|Statement by Mr. KE Yousheng, Adviser of the Chinese Delegation, at the Third Committee of the 62nd Session of the General Assembly, on the Report of UNHCR (Item 42)|
|New York, 8 November 2007|
The Chinese Delegation would like to make the following comments on the report of the High Commissioner for Refugees.
The Chinese Delegation is very much concerned that for the first time since 2000, the number of refugees worldwide has shown a drastic increase. While the global situations of protracted displacement are yet to turn for the better in a fundamental way, new groups of refugees are created as a result of civil wars and regional conflicts, pushing the total number of refugees in the world close to 10 million. The Chinese Government has noticed with regret that the number of refugees assisted by the UNHCR last year went down by 3% compared to 2005, accounting for only 45% of the total refugee population. We hope that the UNHCR carefully analyze the reasons for the reduction of the number of refugees under its care, identify clear strategies and measures for improving the percentage of refugee protection in the future, carry out effective cooperation and communication with all countries, with a view to expanding its protection of refugees world wide.
As the number of refugees is going up, the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) also reached 20 million by the end of 2006, causing the concern of the international community. We appreciate the role of cluster lead that the UNHCR has played in the IDP protection and assistance mechanism, which consists of UN humanitarian assistance agencies and other international assistance agencies and groups. We hope that in its activities concerning the IDPs, the UNHCR will strictly abide by the relevant UNGA resolutions. We encourage the UNHCR, while providing protection to the IDPs, to continue to carry out real time assessment to ensure that the protection of IDPs not undermine the UNHCR's core function of protecting refugees.
Irregular and mixed migratory movements have posed unprecedented challenges to the international refugee protection regime. The Chinese Government welcomes UNHCR's active response to these challenges. After the launching of the "Addressing Mixed Migratory Movement: A 10-Point Plan of Action" last year, the UNHCR has called for the establishment of the "Dialogue on Protection Challenges" this year and plans to hold the first meeting of the dialogue at the end of the year to discuss the question of the effective protection of refugees in the migratory movement. The Chinese Government welcomes the efforts made by the UNHCR to ensure prompt and effective protection of refugees who are genuinely eligible. Furthermore, the Chinese Government believes that effective improvement of the efficiency of refugee protection also calls for effective measures to keep the protection regime from being abused by various illegal migrants and criminals. We call on all the parties concerned to strictly abide by the provisions of the Convention on Refugees and prevent the refugee protection regime from being abused.
The "Structural and Management Change Process" launched by the UNHCR continued to proceed in the past year and produced good results. The Chinese Government has always supported the UNHCR's efforts in enhancing protection efficiency and reducing administrative expenditures. We hope this reform process can progress smoothly on the basis of extensive consultations and in a transparent manner so as to make the UNHCR more effective in coping with the refugee issue in this new era and really benefit refugees worldwide.
It needs to be particularly pointed out that developing countries shoulder a heavy burden in providing asylum to the refugees. They are now sheltering three quarters of the world's refugees, thus making enormous contributions to the solution of the refugee problem. Many developing countries in Africa, Asia and Middle East are under heavy social and economic stress as a result of receiving large numbers of refugees. We believe that the international community, the UNHCR and developed countries in particular, has the responsibility to take further measures to effectively help the developing countries with capacity building in all aspects and seek a lasting solution to the refugee issue in the spirit of "international solidarity and burden sharing".
China attaches great importance to, and participated actively in, the cooperation and exchanges on the question of refugees and has conscientiously fulfilled its international obligations. The Chinese Government has maintained an excellent cooperative relationship with the UNHCR, and China is willing to continue its cooperation with the UNHCR and other relevant parties to promote the protection of refugees in the world.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.