Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 May 2016, 08:28 GMT

Applicability of the Cessation Clause to Refugees From Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary

Publisher UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Publication Date 15 November 1991
Cite as UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Applicability of the Cessation Clause to Refugees From Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary, 15 November 1991, available at: [accessed 25 May 2016]

1. Over the last months, Headquarters has received inquiries from several Branch Offices about the possible application of the cessation clauses for refugees from certain Central and Eastern European countries based on the change of circumstances in connection with which refugee status was granted to them.

2. As far as nationals from Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland are concerned, the High Commissioner is of the opinion, that these persons can, in prinicple, avail themselves of the protection of their country of nationality. The cessation clauses contained in paragraph 6A (e) ofthe UNHCR Statute, and Article 1C (5) of the 1951 Convention are therefore, in principle, applicable to those persons.

3. As far as UNHCR is concerned, its competence for persons falling under Section A above has in principle ceased.- Former refugees outside Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary should henceforth be encouraged to deal directly with the asylum country on their status and rights in that country. A reasonable time limit for the cessation of whatever material assistance is provided by UNHCR representatives should be fixed.

4. With regard to refugee status under the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol, UNHCR Representatives should endeavour to ensure that whatever acquired rights individuals concerned may possess will be taken into account by the authorities. Due regard must be taken of the need to avoid unnecessary individual hardship, particularly where the loss of refugee status might lead to an automatic loss of residence and therefore disrupt any successfully initiated integration process in the host society.

5. It must naturally be left to governments of the asylum/residence countries concerned to determine whether and how to apply the cessation clause in accordance with domestic legislation. In this context, UNHCR representatives should draw the attention of governments to the exception contained in Article 1 C (5) of the Convention, which provides that the cessation clause shall not apply to persons who are able to invoke compelling reasons arising out of previous persecution.

6. In the absence of any repatriation operation concerning refugees from these countries, organized by UNHCR, those persons wishing to repatriate should be advised to contact the consular authorities of their country of origin as well as register with the competent authorities of their country of residence. Should a need for a repatriation programme arise, or UNHCR assistance be requested for an individual voluntary repatriation, UNHCR Representatives should consult with Headquarters before taking any further action in this regard.

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