United Nations


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

9 February 1996


Fiftieth session
Agenda item 109


               [on the report of the Third Committee (A/50/632)]

            50/152.     Office of the United Nations High
                        Commissioner for Refugees

      The General Assembly,

      Having considered the report of the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees on the activities of her Office  1/ and
the report of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the High
Commissioner on the work of its forty-sixth session,  2/

      Recalling its resolution 49/169 of 23 December 1994,

      Reaffirming the importance of the 1951 Convention  3/ and the
1967 Protocol  4/ relating to the Status of Refugees as the
cornerstone of the international system for the protection of
refugees, and noting with satisfaction that one hundred and thirty
States are now parties to one or both instruments,

      Reaffirming also the purely humanitarian and non-political
character of the activities of the Office of the High Commissioner, as
well as the crucial importance of the High Commissioner's functions of
providing international protection to refugees and seeking solutions
to refugee problems,

      Commending the High Commissioner and her staff for the competent,
courageous and dedicated manner in which they discharge their
responsibilities, paying tribute to those staff members who have
endangered or lost their lives in the course of their duties, and
emphasizing the urgent need for effective measures to ensure the
security of staff engaged in humanitarian operations,

      Distressed at the continued suffering of refugees, for whom a
solution has yet to be found, and noting with deep concern that
refugee protection continues to be jeopardized in many situations as a
result of denial of admission, unlawful expulsion, refoulement,
unjustified detention, other threats to their physical security,
dignity and well-being and failure to respect and ensure their
fundamental freedoms and human rights,

      Welcoming the continuing strong commitment of States to providing
protection and assistance to refugees and the valuable support
extended by Governments to the High Commissioner in carrying out her
humanitarian tasks, and commending those States, particularly the
least developed and those hosting millions of refugees over long
periods of time, which, despite severe economic, development and
environmental challenges of their own, continue to admit large numbers
of refugees into their territories,

      Recognizing that, in certain regions, misuse by individuals of
asylum procedures jeopardizes the institution of asylum and adversely
affects the prompt and effective protection of refugees,

      Concerned that statelessness, including the inability to
establish one's nationality, may result in displacement, and
stressing, in this regard, that the prevention and reduction of
statelessness and the protection of stateless persons are important
also in the prevention of potential refugee situations,

      1.    Strongly reaffirms the fundamental importance and the purely
humanitarian and non-political character of the function of the Office
of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees of providing
international protection to refugees and seeking solutions to refugee
problems, and the need for States to cooperate fully with the Office
in order to facilitate the effective exercise of that function;

      2.    Calls upon all States which have not yet done so to accede
to and implement fully the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol
relating to the Status of Refugees and relevant regional refugee
instruments, as applicable, for the protection of refugees;

      3.    Also calls upon all States to uphold asylum as an
indispensable instrument for the protection of refugees, to ensure
respect for the principles of refugee protection, including the
fundamental principle of non-refoulement, as well as the humane
treatment of asylum-seekers and refugees in accordance with
internationally recognized human rights and humanitarian norms;

      4.    Reaffirms that everyone, without distinction of any kind, is
entitled to the right to seek and enjoy in other countries asylum from

      5.    Reiterates the importance of ensuring access, for all
persons seeking international protection, to fair and efficient
procedures for the determination of refugee status or, as appropriate,
to other mechanisms to ensure that persons in need of international
protection are identified and granted such protection, while not
diminishing the protection afforded to refugees under the terms of the
1951 Convention, the 1967 Protocol and relevant regional instruments;

      6.    Reaffirms the continued importance of resettlement as an
instrument of protection;

      7.    Reiterates its support for the role of the Office of the
High Commissioner in exploring further measures to ensure
international protection to all who need it, consistent with
fundamental protection principles reflected in international
instruments, and looks forward to the informal consultations of the
Office of the High Commissioner on the subject;

      8.    Calls for a more concerted response by the international
community to the needs of internally displaced persons and, in
accordance with its resolution 49/169, reaffirms its support for the
High Commissioner's efforts, on the basis of specific requests from
the Secretary-General or the competent principal organs of the United
Nations and with the consent of the State concerned, and taking into
account the complementarities of the mandates and expertise of other
relevant organizations, to provide humanitarian assistance and
protection to such persons, emphasizing that activities on behalf of
internally displaced persons must not undermine the institution of
asylum, including the right to seek and enjoy in other countries
asylum from persecution;

      9.    Reiterates the relationship between safeguarding human
rights and preventing refugee situations, recognizes that the
effective promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental
freedoms, including through institutions that sustain the rule of law,
justice and accountability, are essential for States to address some
of the causes of refugee movements and for States to fulfil their
humanitarian responsibilities in reintegrating returning refugees and,
in this connection, calls upon the Office of the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees, within its mandate and at the request of
the Government concerned, to strengthen its support of national
efforts at legal and judicial capacity-building, where necessary, in
cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human

      10.   Also reiterates that development and rehabilitation
assistance is essential in addressing some of the causes of refugee
situations, as well as in the context of the development of prevention

      11.   Condemns all forms of ethnic violence and intolerance, which
are among the major causes of forced displacements, as well as an
impediment to durable solutions to refugee problems, and appeals to
States to combat intolerance, racism and xenophobia and to foster
empathy and understanding through public statements, appropriate
legislation and social policies, especially with regard to the special
situation of refugees and asylum-seekers;

