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Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 1988

Executive Committee Meetings

Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 1988

4 August 1988
General Assembly Official Records. Forty-third Session. Supplement No.12 (A/43/12). United Nations, New York, 1988


1. The year 1987 marked a series of successes in finding solutions to the plight of refugees, the advent of new and serious refugee situations, and in a number of instances, a deterioration in the treatment of refugees, despite internationally acknowledged norms relating to their treatment and their rights. The period under review demonstrated once again that the fate of refugees is inextricably linked to political events and the international community's willingness to tackle problems relating to refugees within the larger framework of global or regional political accords.

2. During the reporting period, more than a quarter of a million people shed their status as refugees and started new lives not only through voluntary repatriation but also through resettlement in third countries. The groundwork was also laid during this period, as a result of political accommodations, for the possibility of millions of others to return home in the near future under conditions of safety and dignity.

3. Of the thousands who voluntarily returned home, the vast majority were on the African continent. Chadians, Ethiopians, Mozambicans and Ugandans returned home in large numbers either through repatriation organized by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) or spontaneously. In Central America, efforts aimed at promoting voluntary repatriation continued to gather momentum during 1987 and early 1988. In fact, with some 13,000 persons voluntarily returning to their countries of origin during 1987, the caseload registered a net decrease for the first time in many years. These repatriation movements continued regularly into early 1988 as well. Intensified efforts for peace undertaken in the region contributed to the considerable number of voluntary repatriation movements. The "procedure for the establishment of a firm and lasting peace in Central America", signed on 7 August 1987 by five Central American countries, calling for a series of measures to pave the way to regional peace and at the same time recognizing the situation of refugees (A/42/521-S/19085, annex), was a most significant achievement in this respect. In south Asia, following an accord between Sri Lanka and India in July 1987, a memorandum of understanding was signed between UNHCR and the Government of Sri Lanka a month later. The latter agreement eventually led to the voluntary return to Sri Lanka of several hundred Sri Lankan Tamils from India during the last quarter of 1987 and early 1988. Another important area where great potential for progress in solving a long-standing refugee problem has most recently emerged concerns Afghan refugees in the Islamic Republic of Iran and Pakistan. Again, through political accommodation, the voluntary repatriation of some 5 million Afghans could increasingly become a reality.

4. Another positive development during the period under review included the adoption by the Executive Committee of the Programme of the High Commissioner at its thirty-eighth session, in October 1987 of the long-awaited conclusions on military and armed attacks on refugee camps and settlements,1 which should serve to strengthen international respect for the safety and rights of refugees. At the same time, the number of States becoming parties to the United Nations Convention of 1951 relating to the Status of Refugees2 and/or its Protocol of 19673 increased by 3 to 104, bringing about an ever-increasing universalization to the basic international refugee instruments.

5. Parallel to these achievements and hopeful developments were the challenges posed by the emergence of new refugees situations and the increasing complication of others of long-standing. In the southern African region alone, nearly half a million newly-arrived refugees, mainly in Malawi, required the urgent assistance and protection of UNHCR. While the focus in Africa may have shifted slightly to the southern Africa region, the Office continued to watch and prepare for "worst case" scenarios in the Horn of Africa, where the arrival of large numbers of refugees and displaced persons exceeded the number of returnees. In fact, the influx of persons fleeing civil strife in Sudan necessitated an emergency response by UNHCR, particularly in Ethiopia, where the ranks of such persons had grown to over 200,000 by the end of 1987.

6. In South-East Asia, the period under review saw a seemingly intractable Indo-Chinese refugee problem further complicated by the arrival of refugees and asylum-seekers whose numbers were unsurpassed in half a decade. These record arrivals provoked actions that threatened the delicate balance between temporary asylum and speedy durable solutions that has been at the heart of international burden-sharing in the region for many years. As such, these events showed the dangers of complacency with temporary arrangements and unresolved refugee situations, and thus underlined the urgent need for broader and more imaginative dialogue on regional humanitarian issues.

7. Elsewhere, throughout the reporting period, individual refugees and asylum-seekers continued to be confronted with a wide range of unilateral measures designed to prevent or deter the arrival of such persons and to facilitate the removal of those deemed unqualified for refugee status. While UNHCR recognizes the complexity of these "irregular" movements, the fact that internationally accepted humanitarian principles were often breached and international burden-sharing ignored was a source of great concern for the Office. It is hoped, however, that continued consultations in various multilateral forums will allow for meaningful and tangible progress in addressing the problems at hand.

8. It is evident, therefore, that UNHCR will require the sustained support and generosity of all its partners, especially Governments, in order to carry out effectively its mandate. The financial support provided in 1987 bears testimony to the international community's confidence in the Office and its work;4 nevertheless, events during the period under review have demonstrated that international solidarity with the plight of refugees is often multi-dimensional and requires patient and concerted effort. As such, the Office is confident that unfailing international action in favour of the world's 12 million refugees will continue to be forthcoming.


A. Introduction

9. Developments in the field of international protection of refugees, during the reporting period, have once again demonstrated the magnitude and complexity of the refugee problem. Concentrations and flows of refugees can be found in all parts of the world. While the circumstances leading to these refugee flows are varied and intricate, their common feature is that the persons concerned have been compelled to leave their respective countries of origin in order to find security and protection elsewhere and they are all in need of, and entitled to, international protection.

10. It is the responsibility of UNHCR to provide this protection to refugees to compensate for their lack or the denial of national protection. This task can, however, only be achieved through effective co-operation of States and relevant intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.

11. The largest concentrations of refugees are currently located in the Asian and Middle Eastern regions. Some of the refugee situations in those regions are also among the most protracted; more than one has now lasted for well over a decade. This is the case, for example, in South-East Asia where several refugee flows have lasted for over 13 years. The period under review saw the onset of further restrictive tendencies in the region with States seeking, at times with appalling results, to stem the flow of asylum-seekers. If further deaths and suffering of refugees are to be avoided, a concerted effort must be undertaken involving the international community at large in support of the first asylum countries in the region. Elsewhere in the Asian region, positive developments occurred that may lead to the cessation of the hostilities that had originally provoked one of the largest refugee flows in recent times. It is hoped that, with the co-operation of all the parties involved, circumstances may now be created that may allow for the voluntary return of the refugees.

12. To the already substantial portion of the refugee population that is found on the African continent, the period under review witnessed an increase of well over half a million refugees. Even though, in many instances, the reception of the refugees entailed great sacrifices for the receiving countries, they continued, in the main, their policy of hospitality. At the same time, close to 150,000 refugees returned voluntarily to their respective countries of origin. By and large the voluntary repatriates were able to return in conditions of safety and dignity. Experience shows, however, that if larger numbers are to be afforded an opportunity to avail themselves of voluntary repatriation, countries concerned must redress the causes that originally led to the refugee flow. A particular concern in the region was the vulnerable situation in which many of the refugees find themselves because of the fact that they are located within, or in the vicinity of, conflict areas. In several instances, refugees were subjected to military and armed attacks.

13. In the American hemisphere, the situation of refugees from Central American countries continued to be the main source of concern to the Office. As in other parts of the world, the refugee phenomenon is but part of a larger political, social and economic situation that rendered the task of providing international protection extremely difficult. Even so, encouraging developments took Place during the reporting period as the countries in the region sought to find peaceful and humanitarian solutions to the refugee problem. More than 10,000 refugees returned to their countries of origin voluntarily. Nevertheless, considerable problems remain, in particular with regard to the physical safety of the refugees and the need to gain respect by all parties concerned for the strictly humanitarian and civilian character of the refugees' status.

14. As far as Europe is concerned, the High Commissioner continued a series of consultations with countries in the region with a view to reaching humane solutions to the problems of refugees and asylum-seekers. The primary preoccupation of the Governments concerned continued to be the arrival of non-European asylum-seekers into Western Europe. This situation was compounded by xenophobic attitudes adopted by segments of the population, and the countries concerned responded with a variety of legal and administrative measures aimed at containing the situation. Such measures ranged from continuing to apply an unduly restrictive interpretation of the refugee definition contained in the United Nations Convention of 1951 relating to the Status of Refugees to the rejection of asylum-seekers at the border on the sole ground that they had been present in another country where they could have sought asylum. In seeking humane solutions to the problems of those who, as a result of persecution or out of fear for their safety, seek asylum In European countries, UNHCR also reinforced its co-operation with the European Community as well as with the network of non-governmental organizations established by the European Consultation on Refugees and Exiles.

15. Although States have generally continued their efforts to ensure that refugees and asylum-seekers are protected, serious problems emerged, sometimes with extremely serious consequences for the refugees and asylum-seekers concerned. Thus, grave problems remain in the areas of admission and asylum, expulsion and detention and the physical protection of refugees. Increased efforts by the international community and UNHCR in these and related areas of the international protection of refugees are needed to ensure that all refugees, irrespective of their race, country or region of origin, ethnic origin, membership of a particular social group or political opinion are treated in accordance with accepted international standards.

B. Principles of international protection and refugee rights

1. Admission and asylum

16. For refugees to enjoy basic protection, it is essential that they be admitted into the territory of a State and granted at least temporary asylum. The main international refugee instruments, however, contain no provisions dealing directly with admission and asylum. The closest they come to addressing the issue is in their non-refoulement provisions that protect a refugee from forceful return to a country where he or she may face persecution, as well as in articles that hold that refugees should not be penalized for having entered the territory of a State in an illegal manner if they come directly from their country of origin.

17. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights5 embodies the principle that everyone has the right to seek and enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. A similar provision is contained in the 1967 United Nations Declaration on Territorial Asylum, contained in General Assembly resolution 2312 (XXII) of 14 December 1967. Asylum remains, however, an attribute of State sovereignty and the right to be granted, as opposed to seeking asylum, has not been translated into a binding international legal norm.

18. Given the absence of firm legal obligations to grant asylum, it is encouraging to note that many States continue liberal asylum policies. Whether persons flee their countries for fear of persecution in the sense of article I of the United Nations Convention of 1951 relating to the Status of Refugees, or as a result of armed conflict, foreign aggression or occupation, gross violations of human rights or internal upheavals, there is widespread recognition that they should be admitted and granted at least temporary asylum. Thus, the majority of today's asylum-seekers continue to be admitted into the territory of States and granted, de jure or de facto, some form of asylum. It should be noted that the majority of these countries - particularly those accommodating large-scale influxes - are among the world's poorest.

