Bare Act

Home » Bare-acts » The Refugee Convention 1951 (Part III)


Part I|Part II|Part III|Part IV

The Belgian representative said such an agreement existed between Belgium and France which covered persons who had paid contributions with a view to drawing social insurance benefits later, and who had subsequently transferred their residence from one country to the other. The agreement provided that, from the standpoint of admission to social security benefits, contributions Paid in the first of the two countries would be considered as if they had been paid in the second country of residence, irrespective of which of the two countries the worker was a national.

A codicil had subsequently been concluded between France and Belgium extending the benefits of the agreement to refugees who had paid social insurance contributions in either country.

The UK representative thought the Israeli representative might have had in mind the provisions of paragraph 4, rather than the provisions in paragraph 3. He endorsed the observations of the Belgian representative.

The Belgian representative fully agreed with the UK representative’s interpretation. Such agreements included a signed undertaking between the Contracting States. In the present case the High Commissioner for Refugees might approach the Contracting States with a request that they extend to refugees the benefits of the treaty arrangements applied to nationals of both countries. But it should be noted, in that connection, that there would be no question of an obligation, but only of a recommendation.

Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 19 were adopted by 17 votes to none, with 1 abstention.

After explanation given by the Israeli representative the UK representative withdrew his amendment in favour of the Belgian amendment.

In reply to a question of the Belgian representative, the Israeli representative said that, in the text at least, the use of the words ‘shall extend’ under the Belgian amendment was a binding provision, although he recognized there might be some discrepancy in that respect between that and the French text, which merely read ‘étendront’. The intention of paragraph 3 of Article 19 was of course, to extend such benefits to refugees ipso facto, without any special provisions to that end.

The Belgian amendment to paragraph 3 of Article 19 was adopted by 18 votes to none, with 3 abstentions.

The Chairman, speaking as representative of Denmark, proposed that the words to be added to paragraph 4 should read ‘which may at any time be in force between such Contracting States and non-Contracting States’.

The Israeli representative thought that the Style Committee might consider the desirability of deleting the word ‘individual’before the word ‘refugee’ in the second line of paragraph 4, particularly if there was a risk of the retention of that word leading to discrimination between one refugee and another.

The Danish proposal was adopted by 22 votes to none, with 1 abstention.

Article 19, as a whole and as amended, was adopted by 21 votes to none, with 2 abstentions.

The Style Committee proposed the text which is now in the Convention.

That text was adopted by 22 votes to none, with 1 abstention.

Regional and National Measures

As regards paragraph 1 (b) the principle of equality of treatment of aliens in general and of refugees in particular as regards social security has been laid down in several treaties. The ILO Equality of Treatment (Social Security) Convention of 1962 provides explicitly that the provisions of the Convention ‘apply to refugees and stateless persons without any condition of reciprocity’. (Article 10 paragraph 1)

The Appendix to the European Social Charter of 18 October 1961431 provides that each Contracting Party will grant to refugees as defined in the 1951 Convention and lawfully staying in its territory, treatment as favourable as possible and, in any case, not less favourable treatment than under the obligations accepted by the Contracting Party under the said Convention and under any other existing international instruments applicable to refugees.

The European Convention on Social Security of 14 December 1972 provides explicitly that its provisions shall be applicable to refugees or stateless persons resident in the territory of a Contracting Party as well as to members of their families and their survivors (Article 4 paragraph 1(a)). The term ‘refugee’ has the meaning assigned to it in Article 1 of the 1951 Convention and in Article 1 paragraph 2 of the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees, without any geographical limitation (Article 1(o)).

Regulations 3 and 4 of the European Economic Community provide that the provisions regarding social security apply to workers who are nationals of the Contracting Parties or stateless persons or refugees residing in the territory of one of the Contracting Parties, as well as to members of their families and their survivors.

In countries which are Parties to the 1951 Convention and to one of these treaties the provisions more favourable to refugees will apply.

Several countries have enacted legislation or issued regulations regarding the entitlement of refugees to social security benefits.

In Luxembourg, according to the Decree of the Minister of Labour, Social Security and Mines of 25 May 1955, refugees unemployed for reasons beyond their control are assimilated to unemployed Luxembourg nationals for admission to unemployment benefits if they are permanent residents in the territory of the Grand Duchy and are in possession of a travel document issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs under Article 28 of the 1951 Convention.

In Switzerland according to the Federal Decree of 4 October 1962 persons having asylum in Switzerland and their survivors are entitled to ordinary pensions under the Old-Age and Survivors Scheme under the same conditions as Swiss nationals provided they have their legal domicile in Switzerland and have paid contributions for at least one year. They are entitled to extra-ordinary pensions if they have resided in Switzerland uninterruptedly for five years immediately prior to filing the application for pension (Article 1).

As regards invalidity insurance refugees are entitled to rehabilitation measures if they have paid contributions for at least one year prior to the disability (Article 2).

As regards paragraph 3 several countries have explicitly extended bilateral social security agreements to refugees resident in their territories. Thus by a mutual decision reached in August 1948, Belgium and France extended the benefits of the General Convention on Social Security concluded between the two countries on 17 January 1948, to refugees.

Article 8 of the First Protocol to the Social Security Agreement between the Federal Republic of Germany and the UK extends the provisions of the Agreement to refugees who have their habitual residence in either country.

In Switzerland, in as much as refugees are not entitled to benefits under social security agreements concluded by Switzerland, the contributions paid by them and their employers are refunded to them.

As to paragraph 4 in the Federal Republic of Germany’s Fremdrenten Gesetz (Law on Foreign Pensions) on 7 August 1953436 provides that homeless foreigners within the meaning of the Homeless Foreigners Law of 25 April 1951437 shall benefit from rights which they acquired or were in the process of acquisition.

Italy has declared that refugees will benefit from bilateral agreements with States non-Parties to the 1951 Convention in so far as the provisions of the agreements can be unilaterally applied.

Commentary

The principle of equality of treatment between nationals and aliens as regards labour law can be regarded as universally accepted. The same principle as regards social security is becoming more and more widely accepted. Several States made reservations on Article 19 paragraph 1(b) but most of them were later withdrawn.

The question arises whether the term ‘lawfully staying’ extends also to refugees who were lawfully staying in the territory of a Contracting State and subsequently left it. The answer probably is that such refugees are entitled to social security benefits in as much as nationals are entitled to such benefits.

Paragraph 1 applies to labour law and social security ‘in so far as such matters are governed by laws or regulations or are subject to the control of administrative authorities’. It applies to the benefits for agreements between employees and employers only to this extent.

Paragraph 2 gives the dependents of victims of fatal industrial accidents resident abroad a right to compensation even if nationals have no such right. As to the actual transfer of the compensation, currency regulations are preserved but they should, as far as possible, be interpreted in such a way as to make transfer possible.

Paragraph 3 takes care of the reservation in paragraph 1 (b)(i) ‘there may be appropriate arrangements for the maintenance of acquired rights and rights in course of acquisition’. On the multilateral level there exists the European Convention on Social Security and Maintenance of Migrants’ Pension Rights Convention 1935.438 Furthermore, the Migration for Employment Recommendation (Revised) 1949 provides that bilateral agreements should be framed with due regard to the principles laid down in the Migration for Employment Convention. There exist numerous bilateral agreements in the field of social security. They provide for the recognition of rights to social security benefits acquired in the other country and for the accumulation of periods of contributions which in themselves are not sufficient for the grant of benefits.

In such instances, normally each Party pays its share according to the period of work and contribution spent in his territory. Such agreements are ipso facto to be applied to refugees in the same way as to nationals of the Parties. Whether the provision of Article 3 is self-executing depends on the national law of the Contracting State concerned.

Where the provision is not self-executing, the Contracting State is obliged to take the necessary measures to extend the benefits of the agreement to refugees, be it by an arrangement with the other Party to the agreement or by measures on the national level.

