Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Addendum, 1952
A/2126 and Addendum
1. The present report, which is submitted in accordance with the terms of General Assembly resolution 428 (V) of 14 December 1950, covers the period from June 1951 to May 1952. My last report submitted to the Economic and Social Council was supplemented at the sixth session of the General Assembly by part III, containing my observations on problems of assistance (E/2036/ Add.2),2 which were submitted to the General Assembly in compliance with resolution 430 (V) of 14 December 1950.
2. During its sixth session, the General Assembly supported the conclusions contained in the third part of my report by adopting resolution 538 B (VI) of 2 February 1952, which authorized me to issue appeals for funds for the purpose of enabling emergency aid to be given to the most needy groups among the refugees within my mandate. The same resolution recommended States to pay special attention to the problem of refugees when drawing up and executing projects of economic reconstruction and development, and appealed to States interested in migration to give to refugees every possible opportunity to participate in and benefit from projects to promote migration. The Assembly also adopted resolution 538 A (VI) inviting States to become parties to the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees which was adopted at the Conference of Plenipotentiaries held in Geneva in July 1951.
3. Since my last report was submitted to the Economic and Social Council, the International Refugee Organization has finally terminated its operations. Despite the great efforts made by that organization in the field of resettlement, there are still in the countries of central Europe large numbers of refugees for whom no permanent solution has yet been found. For this reason, the resolution adopted by the General Assembly concerning assistance to refugees is of the greatest importance. If resettlement opportunities for refugees are no longer available on any considerable scale, the only real hope of a permanent solution lies in the direction of assimilation within the communities in which the refugees now reside. I sincerely hope that all those nations which are directly concerned with long-term plans of economic development and migration will, in pursuance of the terms of the General Assembly resolution, give special attention to the needs of refugees.
4. But until such time as these plans can be put into operation, there is a crying need for emergency assistance to meet the requirements of the most needy groups of the refugees within the mandate of my Office. Since the adoption of the General Assembly resolution, I have been in touch with a number of governments and private organizations concerning the raising of funds. So far I have received only a limited response to my appeals.
5. Nevertheless, certain emergency situations continue to give grounds for the deepest anxiety. Despite the efforts of IRO, the problems of the refugees in the Far East remain unsolved. Refugees continue to arrive in Trieste, where the crowded conditions of the camps must inevitably produce a deterioration in their health; tuberculosis is already a serious problem among them. The numbers of refugees in camps in Germany, Austria and Italy scarcely diminish. The influx of new refugees continues and as yet no real solution for their problems has been found.
6. Since the end of the operations of IRO, the establishment of branch offices of my Office in a number of countries has enabled me to keep in touch with the refugee situation and to bring some measure of support to the governments in their efforts to solve their refugee problems. Nevertheless, much still remains to be done if those who have been condemned to live in camps for six or seven years are not to abandon hope and become a class of disinherited in the countries in which they now reside, and if the new refugees are not to share the same fate. In my opinion, failure to create tolerable conditions for the reception of new refugees can never be justified by the plea that the acceptance of this responsibility is likely to promote the arrival of an even greater number.
Chapter I GENERAL ACTIVITIES
ESTABLISHMENT OF BRANCH OFFICES
7. Representatives of my Office are now established, with the consent of the governments concerned, in Austria, in Belgium for the Benelux countries, in Colombia for Latin America, in the Federal Republic of Germany, in Athens for Greece and the Near East, in Italy, in the United Kingdom and in the United States of America. In addition, my Office has established, together with the Provisional Inter-governmental Committee for the Movement of Migrants from Europe3 a joint representative in Hong Kong who is continuing the operation begun by the International Refugee Organization for the care and maintenance and resettlement of refugees from China. Furthermore, the Government of France has indicated its willingness to receive a representative of my Office.
8. An account of the activities of the branch offices in the countries where large numbers of refugees reside will be given in chapter II.
9. The functions of the branch office in the United States are primarily of a liaison character. It maintains close liaison with the Headquarters of the United Nations in New York, with the departments of the United States Government concerned with refugee problems, and also with the headquarters of the private organizations which are doing such valuable work for refugees. In addition, this branch office has been concerned with several specific problems relating to the rights of refugees in the United States' and has also been able to consult with the immigration services on issues connected with the amendment of the Displaced Persons Act of 1948.
10. The branch office in the United Kingdom will also have functions primarily of a liaison character. It will be responsible for relations between my Office and the Governments of the British Commonwealth of Nations, and also with the various private, organizations in the United Kingdom working in central Europe on behalf of refugees.
11. My representative in Latin America has been accredited to the Governments of Bolivia, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama and El Salvador. In addition, Venezuela has noted the appointment of my representative and has offered co-operation with my Office. His functions will be primarily concerned with watching over the interests of refugees who have been resettled but who have not yet acquired a new nationality. My representative is also charged with informing all Latin-American governments of the plans and activities of my Office; with enlisting the co-operation of these governments within the United Nations for the sake of refugees; with studying the situation of resettled refugees in this area; with trying to obtain contributions to the Refugee Emergency Fund; and with promoting the signing and ratification of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.
12. None of the branch offices which have been established has a staff of more than three professional officers, which is an absolute minimum for an efficient conduct of the work.
LIAISON WITH THE INTERNATIONAL REFUGEE ORGANIZATION
13. During the final period of the operations of the IRO, close liaison with that organization was maintained, and in each of the countries where branch offices have been established arrangements were made to transfer to my representatives the records and information which were necessary for their work.
14. At the last session of the General Council of IRO, approval was given for the transfer to my Office of a sum of money sufficient to enable the Shanghai operation to be continued for five months, until 31 July 1952. It was further agreed that any residual assets of IRO would be transferred to voluntary agencies after discussion with my Office, in accordance with a list of priorities decided by the General Council.
15. The case records of refugees which were handed over to my Office by IRO, have proved to be of the greatest assistance to the voluntary agencies in their efforts to resettle or establish refugees in Austria. It is hoped that, in Germany, agreement with the competent authorities will soon be obtained for the inclusion of these records with the other material formerly in the care of the International Tracing Service at Arolsen.
LIAISON WITH THE INTERNATIONAL LABOUR OFFICE
16. Close relations have been maintained with the International Labour Office on questions of migration and vocational training. At the Migration Conference convened by ILO at Naples, my Office was represented by an observer. I attempted to draw the attention of the Conference to the necessity of taking special measures to ensure that refugees would receive a fair share of any migration opportunities.
LIAISON WITH THE PROVISIONAL INTER-GOVERNMENTAL COMMITTEE FOR THE MOVEMENT OF MIGRANTS FROM EUROPE
17. I attended and addressed the conference which took place in Brussels in December 1951 to establish the Inter-governmental Migration Committee. Although this committee is primarily concerned with the migration of surplus population, it also provides for the movement of refugees. My main concern at the conference was to ensure that the interests of refugees would be represented by means of some special status being accorded to my Office in relation to the Committee. So far my request has not been approved by the committee, but close liaison is maintained with its directorate, both at headquarters and in the various countries in which both our organizations are represented.
LIAISON WITH OTHER INTERNATIONAL BODIES
18. Close relations have been maintained with other international bodies working on programmes which have a direct bearing on the refugee problem, such as the Commission on Human Rights, the International Law Commission, the World Health Organization - which at my request organized a most valuable survey on the tuberculosis problem amongst refugees in Trieste - and the Council of Europe, various committees of which have concerned themselves with the refugee problem.
HIGH COMMISSIONER'S ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON REFUGEES
19. At its thirteenth session, the Economic and Social Council decided, by resolution 393 B (XIII) of 10 September 1951, to establish a United Nations High Commissioner's Advisory Committee on Refugees, the first session of which was held in Geneva in December 1951. The following States members of the committee were represented at that
|Brazil||United Kingdom of Great|
|Denmark||Britain and Northern|
|Federal Republic of Germany Ireland||Ireland|
|France||United States of America|
20. This committee is of particular value in that it provides a means for the continued collaboration of Member States of the United Nations and non-member States directly interested in the refugee problem. During the first session of the Advisory Committee, the representative of Turkey raised the question of the eligibility of the refugees of Turkish ethnic origin who are expelled from Bulgaria into Turkey. This problem is the subject of a special study now being made by my Office, the results of which will be reported to the next session of the Advisory Committee, which is to take place in Geneva in July 1952.
LIAISON WITH VOLUNTARY AGENCIES
21. An important task which has been given to my Office under its Statute is that connected with the coordination of the efforts of private organizations concerned with the welfare of refugees. My Office has entered into relationship with most of the organizations which, during the lifetime of IRO, were working on behalf of refugees.
22. The Standing Conference of Voluntary Agencies Working for Refugees has been of particular value in the co-ordination of the work of the voluntary agencies. This Conference, which already enjoys consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, was granted A similar status in relation to the High Commissioner's Advisory Committee on Refugees. A similar status was granted to the individual voluntary organizations which are members of the Conference. By this means an opportunity was given to both the Conference and its principal agencies to make valuable contributions to the work of my Advisory Committee.
23. In countries where branch offices are established, an effort is being made to co-ordinate the activities of the voluntary agencies, bringing them into closer relationship with the governments of the countries concerned. In Germany and Austria, where the international agencies had close relations with the Allied authorities, all possible efforts are being made to assist them to establish satisfactory relationships with the governments. Furthermore, every possible support is being given to encourage indigenous agencies to play a greater part in the work on behalf of refugees within the mandate of my Office.
24. The voluntary agencies will be the principal channel in dispensing any funds which will be collected as a result of the appeals which I am authorized to make by the General Assembly. It is my intention to disburse these funds largely through those agencies which have direct contact with the most needy groups of refugees within my mandate.
