Iraq shares land borders with six countries: Turkey, Iran, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. As of late 2001, between one and two million Iraqis living outside Iraq were thought to have a well-founded fear of persecution if they returned.71 Of these, only about 300,000 had any formal recognition as refugees or asylum seekers, largely due to the failure of the governments hosting them to put in place refugee status determination procedures. Instead of providing for their needs, many of these host governments imposed hostile policies aimed at restricting refugee rights so as to deter additional Iraqis from entering their territories.
In the event of war, new refugee flows in the immediate vicinity of Iraq, a region which has hosted a large refugee population for many years,72 may overwhelm local authorities and agencies. The scale of flight is likely to be affected by the intensity of the conflict as well as by whether or not biological or chemical weapons are used. It is likely that a large number of refugees would seek to flee into Iran, a country that has traditionally been the most tolerant of their presence. Others might attempt the harrowing journey across the mountains into Turkey as happened during the Gulf War.73 Others, especially Sunni Muslim Arabs, might try to reach Syria, particularly if there are extended attacks on the Baghdad area and the predominantly Sunni Arab central provinces. Still others might try to reach Jordan, which has indicated that it will only admit refugees who are in transit to a third country, which is likely to be a small number.74 As noted above, U.N. agencies predicted in December 2003 that war could cause 900,000 Iraqis to become refugees.75
Human Rights Watch is concerned that the countries bordering Iraq are likely to maintain or further tighten policies that are hostile towards refugees. Instead of being allowed to enter villages or cities, refugees may be housed in camps near the border, where freedom of movement may be severely limited, where the civilian nature of the camps cannot be guaranteed, nor protection from cross-border attacks, and where humanitarian conditions are likely to be extremely difficult. Finally, Iraqi refugees living in urban areas may continue to experience the kinds of arbitrary arrests and detention, and restrictions on their ability to work and to access education that they have experienced for years.
Unlike most of the other countries neighboring Iraq, such as Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, Iran is party to the Refugee Convention.76 A government-run census in 2001 revealed that Iran hosted more refugees than any other government in the world: 2.56 million,77 of whom 2,355,000 were Afghans and 203,000 were Iraqis.78 This number likely excludes hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who were deported by Iraq to Iran during the 1980s, and refugees living in Iranian towns and cities without registering with UNHCR. In addition, thousands of Iranians remain internally displaced after the 1980-88 war with Iraq. The government of Iran has grown increasingly disenchanted over the years about hosting such a large refugee population in the face of minimal international interest, financial support, or burden sharing.
Over the past six months, Iran has sent mixed messages about whether it is willing to host a potential new influx of Iraqi refugees. On August 7, 2002, Iran announced that it would not provide protection to an influx of Iraqi refugees in its territory, and would set up camps for Iraqis inside Iraq.79 Two months later, deputy interior minister Ahmad Hosseini was unequivocal: “In the event of an American attack against Iraq, we will not authorize any Iraqi refugee to enter Iranian territory.”80 He also gave more details of the government’s plans: “We have plans for sixteen camps on the Iraqi side of no man’s land with room for 700,000 people.”81 Iran further indicated that it had sufficient food for only 50,000 refugees, which is one-third of the conservative estimate of 150,000 refugees that UNHCR asked Iran to prepare for.
In a welcome move away from this position, the government announced on November 9, 2002 that it would allow refugees to enter Iran’s border areas if they are in danger, but would not allow them to settle in cities.82 As of January 2003, Iran’s message remained ambiguous,83 but it still appeared that up to nineteen refugee camps would be set up inside Iran, within a few kilometers of the Iraqi border and mostly in central and southern Iran across the border from major Iraqi population centers. At the time of writing, preparatory work on the campsites was incomplete and it was unclear whether the sites would be located too close to the border to offer refugees sufficient protection. Iran is in consultation with international agencies and NGOs on the development of the sites.
Contrary to the government’s current preference for housing new refugees in camps, the vast majority of Iraqis in Iran live in urban areas: mostly in Shiraz, in the south, and in Qom, in central Iran. The preference for camps often makes refugees in cities (both new arrivals and those who have lived there for many years) extremely vulnerable to police abuse and discriminatory treatment. In fact, some policies curtailing refugees’ rights are already in place in Iran. In June 2001, restrictions on refugees’ access to employment were tightened even further, so that all refugees except those with old work permits were classed as illegal workers and thereby subject to expulsion under a law known as Article 48. A new policy of fining and imprisoning the employers of undocumented workers was also introduced. Many refugees were instantly fired from their jobs, and thereby also lost their homes and all entitlement to medical care. They had absolutely no access to state social security or any other safety net. Although it was decreed that even undocumented children would be permitted to attend school, many local authorities continued to deny refugee children entrance to public schools and forcibly closed down those organized by refugees themselves.84 In short, many Iraqi refugees were systemically denied the means to subsist in Iran by Iranian law.
