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U.N. Committee Adopts Plan for Establishment of High Commissioner’s Office for Refugees

The United Nations Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee today adopted the final plans for a U.N. High Commissioner’s office for refugees to start operations in Geneva on January 1, 1951. It remains for the General Assembly to elect a High Commissioner.

Acting under the authority of the General Assembly, the High Commissioner will provide international protection for the refugees falling under his competence. He will promote the conclusion of international conventions or special agreements with governments, calculated to improve the situation of refugees. He will both assist in the voluntary repatriation of refugees, and help to promote their assimilation within new national communities.

The High Commissioner will also seek to obtain the admission of refugees to various states, and take a number of other steps toward the solution of the refugee problem. The High Commissioner’s office will be financed under the budget of the United Nations. Any other than administrative expenditures relating to his activities shall be financed by voluntary contributions.

By the resolution accompanying the statute, the General Assembly calls upon governments to become parties to conventions providing for the protection of refugees; to admit refugees to their territories; to provide them with travel and other documents; to permit refugees to transfer their assets, especially those necessary for their resettlement; and to provide the High Commissioner with information concerning the number of refugees in their territory, and laws and regulations concerning them.

The High Commissioner will report annually to the General Assembly, which will decide, not later than at its 8th session, whether his office is to be continued beyond December 31, 1953.

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