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Note on International Protection (submitted by the High Commissioner)

Executive Committee Meetings

Note on International Protection (submitted by the High Commissioner)

24 August 1965

1. The item "International Protection" has been put on the Provisional Agenda by the High Commissioner in accordance with the wish expressed by the Executive Committee at its tenth session that the item be considered by the Committee once a year. Details of developments in this field for the year ending 31 March 1965 have been included in the High Commissioner's Report to the 20th session of the General Assembly (document A/6011, chapter II). The main developments which have taken place since the preparation of that report are indicated below.

(a) 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees

On 19 July 1965 the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo deposited with the Secretary-General its instrument of accession to the above Convention. The Congo is the 48th State to become a party to the Convention.

(b) Indemnification - Federal Republic of Germany

In the High Commissioner's report to the General Assembly, mention was made of new indemnification legislation then before the legislative bodies of the German Federal Republic. The law was finally adopted in June 1965 and will be promulgated in due course. This law, on which UNHCR was consulted at various stages, provides inter alia for the establishment of a fund of DM 1.2 billion to benefit those persons who, under the national-socialist régime, were persecuted for reasons of race, religion or political opinion and who became refugees after 1 October 1953. The law furthermore incorporates the Indemnification Agreement concluded between UNHCR and the German Federal Government on 5 October 1960 which provided, inter alia, for an increase of payments to persons persecuted for reasons of nationality as far as indemnification for permanent damage to health is concerned. (See document A/AC.96/INF.33) In addition, the new law provides for payments to persons persecuted for reason of their nationality who suffered permanent damage to health, but who have so far not received any compensation because they did not meet the dateline requirements for refugee status on 1 October 1953.

UNHCR is continuing its consultations with the German Federal Government with regard to the implementation of the Agreement of 5 October 1960 and with a view to establishing additional measures for those persons persecuted for reason of their nationality who are still excluded from any compensation payments.

(c) Draft Convention relating to the Status of Refugees in Africa

Since the presentation of the Report, the Organization of African Unity has continued its preparation of a draft Convention relating to the Status of Refugees in Africa. After discussion of a text prepared by the OAU Special Commission on Refugees, the OAU Council of Ministers, at its meeting in Nairobi, established a Committee of legal experts of the Special Commission to prepare a definite draft for submission to the fifth session of the Council of Ministers. The Council of Ministers in the same resolution which set up this Committee, invited the Secretary-General of the OAU to continue to follow the evolution of the refugee situation in close liaison with the competent UN bodies working for refugees and thanked the High Commissioner and the voluntary agencies for the assistance given to the refugees.

(d) European Agreement on the Abolition of Visas for Refugees

The Government of Italy has acceded to the above Agreement. Nine States are now parties thereto.

2. The High Commissioner submitted to the Executive Committee at its thirteenth session the Report of the Colloquium on Legal Aspects of Refugee Problems (document A/AC.96/INF.40). This dealt inter alia with the present limitation of the personal scope of the 1951 Convention on account of the dateline of 1 January 1951 and the possible measures whereby the Convention might be widened and adapted to new refugee situations. The High Commissioner is entering into consultations with interested Governments on the steps to be taken with a view to giving effect to the Colloquium's recommendations. He will bring the matter before the Executive Committee when these consultations have been completed.