Last Updated: Friday, 25 July 2014, 12:52 GMT

Assessment of Global Resettlement Needs for Refugees in 1995

Publisher UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Author United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); Resettlement Section
Publication Date 1 December 1994
Cite as UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Assessment of Global Resettlement Needs for Refugees in 1995, 1 December 1994, available at: [accessed 28 July 2014]


1.         This assessment of resettlement needs for the coming year, which is prepared annually, serves as a planning tool for UNHCR staff and is shared with governments and non-governmental organizations. Background information, by region and by country, on groups in need of resettlement has been collected from UNHCR Field Offices and priorities have been confirmed by the regional bureaux. Resettlement processing involves continual consultations amongst government, agency and UNHCR staff and this assessment is used as a basis for many of the discussions

2.         At the time of writing, the estimated number of resettlement places needed for refugees in 1995 totalled 31,900. In recent years this figure has been decreasing, despite the fact that the global refugee population has increased to 23,000,000. This trend reflects the emphasis being put on facilitating voluntary repatriation and local integration, rather than a lessening of those in need. The Women's Victim of Violence Project, which benefits a larger number of Somali refugee women in Kenya than could normally be resettled under women-at-risk programmes, is an excellent example of this trend.

3.         The table below, as was the case last year, shows the estimated decreasing resettlement needs. It should be remembered, however, that as far as assistance to refugees is concerned it is often "easier" to help ten thousand than one. In some instances, therefore, the cases still needing resettlement are those who have been rejected by more than one country or whose resettlement may have been delayed for over a year. The refugee situations, leading to a need for resettlement, that existed twelve months ago in Africa have not yet been resolved and thousands more have been displaced. The encouraging decrease in the caseload in South East Asia has continued, assisted by the closure of several hundred resettlement files of cases for whom acceptances were deemed to be unlikely. It is still difficult to predict the actual resettlement needs from the region of former Yugoslavia. Projected needs for Latin America are once again minimal, while the largest group in need remains that of the Iraqis in the Middle East.

4.         At the forty-second session of the Executive Committee, Conclusion 67 reaffirmed that resettlement is an instrument of protection. The process of resettlement is based on a careful refugee status determination procedure, which entails close cooperation between protection and resettlement officers. When emergency resettlement cases are processed, and thorough background information may be lacking or unobtainable, there may be a special need to grant the refugee the benefit of the doubt. The process of identifying resettlement cases under the vulnerable groups category must be carefully coordinated with social services officers, medical coordinators and staff working with refugees, who are best placed to identify those most in need.

5.         In the context of comprehensive approaches to refugee problems, every effort is made to facilitate the voluntary repatriation of refugees or their local integration. In most refugee situations, few individuals are determined to be in need of resettlement abroad. Over the years, governments have developed their own procedures. In certain instances it is difficult to adapt such procedures to changing refugee circumstances. Some States, for example, have legislation requiring that refugees in the "resettlement pipeline" be processed, even if circumstances in the country of origin have changed so as to allow for voluntary repatriation. Just as it has been internationally agreed that the granting of refugee status is not an inimical act, so too it should be recognized that granting resettlement should not be seen as a means of undermining voluntary repatriation programmes.

6.         Frequent mention is made of return in safety and dignity in voluntary repatriation programmes. These considerations also apply to resettlement: if asylum or voluntary repatriation are not feasible, resettlement may be the only durable solution to ensure the safety of a refugee. Humanitarian cases, in particular, may need to find their dignity through resettlement abroad if they have been traumatized by torture, or if they have been at-risk or disabled.

7.         In the context of the International Year of the Family and to promote information-sharing, in 1994 up-dated information on procedures for family reunification has been collected. Resettlement countries have approached family reunification in various ways, with some interpreting the concept of family very generously for certain refugee groups while others have restricted the relationships of family members to be accepted. UNHCR resettlement staff have faced the dilemma of being mandated to promote family reunification and yet not wanting to see extended family members resettled at the expense of compelling individual cases. As States gain experience with the resettlement of different groups, it becomes apparent that the initial group of refugees accepted will be followed by a few years of family members wanting to join them. Some families may exert continual pressure on agency and government staff to be reunited, which renders the task of using resettlement as a tool of protection for the most compelling cases a difficult one. Certain countries make a clear distinction between refugee and family reunion programmes. The general perception within UNHCR is that it would be easier for all concerned if this approach were to be widely adopted.

8.         The close collaboration, mentioned last year, between the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH), the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma (HPRT) and UNHCR continues to be fruitful. In 1994, the HPRT, in cooperation with UNHCR, developed a project for presentation to the United States Agency for International Development which aimed at improved mental health assistance to traumatised refugees in former Yugoslavia. The project was approved and it is expected that its implementation will begin in early 1995. Its different activities will complement UNHCR efforts, and those of governmental and non-governmental organizations and community groups, to assist vulnerable groups on-the-spot.

9.         In the course of resettlement processing, and because of HIV mandatory screening by certain resettlement countries, refugees suffering from this virus are identified. Following their initial acceptance, they are subsequently excluded from entry to the resettlement countries concerned. In line with WHO and General Assembly resolutions and recommendations, UNHCR initiates appeals against such exclusions. Resettlement countries which do not undertake mandatory screening and follow WHO and UN recommendations, often refuse to consider cases identified and rejected by other countries.

