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Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 1994

Executive Committee Meetings

Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 1994

1 January 1995
General Assembly Official Records. Forty-ninth Session. Supplement No.12 (A/49/12). United Nations, New York, 1994


1. The work of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) throughout the year 1993 and in the first quarter of 1994 was characterized by a typical mixture of achievements and challenges. While a number of important agreements were reached and arrangements made for large scale voluntary repatriation movements, notably in Africa and Asia, the deterioration in a number of other situations led to major now refugee flows. Worldwide, the total population of concern to the High Commissioner reached some 23 million, including some 16.4 million refugees, as well as certain groups of internally displaced and other persons of humanitarian concern.

2. The Office continued to pursue a strategy of prevention, preparedness and solutions in response to problems of coerced displacement. It continued its endeavours to secure asylum for those compelled to flee and to respond rapidly to their emergency needs, while complementing these efforts with prevention and solution-oriented activities in countries of origin.

3. In terms of UNHCR's emergency preparedness and response capacity, rapid interventions were required in a variety of new and often concurrent emergency situations, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Benin, Burundi, Ghana and Tajikistan. Valuable lessons were learnt in refining emergency preparedness measures. The establishment of effective emergency staffing mechanisms went hand in hand with the development of institutional means to provide rapid support for field personnel and operations. Collaborative arrangements with the Danish and Norwegian Refugee Councils and with the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) provided stand-by mechanisms for the rapid deployment of seconded staff. In extreme hardship conditions such as Liberia, UNHCR developed a quick response in conjunction with the Swedish Rescue Services Board. In the Russian Federation, logistical capacity for emergency response was enhanced by the conclusion of a Memorandum of Understanding.

4. Meanwhile, the Office continued its pursuit of solutions, notably through voluntary repatriation. In Cambodia, some 155,000 returned during the reporting period. This brought the repatriation operation to completion, and the total number of persons provided with reintegration assistance to some 387,000, including spontaneous returnees. For some quarter of a million refugees from Myanmar who had sought refuge in Bangladesh in 1991-92, the signing of two Memoranda of Understanding paved the way for voluntary repatriation. Over 50,000 had already returned spontaneously. Activities under the Comprehensive Plan of Action for Indo-Chinese Refugees (CPA) continued with considerable success. The Steering Committee of the International Conference on Indo-Chinese Refugees met in Geneva in February 1994 and agreed on 1995 as the target date for completion of CPA activities. As a result of the Implementation of a comprehensive peace agreement under the auspices of the United Nations, UNHCR began the complex operation of repatriating some 1.7 million refugees to Mozambique from six neighbouring countries. In the context of the process set in motion by the International Conference on Central American Refugees (CIREFCA) in Central America, the Office, in conjunction with Governments concerned, outlined a strategy to continue to address outstanding needs of uprooted persons in the region, both prior and beyond the completion of CIREFCA's mandate in May 1994.

5. In carrying out its preventive and solution-oriented activities, UNHCR has been called upon to address the humanitarian needs of internally displaced persons in a number of situations. At the request of the Secretary-General, the Office provided protection and assistance to internally displaced in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Caucasus and parts of Central Asia and Africa.

6. In these and other situations, the Office increasingly worked within the broader context of efforts by the international community to address humanitarian crises. In one type of operation, peace-building and humanitarian objectives have formed major components of an overall framework, as in the case of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) or of the United Nations Operation in Mozambique (ONUMOZ) in Mozambique. Another relates to peacekeeping and humanitarian operations in ongoing conflict situations, as is the case with UNHCR's involvement in former Yugoslavia with the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR). A third category concerns operations where integrated efforts of the United Nations may help in preventing the escalation of a crisis, as has been the case in Tajikistan.

7. In former Yugoslavia, UNHCR has continued to address what constituted the largest single group of persons in need of International protection worldwide during the reporting period. The Office endeavoured to ensure safe passage for humanitarian assistance and to obtain assurances for full and unhindered access to victims of the conflict with the dual aim of providing assistance on an impartial basis and, where possible, of preventing the need for further displacement.

8. As women and children comprise approximately 80 per cent of the world's refugee population, UNHCR has focused increasingly on ensuring that its protection and assistance activities meet their needs. Adjustments to emergency response procedures and to staff training programme, and the implementation of measures to prevent sexual violence and to provide care for women who have boon subjected to it, are among steps being taken by the Office. In preparation for the International Year of the Family which commenced in 1994, the UNHCR Policy on Refugee Children was presented to the Executive Committee in October 1993. It emphasizes the Convention on the Rights of the Child as a normative framework for action. The reviewed Guidelines on Refugee Children will be published in May 1994, for use in field operations.

9. An exhaustive analysis of the office's cooperation with other agencies of the United Nations system was completed in the course of the reporting period with the aim of further strengthening inter-agency cooperation. Particular emphasis was also given to improving UNHCR's collaboration with non-governmental agencies through the Partnership in Action (PARINAC) process which provides for action-oriented consultations at the regional and global levels on matters of common concern.

10. A total of $ 1.13 billion were contributed towards UNHCR's General and Special Programmes in 1993. As at 31 March 1994 $ 283,020,286 had been contributed against an estimated total of some $ 1.2 billion required for the calendar year.


A. Introduction

11. UNHCR's primary functions are in providing refugees with international protection and in promoting durable solutions to their plight. For this work, UNHCR relies on an international legal framework and on the practice of States in providing asylum to millions of refugees. The provision of asylum remains the single most important function for the protection of persons in need.

12. The basic legal foundation for UNHCR's activities is the Statute of the Office (General Assembly resolution 428 (V) of 14 December 1950, annex), which calls on Governments to cooperate with the Office of the High Commissioner in taking steps to protect refugees, principally through admission to safety, voluntary repatriation, and assimilation. The international community is also seeking ways to address the underlying causes of flight, and a wider ambit of international initiatives is now being contemplated to counteract involuntary movements.

13. UNHCR continues to cooperate with other actors in the development of strategies to resolve and, where possible, prevent the causes of refugee flows and, in the search for solutions, to be active in promoting conditions which would make voluntary repatriation of refugees possible. With the support of the General Assembly, the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme, and with the consent of the State concerned, the Office also continues to provide assistance and protection to internally displaced persons in situations linked to the prevention or resolution of refugee problems. UNHCR is currently encouraging discussion in various fora of comprehensive regional approaches to mass forced displacements, where persecution may be one of a number of complex motives underlying flight. The rationale behind such approaches is to engage the international community in actions to address all the reasons for flight, from the immediate causes of displacement, to the development of structures for longer-term mediation, through to economic development.

14. The fundamental elements of international protection remain respect for the basic rights of refugees, in particular their admission to safety and their protection against refoulement. A total of 126 States are now parties to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, its 1967 Protocol, or both; many are also parties to the 1969 Organization of African Unity (OAU) Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa or signatories to the 1984 Cartagena Declaration on Refugees. Over 20 million refugees, selected groups of internally displaced and other persons of concern continue to rely on the broad international consensus which maintains their protection, and which enables UNHCR, in close cooperation with Governments and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), to perform its mandatory function.

15. In addition to the core principles of protection, UNHCR has ascribed greater prominence to the physical security of refugees in recent years, emphasizing their right to personal safety, as well as their right to receive the humanitarian assistance they may need in order to survive.

16. The Note on International Protection (A/AC.96/815), presented to the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme at its forty-fourth session in October 1993, presents a detailed review and analysis of the current issues. The Executive Committee noted with appreciation the continued observance of international protection principles, commending, in particular, developing countries with limited resources, which host the bulk of the world's refugees. The Executive Committee underlined the importance of establishing and ensuring access for all asylum-seekers to fair and efficient procedures for the determination of refugee status and stressed, in this contest, the importance of adopting common criteria, in consultation with UNHCR, to determine the responsibility for considering an application for asylum.

17. At its forty-fourth session, the Executive Committee also considered an Information Note on Refugee Children, which highlighted UNHCR's efforts to address certain persistent protection problems, the UNHCR Policy on Refugee Children (EC/SCP/82), which sets out the framework for the High Commissioner's future action in favour of refugee children, as well as an Information Note on the Development of UNHCR's Guidelines on the Protection Aspects of Voluntary Repatriation (EC/SCP/80). With regard to refugee children, the finalized Guidelines (entitled Refugee Children: Protection and Care) were published in May 1994. These Guidelines emphasize the Convention on the Rights of the Child as the normative framework for action to protect and care for refugee children. They draw attention to meeting the particular needs of refugee children, particularly those of unaccompanied minors. Among other points, the discussion of this issue in the Executive Committee highlighted the relationship between the education of refugee children, the prospects for their voluntary repatriation, and the development plans of a given country.

18. UNHCR has drawn up a Report on the Protection of Refugee Children with respect to Inter-Country Adoption for a Working Group of the Hague Conference on Private International Law. This Working Group is to study the application of the Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption to refugee children and other displaced children. According to UNHCR's policy, any adoption of an unaccompanied child of concern to the High Commissioner must be determined as being in the child's best interests, and carried out in accordance with applicable national and international law. UNHCR's policy in emergency situations is that refugee children should not be available for adoption. The UNHCR Report to the Hague Conference therefore recommends the drafting of a specific legal instrument which would cover inter-country adoptions involving refugee children.

19. The Executive Committee at its forty-fourth session adopted a Conclusion on the Personal Security of Refugees (A/AC.96/821, para. 20), which deplored violence, intimidation, military or armed attacks, forced recruitment and arbitrary or inhumane conditions of detention to which refugees have at times been subjected, and called upon States to adopt a variety of specific measures to prevent or remove such threats. In addition to the heed to site refugee settlements securely and ensure unhindered access on the past of UNHCR and, other organizations, when appropriate, States were called on to investigate abuses. UNHCR's efforts to monitor the personal security of refugees and asylum-seekers were strongly supported.

20. In addition, the Executive Committee adopted a Conclusion on Refugee Protection and Sexual Violence (A/AC.96/821, para. 21), addressing a problem which has been acknowledged for many years. Noting the reports that refugees and asylum-seekers, including children, had been subjected to rape or other forms of sexual violence during their flight or following their arrival in asylum countries, and strongly condemning persecution through sexual violence, it called on States to take concrete action to detect, deter and redress such acts. A number of measures are recommended to protect refugees and asylum-seekers from sexual violence and to ensure their effective access to legal remedies.

21. In her address to the fiftieth session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, the High Commissioner emphasized the human rights aspects of refugee flows, and their importance in promoting a preventive and solution-oriented strategy to address refugee problems. She commended the Commission's achievements in setting standards, particularly with regard to minorities.

B. Strategies for prevention and solutions

22. The high profile given to consideration of strategies which could prevent or ameliorate the conditions that cause refugees to flee is reflected in the executive Committee's conclusion on International Protection (A/AC.96/821, para. 19), several of whose operative paragraphs call on UNHCR to consider, in cooperation with other concerned bodies, further activities in the context of comprehensive approaches and internally displaced persons and to report back on these initiatives.

23. Given that human rights violations and internal conflict are among the main causes of refugee flows, UNHCR hopes to increase its links with the High Commissioner for Human Rights and to continue to place on the political agenda those issues and conflicts which further destabilize the international community by generating major forced displacements.

24. As the factors which generate involuntary movements create both refugee and internally displaced persons, UNHCR has advocated the strengthening of humanitarian law and human rights law as it applies to displaced persons. In particular, UNHCR emphasizes the need to improve the implementation of existing principles of humanitarian law and human rights law, and to develop the legal basis for humanitarian access to affected populations. UNHCR recognizes, however, that while the elaboration of legal norms is desirable, much more depends on the ability and political will of the international community to persuade States to take responsibility for the welfare of people within their territory. The Executive Committee, reaffirming its support for the High Commissioner's protection and assistance activities, on behalf of internally displaced persons on the basis of requests from the Secretary-General, and with the consent of the concerned State, asked the High Commissioner to promote further consultations with agencies concerned with respect to the need for the international community to explore the protection and assistance needs of internally displaced persons.

