrophe was averted. It is hoped after the interventions which I carried out in Leopoldville with Prime Minister Adoula and the central authorities of the Congo, that security and stability in north Kivu will somehow be improved. If the situation remains unchanged and these ethnic and political differences continue to be very burning and to have violent repercussions, then we may have to consider resettling these refugees as an emergency measure elsewhere in the Congo. I am again mentioning this because I feel it is my duty to relate the facts as they were reported to me when I was on the spot, so that the Committee is aware, once again, of the multiple challenges which we face in this area. I realize of course that this question falls very definitely within the competence of the local authorities, whether at the provincial level or at the central level in Leopoldville. But in a country like the Congo, which is at present going through so many difficulties, the breakdown of such security and order has a very direct effect on the smooth process of installation which we are always striving to carry out.
This brings to a close my rather sketchy description of the problem of the refugees from Rwanda and their settlement in the neighbouring host countries.
Most unfortunately, these were not the only refugees which I was concerned with, since, as you know, the Office is also concerned with other groups in Africa.
When I was in Leopoldville, I had many interesting meetings with the Government of the Congo (leopoldville) and voluntary agencies. I was told - I am giving this information to the Committee as it was conveyed to me - that although the problem of refugees from Angola has lost the burning character which it had at the beginning of our operations in the Bakongo, nevertheless, there were still a great many unsettled peoples along the Border, and that it might be wise for the local organizations, particularly CARITAS and the Protestant Agencies, and also the other agencies on the spot, to be prepared for future emergencies in that area. The authorities from the Congo (Leopoldville) mentioned the presence of refugee groups, not only in the Bakongo, but also in Kasai and in Katanga.
I raised this question because although we have tried very hard to bring these people in the Bakongo area towards a more permanent form of settlement, the issued, as the Committee knows, is still very much alive, because the areas we have prepared for settlement have not been taken advantage of by the refugees. I hope that after my visit there I succeeded in persuading some of the people who have direct contact on a day-to-day basis with the refugees, and of course, above all our own representative in Leopoldville, to persuade these groups to use the advantages of such reception centres as MAO, which is a centre further inland on the other side of the river, which I know the Committee has heard about from the documents we distributed. We would have available space for over 5,000 refugees in MAO, who could then be settled within the framework of our programmes in that area. If this settlement centre is filled, I would hope that the refugees would no longer remain the problem which they apparently still are in the border areas.
Further, when I was in Tanganyika, the Government in Dar es Salaam drew my attention to the presence of some refugee groups from Mozambique. I mention this because the Government made me understand that it was considering the possibility of sending a request for assistance to my Office.
As you know, I not only visited East and Central Africa, but also proceeded to West Africa, where I was quite recently in Nigeria, Dahomey, Togo and Ghana. I was surprised when I arrived in Nigeria to hear that there was also a refugee problem there. I had hoped that during the latter part of my trip, I might be able simply to have contacts with the Governments, to discuss our work in general, in the other parts of the African continent.
There are two groups in Nigeria - the first is a group of refugees from Ghana that we had originally settled in Togo, and who, as a result of events taking place in the capital of Togo recently, fled again across the border and sought asylum in Nigeria. There are very few, only approximately 100 people (25 families), I would say. Our regional representative will be maintaining contact from Usumbura with the view to finding out solutions for this isolated group. I believe, we hope to solve this question, that it would be very much out individual solutions for the refugees who have now, as you know, been largely settled.
There were also some refugees from Togo in Nigeria, who, in certain cases, were in need of some material assistance. This question is also being followed up by our regional representative, and we hope to have further details shortly. The last problem is that of certain Sudanese nationals, who have sought asylum in neighbouring countries, and particularly in the Congo (Leopoldville) and in Uganda. This problem was raised by the Governments of both these countries, and during my brief visit in Kampala, I had an opportunity of seeing some of these young individuals, whose essential problem, it appears, is to continue their studies. We have not received any request for assistance so far, but naturally since this is part of request for assistance so far, but naturally since this is part of our concern in Africa, we shall be following developments closely.
My visit to Togo gave me the opportunity to see that our work there had been successful, in the sense that the great majority of the refugees are now peacefully settled in the rural areas of Togo where they are cultivating their land. Other groups, as you know, have been helped in starting certain trades: some have gone into fishing, and have been provided with boats and nets through the help we have given them, and on the whole except for a few isolated groups that remain essentially in the urban areas and in the capital of Lomé itself, their problems have been solved. There is still a need for some marginal help for some of the aged groups in Lomé itself, people who are unsettled, who have not got jobs, who, being white-collar workers for the most part, are not in a position to become self-supporting on land which we give them.
This is a problem which has been faced also by some groups from Rwanda, in places like Usumbura in Burundi, and also Bukavu, the capital of the central province of Kivu. These people do not fall under the programmes of the High Commissioner in the settlement areas. They are city people essentially, but refugees nonetheless, and they have sometimes very burning needs. They create a problem for the local authorities, because they simply add to the unemployment difficulties which extremely difficult to consider that a refugee problem has been solved, unless that particular group, which is, as it were, a forgotten group, is not helped also.
