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 You are in: Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs > Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration > Refugee Admissions and Resettlement > Releases > Reports > 2004
The United States Refugee Admissions Program: Reforms for a New Era of Refugee Resettlement  


Chapter VI. The Role of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees

For over 50 years, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has played a central role in the world community's response to refugee needs. It also occupies a highly significant position in the functioning of the US resettlement program. Not only have US officers coordinated closely with UNHCR in many locations for operational purposes, to mutual advantage, but UNHCR also carries major responsibilities in the process that leads to actual selection of those refugees admitted to the United States. Two main areas of UNHCR functioning have drawn attention recently as fields where reforms could help secure major resettlement improvements: increasing use of group referrals and improved registration practices.

A. Background

1. The evolution of UNHCR's approach

UNHCR has consistently listed resettlement as one of the three classic durable solutions to refugee situations, along with voluntary repatriation and local integration. For a considerable period, however, resettlement was often referred to as something to be undertaken "only as a last resort," when the other two solutions had proven infeasible.1 That relative ranking reflected a skepticism toward resettlement that had taken deep root in the organization, in part as a reaction to the lengthy and massive Indochinese resettlement program. As that program stretched into its second decade, many in UNHCR came to see it as a disguised immigration program rather than a refugee protection endeavor, or at least as a geopolitically driven effort that unfairly drew attention and resources from more pressing refugee needs.2 Chapter I discussed the tension within the U.S. government between resettlement and assistance B because the funds used for resettlement of a relative few could serve many more persons if used to provide basic nutrition, shelter, or health care for assisted refugee populations. UNHCR has felt the same tensions, particularly in periods of serious funding shortfalls like those of the last few years, because its resettlement work has also been highly resource-intensive.

As a result of these factors, by the late 1980s UNHCR had come to describe resettlement in a fairly narrow way, primarily as a "tool of international protection." Correspondingly, headquarters responsibilities for resettlement were transferred to the Division of International Protection in 1990. This protection-oriented stance placed the focus on referring for resettlement individuals or families who had become highly vulnerable in the country of first asylum, and who therefore needed protection beyond what could be expected in that location. In those circumstances, such a person might be individually referred to a resettlement country, after fairly elaborate UNHCR procedures that could include a refugee status determination (RSD), a resettlement needs assessment, and the preparation of a resettlement registration form (RRF).3 If all these steps are employed (one or more can sometimes be simplified), each case takes up many hours of officer time, including one or more extensive interviews.

In the last several years, however, the climate and orientation have changed, so that resettlement is viewed in a more positive light, although one still finds the old skepticism in various quarters of UNHCR. (The United States played an important role in shifting the organization toward a more favorable attitude toward resettlement.) The Agenda for Protection, adopted by UNHCR at the end of a process of Global Consultations on International Protection undertaken in connection with the Office's 50-year anniversary in 2000, calls for the more efficient use of resettlement both as a protection tool and as a durable solution. This formulation widens the resettlement horizon to include refugees who might not be in immediate danger but for whom no other long-term solution is in sight.4 Of major significance, the current High Commissioner, Ruud Lubbers, has made a broad effort to give resettlement a higher status and to encourage more states to participate in offering resettlement spaces B a theme he has emphasized since the early days of his tenure, which began in January 2001.5 Official documents now refer routinely to resettlement as both a tool of protection and a durable solution (and often as a tangible indicator of international solidarity and burden-sharing as well). The "last resort" label has disappeared.6 Voluntary return is still seen as the preferred solution, not surprisingly, but resettlement has clearly gained ground as a desirable outcome, when other difficulties, such as any pull factor, can be rendered manageable. UNHCR reports and agendas also have come to speak of the "strategic use of resettlement," an orientation that seeks to use resettlement in a way that will carry wider benefits than simply those that accrue to the resettled refugees themselves. For example, well-targeted resettlement offers can sometimes persuade first-asylum countries to maintain relative openness to new arrivals. Or longer-term offers of resettlement covering likely residual populations can enable the conclusion of a voluntary repatriation agreement that will enable the return home of the majority of refugees in a given camp or country.7