Paragraph 4 applies to similar agreements with non-Contracting States, in particular with the countries of origin of the refugees. It is in the nature of a recommendation.

ARTICLE 25. ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANCE

‘1. When the exercise of a right by a refugee would normally require the assistance of authorities of a foreign country to whom he cannot have recourse, the Contracting States in whose territory he is residing shall arrange that such assistance be afforded to him by their own authorities or by an international authority.

2. The authority or authorities mentioned in paragraph 1 shall deliver or cause to be delivered under their supervision to refugees such documents or certifications as would normally be delivered to aliens by or through their national authorities.

3. Documents or certifications so delivered shall stand in the stead of the official instruments delivered to aliens by or through their national authorities, and shall be given credence in the absence of proof to the contrary.

4. Subject to such exceptional treatment as may be granted to indigent persons, fees may be charged for the services mentioned herein, but such fees shall be moderate and commensurate with those charged to nationals for similar services.

5. The provisions of this article shall be without prejudice to Articles 27 and 28.’

Travaux Préparatoires

The Secretariat draft contained the following Article 23:

‘1. In all cases in which the exercise of a right by a foreigner requires the assistance of the authorities of his country (in particular of the consular authorities) the High Contracting Parties shall designate an authority which shall furnish assistance to refugees (Arrangement of 30 June 1928).

2. The authority so designated shall deliver or cause to be delivered to refugees unable to procure them by other means documents:

(a) certifying the identity and the position of refugees;

(b) certifying their family position and civil status, in so far as these are based on acts performed or facts which occurred in the refugee’s country of origin;

(c) testifying to the regularity, validity and conformity with the previous law of their country of origin, of documents issued in such country;

(d) certifying the signature of refugees and copies and translations of documents drawn up in their own language;

(e) testifying to the good character and conduct of the individual refugee, to his previous record, to his professional qualifications and to his university degrees or academic diplomas, etc.;

(f) recommending refugees to the competent authorities, particularly with a view to their obtaining visas, permit to reside in the country, admission to schools, libraries, etc.

3. The certificates so delivered shall take the place of the original acts and documents and shall be accorded the same validity.’

The Secretariat made the following comment:

‘Paragraph 1

‘Refugees do not enjoy the protection and assistance of the authorities of their country of origin. Consequently, even if the Government of the country of residence grants the refugee a status which ensures him treatment equivalent to or better than that enjoyed by foreigners, it does not follow that on that account alone he will be allowed to enjoy the rights granted to him. If the refugee is actually to enjoy these rights, he must obtain the assistance of an authority which will perform for him the services performed by national authorities in the case of persons with a nationality. In the absence of an international authority, the High Contracting Parties must appoint a national authority which will furnish its assistance to refugees and deliver the documents they require.

‘Paragraph 2

‘In order to perform the acts of civil life (marriage, divorce, adoption, settlement of succession, naturalization, acquisition of immovable property, constitution of associations, opening of bank accounts, etc.) a person must produce documents to certify his identity, position, civil status, nationality, etc., and if he is a foreigner, to testify to he provisions of his former or present national law and the conformity of instruments executed in his country of origin with the legislation of that country, etc.

It is easy for a foreigner to obtain such documents. He has merely to apply to the national services which operate in his country of origin or which are accredited abroad and they will deliver the documents which he requires. A refugee whose links with his country of origin are broken cannot obtain such papers from the authorities of that country. In the absence of any international authority, a national authority designated for the purpose will be required to issue to refugees all the documents of which they stand in need. Paragraph 2 of Article 21 gives a list of these documents.’

The French draft contained the following:

‘1. In all cases in which the exercise of a right by the foreigner normally requires the assistance of the administrative authorities of his country of origin or of its representatives abroad, the High Contracting Parties undertake either to appoint a national authority or, failing that, to empower the High Commissioner for Refugees to furnish assistance to refugees.

2. The national authority so designated or, in default thereof, the High Commissioner for Refugees shall be empowered to deliver to refugees unable to procure them by other means documents:

(a) certifying the identity and the position of refugees;

(b) certifying their family position and civil status, in so far as these are based on acts performed or facts which occurred in the refugee’s country of origin;

(c) testifying to the regularity, validity and conformity with the previous law of their country of origin, of documents issued in such country;

(d) certifying the signature of refugees and copies and translations of documents drawn up in their own language;

(e) testifying to the good character and conduct of the individual refugee, to his previous record, to his professional qualifications and to his university degrees or academic diplomas, etc.;

3. The certificates so delivered shall rank as authentic documents and shall take the place of the acts and documents issued in the refugee’s country of origin.’

At the first session of the ad hoc Committee the French representative noted that the French text, which included a reference to the High Commissioner for Refugees, would leave each State free to decide whether administrative assistance should be furnished by its own authorities or by an international authority, if such authority existed. It was not intended to impose duties upon the High Commissioner nor to give him exclusive competence in the matter.

The US representative found that a reference to an international authority might create difficulties. The High Commissioner had not yet been appointed, the nature of his functions was not known, and it was still not clear whether he would administer them through offices in various countries or through a central agency. There was a danger that some countries might seek to relieve their own agencies of administrative responsibility by referring refugees to an international authority which in fact had not yet been established, and might not ultimately be required to deal with the matters discussed in Article 23. In order to eliminate the risk of leaving refugees unprotected, it seemed advisable to make it mandatory upon Governments to assume responsibility except when an international authority functioning in their territory was in a position to do so. In the latter event, States should retain the option of accepting the authority of an international organ.

The UK representative felt that it was beyond the competence of the Committee to attribute functions to the High Commissioner or to imply that his office would exercise functions in various countries. Such exercise was not contemplated by the UK Government. The point raised in the French text might be noted in the Committee’s report with the comment that if the General Assembly, in defining the functions of the High Commissioner, should decide that his office could deal with administrative assistance to refugees, it might authorise it to do so by arrangement with individual Governments. In any case, the question of administrative assistance to refugees did not constitute a problem in the UK, and the provisions of Article 23 did not appear applicable in that country.

The Chairman, speaking as representative of Canada, and the Venezuelan representative supported the solution proposed by the UK representative.

The representative of the IRO observed, in connection with the applicability of Article 23, that it depended on the legal system in force in a given country. In common law countries like the UK, no new legislation or administrative procedures were required to protect refugees. In other countries, however, like France or Belgium, special provision had to be made. The Israeli representative pointed out that the language of Article 23 was mandatory, rather than permissive. It placed upon Governments the obligation to furnish administrative assistance to refugees. In some countries, such as the UK, no special machinery had to be set up. In others, however, special offices had been established for that purpose. In fact the provision was based on the practice of France and Belgium.

On the proposal of the Brazilian representative it was decided to delete the phrase ‘in particular the consular authorities’. The US representative thought that the point raised by several representatives might be met by some such formula as the following:

‘In all cases in which the exercise of a right by a foreigner requires the assistance of the authorities of his country and where no other provision is made for giving such assistance to refugees, the High Contracting Parties shall designate an authority or authorities which shall furnish such assistance.’

The Venezuelan representative believed that the US suggestion did not meet the point raised by the Israeli representative and that the draft could still be interpreted as requiring a State to establish a special authority. He wondered whether the problem could not be met by a phrase to the effect that the High Contracting Parties ‘shall take measures as are required to provide refugees with assistance’.

The Israeli representative stated that the reference to the Arrangement of 30 June 1928 would in itself appear to make the creation rather than the mere designation of a special authority mandatory; as that was not the intention of the Committee, the reference to the Arrangement of 1928 should be deleted.

The suggestion of the Israeli representative was adopted without objection.