25. Through 1993 and the first quarter of 1994, the Office continued to face a typical mixture of opportunities and dilemmas. A number of agreements were reached and arrangements put in place during 1993 for major voluntary repatriation movements in Africa an Asia. At the same time, however, setbacks in many other conflict situations meant that repatriation was not feasible; indeed, new refugee flows were reported.

C. Securing the rights of refugees

26. The majority of countries continue to receive persons in need of international protection generously, despite adverse domestic conditions in many cases. However, as the possibilities for legal immigration remain limited, many would-be migrants seek to use refugee procedures as their entry route to industrialized countries. The phenomenon has two consequences which prejudice the rights of refugees, in some cases severely. On the one hand, procedures carefully designed to ensure the fair examination of claims and to allow for review of negative decisions have become overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of claimants, resulting in long waiting periods, high costs, and a public perception of those procedures as attracting and contributing to irregular migration. At times, particularly during periods of recession, this perception produces anti-refugee sentiment within host states, which may result in racist attacks. On the other hand, Governments have at times had recourse to legal measures to apply international protection principles in the restrictive way, denying it to the very persons who need it, and to practical measures which prevent the refugee from reaching safety.

27. Examples of the measures taken include a tendency to hold another country responsible for the examination of the claim (resulting, in some cases, in refugees being sent into "orbit" between airports, and even in their involuntary return to danger), narrow definitions of the circumstances under which the Convention and Protocol can apply, the imposition of carrier sanctions, and other penalties and measures which contribute to reducing the real ability of certain refugees to seek asylum.

28. In such cases, where direct and indirect obstacles are placed in the way of refugee safety and refugee recognition, UNHCR has intervened with the authorities to secure the immediate safety of the refugee or asylum-seeker, as well as providing the Office's interpretation of certain doctrines enshrined in the 1951 Convention and other instruments.

29. Following the High Commissioner's formal requests to States in 1992 to extend temporary protection to persons forced to flee the fighting and human rights abuses in the former Yugoslavia, UNHCR elaborated further on the nature of the protection required and standards applicable. While the minimum requirements of temporary protection include admission to the country of refuge, basic human rights, and respect for the principle of non-refoulement, there was consensus, in a series of meetings and background notes in 1993 and the first quarter of 1994, on the need for improving and clarifying standards, as the duration of exile became prolonged. In March 1994, the Office recommended that host States extend to beneficiaries of temporary protection, some of whom were entering their third year of refuge, recognition as refugees under the Convention, humanitarian status with analogous protection and benefits, or appropriate ad hoc measures with the same effects. UNHCR laid particular emphasis on rights which would provide the refugees with some certainty and stability, in particular the reunion of separated families, the right to work, identity documents, and right to education. Surveys prepared and updated by UNHCR show that some 700,000 citizens of former Yugoslavia enjoyed temporary protection in host countries.

D. Promotion of Refugee Protection

30. Armenia, Azerbaijan, the Bahamas, Bosnina and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, the Russian Federation, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Slovakia, Tajikistan, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, acceded or succeeded to the 1951 Convention and/or the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees during 1993 and the first quarter of 1994, bringing the number of States Parties to one or both instruments to 126.

31. UNHCR's promotional activities sought to strengthen knowledge and understanding of refugee issues, as well as to foster the effective implementation of international legal standards on behalf of refugees, returnees and other persons of concern to UNHCR, including through their incorporation into national legislation and administrative procedures. The development of a model legislation on refugees was at the heart of a cooperation project between UNHCR, the OAU and the Asian-African Legal Consultative Committee. In the Arab World, promotion efforts capitalized on the adoption in late 1992 of the Cairo Declaration on the Protection of Refugees and Displaced Persons. UNHCR organized well over 100 refugee law and protection courses throughout the world during the course of 1993 and the first quarter of 1994. These courses, workshops and seminars targeted mainly government officials, non-governmental operational partners, and refugees and returnees. UNHCR has continued to collaborate with various organizations active in the field of refugee, humanitarian and human rights law, including the United Nations Centre for Human Rights, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in organizing and executing such activities.

32. UNHCR's promotion activities have a preventive component as well, inasmuch as protecting the human rights of refugees, returnees and other displaced persons is best achieved within a strategy promoting knowledge of, and respect for, human rights generally. Cooperation with human rights bodies of the United Nations is an integral part of the Office's protection strategy. This cooperation is manifested as much in the field, through contacts between UNHCR representatives and human rights monitors, rapporteurs and experts, as in the important normative work performed in the context of the Commission on Human Rights, the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities and numerous working groups and treaty monitoring bodies. UNHCR participated actively in the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights, held in Vienna in June 1993, to ensure that the Vienna Declaration would take due note of the close link between human rights and refugee protection concerns.


A. Major trends in assistance

1. Introduction

33. The parameters governing the policy of UNHCR's assistance activities are primarily determined by the General Assembly, ECOSOC and the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme.

34. The High Commissioner and other members of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee are investigating ways of giving effect to the recent ECOSOC conclusions and General Assembly resolutions which aim to ensure greater coordination of humanitarian assistance in the face of complex and protracted emergencies, as well as a stronger link between emergency relief, rehabilitation and development. In this regard, ECOSOC's Agreed Conclusion (1993/1) on Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance: Emergency Relief and the Continuum to Rehabilitation and Development, and General Assembly resolution 48/57 on strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian emergency assistance of the United Nations are particularly important.

35. In the course of the reporting period UNHCR continued to implement its strategy of preparedness, prevention and solutions in an effort to respond rapidly to emergency situations, to avert, where possible, the occurrence of new refugee flows, and to achieve solutions to refugee problems, notably through voluntary repatriation.

36. While UNHCR was again confronted with a large number of emergency situations in many parts of the world, large-scale voluntary repatriation movements, notably in Asia and Africa, brightened this otherwise disquieting picture.

2. General and Special Programmes

37. UNHCR assistance activities are grouped under two broad programme categories, namely General Programmes (including a Programme Reserve, the Emergency Fund and the General Allocation for Voluntary Repatriation) and Special Programmes. Expenditure in 1993 under General Programmes amounted to $392.4 million. With regard to Special Programmes (which include programmes funded under appeals by the Secretary-General), expenditure in 1993 reached $914.6 million. Some 60 per cent of the Special Programmes pertained to UNHCR's Programme of Humanitarian Assistance in the former Yugoslavia. Additional major expenditures were made for the Comprehensive Plan of Action for Indo-Chinese Refugees (CPA), repatriation programmes to Mozambique, Afghanistan and Cambodia, and Special Emergency Programmes in the Horn of Africa. Thus, the total of voluntary funds expenditures related to activities in 1993, amounted to $1,307 million. In addition, the regular budget contribution to UNHCR amounted to $20.5 million. Detailed information on expenditure levels for each country or area programme, as well as by type of activity, is given in Table 1. In terms of the volume of activities and related expenditure, 1993 expenditure exceeded that of 1992 by some 22 per cent. Support for such activities again reflected unprecedented efforts by the international donor community.

38. The 1994 General Programmes target stands at $418.5 million as approved by the Executive Committee in October 1993, this includes $33.9 million as a Programme Reserve, $25 million for the Emergency Fund and $20 million for the General Allocation for Voluntary Repatriation. Projections for 1994 under Special Programmes currently amount to $777.7 million, of which $200.1 million are budgeted for former Yugoslavia for the first six months of 1994.

3. Types of assistance

39. UNHCR's assistance activities are categorized by the five following types of assistance: Emergency Assistance, Care and Maintenance, Voluntary Repatriation, Local Settlement and Resettlement.

(a) Emergency assistance

40. In the course of 1993 and the first quarter of 1994, UNHCR's emergency preparedness measures facilitated timely responses to and unprecedented number of new, and often concurrent, refugee emergencies around the world.

41. UNHCR's emergency preparedness measures have focused on developing a capacity to respond adequately and rapidly to staffing and material needs in emergency operations. In the course of 1993 and the first quarter of 1994, extensive use was made of emergency mechanisms, which were established with the approval of the Executive Committee in 1991. Valuable lessons have been learnt through the extensive deployment of these in varying situations requiring quick responses, thus providing the basis for further refinements in UNHCR emergency preparedness measures.

42. Regarding emergency staffing, the mechanism for mobilizing emergency response teams consisting of internal UNHCR staff, as well as staff seconded from other agencies, has become more institutionalized. The five Senior Emergency Preparedness and Response Officers, who are on standby at all times to lead emergency response teams or to undertake specific emergency assignments, were deployed for a total of 880 working-days during the reporting period. Of the 20-30 internal UNHCR staff on the Emergency Response Team (ERT) roster, some 20 have been deployed to operations in twelve countries during 1993 and the first quarter of 1994. The standby arrangements for staff secondment established with the Danish and Norwegian Refugee Councils and the United Nations Volunteers (UNVs) have continued to provide the necessary complement to UNHCR's internal staffing capacity for emergencies. A total of 71 Nordic secondees and 52 UNVs were deployed to UNHCR operations in twelve countries, either as members of emergency teams or to strengthen existing staff. During 1993, new initiatives were taken to address the gap which still existed in UNHCR's ability to deploy technical staff rapidly to emergencies. This resulted n the establishment of additional standby arrangements with a number or NGOs with expertise in technical areas such as social services, health, sanitation, water, site panning and logistics.

43. Simultaneously with the establishment of an effective staffing mechanism for emergencies, UNHCR has also developed a capacity for the quick mobilization of material support for staff, as well as for operations. Emergency stocks of critical staff support items such as vehicles, telecommunications equipment, office equipment, and field survival kits have been prepositioned. These have been deployed extensively during the reporting period and have been crucial in operations where infrastructural and living conditions proved to be difficult. In the most extreme hardship conditions, as in Liberia, UNHCR has made use of its standby arrangements with the Swedish Rescue Services Board to establish a base camp with essential facilities for the staff.

44. For operational needs, emergency stocks of the most essential relief items, such as tents, plastic sheeting, blankets, kitchen sets, etc, have been established in three locations with easy transport links. In addition to maintaining these stocks, UNHCR has access to further quantities of some of these items through pre-negotiated contracts with suppliers and from established stockpiles of other agencies. These stockpile arrangements have not only served the needs of emergency operations, which were considerable throughout 1993, but have also allowed a more timely delivery of the stockpiled items to other ongoing operation.

45. UNHCR's logistical capacity for emergency response was further enhanced through a Memorandum of Understanding concluded with the Russian Federation in 1993. Under this agreement, two aircraft and a trucking fleet are on standby for UNHCR's use in emergencies. Additional air transport capacities are also being explored in conjunction with the Overseas Development Agency (ODA) of the United Kingdom.

46. In the field of emergency training, UNHCR has initiated a new training course to enhance the emergency management skills of its staff who are on standby for emergency deployment. This workshop is conducted twice a year, in conjunction with the selection of staff for the emergency response team roster. In addition, the Emergency Management Training Programme (EMTP), targeted at a wider audience that includes UNHCR staff, government counterparts and NGO partners, continued to be conducted in the regions; in 1993 EMTPs were carried out in West Africa, West Asia and Central America, benefiting some 110 participants.

