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Resettlement Fulfills the Responsibility to Protect Refugees

Resettlement allows refugees whose lives are under threat in either Kenya or Uganda to reach a third country of safety. It can literally mean the difference between life and death. Governments and UNHCR have recognized this life-saving quality of resettlement on numerous occasions.71

Facilitating the resettlement of refugees from a country of first asylum where their lives are at risk is the responsibility of both UNHCR and the international community. Under its Statute, UNHCR is mandated to facilitate the resettlement of refugees as one of the three permanent solutions72 to refugee situations. However, UNHCR cannot resettle refugees without the cooperation of other governments to take them in. The obligation of international cooperation stated in the preamble to the Refugee Convention is the basis upon which industrialized governments have accepted refugees for resettlement. In addition, refugee resettlement is often viewed as an important aspect of international responsibility sharing for the world's refugees. On several occasions UNHCR's ExCom has emphasized the importance of "[a]ctions with a view to burden-sharing... directed towards facilitating... resettlement possibilities in third countries."73 When resettlement becomes the only viable "solution" for a particular refugee, the obligation on UNHCR and the international community rises in importance to become almost mandatory.

Unfortunately, given its crucial protection function, resettlement is only available to very small numbers of refugees each year. As a result, it addresses the protection problems of only a small fraction of the world's refugees. In 2001, the United States planned to resettle 70,000 refugees, with 20,000 coming from Africa-a continent with well over 3,000,000 refugees.74 The U.S. resettlement numbers are usually higher than all the other resettlement countries-including Australia, Canada, and Norway-combined.75 Although most governments choose not to participate in resettlement at all, eighteen governments do offer annual resettlement places.76

The Process of Obtaining Resettlement cAsylum seekers in either Nairobi or Kampala must first be recognized as refugees through UNHCR-run, or government-run individualized procedures before they can be considered for a resettlement referral. Refugees living in camps are also considered for referrals, although camp-based refugees are often resettled on a group basis. For example, the U.S. is currently resettling Somali Bantu refugees from Kenya's camps. These refugees have not been chosen for individualized reasons (such as problems with security), but rather simply by virtue of being members in a group selected for resettlement by the U.S. government.

Once an individual living in an urban area has been recognized as a refugee, he or she may raise the need for resettlement with UNHCR, or in the case of Uganda, with OPM, which in turn can ask UNHCR to consider the individual for resettlement. UNHCR is also expected to identify resettlement cases of its own volition, without completely relying on refugees to self-identify. The role played by UNHCR is crucial to the process.77 UNHCR identifies resettlement referrals according to criteria established in its Resettlement Handbook. A threshold inquiry is whether the refugee is vulnerable in the country of asylum. If he or she is found to be vulnerable, then referrals may be made for refugees with one of eight characteristics: legal and physical protection needs, survivors of violence and torture, medical needs, women-at-risk, family reunification, children and adolescents, elderly refugees and refugees without local integration prospects.78 UNHCR then refers the potential case for resettlement to one of several resettlement governments. At both UNHCR and government levels, the process of reviewing cases for resettlement is very rigorous - only a tiny subset of the total number of refugees are ever resettled.

Once they are in receipt of a resettlement referral from UNHCR, resettlement governments have a great deal of flexibility in setting up their programs. For example, the United States accepts refugees for resettlement on the basis of five processing priorities, ranging from priority one to priority five. Priority one covers cases that have been referred by UNHCR or identified by the U.S. embassy as individuals who are: facing compelling security concerns in the first country of asylum; in danger of refoulement; in danger of armed attack or physical violence; facing persecution as a result of political, religious, or human rights activities; women at risk; victims of torture or violence; physically or mentally disabled; in need of urgent medical care that could not be given in the country of asylum; and those individuals who do not have any other feasible "durable solution" options. Priority two offers places for refugees from particular countries of origin identified by the U.S. State Department. The Somali Bantu refugees, mentioned earlier, were one example of a priority two group. Priority three, four, and five are for family members of non-citizens legally present in the United States.79