19. If the overall situation with respect to admission and asylum remains on the whole positive, some worrying trends need to be highlighted. One of these involves asylum-seekers who sought asylum in countries far away from their own. Sometimes they travelled uninterruptedly from their country, travelling through some other States to a third country. In other instances, they travelled from a country where they might appear already to have found protection, in order to seek asylum or a durable solution in another State, without first obtaining the consent of the authorities of that State. In many instances, the concerned asylum-seekers, in addition, travelled on forged documents and/or destroyed their documents en route with a view to misleading the authorities and frustrating their efforts to return the asylum-seekers to an intermediate country.

20. Partly as a result of these movements, a growing number of States introduced, or further reinforced, measures aimed at restricting the entry of asylum-seekers. These included: visa restrictions for growing numbers of nationalities, penalties on airlines carrying insufficiently documented asylum-seekers, penalties on persons assisting in organizing the illegal entry of asylum-seekers into the territories of States, screening procedures at national borders, restrictions in assistance and the right to work, and systematic and prolonged detention of asylum-seekers.

21. At the same time, some States also continued to resort to much stricter interpretations of the notion of a refugee, as defined in the United Nations Convention of 1951 relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol. Some of these States, furthermore, required that asylum-seekers meet unduly high or unrealistic standards of proof. The combined effect of such measures was that large numbers of persons were frustrated in their efforts to seek asylum from persecution and, even when fulfilling refugee criteria in the sense of the United Nations Convention of 1951 relating to the Status of Refugees, were denied the protection stipulated in that Convention.

22. An equally worrying trend consisted in the practice of some States to refuse admission to asylum-seekers on the grounds that they could, or should, have sought it elsewhere. In some instances, this led to the creation of "orbit" situations, some of which eventually resulted in refoulement. In one particular case involving asylum-seekers travelling by small boats, a comparable practice adopted by one country was reported to have resulted in the deaths of more than 100 persons.

23. A fundamental tenet of the international system for providing protection to refugees is that the granting of asylum is a peaceful and non-hostile act. Nevertheless, in one instance, as a result of the pressure exerted on neighbouring countries by one particular State, refugees from that country could not, for reasons of national security, be granted asylum in those former countries. Other States in the region offered asylum, however, and several hundred asylum-seekers were relocated to these States during the reporting period.

2. Non-refoulement and other rights

24. The most fundamental of protection principles and the first of refugee rights is that of Non-refoulement, which provides that no person shall be subjected to measures such as rejection at the border, or, if already in the territory of a country of refuge, expulsion or compulsory return to any country where he or she may have reason to fear persecution or danger to life, liberty or freedom because of reasons pertinent to refugee status. Apart from being embodied in a large number of international treaties and declarations, this principle is today considered as part of general international law.

25. As in previous years, most States continued to adhere to the principle of non-refoulement. Nevertheless, the reporting period also saw several noteworthy exceptions. Thus, some countries continued their practice of pushing back asylum-seekers. Other States occasionally resorted to the refoulement of larger groups of asylum-seekers and even some recognized refugees. The total number of refugees and asylum-seekers who were subject to refoulement during the reporting period exceeded several thousand. This constitutes an extremely worrisome and noteworthy deterioration in recent years.

26. Another basic principle of refugee protection embodied in article 32 of the 1951 United Nations Convention prohibits States from expelling refugees who are lawfully in their territory except on grounds of national security or public order. During the reporting period, expulsions in disregard of article 32 were limited in number but nevertheless affected several groups of refugees. In one instance, many of the expelled refugees were allowed to return to the asylum country concerned after seeking judicial remedy.

27. Unjustified detention of refugees and asylum-seekers is contrary to basic principles of refugee protection. It will be recalled that, in 1986, the Executive Committee of the Programme of the High Commissioner at its thirty-seventh session, adopted a conclusion on this matter.6 Through this conclusion, the members of the Executive Committee confirmed that detention of refugees and asylum-seekers should only be resorted to if necessary and only on grounds prescribed by law for certain purposes. Those purposes were defined as being to verify identity; to determine the elements on which the claim to refugee status was based; to deal with cases where refugees and asylum-seekers have destroyed their travel and/or identity documents or have used false documents; and to protect national security or public order.

28. Even so, many hundreds of refugees and asylum-seekers were detained during the reporting period for no other reason than illegal entry or for having overstayed the validity of their entry visa. Such detentions were in violation of article 31 of the United Nations Convention of 1951 relating to the Status of Refugees and disregarded the fact that their illegal entry or presence was due entirely to the need to find asylum. In several instances, detention measures were enforced as a means of discouraging further arrivals and/or were part of a deliberate government policy to deny asylum to persons coming from certain countries or regions. In some instances, the conditions of detention gave rise to particular concern as they did not meet internationally-recognized minimum standards of detention. Also worrisome were the facts that many refugees and asylum-seekers had to spend considerable periods in detention, sometimes exceeding one year, with no possibility of judicial or administrative review of the detention measure, and that detention measures were applied equally to refugee children.

29. Economic and social rights of refugees are important, not only so as to facilitate their integration, but also to preserve their dignity and self-respect; these latter reasons applying equally to asylum-seekers and those who have only received temporary asylum. The most fundamental of these rights - the right to gainful occupation - is reflected in both the United Nations Convention of 1951 relating to the Status of Refugees and in other international instruments, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (General Assembly resolution 2200 A (XXI), annex).

30. The enjoyment by refugees of economic and social rights are, however, fraught with limitations. In some situations, this is due to the absence of specific programmes aimed at assisting refugees to find work, obtain training and other facilities, all of which may be required in countries with high rates of unemployment. In some countries, the sheer number of refugees makes the enjoyment of these rights meaningless as no employment is to be found. The difficulty of finding work may be further increased by the absence of appropriate mechanisms whereby refugee status can be recognized, thereby putting the refugees on a par with ordinary aliens or illegal immigrants. As regards asylum-seekers whose status had not been determined, their situation was even more difficult, particularly in countries which introduced or strengthened already existing restrictions on their right to work.

31. Limitations also existed on the refugees' right to education. Many countries do not have enough educational institutions to meet the needs of their own citizens let alone those of refugees and asylum-seekers. Special assistance programmes went a long way to meet the basic education needs of refugees living in settlements and camps, whereas the needs of refugees living in urban centres were largely unmet.

32. At its thirty-eighth session, the Executive Committee of the Programme of the High Commissioner considered the issue of Convention travel documents.7 Although the great majority of States parties to the United Nations Convention of 1951 relating to the Status of Refugees follow the provisions of article 28 of that Convention on the issuance of such documents, certain problems remained. These related in particular to the issuance and renewal of Convention travel documents, their geographic or temporal validity, their recognition for visa and admission purposes and the transfer of responsibility for their issue. In its conclusion on travel documents for refugees, the Executive Committee, inter alia, urged States parties to the United Nations Convention of 1951 relating to the Status of Refugees and/or its 1967 Protocol to take appropriate legislative or administrative measures to implement effectively the provisions of these instruments concerning the issue of Convention travel documents.

33. Many States continued to issue identity documents to refugees during the reporting period, sometimes with UNHCR assistance. In most instances, these documents attested not only to the holders' identity but also to their refugee status, thereby enabling them to benefit from the various rights of refugees.

3. Family reunification

34. During the period under review, UNHCR noted that certain Governments introduced measures to facilitate family reunification, such as the lifting of restrictions which limited the rights to family reunification to those refugees who had sufficient means to support their family members; or in accepting family members belonging to the extended family, namely, siblings, parents, grandparents, etc. Progress was further achieved in connection with documentation requirements, whereby some States have been more flexible in cases where refugees were unable to provide documentary evidence in support of claimed family relationships. Positive results were also achieved with respect to reuniting refugees with family members who had remained in their country of origin.

35. Despite the progress made in some areas, obstacles still remained in many countries. These included the length of the administrative procedures prevailing mainly in countries with heavy backlogs in the processing of asylum requests; the lack of resources to support dependent family members; difficulties in securing employment and adequate housing; the inability of some refugees to prove family relationships; and the requirement to obtain exit permits from countries of origin for the purpose of family reunification abroad. As regards the lack of documentation, the Office was particularly concerned that some countries did not hesitate to contact the authorities of the refugee's country of origin to seek verification of documentation.

C. Security of refugees

36. The minimum content of the international protection of refugees consists in the enjoyment of fundamental human rights necessary for survival in safety and dignity. This implies, as the Non-refoulement principle recognizes, protection from loss of life, injury and other bodily harm as well as from any other action that might endanger, or threaten to endanger, the safety and dignity of refugees. As a fundamental element of this protection, the right of refugees to security is fully recognized in international law.

37. During the reporting period, the security of refugees continued to be at issue, including during flight, in countries of refuge or in connection with their voluntary return to their country of origin. The most flagrant example of the violation of the right to security remained, as in previous years, military and armed attacks on refugee camps and settlements as well as on refugees living in urban centres. Many of these attacks occurred in Africa, the Middle East and in Asia, with resulting loss of life. In one country alone, some 33 attacks were launched on 21 out of 26 settlements that were located in an area suffering from civil strife and armed uprisings. As a result, some 25 refugees lost their lives, 100 were injured, over 150 were raped and between 300 and 400 were abducted.

38. At its thirty-eighth session, the Executive Committee, for the sixth consecutive year, considered the problem of military and armed attacks on refugee camps and settlements. The Executive Committee adopted a conclusion on this subject 1/ which, inter alia, condemned all violations of the rights and safety of refugees and asylum-seekers and, in particular, military and armed attacks on refugee camps and settlements; urged States to abstain from these violations, which are against the principles of international law and cannot, therefore, be justified; called upon States and competent international organizations to provide all necessary assistance to relieve the plight of the victims of such attacks; and urged States to take every possible measure to prevent the occurrence of attacks, including measures to ensure that the civilian and humanitarian character of refugee camps and settlements is maintained.

39. In some refugee situations, the security of refugees is jeopardized through their forced recruitment into armed groups, guerrilla bands or regular armies. Such practices continued during the reporting period and affected considerable numbers of young male refugees. Coercing refugees to take part, as active combatants in an armed struggle, amounts to a clear threat to their survival and integrity, is incompatible with their status as refugees and undermines their access to international protection. Furthermore, these violations are contrary to the concept that refugees are civilians, as well as the tenet, reconfirmed by the Executive Committee in its conclusions on military and armed attacks on refugee camps and settlements, that such camps and settlements have a strictly civilian and humanitarian character and that it is essential that States of refuge do all within their capacity to ensure that this character is maintained.