CONVENTION RELATING TO THE STATUS OF REFUGEES
25. Since the thirteenth session of the Economic and Social Council, representatives of the Federal Republic of Germany and of Greece have signed the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. The signatory States are now as follows:
|Colombia||Switzerland and Liechtenstein|
|Federal Republic of Germany||United Kingdom of Great|
|Greece||Britain and Northern|
A number of these States have signified their intention to ratify the convention at any early date. The convention enters into force on the ninetieth day after the deposit of the sixth instrument of ratification or accession. In this connexion, I would also draw attention to General Assembly resolution 538 A (VI), which emphasized the importance of the early entry into force of the convention.
SURVEY ON THE REFUGEE PROBLEM
26. The preliminary survey entitled The Refugee in the Post-War World, which was made possible by the generosity of the Rockefeller Foundation, was published in December 1951. In accordance with the wishes expressed by the Third Committee at the sixth session of the General Assembly, distribution of the survey as a United Nations document was discontinued.
27. Until the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees comes into force, the most important travel document available to refugees within the mandate of my Office is the London travel document issued under the London Agreement of 1946, to which the following countries are parties:
|France||Union of South Africa|
|Federal Republic of Germany||United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern|
In addition, the following States have undertaken to issued in accordance with recognize travel documents the agreement:
Furthermore, the application of the agreement in respect of both issuance and recognition of the travel document has been extended to a number of British colonial territories.
28. The London travel document was, according to the terms of article 1 of the agreement, originally issued to refugees who were the concern of the Inter-governmental Committee on Refugees. Under article 20 it was provided:
"In the event of the transfer to any other international organization of the functions of the Inter-Governmental Committee on Refugees all the provisions in the Agreement relating to the Inter-governmental Committee shall be deemed to apply to the said organization."
In accordance with the terms of the above-mentioned article, the document was issued by signatory States to refugees who were the concern of IRO. During the Conference of Plenipotentiaries which adopted the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, a recommendation was adopted urging governments parties to the London Agreement, or which recognized the travel documents issued in accordance with the agreement, to continue to issue or recognize such travel documents. The same recommendation also invited governments to extend the issuance and recognition of such documents to refugees as defined in article 1 of the convention, until they undertook obligations under article 28 of the convention which refers to the issuance of the new travel document. I hope that all States concerned will give effect to this recommendation.
29. My Office is taking every possible measure within its competence to facilitate the voluntary repatriation of refugees. In particular, circulation has been given to the statements made on this question during the proceedings of the Third Committee at the sixth session of the General Assembly.
Chapter II REFUGEE SITUATION IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES
30. In the present chapter of the report, I shall attempt to give some indication of the activities of my Office and the outstanding problems in the main areas where refugees reside, and where my Office is represented.
31. The first branch office to be opened was in Germany.
32. During, the first year of its operation, the office in Germany has been mainly concerned in taking over functions formerly performed by the International Refugee Organization. The complexity of this task will be appreciated when it is realized that the branch office in Germany consists of three professional officers, while IRO had a staff of over 3,000 employees in that country. It is, of course, true that many of the functions formerly performed by IRO have been discontinued or assumed by the Germany authorities. Nevertheless, it is also undoubtedly true that the refugee population and the many voluntary agencies working on behalf of refugees look to my representative in Germany for advice and assistance. As long as the contractual agreements between the Occupying Powers and the Federal German Government have not entered into force, the Occupying Powers still retain considerable authority in refugee matters which are reserved under the Occupation Statute. However, since the branch office has progressively taken over some of the activities concerning refugees from the Occupying Powers, its responsibilities have been understandably increased.
33. In my last report, I emphasized the necessity of concentrating on the problems of assimilation. I stated: "If a substantial number of the refugees within my mandate cannot be voluntarily repatriated or resettled, then it seems to me that my chief task must be, in countries where this is feasible, to assist the local settlement of those refugees within the competence of my Office for whom there are no chances of resettlement, and to promote the complete assimilation of all those refugees who have been resettled".
34. In Germany it is undoubtedly true that a great effort must be made if the residual group of refugees who were within the mandate of IRO is to be really assimilated. There are still over 50,000 refugees within the mandate of my Office living in camps in Germany, many of which are situated far from centres of employment. Their chances of finding work are unlikely to increase as long as over 350,000 German refugees are in a similar situation, and as long as no over-all economic plan is put into operation to solve the refugee problem in Germany.
Displaced Persons Branch of the Expellee Bank
35. Until such a plan is put into operation it is, in my opinion, of the greatest importance that facilities for extending credits to refugees to enable them to establish themselves in independent economic activities should be enlarged. To this end I invited a Swiss economist, Dr. Bruno Lincke, to investigate the problem of the integration of non-German refugees into the economic life of Germany. In his report, Dr. Lincke points out the inadequacies of the law on the status of homeless foreigners which was adopted on, 25 April 195 1. Generous though this law is, it does not extend to the non-German refugees all the various measures taken for the benefit of German refugees. The non-German refugees do not enjoy any of the benefits under the Immediate Aid Law adopted in 1949, or under the Expellee Employment Programme or the Expellee Tax Relief Programme. Up to 31 March 1951, Dr. Lincke estimated that DM 2,692 million had been spent on the integration of German refugees. None of these sums in principle benefited non-German refugees.
36. So far the only contribution to the long-term economic integration of non-German refugees that has been made was that of IRO, when it set aside DM 1.5 million to provide the initial capital for a displaced persons branch of the German Expellee Bank. Unfortunately, although in 1951 IRO suggested that the capital of the branch should be increased to DM 10 million, no action in this direction has as yet been taken. The original capital of the German Expellee Bank was provided out of counterpart funds of the Economic Co-operation Administration.
37. The inadequacy of the DM 1.5 million capital of the Displaced Persons Branch was clearly illustrated by Dr. Lincke in his report when he showed that, up to the end of 1951, the following were the relevant statistics:
|Applicants whose refugee status was checked and established||1,248|
|Applications approved by the local banks||133|
|Loans granted by the Displaced Persons Branch of the Expellee Bank||88|
|TOTAL VALUE: OF LOANS GRANTED DM||413,500|
38. A statement from the bank shows that in February 165 loans had been granted, while the number of applicants had risen to 3,766.
39. In order to discuss further action which may be taken in respect of the assimilation of non-German refugees to the status of German refugees, and the extension of the capital of the Displaced Persons Branch of the Expellee Bank, I visited Bonn in March 1952. The Federal Chancellor gave me assurances that he would examine this situation with sympathy, and instructed the Minister in charge of refugee affairs to submit suitable proposals to the Cabinet. I have every reason to believe that the Federal Government will make some contribution towards the Displaced Persons Branch of the Expellee Bank. Nevertheless, I still remain firmly convinced that no long-term solution to the problem of the non-German refugees in Germany can be obtained until a final solution is found for the problem of the German refugees.
40. In the meantime, until a plan can be realized such as will take account of the needs of non-German as well as of German refugees, the alleviation of the situation lies in the hands of the federal and Länder authorities, and in those of the German and foreign voluntary agencies which are working for refugees.
Displaced persons' settlements
41. In the Land of North/Rhine Westphalia, where there is a displaced persons' population of approximately 15,000, a very real effort is being made by the enlightened administration of the Land to house the displaced persons in settlements specially built for them in areas where they can most easily find work. In planning and constructing these settlements, the Land Government of North/Rhine Westphalia is setting a praiseworthy example to other parts of Western Germany. Efforts are being made by the branch office to stimulate similar activities in other areas, but generally the economic difficulties are too great for the local authorities.
42. In North/Rhine Westphalia, a noteworthy experiment has been made to give the refugees a chance of participating in their own administration. An advisory council has been formed in which members of the German administration, representatives of the refugees themselves, and representatives of the voluntary agencies participate. At the meetings of this council all matters of concern to the refugees can be discussed. This experiment has been considered to be, a great success by its participants, and efforts are being made to extend it to other zones and Länder within Germany.
43. The International Refugee Organization organized an extensive scheme of legal assistance for refugees in Germany. Under this scheme, qualified lawyers among the displaced persons were engaged on the payroll of the organization to give legal assistance to refugees. Much of their work was concerned with resettlement operations, but they also performed valuable work in assisting the refugees to obtain their legal rights and entitlements under German law. With the disappearance of IRO, a serious gap in this field has occurred, as many refugees are unable themselves to pay for legal advice. At the request of my Office, a number of voluntary agencies are continuing the work of legal assistance, and the national committees of the refugees themselves doing the same. My representative keeps in close touch with the lawyers providing legal assistance to refugees, who are now organized in a council.
44. My Office has also taken over the responsibilities of IRO in connexion with the agreements made by the organization for the institutional care of the old and sick among the refugees in Germany.
45. There remain in Germany a number of unaccompanied children for whom no solution was found by IRO. My Office has undertaken to supervise the handling of these cases and to ensure that arrangements are made for the children in accordance with the due process of law.
Indemnification, of victims of nazi persecution
46. The existing legislation on indemnification of the victims of nazi persecution is unsatisfactory in that many refugees who suffered at the hands of the nazi régime are not entitled to receive indemnification. My Office is watching over the progress of the existing legislation in the various Länder, and has drawn the attention of the Allied High Commission to the importance of satisfactory legislation being adopted before the relinquishment of the reservation under the Occupation Statute.
Documentation of refugees
47. The possession of suitable documentation is of the greatest importance to the refugees who remain in Germany. Under existing law, every alien who resides in Germany must be in possession of a national passport or some alternative substitute document. It has been agreed with the Federal Government that the London travel document will be recognized as a suitable document for this purpose, and arrangements are now being made to distribute the document to all refugees who remain in Germany.
48. The situation of new refugees in Germany cannot be said to be satisfactory. Arrangements are being made to concentrate all new arrivals in one camp. Efforts have been made to interest voluntary agencies in this camp, and the Norwegian Relief for Europe has already promised to contribute DM 50,000 towards a scheme of vocational training in this camp.