10.       Efforts to promote intra-regional resettlement were pursued in 1994, particularly in Africa. Many African countries have accepted refugees from other asylum countries for permanent resettlement, in the past. This durable solution has been available on an informal and ad hoc basis. Intra-African resettlement was discussed at the Organization of African Unity (OAU) Symposium, held in Ethiopia in September 1994, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the 1969 Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa of the OAU. Three recommendations were made concerning intra-African resettlement:

Recommendation 23: the Symposium appeals to African States to offer places for the resettlement in their territories of refugees from other African countries;

Recommendation 24: where refugees are accepted for resettlement under these intra-African arrangements, UNHCR should provide the necessary resources to facilitate their reintegration into their new societies. In cooperation with the OAU, it should also help in developing resettlement criteria to ensure that intra-African resettlement is implemented in a way which is compatible with the integration capacity of the accepting countries;

Recommendation 25: modalities for further encouraging and implementing intra-African resettlement of refugees should be elaborated jointly by UNHCR, the OAU and interested African States. For this purpose, a consultative meeting could be envisaged.

11.        These recommendations, as well as the others proposed at the Symposium, were commended at the forty-fifth session of the Executive Committee of UNHCR, which also requested UNHCR to promote implementation of all of the recommendations. UNHCR encourages support for these recommendations and will liaise with the OAU to organize a consultative meeting in 1995.

12.       Resettlement training remains a priority. Courses stress the refugee status determination process and briefing on government resettlement procedures. In this connection, it has been useful to invite government representatives to training sessions, both to present their programmes as well as to learn about some of the problems facing UNHCR field staff.

13.       UNHCR will continue to encourage governments to adopt annual resettlement quotas for refugees (see page 7). We believe they are useful to the authorities for financial planning, as well as to agencies responsible for the reception and integration of refugees. With the movement of refugees from former Yugoslavia, since the end of 1992, resettlement countries in Europe, in particular, have been under considerable pressure, with reception staff and facilities overstretched. There has been an unfortunate trend, in this situation, to reduce the quotas for resettlement from the rest of the world. The figures below, provided by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles, show the number of asylum-seekers in a few European countries, in 1993 and the first half of 1994, which help to explain this trend.

14.       UNHCR monitors the annual resettlement quotas of the ten States that have use this system. The chart on page 7 is distributed periodically to give resettlement countries an up-date on the process.

15.       Of the 134 Recommendations from the Oslo Declaration of the Global NGO and UNHCR Partnership in Action Conference, 25 make reference to issues relevant to resettlement programmes such as: survivors of torture, women, children, family unity, vulnerable groups, violations of human rights, training, development of databases, secondment of staff, registration, social counselling, trauma and rehabilitation. Resettlement staff the world over look forward to closer cooperation with agency and government staff on these issues, in the coming years. In 1994, staff from two non-governmental agencies were seconded to UNHCR to assist with resettlement processing in former Yugoslavia. Staff-sharing will be promoted, in future, as an excellent way to enhance cooperation amongst implementing partners in resettlement processing.

16.       A review of resettlement issues has been undertaken in recent months by the UNHCR Evaluation Unit and a consultant. The team visited a number of first asylum countries, as well as resettlement countries, to study a variety of policy concerns. Their findings will be discussed in a consultation on resettlement to be held in early 1995. The separation between resettlement and immigration programmes, mentioned last year, family reunion and other resettlement efforts, mentioned above, will be added to the agenda. Several governments and agencies have expressed interest in such a consultation and colleagues from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which plays a key role in most resettlement efforts, will also participate.



PROJECTED NEEDS - 8,650 persons

Overview and Principle Issues

17.       In 1993 and 1994, throughout the region, African countries continued to host and provide asylum and care for increasing numbers of refugees. This heavy burden has adversely affected the already limited local resources, but humanitarian assistance among African neighbours continues. Security considerations and preventive measures for safety have become major preoccupations in every effort to provide international protection and assistance to refugees, as well as nationals, in Africa. The two refugee crises in Burundi (October 1993) and in Rwanda (April 1994) provide examples of the difficulties that African refugees face, in connection with extreme violence and massive displacement. The importance of a prompt, comprehensive international response to ensure effective protection of refugees in such situations cannot be over-emphasized.

18.       In finding permanent solutions, voluntary repatriation is sought for most African refugees, but this can only be a durable solution given certain basic conditions. Repatriation programmes for refugees in southern Africa have continued positively. Some tens of thousands of Liberian and Somali refugees went home during 1993-1994. The continued insecurity in Liberia and general prevailing instability in southern Somalia, as well as armed conflicts and violations of human rights in other parts of the continent, have required UNHCR to continue seeking all possible durable solutions amidst serious constraints. Repatriation movements of Ethiopians and Eritreans (in the Sudan and Uganda and elsewhere in the Horn and East Africa) were implemented, but have yet to reach the level of sustainability. Meanwhile, a large percentage of African refugees continue to benefit from local integration as an effective long-term durable solution throughout the continent.

19.       Resettlement in third countries, as in the previous years, remains the only suitable option for a fraction of the total refugee population in the continent. In 1993, a total of 9,406 African refugees were resettled and 3,604 departed for resettlement in the first half of 1994.

20.       The total resettlement needs in 1995 are projected at 8,650. This estimate includes family reunification needs of almost 5,000 places (primarily for Liberian and Somali nationals), some 3,000 mandate refugee cases (whose repatriation and local integration cannot be envisaged for political and physical security reasons or because their asylum situation has proven to be untenable) as well as some vulnerable refugee groups and 685 places for contingency cases.

21.       The table on page 12 illustrates the projected resettlement needs for African refugees in Africa by country of origin and of asylum and those outside the African continent.

