Last Updated: Friday, 11 July 2014, 13:14 GMT

Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Publisher UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Author General Assembly
Publication Date 1 January 1998
Citation / Document Symbol A/53/12
Reference 53rd Session
Cite as UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees , 1 January 1998, A/53/12, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3b00f4950.html [accessed 11 July 2014]
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Chapter I Introduction

1.       The overall number of persons of concern to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 1997 stood at 21 million. This figure represents some 12 million refugees, 3.3 million repatriating refugees in the early stages of their reintegration, 3.6 million internally displaced persons and 1.2 million others of humanitarian concern, for the most part victims of conflict. Over 676,000 refugees returned voluntarily to their countries of origin in 1997, highlighting the fact that repatriation is the preferred solution for many of the world's refugees. Often, however, they returned to fragile or unstable situations emerging from conflict or still embroiled in it.

2.       In the past several years, there has been a distinct reduction in the number and scale of refugee-producing conflicts around the world. This, in some instances, can be attributed to the increasingly proactive approach by the international community to anticipate and prevent such situations. Nevertheless, the potential for large-scale displacement remains ever present in several regions of the world and the increase in the number and intensity of ethnically based conflicts within States continues to be the subject of concern.

3.       In the face of complex situations, solutions are being tailored to meet the specific characteristics of refugee movements, be they mass outflows from civil war, individual cases seeking asylum from persecution, or movements of non-refugees. In order to advance the search for solutions for refugees and contribute to regional peace and stability, UNHCR has promoted and become increasingly involved in regional initiatives to address issues related to refugees and displaced persons. Throughout 1997, UNHCR continued to be actively involved in the follow-up process of the Regional Conference to Address the Problems of Refugees, Displaced Persons, Other Forms of Involuntary Displacement and Returnees in the Countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States and Relevant Neighbouring States (the CIS Conference), convened in 1996. UNHCR undertook several programmes to strengthen the capacities of local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and to facilitate cooperation among local and international organizations present in the region. UNHCR was also involved in regional consultations in the Central Asia, South-West Asia and Middle East (CASWAME) region, held for the purpose of strengthening technical cooperation among the participating countries in order to develop a comprehensive regional approach to dealing with involuntary population displacements.

4.       Despite positive advances towards solutions in a number of regions, UNHCR remained deeply concerned over the erosion of accepted principles through restrictive asylum policies, laws and practices, and through refoulement. In the Great Lakes region of Africa, where the protection responsibilities of UNHCR have been severely challenged, thousands of Rwandan and Burundi refugees continued to endure harsh realities. While striving to ensure that refugees are accorded favourable treatment in countries of asylum, as well as upon return to their country of origin, particularly in situations emerging from conflict, UNHCR has sought to develop comprehensive approaches to international protection that give a central focus to respect for human rights, including human security.

5.       The Office also continued to develop its institutional capacity to manage voluntary repatriation, seeking to ensure the stable reintegration of returnees and facilitation of peace and reconciliation. In this regard, UNHCR has advocated for the creation of conditions conducive to return and reintegration through United Nations system-wide efforts that include institution-building, the strengthening of civil society, the promotion of equity, the elimination of land mines and more effective control of the proliferation of small arms. The Open Cities initiative in Bosnia and Herzegovina has been one means for UNHCR to target assistance to promote voluntary return and foster reintegration and reconciliation. The role of women in reconciliation has also been recognized as a vital element of this process and UNHCR has been active in promoting the participation of women in reconciliation efforts both in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Rwanda, as well as in other countries.

6.       In 1997, UNHCR received a total of some $806 million in voluntary contributions towards its General and Special Programmes. By 31 March 1998, a total of $298 million had been received against General and Special Programme requirements in 1998, amounting to some $1 billion.

Chapter II International protection

A.   Introduction

7.       The primary functions of UNHCR are to provide international protection and to seek permanent solutions to the problem of refugees by assisting Governments to facilitate their voluntary repatriation, or their assimilation within new national communities. The legal basis for these functions is provided by the Statute of the Office, approved by the General Assembly in resolution 428 (V) of 14 December 1950, which defines the work of the High Commissioner as entirely non-political, humanitarian and social. The activities of the Office are further reinforced and guided by subsequent General Assembly resolutions, and conclusions and decisions of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme, and are carried out in a framework comprising international refugee, human rights and humanitarian law, and internationally accepted standards for the treatment of refugees.

8.       International protection means first of all securing respect for the basic rights of refugees, including admission to safety and non-refoulement, as well as ensuring that refugees are accorded favourable treatment in countries of asylum. It also means promoting ratification of the relevant international instruments by States and incorporation of these instruments into their national legislation.

9.       Securing the basic rights of refugees is the responsibility of States. States have an obligation to ensure that the right of refugees to security of their persons is respected. In this regard, States need to ensure the civilian and humanitarian character of refugee camps located in their territory, which includes locating camps away from border areas, disarming and removing militant elements from the camps, and refraining from exploiting refugees for political ends. Departure from these basic tenets undermines the very nature of the peaceful granting of asylum and constitutes a threat to the country of origin, to the country of refuge and to the refugees themselves.

10.     In a note on international protection presented to the Executive Committee at its forty-seventh session, in 1996, the above issues were highlighted and emphasis was placed on the importance of unimpeded and secure access of UNHCR to persons of concern, whether during flight, asylum, repatriation, internal displacement or other situations of vulnerability. The note also highlighted the importance for refugees and asylum-seekers to conform to the laws and regulations of the host country and refrain from actions that would undermine local security. Serious problems can result when refugees and asylum-seekers breach national laws or fail to respect national security concerns.

11.     The protection of refugees is linked to the search for and the attainment of durable solutions to the refugee problem. In this connection, the Executive Committee, at its forty-eighth session, adopted "Repatriation challenges" as its annual theme. The adoption of this theme highlighted the challenges of repatriation operations that take place in volatile or unstable environments during and following conflict, as well as the challenges faced in reintegrating and rehabilitating refugees and in promoting reconciliation among parties to the conflict.

12.     Institution- and capacity-building in countries of origin continued to remain an important aspect of UNHCR activities. UNHCR does not have an exclusive mandate or monopoly of expertise in addressing the problems of prevention. Therefore, improved coordination with other humanitarian, human rights and development organizations has become an important facet of its operations.

B.   Protection activities

13.     While thousands of asylum-seekers have been admitted to and given refuge in many parts of the world, and durable solutions have been found for thousands of refugees, the protection mandate of UNHCR continued to be challenged on many fronts during the reporting period. For most of that period, UNHCR remained preoccupied with the protection of thousands of Rwandan and Burundi refugees in the Great Lakes region of Africa. Denial of access to refugees, military attacks on refugee sites, killing of refugees, refugee disappearances, refoulement and serious violations of human rights of refugees posed severe protection problems of unprecedented proportions. The lack of cooperation by States in abiding by the basic tenets of refugee protection, coupled with the ongoing conflict and violence that marked the region, as well as difficulties in obtaining access to refugees due to the terrain of the areas affected, severely challenged UNHCR protection responsibilities. This highlighted the importance of States accepting the responsibility of providing physical protection to those in their territory and of State support for the work of UNHCR.

14.     One way of securing the physical security of refugees in camps is to ensure that the humanitarian and civilian character of refugee camps is maintained. This means, inter alia, excluding from refugee camps those who engage in militant activities. The unwillingness or inability of the international community to separate those who deserved international protection from those who did not, to a large extent underpinned the serious protection problems posed in the Great Lakes region of Africa. A massive screening exercise was organized by UNHCR in order to determine the eligibility for or exclusion from international protection for those Rwandan refugees who might not be deserving of international protection. The application of the exclusion clauses traditionally raises complex, practical and difficult legal questions, not least in the context of very unsettled and ambiguous circumstances surrounding continuous displacement in the Great Lakes region of Africa. In this connection, UNHCR issued general guidelines on the application of the exclusion clauses, as well as guidelines on the exclusion of Rwandan asylum-seekers, and also analysed some of the major legal issues in a note on the exclusion clauses, presented to the Standing Committee of the Executive Committee at its meeting in June 1997.

15.     The principle of ensuring the safety of refugees during their repatriation was also severely challenged during the reporting period. The successful repatriation of Liberian, Malian, Togolese, Guatemalan and Tajik refugees, as well as improved possibilities for the repatriation of Sahrawi refugees from Algeria and Mauritania as a result of the peace negotiations, were gratifying developments. The pressure put on UNHCR to return Rwandan refugees under unresolved circumstances and to unsafe areas, however, placed UNHCR in a position in which it was extremely difficult for the Office to exercise its responsibilities. Following the refoulement of a group of Rwandan refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in September 1997, the High Commissioner announced that UNHCR would suspend its activities in relation to Rwandan refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and also partially suspend its rehabilitation activities in the country.

16.     While UNHCR welcomed ongoing asylum opportunities in many Western countries, the Office nevertheless remained concerned about the increasing trend towards restrictive asylum policies, including rejection of asylum-seekers at borders, interdiction at sea and the narrowing interpretation of the refugee definition. The threat to asylum on a global basis was the focus of the High Commissioner's statement to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights at its fifty-third session. In her statement, the High Commissioner focused on the institution of asylum, stressing that in many situations, providing asylum is the only way to save lives, while in others, it provides a "breathing space" to begin the search for durable solutions.

17.     During the period under review and as part of the work of the Executive Committee, UNHCR continued the series of informal consultations with a number of States on the subject of ensuring international protection to all who need it. The third and fourth series of informal consultations were held at Geneva: the third on 5 and 6 May 1997 and the fourth on 4 and 5 December 1997. The May meeting discussed issues relating to statelessness and the supervisory role of UNHCR, while the December meeting discussed issues relating to burden-sharing and detention of refugees and asylum-seekers. Further informal consultations have been planned for 1998. Thereafter, the Executive Committee would need to decide if the process should continue.

18.     The detention of refugees and asylum-seekers in a number of countries continued to be a matter of serious concern to UNHCR. In accordance with the UNHCR guidelines on detention, which state the position of UNHCR on this important issue, interventions were undertaken by the Office with various Governments on the subject of unjustified detention of refugees. It was decided at the fourth series of informal consultations with Governments (Geneva, December 1997), that UNHCR would update its guidelines on detention to take into account more recent legal developments in this field.

19.     UNHCR continued to play an active role in intergovernmental consultations aimed at harmonizing national laws and procedures, especially in Europe, and has sought to promote comprehensive regional approaches which combine the commitment to provide protection to those who require it with clear policies for immigration and development assistance, and appropriate information strategies. UNHCR monitored progress in this regard and commented on developments with respect to the proposed temporary protection regime within the European Union and intervened in the Union's decision to restrict European Union citizens' access to asylum. UNHCR also commented on various proposals at the international level which were aimed at controlling illegal migration and which had serious implications for asylum-seekers.

20.     The return of persons not in need of international protection remained a problematic issue for UNHCR, amidst disagreements between Governments as to the desirability of involving UNHCR in the return of such persons. It was acknowledged by a number of Governments that UNHCR involvement in return programmes could contribute positively to underpinning the institution of asylum against adverse consequences flowing from the non-return of rejected cases. In this regard, UNHCR prepared a conference room paper for consideration by the Standing Committee at its meeting in June 1997. The paper continued the examination of the issue undertaken the previous year, focusing on the legal basis for the return of individuals to their country of nationality and on the role of UNHCR as regards the return of rejected asylum-seekers. At the same time, there was increasing interest on the part of certain States to apply the cessation clauses more actively so that refugees who were no longer in need of international protection could be assisted to return to their countries of origin. In this context, UNHCR prepared a note on the cessation clauses, for the Standing Committee at its meeting in June 1997, which gave the UNHCR position on some legal issues relating to the application of the cessation clauses.

21.     As part of the United Nations system-wide search for post-conflict peace-building, UNHCR was actively engaged in monitoring the well-being of returnees in many countries of return, as well as projects which facilitate the reintegration of returnees. The experience of UNHCR has been that in order to ensure the sustainability of return, returnees must become part of a wider integration process, which should include national institution- and capacity-building, particularly in countries emerging from conflict. In this regard, in both Rwanda and Bosnia and Herzegovina for example, UNHCR expanded its special initiatives for women returnees and funded the reconstruction of destroyed houses and the rehabilitation of social infrastructure. Further, during the reporting period, UNHCR sought to strengthen its cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and with international financial institutions which could engage in the financing of the longer-term development programmes needed to facilitate the reintegration of returnees.

22.     In Central and Eastern Europe, the Office continued to pursue efforts to establish an active presence and undertook a variety of protection activities, including promoting accession to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, training and providing advice on refugee legislation and status determination procedures. UNHCR also gave advice on constitutional, refugee and citizenship provisions; advice on citizenship provisions was provided in order to, inter alia, avoid the creation of stateless persons. UNHCR also increased its collaboration with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe(OSCE), with the aim of ensuring that refugee issues were highlighted on its agenda.

23.     Following the 1995 Executive Committee conclusion on statelessness,1 UNHCR has been actively engaged in promoting accession to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness with Governments, as well as other activities related to nationality and statelessness issues. During the reporting period, UNHCR participated actively in drafting the 1997 European Convention on Nationality and provided technical and advisory services on nationality laws and their implementation to a number of States in Central and Eastern Europe. A number of training workshops for UNHCR staff and government officials on nationality issues were also held in various parts of the world where UNHCR is conducting operations. Spain acceded to the 1954 Convention during the period under review.

24.     UNHCR continued its role in meeting the protection and humanitarian needs of internally displaced persons in such places as the North Caucasus region and in Bosnia and Herzegovina. UNHCR also followed closely the progress made by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on internally displaced persons on the issue and, in this regard, participated actively in the expert consultations on the guiding principles on internal displacement, held in Vienna on 17 and 18 January 1998, which redrafted the "Guiding principles on internal displacement". UNHCR also updated internal guidelines on its role with regard to its involvement with internally displaced persons.

25.     In continuation of its efforts to address the protection problems of refugee women, UNHCR issued its policy on harmful traditional practices. In this policy, UNHCR stressed that its concern with harmful traditional practices was an integral part of its responsibility in respect to persons under its mandate. It stipulated that where harmful traditional practices violate the individual rights of refugees, intervention on the part of UNHCR would normally be required. Additionally, in order to raise awareness of the persecutory aspects of such practices and other gender-related claims, the documentation and findings following the Symposium on Gender-Based Persecution, organized by UNHCR in February 1996, were published in the autumn issue of the International Journal of Refugee Law. With regard to its efforts on behalf of refugee children, UNHCR took an active role in the Symposium on the Prevention of Recruitment of Children into the Armed Forces and Demobilization and Social Integration of Child Soldiers in Africa, held in South Africa from 23 to 30 April 1997 and the drafting of documentation resulting from the Symposium.