UNHCR has also made important changes over the last decade to improve the management of resettlement processing. A 1994 UNHCR evaluation report criticized the low priority then given to resettlement within the Office's operations and offered a host of suggestions for a change in approach and for specific management improvements.8 Among the new initiatives undertaken thereafter was the adoption of a comprehensive Resettlement Handbook, which includes useful guidance on practical issues that can arise in the course of dealing with resettlement, detailed procedures and standardized forms for each step, and a summary, in uniform format, of the resettlement standards and procedures of the major resettlement countries.9 At about this time, UNHCR also clarified and expanded its resettlement criteria, to focus on eight elements that have now become a familiar part of its practice.10 Some persons interviewed for this project urged a close review of these elements, to see if they could be refined and focused to address real needs more effectively and to minimize their susceptibility to manipulation. For example, the "women-at-risk" criterion is very broadly phrased,11 and some worried that it could encourage the courting of harm as a way of qualifying for resettlement priority.

Another round of UNHCR reforms was triggered by a serious corruption scandal in Nairobi, discovered in 1999-2000, which resulted in criminal charges against some staff members and a criminal ring that helped to sell resettlement spaces.12 UNHCR adopted systematic changes in response, including a new code of conduct, revisions to resettlement procedures and to the Handbook, revised training, clearer lines of accountability for key resettlement decisions, better management controls, including requirements separating eligibility interviews from the decision-making process on resettlement cases, and a process for more systematic rotation of staff involved in resettlement, in order to provide additional safeguards against corruption.13 Integrity is now a major theme of UNHCR's resettlement program. Nonetheless, I heard during the course of interviews ongoing concerns about the adequacy of UNCHR's efforts. Some urged that UNHCR rigorously avoid the use of locally hired staff to develop or process resettlement lists, instead using expatriate staff who should be less susceptible to pressure or threats. Several persons urged that UNHCR do more to share even preliminary information about corruption or fraud with the officials of host countries and other nations involved, early in the investigation process, so as to facilitate prosecution and to enable resettlement countries to adjust their own programs in light of developing information about such schemes.14

Other initiatives to strengthen the management of the program include the opening of regional resettlement hubs in Nairobi and Accra. The staff there perform regular training for field personnel, monitor resettlement activities, and help assure that UNHCR takes full advantage of resettlement possibilities. UNHCR has also worked to improve its annual projections of resettlement needs, which had been criticized for underestimating the real needs for such a durable solution.15 It now makes a greater effort to make sure that its assessments are not artificially limited by a branch office's awareness of its own (very real) resource limits that would impede UNHCR's capacity to initiate or support resettlement.16 Closer attention to resettlement needs has also contributed toward a push for better registration practices, to be described in Section C. As the new, more proactive approach to resettlement takes hold, the overall process is becoming more efficient, and the world community should find more opportunities to use resettlement as leverage for wider solutions to lingering refugee situations.17

The United States (along with its allies among other traditional resettlement countries) has been highly supportive of the High Commissioner's efforts to promote a more positive attitude toward resettlement. These initiatives are bearing fruit, although there is still work to be done to make sure that the attitudinal change takes deep root in the key operational offices of UNHCR, especially its regional bureaus.

2. The UNHCR role in the US program

The current U.S. system also reflects an important evolution in its own interaction with UNHCR in the resettlement program. The initial U.S. processing priorities under the Refugee Act of 1980 did not make direct allowance for a significant UNHCR role (although there has always been a high degree of operational coordination). Building on the Indochinese experience, which of course then occupied center stage, the U.S. Refugee Program established priority categories that mostly focused on the refugee's connections to the United States, either through family members already in this country or through earlier employment or other involvement with the U.S. government or U.S.-connected entities.18 As that system matured, critics suggested that the priority system should be changed to place a greater emphasis on direct refugee needs and to make better use of UNHCR's expertise. In 1994, the State Department heeded these calls and adopted significant revisions to the priority system.19 As more fully described in Chapter III, the first priority category, P-1, is now oriented toward individual cases of compelling need (with certain more detailed specifications). Procedurally, the priority is triggered by a referral from either UNHCR or a U.S. embassy B and it was clear from the beginning that UNHCR referrals would carry the bulk of the load for placing individuals into this priority.