With your permission, I would like to draw a few conclusions from this trip, and lay them before the Committee for the Committee's consideration. I think my trip has shown that it is impossible to make a clear-cut definition between the first stages of a relief operation and the subsequent consolidation. I use the word consolidation because, as you may recall, it was mentioned in my introductory statement. As soon as the relief operation has started, it becomes essential to seek a form of consolidation so that the people can become self-sufficient. I saw many refugees who complained and tried to understand why they were not given an opportunity of getting out of what was really a subsistence economy, of simply planting seeds and collecting the crops and again planting whatever they could save and going on like this for ever. It was obvious that these unfortunate human beings had to be given more, and I think this is what the High Commissioner always meant, when he meant consolidation. At the same time that you give relief, and grant land, seeds and tools, you have to give the refugees some kind of additional incentive and I mean schools, dispensaries, the self-help projects, the community developments, the possibility occasionally through advice and the help of either our own representatives or the Government's representatives, of planting some cash crops (tea, coffee, bananas), so that they have also something to sell, with which they can make money, and only then buy the things they need. I think this is absolutely essential also to create the climate of confidence which the refugees need, so as to forget about returning home, forget about the country, the home country, which otherwise keeps coming up in their minds all the time, as a psychological bloc against effective settlement.
Many refugees that I saw who were in desperate need, who couldn't even leave their huts because they were naked and had no clothes to wear - this is a problem everywhere, in all the areas I visited - sometimes told me, "If we have to die here because we're going to be completely forgotten, then we might as well return to Rwanda and die in our own country." This touched me very deeply, because I felt that it wasn't enough just to give rations if a refugee was naked in his hut and didn't even dare to show himself. It wasn't enough either to provide him with tools so that he could cultivate land, if he had no possibility of making a little bit of money to buy medicaments or perhaps to buy some clothing and other basic necessities so that he could go out and no longer be psychologically and physically handicapped because of his complete destitute state. Therefore I think the self-help projects, I think the possibility of a community centre here and there, better dispensaries, better schools where the children can be educated adequately, all this will contribute to a more permanent settlement, the "consolidation" which the High Commissioner has referred to.
I think we are making progress in this particular field. I've seen already some areas where these improvements have been established and I think that we are on the right track. There is no doubt that the creation of a regional office in Usumbura will help a great deal. It will allow us to remain in touch with the realities of these problems and their social, material and legal corollaries in the future. It will allow as to co-ordinate our efforts better on the spot, with the representatives of the League, with the Governments and voluntary agencies which are interested in our action. May I say, in this instance, that I was very deeply gratified to witness the interest of the foreign missions, the ambassadors, their staff in these areas, for the problems we face. I had many contacts with the representatives of the United States, who obviously had a particular interest in this particular work because of the food stocks which are granted by their missions. On the whole all the embassies have been tremendously interested in the work that was carried out I think this is also a very positive point which certainly will mean a great deal to our local representatives there in the future.
It is to be hoped also that the other members of the United Nations family will take an active interest in our effort, especially when it touches, as it often does, upon their respective fields and goes beyond our rather limited competence. The International Labour Organization project for Burundi and Kivu is a good illustration of what I hope will be intensified inter-agency co-ordination.
The self-help and community centre developments, and all these various aspects of consolidation which I stressed, will be up before the Committee, I hope, as soon as possible, in terms of clear cost estimates, because wherever I went I asked our representatives and the Governments to furnish us with as many details as possible, on how these things can be actually implemented.
Now, I am convinced that the great majority of these facilities will be very cheap and that for a very small fund a great deal can be done. I would say also that in the case of our Regional Office in Usumbura, it might be useful for the Committee to consider the need to grant a very limited fund which could be utilized by our representative on the spot for these small community projects that I referred to: occasionally buying a banana tree to give to a refugee who has cultivated his land better than other, the possibility of giving them a few chickens here and there so that they can have their own eggs, all these things which really cannot be drawn up as projects and forwarded to Geneva so that we can decide if and when we have to accept these propositions. I think that this is the kind of thing which would facilitate our work tremendously.
I saw also that on the whole the humanitarian approach of the High Commissioner is well understood and fully appreciated by all Governments concerned that I had contacts with. I think it is highly significant, and I am sure the members of the Committee will agree with me, that a Government such as Ghana has contributed $3,000 since 1959, per year, to our work. Once again when I was in Accra the interest of Ghana was confirmed in our work, and I have every reason to believe that both their moral and their financial support will be continued. It is also very indicative that a Government such as Nigeria has contributed $5,000 for the first time to our programmes. I sincerely hope that their example will be followed, in due course, by many other African nations. This is proof that our techniques have been understood and appreciated by African Governments themselves.
What is perhaps most rewarding is the enormous amount of happiness and confidence which our presence gives to the refugees themselves. I had an opportunity to discuss this with their leaders and I talked sometimes to the most simple people amongst them, and one of them told me that when he first saw a car arrive with a United Nations flag on it, in these faraway regions of the Kivu province, 3,000 metres above sea-level in the dense jungle, that it was really a revelation and that he had to explain to his people what it meant to see a United Nations flag in that area; some people, thousands of miles away, in New York, beyond the oceans, were thinking about these poor people and their plight, and some form of international assistance, protection and sympathy was being given to them.
Hearing the reaction of these people, what this meant to them, even if the help was singularly marginal was, I think, the best and most adequate proof that the decisions which were taken by the members of the Executive Committee had provided, and would continue to provide, HCR with the ways and means of fulfilling its responsibilities.
1 The full text of the statement is given in annex I.
2 The full text of the statement is given in annex II.
3 For details see the summary record of the 76th meeting and the statement of the Canadian representative, which has been circulated as a document to members of the Committee.
4 The full text of the statement is given in annex II.
5 For details, see the summary record of the 80th meeting.
6 The total amount of $177 000 proposed by the High Commissioner for the over-all reserve was subsequently raised to $187,000.
7 The text of the statement is summarized in the record of the 81st meeting.
8 The original target of $2,590,000 was rounded off to $2,600,000 and the difference of $10,000 charged to the over-all reserve by decision of the Committee.