      12.   Welcomes the Platform for Action adopted at the Fourth World
Conference on Women, held at Beijing from 4 to 15 September 1995, 
5/ particularly the strong commitment made by States in the Platform
to refugee women and other displaced women in need of international
protection, and calls upon the United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees to support and promote efforts by States towards the
development and implementation of criteria and guidelines on responses
to persecution, including persecution through sexual violence or other
gender-related persecution, specifically aimed at women for reasons
enumerated in the 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol, by sharing
information on States' initiatives to develop such criteria and
guidelines and by monitoring to ensure their fair and consistent
application by the States concerned;

      13.   Reiterates that, the grant of asylum or refuge being a
peaceful and humanitarian act, refugee camps and settlements must
maintain their exclusively civilian and humanitarian character and all
parties are obliged to abstain from any activity likely to undermine
this, condemns all acts which pose a threat to the personal security
of refugees and asylum-seekers, and also those that may endanger the
safety and stability of States, calls upon States of refuge to take
all necessary measures to ensure that the civilian and humanitarian
character of refugee camps and settlements is maintained, and further
calls upon States of refuge to take effective measures to prevent the
infiltration of armed elements, to provide effective physical
protection to refugees and asylum-seekers and to afford the Office of
the High Commissioner and other appropriate humanitarian organizations
prompt and unhindered access to them;

      14.   Encourages the High Commissioner to continue her activities
on behalf of stateless persons, as part of her statutory function of
providing international protection and of seeking preventive action,
as well as her responsibilities under General Assembly resolutions
3274 (XXIV) of 10 December 1974 and 31/36 of 30 November 1976;

      15.   Requests the Office of the High Commissioner, in view of the
limited number of States party to these instruments, actively to
promote accession to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of
Stateless Persons  6/ and the 1961 Convention on the reduction of
statelessness,  7/ as well as to provide relevant technical and
advisory services pertaining to the preparation and implementation of
nationality legislation to interested States;

      16.   Calls upon States to adopt nationality legislation with a
view to reducing statelessness, consistent with the fundamental
principles of international law, in particular by preventing arbitrary
deprivation of nationality and by eliminating provisions that permit
the renunciation of a nationality without the prior possession or
acquisition of another nationality, while at the same time recognizing
the right of States to establish laws governing the acquisition,
renunciation or loss of nationality;

      17.   Reaffirms that voluntary repatriation, when it is feasible,
is the ideal solution to refugee problems, and calls upon countries of
origin, countries of asylum, the Office of the High Commissioner and
the international community as a whole to do everything possible to
enable refugees to exercise their right to return home in safety and

      18.   Reiterates the right of all persons to return to their
country, and emphasizes in this regard the prime responsibility of
countries of origin for establishing conditions that allow voluntary
repatriation of refugees in safety and with dignity and, in
recognition of the obligation of all States to accept the return of
their nationals, calls upon all States to facilitate the return of
their nationals who are not recognized as refugees;

      19.   Calls upon all States to promote conditions conducive to the
return of refugees and to support their sustainable reintegration by
providing countries of origin with necessary rehabilitation and
development assistance in conjunction, as appropriate, with the Office
of the High Commissioner and relevant development agencies;

      20.   Recalls Economic and Social Council resolution 1995/56 of
29 July 1995 on the strengthening of the coordination of emergency
humanitarian assistance of the United Nations, and welcomes the
decision of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to review, in the course of
1996, aspects of that resolution relevant to the work of the Office of
the High Commissioner;

      21.   Notes with appreciation the programme policies established
by the Executive Committee of the Programme of the High Commissioner,
and underscores the importance of their implementation by the Office
of the High Commissioner, implementing partners and other relevant
organizations in order to ensure the provision of effective protection
and humanitarian assistance to refugees;

      22.   Reaffirms the importance of incorporating environmental
considerations into the programmes of the Office of the High
Commissioner, especially in the least developed and developing
countries which have hosted refugees over long periods of time,
welcomes efforts by the Office of the High Commissioner to make a more
focused contribution to resolving refugee-related environmental
problems, and calls upon the High Commissioner to promote and enhance
coordination and collaboration with host Governments, donors, relevant
United Nations organizations, intergovernmental organizations,
non-governmental organizations and other actors concerned to address
refugee-related environmental problems in a more integrated and
effective manner;

      23.   Recognizes the importance of the introduction of Russian as
an official language of the Executive Committee of the Programme of
the High Commissioner in facilitating the work of the High
Commissioner and the implementation of the provisions of the 1951
Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, notably in the
countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States;

      24.   Calls upon all Governments and other donors to demonstrate
their international solidarity and burden-sharing with countries of
asylum through efforts aimed at continuing to alleviate the burden
borne by States which have received large numbers of refugees, in
particular those with limited resources, and to contribute to the
programmes of the Office of the High Commissioner and, taking into
account the effect on countries of asylum of the increasing
requirements of large refugee populations and the need to widen the
donor base and to achieve greater burden-sharing among donors, to
assist the High Commissioner in securing additional and timely income
from traditional governmental sources, other Governments and the
private sector in order to ensure that the needs of refugees,
returnees and other displaced persons of concern to the Office of the
High Commissioner are met.

                                                          97th plenary meeting
                                                              21 December 1995


1/          Official Records of the General Assembly, Fiftieth Session,
Supplement No. 12 (A/50/12).

2/          A/50/12/Add.1.

3/          United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 189, No. 2545.

4/          Ibid., vol. 606, No. 8791.

5/          A/CONF.177/20 and Add.1, chap. I, resolution 1, annex II.

6/          United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 360, No. 5158.

7/          Ibid., vol. 989, No. 14458.

This document has been posted online by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). Reproduction and dissemination of the document - in electronic and/or printed format - is encouraged, provided acknowledgement is made of the role of the United Nations in making it available.

Date last posted: 15 January 2000 16:15:30
Comments and suggestions: esa@un.org