The representative of the Secretariat drew the Committee’s attention to the fact that the provision spoke of ‘a right by a foreigner’ and he stressed the word ‘foreigner’ rather than by a ‘refugee’. Seen in that context, the word ‘country’ referred to the country of nationality or origin.

The UK representative asked whether the provision would impose upon his Government the obligation to provide a refugee resident in the UK with the document that he might require. For example, if a Spanish refugee currently in England required a birth certificate, would the UK be obliged to attempt to procure the certificate for him, although in such a case the refugee might presumably obtain the desired document simply by requesting it from the Spanish Government’s Registrar of Births?

The Belgian representative stated that the hypothesis just mentioned by the UK representative automatically fell outside the scope of paragraph 1 which would operate only in the case of a refugee unable to secure the necessary documents from the authorities of his country.

At the invitation of the Chairman, the representatives of Belgium, France and Israel submitted the following draft of Article 23, paragraph 1:

‘In all cases in which the exercise of a right by a foreigner requires the assistance of the authorities of his country, the High Contracting Parties shall designate the authority or authorities, national or international, which shall furnish assistance to refugees.’

As to paragraph 2, the Chairman, speaking as representative of Canada, proposed that the words ‘as far as possible’ be inserted after the word ‘shall’.

The Belgian representative wondered whether it was wise to enumerate specific categories of documents in paragraph 2 and suggested that the paragraph should limit it self to a general statement to the effect that issue of the necessary documents should be facilitated by the designated authority.

The representative of the IRO stated that the list of documents was to be found both in the Arrangement of 30 June 1928 and in the French Agreement of 30 January 1948 with the IRO, and that it had served a useful purpose in many cases as experience had shown.

The UK representative thought that it was unnecessary to incorporate the provisions of paragraph 2 into the Convention at all. They were inapplicable in his country.

The Danish representative suggested the following wording:

‘In so far as refugees may be required to produce documents regularly issued to foreigners by the authorities of their own countries, the authority or authorities mentioned in paragraph 1 shall deliver or shall cause such documents to be delivered to refugees.’

The Belgian representative expressed general support for that wording, but thought that it should be made clear that the documents referred to were only those required in the performance of acts of civil life.

The Chairman, speaking as representative of Canada, proposed that the words ‘where possible’ should be inserted at the appropriate place in the Danish proposal.

The text submitted by the Danish representative, as amended by the Chairman, was adopted subject to drafting changes.

As regards paragraph 3 the French representative explained that, in inserting the provision that the certificates delivered should rank as authentic documents, his delegation had intended to give them the highest possible value. On considering the type of certificates envisaged, however, he had come to the conclusion that they could not all rank as authentic documents in the accepted meaning of that term under French law. Moreover, the term might not have quite the same connotation in other countries. He therefore withdrew the French version of paragraph 3 in favour of the Secretariat draft. The Secretariat draft of paragraph 3 was adopted subject to drafting changes.

The Chairman, speaking as representative of Canada, proposed the insertion of a clause providing that the fees charged for the documents issued should not be higher for refugees than they were for nationals.

It was decided to refer Article 23, in its existing form, to the working group, subject to certain drafting of amendments.

The Working Group proposed the following text:

1. The Contracting States in whose territories the exercise of a right by an alien would normally require the assistance of the authorities of his country of nationality shall arrange that such assistance is afforded to refugees by an authority or authorities, national or international.

2. The authority or authorities mentioned in paragraph 1, shall, so far as possible, deliver or cause to be delivered to refugees such documents or certifications as would normally be delivered to other aliens by their national authorities.

3. Documents or certifications so delivered shall stand in the stead of and be accorded the same validity as would be accorded to similar instrument delivered to aliens by their national authorities.

4. Subject to such exceptional treatment as may be granted to indigent refugees, fees may be charged for the services mentioned herein, but such fees shall be moderate and commensurate with those charged to nationals for similar services.

At the proposal of the Chairman the words ‘so far as possible’ in paragraph 2 were deleted. Article 20, as amended, was adopted.

The Committee made the following comment:

‘Refugees do not enjoy the protection and assistance of the authorities of their country of origin. Consequently, even if the Government of the country of asylum grants the refugee a status which ensures him treatment equivalent to or better than that enjoyed by aliens, he may not in some countries be in a position to enjoy the rights granted to him. Often he will require the assistance of an authority which will perform for him the services performed by national authorities in the case of persons with a nationality.

‘In this Article, Governments undertake to assure that refugees obtain the required assistance. A Government may provide itself such assistance by creating an authority to do so or by assigning the task to an existing national authority, or a country may prefer to make arrangements for an international authority to render such assistance. If, for example, the UNHCR should deal with administrative assistance, a country may arrange with the High Commissioner to have such assistance rendered to refugees in its territory. In any event, however, there is an obligation on the Contracting State to see that such assistance is provided.

‘In so far as refugees may be required to produce documents regularly issued to foreigners by the authorities of their own countries, the authority or authorities mentioned in paragraph 1 shall deliver or shall cause such documents to be delivered to refugees.’

The Belgian representative expressed general support for that wording, but thought that it should be made clear that the documents referred to were only those required in the performance of acts of civil life.

The Chairman, speaking as representative of Canada, proposed that the words ‘where possible’ should be inserted at the appropriate place in the Danish proposal.

The text submitted by the Danish representative, as amended by the Chairman, was adopted subject to drafting changes.

As regards paragraph 3 the French representative explained that, in inserting the provision that the certificates delivered should rank as authentic documents, his delegation had intended to give them the highest possible value. On considering the type of certificates envisaged, however, he had come to the conclusion that they could not all rank as authentic documents in the accepted meaning of that term under French law. Moreover, the term might not have quite the same connotation in other countries. He therefore withdrew the French version of paragraph 3 in favour of the Secretariat draft. The Secretariat draft of paragraph 3 was adopted subject to drafting changes.

The Chairman, speaking as representative of Canada, proposed the insertion of a clause providing that the fees charged for the documents issued should not be higher for refugees than they were for nationals.

It was decided to refer Article 23, in its existing form, to the working group, subject to certain drafting of amendments.

The Working Group proposed the following text:

1. The Contracting States in whose territories the exercise of a right by an alien would normally require the assistance of the authorities of his country of nationality shall arrange that such assistance is afforded to refugees by an authority or authorities, national or international.

2. The authority or authorities mentioned in paragraph 1, shall, so far as possible, deliver or cause to be delivered to refugees such documents or certifications as would normally be delivered to other aliens by their national authorities.

3. Documents or certifications so delivered shall stand in the stead of and be accorded the same validity as would be accorded to similar instrument delivered to aliens by their national authorities.

4. Subject to such exceptional treatment as may be granted to indigent refugees, fees may be charged for the services mentioned herein, but such fees shall be moderate and commensurate with those charged to nationals for similar services.

At the proposal of the Chairman the words ‘so far as possible’ in paragraph 2 were deleted.

Article 20, as amended, was adopted.

The Committee made the following comment:

‘Refugees do not enjoy the protection and assistance of the authorities of their country of origin. Consequently, even if the Government of the country of asylum grants the refugee a status which ensures him treatment equivalent to or better than that enjoyed by aliens, he may not in some countries be in a position to enjoy the rights granted to him. Often he will require the assistance of an authority which will perform for him the services performed by national authorities in the case of persons with a nationality.

‘In this Article, Governments undertake to assure that refugees obtain the required assistance. A Government may provide itself such assistance by creating an authority to do so or by assigning the task to an existing national authority, or a country may prefer to make arrangements for an international authority to render such assistance. If, for example, the UNHCR should deal with administrative assistance, a country may arrange with the High Commissioner to have such assistance rendered to refugees in its territory. In any event, however, there is an obligation on the Contracting State to see that such assistance is provided.

