Close sites icon close
Search form

Search for the country site.

Country profile

Country website

General Conclusion on International Protection

Executive Committee Meetings

General Conclusion on International Protection
No. 46 (XXXVIII) - 1987

12 October 1987
Executive Committee 38th session. Contained in United Nations General Assembly Document No. 12A (A/42/12/Add.1).

The Executive Committee,

(a) Recognized that the increasing complexity of the present day refugee problems throughout the world underlines the fundamental importance of the High Commissioner's protection function, his primary task;

(b) Recognized that the changing nature and elements of the contemporary refugee problem required greater understanding on the part of the international community of the special needs and circumstances of asylum-seekers and refugees and the full support of all States for the efforts of the High Commissioner on their behalf;

(c) Noted with particular concern the continued violation of the principle of non-refoulement in various parts of the world;

(d) Noted with serious concern the deteriorating situation of refugees and asylum-seekers in southern Africa;

(e) Expressed concern about the lack of adequate international protection for various groups of refugees in different parts of the world, including a large number of Palestinians, and hoped that efforts would be undertaken within the United Nations system to address their protection needs;

(f) Reiterated the High Commissioner's leading role in respect of the protection of refugees and called on him in particular to continue to take, alone or in co-operation with concerned States and agencies, all possible measures to ensure their physical security, inter alia, with respect to physical violence, piracy, military and armed attacks, and arbitrary detention;

(g) Took into account that refugee women have special protection and assistance needs as well as special resources which can be utilized for the benefit of all refugees, reiterated the need to give particular attention to their situation with a view to improving existing protection and assistance programmes and called on all States and concerned agencies to support the High Commissioner's efforts in this regard;

(h) Recognized the need to collect reliable information and statistics about refugee women, to increase awareness about their situation and to incorporate information about their needs in the Office's training programmes and called upon the High Commissioner to report in detail at the thirty-ninth session of the Executive Committee on the particular protection and assistance problems and needs of refugee women and on the concrete measures taken to meet them;

(i) Noted with concern the growing phenomenon of refugees and asylum-seekers who, having found protection in one country, move in an irregular manner to another country and called upon the High Commissioner to implement paragraph (j) of Conclusion 36(XXXVI);

(j) Called upon States that have adopted a number of measures aimed at discouraging abusive use of asylum procedures to ensure that these measures have no detrimental effect on the fundamental principles of international protection, including on the institution of asylum;

(k) Stressed the close link between durable solutions and root causes and called upon the international community to do its utmost to address the causes of movements of refugees and asylum-seekers from countries of origin as well as from countries of first asylum;

(l) Reaffirmed the importance of voluntary repatriation as the most desirable durable solution, particularly in the context of many of today's mass-influx situations, emphasized the need for States to respect the fundamental principles that must always guide action in this area and called upon the High Commissioner and States to continue their efforts in achieving this solution whenever appropriate;

(m) Called for the strengthening of the Office's international protection function, both in Headquarters and in the field, in particular through increased co-ordination between the Division of Refugee Law and Doctrine and the Regional Bureaux, and through enhanced training for UNHCR staff in discharging the Office's protection function;

(n) Recognized that international protection is best achieved through an integrated and global approach to protection, assistance, and durable solutions, and invited the High Commissioner to develop further his efforts in this regard, including the collection of statistics on refugee populations, with the co-operation of States concerned;

(o) Reiterated the importance of promoting a wider knowledge and understanding of refugee law and noted with satisfaction the efforts of the Office in this regard, in particular the training programmes instituted for UNHCR staff as well as government officials;

(p) Noted with satisfaction that despite difficulties connected with the continued influx of refugees and asylum-seekers into their territories, States have, by and large, respected the internationally recognized standards for their treatment;

(q) Welcomed the further accessions by States to the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees, and requested the High Commissioner to continue his efforts to promote accessions to these and other relevant instruments, in particular by States confronted with large-scale refugee problems;

(r) Welcomed the recent adoption by a number of States of national administrative and legislative measures to implement effectively the provisions of the international refugee instruments, including the establishment of appropriate procedures for the determination of refugee status;

(s) Noted with renewed appreciation the contribution of non-governmental organizations in actively supporting the High Commissioner's efforts in the field of international protection;

(t) Emphasized the need for all concerned, including States, intergovernmental, national and non-governmental organizations, to sensitize public opinion to the special circumstances and needs of refugees and asylum-seekers to help generate a feeling of empathy and respect for refugees with a view to developing a more positive attitude towards them.