In 2001 the government of Iran undertook a costly and logistically complex registration exercise with the assistance of UNHCR, during which millions of refugees obtained a “registration slip” recognizing their status as refugees in Iran. At the time of writing, it was doubtful whether potential new arrivals to Iran would have access to similar documentation.
Turkey has insisted it will keep its borders closed to new flows of Iraqi refugees. Turkey, a country with its own chronic economic problems, has (like Iran) repeatedly had to shoulder a heavy financial burden to meet refugee crises arising from its neighbors. For four years after 1988, following the Iraqi government’s chemical weapons attacks on Halabja and Badinan in northern Iraq, Turkey provided shelter for 60,000 Iraqi refugees. Turkish civil society responded with concern and urgency to the influx in 1991 sending material assistance to the crisis region.
As of the end of 2001, Turkey was host to only 565 recognized refugees from Iraq,85 although 7,700 people, many of them Iraqis, are considered “persons of concern” to UNHCR.86 These numbers are likely not representative of the number of Iraqis in Turkey with a well-founded fear of persecution, since many feared rejection of their claims and therefore did not present themselves to the authorities. Turkey does not offer asylum seekers a reliable system of determination and protection. Under Turkey’s geographical reservation to the Refugee Convention, non-European asylum seekers must register with the police who carry out an assessment to determine whether they are asylum seekers rather than migrants. Individuals must register their claims within ten days of arriving in Turkey, and the process does not include the minimum safeguards required by international law for fair and accurate refugee determination. Those who pass the assessment are referred to UNHCR which carries out a further determination process to establish whether or not the person is a refugee. Those who pass this test wait in Turkey for eventual resettlement to a third country.
Turkish police and military are particularly rigorous in apprehending, detaining, and deporting asylum seekers and other migrants at the borders. In fact, Turkish authorities reported apprehending and detaining more than 13,000 people attempting to enter Turkey from Iraq in the first ten months of 2002.87 Asylum seekers have difficulty crossing into Turkey at unofficial crossing points since the border is marked by barbed wire, watchtowers, and potentially lethal minefields.88 In addition, Turkish police conduct periodic raids in immigrant neighborhoods in cities and towns, arresting and eventually deporting the asylum seekers and refugees together with other foreigners. Through these and other measures, Turkey forcibly returned seventy-eight Iraqis in 2001 to northern Iraq, as reported by the U.S. Committee for Refugees. Many of these individuals were believed to possess a well-founded fear of persecution in Iraq since they had already registered with UNHCR.89 Therefore, their returns likely violated Turkey’s obligation of nonrefoulement.
As described above, Turkey has been particularly vociferous about its fears that large numbers of Iraqi refugees will attempt to enter its territory in the event of war in Iraq. On November 23, 2002 the government of Turkey revealed a plan to send troops into northern Iraq in order to set up twelve camps for displaced persons inside Iraqi territory. Only if these camps became full would the Turkish authorities consider allowing some Iraqis to cross the border to five camps set up inside Turkey. When announcing this plan, Turkey explained that its main goal would be “to send foreigners settled in the camps either back to their region of origin or to third countries.”90 This official position of hostility towards the presence of Iraqi refugees in Turkey and clear desire to make any refugee’s stay constrained and temporary, raises serious concerns about the potential for refoulement and other human rights abuses perpetrated against Iraqi refugees at the hands of Turkish authorities, particularly at the border with Iraq. Although Turkey’s willingness to consider opening five camps on Turkish soil is a positive sign, it must be backed up with a clear expression of Turkish readiness to open the border should Iraqis need to enter Turkey in order to escape a humanitarian emergency or military attack.