Although this shift was generally welcomed by the NGO community, because it gave prominence to cases of compelling need, interviews for this project encountered a regular complaint about the revision of the priorities. Many NGO representatives pointed out that UNHCR was given a major gatekeeper role in connection with the U.S. admissions program in the 1994 changes, but that the U.S. provided no significant infusion of resources that would enable UNHCR to refer cases at a level commensurate with our system's needs and capacities.20 Several attributed the decline in admission numbers through the late 1990s to precisely this overreliance on UNHCR, and some even suggested that such a reduction was a US objective in giving UNHCR that role. I found no evidence of such alleged motivation. After all, the 1994 priority system retains other major categories that are not necessarily tied to UNHCR referrals and which have historically accounted for the largest components of U.S. admissions. But it is true that the new priority system in 1994 was not accompanied by a comprehensive vision of the likely practical impact of the changes on overall admissions, nor with carefully designed operational changes to cushion or shape that impact.

Developments of the last several years, including the sharp post-2001 decline in US admission numbers, have caused the U.S. government to focus more intently on the role of UNHCR in identifying refugees who might be included in the U.S. refugee program. Funding to UNHCR for resettlement-related activities was raised. When this produced only limited increases in P-1 referrals, the State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) pressed for more precise output standards for FY 2003, to assure that the funds were used efficiently and with a focus on the objectives the U.S. was seeking. This U.S. push coincided with several internal initiatives at UNHCR to make such referrals more efficient, in part as an outgrowth of the new High Commissioner's interest in resettlement, and these have borne some fruit. But at the same time, UNHCR was also investigating certain past referrals and also working to add safeguards to the process, as a response to the serious integrity problems that had been discovered in Nairobi. Greater safeguards, at least initially, required additional paperwork and some added monitoring B working at cross-purposes (albeit understandably) to the push for added efficiency and large increases in output. Nonetheless, efforts continue to find ways to streamline UNHCR's procedures, and they should gain some momentum now that many of the integrity-focused reforms are being worked into the routine operation of the system.

Recommendation VI-1: PRM, while remaining fully supportive of the UNHCR integrity initiatives, should continue to press UNHCR to make its individual referral process more efficient, disciplined, and productive. UNHCR should consider closely whether some parts of its process, including the lengthy Resettlement Registration Form, could be streamlined, especially for those cases that are likely to be referred to countries, like the United States, which perform their own detailed processing and interviewing. UNHCR should also be encouraged to take a close look at its current resettlement categories, in light of a decade=s worth of experience operating under this framework, in order to refine and improve the criteria so that they better meet real needs and minimize any incentive to manipulate either the system or the refugee's own personal situation in order to qualify.

B. UNHCR's development of a group referral capacity

The UNHCR Resettlement Handbook recognizes that its eighth resettlement criterion, refugees without local integration prospects, differs in quality from the other seven, which tend to focus on individual characteristics and on immediate dangers or acute vulnerabilities.21 That is, if refugees in a particular first asylum country lack the prospect of a satisfactory durable solution there, that characteristic will generally affect whole groups, not simply a handful of individuals. This insight, coupled to some extent with a realization of the challenges UNHCR faces to meet resettlement countries' expectations through the cumbersome individual referral process, has moved the organization toward a new approach.