C.   Promotion

26.     Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania acceded to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol during the reporting period, bringing the number of States parties to one or both instruments to 136.

27.     UNHCR promotional activities sought to raise public awareness, strengthen knowledge and understanding of refugee issues, and foster the effective implementation of international legal standards on behalf of refugees, returnees and other persons of concern to UNHCR, including through their incorporation into national legislation and administrative procedures. During the reporting period, UNHCR increased its promotional efforts at the regional level. To that end, the Office participated in various seminars and conferences on refugee issues and organized refugee law and protection courses for government officials, implementing partners, academic institutions and non-governmental organizations in all regions of the world.

28.     UNHCR continued to monitor the work of the six treaty bodies, the Commission on Human Rights and its Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. UNHCR supported a study on forced displacements carried out by the Subcommission. For the first time, UNHCR participated in the eighteenth session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, held at United Nations Headquarters from 19 January to 2 February 1998.

29.     UNHCR attended the plenary meeting of the Asian-African Legal Consultative Committee (AALCC) in Tehran, during which a resolution was passed calling for an expert group meeting to be convened to study issues relating to refugees. The expert group meeting took place in Tehran in March 1998 and UNHCR is expected to play an active role in the ongoing process.

Chapter III Assistance activities

A.   Major trends in assistance

1.     General and Special Programmes

30.     The assistance activities of UNHCR are grouped under the two broad categories: General Programmes (including a Programme Reserve, the Voluntary Repatriation Fund and the Emergency Fund) and Special Programmes. To qualify for inclusion in the General Programmes category, activities have to be considered statutory. The term "statutory activities" describes activities relating to the protection and assistance of refugees and the pursuit of durable solutions for them. With regard to voluntary repatriation, activities in the country of asylum and related to actual return, and the discharge of UNHCR protection responsibilities after return, are also statutory activities. The Executive Committee recognized, at its forty-sixth session, in 1995 (A/AC.96/860, para. 22), that, for practical reasons, only those statutory activities that were sufficiently stabilized to allow predictable programming within the General Programme cycle should be included in General Programmes. Most important, the Executive Committee also recognized that the volume of stabilized, statutory activities included in General Programmes had to take account of the realistic prospects for their funding, as the approval of the level of General Programmes by the Executive Committee implicitly carried with it a commitment to their full funding.

31.     Activities undertaken under both programme categories are reviewed in a systematic manner by the Standing Committee, which meets four times a year, and by the Executive Committee at its annual plenary session. In these reviews, attention is given to the implementation of policy priorities established by the Executive Committee in the areas of refugee women, refugee children and adolescents, and the environment.

32.     Obligations entered into during 1997 under General Programmes amounted to $385,064,973. With regard to Special Programmes (which include programmes under funding appeals issued by the United Nations), obligations in 1997 reached $588,001,364. Some 29 per cent of the Special Programmes pertained to the UNHCR programme of humanitarian assistance in the former Yugoslavia and a further 36.5 per cent to operations in the Great Lakes region of Africa. Other important Special Programmes concerned repatriation programmes in East and West Africa and Afghanistan, and activities carried out in the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Thus, total voluntary fund obligations related to 1997 activities amounted to $973,066,337, with a total of $133,733,068 available at year-end (not including the Working Capital and Guarantee Fund) as carry over to meet initial programme expenditures in 1998. In addition, expenditures under the regular budget amounted to $21,114,600. Detailed information on expenditure levels for each country or area programme is given in table 1.

33.     The initial 1998 General Programmes target approved by the Executive Committee in October 1997 stands at $440 million, including $35.9 million as a Programme Reserve, $20 million for the Voluntary Repatriation Fund and $25 million for the Emergency Fund. Projections for 1998 under Special Programmes currently amount to $635.4 million, of which $159.2 million relate to the regional operation in the Great Lakes region of Africa and some $187 million to the former Yugoslavia.

2.     Types of assistance

(a)      Emergency preparedness, response and assistance

34.     The Emergency Preparedness and Response Section of UNHCR acts as the Office's focal point for both emergency preparedness and response. In responding to an emergency, the Section, which consists of some 10 staff members, is complemented by staff drawn from a regularly updated Emergency Roster of some 30 UNHCR staff members. In 1997 and during the first quarter of 1998, more than 50 Emergency Response Team (ERT) missions were dispatched to at least 11 different operations around the world. The African continent remained a major destination, with ERT missions to Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Congo, Kenya, Zambia, Ethiopia, Liberia and Sierra Leone. There were also deployments to Thailand, Cambodia and Turkmenistan in 1997.

35.     The internal UNHCR standby roster is complemented by external standby arrangements with the Norwegian and Danish Refugee Councils, United Nations Volunteers and Rädda Barnen. Specialist engineering staff are provided through an arrangement with the non-governmental organization Red R (Australia). Staff for rapid technical assistance in the health sector can be provided through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (United States of America). Similar agreements also exist with the Russian emergency logistics agency (EMERCOM) and the Swedish Rescue Services Association (SRSA).

36.     Emergency preparedness has been strengthened through an increased emphasis on contingency planning. During the reporting period, staff from the Emergency Preparedness and Response Section successfully facilitated collaborative contingency planning processes in Croatia, Eritrea, the Sudan and the United Republic of Tanzania.

37.     An important element of emergency preparedness has been emergency training. In 1997, Emergency Management Training Programme (EMTP) workshops were held in Georgia (for the Caucasus countries), Turkey (for the countries participating in the CASWAME process) and the United Republic of Tanzania (for countries of Eastern Africa). Additionally, a country specific EMTP was organized in Japan. These training workshops are designed for staff from Governments, other United Nations agencies, operational partners, and UNHCR. Another form of training, Workshops for Emergency Managers (WEM), focuses on members of the Emergency Response Team roster of UNHCR, who are on standby for deployment during a six-month period. These Workshops aim at establishing coordination mechanisms among the potential actors in an emergency situation and provide guidelines on planning techniques, building networks, preparing plans and establishing review mechanisms. Two such Workshops were held in 1997. The Workshop for the first quarter of 1998 will be organized, for the first time, in conjunction with the Swiss civil defence training centre at Gollion, near Lausanne. In 1997, an important new emergency training initiative took place with the organization of two Workshops for Emergency Managers at headquarters. These Workshops are premised on the recognition that refugee emergencies also require considerable mobilization of headquarters support for field operations.

38.     In 1997, total expenditure on emergency assistance amounted to $10.4 million, of which $4.7 million were under General Programmes and $5.7 million under Special Programmes (see table 1).

(b)      Care and maintenance

39.     The form of assistance referred to as care and maintenance follows the emergency phase of an operation. This assistance aims to cover the basic needs of a refugee population until a durable solution can be found. During 1997, more than a half of UNHCR General Programme expenditure was in the form of care and maintenance activities. This amounted to some $234.2 million, while the amount spent for care and maintenance assistance under Special Programmes was $241.3 million.

40.     The majority of the care and maintenance programmes were implemented in Africa. Very substantial programmes were carried out in Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, the Great Lakes region of Africa, Guinea and Kenya. Major care and maintenance programmes were also carried out during 1997 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Pakistan, the Russian Federation and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Elsewhere in the world, care and maintenance assistance continued to be provided in South-East Asia to the remaining Vietnamese populations, pending their repatriation or resettlement.

(c)      Voluntary repatriation

41.     The voluntary repatriation of refugees very often constitutes the preferred durable solution to refugee situations throughout the world. In recent years, UNHCR has somewhat redefined its role in countries of return owing to the recognition that its mandate to seek durable solutions to refugee problems requires additional efforts to stabilize the returning population before UNHCR can withdraw completely from the operation. In situations of this kind, UNHCR seeks to place its assistance activities in a developmental context and, as a result, continues its efforts to establish operational linkages with development agencies.

42.     In 1997, a Reintegration and Self Reliance Unit was established within the Programme and Technical Support Section of UNHCR. The Unit is also responsible for providing support and guidance to managers of reintegration programmes, thereby ensuring that successful practice from past operations is documented and shared with those who can benefit from it. The Unit is currently preparing an operational framework for UNHCR interventions in post-conflict situations, with particular emphasis on programme design. Another tool for promoting self-reliance among refugees who have returned and who are reintegrating back into their national societies is that of micro-finance schemes. In March 1998, a UNHCR manual on self-reliance, employment and microfinance was distributed to UNHCR staff in field offices. The experience of UNHCR with micro-finance schemes is recent, but has generally been successful. In 1997, projects of this kind were implemented in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Georgia, the Russian Federation, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslavia, Mexico and China.

43.     During 1997, UNHCR spent $282.7 million on voluntary repatriation, including assistance to returnees in countries of origin.

(d)      Local settlement

44.     Where Governments hosting refugee populations permit some degree of local integration into the national society, local settlement projects are established to promote the socio-economic self-reliance of the refugee group. Where these are successful, UNHCR is able to phase out its care and maintenance activities in the country. Local settlement projects face many obstacles however, and although they represent a durable solution to refugee problems, the volume of local settlement assistance is considerably smaller than that of care and maintenance. Such obstacles include difficulties in obtaining work permits, competition from the national population for scarce employment opportunities, lack of agricultural land and the generally weak economy of many refugee hosting countries. The largest local settlement projects in 1997 were implemented in Ethiopia, the Sudan, Uganda, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Mexico.

45.     In 1997, total expenditure on local settlement projects amounted to $119.1 million.

(e)      Resettlement

46.     In 1997, some 30,250 refugees were resettled under UNHCR auspices, including refugees accepted for resettlement, but who did not travel before the end of the year. Another 3,000 cases (representing 9,200 persons) were submitted and decisions were pending with resettlement countries. UNHCR figures do not include many other refugees and persons of concern to the Office admitted in third countries under specific resettlement and family reunification programmes. Several thousand Bosnian refugees, for example, were resettled from Croatia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Germany under direct processing arrangements.

47.     In May 1997, the High Commissioner issued a final appeal for the resettlement of Vietnamese refugees from Hong Kong, acknowledging the remarkable burden-sharing efforts of countries which had accepted some 143,000 refugees for resettlement since 1979. The situation of refugees elsewhere in Asia was routinely assessed with regard to protection and durable solution needs, which for a number of cases was met by resettlement in third countries.

48.     Almost half of the refugees resettled under UNHCR auspices were from the Middle East. In a concerted action undertaken by the principal resettlement countries, which began in October 1996, 5,000 Iraqi refugees were resettled from the Rafha camp in Saudi Arabia, bringing the total number resettled over five years to 24,264. UNHCR continues to identify refugees in need of resettlement on an individual case basis, principally for reasons of family reunification or special needs. Resettlement was a principal instrument for the protection of refugees in northern Iraq and remained an indispensable protection tool for refugees in Turkey.

49.     While voluntary repatriation to the former Yugoslavia in the context of the Dayton Agreement remains the preferred solution for most refugees, UNHCR sought resettlement opportunities for Bosnian and Croatian refugees in need of international protection according to specific criteria. In 1997, 34 per cent of all resettled refugees were African refugees, three quarters of whom were Somali refugees. Current trends reflect an increasingly diverse profile of African refugees benefiting from resettlement.

50.     The year 1997 was marked by a regular process of consultations among UNHCR, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Governments and NGOs. The informal Working Group on Resettlement was a forum for information exchange on a variety of management, thematic and regional issues. Attention was focused on enhancing resettlement operations in the field through training and dissemination of the Resettlement Handbook and on diversifying resettlement opportunities in new countries. The resettlement needs of women-at-risk and the broad challenge of promoting the integration of resettled refugees were two other themes addressed by the consultations.

51.     Resettlement countries fund costs involved in processing, travel, reception and settlement of refugees accepted for resettlement. Total UNHCR expenditure in 1997 on resettlement activities amounted to $3.5 million, including staff costs, training, and specific travel costs under the General Programme and initial expenditures under the newly created Trust Fund for Enhancing Resettlement Activities. This does not include the costs related to staff other than resettlement staff, who may nevertheless devote some or much of their time to working on resettlement matters.

B.   Programme themes and priorities

1.     Refugee women

52.     In 1997, UNHCR continued to implement activities in relation to the four areas of concern for UNHCR under the Beijing Platform for Action, namely women and armed conflict, violence against women, human rights of women and the girl child. As required by the Economic and Social Council in relevant recommendations, UNHCR has sought to integrate gender perspectives into all policies and programmes. Gender analysis training through People-oriented Planning continues. To date, a total of 1,794 Professional staff members and implementing partners have been trained in using gender analysis for programme planning. A process to institutionalize training was undertaken in 1997, with 36 staff members trained as trainers.

53.     To combat violence against women, especially sexual violence, UNHCR and its implementing partners have introduced and promoted a crisis prevention and intervention programme in several refugee situations, such as in Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania. This is in addition to the promotion of general strategies for the prevention of and responses to sexual violence against refugees. A unique holistic programme linking environmental issues, security, responses to rape, and training of police and the judiciary is being mounted again in the Dadaab camps of Kenya, following the floods that destroyed structures. This programme helped facilitate the protection of refugee women.

54.     In an effort to aid refugee women affected by armed conflict reconstruct their lives, UNHCR has encouraged special initiatives for refugee and returnee women under the Bosnian Women's Initiative (BWI) and the Rwanda Women's Initiative (RWI). Both BWI and RWI facilitate, encourage and support local and national governmental and non-governmental peace-building initiatives. They also enhance the integration and active participation of women in economic, social and cultural development processes through income-generating activities, education programmes, health care (including reproductive health care), shelter programmes, and management and leadership training. In addition, UNHCR supports inter-agency initiatives worldwide that increase the number of women participating in peace-building, conflict-resolution and reconstruction. In December 1997, UNHCR facilitated an inter-agency meeting in Addis Ababa which sought to document the best practices of women in peace-building.

55.     To promote the equal rights of refugee/returnee women, in particular those of widows and female-headed households, to inheritance and ownership of land upon return, UNHCR co-sponsored an inter-agency workshop on this issue in Rwanda in February 1998. In addition, women's rights awareness training has been implemented in Nepal, Guatemala, Mexico and Kenya in order to inform women of their rights to protection from domestic, sexual and other forms of violence. In Ankara, Turkey, UNHCR has assisted the Government to modify its asylum criteria to include women who refuse to marry pre-selected husbands, divorced women denied child custody and women who advocate women's liberation.