Kenya, Sudan, and other East African countries

22.       Major developments in the refugee situation in Kenya were the marked reduction of new arrivals (which was attributed to the gradual improvement of security conditions in Ethiopia, some parts of Somalia and in Uganda), and the progress in repatriation of refugees to their countries of origin. In 1993, UNHCR organized repatriation of about 81,000 refugees to Ethiopia, Somalia and Uganda, while some 30,000 Somalis had, reportedly, returned spontaneously from Kenya to their villages of origin. From January to September 1994, some 72,770 refugees in Kenya were assisted to repatriate (including approximately 56,300 Somalis, 16,000 Ethiopians, 400 Ugandans and 70 refugees of other nationalities).

23.       A total of 6,996 refugees were resettled from Kenya during 1993, and 2,572 from January to June 1994; the majority were Somali refugees resettled through family reunion programmes and some were vulnerable cases whose special needs could only be met through resettlement abroad.

24.       For 1995, an estimated 2,000 Somali refugees in Kenya will be accepted by countries where their close relatives have resettled in previous years. For an additional 1,000 persons, priority will be given to vulnerable refugees and those with compelling protection cases (in whose places of origin political or security conditions have not yet stabilized sufficiently to allow them to repatriate). Ethiopians, Somalis and Sudanese form the main group of resettlement cases from Kenya.

25.       A contingency of 300 places is planned for Kenya for newly identified cases in the vulnerable groups category (including women-at-risk cases) and for unexpected resettlement needs arising from a possible new emergency in the region.

26.       Programmes for large-scale voluntary repatriation in the Horn and East of Africa have been planned but progress is slow. Eritrean repatriation is just beginning. In the Sudan, however, even if the repatriation options increase in 1995, some 700 Eritrean and 300 Ethiopian refugees who belonged to the former opposition groups will require other permanent solutions, owing to their past political profiles and protection needs for their personal security. The resettlement applications of these groups in the Sudan will be re-assessed. As asylum in the Sudan is given on strictly short-term conditions, those whose safe repatriation cannot be envisaged in the foreseeable future will need UNHCR assistance to find resettlement opportunities.

27.       In East Africa and other sub-regions, a number of Sudanese and Zairean refugees continue to seek asylum. Burundian, Eritrean, Ethiopian, Rwandese, Somali and Ugandan refugees and a few other African nationalities have only been granted temporary asylum. Those for whom resettlement is the only suitable protection and durable solution will be assessed individually and presented for resettlement. In Djibouti, Ethiopia and Uganda, efforts will continue in 1995 to resettle approximately 470 mandate refugees. About half of these resettlement needs are for Somali cases. Others require resettlement for protection reasons. Some are refugees in the vulnerable groups category.

28.       A total of 4,850 resettlement places will be needed in 1995 for Kenya and the countries in the East and Horn of Africa.

Central and West Africa

29.       The on-going conflicts in Angola have continued to affect a large number of internally displaced persons, refugees and returnees. The conflicts in Liberia and Sierra Leone led to new waves of tens of thousands of refugees arriving in the surrounding countries in West Africa. The security situation inside Liberia has become worse and mass repatriation plans have been suspended. Political differences in Nigeria are a cause for concern. Subsequent to the political changes in Togo in 1993, a small number of Togolese refugees are facing security risks, and will require assistance to resettle outside Africa to ensure their protection.

30.       As hostilities continued in Liberia and Sierra Leone, Liberians fled to Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Among the large population of Liberian refugees, there is a certain number who, for reasons of family reunion and other special concerns, may merit resettlement outside the region. About 3,000 have already been registered with UNHCR in the course of 1994 for resettlement abroad, mainly to join their close relatives in Canada and the United States. An additional 100 refugees from Togo and other African countries have been provided with asylum in the region. Special protection problems which they face have prompted UNHCR to assist in their resettlement.

31.       Total resettlement requirements in Central and West Africa are projected at 3,300 including a carry-over from 1994 (about 3,000 Liberians, 50 Togolese and 50 other nationalities) and 200 contingency places for new arrivals of different origins who, for security reasons, cannot stay permanently in the region.

North Africa

32.       Given the continuing violence in Algeria, UNHCR has intervened on behalf of a small number of refugees of different nationalities to find urgent resettlement. In the Arab Republic of Egypt, exceptional Somali vulnerable and family reunion cases as well as a few protection cases of other African origins need resettlement. The total requirement for the North African region is foreseen to cover about 100 persons already identified as being in need and 35 for the estimated reserve.

Southern Africa

33.       Positive changes occurred in 1994 in the southern African region. Mozambique's repatriation programme continues to proceed with massive returnee movements. The successful election in the Republic of South Africa brought about hope for a more peaceful atmosphere and economic improvement.

34.       More than 100 longstaying urban refugees in this sub-region may require an alternative to resettlement overseas. Temporary re-location has been arranged locally, whenever possible, as an interim solution. Other options such as programmes to enhance local integration and further support for educational opportunities within the region are suggested as a possible medium-term option, pending a permanent solution.

35.       About 100 refugees in southern African countries were reported to be awaiting decisions on their resettlement submissions in 1994 and this figure is forecast as a carry-over in 1995. These were mainly Zairean refugees of protection or security concern, and some other vulnerable groups including women-at-risk. It is anticipated that 30 places may be needed as a contingency in 1995. The total needs for the region are therefore forecast at 130.