40. Further examples of violations of the security of refugees were found in the waters of South-East Asia where pirates continued, during the reporting period, to attack asylum-seekers travelling in boats. Efforts to curb such attacks were maintained under the Anti-Piracy Programme previously established by the Royal Thai Government, in co-operation with UNHCR and funded by several donor countries. Similarly, the Rescue at Sea Resettlement Offers (RASRO) scheme and the Disembarkation Resettlement Offers (DISERO) scheme benefited large numbers of asylum-seekers in distress at sea. Elsewhere, national authorities and UNHCR increased their vigilance along flight routes to ensure that refugees in search of protection were not killed, injured, raped or abducted. Even so, during the period under review, several reports reached the Office of violations of refugees' right to security.

D. Protection of refugee women and children

41. In recent years, UNHCR has paid particular attention to the protection needs of refugee women and children. It will be recalled that, in 1985, the Executive Committee of the Programme of the High Commissioner adopted a conclusion on the protection of refugee women in recognition of the fact that refugee women and girls in certain situations are more vulnerable than the refugee population at large.8 Since then, the Office has worked with States and non-governmental organizations to sensitize them to the particular protection needs of refugee women and girls. Specific measures have also been adopted in a number of refugee situations, as for example, within the framework of the Anti-Piracy Programme referred to above.

42. Nevertheless, refugee women and girls continue to suffer physical violence, sexual abuse and discrimination. During the reporting period, refugee women were beaten, raped and subjected to other forms of sexual abuse, such as exploitation for the purpose of prostitution. In some instances, such abuse was inflicted on women under the threat of being denied recognition of their refugee status. In other instances, it seemed, at least in part, to be linked to the absence of adequate assistance programmes geared to the specific needs of the female refugee population. The tensions resulting from living in closed camps during protracted periods of time also increased the level of violence of which women were primarily the victims.

43. The situation of refugee children was subjected to special scrutiny by the Office during the period under review, and was discussed by the Executive Committee of the Programme of the High Commissioner at its thirty-eighth session. In many instances, refugee children are exposed to physical violence, exploitation, forced recruitment and detention. At times they also face particular problems with respect to their registration, determination of their refugee status and their nationality.

44. In its conclusion on the subject,9 the Executive Committee recognized that refugee children have special needs within the broader refugee population, and stressed that all action taken on their behalf must be guided by the principle of the best interests of the child, as well as the principle of family unity. It called for national and international action to prevent violations of the basic rights of children and to assist victims. States were also urged to ensure that the births of refugee children born in countries of asylum were registered. Finally, the Executive Committee addressed the situation of particularly vulnerable groups of refugee children, including unaccompanied minors.

E. Voluntary repatriation

45. At least 150,000 refugees returned voluntarily to their countries of origin during the period under review, the vast majority on the African continent. Significant numbers of refugees, however, also returned to several Central American countries. Voluntary repatriation movements elsewhere were almost negligible.

46. A considerable proportion of the refugees concerned returned spontaneously. In one situation, their decision to return was no doubt influenced by the seriously deteriorating security situation in the part of the country of asylum where they had previously found refuge. Elsewhere, the return took place in an organized fashion in which transportation and immediate assistance needs were met both during the return and during the initial period back in the country of origin.

47. Although by and large the voluntary returns took place in safety and dignity, there were some exceptions. At least one refugee lost his life as a result of violence and many others were subjected to harassment upon return. Yet other refugees faced considerable problems in the reintegration process and several returning refugees were subjected to detention measures. Part of these problems resulted from the fact that returning refugees were denied proper documentation by their countries of origin, thereby denying them effective national protection.

48. Voluntary repatriation, whenever feasible, is the preferred solution to any refugee situation. It achieves the basic goal of international protection, namely, the re-establishment of refugees in a community, in this case, their own. It is, however, also one of the most delicate solutions to implement. It is, therefore, of the utmost importance that the Office be able to count on the full support and co-operation of the countries concerned, including receiving the requisite material and human resources. If voluntary repatriation is to become a viable solution for more significant numbers of refugees, it is essential that States attend to the root causes of refugee movements. Only by removing the conditions that led to the original flight can larger numbers of refugees return voluntarily to their respective countries of origin in safety and dignity. This task, which is largely political, must be pursued more vigorously by States.

F. International refugee instruments and the determination of refugee status

49. Following the call in 1986 by the Executive Committee of the Programme of the High Commissioner regarding the Geneva Declaration10 on the United Nations Convention of 1951 relating to the Status of Refugees and its Protocol of 1967, the Office intensified its promotional activities. During the period under review, Cape Verde, Malawi and Mauritania deposited their ratification instruments, thereby bringing to 104 the number of States that have become a party to one or both of the basic international refugee instruments. The Office also continued its efforts to promote the withdrawal of the geographical limitation that is still maintained by seven States in respect of their obligations under these instruments.

50. Some instruments defining standards for the treatment of refugees have been adopted at the regional level. Of special importance is the 1969 OAU Convention governing the specific aspects of refugee problems in Africa.11 Special mention should also be made of the 1984 Cartagena Declaration on refugees. Although not a binding legal instrument, this Declaration is of particular value in so far as it reflects the specific problems that exist in the Central American region and supplements the standards already defined at the universal level. Many States in the region implement the provisions of this Declaration and in some countries they have been incorporated into national legislation.

51. With respect to the determination of refugee status, States continue to adopt formal procedures for this purpose. Over 50 countries have now established such procedures, whereas other States are actively reviewing, or considering the establishment of, refugee determination procedures. UNHCR continued, during the reporting period, to emphasize the need for such procedures to ensure that refugees benefit from the treatment stipulated in relevant international refugee instruments, as well as that all procedures meet basic requirements in order to ensure that all claims to refugee status were dealt with in an efficient, expeditious, fair and humane manner.

G. Promotion and dissemination of refugee law

52. At a time of increasing restrictiveness and negative policies regarding asylum and the treatment of refugees and asylum-seekers, it is more and more imperative to promote respect for the principles of refugee law and international protection among States and their populations. UNHCR, therefore, intensified its activities in this respect during the period under review. Some of these activities were undertaken in co-operation with other United Nations organs such as UNESCO, UNITAR, the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs and the United Nations Centre for Human Rights. Co-operation also took place with regional organizations, in particular the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the Organization of American States (OAS), the League of Arab States and the Council of Europe.

53. Moreover, UNHCR collaborated with non-governmental organizations including the International Institute of Humanitarian Law at San Remo (Italy), the International Institute of Human Rights at Strasbourg, the Asian-African Legal Consultative Committee (AALCC), the European Legal Network on Asylum, the European Consultation on Refugees and Exiles, and various universities and other research and academic centres. With respect to the latter, UNHCR has continued to offer three-month internships in the Division of Refugee Law and Doctrine to graduate students and scholars in international law and relations.

54. In addition, UNHCR organized regional refugee law seminars and training courses for government and non-governmental organization officials. Such seminars took place at Buenos Aires, Argentina, for South American countries and at Harare, Zimbabwe, for east and southern African countries in mid-1987. Courses for operational-level governmental and non-governmental organization officials were also successfully carried out at the national level by several UNHCR field offices around the world. Training of UNHCR staff in refugee law and protection was put on a more systematic footing during the period under review. Two rounds of courses for professional and general service staff of the regional bureaux were held in late 1987 and early 1988.

55. As usual, the promotion of refugee law was not limited to the dissemination of existing principles. It also extended to the advocacy of new principles and of the inclusion of refugee law clauses in new instruments, as well as promoting the elaboration of new refugee law instruments, including at the national level. Thus, UNHCR commented and provided advice on draft proposals and resolutions being considered by such diverse bodies as AALCC, the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the Council of Europe and OAU. It did the same with respect to draft legislation and administrative regulations being elaborated in various African, European, Latin American and southern Pacific countries.

56. The UNHCR Centre for Documentation on Refugees was strengthened during the period under review. The Centre led the effort within UNHCR for the development of a cohesive information and documentation policy, while it continued to expand both its holdings and its services to UNHCR staff and to outside individuals and organizations, including through the publication of the quarterly Refugee Abstracts. In addition, the Centre published a bibliography on refugee children, in co-operation with some non-governmental organizations. It also initiated work on the development of a multilingual thesaurus of refugee-related terms and assumed the coordinating function of an emerging international network of refugee documentation centres.

57. Finally, UNHCR co-operated closely with the Oxford University Press in making preparations for their publication of the International Journal of Refugee Law. This journal, which will publish articles on refugee law and protection as well as provide information on recent developments in the area of refugee protection, will be able to draw from public material available in UNHCR's recently established legal databases. The planning and preparation for this journal was successfully carried out during the period under review and the first issue is scheduled to appear in January 1989.


A. Introduction

58. During 1987, UNHCR continued to co-operate actively with concerned Governments and the international community in efforts to meet the humanitarian needs of refugees throughout the world.

59. The promotion of durable solutions, namely, voluntary repatriation, local integration and resettlement, remained the primary and long-term objective of the assistance programmes of the Office. UNHCR responded to requests for emergency assistance for many new arrivals and continued to pursue care and maintenance programmes for refugees for whom no immediate solution could be found. Whenever feasible, relief-oriented programmes have also included measures aimed at promoting basic self-sufficiency activities among refugees. Several new initiatives in the field of refugee aid and development were started in 1987.

60. Total UNHCR expenditure in 1987 amounted to $479.3 million (see annex, table 1). Of this total, voluntary funds expenditure represented $461.4 million, including $336.6 million under General Programmes and $124.8 million under Special Programmes. Voluntary funds expenditure in 1987 has increased over 1986 by some $20 million, which reflects additional requirements due to the emergence of new refugee situations, changes in programme content and an overall higher rate of programme delivery.

61. UNHCR efforts to improve the management of assistance programmes have included the training of UNHCR staff to apply modern management tools and techniques, the organization of programme management workshops for UNHCR's implementing partners and regional seminars on refugee-related issues. The Working Group on Financial Management Information System (FMIS), which was set up in 1986, continued in 1987 to work on changing project management systems and procedures and developing a sound financial management information system. While good progress was made in the implementation of certain aspects of FMIS, high priority will continue to be given to the consolidation of more efficient and effective control and reporting of UNHCR programmes.