2.     Refugee children and adolescents

56.     UNHCR presented a progress report on activities in favour of minors to the Standing Committee at its 7th meeting (30 April and 1 May 1997). The report also described UNHCR follow-up to the United Nations study on the impact of armed conflict on children, the "Machel study". Child rights-based performance objectives have been established for all phases of UNHCR operations in complex emergencies. To implement these performance objectives and the Machel study's recommendations, the High Commissioner has issued a policy instruction to each country operation calling for the creation of a plan of action, focusing on five critical issues: sexual exploitation and violence; under-age military recruitment; education; unaccompanied minors; and adolescents. In addition, a trust fund has been set up to jump-start child rights and youth programmes in various operations, with the aim of strategically reorienting programming for children and adolescents. Four Senior Regional Policy Officer (Refugee Children) posts have been created for critical regions, to help field operations with needs assessments and programme innovation, and to coordinate policies and programming on a regional basis. UNHCR has also initiated "Action for the rights of Children", a training programme combined with pilot projects, to increase the capacity of UNHCR, governmental and non-governmental field staff to protect children and adolescents in refugee situations.

57.     In February 1997, UNHCR, in conjunction with the International Save the Children Alliance (ISCA), launched a worldwide evaluation of its programmes for minors. The results of this evaluation were presented to the Standing Committee at its ninth meeting, in September 1997. The study has helped identify ways to increase the timeliness, scope, consistency and effectiveness of UNHCR protection and assistance activities for minors. To ensure a comprehensive and integrated approach to addressing these concerns, the Senior Management Committee of UNHCR has called for the development of an integrated, multi-year plan of action, as well as a concerted effort to raise standards of protection and programming for children and adolescents in the context of the 1998–1999 programming processes.

58.     Other major global initiatives in 1997 and 1998 include projects to address the needs of adolescents; advance refugee populations' awareness of the rights of refugee minors; promote peace education among minors; contribute to the eradication of harmful traditional practices against girls; prevent under-age military recruitment through mass information campaigns; and address the needs of child and adolescent refugees and asylum-seekers in Europe who are separated from their families. The Executive Committee adopted a conclusion on refugee children and adolescents in October 1997,2 in which, inter alia, it made a number of recommendations to States, UNHCR and other concerned parties to enhance the protection of and assistance to minors.

3.     Environment

59.     The Environmental Guidelines, promulgated by UNHCR in June 1996, continue to be the principal policy framework for integrating sound environmental management practices into UNHCR activities. Environmental activities are increasingly being integrated into country operations plans and environmental considerations are being reflected in fund-raising appeals. Efforts are currently under way to develop environmental indicators, which will become a crucial part of planning, monitoring and evaluation of the environmental impact of refugees and returnees, and of efforts to mitigate those impacts.

60.     Throughout 1997, the project entitled "Towards sustainable environmental management practices in refugee affected areas" allowed UNHCR to identify environmental lessons learned from refugee operations. Those lessons are currently being translated into training modules, in order to enhance UNHCR staff and implementing partner capacities to manage operations in environmentally sound ways.

61.     Large, integrated environmental projects are being implemented in several countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. Model projects have been implemented to demonstrate the principles of the Environmental Guidelines in those countries, as well as in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, the Sudan and Zambia. These projects focus on such matters as environmental planning; geographical information system (GIS) environmental databases; demarcation of nature reserves and other protected areas; selective guided firewood harvesting; promotion of energy-efficient cooking practices and cooking devices; firewood and stove provision in exchange for environmentally sound work; environmental education and awareness raising; erosion control; protection of areas to allow for natural regeneration; tree planting; agro-forestry and home gardening; and environmental health.

62.     An Environmental Partnership Workshop in October 1997 brought together UNHCR, implementing partners, United Nations agencies and donors to share experiences in environmental management.

4.     Refugee/returnee aid and development

63.     In the early 1980s, the Executive Committee began to look at the question of ensuring better linkages between refugee aid and development assistance. This initiative met with only limited success. More recently, the Executive Committee has focused on the related issue of addressing the social and economic impact of large-scale refugee influxes on host developing countries. With the assistance of development and financial institutions, and of a number of affected asylum countries, UNHCR is looking at the nature and scope of such impacts and, bearing in mind respective mandates, ways in which they may be addressed. The 1996 evaluations of the large refugee aid and development programmes in Pakistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran are relevant to this examination. The substantial infrastructural and environmental rehabilitation programmes undertaken by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UNHCR in the United Republic of Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1994 are also relevant. The international community needs to recognize its obligation to support refugee hosting countries through rehabilitation programmes which offset environmental degradation and infrastructural damage that can be attributed to the presence of refugees, thus contributing towards efforts to ensure that government policies continue to be open towards refugees.

64.     Establishing linkages between returnee aid and development initiatives has been more promising. This has motivated UNHCR efforts towards establishing operational linkages with development agencies such as UNDP, with whom a memorandum of understanding was signed in April 1997, and international financial institutions, such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Islamic Development Bank, the African Development Bank and the Asian Development Bank, with all of whom consultations have been intensified during the past year. Some recent examples of linking returnee aid to development strategies are the creation of the Joint UNDP/UNHCR Reintegration Programming Unit (JRPU) in Rwanda, the inter-agency cooperation efforts undertaken in Liberia, culminating in the signing of a memorandum of understanding with UNDP, and the ongoing consultations with the World Bank regarding its involvement through the Emergency Recovery and Reintegration Programme.

65.     In order to rationalize its interventions in repatriation and reintegration operations, and its approach towards inter-agency cooperation, UNHCR is preparing operational guidelines to complement the policy paper on reintegration in the transition phase from war to peace, which was issued by UNHCR in 1997 and will be presented to the Standing Committee in April 1998.

C.   Programme management and implementation

1.     General

66.     UNHCR carries out a review of all programmes in the middle of each year and makes adjustments to projects where necessary. In 1997, this review was particularly rigorous owing to a significant funding shortfall (see chap. IV) in General Programmes and in some Special Programmes. As a result of the review, reductions were made to ongoing operational projects in all regions. While some of these reductions were a result of implementation problems and exchange-rate variations and had only a minimal impact, others resulted in the cancellation or postponement of important activities.

67.     Currently, UNHCR is working with more than 600 implementing partners to carry out its mandated responsibilities. The quality of service which UNHCR provides to refugees depends to a large extent on the effectiveness of the implementation arrangements chosen for each operation. A review of implementing arrangements and the selection procedures used by UNHCR to identify appropriate partners was undertaken in 1997. The review recommended ways of raising the awareness of managers in field locations of the importance of implementation arrangements, and suggested improvements to the selection methods and criteria. In this regard, a database of NGO implementing partners is being established at UNHCR headquarters to provide information to managers on agencies that have worked with UNHCR in recent years.

68.     UNHCR spends a considerable amount of money each year on the international procurement of relief items. The means by which procurement is undertaken has been the subject of numerous audit comments. UNHCR has developed several tools to improve the procedures in recent years, including the maintenance of emergency stocks in regional warehouses and long-term agreements with suppliers for frequently purchased items. In 1997, UNHCR also improved its internal procedures for receiving and processing procurement plans from field offices. As a result, considerably more advance information is available to UNHCR when undertaking international procurement, particularly for the larger assistance programmes.

2.     Evaluation

69.     The reporting period has primarily been a time of consolidation for the Inspection and Evaluation Service. Procedures and methods were finalized, tested, improved and integrated with oversight work. Furthermore, a number of initiatives resulting from the internal change management process of UNHCR have been responded to by the Service. These have included the further development of a strategy for inspection and evaluation, the introduction of a new structure for the Service, the strengthening of the monitoring of implementation of inspection and evaluation recommendations, the improvement of the overall evaluation capacity in UNHCR and the establishment of an Oversight Committee in the Office.

70.     A major achievement in consolidating the inspection function has been the finalization of the Service's computerized database project. Now that it is operational, the database allows for comprehensive periodic analyses of compliance with inspection recommendations. Several such analyses were prepared during the past few months and presented to the High Commissioner and senior management. Follow-up mechanisms for evaluation reports have also been reassessed and will make use of the database. Despite the broader and often longer-term nature of evaluation recommendations, it is expected that computerization will allow easier access and monitoring of conclusions. In addition, the introduction of synthesis evaluation reports which are to be distributed to members of the UNHCR governing body, will also strengthen the impact of the function.

71.     During the period under review, inspection missions have been undertaken in some 15 countries in Central America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Particular emphasis has been put on managerial effectiveness, including accountability, cost effectiveness and monitoring. In this respect, the addition of a staff member specialized in finance and administration has reinforced the Service's capacity. In 1998, missions will continue to be dispatched regularly, including missions to critical areas such as the Great Lakes region of Africa and the former Yugoslavia.

72.     The evaluation workload has remained heavy during the past year. A number of thematic evaluations were completed. These include a review of UNHCR implementing arrangements, a review of UNHCR refugee education activities, a review of UNHCR project staff arrangements, UNHCR assistance to older refugees and an evaluation of UNHCR efforts on behalf of children and adolescents, which was conducted in cooperation with ISCA. Several other reports are currently being finalized. The Service also participated in two joint evaluations with the World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). In addition, general evaluation guidelines were produced for UNHCR staff to encourage and facilitate field-based evaluation initiatives.

3. Change management

73.     UNHCR embarked upon its most recent large-scale internal change programme in 1995. The initiative, known as Project Delphi, was divided into three phases: conceptualization, planning and implementation. An implementation plan was issued in early 1997. By early 1998, more than half of the 100 actions listed in the plan had been implemented and many others, while still ongoing, had also achieved substantial progress.

74.     The Project Delphi umbrella proved to be a useful mechanism in providing a framework for the planning of change projects within UNHCR and for their initial implementation. As a result of steady progress in the implementation of the change initiatives, however, the project was phased out in early 1998, reflecting a need for a different approach, focusing on those projects which were critical to the overall success of the programme and on managing the remainder of the process.

75.     A Director for Change was appointed in September 1997 on a temporary basis and will continue during 1998 to direct efforts to implement change and ensure full coordination at all levels of the organization. During 1998, UNHCR will give priority to six project areas, namely, the development of a new Operations Management System (OMS), integrating protection with assistance in the delivery of the mandate of UNHCR; the design of a protection database and information system; the creation of a global supply chain; replacement of UNHCR corporate financial and personnel information systems, and the introduction of field systems in the areas of operations planning/management, finance and personnel; the delegation and decentralization of human resource authority and processes, the implementation of a career management system and a review of the essential components of human resource management; and a new financial management system and implementation of decentralized financial functions. In 1998, change management within UNHCR will focus on these six projects, and resources are being targeted to that end. The aim is to achieve maximum impact while making optimal use of the limited resources available.

D.   Regional developments in Africa

1.     Central, East and West Africa operations

(a)      Major refugee situations in the region

76.     The Liberian refugee situation, which, since 1989, has been the main focus of UNHCR attention in West Africa, changed dramatically in 1997 with the election of President Charles Taylor. While the agreement, signed at Cairo in December 1997 by most of the Somali factions, raised some hopes on the situation in Somalia, some 452,000 Somalis remain in exile. During the period under review, Sudanese refugees continued to arrive in neighbouring countries and currently some 250,000 reside mainly in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia. Hopes for the return of 380,000 Sierra Leonean refugees were shattered when, in May 1997, the democratically elected Government was overthrown. The repatriation of some 150,000 Malian refugees is near completion. There are still some 40,000 Mauritanian refugees in Senegal and Mali for whom durable solutions will continue to be sought until the end of 1998. No progress has been made during the period under review with regard to the repatriation of an estimated 320,000 Eritrean refugees residing in the Sudan. However, an agreement has been reached with the Government of Eritrea on the type of information needed by the Government on the caseload for reintegration programmes.

(b)      Major characteristics of programmes

(i)         Emergencies

77.     The unprecedented heavy rainfall that began towards the end of 1997 had a devastating effect in the Dadaab area of Kenya, where three large refugee camps are located. At present, these camps are hosting more than 125,000 refugees. This has forced WFP and UNHCR to airlift food and other relief supplies by air at an exceptionally high cost.

78.     Following the military coup, which took place in Sierra Leone on 25 May 1997 and the insecurity that has since prevailed, the humanitarian situation of Sierra Leonean citizens and some 14,000 Liberian refugees deteriorated. Over 100,000 Sierra Leoneans fled into neighbouring countries since the coup, mainly Guinea and Liberia.

(ii)        Care and maintenance

79.     During the period under review, care and maintenance has continued to feature prominently among UNHCR programmes in the region. Achieving self-sufficiency, in a context of economic and social constraints, was often difficult and resettlement has not proved to be the most appropriate solution. Local settlement is often costly and counter-productive in a context of a possible early return. Whenever conditions allowed, voluntary repatriation has been encouraged.

(iii)       Voluntary repatriation and reintegration

80.     In October 1997, following the successful holding of general elections in Liberia, UNHCR shifted from facilitating to promoting the return of Liberian refugees. Prior to this decision, UNHCR had facilitated the return of some 11,000 Liberian refugees. Organized repatriation was launched in December 1997. At the time of reporting, some 5,400 have returned home under the auspices of UNHCR. As a result of the information campaign that has taken place in the main countries of asylum, over 45,000 have registered for voluntary return. In 1998, UNHCR will focus on ensuring that some 450,000 Liberian refugees can exercise their right to return and, most important, remain in their homeland through monitoring activities and the implementation of reintegration programmes. Both activities will absorb a large share of the funds required for 1998.

81.     After several years of discussions and planning, a pilot project for the organized repatriation of Somali refugees from Ethiopia to the north-western part of Somalia was carried out between February and July 1997. A total of 10,123 refugees returned home. Since the resumption of convoys in December 1997, an additional 10,000 refugees have repatriated. UNHCR plans to repatriate 60,000 refugees in 1998. Repatriation to the rest of the country has been less successful. The decrease in the repatriation movements to Somalia can be attributed to an unsettled political situation and widespread inter-clan armed conflicts in many parts of the country during most of the period under review. In 1998, the main challenge for UNHCR will be to settle returnees in the safe zones which they are able to return to. At the time of reporting, a joint United Nations Appeal for Somalia, which aims at pulling together all the efforts of all agencies involved, is being launched.

82.     As a result of a tripartite meeting between UNHCR and the Governments of Ethiopia and the Sudan, held at Geneva in October 1997, a final cut-off date for Ethiopian repatriation by May 1998 was agreed to. At this date UNHCR will consider the situation of pre-1991 Ethiopian refugees as concluded. Those who may wish to remain as refugees in the Sudan will be individually interviewed.

83.     The repatriation of Malian refugees is near completion. More than 124,000 persons, mostly Tuaregs, have returned so far, while in the next few weeks a maximum of 10,800 are expected to return from the Niger and 3,200 from Algeria. In 1997, as will be the case in 1998, UNHCR endeavoured to consolidate the peace process by completing the repatriation of refugees, ensuring the reintegration of the returnees among the local communities and by encouraging the quick return of development agencies to the north of Mali. Among all activities undertaken by UNHCR in Mali, water supply is a priority. Furthermore, some 40 per cent of the 436 micro-projects financed by UNHCR concern women exclusively. In a situation similar to the one in Mali, some 4,000 refugees from the Niger are to return from Algeria by the end of April 1998.