African refugees outside Africa

36.       The number of resettlement cases of African refugees outside Africa comprises about 135 in the Middle East and Asia, and 40 in Europe. These figures include approximately 110 Somalis, 20 Sudanese and 45 refugees of different African nationalities. In all these cases, UNHCR supports their resettlement principally for protection reasons. African refugees outside Africa constantly face security risks of expulsion or deportation when their residence permits expire or when they are caught without valid identity documents. Many are detained in precarious conditions until a resettlement offer is found. The lack of local options or opportunities for employment and local integration poses serious difficulties.

37.       Resettlement for mandate African refugees outside Africa continues to be a necessity. A resettlement caseload of a total of 235 places (to include 175 carry-over and 60 contingency) is estimated for 1995.


PROJECTED NEEDS - 650 persons

Overview and Principal Issues

The Comprehensive Plan of Action (CPA)

38.       The total Vietnamese population in the CPA region as of June 1994 was 54,407 persons, of whom 5,540 were refugees, 2,790 were awaiting decisions regarding refugee status and 46,077 have been screened out. The remaining 2,967 refugees were awaiting resettlement offers. There were, furthermore, a total of 18,011 Highland and Lowland Lao refugees in the region, not all of whom are eligible for resettlement.

39.       In February 1994, the Fifth Steering Committee Meeting of the International Conference on Indo-Chinese Refugees came to several important conclusions. Perhaps the most important one was to close the refugee status determination processing under the CPA, i.e. all Indo-Chinese asylum seekers arriving after 14 February 1994 were to be processed under regular asylum procedures. The Meeting also decided to set the end of 1995 or earlier whenever possible, as a target date for completing CPA activities in the camps, i.e. all rejected asylum seekers should have repatriated and pre-cut-off date refugees as well as those post-cut-off date screened-in refugees should have departed for resettlement. It was further agreed that a Fifth Technical Meeting on Resettlement under the CPA should be held to discuss practical steps to resolve outstanding issues related to resettlement.

40.       A Fifth Technical Meeting on Resettlement and Repatriation under the CPA was convened on 1-2 June 1994 in Bangkok. It was noted that the prolonged stay in the camps of resettlement-eligible caseload inevitably slows down the voluntary repatriation process. The meeting set 31 December 1994, as the target for a commitment to accept for resettlement the remaining pre-cut-off and screened-in population. As the appeals procedure in Hong Kong will only be completed in 1995, a small number of cases will be submitted for resettlement in 1995. The following are extracts from the agreed plan of action to comply with the 1994 deadline:

-           special efforts were to be made by all resettlement countries to expedite resettlement decisions for all cases pending with them at the time of the meeting and expedite processing, including announcements of decisions by end 1994, of all cases to be submitted to them;

-           governments with yet unfilled quotas were urged to re-activate their processing of applicants, and all other participating governments were requested to make a special effort by accepting a given quota;

-           governments were requested to undertake to review, with a flexible humanitarian approach, all cases referred by UNHCR, in particular those refugees who were previously rejected;

-           governments were urged to utilize a more relaxed interpretation of admission criteria, using a broad definition of qualifying links, showing flexibility towards refugees with no links, and giving special attention to vulnerable cases, as well as considering the adoption of exceptional non-routine approaches or making use of special humanitarian waivers.

41.        We urge governments to cooperate in this final camp clearance effort in order to meet the target dates. On 30 June 1994, there were still 1,117 pre-cut-off date refugees who had not been accepted by any resettlement country, although a previous target for their resettlement agreed by the international community, lapsed in June 1992. Unfortunately, there have been fewer departures, in recent months, although the completion of CPA is near. As an increasing proportion of refugees, provisionally accepted for resettlement, tend to receive negative final decisions, while others are repeatedly found ineligible for resettlement under the immigration/refugee legislation of various governments, progress to clear the residual caseload has been slow. It should be noted, however, that the "Platform" group, i.e. those Vietnamese who arrived overland in Thailand, which was only added to the resettlement caseload in 1993, met a positive response among resettlement countries.

42.       UNHCR on its part promised to undertake a survey of the remaining caseload in order to facilitate the camp clearance exercise. Thus an internal regional workshop was organized early September in Hong Kong, to review the caseload, the resettlement efforts made so far, and to agree upon practical steps to be taken. The workshop was followed by a casework mission undertaken by UNHCR Headquarters to Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. A case-by-case assessment was done on the spot on the entire remaining caseload, and a total of 832 persons have been excluded from further resettlement efforts. Those excluded are mainly ex-criminals, persons for whom local integration would be possible and deemed as best solution, or persons with whom the Offices have lost contact, 816 of them in Hong Kong alone. Those cases now being submitted/resubmitted for resettlement have thus been carefully studied, and consideration has been given to various approaches for reaching the most appropriate durable solution.

43.       The regional distribution, by country of asylum, of the pre- and post-cut-off date refugee population awaiting resettlement offers, as of 30 June 1994, was as follows:

44.       The total resettlement needs for refugees originating from East and South East Asia are projected at 650 for 1995 (see page 18 for the table).

Resettlement Needs


45.       Although the entire remaining caseload is to receive resettlement offers by the end of 1994, as was agreed at the CPA Technical Meeting on Resettlement and Repatriation, held in Bangkok in June 1994, it is realistic to assume that a handful of cases will be carried over to 1995 in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand respectively. These cases will most probably include complex medical cases, as well as single men. In the Philippines there will most likely be at least 50 refugees carried over to 1995, since the Regional Resettlement Transit Center in Bataan received the last transfer of newly screened-in refugees from Hong Kong in September 1994. The most complicated and difficult-to-resettle caseload remains in Hong Kong, where the appeals procedure will only be completed in January 1995. Thus it is estimated that the resettlement needs in 1995 will total 400 persons, broken down as follows:

-           150 already recognized as refugees in the first half of 1994

-           about 150 who have been granted refugee status during the second half of 1994, and are carried over to 1995;

-           an estimated 100 to be screened-in on appeals in early 1995 and who will thus become eligible for resettlement.