62. The following paragraphs provide a summary of the major areas of assistance, as well as an overview of significant developments in each of the geographical areas covered by UNHCR's five regional bureaux. Detailed information on expenditure levels for each country or area programme is given in tables I and 2 (see annex to the present report).

B. Major trends in assistance

1. Ad Hoc Committee on Operation Review

63. As a result of discussions held during the 1987 target review exercise, it was agreed that a more systematic review of UNHCR operations world wide needed to be undertaken on a continuing basis as opposed to only once a year. As a result, the Ad Hoc Committee on Operations Review (ACOR) was established in July 1987. The Committee, under the chairmanship of the Co-ordinator of Operations, is composed of the Heads of Bureaux, Division of Refugee Law and Doctrine, Financial and Administrative Services and the Heads of Technical Support Service, Programme Management Service, and other support services as necessary. Its main functions are to develop procedures to ensure systematic follow-up on recommendations relating to programme implementation and planning, to propose initiatives and to ensure an ongoing review mechanism for all programme activities.

64. Operation review meetings on 18 countries (representing approximately 70 per cent of the General Programme budget) were held at Geneva in late 1987. The countries chosen were those identified by ACOR members as those in most urgent need of review. The selection was made on the basis of complexity and/or continuing difficulties in implementation. These reviews led to the identification of common problems, and the formulation of programme objectives, which in turn led to the identification of specific issues to be considered by the operation review teams in countries selected from among the 18 already reviewed. The composition of the operation review teams varied according to the particular areas to be analysed in a given country. Programmes reviewed during the period under consideration included those in Costa Rica, Honduras, Pakistan, Somalia, the Sudan, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, Zaire and Zambia. These reviews resulted in the development of a streamlined plan of action for each country visited and, in certain cases, in reductions of staff and/or financial resources.

2. Emergency response

65. Refugee emergencies are events which often call for exceptional measures in terms of speed and magnitude. Although some degree of early warning is often possible, refugee emergencies are, on the whole, unpredictable and cover a wide range of needs. Consequently, emergency preparedness and response are issues affecting all areas of UNHCR. Assistance is a major aspect of UNHCR involvement in refugee emergencies, and the Emergency Fund, which allows the High Commissioner to allocate up to $10 million annually was frequently resorted to.12 In 1987, $6,281,174 were obligated from the Emergency Fund, of which 27 per cent in Africa, nearly 37 per cent in Asia and Oceania (including assistance to returnees in Sri Lanka) and some 32 per cent in South-West Asia for refugees in Yemen (see annex, table 4).

66. The success of longer-term solutions to refugee problems depends to a large extent on effective response at the initial, emergency stages of a refugee influx. During the past year, UNHCR continued to improve its emergency preparedness and response capabilities. The regional bureaux were assisted by the Emergency Unit in designing the systems, procedures, as well as identifying resources to enable the Office to respond effectively to emergencies. At the same time, UNHCR has been working to develop emergency systems in the areas of early warning and staffing. Accordingly, the Office has responded to emergencies in Malawi, Ethiopia and Sri Lanka. Extensive contingency plans were elaborated for eastern Sudan. A special, temporary operational unit has recently been created to prepare for the possible repatriation of Afghan refugees.

67. The Emergency Management Training Programme continued in 1987. To date, the Programme has trained over 500 UNHCR and operational partner staff at workshops, which, in 1987, were held at Bangkok, Harare, Blantyre and Madison. This training programme has made a considerable contribution towards defining institutional memory, sharing experience, improving co-ordination and increasing performance generally.

68. The development of emergency resource materials continues to receive attention. A fifth emergency preparedness profile - on Somalia - was released, and profiles are under way for Malawi and Central America. The resource handbook for field officers was begun in 1987, and the "Emergency Manager's Update", a newsletter focusing on developments in emergency management, continued to be issued periodically.

3. Care and maintenance

69. Pending the identification and implementation of durable solutions, UNHCR provides intermediate assistance in the form of care and maintenance. This assistance may include the provision of food, shelter, water, health services and sanitation, clothing, household utensils and basic education. If feasible, such programmes also include vocational training or small income-generating activities in urban areas, reception centres or refugee camps.

70. In 1987, the largest single care and maintenance programme was the assistance programme for Afghan refugees in Pakistan for which $51.3 million were obligated under the 1987 General Programmes. Other countries where major care and maintenance programmes were implemented include Ethiopia, Somalia and Thailand. Special mention should also be made of the assistance to Mozambican refugees who received care and maintenance assistance provided in several neighbouring countries and, in particular, in Malawi.

4. Self-sufficiency activities

71. In 1987, UNHCR continued to place great emphasis on incorporating the objective of refugee self-reliance in most of its programme activities, especially in large-scale refugee situations even during the care and maintenance phase. Apart from its income-generating component, self-sufficiency activities also allow refugees, to a certain extent, to reclaim their sense of dignity while reducing their dependency on financial inputs and other resources from the host Governments and the donor community.

72. The co-operative approach that was initiated many years ago and developed in 1987 within the framework of increased liaison with developmental agencies has led to constructive collaboration with other United Nations organizations whose activities are development-oriented and which are better equipped to cope with self-sufficiency ventures. Full details of such collaboration are given in chapter III of the present report.

5. Durable solutions

73. The primary objective of all UNHCR assistance activities is the achievement of durable solutions through voluntary repatriation, local integration in the country of first asylum, or, when these are not possible, resettlement in another country. In 1987, over $110.6 million were obligated under the General Programmes for the promotion of all three durable solutions. Some $19.9 million were made available under Special Programmes for rehabilitation assistance to returnees in their countries of origin.

74. Voluntary repatriation; during 1987, the Office continued to promote and support efforts towards the voluntary repatriation of individuals or groups of refugees. The largest movement during the year involved the spontaneous and organized return of 81,000 Ugandan refugees. Other major repatriation movements in Africa during 1987 involved some 47,000 Mozambicans from Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, approximately 37,000 Ethiopians from Djibouti, Somalia and the Sudan (of whom an estimated 20,000 Ethiopians of Tigrayan origin returned spontaneously from eastern Sudan), and some 10,000 Chadians from the Central African Republic and the Sudan.

75. As a result of understandings reached between Zairean and Angolan authorities towards the end of 1987, some 5,000 Zairean refugees registered for voluntary repatriation, of whom some 900 returned to Zaire in December.

76. While repatriation of Argentinian and Uruguayan refugees continued throughout 1987, over 13,000 Nicaraguans, Salvadorians, Guatemalans and Haitians also returned to their countries of origin.

77. Local integration: where voluntary repatriation is not feasible in the foreseeable future and the host Government is agreeable, settlement or local integration projects assist refugees to attain a level of self-sufficiency comparable to that of the local population. In urban and semi-urban environments, assistance is normally given to individual refugees. This may include, inter alia, the provision of housing, social amenities, education, language courses and the purchase of tools and equipment. Large groups of rural refugees are assisted mainly through the creation of rural settlements, the objectives of which are to become self-reliant communities. Expenditure on local integration activities in 1987 amounted to some $88.8 million.

78. Resettlement has continued to be promoted in the absence of other durable solutions. Resettlement assistance is also often provided for special groups of refugees, such as those separated from their families and disabled refugees in need of rehabilitation in countries where facilities for such treatment are more readily available.

79. A total of 45,836 Indo-Chinese, of whom 51 per cent are Vietnamese, 36 per cent Lao and 13 per cent Kampucheans, were resettled in 1987. Under the Orderly Departure Programme, a total of 12,961 persons left Viet Nam for family reunion abroad. A total of 2,429 refugees were rescued at sea in 1987, of whom 793 benefited from the RASRO scheme, while 586 persons were disembarked and resettled under the DISERO scheme.

80. Over 19,000 persons of various European origins benefited from resettlement opportunities offered by traditional countries of immigration. A total of 2,992 refugees were resettled from Africa, over 5,300 from the Middle East and some 700 from the Americas. Some 2,400 persons have been resettled under programmes of assistance for disabled refugees and their families.

81. Expenditure incurred by UNHCR for the promotion of resettlement and for the transportation costs of refugees to countries not in a position to assume such costs themselves amounted to some $16.5 million under General Programmes.

6. Social services

82. In recent years there has been a gradual consolidation of technical and specialist activities within the Technical Support Service at Headquarters. During 1987, a decision was reached to merge Social Services and the Emergency Unit within the Technical Support Service, effective 1 January 1988. The merger is a clear expression of the comprehensive multi-sectoral approach to project planning, design, and implementation.

83. The first months of 1988 have seen practical manifestations of the merger through revised terms of reference, joint missions to the field, and re-orientation of the former social services staff from control-oriented functions to priority on planning and design of case management systems, community development activities, and education and training programmes.

84. Community services (case management and community development); during 1987, case management and community development activities continued in both urban and rural areas, emphasizing long-term self-sufficiency. The network of country and regional project officers (social services), while continuing to work on the development and improvement of case management systems in urban areas, also became more actively engaged in rural community development as part of a multi-sectoral approach. Following the Refugee Participation Workshop in late 1986, a series of country case studies was conducted, culminating in the development of draft guidelines for refugee participation that are presently under review.

85. Counselling activities were carried out in 53 countries worldwide. In 1987, 42 counselling projects were implemented in the field by UNHCR's operational partners, the majority in Africa (22), with the amount of $3,300,000 appropriated for these projects. An additional 26 counselling projects totalling $4,075,000 were implemented by UNHCR itself through its professional social services staff. Both types of projects facilitated the provision of case management assistance to refugees, from the stages of seeking asylum through the attainment of medium-term solutions (education, income-generating activities and skills training) and long-term solutions (employment and other forms of self-sufficiency, and in some cases voluntary repatriation and resettlement).

86. During the year, the Working Group on Children at Risk continued the development of initiatives on behalf of refugee children. In March 1988, technical consultations took place on guidelines for working with refugee children. These guidelines will be issued in the near future. A new Steering Committee on Refugee Women was set up in January 1988 to review relevant assistance and protection measures, to prepare guidelines for working with refugee women and to support refugee-women-related studies. Both groups were highlighted in some conclusions adopted during the thirty-eighth session of the Executive Committee. Another area of emphasis in 1987 was refugee income-generating projects, with the first of a series of four workshops convened in Senegal in December. Guidelines on refugee income-generation will be the end result of these workshops.