47. UNHCR's emergency activities were financed by recourse to UNHCR's Emergency Fund and by Special Appeals. Total expenditure for emergency assistance in 1993 under both General and Special Programmes amounted to $93.5 million. In certain instances, UNHCR initially made recourse to the Central Emergency Revolving Fund (CERF), administered by the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs on behalf of the Secretary-General, in anticipation of funding from its Special Appeals. In the course of 1993, expenditures under the Emergency Fund amounted to $ 24.9 million, and Special Appeals were issued to cover emergency situations in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Benin, Burundi, Ghana and Tajikistan. Recourse was made to CERF for $5 million to cover initial expenditures for the emergency in Tajikistan, $ 2 million for Georgia and $5 million for the Burundi emergency.

(b) Care and maintenance

48. Once the emergency phase of a refugee operation has passed, the basic needs of the refugee population are covered by activities described as care and maintenance. In 1993, UNHCR General Programmes expenditure for care and maintenance activities amounted to some $ 215.7 million; an additional $634.8 million for care and maintenance were expended under Special Programmes.

49. The largest care and maintenance programmes concerned the former Yugoslavia, which, together with expenditure in neighbouring countries, amounted to $ 551 million. In Africa, sizeable programmes continued in Ethiopia ($ 12.4 million), Guinea ($ 16.4 million), Kenya ($ 54.7 million) and Malawi ($ 26.3 million). In South-East Asia, a major programme for refugees from Myanmar was implemented in Bangladesh ($ 17.8 million). Despite the virtual cessation of new arrivals of Vietnamese asylum-seekers during 1993, care and maintenance activities continued for the Vietnamese populations in the South-East Asian camps and Hong Kong. The largest such programme was in Hong Kong ($ 14.7 million). In Thailand, care and maintenance assistance ($ 13 million) was also provided to additional caseloads from the Lao People's Democratic Republic and Myanmar. Another large care and maintenance programme in 1993 was created in Pakistan ($ 18.5 million).

(c) Voluntary repatriation

50. Voluntary repatriation continues to be regarded as the preferred durable solution to refugee situations worldwide. Negotiations and events underway in many areas are providing grounds for hope that voluntary repatriation can soon become a reality for a large number of the world's refugees. During 1993, $ 190.6 million were spent on voluntary repatriation, with over 800,000 persons returning to their countries of origin under UNHCR assisted programmes, most notably to Afghanistan, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Myanmar and Somalia.

(d) Local settlement

51. In circumstances where voluntary repatriation is not feasible, local settlement of refugees within the host country often proves to be the best solution. Local settlement projects assist refugees in becoming socially and economically self-supporting to the extent possible; pending either local integration or, in an increasing number of cases, eventual repatriation. In rural areas, refugee groups are assisted to become economically productive through the promotion of agricultural and other income-generating activities such as cottage industries, small enterprise development and employment in public works projects. In urban centres, refugees are mostly assisted on an individual basis through legal advice, counselling, education, vocational training, small enterprise development and job placement.

52. Organized settlements are being supported in Ethiopia, the Central African Republic, China, Congo, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Swaziland, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zaire and Zambia, whereas settlement in local villages is supported in Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea and Senegal. Assistance to urban refugees is provided in a number of African, European, Middle Eastern and South America countries. Expenditures in 1993 for local settlement, under both General and Special Programmes, amounted to $ 97.7 million.

(e) Resettlement

53. In 1993, the world's global refugee population was in excess of 19 million. UNHCR sought resettlement for some 75,000 persons, or less than 0.4 per cent of this total. The Office registered 43,760 refugees targeted for resettlement. This represented a 39 per cent shortfall against forecast needs, as compared to the 1992 shortfall of 49 per cent.

54. Since the beginning of the operation in June 1991 until 31 March 1994, 7,125 Iraqis in Saudi Arabia, out of an initial caseload of 31,828, were resettled, mainly to the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran. A further 1,687 who had been accepted for resettlement had not departed by the end of the reporting period.

55. As in 1992, resettlement requirements for refugees from the Middle East continued to exceed those of other regions: 29,600 places are required for 1994. As burden-sharing amongst receiving countries has been reinforced, UNHCR expects that more refugees will be resettled during 1994 than last year. Over 4,000 Iranian and Iraqi refugees were resettled from Turkey in 1993, and requirements for 1994 are estimated at 2,900.

56. The emergency operation for victims of the conflict in former Yugoslavia began in October 1992. By mid-March 1994, the movement of over 20,000 persons, mainly from Bosnia and Herzegovina, to third countries for resettlement or temporary protection purposes had been facilitated through UNHCR programmes. In addition to ex-detainees and their dependants, the operation also includes victims or witnesses of violence/torture, those with medical problems and persons in acute need of protection. The international response to the High Commissioner's appeal has been very positive, with 26 Governments offering places for temporary protection or resettlement.

57. As in previous years, major resettlement efforts in Africa focused on refugees from, and located in, the Horn of Africa, notably Somalis. In West Africa, Liberian refugees continued to receive resettlement assistance, mainly for family reunification. In 1993, a total of 9,406 Africans were resettled, mostly to the Nordic countries, the United Kingdom and the United States. Extra-regional resettlement efforts for African refugees aim primarily at reuniting families. A smaller number of resettlement places is required, predominantly for selected individuals whose physical security is threatened, or for vulnerable refugees for whom resettlement remains the only suitable, durable and humane solution. UNHCR has projected a need for some 10,550 third-country resettlement places for African refugees in 1994.

58. A total of 11,029 Vietnamese and 6,827 Lao were resettled during 1993 under the terms of the Comprehensive Plans of Action. As the process of clearing the camps proceeds, the residual caseload will require special attention and the support of the international community to contribute some 5,000 new resettlement places for Vietnamese, and around 13,000 places for Lao (largely for family reunification). For those Vietnamese and Lao for whom resettlement is not feasible, the option of voluntary repatriation is being pursued.

B. Programme themes and priorities

1. Introduction

59. In recent years, UNHCR has a concerned effort to involve Governments, development agencies and financial institutions in its efforts to ensure the durability of voluntary return movements and the self-sustaining capacity of local settlements through development activities. These efforts have come to be referred to under the generic term "refugee/returnee aid and development". In addition, the Executive Committee has established a number of programme priorities which focus on refugee women, refugee children and the environment. As a result, UNHCR continues to institutionalize these programmatic priorities in all phases of its assistance cycle.

2. Refugee/returnee aid and development

60. UNHCR's activities in support of local settlement, and especially reintegration, can only achieve sustainable results if they are integrated with, or are complementary to, development activities.

61. With this objective in mind UNHCR endeavours to increase its cooperation with multilateral and bilateral development agencies as well as financial institutions.

62. Since the joint UNHCR/African Development Bank (ADB) project identification missions in 1992/93, a joint UNHCR/ADB project in Mozambique is at the preparatory stage, and being appraised and negotiated with the Mozambican Government, to commence in 1995. UNHCR continued to contribute to the ADB-financed South East Rangeland Rehabilitation Project (SERP) in Ethiopia, within the framework of the reintegration programme for Ethiopian returnees from Somalia. The joint UNHCR/International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) "South Khorasan Rangeland Rehabilitation and Refugee Income-generating Project" in the Islamic Republic of Iran is in its final year of implementation. Phase III of the joint UNHCR/World Bank "Income Generating Project for Refugee Areas" (IGPRA) in Pakistan is still underway with major emphasis being placed on training, relevant to repatriation.

63. Bilaterally funded development oriented projects in refugee/returnee areas are either in the process, or will be implemented in the course of 1994 in 12 countries.

64. Furthermore, in planning refugee assistance and reintegration programmes, UNHCR benefits from cooperation with other United Nations agencies, such as UNDP - in particular the Office for project Services (OPS) - United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), World Food Programme (WFP), World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), International Labour Organization (ILO), United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (HABITAT) and United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

65. One significant development in UNHCR's attempts to link its assistance to longer term development activities has been its recourse to Quick Impact Project (QIPs). Based on experience gained in Central America, QIPs have become a frequent feature of UNHCR's reintegration assistance in other geographical areas and have become widely accepted as a means of consolidating voluntary repatriation through Programmes focused on returnee impacted areas as a whole, rather than on returnees as a specific category. QIPs have also been used to support local integration of refugees in asylum countries, when possible, thus preventing or alleviating tension between refugees and the local population. QIPs are currently being implemented within the framework of refugee/returnee programmes in Belize, Cambodia, Ethiopia, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Somalia and Sri Lanka.

66. While one of the characteristics of QIPs is their flexibility, so as to ensure greater effectiveness, consistency is also necessary to maintain basic standards and to avoid assistance becoming a series of unrelated activities, isolated from those pre-conditions on which sustainability depends.

3. Refugee women

67. An external evaluation of the implementation of UNHCR's Policy on Refugee Women in the past year confirmed that progress had been made in different field offices. To accelerate implementation, the evaluation stressed the importance of allocating additional resources to address the needs of refugee women, the integration of refugee women's issues into emergency response procedures, the development of a gender-based needs assessment, increased focus on physical protection and expanded gender training.

68. Various steps have already been taken to address these points, and increased emphasis has been placed on field visits to monitor, encourage and support implementation.

69. In 1993, the gender training course, "People Oriented Planning" (POP), offered in 22 sessions with around 500 participants, included staff from UNHCR and implementing partners in various countries. NGO staff who have been trained as trainers by UNHCR are now conducting their own POP training, further increasing coverage. In addition, POP has been integrated into UNHCR training programmes such as Programme Management, Emergency Management and Protection. As well as English, French and Spanish, training materials are now available in Khmer, Portuguese and Russian. A new programme handbook, designed to guide staff in using the gender analytic framework in their daily work, has been made available. The focus of training in 1994 will be the development of an indigenous training capacity, which is expected to make POP training more accessible in isolated areas of some UNHCR operations.

70. An emergency stand-by arrangement providing for the rapid deployment of Community Services Officers is expected to address the needs of women in the earliest stages of a refugee crisis. A needs assessment tool with a gender focus is nearing completion.

71. Following reports on the implementation on the Guidelines on Protection of Refugee Women, UNHCR prepared a paper on "Some Aspects of Sexual Violence and Refugee Women" which was received positively by the Executive Committee and resulted in substantive recommendations to prevent and address these problems. These were subsequently reflected in discussions and recommendations by the Commission on the Status of Women and discussed in the joint UNHCR/NGO Partnership in Action (PARINAC) initiative as activities for future implementation. A project addressing particular aspects of sexual violence against refugee women in terms of prevention and follow-up care of victims has been developed and will be observed carefully as a possible model to address similar situations.

72. In preparation for the 1995 World Conference on Women, an extensive network has been developed among Headquarters and field personnel to ensure the necessary coordination. These staff will be contribution information on refugee women for the compilation of national reports, and will be ensuring that issues relevant to refugee women are raised in the preparatory conferences and in the discussion of the Platform for Action.

4. Refugee children

73. Around half the world's refugees are children. The High Commissioner is concerned that the special needs of refugee children are met through appropriate protection and assistance measure. The International Year of the Family (1994) provides an excellent opportunity to focus attention on the needs of refugee children.

74. A UNHCR Policy on Refugee Children (EC/SCP/82) was presented to the Executive Committee in 1993; it stressed the importance of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child as a normative framework for action. In all actions taken concerning refugee children, the best interests of the child are to be given primary consideration and family unity must be preserved or restored.

75. UNHCR's approach to the protection and care of refugee children has three elements: direct services to the child; helping the child through helping the family; and assisting the child and the family through services to the community.

76. The Guidelines on Refugee Children (A/AC.96/804), introduced in 1988, were reviewed in 1993 in the light of experience gained, as well as of new developments. A draft was circulated amongst Field Offices, implementing partners and relevant agencies within the United Nations system for comments, and a new version of the Guidelines was distributed in May 1994.

