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Statement of the Chinese Representative Mr. Xie Bohua on Refugee Problems at the Third Committee of the General Assembly

2002-11-07 00:00

Mr. President,

This year has been a year of both grave challenges and encouraging progress in refugee problems for the international community. In some Asian and African countries and regions and South-east Europe, as peace and stability are being restored gradually, the problems of refugees and displaced persons are finding or in the process of finding durable solutions. The most remarkable development is the return of 2 million Afghan refugees and displaced persons to their homeland. The Afghan refugee issue, long a thorny one to the international community, is finally seeing an end in sight. We highly appreciate the efforts and contributions made by interested countries, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, relevant UN agencies and other international organizations and agencies in this regard. It is our hope that more Afghan refugees will soon return home as the process of the restoration of peace and reconstruction progresses.

Despite the slight drop in the populations of concern to UNHCR, the figure remains high at 19.8 million. While refugee situations persist in some parts of the world, armed conflicts in some African countries and regions are creating new refugees and internally displaced persons. The international community should help receiving states with their practical difficulties in accordance with the principle of international solidarity and burden sharing, and try to find lasting solutions through consultations and common efforts. The international community should at the same time tackle the root causes of the refugee problems by maintaining peace and stability in all regions of the world to prevent the creation of new and large flows of refugees and displaced persons.

At the 53rd session of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Program, the African countries introduced their initiative to solve refugee problems in the region by implementing NEPAD. They called upon the developed countries to honor their commitment to maintain peace and stability and promote economic development in Africa, thereby creating necessary conditions for the solution of the refugee problem. China actively supports NEPAD and is prepared to contribute to its implementation to the best of her abilities.

The Chinese delegation welcomes the Agenda for Protection, a document that was unanimously adopted at the 53rd session of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Program as a result of the "global consultations on international protection ". The Agenda for Protection has set out specific objectives and implementation measures in response to new challenges in the area of refugees and can serve as a guide for the international community in its search for a durable solution within the framework of international solidarity and burden sharing. We have noted with interest that the High Commissioner for Refugees, while affirming the 1951 "Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees" and its 1967 Protocol as the foundation for international protection of refugees, also proposed the "Convention Plus" approach, encouraging all parties concerned to engage in more intensive consultations and dialogue so that special arrangements can be reached on new and complex issues not covered by the Convention and its Protocol such as large flows of refugees and their second movement. The Chinese delegation is ready to actively participate in consultations and dialogue with interested parties in our common search for solutions.

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