As a result, UNHCR has been working systematically to develop a new "group methodology" that can implement the proactive stance toward resettlement called for by the High Commissioner.22 It is not intended as a replacement for but as a supplement to UNHCR's historic individual referral process, which of course will continue to address the cases of vulnerable individuals. Although still in an early phase, this initiative appears to hold considerable promise to revitalize resettlement as a durable solution and to make more efficient use of UNHCR resources. It also dovetails nicely with recent trends in the U.S. Refugee Program and with the approach recommended in this report B to expand systematically the Program's capacity to find and process a series of new groups for resettlement. A Resettlement Management Working Group within UNHCR played a key role in developing the new group methodology, with the ultimate goal of incorporating proactive resettlement planning into Country Operations Plans. The new methodology was officially adopted in October 2003, although ongoing testing and refinement are expected.

In general outlines, the new approach asks UNHCR branch offices to analyze the local situation by breaking down refugee populations into appropriate groups and subgroups, and then to consider carefully the durable solution prospects for each. For those that lack a realistic chance for local integration (thereby fitting the eighth resettlement category in UNHCR’s traditional list), the plan provides a detailed and well-thought-out questionnaire that will generate a group profile. That document is meant to serve as the basis for UNHCR decisions on whether to propose resettlement of the group to other willing countries. Step-by-step, the questionnaire asks about such things as details of the protection context affecting the group, the group's composition, and the effectiveness and reliability of registration or other measures that would enable clear identification of members. The objective is to identify "finite groups" that can become the focus of resettlement efforts. Such clarity about the group’s dimensions is important, both to guard against fraud and to minimize any magnet effect generated by the resettlement activity. This theme was repeated to me many times during my interviews, along with an emphasis on the need for confidentiality of resettlement plans until preparatory work has been fully completed – because the prospect of resettlement can distort camp dynamics and particularly hinder the acquisition of accurate information needed to make sound resettlement decisions.23 One UNHCR officer commented: "Even a hint of resettlement distorts; it can take all of your energy just to deal with the crowd that gathers" after word of resettlement begins to circulate.

The new methodology reflects careful thinking about how to overcome the sometimes reflexive opposition to resettlement that can be encountered within UNHCR ranks or among the leadership of the host government. Such opposition often rests on concerns about a new pull factor or on a reluctance to disturb a delicately balanced status quo B even though life for the refugees themselves in the host country may be quite stagnant and difficult. (In these respects, UNHCR debates mirror some characteristics of internal U.S. debates that can accentuate the negative case against resettlement, as discussed in Chapter I.) In order to get beyond hasty resistance to the very idea of resettlement, the questionnaire calls for systematic analysis of the conventional obstacles and concerns. It poses questions, for example, meant to evaluate the precise nature of any anticipated pull factor, and also to draw forth information on techniques or resources that might be available to diminish the concerns, such as the possibility of a new verification exercise (undertaken before the prospect of resettlement is publicized), or targeted communications strategies to be directed toward populations remaining in the country of origin after resettlement commences. The point is to force deeper analysis of the actual risk of a magnet effect, or of concerns about fraud, and not to let the mere mention of those possibilities become a conversation-stopper. Obviously, after the more thorough evaluation, some initiatives may still be rejected because such risks remain too high or because other problems intrude. But the UNHCR team developing the methodology believes that this patient approach can help planners and country officers see beyond immediate reactions and often find their way to viable strategies that result in well-focused resettlement initiatives.

Once such a group profile has been prepared by the branch office, it is to be sent to Geneva for further evaluation and an eventual decision on whether or not to proceed. If the answer is yes, a group submission document will be prepared for use in seeking resettlement opportunities, to be followed thereafter by detailed group resettlement plans, designed to fit with the selection and processing procedures used by the countries that agree to provide resettlement spaces.

Although this approach obviously could mesh well with U.S. interests in expanding group resettlement, it is not being developed solely for U.S. processing. Other resettlement countries, particularly Canada, have provided strong backing for this more proactive approach, and the Working Group also hopes that this methodology will help increase interest in resettlement from an expanded range of countries. NGOs have also generally voiced support, although they have expressed concerns that the daunting length of the questionnaire may deter branch offices from using it. They have suggested enhancing some of the integrity safeguards and also making regular use of NGO partnerships, perhaps through standby deployment schemes, in implementing the methodology.