49. As far as the administrative procedure for the reception of new refugees is concerned, my Office has taken the necessary steps to ensure that my representative in Germany will have a recognized position on a board which will be established to examine the refugee status of new arrivals. A new law is under consideration which takes due account of the requests of my Office, directed to ensure that refugees who satisfy the definitions contained in the Statute of my Office and the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees are accorded asylum.
50. With the consent of the Austrian Government, my representative in Austria took office in November 1951. The situation of refugees at the termination of the operations of IRO was particularly difficult in that the Austrian Government, at the time the, camps were handed over, had undertaken no commitments in respect of the status of refugees who remained on its territory. There remained in Austria, after the closure of the IRO resettlement programme, approximately 20,000 refugees of non-German origin who were registered with IRO. The Austrian Government, however, claims that the number of non-German refugees on its territory is double the above-mentioned figure, In addition to the non-German refugees, there are within the mandate of my Office in Austria the Volksdeutsche, of whom some 225,000 have not been naturalized and who have not been the concern of any previous international organization.
51. The Austrian Government was represented at the Conference of Plenipotentiaries and signed the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees with certain serious reservations concerning the right to work and access to professions. I sincerely hope it will see its way to an early ratification of this convention and to a modification of some of the reservations which it made at the time of signature.
52. The entry into force of the convention would, as far as Austria is concerned, represent a decided advance in the treatment of refugees. During the past year it has become abundantly clear that the future of the greater number of refugees now on Austrian territory lies in the direction of assimilation. Both the majority of the refugees and the Austrian Government show themselves to be increasingly ready to accept this solution.
53. The assimilation of the refugees in Austria represents an economic as well as a juridical problem. A decided advance has been made during the past year in respect of the legal problems involved in the integration of the Volksdeutsche, but the same cannot be said as regards the economic aspects of integration.
54. For this reason I invited, at the end of December 1951, a Belgian economist, Mr. Gilbert Jaeger, to make a study of the economic aspects of the integration of refugees in Austria. This study, which has been circulated to the members of my Advisory Committee, outlines very clearly what still remains to be done in the field of economic integration.
55. There are at the present time some 55,000 refugees still living in camps in Austria and, although a very large proportion of the refugee population has found work, it cannot be said that they are really integrated. Until recently the refugees' right to work was limited to those occupations in which there was a shortage of Austrian labour. Many of the refugees have found work which is far below their former stations in life and are not prepared to accept this situation as a permanent condition of their existence. There is a growing unrest and dissatisfaction among certain elements of the naturalized refugees, a situation which could be remedied, as the report of Mr. Jaeger clearly shows, if a long-term economic plan of integration were undertaken.
56. Such a long-term plan would inevitably demand some contribution from the Austrian Government, but would also require support from international sources. It is undoubtedly true that the successful economic integration of the refugees in Austria would represent a permanent asset to the Austrian economy. Not only would Austria gain by an increased productivity from its refugee population, but also its over-all economic position would certainly improve if a large number of refugees could be given the opportunity to use their former skills. There are, especially among the Volksdeutsche, a great number of farmers who, if they were given the necessary economic support, could provide a most valuable antidote to the general flight from the land which is one of the most threatening features of the Austrian economy. In addition to the settlement of refugee farmers on the land, there are considerable occupational skills among the refugees which are not at the present time satisfactorily used. Here the main obstacle is a shortage of housing.
57. In his report, Mr. Jaeger reaches the conclusion, which I fully endorse, that an immediate programme of settlement of refugees on the land and assistance in housing should be undertaken. Perhaps the most satisfactory machinery to achieve this purpose would be the establishment of some credit institution, on the lines of the Expellee Bank in Germany, which would finance the economic integration of the refugees. In respect of agriculture the integration would be achieved by the establishment of independent farmers either on new farms or through the purchase or rent of existing farms, and by the construction of adequate housing for agricultural labourers.
58. Valuable pioneer work in this direction has been performed by voluntary groups, such as Heimat Oesterreich, the settlement schemes of the Catholic and Evangelical organizations, and the refugees themselves. The efforts of these organizations all show on a small scale that the settlement of refugee farmers on the land is possible, but governmental action is necessary if a permanent solution for the refugee problem is to be found in this direction. The same applies to an over-all housing programme designed to bring an end to the situation where a large proportion of the refugee population is condemned to live in camps.
59. There is, in my opinion, something very radically wrong in a situation in which so much money from foreign sources has been expended in Austria to revive the economic capacity of the country, while so little attention has been paid to the needs of the refugees who represent one of the most valuable potential economic assets of the country. Furthermore, it is somewhat incomprehensible that considerable funds can be expended to finance an Expellee Bank in Germany, while no attention is paid to the similar needs of the refugees in Austria. In this connexion, General Assembly resolution 538 B (VI), concerning the need to take refugee problems into consideration in respect of long-term plans of economic development, is of particular importance. I have already drawn the attention of the secretariat of the Economic Commission for Europe and the directorate of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development to this problem. International agencies can certainly contribute towards the solution of this particular problem in Austria, but the initiative must come from the Austrian Government.
Right to work of the refugees
60. During the past year, although there has been no modification in respect of the right to work of non-German refugees, a considerable advance has been made in respect of the Volksdeutsche. Shortly after my assumption of office, the Austrian Government initiated a system whereby the Volksdeutsche were no longer required to receive permits from the labour authorities to change their employment within a particular occupation or profession. This system has been further modified, with the result that the Volksdeutsche now have free access to the labour market, except in respect of the liberal and intellectual professions, which have their own regulations and requirements. As far as the non-German refugees are concerned, the right to work depends on the possession of an indefinite residence permit. Efforts have been made to persuade the Austrian Government to liberalize its practice in connexion with the granting of these residence permits.
Pension rights of Volksdeutsche
61. A most serious problem for the Volksdeutsche is the non-recognition by the Austrian Government of the former pension rights of the Volksdeutsche within Austria. This problem is particularly difficult, as the Federal Government of Germany has recognized within its own territory the pension rights of the Volksdeutsche who were formerly inhabitants of the enlarged German Reich. It is somewhat anomalous that those Volksdeutsche who were debarred from entering Western Germany, and who were thereby forced to remain on Austrian territory, should suffer this additional hardship. In my opinion, the only practical solution to this problem lies in a joint contribution by the Governments of the Federal Republic of Germany and of Austria.
Voluntary agencies in Austria
62. Since the end of IRO, my representative has been particularly concerned with co-ordination of the efforts of voluntary agencies working on behalf of refugees in Austria. In this connexion, it is only fair to state that the problems of Austria seem to have received less attention from outside sources than have those of other countries, while the condition of the refugees, largely owing to the economic conditions in Austria, has been perhaps relatively worse.
63. An attempt has been made, through the establishment of a central committee and committees in the Länder, to co-ordinate the actions of the voluntary agencies with governmental activities in refugee matters.
64. In Austria, the termination of IRO meant the cessation of the legal assistance scheme formerly provided by lawyers among the displaced persons. The voluntary agencies in Austria have agreed to continue this scheme as far as their resources permit.
65. With the termination of IRO, a serious problem has arisen in connexion with the issuance of travel documents in Austria. The competent members of the staffs of the occupation authorities have been invited by my Office to consider this problem, and it is hoped that a solution will be found in the near future for the issuance of the London travel document, or a similar document, in Austria, pending the ratification by the Austrian Government of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.
66. My representative in Austria has undertaken responsibilities formerly exercised by IRO for the supervision of agreements under which refugees requiring institutional care have been housed in three institutions in Austria. There are approximately 750 refugees of non-German origin who have received assistance of this kind.
67. The situation of new refugees in Austria leaves much to be desired. Refugees are arriving in Austria at the present time at the rate of between 600 and 700 a month. There are reception camps in the Western zones of Austria, but the Austrian authorities 'do not permit the refugees to stay for any considerable period. A new camp is now being constructed in Austria where it is hoped that refugees will be lodged for a longer period than before. Efforts have also been made to dissuade the Austrian authorities from levying a fine on illegal border crossers who are genuine refugees. In my appeal for emergency aid on behalf of the most needy groups of refugees, I have paid special attention to the needs of new refugees in Austria.
68. An agreement has been signed between the Italian Government and my Office concerning the establishment of a branch office in Italy. Under this agreement my Office will, at the request of the Italian Government, co-operate in the determination of eligibility and the issuance of documentation to refugees.
69. At the end of the IRO operations in Italy, there remained some 20,000 refugees registered with that organization. In the final agreement made with IRO, the Italian Government accepted responsibility for the maintenance of 9,500 refugees, about 4,000 of whom were in camps which were transferred from IRO. The material situation of the refugees in these four camps appears satisfactory.
70. Owing to the large numbers of unemployed in Italy, the Italian Government has not yet seen its way to recognizing formally that the refugees have any right to work. Nevertheless, the Italian Government has declared its intention of signing the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. I sincerely hope that at the time of signature the Government will not make any serious reservations to those articles which define the rights of refugees in respect of employment.
71. The situation of those refugees in camps who arrived after the cessation of the IRO resettlement operations from Italy cannot be considered to be as satisfactory as that of the other refugees who are housed in the camps transferred from IRO. This is a problem to which I hope the Italian Government will give its early attention.
72. There are amongst the out-of-camp population a considerable number of refugees who are in very difficult circumstances. I hope that contributions to my Emergency Fund will allow me to bring some relief to these refugees.
73. As long as there are few prospects for the assimilation of refugees in Italy, migration must continue to offer the best hopes for the permanent solution of the refugee problem in Italy. For this reason I attach the greatest importance to close co-operation in Italy, between my Office and the Migration Committee, and I hope that countries of immigration which are ready to accept migrants from Italy will pay special attention to candidates from among the refugees.