The Netherlands proposed:

Readapt the second paragraph to read:

‘2. The authority or authorities mentioned in paragraph 1 shall deliver or cause to be delivered to refugees such documents or certifications as are required for the exercise of a right and which would normally be delivered to other aliens by their national authorities.’

The Austrian representative said that the Austrian Federal Government would be unable to accept Article 20 as drafted. Presumably documents pertaining to the refugee’s personal status would not be affected by Article 20, since Article 7 provided that the personal status of a refugee should be governed by the law of the country of his domicile.

Consequently, Article 20 would be applicable to documents relating to legal and material rights. It followed, therefore, that the Austrian Federal Government, for instance, would, acting as national authority, have to provide documents concerning legal situations and acts unknown to Austrian law and custom. Such a situation might give rise to great juridical difficulties, and Contracting States would, by subscribing to Article 20, assume considerable risks.

The Swedish representative supported the Austrian amendment, which fully met the difficulties experienced by the Swedish Government in the matter.

The Netherlands representative said that, as a result of discussions with the Office of the HCR, he withdrew his amendment. He would also oppose the Austrian amendment, which he considered was also too restrictive.

The Belgian representative regretted that a task of that nature had not been entrusted exclusively to an international authority. Under his mandate, the High Commissioner could protect only groups of refugees, and that was where the tragedy lay in certain cases where the refugee required individual protection as well. In many European countries refugees would like to be able to get into direct touch with someone who was responsible for protecting them, not merely with foreign authorities. The fact remained that when the authorities of the receiving country were called upon to consider a complaint or a protest from a refugee, they would always be both judge and party to the dispute.

If a refugee who resided in the territory of country A happened to marry, and so exercised a right in the territory of country B, the question would arise as to which authorities were responsible for giving him the administrative assistance he required. In the opinion of the Belgian delegation, as expressed in its amendment, the responsibility should be placed squarely on the authorities of the country of residence, who were better able to come to the assistance of refugees. Another case might well arise, namely, that of refugees wishing to exercise a right in the territory of a non-Contracting State. The Belgian delegation was of the opinion that in such cases the country of residence should lend its good offices. The concept of territory should, for these reasons, be omitted from the provisions governing the exercise of a right by a refugee. His delegation proposed that there should be some control, even if such control existed merely in the authentication of the signature of those concerned.

The Belgian delegation also proposed that the documents normally supplied to aliens should be issued to refugees either by the national authorities or their intermediary. If, for instance, a Romanian national born in Hungary wanted to obtain a copy of his birth certificate, he would normally have to apply to the Romanian representative accredited to his country of residence or to the Romanian Government direct. A refugee, on the other hand, had no possibility of applying to his national authorities even when they acted merely as intermediaries.

Lastly, the Belgian delegation suggested that paragraph 3 should be replaced by some text more easily capable of dispelling any doubts arising out of such documents.

He could not agree that the administrative assistance which the Contracting States would be required to afford to refugees should be merely optional.

The Colombian representative supported the Belgian delegation’s attitude towards paragraph 1 of Article 20. In the case of paragraph 2, he supported the Austrian amendment.

The HCR said no difficulties arose in countries of common law, where the affidavit system applied but he would very much regret if the Conference adopted the Austrian amendment, which would so weaken Article 20 as to deprive it of all significance. It would be preferable for the Austrian Federal Government to enter a reservation to the Article rather than to press its amendment. The Belgian amendment was, in his view, in some respects even better than the original text and he would have no objection to its adoption.

The Austrian representative withdrew his amendment and said the Austrian Federal Government would instead enter a reservation.

The French representative said, in his opinion, the words ‘under their supervision’ meant that if the papers and documents concerned were issued by a national authority there would be international supervision, whereas if they were issued by an international authority, there would be national supervision.

The Belgian representative said the French representative’s interpretation was correct. There was a precedent in the 1928 Agreement between the Government of France and Belgium by which an Office responsible for the issuing of identity papers to Russian refugees had been set up. Such papers were considered as authentic by the national authorities if the signature of the Director of the Office was attested by the French or Belgian authorities. The establishment of such national offices would be the best way of solving the problem.

The UK representative said in the UK affidavits would be sufficient. The UK delegation might have to enter a reservation in order to make its position clear, especially since paragraph 2, as at present drafted, would make it mandatory on the UK authorities to supply the documents which would, under the Continental system, be issued by the national authorities. But he wished to emphasize that he was in no way opposed to the general tenor of the Article which would in point of fact, have no practical effect in the UK.

The Belgian amendment to Article 20 was adopted by 17 votes to none, with 5 abstentions.

The style Committee proposed the text which is now in the Convention.

That text was adopted by 22 votes to none.

Regional and National Measures

The Recommendations concerning the Issuance and Recognition of Documents Issued to Refugees in Application of the 1951 Convention adopted by the General Assembly of the International Commission on Civil Status at Luxembourg on 8 September 1969 (Rec. No. 1), suggests that in the conditions provided for in Article 25 of the 1951 Convention, authorities should be authorized to issue documents in place of acts of civil status; that in order to facilitate their task, direct contact should be established between these authorities; and recommends to member States to recognize, at least with the probative value provided for in paragraph 3 of Article 25, the documents issued by the authorities in the member States.

The member States of the International Commission on Civil Status are Austria, Belgium, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Turkey.

According to Article 2 of the Convention concerning the Issue of Certificates of Capacity to Marry, refugees and stateless persons whose civil status is determined by the law of a Member State are assimilated to nationals of that State for the application of the Convention. The Convention provides that the State of domicile is obliged to issue the Certificates of Capacity to Marry. Such certificates are exempt from legalization or any other formality in the other States Parties.

Several States Parties to the 1951 Convention have designated authorities competent to render administrative assistance to refugees. In Belgium the Direction Générale de la Chancellerie et des Contentieux of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been so designated. No legalization of the documents issued by the country of origin is required.

In France, Article 4 of the OFPRA Law of 25 July 1952456 provides:

‘L’office est habilité à délivrer, après enquête s’ily a lieu, aux réfugiés et apatrides visés à l’article 2 les pièces nécessaires pour leurpermettre soit d’exécuter les divers actes de la vie civile, soit de faire appliquer les dispositions de la législation interne or des accords internationaux qui intéressent leur protection, notamment les pièces tenant lieu d’actes d’état civil.’

The Director of the Office authenticates such documents, if necessary on the basis of a ‘procès-verbal de témoignage’ by two witnesses.

In Algeria the Bureau pour la Protection des Rifugids et Apatrides renders administrative assistance to refugees.

In the Federal Republic of Germany the Personenstandsgesetz (Law on civil Status) of 17 July 1970457 provides for the issuance of personal status documents for refugees.

In Italy a certificate of marital status issued by HCR based on a statement supported by witnesses before an Italian magistrate was recognized by the Court of Milan in Farber Siegfried v. Pacca Mariraelliena on 13 May 1968 and also by an inter-ministerial note by the Ministry of Justice of 9 April 1974.

A special problem exists as regards Certificates of Capacity to Many. In Austria the administrative authorities grant refugees exemption from such certificates. In the German Federal Republic the Oberlandesgerichte are competent to grant such exemption.

Although HCR has nowhere been designated as the competent authority to render administrative assistance to refugees, certificates issued by HCR are frequently accepted.

Commentary

Historically, the question of administrative assistance to refugees arose with the establishment of the Soviet Union. As long as the Soviet Union was not recognized, the Czarist consuls continued to render administrative assistance to Russian nationals and refugees. With the recognition of the Soviet Union, these consuls lost their official character. They continued, however, to render assistance to refugees and it was then required that the documents and certifications issued by them should be countersigned by the local representative of the League of Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

The Arrangement concerning the Legal Status of Russian and Armenian Refugees of 30 June 1928458 recommended that the League of Nations High Commissioner for Refugees shall, by appointing representatives in the greatest possible number of countries, render the services enumerated in the Arrangement, in so far as such services do not come within the exclusive competence of the national authorities (Article 1).