Problems Plaguing Resettlement in East Africa

    Continuing Problems in Nairobi: The Aftermath of the UNHCR Corruption Scandal

In 1999, evidence came to light that a criminal ring, including some UNHCR staff, had infiltrated UNHCR's office and corrupted its work on status determinations and referrals to resettlement. UNHCR asked the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) to investigate the allegations of corruption in October 2000. The report was published in December 2001. The investigations revealed that refugees had to bribe UNHCR staff between Ksh.50 and Ksh.100 (U.S.$0.60 - U.S.$1.28) to access the offices.80 Later, refugees who wanted resettlement to a third country were asked to pay bribes ranging from U.S.$1,500 to $6,000 per refugee.81 The criminal ring would arrange to substitute individuals, some of whom were not deserving of resettlement, in the place of deserving refugees.82 In other cases, deserving refugees would have false "family members" added to their files.83

The criminal ring, involving more than seventy persons, established itself under a UNHCR "management structure" that allowed those "tempted to enrich themselves [to] do so with virtual impunity."84 At the same time, press accounts recognized that criminals were able to flourish because status determinations and referrals to resettlement were handled so poorly by UNHCR and were so fraught with delays that desperate persons had only one way out-bribery.85 Nine people, including three UNHCR staff members were arrested and charged with seventy-eight violations of Kenya's criminal laws in the spring of 2002.

In April 2002, Human Rights Watch discovered that serious protection problems stemming from the corruption scandal continued to reverberate throughout Nairobi's refugee community, particularly among asylum seekers and refugees whose files had been processed by one of the corrupt UNHCR officials.

As a result of the corruption scandal in the Nairobi office, which was previously handling all resettlement referrals from East Africa,86 UNHCR in Nairobi froze all regular resettlement referrals starting from 2001, although urgent referrals continued.87 Given the freeze, UNHCR failed to fulfill its core protection mandate function of referring cases for resettlement. This constitutes a serious failure to perform the tasks entrusted to the agency by governments.88 More importantly, it is putting refugees lives at risk.

    The Presumption of "Tainted" Files

One group of refugees interviewed by Human Rights Watch had their files rejected for refusing to cooperate with corrupt officials and were continuing to experience difficulties with their appeals. Refugees caught in this dilemma have spent years trying to remove the "taint" from their status claims. Many have lost all faith in the integrity of the UNHCR system. For example, Chaltu S., a woman refugee who was well known in Ethiopia as an artist and supporter of Oromo rights, fled after police harassed and detained her and her husband in Ethiopia. She arrived in Nairobi on August 29, 2000 and registered with UNHCR on August 30, 2000. She was finally seen by UNHCR on December 4, 2000. Chaltu S. said:

I was rejected by an officer called Peter. I received the rejection letter on December 18, 2000. During the interview that officer asked me to add two more people to my case as my family so they could get their case assessed with mine. This would bring money to Peter and the translator told me that I could get money too. When I refused to add any additional people, they rejected me.

Then I appealed to KHRC [the Kenyan Human Rights Commission] and RCK and to the Home Affairs office in Kenya. I was finally given a mandate in March 2001. But the mandate is for Kakuma.... When I go to HCR I have to wait a whole day. And the corruption is still there. It is like a virus, it is transmitted to every new officer who works there.89

Many refugees were frustrated that individuals who had bribed UNHCR officials, some of whom may not have even qualified for refugee status, let alone resettlement, had received prompt attention to their claims, whereas those who had resisted the corruption were still waiting for their cases to be processed. For example, Ibrahim H., a fifty-five year old Ethiopian man from the Bale Region of Ethiopia told a Human Rights Watch researcher:

Those people who participated in the corruption have left. We are the people who have nothing. All this is done by UNHCR. My case is frozen by UNHCR. There are a lot of people who are like me.... Those people who were working properly have left. These days there is no-one there who is working properly. The money UNHCR is getting is in the name of the refugees. But, they are using the money of the refugees for themselves. They are eating three meals a day, while we eat only one. I am not a false refugee. But the true refugee is not assisted by UNHCR. I have had only God's assistance, but none from human beings. 90