74. The situation of the refugees in Trieste is particularly urgent. Despite the fact that attention to this problem was drawn on several occasions by the General Council of IRO, apart from the generous efforts of Switzerland, which is giving 175,000 Swiss francs, and Sweden, which is offering to take the tubercular children from Trieste, little has been done from outside to improve the lot of the refugees.
75. At the present time there are in the camps administered by the Allied Military Government in Trieste and paid for by the Italian Government some 4,000 refugees who are the concern of my Office, and outside the camps there are an additional 1,500. The Allied Military Government has done its best to equip as well as possible the premises which are at its disposal for housing refugees. Nevertheless, there is serious over-crowding and an urgent tuberculosis problem to which I called attention at the sixth session of the General Assembly.
76. The material conditions in which the refugees are living are, generally speaking, far from satisfactory. One of the camps is located in an old prison which is entirely unsuitable from a sanitary point of view for use as a camp. In the other three centres, refugees suffer constant discomfort due to overcrowding and lack of privacy in the temporary barracks which, despite the combined initiative and goodwill of the Allied authorities, the voluntary agencies and the refugees themselves, have not yet been transformed into quarters suitable to house such a large number of persons.
77. The Allied Military Government is fully aware of the situation and is making the best efforts to deal with the problem. It has made plans to build a new centre to accommodate 900 refugees in more satisfactory conditions. This centre is urgently required, but all the necessary funds are not yet forthcoming.
78. It is hoped that it will soon be possible to move approximately 1,000 refugees from Trieste, partly to destinations in Europe and partly to Australia, which is sending a selection mission to Trieste in the near future. The resettlement of refugees in Europe or elsewhere is one of the constant preoccupations of the Allied Military Government, which is trying to stimulate every possible initiative in this direction.
79. The recent establishment at Trieste of an office of the Migration Committee will certainly help the task of the Allied authorities in this respect and will, it is hoped, enable a large number of refugees to emigrate.
80. The needs of the refugee population in Trieste have figured in my estimate of funds for which I am authorized to appeal by the General Assembly. I have also instructed my branch office in Italy to pay particularly attention to the situation in Trieste in order to help the Allied Military Administration to find solutions for this problem.
81. The establishment of a branch office in Brussels, in January 1952, which has responsibilities for refugees in Belgium, the, Netherlands and Luxembourg, ensured a continuity in the exercise of the functions of protection formerly performed by IRO.
82. In Belgium there are some 60,000 refugees, of whom between 40,000 and 45,000 can, according to the Belgian Government, be considered to be firmly established; the remaining refugees, many of whom have not yet found work, require, in the opinion of the Belgian Government, individual legal protection from my Office.
83. The Belgian Government has signed the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and has indicated its intention of ratifying it in the near future.
84. At the request of the Government, my representative has been charged with responsibilities for the determination of eligibility of refugees in Belgium.
85. The most important development during the past year has been the adoption by the Belgian Parliament of a new Aliens Law. The Government took account of certain proposals made by the representative of my Office in so far as the law affects refugees. The law provides certain guarantees for refugees against expulsion, which in future cannot be pronounced without the prior agreement of a consultative commission composed of an honorary magistrate, a lawyer, and a person chosen at the request of the alien threatened with expulsion from a list drawn up by royal decree.
86. In the same liberal spirit, the Belgian Government has recently informed my representative that it will give instructions to its local authorities to reimburse to voluntary agencies the amount spent on material assistance to indigent refugees from the time of their arrival until such time as their situation is regularized and they are able to benefit from public assistance. Furthermore, the Belgian Government has recently granted an additional sum of 4 million Belgian francs to the Students' Assistance Fund, since the original funds granted by IRO for the maintenance of 350 students were exhausted.
87. Another most important decision of the Belgian Government on behalf of refugees is the decision to apply to all refugees, as from 1 January 1952, the provisions of article 17 of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, concerning wage-earning employment. By this measure refugees who fulfil one of the requirements of this article, that is to say, who have completed three years' uninterrupted residence in Belgium or who have a spouse or children of Belgian nationality, are thereby entitled to obtain the necessary permission to work. This decision, which does not give the refugees complete freedom of access to the profession or employment of their choice, will nevertheless greatly assist in the integration of those who are now in Belgium.
88. The Netherlands Government has agreed to the appointment of a representative of my Office in The Hague. The staff officer who will fill this position will be administratively responsible to my representative in Brussels, who is himself accredited to the three Benelux countries.
89. The Netherlands Government has signed the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and will shortly undertake the necessary proceedings for its ratification.
90. The International Refugee Organization established a Refugee Service Committee in the Netherlands, composed of representatives of the voluntary agencies, which took charge of all questions of material assistance to refugees. My representative in that country will undoubtedly work in the closest liaison with the committee. In addition to the refugees who were in the Netherlands before the war, a further 9,000 have entered the country since 1945 and, of these, 7,500 have remained. These are for the greater part former members of the Polish army and displaced persons who were recruited in Germany in 1947 and 1948.
91. A most valuable contribution made by the Netherlands Government towards a solution of the refugee problem, and one which indicates its continued interest, was its decision in September 1951 to accept 200 new refugees who were classified as needy cases.
92. In general, refugees who are in the Netherlands are in the process of being integrated into the economy of the country. For all practical purposes they already enjoy the treatment accorded to refugees under the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.
93. At the request of the Government of Luxembourg, a representative of my Office has been appointed to be responsible for liaison between the branch office in Brussels and the Government of Luxembourg.
94. The Government of Luxembourg has signed the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, and already gives to the 750 refugees within its territory treatment which is in accordance with the principles of this convention.
95 In France, the International Refugee Organization, in agreement with the Government, continued to exercise the functions of protection, including the so-called quasi-consular functions, until 31 January 1952. The French Government has submitted to Parliament a draft law which provides for the assumption by the French authorities of many of the functions formerly performed by IRO in respect to the protection of refugees. Until the adoption of this law, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has provisionally assumed responsibility for the tasks formerly performed by IRO.
96. The French Government has, however, given its agreement to the establishment in Paris of a branch office of the High Commissioner for Refugees. This office will be established in the near future. Its precise competence will be defined in an agreement with the French Government; this agreement will probably be concluded as soon as Parliament has taken its decision on the draft law concerning the protection of refugees.
97. Similar considerations have so far held up the signature by the French Government of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. Nevertheless, the Government has declared its intention of adhering to the convention.
98. In the meantime, there has been no great change in the position of refugees during the last year. Asylum has been given to a considerable number of new refugees, approximating to several thousand. It is difficult to estimate exactly the number of the refugees at present resident in France, owing to the constant arrivals and departures, but the best estimate available at the present time is that there are 301,600 refugees in France.
99. Refugees in France continue to benefit from legislation which is on the whole very favourable and which, in fact, practically assimilates them to nationals in the field of public assistance and social security.
100. The main difficulties encountered by refugees are connected with the permission to exercise wage-earning activities governed by legislation. Authorization is freely granted to refugees to work in those salaried occupations where there is a shortage of labour, or which are not over-crowded, but this is not the case with all professions. However, a great number of refugees who are classified as privileged residents have, for all practical purposes, freedom of choice in respect of the wage-earning activities which they wish to undertake.
101. The Ministry of Labour has made great efforts, in co-operation with the voluntary agencies, to train or rehabilitate those refugees who have no special qualifications and for this reason have the greatest difficulty in finding work. The Bureau for Employment and Advice. (Bureau d'orientation et de placement) for foreign refugees, in which public and private agencies collaborate, continues to assist refugees to find employment.
102. Particular mention should be made of the work of the voluntary agencies in France, especially the Service social d'aide aux émigrants, the French branch of the International Social Service, which has been entrusted by the French Government with the task of giving material assistance to refugees.
103. The activities of these organizations are of the greatest importance in the final assimilation of refugees in the economy of France.
104. There still remain, however, a considerable number of sick, old and infirm refugees who, while benefiting in a general way from the French relief laws, find themselves in a very precarious position, mainly because of their isolation and the fact that they have no family who can help them, as is usually the case for nationals.
105. This is also true as far as the disabled of the Spanish war are concerned, as they obviously do not receive the same allocations as the French war disabled.
106. Thanks to the funds left to the French Government by IRO, the Service social d'aide aux émigrants has so far been able to help the most destitute among them, but the day will soon come when these funds will be exhausted and when the question of the aid to be given to these unfortunates will again become an acute problem.
107. At the end of the IRO operation in Greece, it was estimated that there were between 15,000 and 20,000 refugees. These are the concern of my Office, and many of them are living in difficult conditions. The refugee situation in Greece must, however, be judged against a background of four years of enemy occupation and the complications produced by a large internal refugee problem.
108. A representative of my Office was appointed, with the consent of the Greek Government, in February 1952. The Greek Government has since signed the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.
109. Before the termination of its operations, IRO established a Refugee Service Committee, consisting of representatives of Greek and international voluntary agencies, together with a number of prominent Greek citizens who undertook to concern themselves with the welfare of refugees. The General Council of IRO, at its last meeting, decided to make a final grant in aid of this committee, which has been doing valuable work on behalf of the refugees, and which, with the help of IRO, established a home for aged refugees.
110. In addition to a refugee population of approximately who remained in Greece after the First World War, amongst whom the Armenians and the White Russians are the most important groups, there are a considerable number of refugees of Greek ethnic origin who have come mostly from Romania.
111. The International Refugee Organization during its lifetime concerned itself mainly with the re settlement of refugees from Greece, but was able to contribute little towards the material support of the large number of refugees within the country.
112. After the Second World War, the Greek Government lodged many of the refugees in the Athens-Piraeus area, where conditions were not always satisfactory. Later arrivals have been sent to the Greek islands of Tynos, Syra and Chios. Owing to the remoteness of these islands from centres of employment, many of the refugees have no fixed occupation.