Jordan hosts between 250,000 and 300,000 Iraqis,91 although the number could be much higher since Iraqis in Jordan doubt the benefits of registering with UNHCR and therefore often fail to do so. Approximately 5,000 refugees are registered with UNHCR, awaiting resettlement to another safe country.92 In accordance with an agreement signed between UNHCR and Jordan in April 1998, refugees are granted temporary asylum for a maximum period of six months, after which they become illegal aliens, subject to daily fines and at risk of return to Iraq.93 The de facto presence of refugees waiting for resettlement is tolerated by the authorities pending their departure, although they have no permission to work and they are subject to “regular. . .round ups”94 and instances of refoulement. Kuwait hosted 15,000 Iraqi refugees in 2001.95 Some 5,200 Iraqi refugees are housed in the Rafha camp in Saudi Arabia.96 Syria, meanwhile, has over 1,700 recognized refugees registered with UNHCR, awaiting resettlement.97 Refugees in Syria are allowed to remain for a period of nine months,98 but have no permission to remain thereafter. The U.S. Committee for Refugees estimates that there are 40,000 Iraqis in Syria who remain undocumented and are not formally recognized or protected as refugees.99
The governments of Jordan, Kuwait, Syria, and Saudi Arabia are not parties to the Refugee Convention nor do they have domestic laws that specifically protect refugees.100 All four governments have policies ranging from benign neglect to open hostility towards refugees present in their territories. Kuwait in particular is known to be hostile to Iraqi refugees because they are often suspected of past collaboration with the Saddam Hussein government during the Gulf War.101 At the same time, however, Kuwait signed and its National Assembly ratified an agreement with UNHCR in 1996 recognizing that organization’s mandate to protect refugees.
Access to protection by means of UNHCR status determination and resettlement can be highly problematic in Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Although Saudi Arabia provides health care, air conditioning, and primary and secondary schooling in the Rafha camp, it remains a prison-like camp located in a highly militarized zone.102 The Iraqis live in isolation, with only occasional access to the nearby town, according to UNHCR.103 Dozens of Iraqi refugees held at this camp in Saudi Arabia since the Gulf War went on a hunger strike in July 2001 to draw attention to their plight.104 A program to resettle the refugees in third countries was broken off in 1997, due to what is perceived as lack of interest from the international community, and subsequent initiatives have also failed.105 As of October 2002 the Saudi government has agreed to allow 2,000 Iraqis to settle permanently in Saudi Arabia, on condition that the remaining 3,200 are given permanent status in other countries.106
In Jordan and Syria, where accessing UNHCR offices is difficult, many refugees who would have valid claims under the Refugee Convention do not register with the agency. Corruption makes some of these undocumented refugees vulnerable to harassment and extortion by the Jordanian and Syrian police if they wish to avoid arrest, detention and possible refoulement. Although the Syrian government denies forcibly repatriating refugees, there were reports that an undetermined number of Iraqis were expelled to northern Iraq in 1999 and that several hundred were summarily returned in December 2001.107 Police harassment and refoulement of Iraqi refugees also occurs in Jordan. Such actions intimidate other refugees from coming forward to register.
The international community is obliged to assist Iraq’s neighbors to meet the humanitarian needs of large refugee influxes. The Preamble to the Refugee Convention underlines the “unduly heavy burdens” that sheltering refugees may place on certain countries, and states “that a satisfactory solution of a problem of which the United Nations has recognized the international scope and nature cannot therefore be achieved without international cooperation.” Numerous ExCom Conclusions also reiterate the need for international responsibility sharing to assist host countries in coping with large refugee influxes.108
The international community has a responsibility to assist countries neighboring Iraq to cope with mass influxes of refugees and to provide longer-term solutions to their plight. Not only should donor countries provide all countries hosting refugees with financial and logistical assistance, but all industrialized governments should also be prepared to accept Iraqi asylum seekers who arrive in their territories and provide protection to Iraqi refugees under emergency resettlement schemes. Clear undertakings for substantial support should be made at an early stage in order that countries bordering Iraq are given confidence to plan positive action to meet contingencies rather than developing a cautionary policy of avoiding responsibility by keeping their borders closed.
Sending refugees back to an unsafe place (refoulement)
The right of refugees not to be returned to a country where their lives or freedom are threatened (the principle of nonrefoulement) is the cornerstone of international refugee protection. The principle of nonrefoulement is enshrined in Article 33 of the Refugee Convention as well as being a fundamental principle of international customary law. Article 33 (1) of the Refugee Convention states that:
No Contracting State shall expel or return ("refouler") a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.
