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The Movement and refugees

31-12-1986 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 256

25th International Conference of the Red Cross, Geneva, 23 to 31 October 1986, Resolution 17

The Twenty-fifth International Conference of the Red Cross,

 recalling Resolution XXI and the accompanying statement of policy on International Red Cross aid to refugees, adopted by the Twenty-fourth International Conference of the Red Cross,

 conscious that the number of refugees, asylum-seekers and displaced persons has steadily grown over the past five years, creating even greater requirements for humanitarian aid, especially among the most vulnerable groups (women who are alone or who are heads of families, unaccompanied children, the physically and mentally handicapped, and the elderly),

 recognizing that movements of refugees will continue until their causes are eliminated,

 welcoming the initiative taken by the 36th session of the United Nations General Assembly to establish the Group of Governmental Experts on International Co-operation to Avert New Flows of Refugees (United Nations Document A/41/324 of 13 May 1986) and noting the action being taken on this issue at the 41st session of the General Assembly,

 recognizing that persons displaced within their own country do not always benefit from the protection and assistance with which the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is at all times willing to provide them,

 sharing the concerns expressed by the 37th session of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees'Executive Committee that military or armed attacks on refugee camps and settlements continue, since such attacks claim many victims particularly among women, children and the elderly in such camps and settlements as well as among the host population,

 recalling the primary function of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in the field of international protection of and material assistance to refugees, and in the search for lasting solutions,

 1. calls upon States, in the search for lasting solutions, to address first and foremost the causes of movements of refugees from their countries of origin,

 2. invites governments and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to pursue their efforts in disseminating knowledge of international humanitarian law and the Fundamental Principles of the Movement to ensure greater respect for the human person,

 3. encourages the Movement both to st ep up its own information and training activities and to take a greater part in providing information aimed at better understanding and mutual acceptance between refugees and their host communities,

 4. urges National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to spare no effort to ensure that refugees and asylum-seekers receive humane treatment and decent material conditions in host countries,

 5. reminds governments, in a spirit of humanity, of their legal and moral obligations regarding refugees, in particular that of respect for the principle of non-refoulement, and encourages them to do everything possible to accelerate the procedures for consideration of asylum applications while maintaining fundamental legal safeguards,

 6. requests governments to permit the Movement to come to the aid o persons without any other suitable protection or assistance, as in certain cases where persons are displaced within their own country,

 7. calls upon governments to continue their efforts to find in the near future a solution to the problem of military or armed attacks on refugee camps and settlements, in accordance with the conclusion of the 37th session of the UNHCR Executive Committee, and reaffirms the willingness of the Movement to assist in this endeavour,

 8. asks governments, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, National Societies, and non-governmental organizations to give special attention to the problems of refugees, returnees and displaced persons, particularly the most vulnerable groups, and encourages them vigorously to pursue appropriate lasting solutions, within the competence of the UNHCR,

 9. pledges the continued support and enhanced collaboration of the Movement with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.




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