113. The Migration Committee has established a mission in Greece, through the good offices of which it is hoped that some of the refugees will find resettlement opportunities. However, for the remaining refugees in Greece a plan of economic integration will certainly be necessary.
J. NEAR EAST AND MIDDLE EAST COUNTRIES
114. The governments of the countries of the Near and Middle East are faced with serious problems of their own ethnic refugees. In Turkey, the Government is doing everything within its power to reestablish the large numbers of refugees who have been expelled from Bulgaria, and recently submitted the problem of the eligibility of these refugees to my Advisory Committee. The Governments of Egypt, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Lebanon and Syria are devoting very considerable efforts, with the help of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, to finding solutions for the Arab refugees. There are, however, in each of these countries small numbers of other refugees who are the concern of the Office of the High Commissioner.
115. In order to establish the exact numbers and conditions of existence of the refugees who fall within the mandate of my Office, I recently sent one of my staff members on a mission to investigate the situation of these refugees and to ascertain what measures could be taken to find permanent solutions to their problems and what measure of assistance could be brought to them by voluntary agencies and by the Refugee Service Committees which were established by IRO.
116. From the first rapid survey of the situation, It would appear that the countries in these areas which have given asylum to the refugees within the mandate of my Office are not in a position to take the necessary measures to ensure the final establishment of all of them. The very large numbers of Arab refugees in Egypt, Syria and Jordan and the relatively difficult economic conditions are necessarily the main preoccupations of the governments.
117. I hope that within a short period it will be possible, with the help of the governments concerned, to establish the precise numbers of the refugees, a certain number of whom have already been naturalized, as for instance have 150 Circassians in Jordan and forty-seven in Syria.
118. In Turkey, after the end of the IRO operations, some 700 refugees within the mandate of the organization remained. To assist these refugees, IRO established a Refugee Service Committee and endowed it with some funds to provide assistance. This committee is working energetically on behalf of the refugees and has recently been authorized by the Turkish Government to rent a farm in Thrace which would offer opportunities for the settlement of approximately 300 refugees.
119. It is evident that funds will be required to equip and provide the initial capital for the working of this farm. Local contributions are being sought, and a request has been made to my Office to give whatever assistance it can to support this most praiseworthy undertaking which, if successful, will also provide some opportunities for new refugees, who are arriving at the average rate of about twenty a month.
120. It is already clear from the survey which has been made that there are in each of the countries of the Near East and Middle East a certain number of refugees who, owing to differences of religion and ethnic origin and economic difficulties, are unlikely to find possibilities of employment. For this reason it is urgent that the States and voluntary agencies directly concerned in operations of migration should pay particular attention to the refugees in these areas.
K. SHANGHAI AND HONG KONG
121. One of the most urgent refugee problems confronting my Office in the Far East is that of the refugees who were within the mandate of IRO and who are stranded in China, being for the most part concentrated in Shanghai.
122. At the present time, there are known to be about 200 refugees in camps, 200 others in a variety of institutions, and about 1,600 destitute refugees who are receiving limited financial assistance to save them from complete destitution. A further 3,000 refugees are eligible for the protection of my Office.
123. During its last session, the General Council of IRO decided to allocate $185,869 to provide for the care and maintenance of the refugees in Shanghai for a period of five months to 31 July 1952, the funds to be administered by my Office.
124. At the same time a trust fund of $500,000 was set up by the General Council of IRO for the movement of refugees from Shanghai, to be administered by the Migration Committee.
125. In order to continue the operation of resettlement of refugees from Shanghai, the Acting Director-General of the Migration Committee and I have appointed a joint representative, who is established in Hong Kong and is responsible for the welfare and the movement of the refugees.
126. The institutional cases are the most difficult to resettle and, although every effort has been made to find countries of resettlement, only a very limited measure of success has been achieved. For this reason, and for the further reason that refugees are still coming into Shanghai from other provinces of China, it is unlikely that the problem of care and maintenance in Shanghai will decrease. Furthermore, the longer the refugees wait for resettlement the sooner will they become destitute under existing conditions there.
127. The funds received from IRO by my Office for the care and maintenance of the refugees in Shanghai and for the continuation of the Shanghai office will be exhausted by 31 July 1952. To continue this operation, it will be necessary to have by 1 August funds amounting to $50,000 a month, that is to say, $250,000 for the remaining five months of 1952.
128. Since the joint operation with the Migration Committee started, refugees have been resettled at the average rate of 120 a month. The greatest number have gone to Australia, Canada and Brazil.
129. I sincerely hope that every Member of the United Nations will make some contribution towards a solution of this problem by according as a matter of urgency at least a limited number of visas to this group of refugees.
130. After the exhaustion of the funds given by IRO to my Office and the Migration Committee, the continuation of the operation will depend entirely, unless some other action is taken, upon the response which governments and the public are ready to give to my appeal for funds on behalf of the most needy groups of refugees.
Chapter III REFUGEE EMERGENCY FUND
131. During its sixth session, the General Assembly adopted resolution 538 B (VI) authorizing me to appeal for funds for the purpose of enabling emergency aid to be given to the most needy groups of refugees within the mandate of my Office. In requesting this authorization, I pointed out to the Third Committee of the General Assembly that it was not my intention to engage in any large-scale operation of care and maintenance for refugees, and emphasized that the major responsibility for this must be borne by the governments in whose territories they are situated.
132. In my opinion, a sum of some $3 million is necessary during the Year 1952 if great hardship and tragedies are to be avoided amongst the refugees who are the concern of my Office. These funds will be used for the following purposes:
(a). To maintain the refugees in the Far East who have not been resettled by IRO until such time as arrangements can be made for their movement;
(b). To provide supplementary aid to newly arrived refugees whose basic needs are not provided for by public relief.
(c). To alleviate the sufferings of the old, the sick, the children and the handicapped amongst the residual group of IRO refugees and other groups who are the concern of my Office although they never received any material assistance from IRO.
133. Shanghai is undoubtedly the most urgent case. Of the 5,000 refugees there, 2,000 are entirely dependent on funds from outside sources. The funds provided for this purpose by IRO are rapidly dwindling and will soon be exhausted.
134. The influx of alien refugees from Eastern Europe constitutes a continuing problem. Arrivals are estimated at approximately 1,500 a month, and, in most countries of asylum, although they are given shelter, the refugees are not provided with the basic necessities which are given to other refugees by the governments concerned.
135. As far as the residual group of IRO refugees is concerned, public relief is not always adequate to provide for the additional needs of the old, the sick, the children and the handicapped. For these groups extra medical facilities, food and clothing, are often necessary to protect them against starvation and misery. The same applies to certain groups of refugees who never received any material assistance from IRO, such as the Volksdeutsche in Austria.
136. My estimate of the funds necessary for emergency aid to be given to the most needy groups of refugees for a period of twelve months amounts to a total of $3 million, comprised as follows:
|For the care and maintenance of refugees in Shanghai and Hong Kong||600.000|
|For Austria, which includes a sum of $175,000 for new refugees, $70,000 to assist in the fight against tuberculosis, $360,000 for supplementary aid to refugees to provide for the emergency needs of both the camp and out-of -camp population, $65,000 for the war invalids and disabled, $30,000 for institutional cases, and $50,000 for refugee children||750.000|
|For Germany, which includes $150,000 for new refugees, $100,000 for medical needs, $200,000 for supplementary aid for food and clothing to residual refugees, $50,000 for the handicapped, $70,000 for institutional cases, $75,000 for refugee children||645,000|
|For Italy and Trieste, which includes $90,000 for new refugees, $50,000 for medical needs, $195,000 for supplementary aid to residual refugees, $30,000 for institutional cases, and $25,000 for children||390,000|
|For Greece, which includes $160,000 for supplementary aid to refugees, $160,000 to provide rehabilitation and vocational training, and $30,000 to support the activities of the Refugee Service Committee||350,000|
|For refugees in Turkey and the Middle East||180,000|
|For refugee emergency situations in other areas||100,000|
137. The sum provided by IRO has made it possible to continue the Shanghai and Hong Kong operation for six months.
138. A few governments have already indicated (I their willingness to contribute to the fund and are taking the necessary steps in order to have legislation enacted for such payments. The Federal Government of Switzerland has already made a contribution of Sw. Frs. 300,000. In some other countries, the governments have indicated their agreement to the launching of a public appeal for funds.
139. All funds which are contributed in answer to my appeal will, in accordance with the decision of the General Assembly, be administered by my Office under a set of rules which will be approved by the Advisory Committee on Budgetary and Administrative Questions.
140. It will certainly take several months before any appreciation can be made of the success of my appeals. It will, in my opinion, be necessary to submit a supplementary report on this question to the General Assembly.
141. The following sums have been contributed or pledged up to 5 May 1952:
|$US or equivalent|
142. This survey of the refugee situation in different countries will, I hope, enable governments to form some appreciation of the tasks which still remain to be 'done before a permanent solution can be found for the refugees who are the concern of my Office.
143. Much international attention has been paid in the past to the problems of the care and maintenance and the resettlement of refugees, but very little to the long-term problems of assimilation. While the governments of the countries of residence of refugees are, generally speaking, able to support the burden of the care and maintenance of refugees, complete responsibility for long-term plans for their economic integration appear at the present time to be beyond their capacity. In this sphere international action is necessary if permanent solutions for the refugee problems which concern my Office are to be found.
144. I do not underestimate the contribution which can be made in the field of migration towards a solution of the refugee problem in certain countries, but if migration is to be a contributing factor in the solution of the refugee problem, more attention will have to be paid to the representation of the special needs of refugees.