77. Two areas of particular concern to UNHCR are the nutritional well-being of refugee children and their access to education. The most important factor in predisposing refugee children against high mortality during an emergency is to provide adequate food rations. A new Memorandum of Understanding between WFP and UNHCR was recently signed, where a number of provisions aim to improve the health and nutritional status of refugee children. In 1993 the education budget of UNHCR stood at $ 45 million, including $ 12 million funded as a result of Special Appeals and through the Emergency fund. Two concrete examples highlight recent efforts to provide refugee children with education, even in emergency situations. In collaboration with UNICEF, UNESCO and other organizations, UNHCR supported primary and secondary schooling for displaced and refugee children in the former Yugoslavia. This collaboration was also evident in Somalia, where teaching materials developed for UNESCO's "Education for Peace" initiative were used for Somali refugees in countries of asylum, as well as for UNHCR's cross border operations in Somalia.

78. Children's needs in refugee emergencies are now being assessed with the help of special stand-by arrangements with the NGO, Rädda Barnen. These arrangements are designed to ensure that trained community services workers participate in the emergency teams which are fielded at the outset of a refugee situation. In the context of a community approach, the needs of refugee children, and especially those of unaccompanied children, will be assessed and addressed. During 1993 community workers participated in emergencies in countries such as Liberia, Rwanda, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania.

5. Environment

79. UNHCR continues to address issues related to the proper environmental management of refugee/returnee programmes. This is especially so in relation to its activities in developing countries within the parameters of its mandate, and in support of national environmental conservation efforts. These programmes include the physical living conditions of refugees, as well as their impact on the environment, particularly with regard to the destruction of forest/vegetation resources around refugee sites.

80. The broad lines of UNHCR's policy on the environment were already discussed by the Executive Committee at its forty-third session (1992). During 1993, the Executive Committee, through its Sub-Committee on Administrative and Financial matters, addressed the means of implementing this policy, and proposed interim Guidelines. These will primarily stress a preventive and pro-active approach. In so doing, the Office will seek to integrate environmental concerns into existing programmes, as this is thought to be most cost-effective,

C. Programme management and implementation

1. General

81. Recent developments leading to new humanitarian challenges have, over the last few years, altered the framework in which UNHCR carries out its responsibilities. The need to maintain a viable and efficient system for programme delivery, as well as for donor reporting is crucial, given continuing resource constraints in the face of ever-increasing demands. Conscious of the "need to do more with less", the High Commissioner gave an undertaking to the executive Committee, during its forty-third session in October 1992, to improve the management of resources by enhancing UNHCR's programming skills and its effectiveness in programme delivery.

82. In April 1993, the High Commissioner established the Working Group on programme Management and Operational Capacity, which was mandated to review UNHCR's assistance policy and programme management system and procedures. The Working Group met during May and June 1993.

83. The Working Group, inter alia, analysed the programme management system and related procedures and tools, identified problems and proposed solutions to improve the effectiveness of UNHCR's programme delivery. Attention focused on ways to improve performance by simplifying procedures, delegating authority to the field with a view to increased flexibility, and ensuring accountability for activities undertaken by programme managers. In addition, the Working Group proposed modifications, particularly regarding procedural changes designed to enhance the capacity of the field, so it can meet its full range of programme management responsibilities. These concerned, inter alia, timely provision of adequate staffing, funding and material resources, adequate technical advice, and sufficient tools, skills and information to manage programmes and control resources effectively.

84. The recommendations of the Working Group were endorsed by the High Commissioner in July 1993. A follow-up group composed of Headquarters staff members from the Working Group is meeting regularly to ensure that the recommendations are being implemented.

85. Those recommendations which could be implemented immediately have already been put into effect. Relevant procedures and management tools have been revised to adapt to the new framework. A group is meeting to examine the current budgeting and accounting computer software to investigate changes which could be introduced so as to achieve further simplicity, while simultaneously providing more management information.

86. Other recommendations, particularly those involving more fundamental modifications to programming procedures and computer systems, are being executed in a phased manner in order to allow for further consultations, particularly with field offices, on some of the detailed aspects of the various proposals.

2. Evaluation

87. UNHCR's evaluation activities during the reporting period concentrated primarily on studies related to durable solutions, emergency preparedness and response, and other key policy and programme issues.

88. In-depth reviews undertaken during the year included a review of the repatriation and reintegration programme for Cambodian refugees, an evaluation of the encashment programme for Afghan refugees in Pakistan, as well as a review of the International Conference on Central American Refugees which examined the relevance of recent experiences gained in Central America to the promotion of durable solutions in other parts of the world. A review of the cross-mandate programme in Ethiopia was initiated in the first quarter of March 1994.

89. Evaluations undertaken in 1991-1992 on UNHCR's emergency preparedness and response capacity were supplemented in the past year by a review of UNHCR operations in former Yugoslavia, as well as an evaluation of the standby emergency staffing arrangements established between UNHCR and two Nordic voluntary agencies.

90. Policy studies undertaken during the period under review included an examination of UNHCR's role in providing protection and assistance to internally displaced persons, and an evaluation of the implementation and impact of UNHCR's policy on refugee women.

91. In order to ensure follow-up on evaluations, new procedures were introduced in late 1993, which meant that findings could be more effectively communicated to senior management and integrated into the organization's planning and decision-making processes.

D. Regional developments in Africa

1. Burundi emergency

92. Upheavals in Burundi provoked the most dramatic refugee exodus of 1993, with some 580,000 people seeking refuge in Rwanda, the United Republic of Tanzania and Zaire. By December 1993, the situation in Burundi had stabilized somewhat. A large spontaneous return of refugees from the United Republic of Tanzania took place during January and February 1994, with some 60,000 refugees still remaining in asylum. Hopes for an early return of refugees from Rwanda and Zaire proved to be premature, as the security situation in their areas of origin in Burundi remained volatile. Indeed, a fresh outbreak of violence in Bujumbura in mid-March provoked a new exodus of refugees, many of whom escaped to Zaire. A limited assistance programme to returnees from the United Republic of Tanzania and Rwanda has commenced. For assistance planning purposes the total number of Burundi refugees stood at 407,000, spread amongst Rwanda (272,000), the United Republic of Tanzania (60,000) and Zaire (75,000). The High Commissioner's Special Envoy for the Burundi Emergency continued his discussions with the Burundi authorities with a view to creating conditions for an orderly repatriation to Burundi and to forestall a new exodus.

2. West Africa

93. The political crisis which began affecting Togo in 1992 deteriorated even further at the beginning of 1993, culminating in the flight of some 250,000 refugees to Benin and Ghana during the course of the year. Following the victory of the opposition in the multi-party legislative elections of August 1993 and an agreement made with the President to share power, most of the refugees are expected to opt for voluntary repatriation in the near future. UNHCR is therefore drawing up a contingency plan.

94. In January 1994, communal violence between two ethnic groups in northern Ghana resulted in serious casualties, and forced an estimated 6,500 Ghanaians to flee into neighbouring villages in Togo. This lead to the internal displacement of some 150,000 Ghanaians in the Volta Region. UNHCR has set up a programme to provide emergency relief assistance for Ghanaian refugees in Togo.

95. A Peace Agreement was concluded on 25 July 1993 in Cotonou, Benin, by Liberia's Interim Government of National Unity, the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) and the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO). This Agreement provides for the formation of the Liberian National Transitional Government, disarmament, demobilization and the holding of elections, thereby improving prospects for the eventual return of 700,000 refugees. An $ 82 million appeal for the repatriation operation to Liberia was launched on 30 November 1993. All relief activities in the Upper Lofa area, where UNHCR operated an assistance programme for nearly 175,000 Sierra Leonean refugees and internally displaced persons, were suspended in mid-December 1993 after a major assault by rebel forces. To date, attempts to resume operations in the area have been unsuccessful, as the security situation remains precarious.

96. Disarmament and the establishment of the transitional government began on 7 March 1994, following the deployment of the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) forces in Liberia, several months behind the schedule foreseen under the Cotonou Agreement. New conflicts are erupting amongst and within factions. The date for the general election is now set for 7 September 1994. Because of the volatile security situation, a large-scale organized repatriation is unlikely to take place before this date. UNHCR, in coordination with other agencies, is nevertheless taking the necessary steps to prepare for a reintegration and rehabilitation assistance programme for returnees in Liberia. Since the signing of the Peace Agreement, an estimated 50,000 Liberians have repatriated spontaneously.

3. Southern Africa

97. Through a combination of mainly spontaneous as well as organized repatriation, an estimated 600,000 persons had returned to Mozambique by the end of March 1994, the majority from Malawi. UNHCR also concluded a basic agreement with the South African authorities permitting, inter alia, UNHCR assistance to Mozambicans. The operation should be completed in 1995. Repatriation to South Africa was concluded successfully in 1993, with over 17,000 returning with UNHCR assistance.

98. In Angola, continuing insecurity created difficulties for United Nations agencies, including UNHCR, to deliver assistance to affected populations, as planned during 1993. Nonetheless, UNHCR managed to assist 112,000 returnees and internally displaced persons in areas of return. As a result of efforts by the Secretary-General's Special Envoy, United Nations agencies were granted access for assistance purposes throughout the country, as of September 1993. Since January 1994, UNHCR has continued to assist returnees and internally displaced persons and reinforced its presence. The outcome of peace negotiations in Zambia between the Angolan Government and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), under the auspices of the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM), will determine UNHCR's ability to implement its assistance programmes in 1994.

4. East Africa and the Horn of Africa

99. Refugee flows into Uganda continue. By the end of March 1994, Uganda was host to some 120,000 refugees from the Sudan, 90,000 from Rwanda and 15,000 from Zaire. Whilst the Ugandan authorities, in conjunction with UNHCR, WFP and various NGOs, responded energetically to the challenge of caring for them, the problem seems unlikely to diminish, given the combination of a number of factors such as the absence of an effective government in Zaire, fighting in Rwanda and the targeting of civilian populations in southern Sudan.

100. Some 60,000 Ethiopians and 90,000 Somalis repatriated voluntarily from Kenya, in both organized and spontaneous movements, which brings the Somali caseload in Kenya to 240,000 at March 1994 down from a peak of 330,000. In an attempt to provide some measure of economic security for those returning, UNHCR implemented some 360 QIPs in the cross-border programme.

101. Efforts to facilitate the repatriation of Ethiopians and Eritreans from the Sudan were intensified during the reporting period. However, they met with limited success as some 15,000 out of 50,000 Ethiopians returned. Preparatory activities for voluntary repatriation of some 10,000 Ethiopian refugees from camps in Djibouti were completed in December 1993. This is, however, still awaiting approval from the Ethiopian authorities. In Eritrea, UNHCR efforts concentrated on developing a pilot programme within the framework of the larger-scale Programme for the Rehabilitation of Eritrean Returnees (PROFERI), agreed upon by all parties and expected to commence in late spring 1994, which will cater for up to 24,000 returnees from the Sudan.

102. Spontaneous repatriation movements into north-west Somalia have taken place on a considerable scale from eastern Ethiopia and, t a limited extent, Djibouti. Obstacles to an organized repatriation consist of factors such as the continuing menace of mines, lack of disarmament, and the need to train and gainfully employ an estimated 50,000 military personnel. The UNHCR de-mining programme, which in 1993 removed some 30, 000 mines and explosive devices, was handed over at the beginning of 1994 to the United Nations Operations in Somalia (UNOSOM).

103. In January 1994, UNOSOM, tabled a six-month plan of action aimed at initiating rehabilitation and development activities, which are of particular significance to UNHCR in that they provide an inducement to further voluntary repatriation and assist in securing the future of returnees. It is understood that rehabilitation and development activities will focus on returnees-concentrated areas.