The top leadership of the Division of International Protection has been highly supportive of this approach and agrees that it holds real promise. It remains to be seen whether the regional bureaus of UNHCR, which have historically manifested skepticism of large-scale resettlement, will fully accept this approach. But a few successful early programs based on this model could do much to win over the skeptics. For those who share the objective of expanding the provision of durable solutions for refugees, a lot is riding on early successes in using the group methodology. If early initiatives succeed in helping to find workable solutions for significant numbers of refugees, without greatly complicating other problems in refugee camps or for the host government, then one can expect to see a greater buy-in to this methodology by governments and by the operational components of UNHCR.

Recommendation VI-2: The U.S. government should do all it can to support the further refinement and early successful deployment of UNHCR's group referral mechanism. It should give such referrals quick and favorable consideration for inclusion in the U.S. Refugee Program, and it should encourage other nations to join in the resettlement effort.

C. Improving refugee registration

There was wide agreement among virtually everyone interviewed for this project that improvements in UNHCR (and national) registration practices deserve high priority. Such steps would not only facilitate resettlement, but they would also enhance the ability to discharge other functions, including well-targeted refugee assistance. A variety of official and nongovernmental reports also echo this theme.24 Specifically, a thorough registration system can help identify those persons or groups most in need of resettlement. It can provide useful tools to deter or detect fraud, and also to minimize any pull factor. Reliable registration information gives decisionmakers contemplating a resettlement initiative solid assurance about the dimensions of the group under consideration, and so should make it easier to say yes.

In order for registration to serve these purposes, it must be undertaken at a time well before the valued prize of resettlement is in the picture. Early in the unfolding of the refugee situation, the registering officer is far more likely to get a full and honest picture about identity, family structure, and dates of arrival, before the individuals being registered have any incentives to distort the information in ways believed (rightly or wrongly) to enhance resettlement chances. Family tree information, for example, then becomes a baseline against which to measure later claims of relationship that might support a "new" relative's inclusion in the resettlement program. As to the pull factor, reliable registration enables the crafting of resettlement initiatives that cover only persons who arrived in the asylum country, or in a specific camp, before a certain date, without much concern that later arrivals can successfully pose as members of the group. This effect can be enhanced by well-targeted communications efforts directed toward populations still in the home country, to make sure that it is understood that no new arrivals will be eligible for resettlement.

Such a heavy reliance on registration must take account of other difficulties, however. Much of the early registration in refugee camps has historically been associated with food rationing or the distribution of other benefits or entitlements. For many, registration is manifested in the possession of a World Food Program ration card, which usually does not even contain a photograph. Furthermore, food is often distributed by household B which creates incentives to split the actual family into multiple households, in order to claim extra cooking oil or other necessities. These distortions, once recorded, can then greatly complicate the task of keeping families together if resettlement later becomes a possibility. Further, distribution practices have often resulted in giving a key and controlling role to the person designated as the head of household, who very often is a male (unless the family group consists only of women and children). This form of household registration can therefore contribute toward perpetuating the second-class status of women.

UNHCR has been working on improved registration for some time through an initiative called Project Profile B motivated both by the desire to improve assistance practices and by the recognition of benefits to resettlement that would flow from more reliable registration systems.25 That project resulted in a detailed UNHCR Handbook for Registration, published in provisional form in September 2003.26 A great deal of careful thought has gone into the proposed changes, which are meant to provide a common process and common standards for future registration and data management. The Handbook recognizes the need to register individuals and households, but also families (which may or may not coincide with the household), including information about family members not then present in the asylum country or the specific camp. It calls for separating identity registration from immediate connection to benefit registration, so as to minimize temptations to distort family information in order to claim benefits. It calls for individual documentation of all refugee men and women, and for recognizing multiple adult representatives for households, in order to counteract any dependency of women on male relatives for access to food or essential services. It sensibly divides the registration process into what will normally be three phases B capturing minimum essential information shortly after arrival in the camp, and then recording progressively more extensive individual biodata and other information, including photographs, at approximately the three-month and 12-month milestones. The Handbook specifically recognizes that "[w]henever resettlement is expected to be one of the likely durable solutions, as much information as possible should be collected at an early stage." 27