145. It is impossible not to welcome the initiative of those governments which have decided to participate in the formation of the Migration Committee. Their efforts will, I am sure, provide some assistance towards a solution of the problems of a certain number of refugees. Nevertheless, I cannot help feeling that the contribution of these same governments towards the solution of the refugee problem would have been greater if their action had been taken within the framework of the United Nations. As it is, the High Commissioner merely enjoys the status of an observer at meetings of the committee. The Migration Committee is able to give some assistance in the resettlement of refugees from Europe but its terms of reference do not at present permit it to finance out of its own funds the resettlement of refugees from outside Europe.
146. There is something paradoxical in the present situation concerning international action relating to the refugee problem. The United Nations has only recently, at the request of the governments of members of the International Refugee Organization, undertaken to accept responsibility for the refugee problem which was the concern of that organization. Yet, very shortly after the assumption of responsibility by the United Nations, some of the same governments have taken initiatives both in the Migration Committee and in the Council of Europe, and on behalf of new refugees, which cannot fail to lead to a dissipation of effort and a certain confusion.
147. The duplication of agencies dealing with the refugee problem is neither in the interests of the refugees themselves nor of the governments directly concerned. In my opinion, this problem is one to which the Economic and Social Council, which has a co-ordinating responsibility in respect of economic and social problems, should pay attention.
148. Apart from the question of co-ordination, there remains that of action. It was only at the last session of the General Assembly that the General Council of IRO emphasized the magnitude of the residual problems which would remain after the termination of its operations and pointed out that:
"Although the problems inherent in the situation as here set out are clearly not of sufficient magnitude to justify the maintenance of the International Refugee Organization, they are so grave in terms of human suffering that they call for urgent consideration by the United Nations."
149. The conclusions which I submitted, and which were endorsed at the sixth session of the General Assembly, were that a three-point programme was necessary: first, emergency aid for the most needy groups of refugees, amongst which I would include the new refugees; secondly, long-term plans of economic development to promote the assimilation of refugees and thirdly, measures to ensure that refugees will receive a fair share of migration opportunities.
150. A beginning has been made with emergency aid, but the response to my appeals must be greater if tragedy is to be avoided for a considerable number of refugees. In the sphere of long-term economic plans, I have already outlined what I think should be done in respect of Austria and for Germany. As regards migration, I hope that States will give effect to the resolution of the General Assembly and will pay special attention to refugees in their programmes of emigration and immigration.
151. It is my earnest prayer that the Members of the United Nations which are in a position to contribute towards a permanent solution of the refugee problem along these lines will now take the necessary action.
(Signed) J. G. VAN HEUVEN GOEDHART
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
ADDENDUM (DATED 22 SEPTEMBER 1952) TO THE REPORT OF THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES
1. In submitting my previous report to the General Assembly (A/2126), I pointed out that a supplementary report would also be required. The main report was dated 29 May 1952, but since then important events have occurred to which I consider it my duty to call the General Assembly's attention. A detailed account of these events is contained in the attached annex: this account is classified for reference under the chapter numbers of the main report, which it supplements.
2. Moreover, I consider it necessary not only to inform the Assembly of what has happened since 29 May, but also to provide it with a general survey of all events affecting the situation of refugees within my mandate and an analysis of the current aspects of refugee problems, for the solution of which I hope to obtain the Assembly's support.
REFUGEE EMERGENCY FUND
3. In my main report, I had occasion to note the smallness of the contributions made so far to the Emergency Fund, which the General Assembly during its sixth session (resolution 538 B (VI)) had authorized me to raise for assistance to the most needy refugees. In the annex to the present document, I mention again the inadequacy of the funds contributed or promised in comparison with the needs to be met. The Assembly will permit me once again to emphasize the necessity of coping with the task which faces us in this field. As I have pointed out on many occasions, the very existence of thousands of men, women and children is at stake. So, too, is the possibility of enabling them to wait for the day when they are able either to emigrate or to earn their living in the place where they are at present leading aimless lives. The eyes of these men and women are fixed on the United Nations; they know that authoritative action and support on the scale required can come from the United Nations alone, for the problems inherent in their situation transcend the means, as they do the frontiers, of individual countries.
4. A word of hope must be added at this juncture. A considerable part of the requirements could be covered by the balance of the assets of the International Refugee Organization. According to the latest estimates, the winding-up of this organization should show in Germany an unexpended balance of approximately 12 million marks, i.e., over $2.8 million. This is more than was anticipated. If the residual assets of IRO can be devoted to material assistance to refugees, they should, added to the funds I have myself collected or which have been promised to me, enable the most vitally urgent requirements to be met. Such a result can, of course, only be obtained provided the consultations prescribed by the General Council of IRO between its Liquidation Board and my Office lead to an effective understanding.
5. In my main report I proposed that $415,000 should be set aside for new refugees from any sums which might be collected ($175,000 for Austria, $150,000 for Germany, $90,000 for Trieste). The programme for escapees established by the President of the United States of America within the framework of the Mutual Security Act - a programme for the implementation of which a new ad hoc body will be responsible - will apply to a certain number of new refugees, and in this respect will supplement the work of my Office. The funds for carrying out the President's programme, which covers all operations connected with re-establishment, amount to $6 million. Even so, it is essential that there should be no sudden increase in the flow of new arrivals, who are coming in at the rate of several thousand every month. Only the future will show whether the measures taken are equal to the situation.
6. I owe it to the General Assembly to give a detailed account of the existing assets of the Emergency Fund and to list the contributions, expected or unexpected, which may be added to it (see paragraph 141 of document A/2126 and paragraphs 52 and 53 of the annex below). It is now my duty to request the Assembly to assist me in solving three problems which I consider are of such gravity as to demand an urgent solution.
REFUGEES IN CHINA
7. In my main report, I have already described the distressing situation of the 8,500 refugees at present stranded in China; I revert to the matter in the attached annex. As I pointed out, the problem is two-fold: there is the question of their maintenance and the question of enabling them to emigrate. But the entire sum at present at my disposal in the Emergency Fund, even with the addition of the expected contribution from the United Kingdom, will not suffice for their maintenance beyond the spring of 1953, even if the strictest economy is observed; nor will the IRO grant to the Migration Committee ensure the departure of more than one-tenth of them. Thus, the final date after which nothing more can be done for them is known exactly and, unless further funds are forthcoming, it is inescapable. It is a test case for United Nations action, involving the fate of thousands of men, women and children, and failure cannot and must not be allowed. For my part, I reject any possibility of abandonment in this case; I cannot believe in a surrender which would seal the fate of victims and rescuers alike. It is thus my firm conviction that the General Assembly will make the necessary recommendations; specifying the ways and means for a solution which seem to it most appropriate; and that it will, in short, bring about that powerful and concerted international action which alone can deal with the situation.
DISSOLUTION OF THE CAMPS
8. I now come to the second of the major problems that I should like to bring to the Assembly's attention. There are still in Europe more than 130,000 persons living in camps and coming within my mandate. No doubt it is a small number compared with the countless multitudes who found themselves stranded just after the war, but I need not point out that seven years have since elapsed. A great deal of work has been done and enormous sums have been spent to wipe out the tragic effects of the war; but one remains, reduced in size but still considerable, with disastrous moral, physical, material, social and economic consequences. There are people leading abnormal lives on the fringe of society, idle when they could be productive, endangering the stability of an environment into which they are not being absorbed.
9. Before the camps can be closed, the refugees must be given either a chance to emigrate or the possibility of following normal lives in the countries of asylum. Both these solutions require large-scale resources. The Ford Foundation, by entrusting me with the administration and allocation of the sum of $2.9 million, which it has recently granted for the investigation and implementation of permanent solutions, will contribute to the closing down of the refugee camps. This generous gesture provides an example which should be followed by many others if it is desired that 130,000 persons should resume their rightful place in society.
FINANCING OF INTEGRATION
10. In the discussions which have taken place during the last two years in the General Assembly, the view has been expressed on many occasions that the assimilation of refugees in the countries where they have found asylum was the solution to be preferred, for a number of reasons to which it is unnecessary to revert.
11. I myself have always regarded assimilation as one of the most important parts of my task. The Ford Foundation's grant, the aim of which is essentially the same, therefore caused me great satisfaction. As authorized under paragraph 10 of my Statute, I accepted the task of administering the grant which was entrusted to me by the Ford Foundation.
12. It is clear that what can be achieved with $2.9 million represents only a tiny fraction of the task of integrating all the refugees within my mandate. However, it is reasonable to hope that the action of the Ford Foundation will stimulate further initiative, governmental or private, in the same field. Having sent experts to the two countries where the problem is most far-reaching and most acute, i.e., Germany and Austria, I have already acquainted the Assembly with their conclusions, and I shall not revert to them. I would merely stress once again the necessity of obtaining without further delay the political and financial assistance required for an undertaking of this magnitude.
13. The countries of asylum cannot be asked to bear the full burden of carrying out such integration, which would in any case be beyond their means; they have their own internal refugees overburdening their economy whose presence makes it politically impossible for them to ask for large-scale aid from abroad for refugees from outside. What is the solution to this dilemma? It is within the power of the General Assembly to recommend the steps to be taken to achieve the desired aim. I feel certain that the Assembly will not refuse to take such action.
Establishment of branch offices (Cf. paragraphs 7 and 11 of document A/2126)
1. The Statute of my Office grants me the right to engage voluntary assistance (resolution 428 (V), annex, chapter III, paragraph 15). I have used this right owing to the distances, which are sometimes considerable, between my headquarters or branch offices and the countries where there are refugees, and to the fact that with my limited budget it is impossible to appoint officials to provide the liaison which has proved necessary between those refugees and my offices. With the consent of the governments concerned, I have accordingly appointed two honorary representatives: one in Iran and one in Lebanon. The resultant improvement in the machinery for carrying out my mandate proves the wisdom of this provision of the Statute.