46.        The projected needs for Vietnamese as detailed in the table on page 18, are based on the above estimations.

47.       The Committees for Special Procedures established in the region to recommend solutions for unaccompanied minors and vulnerable adults completed their tasks in most of the countries. There were only 18 unaccompanied minors left by the end of August 1994, for whom resettlement has been determined to be the best durable solution. In addition, a number of refugees who were processed under the special procedures for unaccompanied minors, have reached 18 years of age and are consequently submitted for resettlement as adults.

48.       Resettlement processing of smaller groups of Vietnamese given temporary protection in other countries in South East and North East Asia, such as in the Peoples' Republic of China, is yet to be completed. There are still 6 persons awaiting resettlement offers as of end June 1994.


49.       Voluntary repatriation has become the main durable solution pursued for the Laotians. UNHCR is, nevertheless, still promoting and facilitating the resettlement of Laotian refugees who have opted for resettlement as their preferred durable solution. As of 30 June 1994, there were still 7,456 Highlanders in Phanat Nikhom processing centre, of whom 5,108 had already been accepted for resettlement mainly by the United States, and 2,348 were still being processed for resettlement, mainly by the United States. There were also 143 Lowland Lao refugees, of whom 72 had been accepted for resettlement and 71 were still awaiting a resettlement offer. All efforts have been aimed at finalizing their processing by the end of 1994.

Other refugees originating from South and East Asia

50.       Given the non-accession to the 1951 Convention and/or the 1967 Protocol, as well as restrictive immigration laws of a number of countries both in the region and in many other parts of the world, other refugees originating from the region will continue to need resettlement. UNHCR estimates a need of a total of 110 places, mainly for refugees from Sri Lanka and Myanmar. UNHCR only promotes resettlement for these cases under exceptional circumstances, such as family reunification or in situations of emergency on protection grounds, especially when the refugees concerned are facing immediate deportation to their country of origin.

Other refugees in South and South East Asia

51.       There are a number of refugees of Middle Eastern, or African origin in South, East and South East Asia, who have been in orbit or were granted temporary asylum with no possibility for a durable solution locally or in the region, in view of the above mentioned non-accession to the 1951 Convention and/or the 1967 Protocol, as well as restrictive immigration laws. Very often while their presence is "tolerated" they are waiting for a more permanent solution, as they are unable to regularize their stay and face detention due their illegal stay in the country concerned. Many of them are long-stayers, some have even had temporary asylum for as long as ten years. UNHCR is appealing for special consideration for this group.


PLACES AVAILABLE - 20,000 places

Former Yugoslavia

52.       Within the framework of the Comprehensive Response to the Humanitarian Crisis in the Former Yugoslavia, the High Commissioner in September and October 1992 appealed to governments for places for those released under ICRC auspices from detention centres in former Yugoslavia, together with their family members. The response from governments was encouraging, and a total of 27,000 persons had moved to third countries for resettlement or temporary protection through UNHCR programmes by end September 1994.

53.       Although the Washington Agreement and subsequent creation of the Bosniac-Croat Federation has led to spontaneous returns to the Federation area, for a limited number of individuals, the overall situation still does not allow UNHCR to encourage voluntary repatriation. At this moment, on-going ethnic cleansing, the prevailing state of insecurity in most parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina, as well as war-related deteriorating living conditions still lead to a continuous outflow of refugees.

54.       The ever-evolving situation, particularly in Bosnia-Herzegovina, created new needs for resettlement/temporary protection in third countries. UNHCR criteria were expanded accordingly from ex-detainees released under ICRC auspices to include also victims of violence/torture, those with medical problems, other ex-detainees, protection evacuees etc.

55.       For the coming year, the main resettlement caseload will consist of particularly vulnerable Bosnian refugees, who have been exposed to severe torture/violence, regardless of their ethnicity or area of origin. A number of persons will require resettlement on grounds of physical and or legal protection. It is expected that there will be, especially in Bosnia-Herzegovina, some persons in an acute life-threatening or otherwise extremely vulnerable situation who will need evacuation and onward resettlement to third countries. In some countries of first asylum, especially in Serbia/Montenegro, refugees are threatened by revocation of refugee status and premature repatriation. It should also be kept in mind that despite the fact that basic health care is available for refugees in the region, refugees with serious medical conditions will continue to need treatment in third countries. This is particularly valid for the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which is affected by sanctions.

56.       In view of the above, it can be concluded that resettlement from former Yugoslavia will remain a tool of protection for individual cases, and is not sought as a general durable solution.

57.       Family reunification remains essential for the ex-detainees and other refugees resettled through UNHCR programmes. Many Bosnians still have family members inside Bosnia-Herzegovina, who may be located beyond frontlines and/or unable to enter Croatia. Flexible criteria should be pursued by all governments to admit refugees to countries where they have links, while continuing also to admit refugees with no links.