87. Assistance to handicapped refugees, in 1987, as in previous years, two projects administered by Headquarters were implemented for the benefit of refugees with disabilities and serious medical problems. Some 24 refugees were evacuated from one country to another for specialized medical treatment, and another 9 refugees were treated in their country of asylum, with a total expenditure of $105,169.75. Refugee individuals and groups were also assisted through field office activities in 12 countries, in which 13 projects, benefiting some 10,000 refugees, were implemented at a cost of $1,004,451.

88. Finally, through resettlement, several hundred refugees were accepted by resettlement countries on family reunion grounds under regular quotas. Furthermore, some 300 severely disabled medically-at-risk and torture survivors with no links in any resettlement countries were accepted, mainly by European countries under special programmes.

89. Education and training: in 1987, elementary education continued to be provided to refugees, mainly in local government schools or in specially established settlement schools. UNHCR had 108 projects worldwide in the field of post-primary, vocational/technical and academic education. In-service training, literacy programmes, special skills training and language training still constitute the main activities under non-formal educational assistance programmes.

90. Assistance was provided to enable 18,800 refugee students to study at the secondary and tertiary levels. An amount of some $10.16 million was spent in 1987 for this educational assistance programme. Approximately 31 per cent of the students took technical training courses, while 58 per cent attended secondary academic schools and 11 per cent universities. Renewed emphasis was put on orienting students towards technical training considered likely to lead towards employment.

7. Supplies and Food Aid Services

91. The responsibility for the purchasing of supplies for refugees and for UNHCR's operations, as well as global food aid planning and tracking of food aid shipments, rests with the Supplies and Food Aid Service. In 1987, the Service issued 1,140 purchase orders for goods valued at $39.3 million. The goods were obtained from 41 countries and shipped to 48 others in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe. The main items purchased in value/monetary terms were: tents, tarpaulins and sheeting; foodstuffs; permanent shelters, such as warehouses and other prefabricated houses; water supply and water treatment equipment; drugs and medical equipment; agricultural seeds, hand tools and machinery; textiles; household and domestic items; passenger and commercial vehicles, spare parts, fuel and lubricants; educational equipment and supplies; computer hardware and software; insurance and freight-forwarding services.

92. In 1987, the amount of food aid for refugees, including that from the World Food Programme (WFP), totalled some $200 million. WFP, which normally supplies about two-thirds of UNHCR food requirements, provided approximately 470,000 metric tons, and UNHCR, through its donors, some 240,000 metric tons. In 1987, nearly $59.2 million in food aid was channelled through UNHCR.

8. Phasing-in phasing-out of assistance

93. Once durable solutions have been found for refugees, international assistance ceases and the host government assumes overall responsibility for further material, social and economic needs. It is considered that a durable solution has been achieved when basic needs of refugees are met in a self-sustaining manner, to levels comparable to those prevailing among the local population. UNHCR endeavours to promote self-sustaining durable solutions by the planning and implementation of projects that:

(a) Are technically and economically viable;

(b) Promote refugee participation and self-management;

(c) Are planned within the framework of national or regional development plans and;

(d) Involve local institutions in planning and implementation.

94. In the least developed countries with fragile economies, it is increasingly the case that even though refugees' subsistence levels are on a par with those of the local population, that level is unsatisfactory or unstable. Unforeseen circumstances may cause imbalance or disruption in refugee communities, their economy and their environment (for example, one poor harvest could reintroduce the need for outside aid or an unexpected population growth may call for the building of new schools or the development of more land for which additional assistance may be required).

95. Environmental damage caused by overuse of natural resources by refugees may call for rehabilitation projects. Much of the required post handing-over assistance is of a developmental nature and UNHCR is therefore increasingly acting as a catalyst to engage developmental agencies such as the World Bank, UNDP and IFAD in taking over refugee assistance programmes after the phasing out of UNHCR assistance.

9. Evaluation of assistance activities

96. During 1987, UNHCR took steps to strengthen its evaluation efforts in a number of ways. Most noteworthy were: an increase in staff resources dedicated to the function; new procedures for selecting operations to be evaluated, which ensure that the highest priority activities are covered; and refinements to the recently established Evaluation Committee which are intended to ensure that all recommendations receive attention at the appropriate level. As a result of these changes, it is hoped that evaluations will be able to play a more important role in improving the management of field operations.

C. Regional developments in Africa

97. The overall number of refugees in Africa increased during the reporting period. The continuing exoduses from Mozambique into neighbouring countries and from the Sudan into south-west Ethiopia substantially exceeded the numbers repatriating voluntarily. These influxes required new or expanded emergency relief operations. Earlier emergency programmes in Somalia and the Sudan could, however, be phased out, and significant voluntary repatriation continued.

98. Progress in the promotion of self-reliance has been mixed and was adversely affected by the economic difficulties still facing many countries of asylum. Harvest failures in Ethiopia and the Sudan in 1987 were also factors. However, there has been some progress in the promotion of measures to address the needs of areas affected by the presence of refugees in an integrated manner, and within the framework of national development plans, and in encouraging national and international development institutions to take the lead in their area of competence.

99. The conclusions on military and armed attacks on refugee camps and settlements, adopted by the Executive Committee of the Programme of the High Commissioner at its thirty-eighth session,1 have a particular relevance for refugees in Africa, where several such attacks occurred in the reporting period. Incidents also occurred where the strictly humanitarian and civilian nature of refugee camps and settlements was not respected in other ways, and cases of refoulement were reported. UNHCR drew these to the attention of the authorities concerned, and, where necessary, strengthened its staff presence.

100. Continuing insecurity and conflict within Mozambique led well over 300,000 more Mozambicans to seek asylum in neighbouring countries between I April 1987 and 31 March 1988. By far the largest influx was registered in Malawi: numbers there rose from 150,000 to 452,000 during the reporting period. They are concentrated in the eight districts of central and southern Malawi with the majority scattered and living freely with Malawian nationals in areas along or near the border with Mozambique. This emergency programme has been characterized by rapidly increasing needs, with a number of technical missions revising and updating requirements to ensure a rapid UNHCR response. The programme is implemented in co-operation with the government, the Malawi Red Cross Society and non-governmental organizations. The Government of Malawi acceded to the 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, as well as to the 1969 OAU Refugee Convention in November 1987.

101. In the United Republic of Tanzania, the Government estimates that some 72,000 Mozambicans are living near the border; 15,000 of them received emergency assistance and action is in hand to identify other recent arrivals in need of assistance. The number of Mozambicans in Zambia remained stable at some 30,000, of whom 4,000 have been transferred to a new settlement. Some 65,000 Mozambicans were assisted in four camps in Zimbabwe. A fifth camp is planned. Many other Mozambicans have settled spontaneously in border areas. At the end of the reporting period, some 20,000 Mozambicans were being assisted in Swaziland. Many thousands of Mozambicans are reported to have sought asylum in South Africa. In February 1988, UNHCR issued an updated appeal to the international community for assistance to Mozambicans in neighbouring countries, covering also assistance to returnees in Mozambique itself.

102. Another major and continuing exodus has been that of southern Sudanese fleeing the effects of civil strife, exacerbated by drought in some regions, and seeking asylum in south-west Ethiopia. The number of registered Sudanese refugees increased from some 140,000 on 1 April 1987 to nearly 260,000 a year later. The very severely malnourished condition of many of the new arrivals and the logistical and other difficulties encountered in providing emergency assistance in the remote camps necessitated a major expansion of the resources devoted to this emergency; the necessary action was underway at the end of the reporting period.

103. The organized repatriation of Ethiopian refugees from Djibouti and Somalia continued, benefiting a total of 4,450 persons in the reporting period. No significant influx of refugees into Somalia was reported. The first phase of a re-enumeration of refugees was completed in 1987 and involved aerial photography of the camps. The second phase, a detailed socio-demographic survey, is due to begin in the second quarter of 1988 and its results are expected in early 1989. Most of the refugees in Somalia have been in camps receiving relief for almost 10 years. Efforts to find solutions for the refugees and to promote their self-reliance have been intensified. A number of initiatives are underway, including some with the World Bank, EEC and IFAD. A United Nations inter-agency mission visited Somalia in September 1987 and recommended a comprehensive programme of action for the promotion of refugee-related development projects, as well as measures in various sectors where the refugees' presence has resulted in an additional burden for Somalia (see A/42/645, annex).

104. There have been few new arrivals in the Sudan, although contingency plans were prepared in case the events in the region result in a substantial influx. At the old sites established for Ethiopian refugees, measures continued to be taken to consolidate the settlements and promote their self-sufficiency, and to transfer more recent arrivals from reception centres to settlements.

105. In the context of efforts to link refugee assistance to national development, UNHCR has been closely associated with the preparation by the World Bank of a multi-sectoral agricultural project in the eastern Sudan to benefit assisted and unassisted refugees and nationals. UNHCR also participated in the inter-agency review mission to the Sudan, which in its report set out a programme of action for refugee-affected areas (see A/42/646, annex).

106. The organized and spontaneous repatriation of Ugandan refugees from southern Sudan has continued, despite many practical difficulties related to security on both sides of the border, and the deaths in ambushes of several persons working for the operation. Some 65,000 Ugandans repatriated from Sudan during the reporting period, as did 7,000 from Zaire. The latter operation was completed in mid-1987.

107. Repatriation of Chadians from neighbouring countries also continued. At the end of the period, UNHCR was assisting only some 20,000 Chadians in western Sudan, some 8,500 in Cameroon and much smaller numbers elsewhere in the region.

108. In 1987, some 42,000 South African refugees were reported to be living in various countries of asylum in southern Africa; 31,000 of them received UNHCR assistance. The great majority of the 75,000 Namibian refugees were assisted in Angola and Zambia. Assistance to the 69,000 Namibians in Angola was increasingly affected by the security situation in that country. Support towards self-sufficiency programmes for refugees was also provided through the southern African liberation movements recognized by OAU.

109. The number of South African asylum-seekers increased only slightly, though the implications of the further deterioration in conditions within South Africa are increasingly preoccupying, as are general trends in southern Africa. Together with the other members of the Steering Committee (OAU, United Nations, UNDP), UNHCR has been directly involved in the organization of the International Conference on the Plight of Refugees, Returnees and Displaced Persons in Southern Africa, planned to be held in Norway in August 1988. In addition to focusing world attention on the problem, the Conference will seek to find short and long-term solutions in a concerted and coordinated manner, both at the country and regional levels.