84.     In Mauritania, the Special Programme for Quick Reinsertion has facilitated the reintegration of no less than 30,000 returnees who spontaneously returned from Senegal and Mali. Some 156 micro-projects have been implemented so far. An estimated 40,000 refugees, however, are still in neighbouring Senegal and Mali, for whom UNHCR will continue to actively search for durable solutions before withdrawing by the end of 1998, as planned.

85.     The quadripartite meeting held on 15 May 1997 and attended by the Governments of Togo, Ghana, Benin, as well as by UNHCR, reviewed the progress made in the repatriation of Togolese refugees since August 1995. The meeting decided on 31 June 1998 as the cut-off date for the operation. While the Togolese refugee situation is considered to be successfully completed, there are still some 5,000 refugees, mostly in Benin and Ghana, who did not opt to return.

(iv)       Local settlement

86.     Uganda is one of the few Governments that has recently generously allocated land for the local settlement of the refugees. Refugees, mainly Sudanese, are transferred from transit centres to settlements as land is made available and essential infrastructures are created. In 1997, UNHCR focused its activities in Uganda on local settlement activities, with a view to achieving self-sufficiency. This trend will be pursued in 1998.

2.     Great Lakes operations

87.     During the reporting period, UNHCR witnessed the continuous repatriation of thousands of refugees, many of whom had first dispersed in various locations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Their return by air and by land to Rwanda was more often an evacuation as a last- resort solution, rather than voluntary repatriation. Other refugees continued to resist returning to Rwanda and further dispersed throughout the Great Lakes region of Africa and some 10 other countries in Africa. Smaller numbers of Burundi refugees were found along with the Rwandan refugees. UNHCR was also called upon to provide international protection and care and maintenance to some 75,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who had started to arrive in the United Republic of Tanzania at the end of 1996. In addition, some 31,000 refugees from the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo remained in western Rwanda. As a result of the civil war in the Congo, some 40,000 refugees arrived in Kinshasa in June 1997, of whom approximately 15,000 were assisted in a refugee camp. Many others were accommodated by the population of Kinshasa. The Burundi refugees in the United Republic of Tanzania became the single largest group of refugees in the region. While 1997 witnessed the spontaneous repatriation of some 100,000 of these refugees to provinces of Burundi where peace had been restored, a similar number arrived in the United Republic of Tanzania from provinces where new outbreaks of fighting had occurred.

88.     The security situation in Burundi often prevented access to returnees for extended periods, as well as return movements organized by UNHCR. Nevertheless, in the course of the year the situation in most provinces improved to such an extent that UNHCR considered an increased number safe for return and that returns to these provinces, where UNHCR had free and unhindered access to returnees, could be facilitated. In addition to assisting returnees, UNHCR assisted communities where large numbers of returns had occurred or were expected. Emergency assistance was also given in some exceptional cases where new displacements had occurred as a result of violent actions by insurgents, as well as the military.

89.     Although security conditions in areas of the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo remained precarious, the situation in the country towards the end of the year improved enough to allow for the beginning of the return of those refugees who had fled to the United Republic of Tanzania and other neighbouring countries at the end of 1996. By the end of February 1998, over 20,000 refugees had returned. In addition, some 15,000 refugees returned spontaneously. Returns from other neighbouring countries also continued during the first few months of 1998.

90.     Repatriation to the Congo also became possible in December 1997, with the signing of a tripartite memorandum of understanding in the same month. By mid-March 1998, hundreds of refugees had returned in an organized manner and by their own means. The Kinkole refugee camp near Kinshasa was closed at the end of February 1998.

91.     The net result of these large-scale movements, new arrivals and repatriation movements at the end of 1996 and during 1997 is that the total number of refugees in camps has decreased enormously. With 450,000 refugees from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the programme in the United Republic of Tanzania remains the only large- scale refugee assistance programme in the region.

92.     The High Commissioner visited the region in February 1998, travelling to nine countries in three weeks. The mission provided an opportunity for Governments and the High Commissioner to hold discussions on a broad range of refugee- and humanitarian-related issues. On several occasions, the High Commissioner expressed her concern about the general erosion of respect for the humanitarian principles relating to the protection of refugees and the physical danger to which UNHCR, NGO (international and local), and other agency staff were exposed. The visit of the High Commissioner to the region enhanced confidence and dialogue between Governments and UNHCR. Following the High Commissioner's mission, it was agreed with leaders that a regional consultative meeting at the ministerial level would take place in Kampala, Uganda, to discuss practical issues related to refugee protection and the concerns of States, especially in the areas of security and rehabilitation.

93.     The search for the large residual group of Rwandan refugees and grave concern over their treatment by the military forces invading the eastern part of the former Zaire in early 1997, culminated in a mass air evacuation to Rwanda. From May to June 1997, over 70,000 people were returned to Rwanda. Many thousands of others continued their trek in search of safety, gathering in smaller groups in the Congo (15,000), Angola (2,000), the Central African Republic and several other countries. A group that had reached Gabon was subjected to refoulement to Rwanda. As a result of this, UNHCR decided that it would be necessary to determine the characteristics of these groups and their individual claims to refugee status. This screening, aimed at excluding those persons from refugee status who had been involved in the 1994 genocide, was carried out in the Central African Republic and Malawi, and organized for the residual group in Kisangani. The latter operation was cut short by the Government's refoulement of both the Rwandan and remaining Burundi refugees there. Screening will continue in 1998 and preparations are at present being put into place to begin these operations in Angola, Benin, Togo, Kenya and the Congo.

94.     UNHCR remains greatly concerned about the fate of the many thousands of Rwandan and Burundi refugees who had scattered in various westward directions in late 1996 and early 1997, and who have not been located since. Small numbers of refugees, most in dire need of protection and life-saving assistance, continued to return from dense forest areas throughout 1997 and the first few months of 1998. To assist these groups, particularly with voluntary repatriation, UNHCR will maintain or establish a presence in key locations throughout the country during the year.

95.     In the United Republic of Tanzania, UNHCR faced yet another challenge. In a situation similar to that experienced in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo prior to 1997, intimidation and political activities have been observed in the camps for Burundi refugees, though on a smaller scale. There were also reports of militant activity of armed groups outside the camps and a notable increase in armed banditry. In an attempt to avert conflict, the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania undertook a large-scale action to round up refugees and other foreigners living in towns and villages in the western part of the United Republic of Tanzania. While some of the persons concerned were returned forcibly to their home countries (Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo), over 30,000 refugees were relocated to refugee camps. As a result of protracted discussions, the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania has now engaged itself in addressing this problem in a different manner, with the assistance of UNHCR. Strengthened security measures have been put in place in and around the refugee camps, so as to ensure their civilian character and to discourage refugees from becoming involved in actions against their home country.

96.     UNHCR continued throughout 1997 with the rehabilitation of areas in the United Republic of Tanzania which had accommodated large numbers of refugees during the period from 1994 to 1996. These activities comprised assistance to community facilities such as schools, medical centres, water supply systems, repairs to key roads and measures to protect and restore the environment. UNHCR also assisted the local population in improving crop and livestock production, and promoted measures to enhance income-generation.

97.     The massive return of refugees to Rwanda required an immense effort on the part of the international community and UNHCR in particular, to assist the Government in receiving and reintegrating the more than 1.3 million citizens who returned in a matter of months. Urgent rehabilitation activities were carried out in their home communities, allowing for the returns to proceed in peaceful conditions. Very serious security incidents in the north-west of the country during 1997 and the first few months of 1998, however, often impeded access for UNHCR and NGO staff to returnees. As a result, some of the activities planned for 1997 had to be postponed. Many of these security incidents directly affected returnees and refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

98.     The primary purpose of the large rehabilitation programme of UNHCR in Rwanda was to maximize the protection of returnees, promote reconciliation, avoid new conflict, and thus ensure smooth and successful reintegration. In addition to its core protection activities, UNHCR implemented a comprehensive programme to assist returnees immediately upon their arrival, with the distribution of basic food and non-food items. UNHCR also developed activities at the community level, intended to restore the capacity of the central and regional administrations in various sectors, such as the judiciary. The construction of houses was considered a key activity which contributed towards avoiding conflicts between the recent returnees and those who had occupied their houses illegally after their departure in exile. UNHCR believes this objective has been largely achieved.

3.     Southern Africa operations

99.     UNHCR operations in Southern Africa are under the overall management of the Director for Southern African Operations (SAO). The Director is one of two UNHCR field-based Directors and is based in Pretoria. The Director has operational responsibility for two situations: the Angolan Repatriation Situation and the Southern African Situation, the latter of which includes urban refugees, protection, prevention and capacity-building activities, and emergency preparedness.

(a)      Angolan situation

100.    The objective of the Angolan operation is the repatriation and reintegration of 240,000 Angolan refugees in neighbouring countries in safety and dignity, and their reintegration in Angola. UNHCR is providing returnees with individual assistance (food aid, seeds, tools and domestic kits) and is strengthening the reception capacity of major areas of return by promoting accessibility, rehabilitating communal infrastructures and restoring basic social services.

101.    Due to the slow pace of the peace process in Angola in 1997, a number of planning assumptions made at the beginning of the year when expectations were high, including an early extension of the state administration in some major areas of return, could not be fulfilled. As a result, UNHCR, during a mid-year review, revised its estimated requirements for the year downward, from $38.2 million to $21 million. This was based on a smaller number of returnees, as well as the limited resources available owing to lack of donor support. UNHCR, in view of the political realities, did not embark on any active promotion of repatriation during 1997.

102.    In spite of the above uncertainties, some 53,000 Angolans, on average 4,000 per month, returned home in 1997. They repatriated spontaneously, organizing their own transport from Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since 1995, more than 130,000 Angolan refugees have spontaneously returned. In October 1997, the Government of Angola gave UNHCR permission to begin organized repatriation in areas where the State administration had been extended.

103.    In 1998, UNHCR will actively promote voluntary repatriation in all Angolan refugee camps. It will also continue the provision of individual assistance to returnees and the restoration of basic social services in major areas of return through quick impact projects (QIPs). The repatriation operation is planned for completion by mid-1999, with the great majority of refugees returning during the course of 1998. Due to severe funding shortfalls, emphasis will continue to be placed on spontaneous repatriation. Limited organized movements will be undertaken for specific vulnerable groups. In order to ensure the sustainability of returnee projects after the UNHCR phase-out, the Office will actively promote, in close cooperation with United Nations agencies and donors, an increased involvement of regional and local authorities in the running of health and education projects in returnee areas.

(b)      Southern African situation

104.    UNHCR objectives in Southern Africa are to provide durable solutions for urban refugees, to strengthen cooperation with Governments, regional and non-governmental organizations, and to engage in capacity-building activities. In the past several years, the Southern African region has moved away from a conflict-ridden refugee-producing area to a region of relative peace and stability. Most countries in the Southern African subregion are experiencing a steady increase in arrivals of urban refugees, many of whom have passed through several other countries. The majority of urban refugees in the region come from Angola. Other groups include refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Nigeria, Burundi and Rwanda. In South Africa alone, there are over 38,000 registered asylum-seekers from 52 different countries.

105.    UNHCR is enhancing the effectiveness of its regional approach by strengthening cooperation and coordination with the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). In July 1996, UNHCR and SADC signed a memorandum of understanding providing a broad framework for cooperation between the two organizations in various fields. The SADC Council of Ministers has formulated a Working Group of nine member States to spearhead the consultations. The Working Group will address the problem of refugees, returnees, displaced persons, and undocumented migration in Southern Africa. It is envisaged that this will be a joint SADC, UNHCR, IOM and International Labour Organization (ILO) initiative. The group is working on a declaration which should be adopted by the SADC Summit of Heads of State in September 1998.

E.   Regional developments in the Americas

106.    Steady progress has continued to be made in the past 12 months in achieving definitive solutions for Guatemalan refugees, the only large single remaining group of refugees in Latin America. In 1997, a further 3,573 Guatemalan refugees repatriated to Guatemala with UNHCR assistance, for the most part from Mexico, thus bringing the total number of returnees who have repatriated under UNHCR auspices since 1984 to approximately 38,000. Organized collective repatriation to Guatemala is drawing to a close with an expected 4,300 refugees returning principally from the State of Chiapas, Mexico, prior to June 1999, by which date the direct involvement of UNHCR with the organized repatriation and reintegration process will be phased out.

107.    During the reporting period, implementation of the migratory stabilization plan launched by the Mexican Government in August 1996 in respect of Guatemalan refugees who do not opt for voluntary repatriation continued at a regular pace. UNHCR support for the permanent settlement of Guatemalan refugees in Campeche and Quintana Roo has continued to focus on upgrading and transferring the basic infrastructure and services of the refugee settlements to the local administration, and on addressing the question of land titles. The full application of the migratory stabilization plan on behalf of Guatemalan refugees in the State of Chiapas is also under consideration by the Government. The UNHCR programme in Chiapas is increasingly geared towards self-sufficiency and integration with neighbouring Mexican communities through, for example, common social infrastructure. As at 1 January 1998, there were still a total of approximately 28,000 Guatemalan refugees in south-eastern Mexico.

108.    In Belize and Panama, UNHCR has pursued the consolidation of durable solutions through individual voluntary repatriation and permanent local settlement through obtention of permanent residence permits or citizenship. In Belize, the community-based QIPs programme initiated in late 1992 to facilitate the socio-economic integration of several thousand Central American refugees is being brought to an end in 1998, at which time UNHCR will also be terminating its country-based operation. In 1997, the programme consisted of 24 micro-projects in the water, infrastructure, education, health, crop production and income-generation sectors benefiting 4,810 refugees and their Belizean host communities.

109.    While developments in Central America and Mexico are a source of encouragement for UNHCR, continuing instability in other areas of Latin America and the Caribbean hold the potential to produce refugee flows. UNHCR is particularly concerned by the escalation of armed violence in Colombia and the forced displacement resulting from this complex situation. Following a mission to Colombia of the former Assistant High Commissioner in November 1997 and consultations with other United Nations agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), concerned Governments and representative institutions, the High Commissioner decided to respond favourably to a request from the Government of Colombia for a permanent UNHCR presence in Bogotá. The UNHCR Liaison Office, which is being established as an integral part of the Regional Office for Northern South America, based in Caracas, will focus on statutory activities related to Colombia as a country of asylum and as a country of origin, including the assessment of conditions of return.

110.    Many countries in Latin America have acceded to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol and most apply a broader refugee definition consistent with the 1984 Cartagena Declaration. In this regard, UNHCR has concentrated its efforts on promoting the enactment or amendment of national refugee legislation and securing the establishment of effective national institutions and procedures for refugee status determination. In March 1998, the Director of International Protection visited Argentina and Brazil as part of the UNHCR "reach out" initiative. In these countries, UNHCR is increasingly focusing on raising awareness of refugees and their plight, with particular emphasis on gender issues.