Some persons interviewed for this project were skeptical of deploying overly elaborate registration early in the process, in part because of concerns about how to provide for secure but accessible record-keeping, as well as for updating to take reliable account, for example, of births, deaths, and marriages. They suggested instead a modest initial registration, followed later by a more detailed verification when the officers have a clearer idea of just what additional information might be most useful B ideally still gathered before the possibility of resettlement becomes known in the refugee community. But these suggestions really are but variations on a theme that remains strongly supportive of more thorough and well-designed registration or verification. Moreover, the Registration Handbook (which was published after these particular interviews) addressed many of these concerns, and makes specific and detailed provision for using improving technology to allow for the right kind of data management, including a capacity to record changes in the circumstances of individuals, families, and households.

Many logistical challenges still must be resolved in order to assure widespread use of the new approach. Furthermore, registration improvements of this sort cannot be expected to bear fruit for resettlement purposes for many years. Nonetheless, the focus on improved registration is thoroughly justified. The sooner that standard registration practices (taking adequate account of the data that will become useful if resettlement becomes a possibility) become routine, the sooner we will have the benefit of this potentially vital tool to facilitate resettlement access decisions.

The United States government should continue to support this valuable UNHCR registration initiative at every step. It should also use its influence to assure that the standard procedures, as they are refined, capture data elements needed for effective resettlement programs. Moreover, although the Handbook is careful to require photographs at all stages beyond the initial registration, it does not currently mandate biometric identifiers, such as fingerprints or iris scans. The current issue of the Handbook goes only so far as to recognize that a biometric identifier might be appropriate, if needed, in connection with Level 2 registration. Because such identifiers remain a sensitive subject for many people around the world (living in cultures that do not readily accept fingerprinting in the way that is common in the United States), this acknowledgment and acceptance represent a significant forward step. But UNHCR should be urged to go further and do all it can to require the routine inclusion of biometric identifiers at the appropriate stage of registration, probably in the form of fingerprints, given the widespread use of fingerprints in existing national systems.28 There remain significant barriers to the use of sophisticated biometrics, to be sure, particularly given the wide variety of settings in which UNHCR must operate, including many without reliable electric power. Nonetheless, assurance of positive identification via biometrics throughout the refugee assistance process and especially the resettlement process would carry enormous advantages in the post-September 11 climate.

The United States should also share with UNHCR its successful experience in using inkless fingerprinting technology in remote locations. The DHS office that deals with these issues has worked to develop truly mobile systems that are capable of collecting fingerprints, photos, and biographic information. These units are reasonably priced and use technology that is compatible with UNHCR's Microsoft systems. U.S. funding should be provided to help UNHCR acquire such equipment for use in connection with its pilot implementation of the new registration.

Recommendation VI-3: Standardized registration practices, using carefully designed data elements, can have enormous long-run advantages in enabling and improving resettlement. Their potential is so great that registration advances deserve the highest priority. Enhanced registration can provide a payoff for assistance purposes immediately. Its benefits to resettlement will appear only in the long run, but the advances in avoiding fraud, minimizing magnet effects, and improving initial decisions about access will be substantial. The U.S. government should therefore continue to support the development and early deployment of improvements in UNHCR registration practices. It should also encourage UNHCR to work toward inclusion of biometric identifiers in registration documents and records wherever possible, and should provide U.S. funding for early UNHCR use of mobile fingerprint technology developed by DHS.