110. During 1987, expenditure in Africa under UNHCR voluntary funds totalled $183.4 million, of which $120.2 million were obligated under General Programmes and $63.2 million under Special Programmes.

D. Regional developments in Asia and Oceania

111. In Asia and Oceania, the activities of UNHCR continued to be focused on the situation of Indo-Chinese asylum-seekers. In addition, with improved prospects for the return of Sri Lankan Tamil asylum-seekers from India in the aftermath of the Indo-Sri Lankan Peace Accord in July 1987, UNHCR established a presence in Sri Lanka. Moreover, UNHCR offices within the region dealt with a growing number of non-Indo-Chinese asylum-seekers, with the biggest caseloads being registered in India. During 1987, $61,847,095 were spent in some 20 countries and territories where UNHCR maintains an office or a programme.

112. Frustrations resulting from the unabated influx of the Indo-Chinese led to an aggravation of protection problems in East and South-East Asia. During the reporting period, UNHCR had to confront some of the most serious infringements on humanitarian norms since 1979, including the principle of non-refoulement. This, despite the fact that a 12 per cent overall increase in arrivals was offset by larger resettlement figures, which reduced the region-wide refugee population by 5 per cent to 138,248 by the end of 1987.

113. Progress was, however, made with the Orderly Departure Programme from Viet Nam, which had been seriously affected by differences between the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and the main receiving countries from 1986 to mid-1987. The Orderly Departure Programme has now been reactivated and is likely to attain departure figures similar to peak years before 1986.

114. Some 7,000 Kampucheans in Khao-i-Dang Holding Centre in Thailand were allowed by the Royal Thai Government to be processed for resettlement in third countries. This group had previously been barred access to resettlement screening by the Government.

115. The Royal Thai Government likewise agreed, in December 1987, to regularize the status of some 10,000 Hilltribe Laotian asylum-seekers who had been living in Ban Vinai camp in an unauthorized manner. The group was thus given access to the screening mechanism that adjudicates claims to refugee status.

116. For the first time since the establishment in 1985 of the refugee eligibility screening mechanism for the Laotian asylum-seekers in Thailand, 41 screened-out asylum-seekers were readmitted in late 1987 to the Lao People's Democratic Republic under a memorandum of understanding signed with UNHCR in October 1986.

117. The Anti-Piracy Programme has now entered its fifth year and the attack rate on refugee boats arriving in the region has continued to decrease, reaching 9 per cent in 1987, down from 77 per cent during the peak period early in the 1980s.

118. While resettlement in third countries still represents the most feasible durable solution for the Indo-Chinese refugees (45,836 were resettled during 1987), UNHCR has stepped up its efforts to promote voluntary repatriation through closer consultations with the Governments of the countries of origin. The number of candidates applying for organized voluntary repatriation, especially to the Lao People's Democratic Republic, but also to Viet Nam, has increased over previous years. Long administrative delays, however, have resulted in only a small number of actual returns. UNHCR continued in 1987 to provide limited reintegration assistance in the Lao People's Democratic Republic and Kampuchea to persons having returned spontaneously or through organized channels.

119. During the summer of 1987, several thousand Vietnamese, who were among the 280,000 persons locally integrated in the People's Republic of China, left for Hong Kong with the hope of resettlement in other countries. Through bilateral arrangements made between the Hong Kong authorities and the Chinese Government, the majority of this caseload has already returned to China.

120. In November 1987, a joint Chinese Government and UNHCR mission reviewed the impact of UNHCR assistance projects in China to assess their effectiveness within the context of the programme of local settlement and refugee self-sufficiency. The report of this assessment mission demonstrated certain continuing problems in bringing the refugee caseload to full self-sufficiency, and recommendations for further UNHCR assistance are being submitted to the Executive Committee of the Programme of the High Commissioner at its thirty-ninth session.

121. The number of Irian Jayans in Papua New Guinea at the end of 1987 decreased to some 9,600, of whom 7,094 continued to receive UNHCR assistance. During the year, 1,746 Irian Jayans were relocated from the border area to a newly established site in West Sepik Province, where better security conditions and opportunities for economic self-reliance prevail. During 1987, some 1,325 persons voluntarily repatriated to Irian Jaya under UNHCR auspices, bringing the total number of such persons since 1984 to some 2,700.

122. As at 31 March 1988, there were 6,661 refugees in India, comprised mainly of 5,632 Afghans and 934 Iranians. UNHCR assistance includes primary and secondary education for children as well as higher education and vocational training for adults. Some 102 handicapped refugees were also assisted. A total of 960 refugees departed for resettlement in third countries in 1987. During the same year, 112 Afghans, 12 Iranians and one Somali voluntarily repatriated to their countries of origin, with UNHCR assistance. A small number of refugees of Indian origin received Indian citizenship in 1987.

123. Following the signing of the Peace Accord on 29 July 1987, and at the request of the Government of Sri Lanka, UNHCR initiated a programme of assistance to promote the return of Sri Lankan Tamils from India. An allocation of $2 million was made from the Emergency Fund to cover the initial preparatory work for the setting up of this programme of assistance. A UNHCR office was established at Colombo on 2 November 1987. On 24 December 1987, the organized repatriation movement started with a group of 252 repatriates from the State of Tamil Nadu in India. The repatriates were received, interviewed and assisted by UNHCR in Mannar District in close co-operation with the Sri Lankan authorities.

E. Regional development in Europe and North America

124. The pace of developments in the region since the beginning of 1987, at both national and regional levels, placed considerable demands on UNHCR. Governments have taken a range of measures to restrict or regulate admission of asylum-seekers (including visa requirements, carrier sanctions, rejection at the frontier and summary return to countries considered to be countries of transit or first asylum). This has led, inter alia to an increasing number of "orbit cases", asylum-seekers stranded at airports, and even cases where asylum-seekers and refugees were placed at risk of refoulement. These situations, in addition to close consultations with Governments and non-governmental organizations regarding general refugee policy in the region and draft legislation and implementing regulations and procedures, required additional efforts by the UNHCR branch office and Headquarters staff.

125. At the same time, UNHCR has pointed to the need to prevent abuse of asylum procedures; to streamline such procedures, while maintaining adequate safeguards, in order to reduce large backlogs; and to work towards a genuinely global approach to the problems being faced. Such an approach should, at a minimum, preserve respect for the United Nations Convention of 1951 relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, and for generally accepted humanitarian principles and practices. It should also take full account of the principle of burden-sharing among States. Beyond this, it is clear that the international community will need to play a more active role in the pursuit of both prevention of and solutions to refugee situations.

126. Total numbers of asylum-seekers arriving in European countries rose considerably in the past few years - from 104,000 in 1984 to 170,000 in 1985 and 204,000 in 1986 - falling to some 183,000 in 1987. More than two-thirds of these persons originated from countries outside Europe. The largest number of arrivals (57,400) was again recorded in the Federal Republic of Germany. Particular complications arise owing to the varied legal traditions and procedures applicable in different receiving countries. Many European countries at present have a substantial backlog of cases of persons claiming refugee status. Sensitivities are apparent in hostile attitudes to the presence of foreign residents among some sectors of the public.

127. In the face of this situation, the European Governments are to be commended where traditions of asylum have been maintained. The High Commissioner remains concerned, however, about any measures which may affect the ability of persons to lodge asylum claims, or even to leave their country of origin at all. UNHCR also remains preoccupied with the fate of persons who, although they do not fulfil the criteria of the 1951 United Nations Convention and 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees, are none the less in need of international protection as they cannot at present return to their home country because of serious danger to their lives, liberty and security.

128. On the regional level, UNHCR has continued to provide new forums for consultations with Governments aimed at ways and means of addressing the situation on the basis of a humanitarian approach. Thus, while discussions have continued within the Council of Europe at Strasbourg, France and gathered momentum within the European Community and other forums, meetings focusing on the situation of specific groups of asylum-seekers and refugees were conducted at a working group level at Geneva throughout 1987 and into 1988. Major consultations among Governments and UNHCR, starting in 1985 at Geneva, and later in Stockholm, The Hague and Gerzensee (Switzerland), have provided important opportunities for exchanges among European Governments in their attempt to co-ordinate policies. The next such meeting is scheduled to take place at Oslo in May 1988.

129. For geographical and historical reasons, the refugee situation in North America differs from that in Europe. Both Canada and the United States of America are major resettlement countries, although both have in the past few years also increasingly become countries of first asylum. Thus, in 1987, Canada and the United States each registered asylum claims by 26,000 persons (for the United States of America Immigration and Naturalization Service applications during the fiscal year ending 30 September 1987 only). In addition to these numbers and those resettled in the two countries, persons who might otherwise have qualified for admission as refugees were admitted under other categories such as family reunion. During 1987, 6,000 and 28,000 refugees were admitted for resettlement in Canada and the United States, respectively.

130. During 1987, UNHCR continued to contribute to projects in Europe and North America, particularly in the fields of legal and social counselling for asylum-seekers, assistance to aged, handicapped or otherwise vulnerable groups of refugees and the promotion of activities to facilitate durable solutions. Care and maintenance assistance was provided to destitute refugees in a few countries where no other source of assistance was available. In this regard, the majority of funds in 1987 were required for operations in Greece, Italy, Turkey and Yugoslavia. A total of some 5,000 refugees repatriated voluntarily in 1987 from countries in the region.

131. A UNHCR mission to French Guyana took place in the first half of December 1987 and February 1988 to assess the situation of some 8,000 Surinamese nationals who had sought refuge there and who are assisted by the French authorities. Follow-up discussions on this subject with the authorities concerned are envisaged.

132. During 1987, UNHCR expenditure in Europe and North America totalled $18 million, of which $16.4 million were under General Programmes and $1.6 million under Special Programmes.