    Egregious Delays in Reviewing the "Backlogged" Files

Another group of 3,500 refugees had been waiting in legal limbo since 2001, while UNHCR attempted to put staff in place to re-examine all of their files. As of October 2002, only 225 cases had undergone a thorough eligibility interview and fifty of these cases were referred to resettlement.91 UNHCR admitted that these "backlogged files" were still a serious problem, "The departure of the second protection officer was a major problem."92 A senior U.S. resettlement official explained how many people destined for the U.S. were caught in the backlog:

The [U.S.] backlog involves about 180-200 cases, each case is a family so it could involve close to 1,000 individuals.... [They] are still on hold because of their association with the corrupt JPO [Junior Protection Officer]. These cases need to be vetted. Some people need resettlement and without it don't have a way to get on with their lives.93

Ibrahim H's case, introduced above, is illustrative of the plight of other refugees who have been caught in limbo because of UNHCR's inability to thoroughly vet backlogged files. Ibrahim was imprisoned in Addis Ababa during the Derg94 from 1981 to 1982. He was jailed for approximately six months during 1992-1993. Since he was an outspoken supporter of Oromo rights, Ibrahim was jailed again in Goba for the first six months of 1996, and then transferred and held for a year and a half in Addis Ababa Central Police Station. He had been tortured repeatedly during his detention:

They tortured me and beat me and put my genitals in cold water. One day they forced me to dig a hole in the ground. I dug a big hole and then they shouted at me that that was where they would put my body after they killed me. I am existing now just because of God.95

Ibrahim arrived in Nairobi in 1999 where he was followed by security agents and arrested by Kenyan police, whom he believed were cooperating with the Ethiopian government. He was first referred to the camps, but because of security problems he remained in Nairobi and was referred for resettlement. However, his file was processed by one of the corrupt UNHCR officials. Therefore, his approval subsequently was revoked by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). He explained,

I received a notice to go to Westlands [UNHCR's office] on August 29, 2001. I was then asked to go there on September 8, 2001 and I was told my case would be cleared in one month. On September 29, 2001 I had to go back to UNHCR because I received a letter indicating that INS had revoked the conditional approval of my status. On October 26, 2001 I received the letter indicating that UNHCR would reconsider my case.... And up until now there is no solution for my case [Ibrahim has not yet traveled to the United States]. The man who should be assisted is not getting any assistance.... It is not possible to see [UNHCR protection staff]. It is not at all possible. If this is the case, to whom am I to tell my problems?96

Asad N. was born in Somalia in 1980 and fled after both of his parents were killed in 1991. Without family or close clan members to care for him, he told Human Rights Watch how he often felt marginalized within the camps he lived in. Since he was without close family relations and was from a minority tribe, his case was particularly well-suited for resettlement. A UNHCR field officer eventually recognized the urgency of his case, and he was referred for resettlement from Dadaab camp. Asad explained the labyrinthine processes he had endured, only to end up as one of the cases in the "backlog," without any result:

On February 11, 1999 the resettlement officers came to the [Dadaab] camp. They fixed names to the board. They put my name there. I was allowed to fill in the resettlement form. I stayed waiting until the end of the year. The field officer told me that my case was in Nairobi. Then on January 21, 2000 they came for a group of Sudanese. They said, "your form was lost and we will give you another one." I filled in that new form in January [2000]. On August 10, 2000 my name was on the board again and UNHCR was running the interviews. They told me that they had reached the number of people they needed to talk to and they didn't have room for me again.

I waited until December 5, 2000 when I finally was allowed to do a screening interview with JVA [Joint Voluntary Agency - initial screening agency for U.S. resettlement]. On February 7, 2001 I had an appointment to see the INS. INS gave me a letter saying that my case was conditionally approved [under section 207(a)]. Then, I did a medical orientation and a cultural orientation session. On March 13, 2001 I did the first medical check, and then they sent me back to the [Dadaab] camp.