The Belgian and French Governments concluded on the same day a legally binding Agreement empowering the local representative of the High Commissioner to issue the documents enumerated in Article 1 of the Arrangement. In these two countries, the representatives of the High Commissioner received the consular exequatur. Other countries acted on the recommendations of the Arrangement. These services have become known as quasi-consular functions.

According to the Convention relating to the International Status of Refugees of 28 October 1933,459 Committees for Refugees could be entrusted with the powers enumerated in Article 1 of the Arrangement of 30 June 1928 in so far as these powers were not exercised by the representatives of the Secretary General of the League of Nations (Article 15).

According to paragraph 1 of Article 25, administrative assistance to refugees is to be rendered in cases where they cannot have recourse to the authorities of the foreign country concerned. Where this is the country of origin or a country with a similar regime, the refugee cannot be expected to have recourse to the authorities of these countries. Where third countries are concerned, the refugee may, however, well be expected to apply to the authorities of the country concerned but where such assistance requires a request through official channels, the designated authority is obliged to channel the request.

The assistance is to be provided by the authorities of the Contracting State in whose territory the refugee is residing, also in cases where the assistance is required in order to exercise a right in another country, for example, in order to enable him to marry in another country. Administrative assistance is not limited to the territorial authorities of the country of residence. Diplomatic or consular authorities may be designated to render this assistance to refugees while abroad or they may render such assistance provided it is furnished ‘under the supervision’ of the designated authority.

The term ‘administrative assistance’ is wider than the functions enumerated in the Arrangement of 1928. It may include investigations, counselling and personal assistance. It includes the functions normally exercised by consuls, thus, according to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations Article 5 ‘(f) acting as notary and civil registrar and in capacities of a similar kind’ and ‘(j) transmitting judicial and extra-judicial documents or executing letters rogatory’ but also documents issued by or through national authorities.

According to paragraph 2 documents or certifications are to be delivered by the designated authority or authorities or be caused to be delivered under their supervision. Thus, where the documents are not delivered by the authorities concerned themselves such as ‘certificats de coutume’ or ‘certificats de notoriété’ they are to be legalized by the competent authority.

In common law countries the documents may be replaced by affidavits, that is, statements sworn before a Commissioner of Oaths. When they must have effect in other countries they would, however, as was stated by the UK representative, be attested or legalized by a public authority.

As to paragraph 3, the evidentiary value of the documents or certifications is the same in the country where the document was issued and in other Contracting States.

According to paragraph 5, identity and travel documents are not covered by Article 25 as they are regulated elsewhere in the Convention.

ARTICLE 26. FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT

Each Contracting State shall accord to refugees lawfully in its territory the right to choose their place of residence and to move freely within its territory, subject to any regulations applicable to aliens generally in the same circumstances.

Travaux Préparatoires

At the first session of the ad hoc Committee the Belgian representative proposed the text of Article 2 of the 1938 Convention which read:

‘Without prejudice to the power of any High Contracting Party to regulate the right of sojourn and residence, a refugee shall be entitled to move about freely, to sojourn or reside in the territory to which the present Convention applies, in accordance with the laws and internal regulations applying therein.’

The US representative suggested that in order to avoid any misinterpretation of the first part of the Article it should be drafted to read: ‘Without prejudice to the right of the High Contracting Party to regulate the right of entry for permanent residence in the country’.

The representative of the Secretariat informed the Committee of the reasons Mr. Giraud of the Secretariat had given for the omission of the Article from the draft Convention. The Secretariat had had in mind the case of the Spanish refugees who had presented themselves in large numbers at the French frontier at the end of the Spanish Civil War and for whom it had been necessary to set up reception camps before regularizing their position and arranging for their dispersal throughout the country. Such a practice, which was clearly a considerable limitation of the right of movement, might prove essential in certain circumstances.

The US representative pointed out that the Spanish refugees raised a very different problem since they had not been officially granted the right of residence.

The Turkish representative pointed to the existence in many countries of frontier or strategic zones, access to which was forbidden to aliens. He wondered whether the formula presented by the US representative would permit the reception country to apply that regime to refugees.

The Belgian representative said that was a question of the internal regulations of the movement and residence of individuals, certain provisions of which sometimes even applies to nationals of the country concerned.

The US representative thought that it would be preferable to clarify the text by inserting ‘subject to any general provisions applicable to aliens in general’.

The Venezuelan representative drew attention to the problem with which the authorities of a signatory State might be faced in the event of the Article’s adoption, if, for example, refugees admitted as agricultural workers were to leave the farms to which they had been assigned and engage in trade in town. Although the refugees would thereby have infringed the conditions of their admission to the territory, the reception State might find itself powerless to take any action against them by virtue of the provisions of the Article.

The French representative thought that the problem would be seen more clearly if it were divided into three different aspects: the first would be the treatment of refugees before they had reached an understanding with the authorities of the recipient countries; the second referred to their right to have their situation regularized and the conditions in which that was to be done; the third dealt with their rights after they had been lawfully authorized to reside in the country, which meant, in the case of France, after they were in possession of a residence card and a work card.

The last part of the problem was the easiest to solve: it would be sufficient to apply to refugees the rules in force for aliens in general.

The question raised by the Venezuelan representative would be solved by the application of the internal regulations, which certainly provided penalties for the case of a foreigner who left the region in which he was permitted to reside or changed his occupation without authorization. The other two aspects of the problem presented difficulties which were much less easy to overcome.

The Danish representative cited, in support of the observations of the Venezuelan representative, two cases in which the limitation of the right to circulate freely appeared to be indicated with respect to certain categories of refugees. The first case was that of States in which minorities lived: Denmark and Czechoslovakia, for instance, would undoubtedly have hesitated to admit German refugees in 1938 if they had been obliged to allow them to settle in areas already inhabited by minorities, whose ranks would, in the first place, been swelled by the refugees and in whose political activities against the unity of the country the refugees might subsequently have participated. The other case was that of Denmark, which had admitted to its territory certain young German Jews on condition that after they had completed their agricultural training, they would leave for other countries, for example, Israel. Those refugees had thus been admitted provisionally, which was of course an indirect limitation of the right of residence.

In the opinion of the Danish delegation, Article 2 of the 1938 Convention in no way prevented the residence country from making rules concerning the right of residence of refugees, if it so desired.

The US representative suggested the following amendment:

‘Subject to the right of the High Contracting Parties to admit refugees on condition that for a given period they confine themselves to specified occupations or specified regions of the country, a refugee admitted for regular residence shall be entitled to move about freely and to sojourn or reside in the place of his choice.’

The French representative suggested a new text reading:

‘Refugees once authorized to reside within a territory shall have the right to fix the place of their residence and to move freely, subject to regulations governing foreigners in general.’

The US representative could accept the text proposed by the French representative but thought that certain provisions should also be included for refugees who had not yet been regularly admitted into a country.

The UK representative reserved his position in the matter, for he considered that everything depended on the interpretation of the expression ‘regularly admitted’. That term was also of the greatest importance in connection with the provisions dealing with working conditions.

The IRO representative thought the French text was acceptable, but that it was essential to include provisions concerning refugees who had not yet been regularly admitted.

The Turkish representative had no objection in principle to the French proposal, but he wondered what the position would be in the case of States which, having adopted a very liberal attitude with regard to aliens who were subject to no restrictions of time or place, received refugees and wished in some way to restrict the conditions of residence of those refugees.

The Brazilian representative saw no objection to the adoption of the French text.

The Chairman wondered whether it would not be desirable to complete the text by a supplementary guarantee and to add:

‘subject to the conditions under which they were admitted.’

The UK representative feared that with such an addition the text would provide few safeguards for refugees.