Footnotes:

_______________

1 See, e.g., Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme, Conclusion No. 67, para. (g) (1991). The conclusions are available on the UNHCR website, www.unhcr.ch, and are formally published each year as part of the report of the Executive Committee, which itself is an addendum to the High Commissioner's report to the General Assembly. Conclusion No. 67, for example, appears at Addendum to the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, at 10, para. 23(g), UN Doc. A/46/12/Add.1 (1992).

2 See, e.g., John Frederiksson & Christine Mougne, Resettlement in the 1990s: A Review of Policy and Practice 20-21 (UNHCR Evaluation Report, December 1994); Joanne van Selm, Tamara Woroby, Erin Patrick, & Monica Matts, Feasibility of Resettlement in the European Union 7-10 (Migration Policy Institute 2003); Gary Troeller, UNHCR Resettlement: Evolution and Future Direction, 14 Int'l J. Refugee L. 85, 94-95 (2002).

3 See UNHCR Division of International Protection, Resettlement Handbook, Section 5.4 (July 2002 version), available at the UNHCR website, www.unhcr.ch.

4 See Agenda for Protection, particularly Goals 3(6), 5(5), and 5(6), Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme, 53d Sess., UN Doc. A/AC.96/973 (2002), reprinted in 21/4 Refugee Survey Quarterly 35 (2002). The chief papers from the consultations are reprinted in Refugee Protection in International Law: UNHCR's Global Consultations on International Protection (Erika Feller, Volker Türk & Frances Nicholson eds., 2003).

5 See, e.g., Opening Statement by Mr. Ruud Lubbers, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, at the Fifty-third Session of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme, Sept 30, 2002, reprinted in Report of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, at 19, UN Doc. A/57/12/Add.1 (2002).

6 See, e.g., Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme, Conclusion No. 79, paras. (q), (r), (s) (1996); Conclusion No. 95, para. (q) (2003).

7 See, e.g., The Strategic Use of Resettlement, Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme, UN Doc. EC/53/SC/CRP.10/Add.1 (3 June 2003) (a discussion paper prepared by the Working Group on Resettlement), reprinted in 23/1 Refugee Survey Quarterly 150 (2004).

8 John Frederiksson & Christine Mougne, Resettlement in the 1990s: A Review of Policy and Practice 20-21 (UNHCR Evaluation Report, December 1994).

9 Resettlement Handbook, supra note 3. The Handbook is available on the UNHCR website, www.unhcr.ch, and has undergone periodic updating.

10 They are: legal and physical protection needs, medical needs, survivors of violence and torture, women-at-risk, family reunification, children and adolescents, elderly refugees, and refugees without local integration prospects. UNHCR Resettlement Handbook, Chapter 4 (July 2002).

11 See generally Kathleen Newland, U.S. Refugee Policy: Dilemmas and Directions 22 (1995) ("Priority for resettlement should be set according to not only the degree of suffering but also the kind of remedy available to the individual. . . . [C]are should be taken not to define the 'women at risk' category too widely.").

12 See Report of the Office of Internal Oversight Services on the investigations into allegations of refugee smuggling at the Nairobi Branch Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UN Doc. A/56/733 (Annex) (21 Dec. 2001). Another incident involved the former UNHCR representative based in Accra B leading to a reorganization of that office and a thorough revision of its procedures. Joanne van Selm, Tamara Woroby, Erin Patrick, & Monica Matts, Feasibility of Resettlement in the European Union 12 (Migration Policy Institute 2003).

13 See Strengthening and Expanding Resettlement Today: Dilemmas, Challenges and Opportunities, UN Doc. EC/GC/02/7, para. 17 (25 Apr. 2002) (document prepared for 4th Meeting of the Global Consultations), reprinted in 22/2-3 Refugee Survey Quarterly 249, 254 (2003); UNHCR Resettlement Handbook, especially the revised Chapters 5 and 7 (July 2002). Other reforms implemented at that time are listed in UNHCR Receives Report on Nairobi Investigation (UNHCR press release, 25 Jan 2002), available at www.unhcr.ch.