On September 6, 2001 in Dadaab I was given a travel document to go to Nairobi to do an interview with the INS. The INS asked me three or four questions about whether I had paid money or was involved in corruption. I answered their questions. Then, on September 8, 2001 I received a "notice of revocation" of my conditional approval. This was for cases they thought were involved in the corruption, but I was not!

Then, UNHCR said they wanted to send me back to the camp. It turns out that the resettlement officer who worked on my case was called Joseph and he was corrupt.97

As of April 2002, Asad N. had received no update on his case from UNHCR or the United States government.


The corruption scandal has caused serious problems in establishing an efficient and life-saving resettlement system for refugees in East Africa. Refugees in urgent need of resettlement have been waiting under risky conditions while the "taint" of the corruption continues to hamper the processing of their files.

UNHCR has always experienced difficulties in referring as many cases for resettlement as governments have requested from the agency.98 Since the corruption scandal, UNHCR has completely frozen all regular resettlement referrals from its Nairobi office, although a very small number of urgent referrals have continued. Given the freeze, some embassies are looking for other ways to fill their resettlement quotas-and some of these adaptations may be improvements on the old system. NGOs are increasingly being used to fill the vacuum left behind by UNHCR. Referrals are also still being sent from UNHCR offices in other countries, such as Uganda. At the same time, however, this use of NGOs can easily constitute an improper delegation of UNHCR's core responsibility for resettlement referrals, discussed above. Most importantly, such measures cannot substitute for UNHCR's resumption of its core responsibility for resettlement referrals in Kenya.

Kampala: Inadequate Resettlement Referrals for Prima Facie Refugees

As was described previously, Uganda, in conformity with the OAU Refugee Convention,99 has recognized as prima facie refugees persons fleeing civil war in Sudan and other serious disturbances to the public order. However, because prima facie refugees are provided refugee protection without having their cases individually assessed, and instead are simply located as a group in camps, their individual security and protection needs are less likely to be addressed. As a result, they are less likely to have their cases considered for resettlement than refugees from other countries of origin who are able to access UNHCR and/or governmental status determination processes.

A governmental or UNHCR policy to afford lesser rights or protections to one group of refugees than another violates the principle of non-discrimination provided for in Article 3 of the Refugee Convention, which states, "The Contracting States shall apply the provisions of this Convention to refugees without discrimination as to... country of origin." Therefore, an individual refugee coming from a place such as Somalia or Sudan, who will automatically fulfill the requirements of the OAU Refugee Convention, must have the same opportunity to claim status under the Refugee Convention.100 This is important because in both Kenya and Uganda only refugees fulfilling the Refugee Convention definition are considered for resettlement.

In Nairobi, the UNHCR office recognized the problematic discrepancy caused by the prima facie policy when the new senior protection officer arrived in November 2000. Protection staff were instructed to consider individual claims from Somali and Sudanese refugees. Apparently missing the point of the change in policy, a former UNHCR employee told a Human Rights Watch researcher, "When [the SPO] came he added eligibility interviews for Somalis and Sudanese, but this is a waste of time because these were prima facie cases."101

However, in Kampala, the policy had not changed at this writing. The only way a prima facie refugee can have his or her case assessed for status or resettlement is if he or she "self-identifies."102 A senior UNHCR official implied that this policy was arbitrary when he told a Human Rights Watch researcher that "the REC['s] . . .work is very `ad hoc' . . . They give prima facie status to Sudanese, but Rwandese and Congolese have their individual cases assessed."103

Sudanese refugees are the only group required by Ugandan administrative policy to register their security concerns and claims for resettlement with camp commandants. Therefore, all Sudanese refugees must convince camp commandants that their claims are legitimate in order to obtain a referral slip to undergo status determinations in Kampala. Given the infiltration and power of the SPLA in the camps in Uganda, refugees were understandably reluctant to say that they wanted to leave due to opposition to or fear of the SPLA, much less to voice a need for resettlement on these grounds.