The French representative shared the doubts of the UK representative.

The Belgian and Brazilian representatives were not in favour of the addition proposed by the Chairman.

The Chairman said that he was ready to accept the French representative’s text, with certain reservations.

The French text was adopted.

The Working Group proposed the following text:

‘Freedom of Movement.

The Contracting States shall accord to refugees lawfully in their territory the right to choose their place of residence and to travel freely within their territory, subject to any regulations governing aliens generally and the conditions under which such refugees were admitted.’

The US representative proposed that the words ‘governing aliens generally’ should be replaced by ‘applicable generally to aliens in the same circumstances’.

Article 21, as thus amended, was adopted.

Austria made the following comment:

‘This provision could not be applied in Austria for the time being without the consent of the occupying powers because of the demarcation lines instituted by them.

‘It is understood from the text of this article that each of the Contracting States has the right to apply to refugees whatever restrictions it usually applies as condition for the admission of foreign workers into the State.’

The UK commented:

‘Article 21. His Majesty’s Government could accept this Article only on the basis that it does not in any way affect the right of the Contracting States to restrict the movement of refugees of a particular class or nationality if it should be considered necessary to the security of the state to restrict the movement of aliens of that class or nationality in a time of national crisis.’

At the second session of the ad hoc Committee the UK proposed an amendment:

‘Additional Article to Draft Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees:

A.
1. A Contracting State may at a time of national crisis derogate from any particular provision of the Convention to such extent only as is necessary in the interests of national security.

2. The Contracting State shall immediately inform the other Contracting States through the Secretary General of the UN of any such derogation and of the termination thereof.

B. Proposal to add the following to Article 5:

‘Provided, however, that at a time of national crisis a Contracting State may apply provisionally any such measures to a refugee on account of his nationality until it is determined that the measure is no longer necessary in the interests of national security.’

The representative of Canada said the UK comment on Article 21 covered the position of his own Government.

The Drafting Committee proposed the following text:

‘The Contracting States shall accord to refugees lawfully in their territory the right to choose their place of residence and to travel freely within their territory, subject to any regulations applicable to aliens generally in the same circumstances.’

Article 21 was adopted.

At the Conference of Plenipotentiaries Yugoslavia submitted an amendment:

‘Delete the full stop at the end of the paragraph and add the words: and to the conditions under which the said refugees were admitted.’

The Yugoslav representative said the amendment had been submitted in order to cover cases where the fact that the refugees resided near the frontier of their country of origin might cause friction between two States. Contracting States should be empowered to prescribe zones in which residence would be forbidden to refugees. Since, however, his delegation intended to submit a general proposal dealing with possible causes of friction between States, the point might be more suitably dealt with therein. He accordingly withdrew his amendment to Article 21.

The Belgian representative felt that, for the sake of style, it would be preferable to amend the first sentence of the French text to read: ‘Les Etats Contractants accorderont aux réfugiés se trouvant régulièrement sur leurs territories…’The Australian representative said that the Australian Government had no objection to the principle enunciated in Article 21, but noted that it would require interpretation in order to make it clear whether it would apply to, for instance, refugees entering Australia under the labour contract system practiced there. In this view, Article 21, like several others, should be covered by a special interpretative clause in the Convention.

The Canadian representative said that the Canadian Government’s position resembled that of the Australian delegation.

Article 22 was adopted by 19 votes to none, with 2 abstentions.

The Style Committee proposed the text which is now in the Convention.

Article 26 was adopted by 23 votes to none.

Judicial Decisions

In Austria the High Administrative Court held on 11 February 1957,473 in the case of a refugee who had to leave a camp and to whom assistance had been denied, that the refugee had no right of accommodation in a camp or the grant of assistance in a particular place.

In France the Commission de Recours held in Recours No. 7.313 of 8 February 1973, in the case of a refugee who had been assigned to reside in a specified area, that the object of the Convention was to protect refugees. Article 26 had to be interpreted as authorizing measures of general application only, as opposed to restrictions aimed at any one individual. Any restrictions imposed on the appellant by virtue of his status of a refugee should not be of such a nature as to deprive him of his right to express his opinions, unless it could be shown – which it was not – that such opinions, if freely expressed, would constitute a threat to public order or national security. The Ministry of the Interior was advised to revoke the order of assignment.

Commentary

Article 26 applies to refugees lawfully in the territory. It does not affect the conditions imposed on refugees for their admission. Special measures taken in time of war or other grave and exceptional circumstances are covered by Article 9. Subject to this, Contracting States may not discriminate between refugees in applying Article 26. Inasmuch as a refugee is restricted in his freedom to seek employment, this may also entail a restriction to choose his place of residence.

ARTICLE 27. IDENTITY PAPERS

The Contracting States shall issue identity papers to any refugee in their territory who does not possess a valid travel document.

Travaux Préparatoires

The Secretariat draft contained the following Article 21:

‘The High Contracting Parties undertake to issue identity papers (residence card, identity card, etc.) to refugees authorized to reside in their territory.’

It made the following comment:

‘It is the practice to issue identity papers, under various designations, which serve both as identity card and as residence permit.

‘This practice, which meets an essential requirements, should be generalized.’

The French draft contained the following Article 16:

‘The High Contracting Parties undertake to issue identity papers (residence card, identity card, etc.) to refugees authorized to reside in their territory.’

At the first session of the ad hoc Committee the Belgian representative remarked that the Secretariat draft dealt with residence papers, although it contained no provision relating to the right of residence.

He was supported by the French representative. The residence card was only secondarily an identity card; it primarily constituted permission to reside in the residence country.

The Working Group proposed the following text:

‘Identity papers.

The Contracting States shall issue identity papers to any refugee in their territory who does not possess a valid travel document issued pursuant to Article 23.’

This text was adopted.

The Committee referred in its comment to Article 2 paragraph 1 of the 1933 Convention reading: ‘Each of the Contracting Parties undertakes to issue Nansen certificates, valid for no less than one year, to refugees residing regularly in its territory.

Austria made the following comment:

‘The Federal Government of Austria is not, for the time being, in a position to commit itself as regards the application of these provisions, as the authorities of the Federal Republic of Austria would need the unanimous approval of the occupying powers for the establishment of travel documents to stateless persons.’

Chile commented:

‘Article 22 provides that refugees who do not possess a valid travel document, shall be issued with identity papers. Article 23 lays down the form and conditions of issue of these so-called travel documents. Chile, however, has already a special passport which is issued not only to refugees, but to any other foreigner not in possession of the usual documents. This passport is issued for the specific purpose of facilitating travel. (See Passport Regulations and Legal and Administrative Provisions concerning the Consular Services, Santiago de Chile, 1937). There would in consequence be no advantage in replacing our present legislation by the provisions of the proposed Convention.’

At the second session of the ad hoc Committee, the Canadian representative said that Article 22 was a matter of concern to his Government which had not been accustomed to issue documents guaranteeing re-admission to its territory except in the case of returning Canadians, but which a few months ago had concluded a reciprocal agreement with the US Government to receive back US citizens returning to Canada within twelve months.

The Belgian representative asked whether the authors of the draft Convention would have any objection to the insertion of the word ‘lawfully’ before the words ‘in their territory’. He assumed that the text referred to refugees who had been granted permission to reside in a country.

The US representative believed that at the invitation of the IRO the Committee had agreed to extend the provision of Article 22 to all refugees, so that a refugee illegally present in any country, though still subject to expulsion, would be free from the extra hardships of a person in possession of no papers at all.

The representative of the IRO confirmed. A person without papers was a pariah subject to arrest for that reason alone.

The French representative agreed. Where an alien whose position was irregular entered a country and the authority of that country decided not to expel him immediately, he would be given a provisional document which he could produce if, say, he was stopped in the street. That did not prejudice the application of the other Articles of the Convention or of the national regulations concerning the grant of rights to aliens.