104. With the threat of food shortages, crop failure and famine looming over many parts of Africa, WFP and FAO estimate that approximately 22 million refugees, displaced persons and others will require food assistance in 1994, with almost 10 million of these in the Horn of Africa and East Africa. In order to meet this challenge, it is estimated that the international community will have to assemble some 3,000,000 metric tonnes of food. Problems on this particularly in the Horn of Africa, but also force populations to move within countries and across borders in search of food.

105. Innovative approaches to complex humanitarian situations are now being evaluated and may well prove to be applicable to other situations in Africa and elsewhere. In Ethiopia, where a complex humanitarian situation involves refugees, returnees, demobilized soldiers and victims of drought or poverty, a cross-mandate approach has been pursued and its results are now being reviewed. The approach entails agreement by United Nations, voluntary and government agencies to coordinate their actions in a particular area so as to maximize impact, lessen duplication and, in the event of perceived assistance gaps, be prepared to move beyond their specific mandates.

106. In Kenya, arrangements have been made with UNOP, on behalf of the United Nations Disaster Management Team, to enhance their activities in the Mandera district once refugee camps have been closed, targeting displaced persons and the local community, who have come to rely upon the assistance provided to the refugee population. There is a strong possibility that refugee camps be closed until the needs of the larger community are met.

107. In the course of 1993, total expenditure in Africa amounted to $ 325,141,700 of which $ 188,532,200 was spent under General Programmes and $ 136,609,500 under Special Programmes.

E. Regional developments in the Americas and the Caribbean

108. In the course of 1993 and the first quarter of 1994 a number of developments took place in the region, including important legislative changes affecting refugee policy in Canada and the United States, the consolidation of durable solutions in Central America, Mexico and Belize, an increase in the number of asylum-seekers arriving from distant continents to Latin American countries, and ongoing problems in the Caribbean region, arising from the political impasse in Haiti.

1. North America

109. In Canada, the introduction of Bill c. 86 on 1 February 1993, laid the foundation for significant changes in refugee determination procedures which led, inter alia, to a 45 per cent reduction since 1992 in the number of arrivals. Considerable interest in issues of gender persecution resulted in the issuance by the Immigration and Refugee Board of an important document entitled "Guidelines on Women Refugee Claimants Fearing Gender-Based Persecution". On 24 January 1994 the incoming Minister of Citizenship and Immigration announced that refugee claimants would be eligible to work in Canada while awaiting the outcome of their applications for refugee status. The new Government also stated that it would maintain its present immigration quota of 250,000 persons during 1994.

110. The Government of the United States made intense efforts to incorporate a number of amendments in the Asylum Act, one of which refers to expedited exclusion procedures. On 29 March 1994, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Commissioner publicly announced a new initiative aimed at reducing illegal immigration to the United States involving the imposition of fees for asylum applications and the streamlining of refugee status determination procedures. The INS Director of Asylum indicated that up to 400, 000 asylum applicants may be awaiting resolution of their claim. Consequently, proposals had been put forward to increase INS staffing levels in order to reduce the backlog. With regard to United States policy towards Haitian asylum-seekers, UNHCR on various occasions suggested the implementation of a comprehensive regional approach involving temporary safe havens and screening procedures.

2. Central America and the Caribbean

111. In four of the seven countries engaged in the CIREFCA process, presidential elections were held during the reporting period. The fact that peaceful, fully participatory elections took place in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Honduras during the last 15 months is demonstrative of the progress made in consolidating the last 15 months is demonstrative of the American region, with the elections of 20 March 1994 in El Salvador being particularly significant. UNHCR programmes supported the various peace processes in Central America in a number of ways. In the Salvadorian elections, for example, a UNHCR-led documentation project resulted in the restoration of 3,497 municipal registry books, the reissuance of 1,131,250 birth certificates, and the issuance of 164,166 new birth certificates, 234,332 personal identity documents and 334,484 identity cards for minors.

112. Despite the absence of a peace agreement and the volatile security situation prevailing in Guatemala, refugees began to repatriate in 1993 under UNHCR auspices. Some 6,400 refugee repatriated to Guatemala from Mexico between January 1993 and March 1994. The Human Right Accord, signed on 29 March 1994 between the Government of Guatemala and the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unit (URNG), might provide further impetus for the reparation of an estimated 10,000 Guatemalans in the course of 1994. Other important UNHCR activities in Central America, Mexico and Belize initiated during 1993 included the implementation of QIPs in El Salvador, Belize and Guatemala, as well as training and productive activities targeting refugee and returnee women. Furthermore, a UNHCR project supporting the implementation of an executive decree by the government allowed 10,200 refugees to obtain residency status in Costa Rica. After ensuring continuity and follow-up of the $ 12 million QIP programme in Nicaragua through the Ministry of Social Action, UNHCR's direct involvement ended on 30 June 1993.

113. As CIREFCA will formally complete its mandate in May 1994, UNHCR has been involved in close consultations on developing a strategy to complete pending tasks and address future challenges in Central America, Mexico and Belize. At a meeting convened in San José, Costa Rica, on 15 and 16 February 1994, a joint UNHCR/UNDP proposal was developed, in line with discussions held at the forty fourth session of UNHCR's Executive Committee, which outlines a strategy to continue to address the outstanding needs of the uprooted in the region. National strategy to continue to address the outstanding needs of the uprooted in the region. National strategies and commitments for the future in the seven countries concerned should be finalized at a CIREFCA closing event, planned for the end of May 1994.

114. Despite ongoing problems, 1,796 Haitians sheltering in Cuba and the Bahamas were assisted in their repatriation. UNHCR acknowledges with satisfaction the recent accession to the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol by the Bahamas, and to the 1951 Convention by St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the interest demonstrated by other Caribbean states to accede to these same instruments.

3. South America

115. An accelerated influx of asylum-seekers, primarily from Africa to Brazil, characterized UNHCR's activities in South America. Approximately 1,700 asylum-seekers arrived in Brazil during the reporting period, mainly from Angola and Zaire; some 100 persons continue to arrive each month. As a result, UNHCR expanded its activities in Brazil. In Chile, democratic reforms continued to inspire the repatriation of Chilean refugees, with a total of 1,945 Chileans being assisted to return in 1993 and an additional 270 during the first three months of 1994. In March 1994 cessation clauses were invoked with regard to Chilean refugees, who will continue to be eligible to register for voluntary repatriation until 30 September 1994.

116. In 1993, total expenditure in the Americas and the Caribbean amounted to $ 38,141,400, of which $ 21,191,300 under General Programmes and $ 16,950,100 under Special Programmes.

F. Regional developments in Asia and Oceania

117. In Asia, a number of refugee problems which previously appeared intractable progressed towards a resolution. Significant progress was made in the repatriation of refugees in the subregions. During the period under review, 243,853 persons repatriated and 33,506 were resettled, compared to 34,338 new arrivals in the regions as a whole. Negotiations were concluded at the political and operational level for the commencement of the orderly and safe return of the approximately 250,000 refugees from Myanmar in Bangladesh. The Sri Lankan repatriation operation proceeded as planned. The repatriation of Cambodians initiated in March 1992 was successfully completed in April 1993, and some 387,000 have been assisted in Cambodia.

1. South Asia

118. The signing of two memoranda of Understanding, in Dhaka on 12 May 1993 and in Yangon on 5 November 1993, paved the way for an agreed framework on the voluntary repatriation of a quarter of a million refugees from Myanmar who had sought refuge in Bangladesh in 1991-92. This was the result of protracted and sensitive negotiations between UNHCR and the Governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar, which included a visit by the High Commissioner to Myanmar in July 1993.

119. Preparations for a large-scale organized return movement of 197,394 refugees remaining in Bangladesh are at an advanced stage, with more than 50,000 having already returned spontaneously. Movements are expected to commence in the second quarter of 1944. A UNHCR Liaison office was opened in Yangon in February 1944, with ten international staff, six of whom will be on mission in Rakhine State, monitoring the return of the refugees.

120. In addition to an initial rehabilitation assistance package, which includes two-months of food rations provided by WFP, one of the most important aspects of the reintegration phase is small scale community-based projects, whose focus will be on water and sanitation, health, agriculture, fisheries and education. Their main objective is to anchor the returnee population.

121. A total of 10,501 Sri Lankan refugees repatriated from Tamil Nadu, India, during the reporting period. The unsettled situation in northern Sri Lanka prevents UNHCR from actively promoting repatriation from India; nonetheless, the Office facilitates the return of those refugees who express a desire to go back. Since 1922, some 40,000 Tamils have returned in safety, while 69,150 remained in camps in India at the end of the reporting period.

122. A bilateral agreement, signed on 12 January 1994 between the Sri Lankan and Swiss authorities on the repatriation of rejected Sri Lankan asylum seekers, invited UNHCR to liaise between returnees and both Governments in order to address personal security problems that could arise upon return to Sri Lanka. Modalities for this type of "passive monitoring" were established in ensuing exchanges of letters between UNHCR and both Governments.

123. On a less positive note, little progress was made in finding a solution to the plight of the approximately 85,000 Bhutanese refugees in camps in south-eastern Nepal. A Joint Ministerial Committee of the two Governments, established in July 1993, grouped these refugee into four categories: (i) Bhutanese who were forcibly evicted; (ii) Bhutanese who emigrated; (iii) non-Bhutanese; and (iv) Bhutanese who have committed criminal acts. No decisions have as yet been taken with regard to the status of any of the above groups.

124. The care and maintenance of refugee in camps in Bangladesh and Nepal, and of urban refugee in New Delhi and Dhaka constituted the bulk of UNHCR's operations during the reporting period. The assistance programme in Bangladesh concentrated on the supply of food and non-food items, the maintenance of the physical infrastructure in the camps, and the provision of preventive and curative health services, wherein NGOs played a vital role. The Nepalese camps, in addition to these activities, emphasized programmes in favour of education, income-generation for women and the general improvement of camp conditions. The main focus of next year's assistance programme will be on greater participation of women and refugee involvement.

125. The large urban caseload of some 25,000 Afghans and a few hundred Somalis in New Delhi, who were assisted materially by UNHCR, continued to be a major challenge for the office. In order to reduce dependence on international aid, a pilot project which entails a one-off payment, equivalent to one-year's assistance allowance to refugees with potential entrepreneurial skills, has assistance to some 3, 030 persons under this scheme. The efficacy of this approach is being kept under review.

2. South-East Asia

126. Since 1975, some 1,810,000 Vietnamese, 650,000 Cambodians and 365,000 Lao have left their countries. Some 2,735,000 Indo-Chinese refugees and displaced persons have ether been resettled, repatriated or integrated locally. At the end of the reporting period, the numbers of Indo-Chinese refugees and displaced persons for whom durable solutions have yet to be secured are 58,107 Vietnamese in camps in Hong Kong and South-East Asia, 23,860 Lao in Thailand, and 5,629 Cambodians.

127. A total of 132,000 Cambodians repatriated between January and April 1993, bringing the number of Cambodians who had repatriated from Thailand and other countries since the inception of the operation in March 1992 to some 387,000, including refugees who had repatriated spontaneously. Another 1,0000 repatriated from Indonesia. The reintegration process continued to meet with general success although a number of problems were encountered regarding the acquisition of land, land-mines and the attainment of self-sufficiency. As a thousands of nationals were displaced within Cambodia.