111.    Throughout the reporting period, UNHCR has continued to follow closely the implementation of the asylum-related provisions contained in the 1996 immigration legislation enacted by the United States of America, providing technical advice on international standards to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) with respect to the regulatory framework, policy guidelines and their practical application. In Canada, UNHCR was invited to provide comments on a report resulting from an independent review of Canada's Immigration Act and did so in March 1998. In the Caribbean region, UNHCR is reorienting its activities from the largely completed task of achieving durable solutions for the small residual Haitian and Cuban refugee caseloads.

112.    During 1997, UNHCR has continued to participate in the regional intergovernmental dialogue on migration issues commonly referred to as the "Puebla Process", the first session having been held at Puebla, Mexico, in 1996. The Governments of Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and the United States of America have participated in the Process. The Process consists of an annual Regional Conference on Migration, meetings of the Regional Consultative Group on Migration (a technical-level working group that meets every six months) and a series of seminars on specific topics. In February 1998, UNHCR participated in the Third Conference, in Ottawa. The primary role of UNHCR in the Puebla Process is to ensure that participating Governments take due account of the needs of persons seeking international protection when adopting measures to control irregular migration.

113.    Efforts to mainstream a gender perspective into all UNHCR operations and activities have resulted in the establishment of a regional gender issues team, which is made up of UNHCR representatives from all offices in the region. The team has developed a regional programme to address gender issues and has introduced a monthly reporting system and a quarterly newsletter. A regional "lessons learnt" database is currently under development. It will assemble the collective experience gained in projects targeting women refugees with a view to incorporating a gender perspective into the broader range of programmes and activities in the region. The UNHCR Regional Adviser for Refugee Women, based in Mexico, participated in the seventh session of the Regional Conference on the Integration of Women into the Economic and Social Development of Latin America and the Caribbean, organized by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in Chile, in November 1997. UNHCR provided the Conference with two documents, one on the protection of uprooted women in urban situations and the other on the access of returnee women to cooperatives. A Guatemalan refugee woman and a UNHCR consultant working in Guatemala City were invited to participate in the Inter-Regional Consultation on Women's Land and Property Rights under Situations of Conflict and Reconstruction, "Peace for Homes, Homes for Peace", sponsored by the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), UNDP, the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and UNHCR at Kigali, in February 1998.

F. Regional developments in Asia and the Pacific

1.     South Asia operations

114.    Some 9,400 Muslim residents of Rakhine State in Myanmar voluntarily repatriated from camps in Bangladesh during the first quarter of 1997, bringing the total number of persons returning from camps in Bangladesh under UNHCR auspices since 1994 to 230,000 returnees. Voluntary repatriation and alternative durable solutions for some 21,000 individuals remaining in two camps in Bangladesh were adversely affected by obstructive action taken by minority elements in the camps against repatriation. Following the restoration of order in one camp in March 1998, the resumption of voluntary repatriation movements is envisaged.

115.    In Myanmar, steady progress is being made with the programme of stabilization for the Muslim population in Rakhine State, including 230,000 returnees from Bangladesh. The implementation of activities in the agricultural, income-generation, education and health sectors is having a tangible impact on economically vulnerable communities. Progress is being made in the inter-agency working group on an integrated development plan for Rakhine State to establish a post-UNHCR longer term regional development plan.

116.    The escalation of armed conflict in Sri Lanka has not permitted a continuation of the voluntary repatriation of over 65,000 Sri Lankan refugees to their country from India. In 1997, the focus of the UNHCR programme in Sri Lanka was reoriented towards assisting in the reintegration of internally displaced persons with a view to stabilizing displaced populations, providing an alternative to refugee flight and encouraging the eventual return of refugees to the country. During 1997, some 20,000 newly displaced persons were provided shelter and relief assistance in UNHCR-assisted Open Relief Centres in Mannar District. Over 428,000 persons also benefited from 224 micro-projects which focused on water supply/sanitation, education and income-generating activities in six northern districts.

117.    In India, efforts to promote self-reliance among some 18,000 urban refugees, mainly from Afghanistan, continued during 1997 and the number of refugees receiving monthly subsistence support was reduced from 10,000 persons to some 2,200 persons. In addition to these refugees, India also provides shelter to some 65,000 Sri Lankans and 98,000 asylum-seekers from the Tibet region. In January 1998, some 63,000 Chakma refugees from the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh were repatriated to their country under an agreement between the Indian and Bangladesh authorities.

118.    There have been no significant developments regarding the situation of some 93,000 refugees from southern Bhutan accommodated in seven camps in eastern Nepal. Bilateral discussions are continuing and UNHCR stands ready to assist in the implementation of an agreement that might be reached between the Governments concerned.

2.     East Asia and Pacific operations

119.    Following the formal completion of the Comprehensive Plan of Action for Indo-Chinese Refugees in June 1996, UNHCR continued to support repatriation, resettlement, and self-reliance measures throughout 1997 aimed at achieving durable solutions for the relatively small post-Plan of Action residual caseload in the region. As of 1 March 1998, 1,963 Vietnamese refugees and non-refugees, mostly in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China, and some 1,340 Lao in Ban Napho camp in Thailand, remained of concern. A total of 755,857 Vietnamese refugees had been resettled in third countries since 1975, some 109,198 Vietnamese had repatriated to their country of origin since the inception of the Plan of Action in 1989 and some 27,658 Lao had returned to their country of origin since 1981.

120.    Under an agreement reached between the Governments of Thailand and the Lao People's Democratic Republic in March 1997, an individual case status review of the Ban Napho population is in progress. Repatriation counselling is being continued in view of indications that a significant percentage of individuals will not meet internationally recognized refugee criteria and will be expected to return to their country of origin. Returnee reintegration and monitoring assistance will be continued in Viet Nam and the Lao People's Democratic Republic through 1998.

121.    At the end of 1997, some 103,100 refugees from Myanmar were residing on the Thailand side of the border between Myanmar and Thailand, comprising 91,300 Karen and 11,800 Karenni. These populations continued to be assisted by the Thai Government and the Burmese Border Consortium, which is composed of five NGOs. UNHCR staff from Bangkok undertake frequent missions to the border areas in order to monitor the welfare of these populations. UNHCR has supported ongoing initiatives by the Thai authorities to relocate and consolidate camps which are vulnerable to cross-border incursions, or are difficult to access during the wet season.

122.    Following political violence in July 1997 in Phnom Penh, and subsequent military conflict in north-western Cambodia, over 60,000 Cambodians sought refuge in Thailand. UNHCR, in conjunction with the Government of Thailand provided emergency relief to the Cambodian refugees in three camps. During the period from October 1997 through March 1998, some 3,600 Cambodians returned voluntarily to peaceful areas within Cambodia with UNHCR assistance.

123.    UNHCR assistance for Indo-Chinese refugees in China remained focused on sustainable local settlement through a revolving credit mechanism aimed at the creation of employment opportunities for refugees. Following a sample survey of the Vietnamese refugee population, UNHCR continues to collaborate with the Governments concerned regarding a limited number of refugees who might wish to voluntarily repatriate unconditionally to their country of origin. The Chinese authorities have indicated their intention to offer nationality to those Vietnamese refugees who wish to remain in China, once the possibility of voluntary repatriation for those who would wish to return to Viet Nam has been established.

124.    The UNHCR-sponsored Expert Meeting on Regional Approaches to Refugees and Displaced Persons in Asia, which was co-hosted with the Government of Thailand in Bangkok, in July 1997, and convened in partnership with IOM, considered the multidimensional nature, causes and consequences of population movements. This process, referred to less formally as the "Asia Pacific Consultations", facilitated informal dialogue and the sharing of information among the 19 participating Governments. It is envisaged that the Consultations will continue to provide an important mechanism to facilitate open communication, understanding and cooperation among States on refugee and displacement issues, at a time when the economic crisis in the region has created higher levels of legal and illegal migration in several countries and is placing pressure on social cohesion and stability.

G.   Regional developments in Europe

125.    During 1997, a central feature of UNHCR efforts region-wide was the forging of closer links with European regional organizations with which it shares complementary interests. Closer partnership with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) produced a synergy which is expected to greatly assist in achieving common objectives in Central and Eastern Europe. Increased links with the Council of Europe have resulted in the launching of joint initiatives to promote development of appropriate NGO legislation in the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, active participation and support for an expert meeting on freedom of movement in the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States and joint efforts in a number of Central and Eastern European countries on citizenship issues.

1.     Western Europe operations

126.    Current figures indicate that in 1997, Western Europe witnessed a slight growth (10 per cent) in the number of asylum-seekers, reaching 270,000, compared with 245,000 in 1996. The highest relative increases were in Ireland, Greece and Italy, where the number of applicants more than doubled from 1996 to 1997. Other notable increases occurred in Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland and Switzerland. UNHCR hopes that the entry into force of the Amsterdam Treaty, signed on 2 October 1997, will facilitate the adoption of a coherent and comprehensive European asylum policy, based on common standards of protection which are consonant with internationally agreed standards. Throughout 1997, UNHCR maintained an ongoing dialogue with States in Western Europe on the important issues of asylum-seekers from Algeria and Iraq.

2. Central Europe operations

127.    UNHCR in Central Europe continues to assist Governments and NGOs closely associated with its offices in the region in institution- and capacity-building through training and the provision of limited assistance to Governments when they are unable to provide the necessary structures for status determination procedures or assistance to asylum-seekers. Efforts to influence the legislative process and help to establish fair and accessible refugee determination procedures continue.

128.    Lack of affordable housing remains the major obstacle to the integration of refugees in host communities of Central Europe. In this respect, the Czech Republic and Poland are notable exceptions. UNHCR will continue its efforts to encourage the European Union's PHARE (Poland-Hungary Aid for the Reconstruction of the Economy) programme and the Council of Europe's Social Development Fund to provide assistance for integration.

3.     Eastern Europe operations

129.    Over 1.3 million persons (internally displaced, refugees from the Commonwealth of Independent States, refugees from outside the Commonwealth of Independent States and asylum-seekers) are registered in the Russian Federation. It is estimated that an additional 2.8 million unregistered persons reside in the vast territory of the Russian Federation. Since 1992, some 30,000 refugees and asylum-seekers from outside the Commonwealth of Independent States have been registered by UNHCR, the majority of whom experience serious protection problems and harsh social and economic conditions.

130.    In 1997 in the North Caucasus region, UNHCR delivered assistance to over 90,000 internally displaced persons from Chechnya (Russian Federation) who reside in neighbouring Republics and regions. Cross-border assistance was provided to some 150,000 internally displaced in Chechnya itself. Over 35,000 internally displaced persons from Prigrodny district of North Ossetia are still residing in Ingushetia and have benefited from legal and individual assistance. In addition, there are 29,300 registered Georgian refugees in North Ossetia. UNHCR has organized a repatriation movement to move this caseload back to South Ossetia and Georgia.

131.    The single most important migration challenge facing Ukraine is the return to and reintegration in the Crimea of formerly deported peoples. Two hundred and forty-eight thousand seven hundred persons have returned to the Crimea so far and face serious social and economic hardships, as well as complex legal and political questions surrounding the issue of citizenship. To prevent a statelessness situation among the formerly deported peoples, UNHCR launched a Plan of Action to assist the Crimean Tatars and others to acquire Ukrainian citizenship, making the maximum use of the simplified procedures under the citizenship law. As of February 1998, following the implementation of the Plan of Action, 2,423 returnees out of a total of some 60,000 have received Ukrainian citizenship.

132.    The humanitarian efforts of UNHCR in Georgia are closely linked to the political process of conflict resolution shaped by the United Nations Security Council in its resolutions on Abkhazia and the OSCE-sponsored reconciliation process for South Ossetia. In all, the UNHCR humanitarian assistance programme in Georgia caters for some 300,000 refugees and internally displaced persons, with priority given to the most vulnerable cases.

133.    In support of the policy of integration of the Government of Armenia, UNHCR continued to provide shelter assistance and addressed basic poverty alleviation in the areas of education, income-generation and health care. The assistance aims at addressing the needs of some 150,000 of the most vulnerable.

134.    The humanitarian programme of UNHCR in Azerbaijan has moved towards a post-emergency phase, with a stronger emphasis on promotion of self-reliance and targeted assistance for 150,000 of the most vulnerable. A rehabilitation framework has been developed in cooperation with the World Bank and UNDP to prepare for return to the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.

4.     The CIS Conference

135.    The year 1997 was one of considerable effort by UNHCR to ensure that the implementation and follow-up process was firmly on track, in close cooperation with operational partners IOM and the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of OSCE. UNHCR operations in the Commonwealth of Independent States have been oriented, as far as resources allow, to follow the guidelines in the Programme of Action adopted by the CIS Conference, acting as a catalyst in areas not specific to the UNHCR mission or expertise in the region. Since the Conference, UNHCR has become increasingly involved in addressing issues of statelessness, citizenship, formerly deported peoples and involuntarily relocating persons.

136.    In the framework of the follow-up activities to the CIS Conference (May 1996), the first full Steering Group meeting (including NGO participants) was held in early July 1997 to review progress made in the implementation of the Programme of Action and to highlight main directions for the following year.

137.    UNHCR, together with OSCE/ODIHR, organized an expert group meeting on freedom of movement at Kiev, in December 1997, with the participation of government representatives and independent experts from all the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, some Western European countries and the Council of Europe. Potential changes were considered in current residence registration systems, which impact particularly negatively on asylum-seekers and refugees.

138.    UNHCR initiated a number of programmes in cooperation with other international organizations and NGOs to strengthen the capacities of local NGOs, facilitating NGO networking in the implementation and follow-up to the CIS Conference. In 1997, great progress was achieved in refining UNHCR approaches to NGO capacity-building in the region. An NGO Fund was established in 1997, providing small grants to local NGOs to improve their organizational management, undertake small-scale self-assistance programmes, and increase transfer of skills between international and local organizations. To facilitate exchanges and cooperation between international and local NGOs accredited to the Steering Group for the CIS Conference, five issue-specific NGO working groups were established in 1997 with the support of UNHCR. They are expected to play a pivotal role in consolidating NGO contributions in the follow-up to the Conference.

5.     Former Yugoslavia operations

139.    The year 1997 was the first year of the Peace Consolidation Period following the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement in December 1995. The UNHCR programme continued to focus on the promotion of durable solutions for refugees and displaced persons, particularly repatriation and return, while at the same time ensuring the phased reduction of care and maintenance assistance in the region.

140.    Of the 3 million persons uprooted by the conflict, some 815,740 refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina remained in asylum countries at the beginning of 1997, principally in the region and in other countries in Europe. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia alone hosted nearly a quarter of a million refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina and also provided asylum to some 300,000 refugees from Croatia. In addition, a small group of mandate refugees of other nationalities in Belgrade continued to receive support.