14 Others reported that the resettlement system is sometimes subject to other forms of distortion, such as the use of resettlement spaces simply to move out persons who are persistent or annoying in demanding that UNHCR officers find them a durable solution. The Office's oversight procedures need to promote vigilance in guarding against simply giving resettlement to those who are the pushiest, rather than those most in need according to established criteria.

15 See, e.g., Commission on Immigration Reform, Legal Immigration: Setting Priorities 134-35 (1995).

16 See, e.g., Introduction, UNHCR's Projections of Resettlement Needs 2003, at 3 (March 2003); Introduction, UNHCR Projected Resettlement Needs 2004, at 3-4 (June 2003).

17 See generally John Frederiksson, Reinvigorating Resettlement: Changing Realities Demand Changed Approaches, 13 Forced Migration Rev. 28 (June 2002) (Special Issue on "September 11th: Has Anything Changed?").

18 See, e.g., Proposed Refugee Admissions and Allocations for Fiscal Year 1982: Report to the Congress II-1 - II-2 (Sept. 1981); U.S. Coordinator for Refugee Affairs, Proposed Refugee Admissions and Allocations for Fiscal Year 1987: Report to the Congress for Fiscal Year 1987, at 18 (Sept. 1986).

19 United States Department of State, Proposed Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 1995: Report to the Congress 19-21 (Sept. 1994).

20 See generally Kathleen Newland, U.S. Refugee Policy: Dilemmas and Directions 15-16 (1995).

21 See UNHCR Resettlement Handbook, Section 4.9 (July 2002).

22 The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, and later its organizational successor, the Department of Homeland Security, offered important support for the initiative, through the secondment of a highly experienced U.S. officer, a former director of International Affairs for INS, to help develop the group referral capacity.

23 See Report on the UNHCR P-2 Somali Bantu Verification Exercise in Dadaab (18 Feb. 2002). In commenting on the future of UNHCR group processing, this very thorough report commented that operational success will be "primarily dependent on the quality of registration information and the timeliness and the confidentiality of the execution of a particular resettlement activity." (Emphasis in original.)

24 See, e.g., Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme, Conclusion No. 95, paras. (q)-(s) (2003); NGO Statement on Resettlement (22-24 May 2002), Recommendation 4 (submitted in connection with the Global Consultations on International Protection), reprinted in 22/2-3 Refugee Survey Quarterly 433, 440 (2003). An important U.S. working group on fraud, involving participation by DHS, PRM and NGO representatives highlighted the importance of registration, stating in its first recommendation: "UNHCR should be encouraged to move quickly to improve refugee registration procedures. . . . The working group believes that this recommendation is the most important of all." Memorandum from Joseph D. Cuddihy to Kelly Ryan, et al., Recommendations Paper from Fraud Working Group (Aug. 11, 2003) (transmitting report of working group) (emphasis in original).

25 The Executive Committee adopted a comprehensive Conclusion on the subject of registration, which set forth key standards and led to Project Profile. Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme, Conclusion No. 91 (2001). See also Practical Aspects of Physical and Legal Protection with Regard to Registration, UN Doc EC/GC/01/6* (19 Feb. 2001) (document submitted in connection with the Global Consultations on International Protection), reprinted in 22/2-3 Refugee Survey Quarterly 70 (2003).

26 UNHCR Handbook for Registration: Procedures and Standards for Registration, Population Data Management and Documentation (provisional release, September 2003), available on the UNHCR website www.unhcr.ch.

27 Id. at 44.

28 Executive Committee Conclusion No. 91, supra note 25, para (d), is supportive of such a step. It "encourages States and UNHCR to introduce new techniques and tools to enhance the identification and documentation of refugees and asylum‑seekers, including biometrics features, and to share these with a view towards developing a more standardized worldwide registration system."


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