2. Furthermore, being deeply concerned with the problems connected with the carrying out of my mandate in the Far East, I have requested my deputy to visit the various countries receiving refugees who may come within my purview. My deputy will make the necessary contacts with the governments concerned. His main task will be to ascertain whether those governments consider it necessary for a representative of my Office to be appointed in the Far East and, if so, to determine the conditions governing such representation. On his return, I expect to be in a position to give practical effect to the desires expressed on several occasions both by the General Assembly and by the Economic and Social Council.
3. The Governments of Mexico, Costa Rica, Cuba, Haiti and Argentina have acknowledged the appointment of my representative in Latin America.
4. The United Kingdom office started its activities at the beginning of May 1952.
5. Close liaison has been established with the voluntary bodies concerned with the welfare of refugees, the British Council for Aid to Refugees which is composed of all societies having an interest in refugees. Collaboration has also been established with all the national refugee organizations. The Government of the United Kingdom has given my representative all necessary facilities to remain in close contact with the situation of refugees in the country.
Liaison with other international bodies (Cf. paragraph 18 of document A/2126)
6. 1 have considered it my duty, in the exercise of my function of international protection, and in continuation of the practice followed by the International Refugee Organization, to represent the legitimate interests of refugees in relation to international instruments drawn up under the auspices of the United Nations and other international organizations.
7. My Office submitted memoranda to and was represented by observers at the meeting of the Committee of Experts on the Recognition and Enforcement Abroad of Maintenance Obligations, appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and at the Inter-governmental Copyright Conference, convened by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
8. A member of my staff was seconded to the Legal Department of the United Nations Secretariat in order to assist the Rapporteur of the International Law Commission on the question of nationality and statelessness.
9. Consultations took place between the secretariat of the Council of Europe and members of my staff on the inclusion of refugees in the conventions eleborated by the Council of Europe on social security.
Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (Cf. paragraph 25 of document A/2126)
10. Brazil, the Holy See, Italy and France have also signed the Convention of 28 July 1951, which brings the number of signatory States to nineteen.
REFUGEE SITUATION IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES
Assimilation (Cf. paragraph 33 of document A/2126)
11. The statistics of emigration demonstrate that assimilation must be the main factor in solving the refugee problem in Germany. Between 1 February and 31 July 1952, 7,403 refugees who are the concern of my Office left Germany under the auspices of the Migration Committee.4 This figure, though far from negligible, represents only 5 per cent of the number of refugees covered by my mandate.
Displaced Persons Branch of the Expellee Bank (Cf. paragraphs 36 and 37 of document A/2126)
12. Following my conversations with the Federal Chancellor concerning the integration of refugees in Germany, the Federal Government made a payment of DM 2 million to the Displaced Persons Branch of the Expellee Bank.
13. In July 1952, IRO, which had provided the initial capital of DM 1.5 million for this branch, made a further payment of DM 380,000, which represented the credit balance of its Deutschmark account. I hope that a further substantial contribution will be made from the IRO residual assets.
14. The Displaced Persons Branch of the Expellee Bank will then have a capital of DM 5-6 million, or 12 to 15 per cent of the amount considered necessary, i.e., DM 40 million, corresponding to about 5,000 loans of a maximum of 8,000 marks each. Other resources will therefore have to be found if this institution is to achieve the purpose for which it was created.
15. On 31 July 1952, the Displaced Persons Branch of the Expellee Bank had received 4,111 applications and had actually granted 181 loans, to a total amount of DM 765,000. These loans have mainly been used to establish small industrial undertakings or family businesses.
Assistance to refugee students
16. In agreement with the German Federal Government, I have decided that the DM 50,000 contributed to the Emergency Fund in response to my appeal should be used for the benefit of refugee students in Germany. Under an agreement between the World Council of Churches and my Office, I have remitted this sum to that agency, to be distributed through the German section of the International Student Service. Tuition fees and cost of materials, food and clothing will be paid for about 150 students.
Displaced persons' settlements (Cf. paragraph 41 of document A/2126)
17. In view of the enormous demand and the difficulty of meeting it, the German Federal Government has decided to support the efforts made by the Länder by contributing a sum of DM 2 million to assist in the financing of the construction of houses for refugees. This contribution is all the more valuable since the Displaced Persons Branch of the Expellee Bank is not authorized to grant housing loans. But it is clear that, even taking this sum into account, present resources remain far below immediate needs. Here again, outside assistance will be required to solve this problem, the importance of which I need hardly emphasize.
B. AUSTRIA (Cf. paragraph 50 of document A/2126)
18. The most recent statistics available show that, as of 30 June 1952, there were 216,200 non-naturalized and 128,500 naturalized Volksdeutsche in Austria. Between 1 February and 31 July 1952, 9,807 refugees within my mandate were able to emigrate thanks to the good offices of the Migration Committee. Of these, 9,215 went to the United States of America, 260 to Canada, 241 to Australia and 49 to Brazil.
Assimilation (Cf. paragraph 59 of document A/2126)
19. Discussions have taken place between the International Bank and the Austrian Government concerning financial assistance which might be provided by the Bank for various projects of economic development. So far, I do not believe that the Austrian Government has submitted any acceptable proposals to the Bank concerning the financing of the integration of refugees, but there is a possibility that this matter will be raised in further discussions between the Bank and the Austrian Government.
C. ITALY (Cf. paragraphs 68, 70, 71 and 73 of document A/2126)
20. An arrangement has been concluded between the Government of Italy and my Office to establish the methods by which the co-operation in the determination of eligibility and documentation, foreseen in the agreement of 18 February 1952, will be established. A joint Commission, consisting of two representatives of the Italian Government and two representatives from my Office, will decide whether applicants are genuine refugees and should be provided with documentation which will legalize their residence.
21. Pending the decision of that joint Commission, the applicants will be provided with a provisional residence permit. By virtue of this document, a newly arrived refugee will not remain in a precarious situation and be classed as an undesirable liable to prosecution; on the contrary, the door will now remain open for the determination of his status. If the person concerned is subsequently declared eligible, the provisional residence permit will be replaced by an ordinary residence permit, valid for four months and automatically renewable, on which it will be stated that the holder is a refugee within the mandate of my Office. The holder will, in addition, receive the travel document issued under the London Agreement of 15 October 1946, and later, when Italy has ratified the Convention of 28 July 1951, the travel document provided for by that Convention.
22. Italy signed the Convention of 28 July 1951 on 23 July 1952, but subject to reservations on a number of important points, as for instance the right to work, which it accepted only in the form of a recommendation.
23. Thanks to the understanding and vigorous action of the Italian authorities, the position of new refugees has considerably improved. Measures have been taken to enable them to enjoy all the freedom which is compatible with conditions in a reception centre.
24. Between 1 February and 31 July 1952, 1,044 refugees migrated from Italy to Australia, Brazil, Canada, the United States of America and Venezuela under the auspices of the Migration Committee. These departures are equivalent to approximately 5 per cent of the Italian refugee population.
D. TRIESTE (Cf. paragraphs 75 and 78 to 80 of document A/2126)
25. The number of refugees in Allied Military Government camps as of 1 September 1952, amounted to 3,500. On the whole, the situation in respect of the health of the refugees is improving. The number of tuberculosis cases has decreased, and amounted to 120 on 1 September. The patients have now been isolated and are receiving treatment, either in Trieste hospitals or at the health centre at Prosecco. In addition, sixty-three tuberculous children are at present being treated in Swiss hospitals, where they are the guests of the Swiss Red Cross Society.
26. Work has now been started on a new centre which the Allied Military Government has decided to build to accommodate 900 refugees under more satisfactory conditions.
27. Departures are at the present time more or less balanced by new arrivals.
28. Between 1 February and 31 July 1952, 584 refugees migrated from Trieste, mostly to Canada, Brazil and Australia, under the auspices of the Migration Committee. This figure is equivalent to about 17 per cent of the refugees living in Military Government camps. It does not include individual departures for destinations in Europe.
29. In agreement with the Allied Military Government a programme is being carried out involving the expenditure of $20,000 over a period of four months, chiefly for the provision of extra food for tuberculosis patients and convalescents, and for the purchase of clothing for the most needy refugees.
30. Furthermore, the Government of Sweden has given three prefabricated fully equipped workshops to promote the vocational training of refugees in Trieste.
E. LUXEMBOURG (Cf. paragraph 94 of document A/2126)
31. Pending ratification of the Convention of 28 July 1951 by Parliament, the Luxembourg Government has recommended the competent authorities to apply at once the provisions of the Convention in so far as they are permissible under the Constitution and laws of Luxembourg.
F. FRANCE (Cf. paragraphs 95 to 97 and 106 of document A/2126)
32. On 21 July 1952, a law was promulgated in France under which a French office will be responsible for the legal and administrative protection of refugees and will ensure, in conjunction with the government departments concerned, the implementation of all international agreements concerning the protection of refugees in France, and in particular the Convention of 28 July 1951.
33. The French office will recognize the refugee status of all persons coming within my mandate, or covered by the definitions contained in the Convention of 28 July 1951. It will co-operate with my Office which, under the terms of the law, is responsible for supervising the implementation of all agreements concerning refugees. My representative in Paris will be a member of the governing body of the French office and also of an Appeals Commission established, first, to decide appeals by persons to whom the French office has refused refugee status and, secondly, to examine petitions by refugees who are threatened with expulsion.
34. My branch office in Paris is now being set up. Its status and privileges will shortly be defined in an agreement now being negotiated.
35. The French Parliament has voted the sum of 350 million francs to be included in the 1952 budget for assistance to refugees in France.