F. Regional development in Latin America and the Caribbean

133. By the end of 1987, 119,400 refugees had received UNHCR assistance in the Central American/Mexican region. For the first time in the last several years, the total refugee population reflects a decreasing trend, as voluntary repatriates outnumbered new arrivals. In Costa Rica, 23,100 refugees were assisted both in urban and rural areas. The labour insertion programme enabled 500 refugees to obtain official work permits. In Honduras, after the October 1987 mass repatriation movement from the Mesa Grande Camp and the weekly year-round repatriations, 40,400 refugees remained at the end of 1987, of whom 15,150 were Salvadorians, 13,115 Nicaraguans of Indian origin, 11,750 Nicaraguans of non-Indian origin and 416 Guatemalans. Material assistance was maintained at the same level for all refugee groups in that country. There were 40,990 Guatemalans in Mexico. Assistance was aimed at achieving self-sufficiency, especially at Campeche and Quintana Roo, while multi-sectoral supplementary aid for refugees in Chiapas continued.

134. The number of repatriates increased considerably in 1987, especially from Honduras, and the trend continued for the first months of 1988. In 1987, 5,595 Salvadorians repatriated mostly from the Mesa Grande Camp, and 3,737 Miskitos and Sumos repatriated from the Honduran Mosquitia. About 2,050 Haitians repatriated from the Dominican Republic. Smaller repatriation movements have taken place from Mexico (853 Guatemalans) and Costa Rica (267 Salvadorians, Guatemalans and Nicaraguans). The total number of repatriates in 1987 was 12,937 persons. In order to facilitate repatriation movements and closely assess the situation of repatriates, two new offices were opened in El Salvador and Guatemala. For the same reason, a new sub-office became operational in Puerto Cabezas (Nicaraguan Mosquitia) under the overall responsibility of the Chargé de Mission at Managua.

135. In southern Latin America, the estimated refugee population stands at 25,000 persons, of whom 6,739 received UNHCR assistance. While new Chilean asylum-seekers were registered, approximately 670 refugees were assisted to repatriate. This stable refugee situation has allowed the restructuring of UNHCR offices in the region. A single regional office, based at Buenos Aires was constituted and is now supported by three sub-offices, at Lima, Rio de Janeiro and Santiago, respectively.

136. During 1987, UNHCR expenditures in Latin America and the Caribbean totalled $40.1 million, of which $35.5 million were under General Programmes and $3.8 million under Special Programmes.

G. Regional development in South-West Asia, North Africa and the Middle East

137. UNHCR has been developing contingency plans in preparation for the voluntary repatriation of Afghan refugees, which will take place following the successful conclusion of the proximity talks mediated by the United Nations between Pakistan and Afghanistan. In the course of contingency planning, UNHCR has consulted with WFP and other organizations, including voluntary agencies, to co-ordinate activities to assist the repatriation and rehabilitation of returnees.

138. UNHCR will continue to assist the world's largest single concentration of refugees in Pakistan until their voluntary repatriation. Particular efforts have been and are being made in the health sector to increase immunization coverage of the refugee population. During 1987, activities promoting self-reliance in the Afghan refugee communities have been emphasized and the number of beneficiaries, especially women, has increased significantly.

139. The second UNHCR/World Bank income generating project for refugee areas in Pakistan, amounting to $40 million, has started and will generate some 10 million man-days of employment.

140. Some 5,900 refugees living in Lebanon continued to receive assistance from the UNHCR Regional Office in the Middle East, at Beirut. The regional office at Manama, Bahrain, became operational during 1987, monitoring UNHCR activities in the Gulf countries and Iraq.

141. Following an appeal made by the Government of Yemen to UNHCR on 23 February 1987, to provide appropriate assistance to refugees/displaced persons from the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen who have fled into Yemen as a result of the events of January 1986, UNHCR has obligated 1 million dollars from the Emergency Fund to finance assistance in the sectors of logistics, shelter, health and sanitation.

142. In Yemen, 2,400 refugees of Eritrean origin living on the Red Sea coast were provided with basic assistance in the sectors of health, education, shelter, community development and income-generating activities in 1987.

143. In 1987, UNHCR continued to provide assistance to vulnerable Sahrawi groups in Algeria within the framework of assistance programmes approved by the Executive Committee.

144. During the period under review, two groups benefited from UNHCR assistance in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Afghan refugees, estimated by the authorities to number 2.2 million, on whose behalf a total of $14 million was spent in 1987, mainly in the sectors of health, water supply, agriculture and vocational training; and 10,000 recently-arrived Iraqi Kurdish refugees, who received emergency assistance amounting to $500,000 beginning in June 1987.

145. UNHCR continued to co-ordinate the United Nations Programme of Humanitarian Assistance for Cyprus, providing aid to persons displaced within the island as a result of the events of 1974.

146. During 1987, UNHCR expenditure in the Middle East and North Africa totalled $3,174,800, of which $1,401,000 were for the General Programmes and $1,773,800 for Special Programmes.


A. Co-operation between UNHCR and other members of the United Nations system

147. UNHCR has further developed various programmes and activities to meet the needs of refugees in close co-operation with other members of the United Nations system.

148. WFP continued to meet the majority of refugees' food needs and, in certain situations, also provided assistance for refugees involved in productive activities. In 1987, UNHCR and WFP undertook several joint missions (to Algeria, Malawi, Somalia, Zaire, Zambia and Zimbabwe) to assess refugee food needs. WFP food assistance amounted to approximately 470,000 metric tons in 1987.

149. On 23 November 1987, UNHCR and UNDP signed an agreement that replaced the 1984 guidelines governing co-operation between the two organizations. UNDP has continued to administer various projects on UNHCR's behalf in countries where UNHCR is not represented. UNHCR and UNDP have studied ways of incorporating a number of established refugee settlements into national development projects. They are also joining forces to "re-launch" the initiative of the Second International Conference on Assistance to Refugees in Africa.

150. The World Bank and UNHCR have co-operated in planning, financing and implementing projects aimed at promoting self-reliance through, for example, agricultural activities and at creating employment opportunities for refugees in their country of asylum. The implementation of phase II of the UNHCR/World Bank income-generating project for refugee-affected areas in Pakistan began on 1 July 1987 and will last until the end of June 1990. A memorandum of understanding between UNHCR and the World Bank on the Furjano Settlement Project in Somalia was signed on 4 June 1987. A project identification mission visited Somalia in February 1988, and an appraisal mission will visit the Furjano site later in 1988.

151. An area development project in eastern Sudan has been identified and appraised and will be co-financed with the International Development Agency (IDA).

152. A joint mission to the Islamic Republic of Iran with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) took place in September 1987 to identify income-generating projects in refugee hosting areas. A joint follow-up mission is scheduled to take place during 1988 and an agreement on co-operation between the two organizations is about to be signed.

153. Co-operation between UNHCR and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has continued in 1987 through several projects, such as: a professional integration project in Costa Rica; a vocational training project for Afghan refugees in Pakistan; and income-generating projects in Kenya, Lesotho and the Sudan. In the near future, ILO foresees providing the International Centre for Advanced Technical and Vocational Training in Turin (Italy) with refugee fellowships.

154. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has been associated with UNHCR programmes, mainly in various countries of Africa and Pakistan, in the fields of primary health care, water supply and basic sanitation. In Pakistan, UNICEF is currently assisting UNHCR in strengthening immunization coverage among Afghan refugee children through the supply of equipment and the assignment of technical staff. UNICEF participates regularly in the meetings of the UNHCR Working Group on Refugee Children at Risk, which was created in 1987.

155. On 23 December 1987, a memorandum of understanding governing collaboration and co-ordination between UNHCR and the World Health Organization (WHO) was signed. In 1987, WHO appointed a coordinator who is responsible for the UNHCR health programme in favour of Afghan refugees in the Islamic Republic of Iran. In Cyprus, the joint activities of the two organizations continued during the period under review. In Somalia, WHO carried out, on UNHCR's behalf and in close collaboration with the UNHCR branch office at Mogadishu, a technical evaluation of the status of schistosomiasis in refugee camps in the north of the country, which forms the basis for an appropriate control programme. WHO and UNHCR are collaborating in the preparation of a workshop on nutrition and disasters, as well as on the establishment of guidelines on mental health in refugee camps. Also in the medical field, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has been co-operating with UNHCR in family planning programmes, particularly at Hong Kong.

156. No provisions were made in 1987 for associate experts from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to work with UNHCR in the field of refugee education. UNESCO has, however, participated in various consultancies and in the production of textbooks and educational programmes for refugees. In February 1988, the Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees met with the new UNESCO Director-General with a view to establishing new priorities for co-operation between the two agencies.

157. The United Nations Volunteers Programme (UNV) continued to participate actively in refugee programmes by providing volunteers who have been working in Honduras, Malaysia, Somalia and the Sudan.

158. Close contact was maintained, and possibilities for co-operation explored, with the Office of the United Nations Disaster Relief Co-ordinator (UNDRO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

159. Within its 1987 fellowship programme, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) continued to finance fellowships for refugee candidates in various countries of asylum.

160. In 1987, UNHCR pursued its co-operation with the United Nations Educational and Training Programme for Southern Africa (UNETPSA) and the United Nations Trust Fund for South Africa with regard to training facilities and assistance to refugees from southern Africa. UNHCR assisted the United Nations Institute for Namibia in Zambia, and closely co-operates with the United Nations Council for Namibia. Refugees have also benefited from fellowships awarded by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

161. UNHCR collaborates with other United Nations bodies, such as the Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs, the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). UNHCR has also participated in global endeavours of the United Nations system, such as the United Nations Decade for Women, the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons, the Vienna International Plan of Action on Aging, and the International Year of Shelter for the Homeless.

B. Relations with other inter governmental organizations

162. With respect to the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, following the decision of the Eighth Summit Meeting to grant UNHCR "guest status" at all future meetings of the Movement, the High Commissioner appointed a senior official to act as the Office's focal point in its dealings with the Movement.

163. During the reporting period, UNHCR has continued its traditional close co-operation with OAU in various areas of common endeavour and through its various organs, such as the secretariat (Bureau for Refugees), the Committee of Fifteen on Refugees and the Co-ordinating Committee for Refugees.

164. In July 1987, the High Commissioner attended the OAU Assembly of Heads of State and Government at its twenty-third ordinary session. During his visit, the High Commissioner held extensive consultations and discussions with various Heads of State and Government and other senior government representatives.

165. During the period between October 1987 and February 1988, the OAU Commission of Fifteen on Refugees undertook a number of fact-finding missions to some OAU member States in connection with the growing refugee problem on the continent. UNHCR, through its Regional Liaison Office at Addis Ababa, participated in a number of these missions and in addition, its branch offices in the various countries visited joined in the activities of the missions.