If countries neighboring Iraq should in fact push Iraqi refugees back at the border, thereby returning them to a country where their lives are seriously at risk, these governments would violate their obligations of nonrefoulement. Iran and Turkey are parties to the Refugee Convention and its 1967 protocol. However, as noted above, Turkey has maintained a geographical limitation to its Convention obligations, pursuant to which it recognizes as refugees only individuals fleeing “events occurring in Europe before 1 January 1951.” Although Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Syria are not signatories to the Convention, the obligation of nonrefoulement is now a generally accepted principle of customary international law,109 and so is binding on these states, as well as Turkey despite its geographical limitation.
Because Turkey has announced its opposition to Iraqi refugees crossing its border, Human Rights Watch is concerned that border authorities there or elsewhere may use force unlawfully against refugees. Border checkpoints during armed conflicts are potential areas of generalized insecurity and violence, but force may not ever be used to deny entry to persons seeking asylum or protection from refoulement.
Under the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials (the “Code of Conduct”) 110 and the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials (the “Basic Principles”),111 law enforcement officials may use force only when strictly necessary and to the extent required for the performance of their duty. Border officials should, as far as possible, use non-violent means before resorting to the use of force.112 Any use of force must be proportional to the threat posed, and law enforcement officials must minimize injury and threat to human life, and they must ensure that medical care reaches any injured persons as soon as possible.113
Some of the governments neighboring Iraq have cited security rationales for their desire to build refugee camps at, or very near the border. However, it is not evident why locating camps in places within easy reach of armed groups or cross-border raids reduces security concerns. Governments can often better ensure the civilian character of refugee camps by locating them a safe distance from the border of the country of origin in order to prevent military incursions and the use of the camps as a base for military activities. Adequate policing of refugee camps and settlements must be provided to prevent infiltration and abusive attacks by armed elements. The Refugee Convention, UNHCR policies and guidelines, and ExCom114 Conclusions have emphasized the importance of maintaining humanitarian and civilian nature of asylum and refugee camps.
In situations, such as a potential Iraq refugee crisis, where armed individuals and those who have not genuinely and permanently renounced their military activities may be mixed with civilian refugee populations, refugees should be screened on arrival in the country of asylum to identify and disarm armed elements and to separate them from the rest of the refugees.115 Screening should take place according to clearly defined criteria and with international monitoring to guarantee that international protection is provided to those in need.116 UNHCR stipulates that once separated and disarmed, fighters should be interned at a safe location away from the border, or otherwise prevented from continuing their armed activities or endangering the refugee population. The basic needs of those confined should be met and they should be protected from forcible return to their own country under international refugee law.
It should be noted that the separation of armed elements is a practical measure to ensure the civilian and humanitarian nature of refugee camps and is not the same as exclusion from international protection under the Refugee Convention. If there are serious reasons for considering that an individual seeking asylum committed serious human rights abuses,117 that individual may be excluded from refugee protection in a fair individualized legal proceeding with full due process protections and high evidentiary standards (a full discussion of these standards is beyond the scope of this paper). A government or an international tribunal could also prosecute such individuals in accordance with standards of international criminal law. In addition, international refugee law allows for the screening of individuals who may pose a threat to national security. Even if an individual has been excluded from refugee status, he or she still should not be sent to a place where there are substantial grounds for believing he or she will be in danger of being subjected to torture (see Convention against Torture, Art. 3).118 Persons should not be excluded from refugee protection solely on the grounds of their race, nationality, ethnic origin, political, or religious beliefs.
Since many of the refugees hosted by Iraq’s neighbors are already living in cities, and since new arrivals may also attempt to do so, particular attention must be paid to the human rights of these refugees. During the emergency phase of a large refugee influx, governments may require newly arriving refugees to reside in camps located a safe distance from the border, where humanitarian relief may be more easily distributed and where security can be better guaranteed. To the extent feasible soon thereafter, newly arriving refugees should be able to live in cities or towns, close to relatives or communities of support. They should also be afforded access to assistance and to the offices of UNHCR.
Even during the emergency phase, policies that require refugees to reside in camps may be interpreted by local law enforcement officials as a justification for arbitrary arrests and detentions of refugees already living in urban areas. In addition, law enforcement personnel or employers may prey on refugees by extorting bribes or forced labor. These abuses may remain unaddressed and hidden when refugees’ very presence in urban areas is considered “illegitimate” in a particular country.