128. In March 1994, a group of some 25,000 Cambodians who had been granted refuge in Thailand and to which UNHCR had not been permitted access, was returned to Cambodia. Some 35,000 ethnic Vietnamese Cambodians escaping ethnic persecution were granted refuge in Viet Nam in early 1993. Although negotiations to resolve this issue were initiated between the two countries, some 6,000 persons remain stranded along the Cambodian/Vietnamese border.

129. The Steering Committee of the International Conference on Indo-Chinese refugees which set in Geneva on 14 February 1994 agreed by consensus on the end of 1995 as a target date for the completion of all activity under the CPA in of newly-arrived Vietnamese asylum-seekers. The implementation of the CPA continued with considerable success. Nonetheless, 828 Vietnamese arrived in East and South-East Asia, 662 of them in Japan wbere they mistakely believed they would benefit from cash grants and employment possibilities. Refugee status determinations under the CPA were completed in Indonesia and the Philippines during 1993, and will be completed in Malaysia by end-May and completed in Thailand by end of June 1994, and are projected to be completed in Hong Kong by the end of 1994. Under the CPA, 19,000 Vietnamese and Lao were resettled and 24,010 Vietnamese repatriated. The total as of and March 1944 stood at 60,291 voluntary repatriants under UNHCR auspices. As in the past, UNHCR continued to monitor and assist returnees and found there to be no substantiated cases of persecution or serious harassment.

130. Many Vietnamese non-refugees in camps have had difficulty reconciling themselves to the prospect of returning to Viet Nam and resuming their lives. Information on conditions in Viet Nam, reintegration assistance and individual counselling was provided regularly to the camp residents to facilitate this process.

131. As foreseen under the CPA, other modalities for the return of Vietnamese non-refugees from camps in the region may be needed. An understanding to this effect was reached between Indonesia, Viet Nam and UNHCR on 2 October 1993 regarding the return, without the use of force, of all Vietnamese non-refugees from Indonesia, preparations for the implementation of these arrangements continued during the first quarter of 1994. At 31 March 1994, the total Vietnamese population in camps in Hong Kong and South-East Asia stood at 58,107 persons, the vast majority of whom were determined not to be refugees.

132. There were 23,860 Lao in UNHCR assisted camps in Thailand, as of 31 March 1994, for whom durable solutions were being pursued. Following the successful completion of the refugee status determinations in October 1993, efforts towards voluntary repatriation and resettlement of the remaining caseload were promoted vigorously. It is noteworthy that no new arrivals were registered in 1993 and the first quarter of 1994.

133. The Sixth Tripartite Meeting between the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Thailand and UNHCR, held in Savannakhet, Lao People's Democratic Republic, in July 1993, reviewed progress achieved towards repatriation, as well as obstacles such as the shortage of suitable sites for rural settlements required to absorb the backlog of repatriation volunteers opting for this form of reintegration.

134. A resolution for the long outstanding issue of the 131 Achenese refugees in detention and the 53 within the UNHCR Branch Office premises was being finalized by the Malaysian authorities in February 1994. Attempts were being pursued to legalize their status in Malaysia.

135. During 1993, total expenditure in Asia and Oceania amounted to $ 144,397,600, of which $ 58, 453, 000 came under General Programmes and $ 85, 944, 600

G. Regional developments in Europe

136. The largest single group of persons in need of international protection originated from the former Yugoslavia. Tensions in parts of the former Soviet Union affected both refugees and internally displaced persons. While Western European governments aimed at streamlining and harmonizing asylum policy, Central and Eastern European States increasingly faced the challenge of having become countries of asylum or transit.

1. Western Europe

137. In Western Europe the number of new asylum seekers decreased for the first time since 1987, with the estimated number of new requests in 1993 close to 550, 000, compared with 680,000 in 1992 and 520,000 in 1991. Refugee status was granted to some 50,000 asylum-seekers, while more than 400,000 asylum applicants were rejected. Some 60,000 individual claimants were permitted to stay on humanitarian grounds.

138. Governments have continued their efforts to adapt their asylum procedures to the need to process large numbers of asylum applications. The member States of the European Union have introduced new asylum legislation, in December 1992 in an attempt to harmonize their asylum law and policy. The aim was to implement their resolutions regarding manifestly unfounded claims as well as policies regarding third countries, and on countries where there is in general no real risk of persecution. This harmonization process received new impetus with the entry into force in November 1993 of the Treaty on European Union. Similar measures to increase the efficiency of asylum procedures were taken by other Western European States. As a result, the time in which cases were processed has diminished. The measures also discouraged would-be migrants, which to the same extent explains the decrease in new claims in some countries. At the same time other countries, saw an increase in the number of asylum-seekers.

139. The Office continued to follow these developments closely and, provided advice on the implementation of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, and expressed concern whenever the new legislative and administrative measures inclined towards a departure from western Europe's liberal asylum traditions. While States increasingly relied on measures such as stricter border control, visa obligations, air carrier sanctions and safe country of origin and first asylum concepts, the Office emphasized that such measures did not offer solutions to the refugee problem and, indeed, make it increasingly difficult for persons in need of international protection to gain admission to safety and access to asylum procedures.

2. Central and Eastern Europe

140. In Central and Eastern Europe, UNHCR continued to focus its activities on protection, refugee law promotion and institution-building, as well as operating limited assistance programmes. In cooperation with concerned Governments, National Officer posts were created in order to pursue in-country legal and training activities, counter xenophobic trends and encourage a more positive approach to refugees. The problems faced in these countries are becoming increasingly similar to those in Western Europe, as Governments seek to control migratory flows transiting through their territory. The region is also seriously affected by events in former Yugoslavia, with most countries providing temporary protection to substantial numbers of persons fleeing conflict areas.

141. All Central European States have become signatories to the 1951 Convention and its 1967 Protocol; two have adopted national legislation, implementing the provisions, while others, with UNHCR's assistance, are at the drafting stage. Most countries are concluding bilateral readmission agreements. Where appropriate, UNHCR advises on elaborating contingency plans for mass influx situations. Support is also being given to the nascent NGO movement, notably in cooperation with the European Consultation on Refugees and Exiles. Assistance has been provided to destitute refugees and/or to governments to facilitate the local integration of refugees where possible, and financial support has been provided for refugees from the former Yugoslavia in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.

142. The Russian Federation acceded to the 1951 Convention and its 1967 Protocol in November 1992 and promulgated its national law in February 1993. The Russian Federal Migration Service (FMS), in cooperation with UNHCR, has initiated the registration of asylum-seekers and refugees from the republics of the former Soviet Union and from other countries. In the same vein, during 1993, several training workshops on Refugee Law and Refugee Status Determination for FMS personnel were organized and financed by UNHCR. As a means of creating public awareness and sympathy to the plight of refugees and asylum-seekers and addressing xenophobia, a UNHCR Mass Information Campaign was recently launched in Russian in cooperation with ION. The determination of groups of concern and the elaboration of specific programmes of groups of concern and the elaboration of specific programmes of assistance and institution building for the other three States covered by UNHCR's Regional office in Moscow - Belarus, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, are currently being implemented.

143. In response to a request from the Governments of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, UNHCR mobilized its Emergency Response team and initiated short-term relief projects in the Caucasus in late 1992 and early 1993. UNHCR, in coordination with DRA and other United Nations agencies, focuses on prevention, emergency response and solution-oriented relief assistance.

144. Armenia harbours over 300 000 ethnic Armenians in flight from Nagorny Karabakh, Sumgait and Baku. The vulnerable population, which is composed of both refugees and non-refugees, amounts to an estimated 2,5 million, out of a total population of 3,5 million. UNHCR extends life-sustaining assistance to some 140,000 vulnerable refugees. In Azerbaijan, over 900 000 persons have been displaced by the conflict in Nagorny Karabakh. As a result of new displacements in the western and south-western republic, UNHCR's target population for emergency relief activities has, in lese than a year, increased from 53,000 to 300,000, encompassing 185,000 Azeri refugees from Armenia. In Georgia, the military conflict which began in August 1992, brought the numbers of refugees and displaced persons up to 300 000. The UNHCR emergency assistance programme in 1993 provided limited care and maintenance to internally displaced persons from Abkhazia and South Ossetia as well as to a small number of returnees from North to South Ossetia. Following the signing on 1 December 1993 of a Memorandum of Understanding which provided, inter alia, for the return of approximately 250 000 displaced Georgians to Abkhazia, a Quadripartite Agreement was signed in Moscow on 4 April 1994. UNHCR acts as chair/secretary of the Quadripartite Commission which was created to manage the repatriation process.

145. UNHCR continued particularly at intergovernmental meetings in the context of the European Union, the Council of Europe and the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), to advocate comprehensive policy developments in Europe to address refugee and migration issues. The main elements of this comprehensive policy are: protection to those in need; preventive activities; assistance for refugee and returnee programmes; a clear distinction between persons fleeing persecution and violence, and those who leave their hoses for other reasons; public information to raise awareness and acceptance of refugees in countries of asylum; and a focus on would-be migrants in the countries of origin.

146. This last issue was a central theme of the Vienna Summit of the Council of Europe in October 1993. The Office has welcomed the considerable importance attached at this summit to addressing the manifestations of xenophobia and racism, including the high incidence of attacks on reception centres for asylum-seekers and refugees.

147. In the context of the Comprehensive Response to the Humanitarian Crisis in former Yugoslavia, which was endorsed at the International Meeting in Geneva on 29 July 1992, the office pursued an informal dialogue with States on the implementation of temporary protection. Such temporary protection includes admission to safety, non-refoulement and treatment in conformity with international humanitarian standards. It does not involve simultaneous access to individual refugee status determination procedures and anticipates the return of the persons concerned, and their re-integration in the country of origin.

3. Former Yugoslavia

(a) Characteristics of the refugee population

148. For planning purposes the number of refugees, displaced persons, and other affected persons in former Yugoslavia is now estimated at 3,792,000, the majority being women and children. This represents an increase of 25 per cent from the end of December 1993. They are located as follows:

Bosnia and Herzegovina2,740,000
Former Yugoslavia Republic Of Macedonia32,000
United Nations Protected areas97,000

149. A considerable number of those displaced or otherwise affected by the war have experienced severe trauma, and require psycho-social assistance. Most refugees and displaced persons reside with host families, which has proven to be remarkably successful, given the difficult circumstances.

150. The main focus of the fighting and destruction has been in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where assistance is provided to some 2,740,000 persons (approximately 65 per cent of the total population). Ethnic configuration have changed daily since the outbreak of the conflict in April 1992, at which time the country contained some 4,5 million people, comprising Muslims (44 per cent), Serbs (31 percent) and Croats (17 per cent).

151. During the period under review UNHCR has striven to maintain the delivery of humanitarian relief on a completely impartial basis, obtain assurances from the parties for full and unhindered access to all victims of the conflict, ensure safe passage of all humanitarian relief staff. In all, eleven UNHCR staff or staff associated with the UNHCR operation have lost their lives, assisting the victims of the conflict.

(b) Major characteristics of UNHCR's Programme in 1993

152. In November 1991, UNHCR was asked by the Secretary-General to act as lead United Nations agency responsible for providing protection and assistance to the victims of the conflict in former Yugoslavia.

153. Over the past year the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina has escalated, causing horrific suffering to the civilian population, and debilitating effects on neighbouring republics. As a result, the scope and magnitude of the emergency operation in former Yugoslavia reached unprecedented levels. The recent chronology of joint inter-agency appeals testifies to increasingly higher target populations and appeal requirements:

Date of AppealAmount (UNHCR only)Number of Beneficiaries
4 Sept 1992$ 394,429,0002,780,000
4 Dec 1992$ 282,302,0003,055,000
9 March 1993$ 767,154,0003,820,000
8 Oct 1993$ 696,550,8544,259,000

154. From the inception of the Sarajevo airlift July 1992 until 17 March 1994, 95, 654 metric tonnes of humanitarian relief supplies were transported to Sarajevo. Furthermore, the airdrop operation to eastern Bosnia, which began in March 1993, had transported 19,237 metric tonnes of food and medicine to Srebrenica, Gorazde, Zepa and Maglaj by March 1994.