58.       The total number of places made available has risen to 50,000 since 1992. This has been more than sufficient to cover the existing needs for 1993 and 1994. As the situation is changing almost daily, it is impossible to give a precise assessment of the resettlement needs for 1995. At the time of writing, however, it appeared that the needs would most likely be slightly lower than in 1994. The 20,000 places still available at the time of writing would, in principle, be sufficient to meet the needs in 1995. Keeping in mind the ever-evolving situation, UNHCR will adjust its appeal for resettlement/temporary protection places accordingly and rely upon the continued support of the international community.


PROJECTED NEEDS - 100 persons

59.       Within the framework of the International Conference on Central American Refugees (CIREFCA) Concerted Plan of Action, emphasis continues to be placed on durable solutions for Central American refugees within the region. Thus extra-regional resettlement is required only as an exceptional measure for security reasons, on a case-by-case basis, as well as for family reunification of various nationalities. The same applies to refugees from South America.

60.       UNHCR extra-regional resettlement needs for 1995 for South and Central American refugees total an estimated 100 persons, if the situation in the region remains stable. The situation is, however, volatile in some parts of the region and UNHCR is closely monitoring the developments in various countries in the region, including the Caribbean.


PROJECTED NEEDS - 22,500 persons

Overview and Principal Issues

61.       Refugees from the Middle East continue to represent the major resettlement caseload. A total of 22,500 places are required in 1995 compared to 29,600 in 1994. The decrease is mainly due to improved burden-sharing in Saudi Arabia this year. As in the past, particular attention has been paid to Turkey and the resettlement needs in that country have decreased considerably.

62.       Our intention to resettle some 2,000 Iranian refugees in Iraq in 1994 did not materialize, mainly because of limited staffing resources to register and document deserving cases. Two UNHCR staff members with resettlement experience have, therefore, been assigned to Iraq for several months to prepare files for submissions in 1995. So far it has not been possible for governments to make selection missions to Iraq. Some have, therefore, accepted to examine cases in Amman, Jordan. Since refugees cannot travel to Amman for interviews, a UNHCR staff member from Baghdad has hand-carried files to Jordan in order to explain and clarify each case to the selection teams. Governments which do not require individual interviews are encouraged to participate in this effort. Countries with required medical screening, may be sufficiently flexible to accept that medical examinations be carried out locally and the medical files be submitted to the competent Service/Department through UNHCR.

63.       Increased burden-sharing for resettlement of refugees in Kuwait would be appreciated. According to current developments, the needs in Jordan may also increase.

64.       The table on page 26 illustrates the projected resettlement needs for refugees from the Middle East by country of asylum in the Middle East, Europe and Asia.

Islamic Republic of Iran

65.       Beyond family reunification, resettlement is not a priority. Some cases, however, especially protection cases and refugees in the vulnerable groups category will require admission to third countries. Needs for 1995 are estimated at 150 places.


66.       The refugee population is composed of:

a)         an estimated 22,500 Iranian Kurds who live in Al Tash Refugee Camp. Resettlement is mainly limited to deserving vulnerable and family reunification cases. Approximately 800 persons are expected to be processed in 1995.

b)         approximately 4,000 Iranian Kurds in the North of Iraq, often with a high political profile. Some 500 places are required for compelling security cases and others in a particularly vulnerable situation.

c)         urban Iranian refugees in Ramadi, for whom 160 places will be needed. Priority will be given to ex-prisoners of war subjected to ill-treatment during extended periods of detention.

d)         over 60,000 urban refugees, mainly Palestinians, for whom resettlement is not encouraged.

e)         an estimated number of 15,000 Iranians in Southern Iraq who do not require resettlement. They are authorized to remain in the country because of their Arab origin.

67.        Including the backlog of unresettled cases in 1994, the total needs for 1995 are forecast at 2,000.


68.       The UNHCR Office in Amman examines and determines individual claims of Iraqi nationals for refugee status. From mid-1994, an increasing number of claimants have approached the Office. Iraqis granted refugee status under the UNHCR mandate are allowed to remain temporarily in the country, on condition that their resettlement is pursued. Rapid departures are essential to ensure the safety of the refugees concerned. Some 300 places are required for 1995.


69.       Whenever possible, UNHCR tries to secure local integration of refugees. When repeated interventions with the authorities fail and refugees are detained in the Talha Deportation Centre, often for extended periods of time, resettlement remains the only option. To avoid undue hardship, UNHCR would appreciate support for this caseload, which consists mainly of Iraqis. An estimated 500 places are needed for 1995.


70.       Lebanon maintains its restrictive policy towards mandate refugees and resettlement is the only solution for reasons of protection. The requirements for 1995 are forecast at 200 places.


71.       Resettlement from Pakistan continues at a modest rate, and only protection and vulnerable cases will be taken into consideration. For 1995, 100 places will be required.

Saudi Arabia

72.       International burden-sharing has improved. A total of 32 countries have received refugees from Rafha Camp since the beginning of the resettlement operation. This is a positive development, although some countries have received only a few refugees. Governments who became involved at the beginning of the exercise continue to be generous. Upon encouragement from UNHCR, new countries have decided to participate in 1994 and it is hoped that others will join in 1995.

73.       Bearing in mind the number of refugees in Saudi Arabia, UNHCR counts on the co-operation of resettlement countries with large quotas, as they could considerably assist in reducing the caseload. The requirements for 1995 are forecast at 17,000.


74.       It is not UNHCR's intention to start massive resettlement from Syria. There are, however, refugees - mainly Iraqis - who require assistance on grounds of protection and vulnerability. Resettlement from Syria is expected to reduce spontaneous movements of Iraqis to Lebanon. An estimated number of 150 places are required for 1995.