Such abuses cannot be justified by a perception of “illegitimacy.” First, the human rights of refugees do not vary based on where within a particular country they choose to live. Second, refugees have freedom of movement rights under international law, which allow them to reside in urban areas, and which can only be limited as necessary to address security concerns.119 Limits on freedom of movement must be enacted in domestic law, so that any security concerns faced by host governments are identified and any limits placed on freedom of movement are carefully tailored to address those concerns. UNHCR’s ExCom has encouraged states “to intensify their efforts to protect the rights of refugees. . .to avoid unnecessary and severe curtailment of their freedom of movement.”120
Women and children will be especially affected by a humanitarian crisis resulting from armed conflict in Iraq. Host and donor countries, and U.N. and humanitarian agencies must pay particular attention to the protection needs of refugee women and children. These include protection against physical, sexual, and domestic violence and abuse; full and unimpeded access to appropriate assistance, including access to food, shelter, water, health care, including reproductive health care, and education for children; and full participation in decision-making and the planning and implementation of protection and assistance programs.
All measures pertaining to refugee women and children should be fully in accordance with the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Governments and U.N. agencies should also comply with the 1991 UNHCR Guidelines on the Protection of Refugee Women (Guidelines Refugee Women), the 1995 UNHCR guidelines on prevention and response to sexual violence against refugees (Guidelines Sexual Violence)121 and the 1994 UNHCR guidelines on protection and care of refugee children (Guidelines Refugee Children). Numerous ExCom Conclusions also provide guidance to states on the protection of refugee women and children.122
71 See U.S. Committee for Refugees, World Refugee Survey, 2002
72 In addition to Iraqi refugees already living in these countries, they each host refugees from other nationalities as well. For example, Iran hosted 1.4 million refugees from Afghanistan in 2001, Jordan hosted 1.6 million Palestinian refugees, Kuwait hosted 800,000 Palestinian refugees, Saudi Arabia hosted 240,000 Palestinian refugees, and Syria hosted 400,000 Palestinian refugees. See UNHCR Statistical Yearbook 2001, October 2002, p. 92-95. See also UNRWA in Figures, June 30, 2002, available at www.un.org/unrwa/pr/pdf/uif-june02.pdf.
73 In contrast to the difficult conditions encountered by refugees on mountain roads in 1991, humanitarian agencies report that the roads in the region are in very good condition, which would better facilitate the flight of refugees and access for humanitarian services. However, the capacity for road clearance in the winter is unknown. See “Food Issues of Iraq,” Center for Humanitarian Cooperation, available at http://cooperationcenter.org/library5.as.
74 See “Aid Groups Get Ready for War, Nearby Nations Expect Flood of Refugees,” Atlanta Journal and Constitution, December 23, 2002 (stating that the government of Jordan “announced it will admit only those going through Jordan to a third country, not people who have nowhere else to go.”). See also Mark McDonald, International News, Knight Ridder Washington Bureau, December 19, 2002 (quoting Mohammad Adwan, Jordan’s Minister of State for Political Affairs and Information stating that “his government ‘won’t allow huge floods of refugees. We simply can’t absorb them.’”).
75 See United Nations, “Likely Humanitarian Scenarios,” December 10, 2002 para. 11, available at http://www.casi.org.uk/ info/undocs/war021210.pdf.
76 Iran ratified the Refugee Convention on July 28, 1976. See also footnote 70, above, explaining that Turkey is also party to the Refugee Convention, but with a geographical limitation.
77 See UNHCR, Global Report 2001, p. 284.
78 See U.S. Committee for Refugees, World Refugee Survey 2002, p. 167. In January 2003, the government of Iran announced that 470,000 Afghans returned home in the previous ten months, leaving almost 2.1 million refugees in total in Iran. See “470,000 Afghans have returned home from Iran,” Agence France-Presse, January 26, 2003.
79 See “Iran readies for influx of refugees ahead of U.S. strike on Baghdad,” The Independent, August 7, 2002.
80 “Camps for 700,000 refugees, on Iraqi side of the border,” Agence France-Presse, October 15, 2002.
82 See “Iran Says It’ll Accept Iraq Refugees,” Associated Press, November 9, 2002.
83 See “Iran Ready to Shelter More Iraqis,” BBC Worldwide Monitoring, January 1, 2003 (quoting Iranian government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh, “in case a number of Iraqi nationals require Iran’s humanitarian assistance, we would take actions to host them under U.N. supervision beyond the border.”); “Iran Prepares for 200,000 Refugees from Iraq in Ten Camps,” Agence France-Presse, January 26, 2003 (noting that the “Islamic Republic [of Iran] was holding talks with Iraqi officials to help them set up refugee camps within Iraq.”) (emphasis added); “Iran Ready to Accept up to 200,000 Iraqi Refugees in Case of War,” Itar-Tass, January 26, 2003 (stating that “Iranian Deputy Interior Minister Ahmad Hosseini said that his country’s closed door policy does not change, but Iran will assign 10 camps in its border provinces to Iraqi refugees on humanitarian grounds if their lives are really in danger”) (emphasis added).