155. In its protection function, UNHCR has continued to monitor, report and channel information, which in some cases led to the exposure of human rights violations in the former Yugoslavia. Issues such as access to persons in need and the admission of the displaced and refugee population to safety have been of vital importance. Throughout the reporting period, UNHCR continued its efforts to obtain unhindered access to populations in need, efforts, which nonetheless continued to meet with obstruction by most parties to the conflict. UNHCR has endeavoured to ensure their safe passage and admission to other parts of the region and has assisted in the evacuation of persons in acute life-threatening situations (such as Srebrenica). At the international level, the region and has assisted in the evacuation of persons in acute life-threatening situations (such as Srebrenica). At the international level, the office actively promoted admission at borders, non-refoulement and the extension and development of the concept of temporary protection. UNHCR has assisted and promoted the registration of all refugees and displaced persons, in particular of vulnerable groups in need of Special care. UNHCR is also concerned with the plight of women, children and all persons traumatized by the war. These groups are receiving particular attention through community-based assistance programmes which are already operative in most of the countries of the former Yugoslavia.

156. The initial fears of a humanitarian disaster of even greater proportions were forestalled by the relatively mild winters of 1992/93 and 1993/94. The humanitarian operation, increasingly supported by UNPROFOR, has been responsible for providing sufficient food, medical care, domestic items and shelter materials to meet many of the immediate relief requirements. Where access has been limited, such as in the Tuzla region, UNHCR has assisted by distributing seeds. Efforts were made to provide assistance to host families in Croatia, Slovenia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to counteract the effects of the worsening economic situation. Notably UNHCR intervened successfully by obtaining clearance form the United Nations Sanctions Committee for humanitarian assistance to refugee and vulnerable groups in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Some support was also provided to the health systems in these republics, particularly to strengthen services benefiting refugees and displaced persons. The medical evacuation programme from Sarajevo, while operating under significant constraints, nonetheless constitutes a lifeline for serious medical cases.

157. The main obstacles to the relief operation remain the deliberate and ruthless campaigns of obstruction and destruction. The Sarajevo airlift was interrupted on several occasions as a result of repeated security incidents. Protection and assistance efforts have taken place against a backdrop of warfare and violations of human rights, in particular ongoing "ethnic cleansing" campaigns, especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

158. The policy of "ethnic cleansing" continued unabated, with measures ranging from open pressure in southern Herzegovina, to the to the cynical practice of "enacting" expulsions in the Banja Luka region and the sheer terror enacted on the eastern enclaves and central Bosnia. An alarming increase in fighting between Bosnian Government and Bosnian Croat forces during the reporting period resulted in a new wave of "ethnic cleansing" in central Bosnia and Western Herzegovina, causing enormous logistical difficulties for the United Nations humanitarian relief operation, and completely severed commercial traffic to central Bosnia and the Tuzla region. This resulted in the creation of two "ghettos" in Zenica and Tuzla. The situation in Mostar has been appalling, with some 50,000 people, besieged in the devastated east bank of the town, forced to endure continuous heavy shelling and sniper fire, and surviving without water, electricity or sanitation.

(c) Special Programmes

159. In 1993 financial obligations for the Special Operation in former Yugoslavia totalled $284,600,665.

160. The definitive figures on 1993 expenditures are not yet available, but the provisional report indicates that expenditures and commitment for 1993 stood at $ 207,000,000.

161. As a result of an increase in the number of implementing agencies willing and able to work under conditions of low security, UNHCR was in a position to proceed in achieving its basic humanitarian objectives for 1993 in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Initial effort are concerned with the provision of food and shelter, activities in sectors of water, sanitation and agriculture (through the distribution of seeds) will be carried out over the course of the spring and summer. Most programmatic activities continue to address the problems caused by continual displacement, and the provision of food and shelter to inhabitants of besieged cities and "safe areas".

(d) Major meetings or/and conferences

162. Meetings with direct influence on the humanitarian programme in former Yugoslavia took place within the framework of the Humanitarian Issues Working Group of the International Conference on Former Yugoslavia chaired by the High Commissioner. Nine such meetings were held in 1983. At the 16 July meeting, UNHCR proposed the creation of the International Management Group to address infrastructure needs in Bosnia and Herzegovina (IMG), which was intended to be a coordinating body addressing the needs for shelter, infrastructure and energy, and to mobilize additional bilateral and multilateral resources. The meeting of 18 November 1993, which brought the warring factions together, was vital in securing access to central Bosnia by humanitarian aid convoys.

163. During 1993, total expenditure in Europe amounted to $ 585,510,400, of which $ 25,066,400 under General Programmes and $ 560,444,000 under Special Programmes.

H. Regional developments in south-West Asia, North Africa and the Middle East

1. South-West Asia

(a) Afghanistan

164. At the beginning of 1993 over 4 million Afghans remained in exile (2.5 millions in the Islamic Republic of Iran and 1.5 million in Pakistan) as internecine conflict within Afghanistan continued to undermine efforts to form a broad-based central government and clouded prospects for a full-scale repatriation.

165. Following the return of an unprecendented 1.5 million Afghans in 1992, the rats of repatriation decelerated somewhat in 1993, with 468,894 individuals having repatriated with UNHCR assistance and an additional 400,000 spontaneously. Many families, who had earlier manifested a clear desire to return, expressed the intention to delay their movements until the emergence of a more favourable security situation within Afghanistan. Although the uncertainty and insecurity within Afghanistan precluded the active promotion of repatriation, it was recognized that some refugees would decide to return to areas unaffected by the disturbances. The initial planning figure for 1994 of 800,000 returnees from the Islamic Republic of Iran and Pakistan is being reviewed in light of recent developments in Afghanistan, as well as funding difficulties. Total expenditure in 1993 for voluntary repatriation of Afghan refugees came to $31,725,287.

166. Since the change of government in April 1992 and the ongoing conflict in Kabul, nearly half the city's population has been displaced. UNHCR is the lead agency in northern Afghanistan coordinating assistance to 15,000 persons displaced from Kabul, who reside in five camps as well as numerous public locations. The recent outbreak of fighting, which appears to be at its fiercest level yet, has placed additional demands on UNHCR to provide relief assistance to over 100,000 persons at two newly-established camps in the eastern city of Jalalabad. A $ 3.6 million allocation from the emergency Fund has been made for the purchase of tents, plastic sheeting, blankets and cooking supplies.

(b) Central Asia

167. The civil war, which erupted in Tajikistan in 1992, caused the internal and external displacement of some 500,000 persons, over 60,000 of whom fled to northern Afghanistan. In the course of 1993, a reduction in hostilities in Tajikistan improved prospects for the return of refugees who had sought asylum in Afghanistan. Spontaneous and assisted repatriation of Tajik refugees began shortly after an amnesty agreement and the first meeting of the Quadripartite Commission on Repatriation comprising Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan the UNHCR. An estimated 13,000 refugees have returned spontaneously to Tajikistan, and an additional 17,000 with UNHCR assistance, the latter primarily to Piandj and Gorno Barakhshan. Over 80 per cent of internally displaced persons in southern Tajikistan have returned to their places of origin and require emergency and reintegration assistance. At the beginning of 1994, 39,000 Tajik refugees remained on Afghan soil, 24,000 of whom were receiving assistance at a camp near Mazar-i-Sharif, while 15,000 unassisted refugees remained in Kunduz province. In 1993, total expenditure for Tajik refugees in Afghanistan totalled $ 3,967,190.

168. UNHCR dispatched its first emergency teams to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in January 1993, and launched an emergency operation aimed at preventing further population movements and at assisting the internally displaced and refugees to return to their place of origin. UNHCR is coordinating its activities with other United Nations agencies and international organizations as part of an integrated approach involving the peacemaking, peace-keeping and humanitarian elements of the United Nations system. In this context and on the basis of an agreement with DBA, UNHCR's chief of Mission in Tajikistan also acts as the Emergency Coordinator.

169. In addition to Dushanbe (Tajikistan), and Termez and Tashkent (Uzbekistan), UNHCR is represented in Kurgan-Tyube, Shartuz, Kolkhozabad and Dusti in southern Tajikistan, Chorog in eastern Tajikistan and Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan. These offices support UNHCR's operations in Tajikistan, and the limited projects in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, which assist 3,500 and 7,000 Tajik refugees, respectively. One of UNHCR's main functions in Tajikistan consists of assisting the local authorities in protecting returnees, both former refugees and internally displaced persons. A UNHCR staff presence in areas of return has led to a substantial reduction in human rights abuses committed against returnees. In addition to the above activities, UNHCR extends protection and assistance to the most vulnerable Afghan refugees in Central Asia.

170. The first phase of the UNHCR emergency assistance programmes, involving the transportation of relief supplies by air from UNHCR stocks positioned in Pakistan and Turkey, was completed in the first half of 1993. The second phase involves the regional procurement of building materials to assist in the repair and reconstruction of some 17,000 houses, as well as the provision of fuel, supplementary food and various other non-food items. Several collective farms were assisted in repairing their water and sanitation facilities, which had been destroyed, while the health sector received support to be able to respond to the needs resulting from the civil war as well as from outbreaks of communicable diseases.

171. Lack of sufficient funding for UNHCR's activities in Central Asia meant that building materials were procured for only 8,000 houses, an amount which falls far short of total reconstruction needs. Logistics and economic obligations for 1993 amounted to $ 8,733,500.

(c) Islamic Republic of Iran

172. As a result of repatriation movements during 1993, the Afghan refugees population in the Islamic Republic of Iran declined from 2,7 million in December 1992 to 1.8 million at the end of 1993, with most of the settlement dwellers, to whom UNHCR and WFP had provided assistance, having repatriated. The majority of the current, urban-based refugee population, is faced with diminishing job opportunities and dwindling government support for food, health and education. UNHCR's assistance to this group is meant to complement the Government's already sizeable assistance.

173. In 1993, UNHCR continued its assistance programme towards some 67,000 Iraqi Kurds and 42,000 Iraqi Shiites. Since June 1993, a total of 7,000 Iraqis from the southern marshes have sought asylum in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The rate of influx of these Shiites stands at 60 to 100 persons per week, and is likely to continue in the foreseeable future. At the same time, although repatriations to northern Iraq in 1993 were limited, up to 10,000 Kurdish refugees are expected to return in 1994 under an organized repatriation programme.

174. As a consequence of the eruption of fighting in Azerbaijan in August 1993, the Azerbaijani population which resided along the Iranian border began to cross into northern Iran, giving rise to an emergency situation. The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran assisted approximately 50,000 arrivals who were transported to the safer eastern part of Azerbaijan, where seven camps had been established, with UNHCR providing limited assistance to the group during transportation.

(d) Pakistan

175. Despite the low rate of repatriation in 1993, the registered Afghan refugee population declined from 1,567,000 in December 1992 to 1,437,000 at the end of 1993. The Government of Pakistan office of the Commissioner for Afghan Refugees (CAR) and UNHCR continued to adjust and consolidate the assistance programme to take account of this reduction. The 347 camp administration units which operated before the 1992 mass repatriation have decreased to 145 and this trend will be maintained during 1994.

176. UNHCR is also encouraging government departments and concerned United Nations agencies to extend their services to the refugee population, and is thereby adapting a phasing-down approach, which will consolidate local assistance structures and reduce overhead costs by maintaining specialized services targeting a diminished caseload. It will also contribute to improving the at times strained relations between refugees and the local population.

