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Co-operation and Office Agreement between the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Government of the State of Kuwait

Publisher UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Publication Date 8 April 1996
Cite as UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Co-operation and Office Agreement between the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Government of the State of Kuwait, 8 April 1996, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b3181b.html [accessed 28 November 2014]

Whereas the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Government of the State of Kuwait firmly believe in noble humanitarian principles and values,

Whereas the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established under the terms of resolution 319 (IV) adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 3 December 1949,

Whereas the Statute of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in resolution 428 (V) of 14 December 1950, stipulates, inter alia, that the High Commissioner, acting under the authority of the General Assembly, shall assume the function of providing international protection, under the auspices of the United Nations, to refugees who fall within the scope of the Statute and of seeking permanent solutions to their problems by facilitating the voluntary repatriation of such refugees, or their assimilation within new national communities,

Whereas the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, being a subsidiary organ established by the General Assembly in accordance with Article 22 of the Charter of the United Nations, forms an integral part of the United Nations, the status, privileges and immunities of which are governed by the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations which adopted by the General Assembly on 13 February 1946,

In view of the fact that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has been engaging in humanitarian endeavours in Kuwait since the latter's recovery of its sovereignty and territorial integrity,

In view of the fact that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Republic has requested the Government of the State of Kuwait to permit it to open an office in the State of Kuwait and to grant it appropriate privileges and immunities for the performance of its work,

Whereas the Government of the State of Kuwait and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees wish to specify the terms and conditions for the latter's representation, within the limits of its mandate in Kuwait,

In view of the fact that the Government of the State of Kuwait has agreed to the said request,

The Government of the State of Kuwait and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees have concluded this Agreement in a spirit of friendly cooperation.

Article 1 Definitions

For the purposes of this Agreement, the following expressions shall have the meanings specified hereunder:

The Government:

The Government of the State of Kuwait.

UNHCR:

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

The Office:

The UNHCR Office in Kuwait.

The Office premises:

All the buildings and parts of buildings occupied by the UNHCR Office in any capacity whatsoever.

The UNHCR:

The UNHCR Official responsible for the Office in the representative country:

 

The persons working in the Office and performing activities under the supervision of the head of the Office, who shall notify their names to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Kuwait.

Family:

The husband, wife and minor children who have not yet reached full legal age as defined in the laws in force in the State of Kuwait.

Article 2 Legal personality

UNHCR shall have legal personality and its office in Kuwait shall enjoy legal competence to enter into contracts, to acquire movable and immovable property and to engage in litigation, on behalf of UNHCR.

Article 3 Purpose of this Agreement

Without prejudice to the laws and regulations applicable in the State of Kuwait, the purpose of this Agreement is to define the tasks to be undertaken by UNHCR through its Office in the State of Kuwait, as well as its privileges and immunities, in the manner shown in article 4, in particular, and also in the other article of this Agreement.

Article 4 Fields of cooperation

(a)        UNHCR, acting in cooperation and consultation with the Government, shall provide international protection to refugees and other persons who fall within the scope of its mandate in accordance with its Statute and the other relevant resolutions concerning UNHCR, as adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations, and shall seek permanent solutions to their problems by facilitating their voluntary return to their countries of origin, or their assimilation within new national communities. UNHCR acting in cooperation with the Government, shall also organize and provide humanitarian assistance for the refugees.

(b)        The Government shall facilitate access of the staff of the UNHCR Office to all the refugees and persons falling within UNHCR's mandate in accordance with its Statute.

Article 5 Privileges and Immunities

The Convention on the Privileges and lmmunities of the United Nations which was adopted by the General Assembly on 13 February 1946 and to which the government became a party on 13 December 1963 constitutes the general law from which the provisions of this Agreements are drawn. The Convention shall apply whenever no stipulations were provided for in this Agreement.

Article 6 Immunity of the Office premises

1.         The Office, as well as its funds and property, shall enjoy immunity from all forms of legal proceedings except in so far as UNHCR might waive such stipulated immunity in any particular cases.

2.         The Office premises shall be inviolable and its property, funds and assets, regardless of their location or the identity of their holder in the State of Kuwait, shall enjoy immunity from search, confiscation, seizure and any other form of interference.

3.         The inviolability of the Office's records and, in general, of all its documents and the documents in its possession, shall be safeguarded and they shall not be interfered with, regardless of their location or the identity of the person holding them.

4.         The office shall be exempt from Customs dues, embargo orders and restrictions imposed on materials that it imports or export for its official use, provided that such materials imported under the terms of this exemption are not sold within the country without the prior consent of the Government.