141.    The population of refugees and internally displaced persons remained high owing to continuing political, security and economic constraints. The number of refugees and displaced persons who returned home to Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1997 was 120,000 and 53,810 respectively, bringing the total number of returns during 1996 and 1997 close to half a million persons. Progress on repatriation and returns elsewhere in the region was slow. By the end of 1997, only 1,125 refugees had returned to Croatia from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Within Croatia, over 11,000 internally displaced persons had returned home. At the beginning of 1998, the number of refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina in need of durable solutions had decreased to some 602,000.

142.    Since the end of the conflict, UNHCR has concentrated on the implementation of Annex 7 of the Dayton Peace Agreement, whilst focusing on the regional problems of displacement. The main objective has been to seek a breakthrough on the voluntary return of minorities to their homes. Furthermore, returnees who wished to relocate to other areas have been assisted by UNHCR to do so. This goal led to the formulation of programmes which would facilitate and promote return by assisting both the beneficiaries and government, cantonal and municipal authorities. To this end, the concept of "Open Cities" was introduced in the first half of 1997, whereby municipalities which agreed to accept the return of minorities would be given encouragement and assistance by the international community. By the end of mid-March 1998, 10 Open Cities had been accepted by UNHCR in both the Federation and the Republika Srpska.

143.    In 1998, up to 1.2 million refugees and displaced persons will be eligible to benefit from UNHCR assistance programmes. In addition to the Open Cities programme, the Bosnian Women's Initiative (BWI) continues to expand and more than 142 BWI projects have been established to give women an opportunity to participate fully in the reconstruction efforts. In the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, attention is given to a local settlement programme in addition to the promotion of repatriation. In Croatia, in collaboration with the authorities and the United Nations Transitional Administration in Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (UNTAES), procedures were adopted to facilitate the two-way return of displaced persons to and from the Croatian Dunube region, pursuant to the Erdut Agreement. UNHCR also maintains its post-conflict objectives to build confidence between ethnic groups, assist government and local NGO partners to enhance their capacities, and to gradually scale down care and maintenance assistance in the region. The resettlement of refugees to third countries continues from the region, principally for cases of family reunification and protection. In 1997, the total number of persons resettled was 4,443.

144.    In March 1997, a Consultative Meeting on Planning for Repatriation to Bosnia and Herzegovina was followed by an Expanded Regional Meeting of Refugee Ministers and Commissioners of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Two major meetings of the Peace Implementation Council (PIC) were held in May and December 1997. Within the PIC framework, two meetings of the Humanitarian Issues Working Group, chaired by the High Commissioner, took place at Geneva in April and December 1997. These meetings have played a vital role in progress in the implementation of peace, as evidenced by the very positive results in the first quarter of 1998.

145.    Intensive planning to consolidate the efforts made towards reconciliation and recovery took place in the spring of 1998. In particular, it is hoped that 1998 will be the year of minority returns. UNHCR has planned the continuation of most of the initiatives described above and will intensify efforts to facilitate repatriation and return throughout the region. Responding to a call by the recent meeting of PIC, UNHCR has also begun consultations on a regional strategy for the repatriation of refugees.

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

1.     South-West Asia

146.    In South-West Asia, the continuing civil war in Afghanistan has prolonged the human tragedy which the Afghan population has endured for the past 17 years. Involuntary movements of displaced persons and new refugees, and the violations of basic human rights, especially those of women and girls, are two of the main preoccupations of UNHCR in the country.

147.    Despite the many negative factors which would normally discourage refugees from returning home, some 87,000 Afghan refugees repatriated voluntarily in 1997. The UNHCR programme, which targets reintegration assistance to groups of returnees in their areas of return, is producing encouraging results and generating interest among refugees. Organized group return will continue to receive particular emphasis in the UNHCR programme during 1998, which anticipates some 120,000 returnees. UNHCR remains concerned by the continued presence of 2.6 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran, whose return depends on a peaceful solution to the conflict in Afghanistan, as well as the restoration of stability and reconstruction in areas of return.

148.    In Tajikistan, the signing of the General Peace Agreement in June 1997 created a political framework for peace and national reconciliation. Subsequently, UNHCR was able to recommence the voluntary repatriation of Tajik refugees from northern Afghanistan in July 1997. By mid-November 1997, some 10,200 Tajiks had returned home safely and their repatriation from northern Afghanistan was completed. A joint UNHCR/IOM/ International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) operation to assist Tajik refugees in Turkmenistan repatriate voluntarily commenced in January 1998. This is the first organized voluntary repatriation to Tajikistan from a neighbouring State since the signing of the peace agreement. By the end of February 1998, 277 Tajiks had returned home in four movements. In the course of 1998, it is hoped that refugees will also return from other countries in Central Asia and the Commonwealth of Independent States.

149.    The number of Iraqi refugees returning from the Islamic Republic of Iran increased significantly in 1997 and prospects for further returns to the northern part of Iraq are promising.

2.     Western Sahara

150.    UNHCR hopes that the United Nations Settlement Plan for Western Sahara will result in a durable solution for the refugees who have lived in exile for over 22 years. The United Nations Settlement Plan of 1990 clearly defines the role of UNHCR, which is to repatriate refugees, together with their immediate family members, other Western Saharans and members of Frente Polisario entitled to vote in the Referendum. Under the UNHCR mandate, any residual caseload remaining in Tindouf would be jointly screened on an individual basis by UNHCR and the authorities of the country of asylum to identify appropriate solutions.

151.    The implementation of the UNHCR voluntary repatriation programme will be in accordance with the normal practices and principles of the Office and in keeping with the objectives of the Settlement Plan. Current planning foresees that the repatriation operation would begin by 2 August 1998 and be completed by 15 November 1998 to allow for the Referendum to take place by 7 December 1998. At least 15 weeks would be required for UNHCR to complete the repatriation of refugees both from Algeria and from Mauritania. The voluntary repatriation operation, however, can begin only when certain key activities of the United Nations Settlement Plan are completed. Confidence- building and the full cooperation of the parties concerned is required to ease the implementation of the plan.

3.     Middle East

152.    The general situation in the Middle East has been marked by continuing instability and complex humanitarian problems. In northern Iraq, the Atroush camp was closed in early 1997 and the Turkish refugees of Kurdish origin received alternative assistance in Ain Sufni (some 6,800 persons) and 19 other locations in northern Iraq. During 1997, some 1,000 persons repatriated from northern Iraq to Turkey. Continued interfactional fighting and incursions by the Turkish military into northern Iraq during the past year led to population movements inside and outside the region. In February 1998, the refugees at Ain Sufni spontaneously moved to the nearby Government of Iraq checkpoint at Shaikhan. The area is considered to be unsafe, because the surrounding territory is planted with landmines. UNHCR has arranged for the provision of temporary assistance to the refugees through the Iraqi Red Crescent Society.

4. Central Asia

153.    During 1997, UNHCR continued to progress with implementing its capacity-building and prevention objectives in all five Central Asian States, consistent with its regional strategy and the Programme of Action of the CIS Conference. Close coordination and collaboration have been established with the new Governments and with other agencies, such as IOM, ICRC and IFRC, on matters related to resolving and mitigating refugee migration and forced population movements, and the placing of these issues higher on national agendas. The five States have been active participants in the CASWAME consultations initiated by UNHCR. In February 1998, a subregional CASWAME meeting on Afghan refugees was held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, and the second round of CASWAME consultations took place in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, in early March 1998.

Chapter IV Financing of UNHCR assistance activities

154.    In 1997, the final budget of UNHCR (covering both General and Special Programmes) was just under $1.2 billion. Donors provided some $806 million, compared with total contributions of $970 million in 1996 (see table 2).

155.    As in the past, the funding of the 1997 General Programmes remained a top priority. These programmes are core activities for refugees and provide the High Commissioner with the essential flexibility needed to deal with emergencies and voluntary repatriation operations. Unfortunately, in 1997, the upward trend in the funding of General Programmes experienced up to 1996, did not continue. As at 31 December 1997, the Office had received $320 million towards General Programmes, compared with the previous year's figure of $351 million. A number of important donors to General Programmes were not able to maintain their past funding levels, particularly those contributing in a currency other than the United States dollar. In addition, secondary income, in the form of the previous year's carry-over, cancellation of the obligations of prior years, interest earnings and various transfers, also diminished, resulting in a carry-over of only $2.5 million into 1998. The High Commissioner is extremely concerned about the funding situation and has launched a major campaign with donors to redress these trends.

156.    In 1997, Special Programmes accounted for some 60 per cent of UNHCR operational activities. Appeals were launched, in conjunction with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, for operations in the former Yugoslavia, the Afghan repatriation programme, the emergency in the Great Lakes region of Africa and programmes in the Horn of Africa. UNHCR also issued appeals for Central America, the repatriations to Angola, Liberia, Myanmar and for a number of other operations. The lack of contributions and the timing of pledges for repatriations in Africa and operations in the former Yugoslavia were probably the Office's greatest challenges during 1997. These programmes were, at times, short of finances, which hampered operations in the field. During 1997, UNHCR raised some $486 million for special operations, repatriations and emergencies, in addition to the funds under General Programmes.

157.    For 1998, UNHCR faces projected budgetary requirements of some $1 billion. A 1998 General Programmes target of $440 million has been approved, which is, regrettably, the first reduction in a number of years of the General Programmes level. For Special Programmes, UNHCR requires some $635 million. Requirements for operations in the Great Lakes region of Africa and the former Yugoslavia, as well as repatriation operations in Africa and Asia, remain urgent priorities, as are programmes in the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Chapter V Coordination

A. Follow-up to United Nations reform

158.    In January 1997, the Standing Committee, at its sixth meeting, held a discussion on the inter-agency follow-up to Economic and Social Council resolution 1995/56, based on a conference room paper presented by the Department of Humanitarian Affairs. The inter-agency process outlined in this paper led to the submission to the Economic and Social Council of the report of the Secretary-General on the review of the capacity of the United Nations system for humanitarian assistance (E/1997/98). In terms of reform, however, emphasis was placed on the implementation of the recommendations contained in the report of the Secretary-General entitled "Renewing the United Nations: a programme for reform" (A/51/950).

159.    UNHCR is affected both by the new management tools proposed and implemented by the Secretary-General and by the key sectoral measures proposed in the humanitarian field. UNHCR is a member of two of the four executive committees set up by the Secretary-General, namely the Executive Committee on Humanitarian Affairs and the Executive Committee on Peace and Security. The relatively frequent meetings of both allow for improved coordination of United Nations initiatives, particularly where there is an interface between political/peacekeeping and humanitarian activities.

160.    On the implementation of reform in the humanitarian sector, UNHCR, along with the Department of Humanitarian Affairs, UNICEF, UNDP and WFP, was a member of a working group set up by the Executive Committee on Humanitarian Affairs. The working group was asked to examine how General Assembly resolution 46/182 could best be implemented, given the experience of the preceding five years. The recommendations of this group, including that of benefiting from senior-level secondments from Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) members, were for the main part accepted by the new Emergency Relief Coordinator, who took office in January 1998.

161.    Reform in the humanitarian sector should lead to a strengthened IASC. Within that context, UNHCR looks forward to the development of a clear system-wide policy on the three field coordination options for complex emergencies, namely, the combined roles of the Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator, the lead agency and the placing of the Humanitarian Coordinator within the administrative framework of one of the operational agencies.

162.    UNHCR agrees with the inclusion of the issue of internally displaced persons within the scope of the priorities established by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for 1998, as proposed by the Emergency Relief Coordinator. It is the view of UNHCR that progress should be made not only on the less contentious matters, such as a manual of best practices and the development of training modules, but also on the crucial aspect of decision-making and the division of labour and allocation of responsibilities in respect of internally displaced persons.

163.    The report of the Secretary-General on reform (A/51/950) raised the issue of governance for the coordination of humanitarian assistance. It recommended the establishment of a humanitarian affairs segment of the Economic and Social Council to serve as such a governance mechanism. It is hoped that this new segment will address cross-cutting and action-oriented issues and themes pertaining to such coordination, providing a forum for dialogue with and guidance from States.

B.   Cooperation between UNHCR, other members of the United Nations system and other organizations

164.    During the reporting period, UNHCR continued to maintain, consolidate and/or develop linkages with other members of the United Nations system, as well as with regional and bodies. In this respect, global or country-specific memoranda of understanding were updated (WFP and the World Health Organization (WHO)) or concluded. Joint consultations on new agreements, with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, for example, were pursued. Country-specific agreements were concluded in Eritrea (United Nations Population Fund), Liberia (UNDP), Rwanda (UNDP) and Uganda (UNICEF) in an effort to improve the delivery of assistance to refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons. In the case of Algeria, an agreement on common premises was signed with UNDP. Globally, memoranda of understanding with some of the major partners of UNHCR (UNDP, WFP and WHO) were updated, while new ones were signed with the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and IOM.

165.    UNHCR has also introduced the concept of a gender protocol as an addendum to numerous memoranda of understanding and as an integral part of future agreements, in order to ensure the mainstreaming of gender issues in the implementation of inter-agency collaboration at the policy and operational levels.

166.    UNHCR has specifically promoted the issue of staff security in the Administrative Committee on Coordination and its subsidiary machinery, as well as in the numerous inter-agency mechanisms established to implement the United Nations revitalization and reform process.

167.    In 1997, and the first quarter of 1998, over 70 staff members of other United Nations organizations and of intergovernmental bodies participated in UNHCR training courses, with particular emphasis on staff security awareness training. Other courses included People-oriented Planning for gender-sensitive programme planning; programme management; food and nutrition management; refugee law and protection, and returnee monitoring; negotiation and mediation skills; supplies and logistics; education for refugees; and environmental education.

C.   Relations with non-governmental organizations

168.    During 1997, UNHCR concluded 931 implementing agreements with 443 NGOs, covering operational activities with refugee and other populations of concern to UNHCR in 131 countries. The majority of projects were implemented by some 322 national NGOs.

169.    UNHCR continued to promote the UNHCR/NGO Partnership in Action (PARinAC) process, aimed at enhancing the cooperation and coordination of activities in favour of refugees, including through regular protection and other briefings, meetings on specific issues, and UNHCR/NGO consultations prior to Executive Committee sessions. These consultations were extended to two and a half days in 1997, and were attended by over 150 NGOs, including PARinAC NGO focal points and southern NGOs. In April 1997, the High Commissioner hosted a one-day meeting with major implementing and operational NGO partners.

170.    Two regional PARinAC meetings took place during the year, one in Jordan, covering the countries of North Africa and the Middle East, and the second in Brazil, covering the South American countries. UNHCR/NGO regional recommendations for joint action were drawn up for both areas.

