Landmark re-affirmation to Refugee Convention from over 80 states

10 Dec 2001

Refugee Council statement

For the first time since the Geneva Convention on Refugees was signed fifty years ago, over 80 states from Australia to Britain and Korea to South Africa are sending senior government ministers back to Switzerland to re-affirm their commitment to a full and effective implementation of the Convention. Co-hosted by UNHCR and the Swiss Government, the Ministerial Meeting takes place on 12/13 December at the UN's Geneva headquarters.

The unprecedented gathering is also set to explore methods of improving the level of protection afforded to refugees across Europe. Part of the declaration each minister will sign commits to "upholding the values and principles" embodied in the 1951 Refugee Convention and 1967 Protocol. It also includes "respect for the rights and freedoms of refugees, international cooperation to resolve their plight, and action to address the causes of refugee movements."

Refugee Council Chief Executive Nick Hardwick said:

"It is very encouraging to see our Government, along with so many others re-affirming a vital commitment to this cornerstone of human rights legislation. Heads of Government at the Laeken EU Summit (14/15 December) should now be giving practical effect to the fine words of the declaration."