Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Status of Refugees and Stateless Persons: Draft Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. Report of the Style Committee

PREAMBLE

The High Contracting Parties

1.     Considering that the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights approved on 10 December 1984 by the General Assembly have affirmed the principle that human beings shall enjoy fundamental rights and freedoms without discrimination.

2.     Considering that the United Nations has, on various occasions, manifested its profound concern for refugees and endeavoured to assure refugees the widest possible exercise of these fundamental rights and freedoms,

3.     Considering that it is desirable to advise and consolidate previous international agreements relating to the status of refugees and to extend the scope of the protection accorded by such instruments by means of new instruments.

4.     Considering that the grant of asylum may place unduly heavy burdens on certain countries, and that a satisfactory solution of a problem of which the United Nations has recognized the international scope and nature cannot therefore be achieved without international cooperation,

5.     Expressing the wish that all States, recognizing the social and humanitarian nature of the problem of refugees shall do everything within their power to prevent this problem from becoming a cause of tension between States,

6.     Noting that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is charged with the task of supervising international conventions providing for the protection of refugees, and recognizing that the effective coordination of measures taken to deal with this problem will depend upon the cooperation of States with the High Commission.

Have agreed as follows:

CHAPTER I GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 1 Definition of the term "Refugee"

A.     For the purposes of the present Convention, the term "refugee" shall apply to any person who:

(1)   Has been considered a refugee under the Arrangements of 12 May 1926 and 30 June 1928 or under the Conventions of 28 October 1933 and 10 February 1938, the Protocol of 14 September 1939 or the Constitutions of the International Refugee Organization;

Decisions of non-eligibility taken by the International Refugee Organization during the period of its activities shall not prevent the status of refugee being accorded to persons who fulfil the conditions of paragraph 2 of this section;

(2)   As a result of events occurring before 1 January 1951 in Europe, or in Europe and other continents, [1]* as specified in a statement[2]** to be made by each High Contracting Party at the time of signature, accession or ratification, and owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence, is unable or owing to such fear is unwilling to return to it;

In the case of a person who has more than one nationality, the term "the country of his nationality" shall mean each of the countries of which he is a national, and person shall not be deemed to be lacking the protection of the country of his nationality if, without any valid reason based on well-founded fear, he has not availed himself of the protection of one of the countries of which he is a national.

B.    (Formerly Section F). Any Contracting State may at any time extend the obligations assumed in the statement made under article 1 (2) within the limits in choices provided in the said provision, by notification[3]*** to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

C.    (Formerly Section B). This Convention shall cease to apply to an person falling under the terms of section a if:

(1)   he has voluntarily reavailed himself of the protection of the country of his nationality; or

(2)   Having lost his nationality, he has voluntarily reacquired it; or

(3)   He has acquired a new nationality, and enjoys the protection of the country of his new nationality; or

(4)   He has voluntarily re-established himself in the country which he left or outside which he remained owing to fear of persecution; or

(5)   He can no longer, because the circumstances in connexion with which he has been recognized as a refugee have ceased to exist, continue to refuse to avail himself of the protection of the country of his nationality.

Provided that this paragraph shall not apply to refugees falling under section A (1) of this Article who are able to invoke compelling reasons arising out of previous persecution for refusing to avail themselves of the protection of the country of nationality.

(6)   Being a person who has no nationality he is, because the circumstances in connexion with which he has been recognized as a refugee have ceased to exist, able to return to the country of his former habitual residence.

Provided that this paragraph shall not apply to a refugee falling under section A (1) of this Article who is able to invoke compelling reasons arising out of previous persecution for refusing to return to the country of his habitual residence.

D.    (Formerly Section C). This Convention shall not apply to persons who are at present receiving from or agencies or the United Nations other than the United Nations High Commissioner for refugees protection or assistance.

When such protection or assistance has ceased for any reason, without the position of such persons being definitively settled in accordance with the relevant resolutions adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, these persons shall ipso facto be entitled to the benefit of this Convention.

E.    (Formerly Section D). This Convention shall not apply to a person who is recognized by the competent authorities of the country in which he has taken residence as having the rights and obligations which are attached to the possession of the nationality of that country.

F.     (Formerly Section E). The provisions of this Convention shall not apply to any person with respect to whom there are serious reasons for considering that:

(a)   he has committed a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity, as defined in the international instruments drawn up to make provision in respect of such crimes;

(b)   he ha committed a serious non-political crime outside the country of refuge prior to his admission to that country as a refugee;

(c)   he has been guilty of acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.



[1]* The Committee could not agree on the meaning of the words "or in Europe and other continents" and felt that it was for the Plenary conference to decide whether these words should be maintained or another formulation substituted for them.

[2]** Article 46 (formerly Article 40) should be amended to include a reference to such statements.

[3]*** Article 46 (formerly Article 40) should be amended to include a reference to such notifications.

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