171.    At its forty-seventh session, in October 1996, the Executive Committee initiated a process of informal consultations on NGO observer participation in the work of the Executive Committee and its Standing Committee. At the eighth meeting of the Standing Committee, in June 1997, it was decided that NGOs registered as observers at the plenary session of the Executive Committee would be allowed to participate as observers in meetings of the Standing Committee, following their written request to do so. The NGO Unit is working with NGO consortia and NGO PARinAC focal points to ensure that there is observer participation by regional and national NGOs from developing countries in those meetings.

172.    In the context of the review of the PARinAC process, and the determination of priority areas for action, a joint UNHCR/NGO working group was set up to draft an operational partnership agreement defining a common framework to meet operational needs, which, when finalized, will be signed by UNHCR and individual NGOs who wish to participate in such a partnership. In addition, UNHCR is reviewing its strategy on meeting the needs of national NGOs, as well as developing a new NGO database to consolidate information on NGOs that are either implementing partners or have a direct interest in refugee work.

173.    During 1997, over 5,000 NGO staff members worldwide benefited from UNHCR-sponsored training. While the majority of them undertook protection training, other training included emergency management, programme management, People-oriented Planning, food aid, registration, nutrition, logistics, security awareness, environmental awareness, resettlement and various other workshops.

Notes

1.       Official Records of the General Assembly, Fiftieth Session, Supplement No. 12A (A/50/12/Add.1), chap. III, sect. A.2.

2.       Ibid., Fifty-second Session, Supplement No. 12A (A/52/12/Add.1), chap. III. Sect. A.4.

Table 1 UNHCR expenditure in 1997, by operations bureau/country and type of assistance activity (All sources of funds; thousands of United States dollars)

Operations bureau/country or area

Type of assistance

 

 

Emergency assistance

Care and maintenance

Voluntary repatriationa

Local settlement

Resettlement

Administrative support

 

1. Central, East and West Africa

Benin

 

1 199.5

 

59.9

 

145.0

1 404.4

Central African Republic

 

2 628.7

233.5

171.2

 

52.1

3 085.5

Côte d'Ivoire

 

11 675.2

525.0

166.4

 

532.0

12 898.7

Democratic Republic of the Congo

 

3 802.9

 

1 928.7

 

587.2

6 318.9

Djibouti

 

2 478.3

270.9

 

 

305.5

3 054.7

Eritrea

 

777.1

1 482.5

 

 

233.4

2 493.0

Ethiopia

 

13 928.6

4 874.6

5 108.4

50.0

1 307.7

25 269.3

Ghana

 

1 430.9

820.8

296.9

 

219.0

2 767.6

Guinea

1 000.0

25 494.1

2 238.0

132.0

 

532.2

29 396.3

Kenya

1 500.0

18 228.5

3 699.0

727.7

564.4

2 526.1

27 245.7

Liberia

 

2 108.3

6 380.8

26.9

 

518.5

9 034.5

Mauritania

 

927.4

1 303.7

23.2

 

254.7

2 509.0

Senegal

 

1 291.5

412.1

1 189.5

 

642.2

3 535.3

Sierra Leone

 

969.9

3 210.1

32.4

 

88.9

4 301.3

Somalia

 

197.6

4 444.9

 

 

 

4 642.4

Sudan

 

3 648.3

1 681.2

6 053.4

54.1

1 116.9

12 553.8

Uganda

 

761.4

 

22 740.1

 

730.6

24 232.1

Other countries

 

2 876.0

14 551.0

2 371.0

18.0

887.2

20 703.2

Subtotal (1)

2 500.0

94 424.1

46 128.2

41 027.7

686.5

10 679.2

195 445.7

2. Great Lakes region

Burundi

 

250.0

15 550.3

11.4

 

590.6

16 402.3

Central African Republic

 

630.0

 

 

 

 

630.0

Democratic Republic of the Congo

1 476.6

7 000.0

41 001.7

500.0

 

437.9

50 416.1

Kenya

 

 

1 077.8

 

 

504.5

1 582.3

Rwanda

 

1 802.8

63 254.5

 

 

1 290.1

66 347.5

Uganda

 

1 096.0

343.7

 

 

 

1 439.7

United Republic of Tanzania

 

25 269.3

11 314.3

253.9

 

837.2

37 674.6

Other countries

54.4

27 706.3

802.7

 

 

 

28 563.4

Subtotal (2)

1 531.0

63 754.4

133 345.0

765.3

0.0

3 660.3

203 055.9

3. Southern Africa

Angola

 

 

14 403.0

119.6

 

1 035.3

15 557.9

Democratic Republic of the Congo

 

 

937.9

413.4

 

61.1

1 412.4

Malawi

 

1 314.5

 

340.0

 

53.2

1 707.7

Mozambique

 

951.3

6.1

 

 

83.8

1 041.2

Zambia

575.9

1 843.5

616.4

791.2

 

382.0

4 208.9

Zimbabwe

 

823.0

 

 

 

48.3

871.3

Other countries

 

4 451.3

116.8

812.9

 

712.6

6 093.5

Subtotal (3)

575.9

9 383.6

16 080.2

2 477.1

0.0

2 376.3

30 893.0

Total Africa (1–3)

4 606.9

167 562.1

195 553.3

44 270.0

686.5

16 715.8

429 394.6

4. Asia and the Pacific

Australia and New Zealand

 

950.2

 

 

 

196.7

1 146.9

Bangladesh

 

2 750.0

610.0

 

 

274.7

3 634.7

China

 

437.6

 

2 480.2

 

156.7

3 074.4

Hong Kong SARb

 

5 467.1

3 130.0

 

73.9

217.9

8 888.9

Nepal

 

5 560.8

 

376.5

 

298.8

6 236.1

Philippines

 

742.7

 

 

78.0

137.8

958.5

Thailand

 

4 319.7

1 426.7

 

220.0

506.9

6 473.3

Viet Nam

 

 

7 003.9

 

 

216.8

7 220.7

Other countries in Asia

 

6 279.9

16 020.2

427.2

0.0

1 803.2

24 530.5

Subtotal (4)

0.0

26 508.0

28 190.9

3 283.9

371.9

3 809.5

62 164.1

5. Europe

Armenia

 

30.0

 

3 832.1

 

270.8

4 132.9

Austria

 

572.3

 

1 140.8

 

90.4

1 803.5

Azerbaijan

 

 

 

4 675.4

 

329.6

5 005.0

Cyprus

 

9 236.3

 

 

 

95.6

9 331.9

France

 

 

 

2 168.8

 

84.0

2 252.8

Georgia

 

5 596.1

1 782.2

 

 

369.5

7 747.9

Germany

 

 

 

1 927.8

70.0

147.3

2 145.1

Greece

 

 

 

1 571.8

 

45.7

1 617.5

Hungary

 

1 556.2

 

 

 

25.3

1 581.5

Italy

 

147.1

 

2 117.9

 

330.7

2 595.7

Russian Federation

4 124.3

9 695.8

102.7

 

 

890.9

14 813.7

Spain

 

 

 

952.2

 

67.2

1 019.4

Turkey

 

3 951.3

110.0

 

443.9

480.3

4 985.5

United Kingdom

 

 

64.0

1 885.9

 

107.3

2 057.2

CIS countries

 

4 224.8

 

536.0

 

389.0

5 149.8

Northern and Baltic countries

 

1 649.8

 

1 072.8

 

127.6

2 850.2

Western countries

 

299.1

 

2 756.0

 

205.1

3 260.2

Other countries

 

2 775.6

 

2 410.9

 

156.1

5 342.6

Subtotal (5)

4 124.3

39 734.5

2 058.9

27 048.4

513.9

4 212.4

77 692.4

6. Former Yugoslavia

Austria

 

113.1

 

 

 

 

113.1

Belgium

 

132.7

 

 

 

 

132.7

Bosnia and Herzegovina

 

81 769.4

13 397.7

3 499.1

 

2 415.3

101 081.5

Croatia

 

25 831.1

 

 

32.5

1 510.5

27 374.1

Germany

 

340.1

 

 

 

 

340.1

Slovenia

 

1 979.8

 

 

 

100.6

2 080.4

Sweden

 

118.1

 

 

 

 

118.1

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonian

 

1 491.6

 

 

 

32.9

1 524.5

Yugoslavia, Federal Republic of

 

42 668.4

 

 

190.0

744.9

43 603.3

Subtotal (6)

0.0

154 444.4

13 397.7

3 499.1

222.5

4 804.2

176 367.8

Total Europe (5–6)

4 124.3

194 178.9

15 456.7

30 547.5

736.4

9 016.6

254 060.2

7. The Americas

Canada

 

 

 

906.9

 

53.7

960.6

Guatemala

 

 

6 445.6

222.0

 

615.6

7 283.2

Mexico

 

2 755.2

978.1

6 490.5

 

548.3

10 772.1

United States of America

 

 

 

3 902.1

 

396.4

4 298.5

Central American countries

 

 

166.0

2 913.8

 

370.0

3 449.8

Northern South American countries

 

1 933.6

32.8

424.6

 

266.5

2 657.5

Southern South American countries

 

2 100.1

415.9

2 479.0

 

391.8

5 386.8

Subtotal (7)

0.0

6 788.9

8 038.4

17 338.8

0.0

2 642.3

34 808.5

8. Central Asia, South-West Asia, North Africa and the Middle Ast

Afghanistan

 

 

11 249.0

220.0

 

212.1

11 681.1

Algeria

 

5 073.0

520.0

 

 

23.1

5 616.1

Central Asian Republics

 

4 374.2

670.0

3.7

 

444.7

5 492.6

Egypt

 

3 793.1

 

92.7

20.0

284.0

4 189.8

Iran (Islamic Republic of)

 

2 248.7

3 205.5

11 538.2

 

687.0

17 679.5

Iraq

 

3 681.2

988.9

 

178.3

350.0

5 198.4

Pakistan

 

11 319.6

2 998.4

 

 

860.5

15 178.5

Yemen

 

2 257.1

421.8

 

 

69.5

2 748.4

Other countries in North Africa

 

1 992.8

615.0

 

 

70.5

2 678.3

Other countries in Western Asia

 

7 140.4

69.0

 

54.1

451.8

7 715.3

Subtotal (8)

0.0

41 880.1

20 737.6

11 854.7

252.4

3 453.2

78 178.0

9. Other programmes and headquarters

Global and regional projects

1 653.5

38 612.9

14 617.4

11 817.1

1 465.5

46 294.4

114 460.9

Total (1–9)

10 384.7

475 530.9

282 594.2

119 112.0

3 512.7

81 931.8

973 066.3

Of which:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

General Programmes

4 729.4

234 202.1

17 417.1

91 967.6

3 015.3

33 733.4

385 064.9

Special Programmes

5 655.3

241 328.8

265 177.1

27 144.4

497.4

48 198.4c

588 001.4

United Nations regular budget

 

 

 

 

 

22 114.6

22 114.6

a Including assistance to returnees in countries of origin.

b On 1 July 1997, Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China.

c Including expenditure for the Fund for International Field Staff Housing and basic amenities. Table 2. Contributions to

Table 2 UNHCR assistance programmes, as at 31 March 1998 (United States dollars)

1997

 

 

General Programmes

Special Programmes

Total, 1997

Donor, 1998

General Programmes

Special Programmes

 

A. Governments

50000

 

50000

Algeria

50000

50000

 

20000

 

20000

Argentina

 

 

 

10714286

2769180

13483466

Australia

9194631

9060403

134228

374719

533240

907959

Austria

497319

393701

103618

2117682

2855528

4973210

Belgium

2493225

2493225

 

5000

 

5000

Benin

 

 

 

5000

 

5000

Bermuda

 

 

 

8646567

8953432

17599999

Canada

176955

 

176955

20000

 

20000

Chile

 

 

 

250000

 

250000

China

250000

250000

 

 

14900

14900

Hong Kong SARa

 

 

 

19275

 

19275

Colombia

1674

1674

 

14457

 

14457

Costa Rica

 

 

 

6054

5000

11054

Cyprus

 

 

 

18030975

24135807

42166782

Denmark

18178393

17595308

583085

3000

 

3000

Djibouti

1000

1000

 

 

 

 

Egypt

5935

5935

 

7847005

5186160

13033165

Finland

 

 

 

4772716

4594917

9367633

France

 

 

 

5830039

13381860

19211899

Germany

10336509

5027933

5308576

5000

 

5000

Ghana

5000

5000

 

300000

 

300000

Greece

 

 

 

 

205000

205000

Holy See

 

 

 

40000

 

40000

Hungary

20000

20000

 

62788

 

62788

Iceland

66964

66964

 

5540

 

5540

India

 

 

 

4000

20000

24000

Indonesia

4000

4000

 

2085190

481862

2567052

Ireland

53571

 

53571

7395168

1930477

9325645

Italy

7649496

6741573

907923

29130000

97638609

126768609

Japan

5659682

 

5659682

200000

50165

250165

Kuwait

 

 

 

3000

 

3000

Lebanon

 

 

 

32895

7042

39937

Liechtenstein

34247

34247

 

114939

871855

986794

Luxembourg

 

 

 

101

 

101

Madagascar

 

 

 

20000

 

20000

Malaysia

 

 

 

100000

 

100000

Mexico

 

 

 

7042

 

7042

Monaco

 

 

 

15000

 

15000

Morocco

 

 

 

 

1000

1000

Namibia

 

 

 

26726415

17107569

43833984

Netherlands

24564851

23514851

1050000

1042383

519900

1562283

New Zealand

813092

807244

5848

23660420

14257400

37917820

Norway

23474605

22427440

1047165

500

 

500

Panama

 

 

 

5430

4000

9430

Philippines

 

 

 

107500

1050000

1157500

Portugal

225000

225000

 

1500000

69652

1569652

Republic of Korea

 

 

 

23973

 

23973

San Marino

 

 

 

110000

500000

610000

Saudi Arabia

 

 

 

 

159359

159359

South Africa

 

 

 

2024291

75498

2099789

Spain

 

 

 

4930

 

4930

Sri Lanka

5205

5205

 

34787442

15725752

50513194

Sweden

33484919

32911392

573527

8969742

9710200

18679942

Switzerland

9004430

8904110

100320

15000

10000

25000

Thailand

8211

8211

 

9163

 

9163

Tunisia

4505

4505

 

150000

 

150000

Turkey

150000

150000

 

8064516

10476608

18541124

United Kingdom

13360963

11666667

1694296

107646455

133541375

241187830

United States of America

120900000

90000000

30900000

 

 

 

Venezuela

1224

1224

 

313095598

366843347

679938945

Total

280675606

232376812

48298794

B. European Commission

4547500

112787694

117335194

Total

17140142

539957

16600185

C. Inter government a organizations

50000

50000

100000

Organization of African Unity

 

 

 

50000

50000

100000

Total

 

 

 

D. United Nations system

 

486387

486387

Total

 

 

 

E. NGOs and other donors

2836310

5945301

8781611

Total

834925

139107

695818

320529408

486112729

806642137

Grand total

298650673

233055876

65594797

a On 1 July 1997, Hong Kong be came a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China.