The Italian representative had no objection to Article 21, since identity cards for refugees had been issued in Italy for the last two years, in full agreement with the IRO.

The Drafting Committee proposed the same text as adopted at the first session.

Article 22 was adopted, with the substitution in the French text of the heading: ’Pièces d’identité’ for the heading: ‘Cartes de légitimation’.

At the Conference of Plenipotentiaries the Netherlands representative mentioned a case where a refugee who had obtained a ration card in a reception country, and had later been expelled, had been refused admission to another State, the authorities of which had considered that, by issuing him with a ration card, the reception country had granted him a right to reside there. The High Commissioner had made it clear that the duty imposed on States by Article 22 in no way impaired their right to control the admission and sojourn of refugees. His delegation would content itself with mentioning the point, provided the interpretation given by the High Commissioner was reported in the summary record of the meeting.

The Canadian representative said that in Canada, where no aliens registration card was in force, identity papers, as the term was generally understood, were not delivered to aliens. The only document which was required was an immigrant’s record of landing. Article 22 was entirely acceptable to the Canadian Government on the understanding that the latter would be free to continue to apply its own procedure.

The Belgian representative agreed. Identity papers did not necessarily mean identity cards like those issued in European countries; they might simply consist of a document showing the identity of the refugee.

Article 22 was adopted by 19 votes to none, with 1 abstention.

The Style Committee proposed the following wording:

‘The Contracting States shall issue identity papers to any refugee in their territory who does not possess a valid travel document issued pursuant to Article 28’.

The Belgian representative, supported by the French representative, suggested that the words ‘issued pursuant to Article 28’ should be deleted from Article 27.

Article 27, as amended, was adopted by 22 votes to none, with 1 abstention.

Commentary

An old Russian saying states: ‘A man without a passport is a man without a soul’. (Passport here meaning the internal passport issued in Russia as an identity document). The practice of States regarding identity documents varies. In some States, such as the UK, Canada, and the US, an identity document is not required while in others it is compulsory and its lack exposes the person to penalties, apart from inconvenience. In the UK aliens receive an Aliens Registration Certificate; refugees settled in the UK receive an Aliens Registration Exemption Card. In the Federal Republic of Germany resident refugees receive the Convention travel document as identity document.

The provision applies to all refugees physically present in the territory, whether legally or illegally there. Its purpose is not to expose refugees to hardship owing to their inability to prove their identity. It does not prejudice the right of the State to expose them to other measures, such as expulsion. The provision applies only if the refugee does not possess a valid travel document, whether issued by the State in which he or she finds themself or by another State; it may even be in their national passport. It must, however, be considered as valid by the authorities of the country in whose territory the refugee is present.

ARTICLE 28. TRAVEL DOCUMENTS

1. The Contracting States shall issue to refugees lawfully staying in their territory travel documents for the purpose of travel outside their territory unless compelling reasons of national security or public order otherwise require, and the provisions of the Schedule to this Convention shall apply with respect to such documents. The Contracting States may issue such a travel document to any other refugee in their territory; they shall in particular give sympathetic consideration to the issue of such a travel document to refugees in their territory who are unable to obtain a travel document from the country of their lawful residence.

2. Travel documents issued to refugees under previous international agreements by parties thereto shall be recognized and treated by the Contracting States in the same way as if they had been issued pursuant to this Article.’

Schedule

Paragraph 1

‘1. The Travel document referred to in Article 28 of this Convention shall be similar to the specimen annexed hereto.

2. The document shall be made out in at least two languages, one of which shall be English or French.

Paragraph 2

Subject to the regulations obtaining in the country of issue, children may be included in the travel document of a parent or, in exceptional circumstances, of another adult refugee.

Paragraph 3

The fees charged for issue of the document shall not exceed the lowest scale of charges for national passports.
Paragraph 4

Save in special or exceptional cases, the document shall be made valid for the largest possible number of countries.

Paragraph 5

The document shall have a validity of either one or two years, at the discretion of the issuing authority.

Paragraph 6

1. The renewal or extension of the validity of the document is a matter for the authority which issued it, so long as the holder has not established lawful residence in another territory and resides lawfully in the territory of the said authority. The issue of a new document is, under the same conditions, a matter for the authority which issued the former document.

2. Diplomatic or consular authorities, specially authorized for the purpose, shall be empowered to extend, for a period not exceeding six months, the validity of travel documents issued by their Governments.

3. The Contracting States shall give sympathetic consideration to renewing or extending the validity of travel documents or issuing new documents to refugees no longer lawfully resident in their territory who are unable to obtain a travel document from the country of their lawful residence.

Paragraph 7

The Contracting States shall recognize the validity of the documents issued in accordance with the provisions of Article 28 of this Convention.

Paragraph 8

The competent authorities of the country to which the refugee desires to proceed shall, if they are prepared to admit him and if a visa is required, affix a visa on the document of which he is the holder.

Paragraph 9

1. The Contracting States undertake to issue transit visas to refugees who have obtained visas for a territory of final destination.

2. The issue of such visas may be refused on grounds which would justify refusal of a visa to any alien.

Paragraph 10

The fees for the issue of exit, entry or transit visas shall not exceed the lowest scale of charges for visas on foreign passports.

Paragraph 11

When a refugee has lawfully taken up residence in the territory of another Contracting State, the responsibility for the issue of a new document, under the terms and conditions of Article 28, shall be that of the competent authority of that territory, to which the refugee shall be entitled to apply.

Paragraph 12

The authority issuing a new document shall withdraw the old document and shall return it to the country of issue, if it is stated in the document that it should be so returned; otherwise it shall withdraw and cancel the document.

Paragraph 13

1. Each Contracting State undertakes that the holder of a travel document issued by it in accordance with Article 28 of this Convention shall be readmitted to its territory at any time during the period of its validity.

2. Subject to the provisions of the preceding sub-paragraph, a Contracting State may require the holder of the document to comply with such formalities as may be prescribed in regard to exit from or return to its territory.

3. The Contracting States reserve the right, in exceptional cases, or in cases where the refugee’s stay is authorized for a specific period, when issuing the document to limit the period during which the refugee may return to a period of not less than three months.

Paragraph 14

Subject only to the terms of paragraph 13, the provisions of this Schedule in no way affect the laws and regulations governing the conditions of admission to, transit through, residence and establishment in, and departure from, the territories of the Contracting States.

Paragraph 15

Neither the issue of the document nor the entries made thereon determine or affect the status of the holder, particularly as regards nationality.

Paragraph 16

The issue of the document does not in any way entitle the holder to the protection of the diplomatic or consular authorities of the country of issue and does not confer on these authorities a right of protection.’

Annex

Special Travel Document

‘The document will be in booklet form (approximately 15 x 10 centimetres).

It is recommended that it be so printed that any erasure or alteration by chemical or other means can be readily detected, and that the words ‘Convention of 28 July 1951′ be printed in continuous repetition on each page, in the language of the issuing country.
(Cover of booklet)

TRAVEL DOCUMENT
(Convention of 28 July 1951)
No ………………………
(1)

TRAVEL DOCUMENT
(Convention of 28 July 1951)
This document expires on ……………………………………..
unless its validity is extended or renewed.
Name ……………………………………………………….
Forename(s) …………………………………………………
Accompanied by……………………… child, (children)

1. This document is issued solely with a view to providing the holder with a travel document which can serve in lieu of a national passport. It is without prejudice to and in no way affects the holder’s nationality.

2. The holder is authorized to return to [state here the country whose authorities are Issuing the document] on or before unless some later date is hereafter specified. [The period during which the holder is allowed to return must not be less than three months.]

3. Should the holder take up residence in a country other than that which Issued the present document, he must, if he wishes to travel again, apply to the competent authorities of his country of residence for a new document. [The old travel document shall be withdrawn by the authority issuing the new document and returned to the authority which issued it.)