5.         The office shall be entitled to import funds, banknotes and foreign currency into the State of Kuwait or transfer the same to any other country.

6.         The Office premises shall under no circumstances be used to grant asylum to any person, particularly persons who have been legally convicted for committing crimes, who are fugitives from justice, for whom an arrest warrant has been issued or whose expulsion from the country has been ordered by the Government.

Article 7 Communication Facilities

1.         UNHCR shall enjoy, in respect of its official communications, treatment not less favourable than that accorded by the Government to any other Government including its diplomatic mission in matter of priorities, tariffs and charges on mail, cablegrams, telephoto, telephone, telegraph, telex and other communications.

2.         UNHCR shall have the right to use codes and to despatch and receive correspondence and other materials by courier or in sealed bags which shall have the same privileges and immunities as diplomatic couriers and bags.

3.         UNHCR shall have the right to operate radio and other telecommunications equipment, on UN registered frequencies, and those allocated by the Government.

Article 8 Facilities

The Government shall endeavour to grant the Office the facilities needed to enable it to discharge its functions in the State of Kuwait.

Article 9 Status of the members of the Office

(a)        Without prejudice to article 5, the office staff, regardless of their nationality, shall enjoy the following privileges and immunities:

(i)         Judicial immunity in respect of all their spoken or written statements or actions in their official capacity. This immunity shall continue even after the termination of employment with UNHCR.

(ii)        Exemption from all taxes on the salaries and allowances that they receive.

(iii)       The Office staff and their families shall be issued with the required residence permits and return visas.

(iv)       In the event of international crisis, the office staff and their families shall be accorded the same facilities as those granted to officials of comparable rank of diplomatic missions in regard to return to their country.

(v)        They shall have the rights to import their personal effects and a vehicle for personal use free of duty according to the regulations applicable to diplomatic representatives accredited in the country.

(vi)       The same privileges as those accorded to similarly ranking members of diplomatic missions accredited to the State of Kuwait in regard to currency exchange facilities.

(b)        The Office staff, who are not citizens of the State of Kuwait, shall enjoy the following additional privileges and immunities:

(i)         Immunity from arrest, detention and seizure of personal property.

(ii)        Inviolability of their place of residence, as well as their vehicles, documents, manuscripts and all their personal effects.

Article 10 Privileges and immunities of the head of the Office

In addition to the privileges and immunities referred to in article 9, the head of the Office, as well as his spouse and minor children, shall enjoy the same privileges, immunities, exemptions and facilities as those accorded to the heads of diplomatic missions.

Article 11 Privileges and immunities of persons dispatched on temporary missions

Persons dispatched to the State of Kuwait on temporary missions shall benefit from the same privileges and immunities as those accorded to the Office staff under the terms of this Agreement.

Article 12 Cooperation with the Government

1.         The privileges and immunities are granted in favour of the United Nations and UNHCR and not for the personal benefit of the individuals themselves. Consequently, UNHCR shall at all times cooperate with the authorities to facilitate the proper administration of justice, ensure compliance with the police regulations and prevent any misuse of the privileges and immunities provided for in this Agreement.

2.         The Government may, at any time and at its own discretion, regard any of the office staff as personae non grata in accordance with the provisions of article 9 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961.

3.         When implementing this Agreement, the two parties shall show due regard for the common interests of the State of Kuwait and UNHCR.

Article 13 Settlement of disputes

Disputes between the State of Kuwait and UNHCR concerning the interpretation or application of this Agreement shall be settled through negotiation between the two parties or in any other manner agreed upon. The two parties shall endeavour to settle such disputes in good faith.

Article 14 Denunciation of the Agreement

Either of the two parties may denounce the Agreement by giving the other party a minimum of six months notice, on the expiration of which this Agreement shall cease to have any effect.

Article 15 Entry into Force

This Agreement shall enter into force on the date on which the Government notifies UNHCR of the completion of its constitutional procedures for the ratification of this Agreement. The two parties shall show due regard for the common interests of the State of Kuwait and UNHCR during the implementation of this Agreement.

In witness whereof, the two legally empowered representatives have signed this Agreement in two original copies in the Arabic an English languages, each being equally authentic.

Done at Kuwait on

1996.

For the Government of the State of Kuwait

For the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Sabah El Ahmed Al Jaber

Moustapha Omar

The First Deputy Prime Minster

Chief of Mission

Minister of Foreign Affairs

 

 

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