G. GREECE (Cf. paragraph 107 of document A/2126)
36. A member of my staff recently went to Greece to make a first-hand study of the possibilities and prospects for the economic integration of the refugees. His conclusions were as follows:
37. There are two categories of refugees: those who arrived in Greece after the First World War and those who arrived after the Second World War. The two groups are approximately equal in number, each consisting of about 8,500 persons. The second category raises a particularly urgent problem; in spite of the obvious goodwill and financial efforts of the Greek Government, most of these refugees are living in camps under unsatisfactory physical and moral conditions. In saying this, I am not unaware that the Greek Government has also been, and to some extent continues to be, faced with the responsibility of housing and feeding 700,000 Greek nationals who were driven from their homes as a result of the Civil War.
38. For the second category, either emigration or integration will have to be organized.
39. Owing to the country's economic situation, emigration is the solution desired by both the Greek Government and the refugees themselves and some results have already been achieved. However, there is no prospect of any great speed-up in the rate of emigration, and some 2,500 families or individuals are unlikely to be able to leave Greece at a reasonably early date.
40. A vigorous effort will therefore have to be made in the direction of integration. This ought in theory to be made somewhat easier by the fact that the number of persons to be absorbed is very small in relation to the total population of Greece, and that a number of the refugees are of Greek ethnic origin, and thus more easily assimilable. In practice, it is impeded by the unemployment and under-employment endemic in Greece.
41. Faced with this difficult situation, the Greek Government has done its best and has taken various measures to provide refugees of Greek origin with a roof over their heads and to make it easier for them to find employment. But there is still a good deal to be done - a moderate estimate puts the amount of capital required for the integration of the refugees in Greece at 75,000 million drachma, or $US 5 million. Strenuous efforts will be made to discover where and how these funds can be raised, but it is already evident that a part of the sum will have to be obtained from outside sources.
42. There are about 2,000 refugees of various origins in Iran, most of whom settled there after the First World War.
43. A year ago, the Iranian Government decided to ask all aliens not in possession of valid national passports to leave its territory before 21 March 1952. At my request, it agreed to extend this time-limit by six months. Meanwhile, I have made contact with the Government in Teheran with a view to reaching a final solution of this problem. Faithful to its traditions, the Iranian Government has taken a humanitarian and generous view, and has decided to reconsider the position.
44. A list of certain refugees whom the Iranian Government wishes to leave the country will be communicated to the interested organizations, so that arrangements may be made in good time. Refugees desiring to emigrate will be granted all facilities for this purpose by the Iranian authorities. Those who wish to remain in Iran and whose names are not on this list will receive the necessary authorization for settlement in the country.
45. As I have already mentioned, I have requested the Migration Committee to extend its mandate to refugees outside Europe. The possibilities of emigration for the refugees who wish to leave Iran depend largely on the reply which will be given to my request.
I. SHANGHAI AND HONG KONG (Cf. paragraph 121 of document A/2126)
46. I have already drawn attention to the fact that there are about 3,500 refugees in China, who were registered with IRO but who are now the concern of the High Commissioner's Office. I must now add that 4,000 other refugees, who were prima facie within the mandate of, but not registered by, IRO, have asked my Office for international protection and assistance. It is estimated that about 1,000 of the refugees in this second group are in urgent need of relief to save them from destitution.
47. It was expected that the sum of $235,000, made available to the High Commissioner's Office by IRO for the provision of temporary assistance to the refugees registered by IRO, would be exhausted by 31 July 1952.
48. By means of severe economies and restrictions it has been possible to carry on the care and maintenance of these refugees for two months longer than had been anticipated. Assistance was to have been given for five months, from 1 March to 31 July; it will now be continued until 30 September. Moreover, thanks to the contributions of the Governments of Switzerland and the United Kingdom, I now expect to be able to include the neediest refugees, irrespective of their registration with IRO, in an emergency relief programme covering a further six months (30 September 1952 to 31 March 1953). But the present resources of the Emergency Fund will certainly not enable my Office to extend the programme beyond that date.
49. During those six months, as in the past, everything will be done to hasten the resettlement of the refugees and, to this end, I have personally appealed to governments to give the most careful consideration to the very serious problem which my Office is called upon to solve; I have also asked them to be good enough to grant as many visas as possible. The experience of five months' work shows that there is no hope of reaching a final solution of the problem unless governments make a fresh effort to provide the refugees with opportunities for resettlement. From 1 February to 31 July 1952, 464 refugees emigrated from Shanghai with the assistance of the Migration Committee,5 mainly to Australia (128), Brazil (113), Canada (104), Italy (11), Turkey (9), Germany (8) and Argentina (8). This represents 6 per cent of the present total. At this rate - 90 persons per month - assuming that the number of refugees does not increase, it would take over six years to resettle the 7,500 persons who come within my mandate in China.
50. Nor should it be forgotten that the Migration Committee, which was provided with $500,000 by IRO to carry on the resettlement operation on behalf of refugees registered by IRO in China, has only extended its field of work beyond Europe as an exceptional measure and by special agreement. At present, even in this particular case, it is not competent to deal with refugees who were not eligible for IRO assistance but who come within my mandate (as already stated there are over 4 000 of these at Shanghai); and, finally, even as regards refugees registered by the IRO, the Migration Committee will be powerless once the funds placed at its disposal by IRO are exhausted. Since the average cost of resettling a refugee is estimated at $600, only 800 persons can benefit by the operation.6
51. I have asked the Migration Committee to extend its mandate to European refugees residing outside Europe. If the Committee declines, or if substantial contributions to my Emergency Fund are not forthcoming in the near future, out of which I am authorized to finance the resettlement of the Shanghai refugees after existing funds have been exhausted - if both these doors are closed - I shall feel it incumbent on me to consider whether it is not my duty to make a further statement before the General Assembly itself. This is the serious problem which I have referred to my Advisory Committee, asking for its advice.
REFUGEE EMERGENCY FUND (Cf. paragraph 141 of document A/2126)
52. Payments and commitments, as of 25 August 1952, are as follows:
|A. Payments||Total 359,356.40|
|Increase since 5 May 1952||$123,144.20|
|B. Commitments||Total 295,385.42|
|Increase since 5 May 1952||$222,796.36|
The position, as shown above, affords some cause for anxiety.
53. Most governments have not yet replied to my appeal; their failure to do so puts me under the necessity of repeating my request, and I do this with all the more insistence as the demands on our funds, which I am required to meet, have in no way diminished.
IMPLEMENTATION OF RESOLUTION 538 B (VI)
54. Information about paragraph 1 can be found in chapter 3 of document A/2126 and in paragraphs 52 and 53 of the present report.
55. I have approached those governments concerned with refugee problems, and have submitted the matter to my Advisory Committee, which will examine it during the second session beginning on 15 September in Geneva.
56. I asked the Migration Committee to consider the possibility of extending its activities to cover the emigration of European refugees living outside Europe. At its third session held at Washington, the Committee, on 12 June 1952, adopted a resolution instructing its Director-General to study the position in the countries in question in conjunction with my Office, and to report to the Committee at its next session, which is to begin on 1 October.
GRANT FROM THE FORD FOUNDATION
57. As announced in the Press on 4 August last, the Ford Foundation has made a grant of $2.9 million as a contribution to the permanent solution of the problem raised by the presence in Europe of millions of refugees, and I should like to take this opportunity of expressing once again my appreciation of the generosity of the Foundation.
58. The Foundation intends this grant to benefit all refugees in Europe, whatever their nationality or religion. It has stipulated categorically that the money must not be used to provide the refugees with food and shelter. Care and maintenance, moreover, are merely temporary solutions, and the Ford Foundation wishes to help find a permanent, radical and final solution to the problem.
59. Such a solution, which involves the placing or replacing of an uprooted person in an environment where he will again find a trade, a roof, security for himself and his family and will become a member of the community adopting him, can be effected either by assimilation or by re-establishment. The best means of achieving this result is vocational training or re-education. Thus, there is nothing surprising in the emphasis placed by the grant on youth, that has been called upon to contribute in a great degree to the balance or unbalance of Europe and is not responsible for the disaster of which it is a victim, is the principal beneficiary of this generous gift.
60. It was certainly not the ambition of the Ford Foundation to provide for everything, for the task is immense. By its action, it has sought to provide a stimulus, to serve as a guide, to sift out what is possible from what is not, to promote experiments with a view to improving methods and pointing out the ways to be followed, to encourage governments and voluntary agencies to make further efforts, and to bring about a minimum of unity among all concerned in a field where dispersion of effort renders the work almost fruitless.
61. In matters concerning assimilation, vocational training or cultural activities, my role will consist in receiving the plans drawn up by the voluntary agencies, making a selection from them, co-ordinating those freely chosen by me in agreement with those agencies, promoting execution of plans I have myself proposed and, finally, facilitating the implementation of them all.
62. In matters concerning resettlement outside countries of asylum, I shall, in close co-operation with the governments and organizations concerned, have to bring about the extension and strengthening of the network already created by the voluntary agencies, to set on foot model projects and to launch such repayable loans as may be necessary for the payment of emigration expenses.
63. This work is complementary to that which I am required to undertake with the help of the Emergency Fund which the General Assembly authorized me to raise, an up-to-date account of which has already been given. Material relief still gives rise to problems which are as widespread and as urgent as ever.
(Signed) J. G. VAN HEUVEN GOEDHART
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
1 Previously distributed as document A/2126 dated 29 May 1952
2 The complete report was later issued as document A/2011; see Official Records of the General Assembly, Sixth Session, Supplement No. 19.
3 Hereinafter referred to as the "Migration Committee".
4 Mainly for the United States of America (4,860), Australia (814), Canada (803), Brazil (511) and the United Kingdom (255).
5 During the period 1 March to 31 July 1952, the Migration Committee spent $171,439 out of the $500,000 placed at its disposal by the IRO.
6 The cost of resettling the remaining 6,500 persons would be about $4 million, reimbursable or not.