Table 3. RefugeesandothersofconcerntoUNHCR:populationsandmajorrecordedmovements,1997

Region and country of asylum /residence

Refugee population beginning of 1997

Recorded movements during 1997sat end of 1997

 

 

 

 

Spontaneous arrivals

Resettlement arrivals

Voluntary repatriation

Resettlement departures

Refugees

Asylum seekers

Internally displaced

Returnees

Othersofconcern

Totalofconcern

Eastern Africa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Burundi

1000

2100

-

3600

-

22000

200

586100

112200

-

720500

Djibouti

25100

200

-

200

100

23600

-

-

-

-

23600

Eritrea

2100

1800

-

-

-

2600

100

-

100

-

2800

Ethiopia

390500

-

-

111300

-

317600

-

-

-

-

317600

Kenya

223600

15200

-

3300

6900

232100

1100

-

-

-

233200

Malawi

1300

-

-

-

-

300

1300

-

-

-

1600

Mozambique

200

-

-

-

-

100

400

-

-

-

500

Rwanda

25300

300

-

5700

-

34200

-

21900

1541300

-

1597400

Somalia

700

-

-

-

-

600

-

-

211200

-

211800

Uganda

264300

2400

-

86300

-

188500

100

-

1300

-

189900

United Republic of Tanzania

498700

188700

-

110800

-

570400

-

-

-

-

570400

Zambia

131100

8600

-

29700

100

165100

800

-

-

-

165900

Zimbabwe

600

200

-

-

-

800

100

-

-

-

900

Eastern Africa total

1564500

219500

-

350900

7100

1557900

4100

608000

1866100

-

4036100

Middle Africa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Angola

9400

-

-

-

-

9400

-

-

113200

-

122600

Cameroon

46400

300

-

700

-

47100

3700

-

-

-

50800

Central African Republic

36600

5600

-

3700

-

38600

400

-

-

-

39000

Chad

100

100

-

-

-

300

-

-

4000

2500

6800

Congo

20500

700

-

1800

200

20600

400

-

-

-

21000

Democratic Republic of the Congo

676000

59100

-

242100

-

297500

-

-

-

-

297500

Gabon

800

-

-

2000

-

900

100

-

-

-

1000

Middle Africa total

789800

65800

-

250300

200

414400

4600

-

117200

2500

538700

Northern Africa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Algeria

190300

-

-

4200

-

171500

-

-

-

-

171500

Egypt

6000

400

-

-

300

6400

100

-

-

-

6500

Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

7700

2500

-

2100

-

8500

700

-

-

-

9200

Morocco

100

-

-

-

-

100

-

-

-

-

100

Sudan

393900

1000

-

7800

200

374400

-

-

-

-

374400

Tunisia

200

-

-

-

-

500

-

-

-

-

500

Northern Africa total

598200

3900

-

14100

500

561400

800

-

-

-

562200

Southern Africa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Botswana

200

100

-

-

-

300

100

-

-

-

400

Namibia

2200

300

-

200

200

2500

100

-

-

-

2600

South Africa

22600

1100

-

-

-

6500

21700

-

-

-

28200

Swaziland

600

-

-

-

-

600

100

-

-

-

700

Southern Africa total

25600

1500

-

200

200

9900

22000

-

-

-

31900

Western Africa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benin

6000

500

-

3600

100

2900

600

-

-

-

3500

Burkina Faso

28400

800

-

17100

100

1800

200

-

-

-

2000

Côted'Ivoire

327700

1100

-

600

400

208500

500

-

-

-

209000

Gambia

6900

4000

-

-

-

7300

-

-

-

-

7300

Ghana

35600

3500

-

9700

-

22900

-

-

-

-

22900

Guinea

663900

63700

-

10000

100

435300

-

-

-

-

435300

Guinea-Bissau

15400

500

-

-

-

15900

-

-

-

-

15900

Liberia

120100

10000

-

1800

-

126900

-

-

13000

-

139900

Mali

18200

-

-

5700

-

12600

500

-

123600

-

136700

Mauritania

15900

-

-

13800

-

-

-

-

16600

-

16600

Niger

25800

-

-

9700

-

15100

100

-

400

-

15600

Nigeria

8500

1000

-

400

-

9000

-

-

-

-

9000

Senegal

65000

200

-

5000

200

57200

100

-

-

-

57300

Sierra Leone

13500

-

-

500

-

13000

-

655000

2200

-

670200

Togo

12600

100

-

-

-

12700

100

-

83400

-

96200

Western Africa total

1363500

85400

-

77900

900

941100

2100

655000

239200

-

1837400

Africa total

4341600

376100

-

693400

8900

3484700

33600

1263000

2222500

2500

7006300

Eastern Asia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

China

290100

-

-

300

-

289800

-

-

-

-

289800

Hong Kong SARa

6900

300

-

-

500

1200

-

-

-

600

1800

Japanb

-

-

-

-

-

2100

300

-

-

-

2400

Republic of Korea

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Eastern Asiatotal

297000

300

-

300

500

293100

300

-

-

600

294000

South-central Asia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Afghanistan

18800

-

-

10300

-

-

-

296800

221800

-

518600

Bangladesh

30700

-

-

10100

-

21600

-

-

16500

-

38100

India

233400

5000

-

16700

500

223100

-

-

-

-

223100

Iran(Islamic Republic of)

2030400

-

-

7900

-

1982600

-

-

-

-

1982600

Kazakhstan

15600

300

-

100

-

15600

1000

-

10000

-

26600

Kyrgyzstan

16700

1000

-

-

-

15300

700

-

-

-

16000

Nepal

126800

2200

-

-

-

129200

-

-

-

-

129200

Pakistan

1202700

13200

-

84500

500

1202700

-

-

-

-

1202700

SriLanka

-

-

-

-

-

-

100

23200

-

-

23300

Tajikistan

1200

1000

-

-

-

2200

1800

-

12000

-

16000

Turkmenistan

15600

2300

-

2000

-

15800

-

-

-

-

15800

Uzbekistan

2900

300

-

-

-

3200

-

-

-

-

3200

South-central Asiatotal

3694800

25300

-

131600

1000

3611300

3600

320000

260300

-

4195200

South-eastern Asia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cambodia

-

-

-

-

-

-

400

-

76400

-

76800

Indonesia

100

-

-

400

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Lao People's Democratic Republic

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

27700

-

27700

Malaysia

200

100

-

-

-

5300

-

-

-

-

5300

Myanmar

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

229400

-

229400

Philippines

2300

-

-

-

-

300

-

-

-

-

300

Singapore

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Thailand

108000

104600

-

3500

900

169200

700

-

-

200

170100

Viet Nam

34400

-

-

-

-

15000

-

-

33900

-

48900

South-eastern Asiatotal

145000

104700

-

3900

900

189800

1100

-

367400

200

558500

Western Asia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Armenia

219000

-

-

-

-

219000

-

72000

-

-

291000

Azerbaijan

233000

-

-

-

-

233700

200

551100

69100

-

854100

Cyprus

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

265000

-

-

265000

Georgia

100

-

-

-

-

200

-

273400

-

-

273600

Iraq

113000

-

-

1000

1600

109000

2700

-

125700

-

237400

Jordan

900

1000

-

-

1100

700

3100

-

-

-

3800

Kuwait

3800

1100

-

-

-

3800

100

-

-

138300

142200

Lebanon

2400

900

-

-

100

3100

1000

-

-

-

4100

Saudi Arabia

9900

-

-

-

4300

5800

-

-

-

-

5800

Syrian Arab Republic

27800

1900

-

-

500

22700

600

-

-

-

23300

Turkey

8200

1500

-

600

1600

2400

2200

-

1200

-

5800

United Arab Emirates

500

100

-

-

-

500

100

-

-

-

600

Yemen

53500

4200

-

400

-

38500

600

-

-

60000

99100

Western Asiatotal

672100

10700

-

2000

9200

639400

10600

1161500

196000

198300

2205800

Asiatotal

4808900

141000

-

137800

11600

4733600

15600

1481500

823700

199100

7253500

Eastern Europe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Belarus

30500

100

-

-

-

100

33600

-

-

-

33700

Bulgaria

1400

100

-

-

-

400

1400

-

-

-

1800

Czech Republic

2300

300

-

200

-

1700

600

-

-

3300

5600

Hungary

7500

200

-

1200

300

5900

-

-

-

-

5900

Poland

600

100

-

-

-

800

1100

-

-

-

1900

Republic of Moldova

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

1300

-

-

1300

Romania

300

100

-

-

-

600

1300

-

-

-

1900

Russian Federation

205500

5800

-

-

-

237700

89900

-

26000

957000

1310600

Slovakia

1400

100

-

-

-

400

100

-

-

300

800

Ukraine

3600

1000

-

-

-

4600

300

-

-

35000

39900

Eastern Europetotal

253100

7800

-

1400

300

252200

128300

1300

26000

995600

1403400

Northern Europe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Denmarkb

53300

3900

-

-

-

56900

-

-

-

-

56900

Finlandb

10200

300

600

-

-

11700

-

-

-

-

11700

Iceland

200

-

-

-

-

300

-

-

-

-

300

Irelandb

100

300

-

-

-

400

3300

-

-

-

3700

Lithuania

-

-

-

-

-

-

300

-

-

-

300

Norwayb

57000

600

1300

500

-

57000

-

-

-

-

57000

Swedenb

191200

4700

1200

700

-

187000

-

-

-

-

187000

United Kingdomb

96900

8900

-

-

-

102700

64700

-

-

-

167400

Northern Europetotal

408900

18700

3100

1200

-

416000

68300

-

-

-

484300

Southern Europe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Albania

4900

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Bosniaand Herzegovina

-

-

-

-

-

40000

-

816000

431500

-

1287500

Croatia

165400

-

-

200

1900

68900

-

79400

-

-

148300

Greeceb

5800

200

-

-

-

6600

-

-

-

-

6600

Italyb

71600

400

-

-

-

5100

-

-

-

-

5100

Malta

400

-

-

-

-

300

-

-

-

-

300

Portugalb

200

-

-

-

-

300

-

-

-

-

300

Slovenia

10000

-

-

2800

300

5100

-

-

-

-

5100

Spainb

5700

400

-

-

-

s5600

-

-

-

-

5600

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

5100

-

-

400

-

3500

-

-

-

-

3500

Yugoslavia, Federal Republicof

563200

-

-

1000

12200

550100

-

500

-

-

550600

Southern Europetotal

832300

1000

-

4400

14400

685500

-

895900

431500

-

2012900

Western Europe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Austriab

29700

600

-

4000

-

20300

2500

-

-

-

22800

Belgiumb

36100

1800

-

-

-

10900

-

-

-

-

10900

Franceb

151300

5600

-

-

-

88200

-

-

-

-

88200

Germanyb

1266000

21000

-

95900

-

357000

34900

-

-

-

391900

Luxembourg

700

-

-

-

-

700

-

-

-

-

700

Netherlandsb

103400

17000

-

-

-

118700

-

-

-

-

118700

Switzerlandb

84400

5400

-

3900

-

82000

17600

-

-

-

99600

Western Europetotal

1671600

51400

-

103800

-

677800

55000

-

-

-

732800

Europetotal

3165900

78900

3100

110800

14700

2031500

251600

897200

457500

995600

4633400

Caribbean

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bahamas

-

-

-

-

-

100

-

-

-

-

100

Cuba

1700

-

-

-

100

1300

-

-

-

-

1300

Dominican Republic

600

-

-

-

-

600

-

-

-

-

600

Jamaica

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Caribbeantotal

2300

-

-

-

100

2000

-

-

-

-

2000

CentralAmerica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Belize

8500

-

-

100

-

8400

-

-

-

-

8400

Costa Rica

23200

200

-

-

-

23100

-

-

-

-

23100

ElSalvador

200

-

-

-

-

100

-

-

100

-

200

Guatemala

1600

-

-

100

-

1500

-

1700

17200

-

20400

Honduras

100

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Mexico

34600

100

-

3600

-

31900

-

-

-

-

31900

Nicaragua

600

-

-

-

-

500

-

-

-

-

500

Panama

900

-

-

-

-

600

-

-

-

-

600

Central America total

69700

300

-

3800

-

66100

-

1700

17300

-

85100

South America

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Argentina

10400

300

-

-

-

10500

200

-

-

-

10700

Bolivia

700

-

-

200

-

300

-

-

-

-

300

Brazil

2200

200

-

-

-

2300

100

-

-

-

2400

Chile

300

-

-

-

-

300

-

-

-

-

300

Colombia

200

-

-

-

-

200

-

-

-

-

200

Ecuador

200

-

-

-

-

200

-

-

-

-

200

Guyana

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Paraguay

100

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Peru

700

-

-

-

-

800

-

-

-

-

800

Suriname

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Uruguay

100

-

-

-

-

100

-

-

-

-

100

Venezuela

1600

-

-

-

-

300

-

-

-

-

300

South America total

16500

500

-

200

-

15000

300

-

-

-

15300

Latin Americaand Caribbean total

88500

800

-

4000

100

83100

300

1700

17300

-

102400

North America

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canadab

123200

10000

10100

-

-

121400

28400

-

-

-

149800

United States of Americab

596900

14400

70100

-

-

545200

578000

-

-

-

1123200

NorthAmericatotal

720100

24400

80200

-

-

666600

606400

-

-

-

1273000

Australia/ New Zealand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australiab

59000

1000

8000

-

-

60200

4600

-

-

-

64800

NewZealandb

3700

100

200

-

-

1900

2300

-

-

-

4200

Australia/New Zealand total

62700

1100

8200

-

-

62100

6900

-

-

-

69000

Melanesia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiji

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Papua New Guinea

10200

-

-

-

-

8200

-

-

-

-

8200

SolomonIs lands

2000

-

-

-

-

800

-

-

-

-

800

Melanesia total

12200

-

-

-

-

9000

-

-

-

-

9000

Oceania total

74900

1100

8200

-

-

71100

6900

-

-

-

78000

Grand total

13199900

622300

91500

946000

35300

11070600

914400

3643400

3521000

1197200

20346600

Sources:UNHCR,Refugees and Others of Concern to UNHCR:1996 Statistical Overview and 1997 Statistical Overview (Geneva).

Notes

Theses statistics are provisional, subject to change.

All figures are rounded to the nearest 100.

A dash(-)indicates that the value is zero,rounded to zero, not available or not applicable.

a) On 1 July 1997, Hong Kong be came a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China.

b)  Refugee population estimated by UNCHR mainly on the basis of recent refugee arrivals/recognitions.

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