At the same time, Sudanese refugees who try to access status determinations in Kampala without referral slips are constantly being sent back to the camps.104 This policy was made very clear in a public notice posted at InterAid's offices on February 7, 2001. The notice was posted around the time that many Sudanese refugees were trying to move to Kyangwali camp, because of rumors that resettlement could be obtained there. The notice (which is reproduced in full in Annex C) stated:

The Government of Uganda has designated settlements in the North of the country for Sudanese refugees.... Asylum seekers with particular or specific protection needs should address their concerns to Offices in the Field before proceeding to Kampala.... UNHCR Kampala would not carry [sic] interviews for Sudanese entering the country through any of the border points in the North unless asylum [seekers] are referred to Kampala by our Offices. UNHCR would not facilitate transport of such asylum seekers back to settlements in the North.105

Some government officials recognized that Sudanese should be able to access the status determination procedures in Kampala and be referred on for resettlement. For example, one official involved in the status determinations told Human Rights Watch, "The Sudanese who arrive are highly mobile people. Some boys do run away from SPLA recruitment. Other refugees come here to seek resettlement. We can always check these stories with UNHCR to see what is going on in a camp."106 Another said, "People coming from DRC and Sudan can make individual claims because they may present particular problems."107

While these words appear well-meaning, it is not clear how much they are put into practice-in February 2001 over 150 Sudanese refugees were instructed to return to the camps without a prior assessment of the security threats they faced.108 In addition, of the more than thirty refugees interviewed by Human Rights Watch who had been able to make use of the resettlement referral process in Kampala, only one was Sudanese.

Other Reasons for the Malfunctioning Resettlement System

The resettlement system for refugees in East Africa is in trouble-and not just because of the corruption scandal or Uganda's prima facie policy. Governmental and UNHCR authorities are too slow in processing cases for refugee status and in referring cases on for resettlement. Once resettlement authorities receive a referral, a new set of bureaucratic delays arise. This is particularly worrisome given the extraordinary security problems faced by refugees and documented by Human Rights Watch in both Kenya and Uganda.

Resettlement governments are partly to blame for the current crisis. The bureaucratic steps involved in vetting resettlement cases has meant that refugees whose lives are at risk must remain living under dangerous conditions while their files are processed. For example, Human Rights Watch interviewed several refugees with serious security problems whose spouses had been found to be HIV positive. Their cases had been stalled for several months, and the governments concerned did not give the refugees conclusive information about what the HIV test results implied for their resettlement claims.109

But the most serious problems have occurred in the post-September 11 anti-immigrant environment. Governments such as the United States have instituted new security screening mechanisms for refugees. This slows down the approvals process considerably, especially since all male refugees between the ages of eighteen and forty-four are put through these additional checks by the United States. Africans are disparately impacted by the additional screening. Out of 22,000 Africans authorized to travel to the United States during 2002, only 1,617 were admitted by early August 2002.110 It was unlikely-even impossible-that the remaining 20,000 slots would be filled in the final two months of the fiscal year.111 Other governments have been slow in processing resettlement cases. Perhaps the most egregious and well-publicized example of delays putting refugees at risk occurred when the Rwandan family, described on the first pages of this report, was brutally attacked after waiting eleven months for resettlement to Australia.112

Several of the refugees interviewed by Human Rights Watch for this report were in need of urgent resettlement action, but their cases were not being addressed or they were languishing in administrative delays. Unfortunately, neither UNHCR nor governments have responded with the kind of speed and flexibility required to address the individual security problems presented by refugees in Kenya and Uganda.113 UNHCR's ExCom has recognized the need "for rapid and flexible response to UNHCR resettlement requirements in particular for vulnerable groups and emergency protection cases subject to refugee admission requirements of receiving States."114 In addition, the United States has established clear guidelines for the rapid processing of resettlement claims from particularly at risk refugees. Unfortunately, these guidelines have only been used to resettle five at- risk cases from the entire continent of Africa since their establishment in 2001.115

Finally, protracted refugee situations such as those currently faced by Sudanese, Somalis, and some Rwandans in Kenya and Uganda puts enormous pressure on the resettlement option. When safe repatriation is not possible, and local integration is either non-existent (in the case of Kenya) or far from perfect (in the case of Uganda), resettlement seems the only viable means by which refugees can find a way to enjoy basic human rights.