United Arab Emirates

75.       Resettlement is indispensable for mandate refugees, whom the authorities deem to be illegal aliens and who may risk deportation. Approximately 150 places, mainly for Iranians and Iraqis, will be needed for 1995.

Other Countries in the Middle East

76.       A further 100 places are required for refugees, mainly protection cases, in other countries in the region.

Middle Eastern and South West Asian Refugees in Europe


77.       The conditions for mandate refugees in Greece have improved. Resettlement will, therefore, only be promoted for exceptional cases, mainly in the vulnerable groups category. A total of 80 places may be required.


78.       A further reduction of the resettlement caseload of Iranians and Iraqis is expected in 1995. The decision of the Turkish authorities to carry out refugee status determination (previously done by UNHCR) of Iranian asylum-seekers, as of 15 July 1994, may affect the caseload. At the time of writing, it was not possible to predict how this development would influence resettlement processing. Despite decreased needs, UNHCR trusts receiving countries will continue to assist in Turkey. UNHCR foresees a need for the resettlement of 1,300 refugees, representing 700 Iranians and 600 Iraqis.

Other Countries in Europe

79.       Some 70 places are projected for other countries in Europe.

Middle-Eastern and South West Asian Refugees in Asia


80.       UNHCR mandate refugees are not entitled to remain in India, thus resettlement becomes the only durable solution when voluntary repatriation is not feasible. Afghan, Iranian and Iraqi refugees deserve special attention on grounds of protection and vulnerability. Some 200 places are forecast to be needed for 1995.

The Philippines

81.       In order to avoid undue hardship on the refugees concerned, some 100 places would be appreciated for 1995, mainly for Iranians and Iraqis.

Other Countries in Asia

82.       Some 100 places are forecast to be needed for 1995.



PROJECTED NEEDS - 960 cases / 3,280 persons

Overview and Principle Issues

83.       For 1994, the projected needs were 1,165 cases/3,406 persons. As at mid-September 1994, the total number of cases determined as eligible for resettlement under special programmes and processed directly by Headquarters was 800 cases (2,695 persons). Of these 260 cases/825 persons were accepted under special programmes. Some 210 cases/650 persons have already departed, whereas 50 cases/175 persons are awaiting departure. Approximately 50 cases/120 persons initially eligible for resettlement were not resettled, but opted for local solutions or voluntary repatriation. Among the 800 cases/2,695 persons identified for resettlement, some 490/1750 are still awaiting a resettlement solution. Their health status is as follows:

84.       Of the 1,165 projected cases for 1994, the majority of the remaining 365 cases not included in the above figures, were resettled under regular quota places, on family reunion and other grounds through field submissions, closely coordinated with Headquarters.

85.       Of the 260 accepted cases, some 100 cases/300 persons were accepted on emergency grounds. The majority were in life-threatening conditions due to evolving diseases, which required urgent surgical interventions. Others needed emergency resettlement for both security and medical reasons. It should be noted that emergency resettlement became a problem during the reporting period, as few countries were responsive to emergency cases, whereas the processing modalities of others were too slow to warrant submissions.

86.       As was the case in 1993, much of the attention of certain countries was focussed on the resettlement of Bosnian refugees, so admissions of other nationalities were limited. As a result, an average of three submissions per case were necessary to obtain acceptances.

Projected Needs

87.       According to the data provided by Field Offices, the total projected needs for 1995 are 960 cases/3,280 persons. The majority of cases are in Kenya and Saudi Arabia. Caution is called for, however, in both instances as it may be difficult to fully document these cases in time for resettlement in 1995, because of staffing limitations as well as documentation and referral problems.

88.       Please refer to page 30 for a breakdown of projected needs by region of origin and health condition.


89.       Many of the projected total of 300 cases/1,200 persons were identified in 1992 and are still awaiting resettlement. Ethiopian refugees from certain clans cannot repatriate at this stage because of security considerations. Sudanese refugees who sought asylum in neighbouring countries are also increasingly in need of resettlement. To a lesser extent, other nationalities such as Rwandese, Ugandans, Zaireans, have also been identified.

South East Asia and Oceania

90.       Following the recent CPA Technical Meeting, a survey has been carried out. As a result, it is projected that a total of 25 cases/60 persons will need resettlement. Some 15 cases/40 persons have physical disabilities or medical conditions, whereas the remaining 10 cases/20 persons have mental disorders or retardation. The majority of these cases have links in resettlement countries, but have been repeatedly rejected by the same countries. At the Technical Meeting in Bangkok in June 1994, it was agreed that such cases would be reviewed with a view to reuniting the families. Their resettlement will, therefore, be pursued by Field Offices with the countries concerned, in the context of the CPA and not under special programmes.

Europe and Latin America

91.       The needs of vulnerable groups of refugees in former Yugoslavia are treated in the previous chapter on the above-mentioned country. The projected needs for both areas are 10 cases/20 persons, mainly for Salvadorian and Peruvian victims of torture/violence, and Turks in Europe.

Middle East and South West Asia

92.       The projected needs for refugees under the vulnerable groups category, are 625 cases/2000 persons. Bearing in mind the size of the refugee population in Saudi Arabia, a considerable portion of the caseload is in Rafha Camp.

93.       It is a sad reality that the majority of the adult male refugee population in this region have undergone torture and suffered undue hardship. Fortunately, most of the refugees concerned are asymptomatic and will not require special attention or treatment when resettled. Needless to say, one cannot exclude that some may need professional help at a later stage. Those determined as asymptomatic will be submitted for resettlement under the regular quotas. Only symptomatic torture victims will be processed under the special programmes.