166. OAU and UNHCR are collaborating closely in the preparation of the proposed International Conference on the Plight of Refugees, Returnees and Displaced Persons in Southern Africa, to be held at Oslo, Norway, in August 1988. The Conference has as its ultimate principal objective the mobilization and channelling of increased financial assistance to the countries of asylum in southern Africa.

167. UNHCR continued to co-operate with the Intergovernmental Committee for Migration (ICM) in all regions. The access of ICM to concessional travel rates and other arrangements permitted substantial savings to be made in the transportation of refugees accepted for resettlement in third countries.

168. UNHCR maintained regular contacts with the Organization of American States (OAS) and in particular with the OAS Under-Secretary for Legal Affairs and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. In co-operation with UNHCR, three studies are being carried out by OAS in relation to the legal condition of refugees and asilados in the member States. The field research for case studies in settlements and camps in Mexico is now completed, while those concerning Honduras and Costa Rica are about to be finalized. As in previous years, UNHCR attended the OAS General Assembly, which took place in Washington, D. C. The Assembly expressed decisive support for the International Conference on Solutions to the Problems of Central American Refugees as a Contribution to Peace, to be convened as soon as possible. UNHCR also contributed to the fifteenth international law course organized annually by the Inter-American Juridical Committee at Rio de Janeiro by giving a lecture on subjects of its concern.

169. During 1987, UNHCR continued its close co-operation with the League of Arab States by maintaining regular contact with the Permanent Observer of the League at Geneva and by sending missions to its headquarters at Tunis.

170. UNHCR also continued to develop its co-operation with the Organization of the Islamic Conference. A UNHCR delegation attended the seventeenth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers held at Amman, Jordan, from 21 to 25 March 1988. Of particular note was the adoption by the Conference of a resolution which, inter alia, invited the general secretariat to strengthen co-operation with UNHCR.

171. UNHCR continued to act as focal point for humanitarian questions within the framework of co-operation between the United Nations system and the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

172. The European Parliament and Council of Europe continued to take an active interest in refugee affairs. Meetings were held focusing on specific issues at working group level throughout the reporting period.

173. The European Community's contribution to UNHCR during the year 1987 amounted to some $46 million, including food aid. Central America and income-generating projects in Pakistan were two areas where assistance of the European Community was concentrated. Components of the Ugandan returnee programme continued to be financed out of funds mobilized under the Third Lomé Convention and channelled through UNHCR. Other projects in Africa have been submitted for consideration under the same Convention.

C. Humanitarian co-operation with liberation movements

174. During the period under review, UNHCR continued its long-standing humanitarian support for refugees under the care of national liberation movements recognized by OAU and the United Nations, namely: South West African People's Organization (SWAPO), African National Congress of South Africa (ANC) and Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC). The level of financial assistance towards projects implemented through national liberation movements in Angola (ANC and SWAPO), United Republic of Tanzania (ANC and PAC) and Zambia (ANC and SWAP6) totalled nearly $1.5 million for 1987. (The total appropriation for national liberation movement-implemented programmes for 1988 stands at $1.3 million.) These three national liberation movements have maintained their active participation, as observers, in the deliberations of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the High Commissioner.

D. Relations with non-governmental organization

175. UNHCR continued its policy of hosting a series of meetings and briefings on particular refugee situations of special interest to the non-governmental organizations (NGOs). During the period under review, meetings were held on Central America, including one specifically on repatriation from Honduras to El Salvador, southern Africa, the situation in Thailand and forthcoming programmes related to repatriation to Afghanistan. These meetings were closely coordinated with colleagues in the field.

176. In January 1988, a meeting was held on "Refugee operations" in co-ordination with the regional bureaux and ICVA, and a separate consultation was held in the same month on international protection in co-operation with the Division of Refugee Law and Doctrine. A group of experts from the major NGOs met together with UNHCR staff to finalize the Guidelines on Refugee Children at Risk. This residential workshop, which UNHCR held outside of Geneva, was successful in coordinating a common approach between UNHCR and the NGO community on this important issue.

177. The NGO Liaison Unit regularly attended the monthly emergency and disaster co-ordination meeting held at the League of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, headquarters in order to provide information on refugee issues. These meetings continued to be an important source of information for all concerned. The NGO Unit undertook missions to Pakistan and Thailand to study the practical work of the NGOs implementing programmes on behalf of the Office. On the basis of information gained during these missions, the Unit introduced a data base on NGOs that is proving very helpful in selecting future operational partners for the Office.

E. Nansen Medal Award

178. The NGO Liaison Unit was also responsible for the organization of the ceremony for the presentation of the Nansen Medal Award for 1987. The Nansen Medal Committee selected His Majesty Juan Carlos I, King of Spain, as the recipient of the 1987 Award, and the presentation was made at Geneva on 21 October 1987.


179. UNHCR Voluntary Funds expenditure was $461 million in 1987, as compared with $441 million in 1986. Some $335 million was spent on General Programmes ($281 million in 1986) and $126 million on Special Programmes and Other Trust Funds ($160 million in 1986).

180. Financial support from the donor community is vital to UNHCR's ability to maintain its operations for the benefit of refugees around the world. Contributions from a total of 59 Governments, 51 non-governmental and seven inter-governmental organizations, along with donations received from private sources, provided primary income of $433 million - some $16 million or 4 percent more than in 1986 (and $40 million or 10 per cent more than 1985). In 1987, contributions to the General Programmes (Annual Programme and Emergency Fund) reached $297 million, while contributions to Special Programmes and Other Trust Funds totalled $136 million.

181. Apart from UNHCR regular appeals for funds to cover General Programme needs, several special appeals were issued in 1987 to cover the financial requirements of returnee programmes or other activities outside the General Programmes. In Africa, UNHCR assistance was provided to returnees to Ethiopia from Somalia, Djibouti. And the Sudan, and towards a programme of limited assistance to returnees in Chad and Uganda. In southern Africa, UNHCR initiated assistance, with funds raised through special appeals, to Mozambicans in Malawi and also for the benefit of returnees to Mozambique from neighbouring countries. In South-East Asia, a special appeal for funds to finance the programmes of determination of status of Laotians in Thailand and of assistance to returnees in the Lao People's Democratic Republic was launched, as well as appeals for funds to cover the 1987-1988 phase of the Anti-Piracy Arrangement and the continuation of the Orderly Departure Programme from Viet Nam. A special appeal for funds was issued at the end of 1987 to respond to the needs of refugees and displaced persons from the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen in the Yemen Arab Republic.

182. At its thirty-eighth session, the Executive Committee set a target of $377.5 million for General Programmes in 1988. As at March 1988, total voluntary funds requirements for 1988 for both General and Special Programmes, including the Refugee Education Account, were estimated at around $500 million. This figure should cover all assistance activities on behalf of refugees, returnees and other persons of concern to the High Commissioner.

183. As at 31 March, total contributions in 1988 for both General and Special Programmes amounted to $186 million. Table 3 of the annex to the present report details those contributions for 1987 and 1988 that had been paid or pledged as of that date. UNHCR continues its efforts to expand its donor base by exploring new sources of contributions, while improving its donor reporting record through the introduction of a revised and more rational format.

184. The financial support received from the international community continues to be most generous and the High Commissioner is most appreciative of this sustained commitment to the humanitarian work of the Office.


185. The promotion of greater public awareness and understanding of the situation of refugees and asylum-seekers worldwide continued to be a priority task for UNHCR. To this end, the Public Information Service produced and distributed a variety of written and audio-visual information material, maintained regular contacts with the press, assisted journalists in arranging visits to refugee camps and settlements, and organized a number of special events.

186. The magazine Refugees continued to be published monthly in English, French and Spanish, with special editions in Arabic, German, Italian and Japanese. New language versions (German, French, Spanish and Italian) of a booklet produced for school children were published, as were posters, a world refugee map and a calendar. A series of country fact sheets was produced and updated on a quarterly basis to provide information on UNHCR's main programmes worldwide. A new leaflet on UNHCR was also issued.

187. UNHCR's photo-library distributed 31,000 black and white and colour photographs to the media, schools, and non-governmental organizations, and provided visual material for all of UNHCR publications and exhibitions.

188. A major exhibition was organized in late 1987 in Paris entitled "Refugees in the world". Photographs, texts, and the work of refugee artists and craftsmen were displayed. The success of this exhibit has led to greatly increased demand for UNHCR material for exhibitions. Other special events organized included two benefit concerts, one held in the Federal Republic of Germany and one (Jazz Aid) held at Montreux, Switzerland, as well as a "Round-table" on the theme "Protection of refugees: humanitarian action and political considerations".

189. UNHCR continued to co-produce documentary films on refugee situations with major television networks. A new UNHCR film was produced in late 1987 entitled "UNHCR caring for refugees since 1951", which provides an overview of UNHCR's work since the Office was established.

(Note: Statistical and financial tables not included in this online version. See your nearest UN Depository Library.)

1 Official Records of the General Assembly, Forty-second Session, Supplement No. 12A (A/42/12/Add.1), para. 206.

2 United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 189, No. 2545, p. 137.

3 Ibid., vol. 606, No. 8791, p. 267.

4 UNHCR voluntary funds expenditure in 1987 totalled $461.4 million, including $336.6 million under General Programmes and $124.8 million under Special Programmes.

5 Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted and proclaimed by the General Assembly in its resolution 217 A (111) of 10 December 1948.

6 Official Records of the General Assembly, Forty-first Session, Supplement No. 12A (A/41/12/Add.1), para. 128.

7 Ibid., Forty-second Session, Supplement No. 12A (A/42/12/Add.1), para. 207.

8 Ibid., Fortieth Session, Supplement No. 12A (A/40/12/Add.1), para. 115 (4).

9 Ibid., Forty-second Session, Supplement No. 12A (A/42/12/Add.1), para. 205.

10 Ibid., Forty-first Session, Supplement No. 12A (A/41/12/Add.1), para. 127.

11 United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1001, No. 14691, p. 45.

12 Official Records of the General Assembly, Thirty-fifth Session, Supplement No. 48A (A/35/48), resolution 3541 B.

13 Including expenditure amounting to $US 6,281,174 from Emergency Fund spent in Ethiopia, Guatemala, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Kenya, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the Sudan, United Republic of Tanzania, Thailand, Yemen and Zaire.

14 And therefore not including expenditure for programme support and administration.

15 Including income-generating activities.

16 Including assistance to returnees.

17 Including donations in kind, e. g., food, etc.