71 See, e.g. ExCom General Conclusion on International Protection No. 55, 1989, No. 67, 1991, para. (d).

72 The three durable solutions to the problems of refugees are: voluntary repatriation, local integration, and resettlement. See, e.g. ExCom General Conclusion on International Protection No. 90, 2001, para. j (noting that "the ultimate goal of international protection is to achieve a durable solution for refugees," and commending "States that continue to facilitate these solutions, notably voluntary repatriation and, where appropriate and feasible, local integration and resettlement.").

73 See note 26, above, for a discussion of the obligation of international responsibility sharing.

74 See U.S. Committee for Refugees, World Refugee Survey 2001.

75 See Arthur C. Helton, The Price of Indifference, 2002, p. 184.

76 The eighteen governments who accept refugees for resettlement are: Argentina, Australia, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States of America.

77 ExCom has recognized the importance of UNHCR's role on numerous occasions. See e.g. ExCom Conclusion No. 90.

78 See UNHCR Resettlement Handbook, Chapter 4. Since October 1995, UNHCR, resettlement governments and NGOs have gathered for annual consultations on resettlement at the Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement (ATC). Under the auspices of the ATC, UNHCR developed its Resettlement Handbook in July 1997, which is used by UNHCR field offices and governments involved in the resettlement process.

79 See U.S. Committee for Refugees, "Description of U.S. Refugee Processing Priorities," Refugee Reports, Vol. 20, No.12, 1999. Available at:

80 See OIOS, Investigation Into Allegations Of Refugee Smuggling At The Nairobi Branch Office Of The Office Of The United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees, U.N. Doc A/56/733, December 21, 2001, para. 23.

81 Ibid, para. 2.

82 Ibid, para 26.

83 Ibid, para 40.

84 Ibid, para 69.

85 One press account from February 2001 told the story of Ahmed, who resorted to bribery because "[he] knew that [bribery] was the only way to achieve what years of going through official channels had failed to.... Corruption is reportedly so pervasive that refugees are unable to even enter the agency's Nairobi office without forking over baksheesh. `You have to pay 50 shillings [U.S.$0.60] just to get inside the waiting room,' says Ahmed. `I went to that office every day for three years and never even got an interview.'" See Europe Intelligence Wire via NewsEdge Corporation, "The Nairobi Connection: How U.N. Agents Bilk Refugees They Are Supposed to Help," February 21, 2001.

86 This is partly because the major resettlement governments of the United States, Canada, and Australia all handle resettlement out of their Nairobi embassies.

87 UNHCR in Nairobi referred four emergency and twenty-nine urgent resettlement cases in the five months since Human Rights Watch's visit to Kenya and Uganda in April 2002.

88 UNHCR responded to Human Rights Watch's concerns about the post-corruption problems by stating, "following the resettlement scandal in Kenya, there was not only a total collapse of resettlement activities in Kenya but an equal collapse in staff morale, and that the recovery ground [sic] can only be achieved incrementally. How long this is supposed to take, remains the big question." UNHCR written comments to Human Rights Watch, October 8, 2002.

89 Human Rights Watch interview with refugee, Nairobi, Kenya, April 24, 2002.

90 Human Rights Watch interview with refugee, Nairobi, Kenya, April 6, 2002.

91 UNHCR written comments to Human Rights Watch, October 8, 2002. In these same comments, UNHCR noted that "[t]here are serious indications that most cases that have undergone the eligibility interview will be submitted for resettlement based on the compelling nature of their cases."

92 Human Rights Watch interview with UNHCR, Nairobi, Kenya, April 18, 2002.

93 Human Rights Watch interview with U.S. Embassy official, Nairobi, Kenya, April 18, 2002.

94 From 1974 to its overthrow in 1987, Ethiopia was ruled by Major Mengistu Haile Mariam and the Derg government. During this time the government was responsible for egregious human rights abuses.