94.       The above figures are included in the global needs for the region, i.e. 22,500 places.


95.       Certain countries continue to systematically reject vulnerable refugees on the basis of their health conditions. In addition, restrictive family reunion criteria are applied, without taking into consideration that given their vulnerability, a more humanitarian approach to processing is necessary to give them the chance to benefit from their families' socio-economic, psychological and integration support. Among all vulnerable groups of refugees, those who suffer most are the traumatised, especially if they manifest psycho-social problems as a result of torture, rape, and other forms of violence.

96.       The above-mentioned negative trend is further aggravated by the fact that certain countries reject cases on the basis of refugee status, despite the assessment made by UNHCR protection officers. This process of second-guessing leads to further discrimination against vulnerable refugees. This is particularly true for traumatised refugees who often cannot effectively express their refugee claims.

97.       The on-going (and almost exclusive) interest of some countries in certain nationalities is another detrimental phenomenon vis-à-vis the worldwide needs of vulnerable groups of refugees. Such discriminatory policies and processing modalities, furthermore, impose a heavy burden on the more receptive countries, both as regards numbers of cases accepted and emergency cases.


PROJECTED NEEDS - 525 cases / 1,845 persons

Overview and Principle Issues

98.       It was projected that 550 cases/1,665 persons of women-at-risk would to be in need of resettlement in 1994. In fact, 525 cases/1,620 persons were identified. Through the special efforts made by Australia, New Zealand, the United States and several European countries some 275 cases/845 persons have been accepted. The majority have already departed to their resettlement countries during the reporting period, leaving 40 cases/140 persons still awaiting departure. For approximately 10 cases/35 persons other solutions were sought. Some 200 cases/600 persons are still awaiting resettlement.

99.       In addition to the survey carried out by UNHCR for the years 1988 to 1993, which helped to identify the main obstacles to implementation of the programmes, the Canadian authorities carried out a survey, both internally and overseas, in close cooperation with UNHCR. This survey confirmed most of the UNHCR findings, and included a more detailed account of problems met in Canada. The Canadian programme for women-at-risk was not used to its optimal level during the reporting period. Refugee women-at-risk were resettled in Canada under regular quota procedures, rather than under the special programme. Immigration officers processed cases outside the programme to by-pass its shortcomings. The recommendations which will result from the above-mentioned study will contribute to concrete improvements in the programme in the future.

100.     The Australian Council for Refugees has also undertaken its own survey and their findings corroborate those of the above-mentioned studies. Intensified efforts made by the Australian Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, especially in overseas processing, prove that even without formal policy and implementation improvements of the women-at-risk programme, the awareness and accumulated experience of immigration officers contributes to filling quotas.

101.     UNHCR will remain in close contact with the countries operating special programmes for women-at-risk, with a view to determining areas of common problems and solutions: inter alia, common training, drafting a comprehensive manual, improving identification, referral and follow-up systems (both during the processing and the post-arrival period).

Projected Needs

102.     The total number of projected needs in the women-at-risk category for the forthcoming year is 525 cases/1,845 persons. The majority are victims of conflicts in Africa. In most instances, it is impossible to offer them the necessary psycho-social rehabilitation and socio-economic integration, as well as protection in their countries of first asylum. Nor can repatriation be envisaged, as this would impose on them further hazards and hardships, and the chance for recovery and normal social functioning would be limited. Please refer to page 34 for a breakdown of projected needs by region of residence and origin.


103.     It is projected that a total of 300 cases/1,200 persons of African origin in the women-at-risk category will need resettlement in the forthcoming year. Some 10 cases/50 persons are expected to be in South East Asia and the Middle East, while the remaining 290 cases/1,150 persons will be located in Africa. The bulk of these cases are in Kenya and the Sudan, with the remaining cases scattered throughout different Western and Central African countries. The majority of those residing in Kenya are Somalis, whereas the majority of those in Sudan are Ethiopians who, because of their clan, cannot repatriate for security reasons. Other nationalities within this group are Liberians, Rwandese, Sudanese, Ugandans and Zaireans.

104.     The majority of these refugee women-at-risk in need of resettlement have gone through particularly harsh experiences, not only rape, but torture and multiple losses, which have contributed to their psycho-social destabilisation, or impose on them additional risks in the country of first asylum, rendering their own and their dependants' future more hazardous and compromised. Eventual return to their country of origin is often, furthermore, impossible to envisage. The changes in their own society, added to the multiple personal losses deprive them of any family, social and economic protection and support. The stigma attached to rape constitutes another major obstacle for a dignified life. The trauma sustained often requires specialised care and/or strong psycho-social support, which in most cases cannot be found in their devastated countries.

South East Asia

105.     In South East Asia the total of projected needs is 15 cases/30 persons. The on-going and more systematic resettlement of vulnerable groups of refugees in South East Asia, in the context of the CPA, has enhanced early processing of women-at-risk in this area.

Latin America

106.     As for non-vulnerable refugees, resettlement of women-at-risk in Latin America is undertaken through local endeavours. The total number of projected needs is expected to be 10 cases/15 persons.

Middle East and South West Asia

107.     The total resettlement projected needs for women-at-risk originating from this area is 200 cases/600 persons. The majority are in countries such as Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Syria.

108.     It is often difficult to process them under the women-at-risk programmes as immigration posts of countries offering such programmes are rare in this region. Security and other reasons lead to a need for resettlement on emergency grounds, so they are more often resettled in European countries, than in countries with special programmes.

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