177. The latest outburst of fighting in Kabul, which began in January 1994, led to a fresh influx of some 20,000 urban refugees into the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan. UNHCR, the CAR and NGOs have dealt with the initial emergency stages. Efforts are currently underway to upgrade existing camp facilities. Although the border remains officially closed, new arrivals are regularily being admitted into Pakistan on humanitarian grounds. The rapidly deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan may further reduce the rate of voluntary repatriation and hence delay the phasing-down process.

178. There are approximately 2,200 non-Afghan refugees, mainly Iraqi Kurds, Somalis and Iranians, residing in Pakistan's urban centres. Until a durable solution can be found, the Government of Pakistan is granting temporary asylum, provided they are assisted by UNHCR.

179. A total of $ 18,478,500 was obligated in 1993 for care and maintenance to refugees in Pakistan.

2. Middle East

(a) Iraq

180. In September 1993, UNHCR initiates a pilot project, which covers food, shelter and economic integration, to facilitate the return of up 10,200 Iraqis Kurds from neighbouring countries. Some 7,000 individuals have repatriated. The project covers the returnees needs upon arrival, namely transportation, food and shelter, and provides a package aimed at fostering their economic integration.

181. UNHCR continued to perform its traditional activities in Iraq for persons under its mandate, namely 3,800 Iranian refugees in the three northern governorates, 20,690 Iranian refugees in Al-Tash camp in al Anbar governorate, 20,000 Iranian Ahwazi refugees in Wasit and Misan governorates and some 1,200 urban refugees of various nationalities. UNHCR is pursuing its efforts with the Iranian authorities to facilitate the repatriation of some 14,000 Iranian refugees in Al-Tash camp who have requested to return to their country of origin.

(b) Saudi Arabia

182. Saudi Arabia hosted and provided a range of assistance measures to 24,025 Iraqi refugees located in Rafha camp. Special efforts were made by UNHCR to facilitate the processing for resettlement of those refugees meeting the selection requirements. During the reporting period, over 3,900 persons were resettled in 12 different countries; some 200 others were accepted for resettlement but have not yet departed. UNHCR has also witnessed the voluntary repatriation of 1,256 Iraqis. At 31 March 1994, the caseload of Iraqis in Saudi Arabia stood at some 22,300.

(c) Syria

183. At the end of 1993, Syria hosted a refugee population of 37,100 persons, comprising 35,250 Iraqis, 1,250 Somalis, 300 Eritreans and 300 nationals of other countries. Since the influx from Iraq began, some 3,000 persons have repatriated voluntarily. UNHCR provides assistance to some 3,850 persons in El Hol refugee camp and, through the Syrian Red Crescent Society, to needy urban refugees in Damascus.

(d) Yemen

184. Some 11,300 Somali refugees, assisted by UNHCR, were moved in May 1993 from Madinat Al Shaab camp (Aden) to the newly constructed camp of Al Khoud in the Abyan Governorate. Another 1,500 Somali refugees, who receive monthly WFP food rations, are located in the Shihir and the Sacar camps in the town of Mukallah (Hadramout Governorate). While 512 Somali refugees from areas other than Mogadishu have registered for repatriation, the prevailing insecurity in Somalia has prevented their return. Among the Ethiopian refugee population in Total 1993 obligations amounted to $ 3,513,000.

3. North Africa

(a) Algeria

185. In Algeria, UNHCR began a care and maintenance programme in 1993 to assist 9,000 of the most needy and vulnerable persons, out of an estimated total population of 50,000, including 29,000 Malians and 21,000 nationals of the Niger, who sought refuge in three southern provinces (Tamanrasset, Adrar and Illizi). For 1994, the programme has been extended to assist up to 25,000 persons. Total 1993 obligations for Algeria, which include assistance to Sahrawi refugees, amount to $ 4,333,000.

186. While repatriation for refugees from the Niger was not yet on the horizon, meetings were held in Geneva (November 1993) and Algiers (February 1994) to discuss all aspects related to the voluntary repatriation of the Malian population. A quadripartite agreement is expected to be signed between the Governments of Algeria and Mali, and UNHCR and IFAD, which is engaged in a development pilot project in northern Mali.

(b) Mauritania

187. During the reporting period, the number of Malian refugees, assisted by UNHCR in Mauritania increased from some 38,000 to 57,847 by the end of February 1994. The 1993 allocation for Mauritania amounted to $ 4,305,100. In preparation for a possible repatriation movement in 1994, consultations which took place between UNHCR and both concerned Governments in December 1993 resulted in the formulation of a Tripartite Repatriation Agreement, which is expected to be signed in the near future.

(c) Western Sahara

188. Although the two parties concerned have not agreed on the interpretation and application of the criteria for eligibility to vote in the referendum for self-determination of the people of the Western Sahara, as foreseen under the United Nations settlement plan, the preliminary registration of applicants for participation in the referendum has proceeded in Laayoune and the Tindouf area. At this stage, however, it is uncertain whether identification and final registration of all eligible voters will be completed. UNHCR is monitoring developments closely, and remains prepared to review its planning and budgeting for the Western Sahara repatriation programme, within the parameters of the United Nations peace plan.

189. Total expenditure in 1993 in South West Asia, North Africa and the Middle East amounted to $ 115,426,700, of which $ 57,571,000 under General Programmes and $ 57,855,700 under Special Programmes.


190. In 1993, UNHCR experienced an unprecedented rise in funding needs. With the year's requirements swelling to over $ 1.3 billion, donors provided some $ 1.13 billion in both cash and kind, compared to total contributions of $ 1.18 billion in 1992. The European Union, Japan, the Nordic countries, the United Kingdom and the United States maintained their excitement funding levels, and the Netherlands nearly doubled its contribution. Donations both from private donors and non-governmental sources came in at encouraging levels.

191. In 1993, the Office requested donors to focus on the funding of General Programmes. With a decrease in pledges at the November 1992 Pledging Conference, UNHCR struggled during 1993 to meet fully its general Programmes target of $ 413 million. These programmes represent core activities for refugees and provide the High Commissioner with considerable flexibility to deal with emergencies and voluntary repatriations. At 31 December 1993, the Office received $ 311 million towards General Programmes, a considerable decline from the previous year's figure of $ 354 million. Fortunately, secondary income, in the form of cancellations of prior years' obligations, interest earnings and various transfers allowed UNHCR to carry over $ 55 million into 1994. This carry-over was essential for the purposes of covering expenditure in early 19914. This carry-over was essential for the purposes of covering expenditure in early 19914, particularly ahead of the confirmation of $ 151 million at the Pledging Conference in New York in November 1993.

192. Special operations accounted for nearly two-thirds of UNHCR's operations activities in 1993. Appeals were launched, in conjunction with DHA, for operations in former Yugoslavia, the Afghan and Liberian repatriation programmes, as well as programmes in the Horn of Africa and the republics of the former Soviet Union. UNHCR issued its own appeals for Central America, the Mozambican repatriation, the repatriation to Myanmar (in conjunction with WFP) and a number of other emergency operations. By the end of 1993, the Burundi refugee crisis stretched the Office's emergency capacities to the limit. In a matter of days, UNHCR mobilized over $ 800 million for special operations, repatriations and emergencies, in addition to sums raised under General Programmes.

193. It is already apparent that UNHCR is heading into a fourth consecutive year of exceptional expenditure. A target of $ 418.5 million has been set for General Programmes. For Special Programmes, the Office requires at least $ 780 million; however, this sum only incorporates the necessary requirements for a period of six months for former Yugoslavia. Requirements for operations, particularly repatriations in Africa, remain an urgent priority, as do operations in the former Soviet Union and Asia.


A. Cooperation between UNHCR and other members of the United Nations system

194. During the reporting period, UNHCR continued to collaborate closely with other members of the United Nations system, notably WFP, UNICEF, WHO and DHA mostly in the context of humanitarian emergencies, such as in UNHCR operations in the former Yugoslavia, the Horn of Africa, Central Africa, West Africa and the Central Asian republics.

195. During the period under review UNHCR has involved not only NGOs, but increasingly United Nations system agencies in activities such as food aid, immunization and health care, water supply and sanitation, mother and child medical care and family planning as well as education at various levels.

196. Apart from cooperating closely with UNDP in development related activities, UNHCR has also participated actively in various fora, in particular within the context of the work of the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC), where system-wide guidelines have been drawn up for practical work within the continuum from emergency relief to development. The launching of QIP in various operations, to assist in consolidating repatriations in particular, has resulted in the signing of inter-agency cooperation. In order to highlight issues and challenges, and to arrive at common solutions, UNHCR staff also took part in Field Coordination Workshops for Senior United Nations System Representatives.

197. With a view to streamlining inter/agency cooperation, UNHCR in 1993 began a thorough analysis of its formal cooperation with other United Nations agencies. The signing of country-specific Memoranda of Understanding with UNDP and WFP in Mozambique signify concrete results which have emerged from these activities. Similar agreements are expected to be signed during 1994 upon the with other United Nations agencies.

198. UNHCR, in conjunction with other United Nations agencies, has participated in preparatory work for upcoming United Nations/sponsored worldwide conferences and events. This work has mainly concentrated on the International Year of the Family (1994), the International Year of Tolerance (1995), the International Conference on Population and Development (1994), the Fourth World Conference on Women (1995), the World Summit for Social Development (1995), and the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements - HABITAT II (1996).

B. Relations with other intergovernmental organizations

199. Apart from the close collaboration with its traditional intergovernmental partners, such as IOM and ICRC, UNHCR interacted with the CSCE and IFRC and various EU organs. During 1993 UNHCR progressed towards the conclusion of a far-reaching inter-agency agreement with IOM, with IOM, which is expected to be finalized in the course of 1994. In 1993 UNHCR and IOM collaboration in the execution of their mass information campaigns targeted at potential migrants from Albania and the Russian Federation.

C. Relations with non-governmental organizations

200. Contacts with NGOs during the reporting period were furthered by an increased number of NGO briefings on regional developments, as well as regular contacts with Geneva-based NGOs and meetings with NGO representatives from all parts of the world. The traditional pre-Executive Committee meeting held in September 1993 was attended by 140 NGOs, some 100 of whom subsequently participated at the Executive Committee as observers.

201. The 1993 Nansen Medal was awarded to Médecins sans Frontières.

202. The main thrust of activities carried out during the reporting period revolved around strengthening the PARINAC process. This process, jointly convened by UNHCR and the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA) in early 1993, seeks to improve, through a series of regional consultations, UNHCR/NGO collaboration in providing protection and assistance to refugees, returnees and, where appropriate, internally displaced persons.

203. PARINAC regional conferences, involving some 400 NGOs, have taken place in Caracas (28-30 June 1993), Kathmandu (1-3 November 1993), Tunis (18-20 January 1994), Bangkok (14-16 February 1994) and Addis Ababa (21-23 March 1994). An additional meeting is scheduled in Budapest (25-27 April) prior to the Global Conference in Oslo (6-9 June 1994). Furthermore, at the request of NGOs who were unable to attend the regional conferences, UNHCR met with over 100 NGO s in Toronto, Washington and Tokyo. The purpose of these meetings was to serve as mutual briefings on the PARIMAC process, and to receive proposals from American, Canadian and Japanese NGOs on issues which they felt needed to be addressed by PARINAC.

204. On 4 March UNHCR briefed 20 government representatives on the PARinAC process in Geneva, and up-dated and provided detailed information on the process to encourage further donor support.

205. By the end of March 1994, seven Governments, one NGO and the Ford Foundation and contributed some $ 1.1 million for the PARINAC process.