95 Human Rights Watch interview with refugee, Nairobi, Kenya, April 6, 2002.

96 Human Rights Watch interview with refugee, Nairobi, Kenya, April 6, 2002.

97 Human Rights Watch interview with refugee, Nairobi, Kenya, April 22, 2002.

98 Human Rights Watch interview with embassy staff from major resettlement countries, Nairobi, Kenya and Kampala, Uganda, April 4 and 11, 2002. UNHCR explains its inability to fill governmental resettlement quotas in the following manner: "Governments are not always ready to adapt their quotas to rapidly changing needs, and often establish them in response to domestic interest groups, targeting specific nationalities. Resettlement countries may also turn down cases such as families with pressing medical problems, who may be more costly in terms of welfare payments, or who may have limited ability to integrate rapidly. In general, although some countries do accept difficult to place hardship cases, most resettlement countries prefer educated refugees with strong family and cultural links, an intact family structure, and a high likelihood of rapid integration. Such families may not always correspond to the pressing protection cases which UNHCR attempts to resettle." See UNHCR, "Protecting Refugees: Frequently Asked Questions," available at (site visited August 17, 2002).

99 See note 16, above.

100 The OAU Convention also provides for non-discrimination. Article 4 of the OAU Refugee Convention states that "Member States undertake to apply the provisions of this convention to all refugees without discrimination as to... nationality...."

101 Human Rights Watch interview with former UNHCR staff member, Kampala, Uganda, April 18, 2002.

102 Human Rights Watch interview with UNHCR staff, Kampala, Uganda, April 16, 2002.

103 Human Rights Watch interview with UNHCR staff, Kampala, Uganda, April 8, 2002.

104 Human Rights Watch interviewed several Sudanese refugees who said they had been told to "go back to the border where you came from" when they tried to access the individual determination system provided by the government of Uganda, UNHCR and InterAid officers. Human Rights Watch interviews with refugees, Kampala, Uganda, April 15, 2002.

105 UNHCR Notice No. 1/2001 (on file with Human Rights Watch).

106 Human Rights Watch interview with Ugandan government official, Kampala, Uganda, April 8, 2002.

107 Human Rights Watch interview with Ugandan government official, Kampala, Uganda, April 13, 2002.

108 See "Sudanese Asylum Seekers Stranded in Kampala," Refugee Law Project Fact Sheet No. 1, February 21, 2001.

109 Both the United States and Canada require all applicants seeking permanent immigration, including refugees, to undergo an HIV test. For the United States, applicants testing HIV positive are nearly always denied immigration visas, but HIV positive status is not an automatic bar for refugees. See The Lesbian and Gay Immigration Rights Task Force, LGBT Immigrants and the Law: Frequently Asked Questions, available at In Canada, refugees seeking permanent immigration who test HIV positive will not be denied due to this status. Canada generally only excludes those with HIV if it can be proven that that the individual will excessively burden publicly funded health services. All other immigrants are assessed on a case-by case basis. See Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, HIV/AIDS and Immigration: Frequently Asked Questions, Third Revised Version, February 2002, available at /issues/immigration.htm.

110 Immigration and Refugee Services of America national telephonic briefing, August 15, 2002.

111 Ibid.

112 In the last six months of 2001 Australia granted 104 resettlement places for refugees from Nairobi. Of these, 50 percent took up to fifty-two weeks to process and 75 percent took up to sixty weeks, with the remaining 25 percent taking even longer. See Department for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA), Report to the Australian Senate's Additional Estimates Hearing, February 19 and 22, 2002. For its part, UNHCR explained to a Human Rights Watch researcher that delays in processing the Rwandan family's case were caused by the need to check the family's identity with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Human Rights Watch interview with UNHCR official, Nairobi, Kenya, April 24, 2002.

113 For its part, a UNHCR official in Kampala told a Human Rights Watch researcher that "in situations where people are at risk, we implement fast-track resettlement procedures. In some cases it can take only one to two weeks to remove someone from Uganda." Human Rights Watch interview with UNHCR official, Kampala, Uganda, April 8, 2002.

114 See "Resettlement as an Instrument of Protection," ExCom Conclusion No. 67, 1991.

115 Human Rights Watch interview with Resettlement NGO, New York, June 2002.

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