84 These school closures violated Articles 28 and 29 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, G.A. Res. 44/25, 44 U.N. GAOR, Supp. No. 49, U.N. Doc. A/44/49, 1989, entered into force September 2, 1990.
85 U.S. Committee for Refugees, World Refugee Survey, 2002.
86 See Statistical Yearbook 2001, UNHCR, October 2002, p. 83.
87 See “Turkey planning mission to head off Iraq refugees,” Chicago Tribune, November 24, 2002
88 See “Twelve Years Later, Turkey Braces for Another Wave of Iraqi Refugees,” Copley News Service, December 16, 2002.
89 U.S. Committee for Refugees, World Refugee Survey, 2002, p. 251
90 Dexter Filkins, “Turks, Fearing Flow of Refugees, Plan Move Into Iraq,” New York Times, November 23, 2002 (citing regional governor of southeastern Iraq).
91 Correspondence from UNHCR Branch Office Jordan, December 3, 2002 (on file with Human Rights Watch).
93 See Géraldine Chatelard, “Iraqi Forced Migrants in Jordan: Conditions, Religious Networks, and the Smuggling Process” September 2002 (on file with Human Rights Watch).
95 See U.S. Committee for Refugees, World Refugee Survey 2002. UNHCR only counted 300 Iraqis in Kuwait in 2001. See UNHCR Statistical Yearbook 2001, October 2002, p. 92.
96 See UNHCR, Statistical Yearbook 2001, October 2002, p. 92.
97 See UNHCR, Statistical Yearbook 2001, October 2002, p. 92.
98 Correspondence from UNHCR, December 3, 2002 (on file with Human Rights Watch).
99 See U.S. Committee for Refugees, World Refugee Survey, 2002.
100 Jordan does have a few provisions in its Constitution that recognize the existence of “political refugees.”
101 U.S. Committee for Refugees, World Refugee Survey 2002, p. 178.
102 See U.S. Committee for Refugees, World Refugee Survey 2002, p. 182.
103 UNHCR Briefing Notes, October 15, 2002.
104 See “Iraqi refugees go on hunger strike in Saudi camp,” Agence France-Presse, July 2, 2001.
106 See “Lubbers Impressed by Saudi Efforts to Rehabilitate Iraqi Refugees,” Saudi Press Agency, October 17, 2002.
107 See U.S. Committee for Refugees, World Refugee Survey 2002.
108 Between 1979 and 2000, the ExCom passed fourteen Conclusions citing the need for international responsibility-sharing to assist host countries to cope with mass influxes of refugees. The Conclusions also stipulate the fundamental obligation of first countries of asylum to keep their borders open to refugees and to provide them with full refugee protection on at least a temporary basis, while being assisted in meeting that obligation with financial assistance from other governments.
109 See footnote 51, above.
110 Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, G.A. Res. 34/169, December 17, 1979, article 3.
111 Adopted by the Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, Havana, Cuba, 27 August to 7 September 1990.
112 See Basic Principles, Article 4.
113 See Basic Principles, Article 5.
114 For a description of ExCom, see footnote 2, above.
115 See “Civilian and Humanitarian Character of Asylum,” ExCom Conclusion No. 94, 2002.
116 See “Safeguarding Asylum,” ExCom Conclusion No. 82, 1997.
117 There are three grounds upon which an individual may be excluded from refugee status: “The provisions of this Convention shall not apply to any person with respect to whom there are serious reasons for considering that: (a) He has committed a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity, as defined in the international instruments drawn up to make provision in respect of such crimes; (b) He has committed a serious non-political crime outside the country of refuge prior to his admission to that country as a refugee; (c) He has been guilty of acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.” See 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, Chapter I, Article 1F.
118 Under the European Convention on Human Rights, no one should be sent to a place where he or she will be subjected to torture, or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (article 3).
119 See text accompanying footnote 42, above.
120 See ExCom General Conclusion on International Protection No. 65 (1991) at (c).
121 As of January 2003 the UNHCR Guidelines on the Prevention and Response to Sexual and Gender Based Violence had been revised and field testing was complete. The agency was undergoing subsequent revisions in order to incorporate the results from the field testing.