This document contains …. pages, exclusive of cover.)
Place and date of birth ………………………………………….
Occupation ……………………………………………………..
Present residence ……………………………………………….
*Maiden name and forename(s) of wife ………………………………
*Name and forename(s) of husband ………………………………….

Description
Height …………………………………
Hair ………………………………….
Colour of eyes ………………………….
Nose …………………………………..
Shape of face …………………………..
Complexion ……………………………..
Special peculiarities ……………………

Children accompanying holder
Name Forename(s) Place and date of birth Sex
………………………….. ……………………..…….. ……………………..…….. ……………………..……..
……………………..…….. ……………………..…….. ……………………..…….. ……………………..……..
……………………..……… ……………………..…….. ……………………..…….. ……………………..……..
……………………..…….. ……………………..…….. ……………………..…….. ……………………..……..
* Strike out whichever does not apply
(This document contains pages, exclusive of cover).
(3)
Photograph of holder and stamp of issuing authority
Finger-prints of holder (if required)
Signature of holder …………………………………………..
(This document contains pages, exclusive of cover)
(4)
1. This document is valid for the following countries:
2. Document or documents on the basis of which the present document is issued:
Issued at
Date
Signature and stamp of authority
issuing the document
Fee paid:
(This document contains pages, exclusive of cover).
(5)
Extension of renewal of validity
Fee paid: From …………………….
To
Done at Date
Signature and stamp of authority
extending or renewing the
validity of the document:
Extension or renewal of validity
Fee paid: From …………………….
To
Done at Date
Signature and stamp of authority
extending or renewing the
validity of the document:
(This document contains pages, exclusive of cover.)
(6)
Extension of renewal of validity
Fee paid: From …………………….
To
Done at Date
Signature and stamp of authority
extending or renewing the
validity of the document:
Extension or renewal of validity
Fee paid: From …………………….
To
Done at Date
Signature and stamp of authority
extending or renewing the
validity of the document:
(This document contains pages, exclusive of cover.)
(7-32)
Visas
The name of the holder of the document must be repeated in each visa.
(This document contains pages, exclusive of cover.)’
Travaux Préparatoires

The Secretariat draft contained the following Article 22:

‘1. The High Contracting Parties undertake to issue, on request to refugees regularly resident in their territory, travel documents valid for not less than one year. The travel document shall entitle the holder to leave the country of issue and to return thereto throughout the period of validity of the document. The High Contracting Parties reserve the right, in exceptional cases, to limit the period during which the refugees may return, provided that the said period is not less than three months.’

‘2. The provisions regarding the issue of Nansen Certificates contained in the Arrangements of 5 July 1922, 31 May 1924, 12 May 1926, 30 June 1928 and in the Convention of 28 October 1933, and the provisions of the Inter- Governmental Agreement concluded in London on 15 October 1946 are not rescinded by paragraph 1 of the present Article.’

The Secretariat made the following comment:

‘Under present conditions any person wishing to travel abroad is generally required to be in possession of a national passport and in most cases must request the country to which he wishes to travel to issue an entry visa. Refugees who do not enjoy the protection of the authorities of their country of origin do not have national passports. They would therefore be unable to leave the initial reception country if a document replacing the passport had not been established for their benefit.

The documents which replace passports are:

(a) the Nansen certificate;

(b) the travel document established by the London Agreement of 15 October 1946;

(c) the various travel documents issued by the administrative authorities of the various countries.

The Nansen certificate and the document established pursuant to the London Agreement are completely satisfactory while the other documents mentioned in (c) above are not accepted by many countries and have not the same advantages as travel documents established in accordance with international agreements (documents (a) and (b)).

It would therefore be desirable that the delivery of travel documents authorized by an international agreement should become a general practice. In these circumstances the ad hoc Committee might consider the inclusion in the Convention of a clause requiring States to accede to the London Agreement of 15 October 1946.’

The French draft contained the following Article 17:

‘1. Each of the High Contracting Parties undertakes to issue, on request, to refugees regularly resident in their territory, travel documents valid for not less than one year. The travel document shall entitle the holder to leave the country of issue and to return thereto throughout the period of validity of the document. The High Contracting Parties reserve the right, in exceptional cases, to limit the period during which he may return, provided that the said period is not less than three months.

2. The High Contracting Parties shall endeavour to unify, both as regards form and substance, the conditions governing the issue and validity of the travel document referred to in the paragraph last preceding.

Each High Contracting Party shall recognize the documents issued by the other High Contracting Parties.’

At the first session of the ad hoc Committee the UK representative said that he in general agreed with the purport of Article 22 of the draft Convention. He submitted an amendment reading:

‘1. The High Contracting Parties undertake to issue, on request for purposes of travel outside their territory, to refugees regularly resident in their territory, travel documents and the provisions of the Schedule to this Convention shall apply with respect to such documents.

2. As in the Secretary-General’s draft except that the words after ‘1946’ shall be deleted and there shall be inserted the words ‘shall be superseded by paragraph 1 of the present Article; but documents issued under the said instruments shall be recognized and treated by the High Contracting Parties in the same way as if they had been issued under the said paragraph’.

Schedule

Paragraph 1(3)

1. The travel document referred to in Article 22 of this Convention shall be similar to the specimen annexed hereto.

2. The document shall be made out in at least two languages – French, and the national language or languages of the authority which issues it.

Paragraph 2(4)

Subject to the regulations obtaining in the country of issue, children may be included in the document of an adult refugee.

Paragraph 3(5)

The fees charged for issue of the document shall not exceed the lowest scale of charges for national passports.

Paragraph 4(6)

Save in special or exceptional cases, the document shall be made valid for the largest possible number of countries.
Paragraph 5(7)

The document shall have a validity of either one or two years, at the discretion of the issuing authority.

Paragraph 6(8)

The renewal or extension of the validity of the document is a matter for the authority which issued it so long as the holder resides lawfully in the territory of the said authority. The issue of a new document is, under the same conditions, a matter for the authority which issued the former document.

2. Diplomatic or consular authorities, specially authorized for the purpose shall be empowered to extend, for a period not exceeding six months, the validity of travel documents issued by their Governments.

Paragraph 7(9)

The High Contracting Parties shall recognize the validity of the documents issued in accordance with the provisions of Article 22 (1) of this Convention.

Paragraph 8(10)

The competent authorities of the country to which the refugee desires to proceed shall, if they are prepared to admit him, affix a visa on the document of which he is the holder.

Paragraph 9(11)

The High Contracting Parties undertake to issue transit visas to refugees who have obtained visas for the territory of final destination.

Paragraph 10(12)

The fees for the issue of exit, entry or transit visas shall not exceed the lowest scale of charges for visas on foreign passports.

Paragraph 11(13)

When a refugee has lawfully taken up residence in the territory of another High Contracting Party, the power to issue a new document will be transferred to the competent authority of that territory, to which the refugee shall be entitled to apply.

Paragraph 12(14)

The authority issuing a new document shall withdraw the old document.

Paragraph 13(15)

1. The document shall entitle the holder to leave the country where it has been issued and, during the period of validity of the document, to return thereto without a visa from the authorities of that country, subject only to those laws and regulations which apply to the bearers of duly visaed passports.

2. The High Contracting Parties reserve the right, in exceptional cases, in cases where the refugee’s stay is authorized for a specific period only, when issuing the document, to limit the period during which the refugee may return to a period of not less than three months.

Paragraph 14(16)

Subject only to the terms of paragraph 13, the provisions of this Schedule in no way affect the laws and regulations governing the conditions of admission to, transit through, residence and establishment in, and departure from, the territories of the High Contracting Parties.

Paragraph 15(17)

Neither the issue of the document nor the entries made thereon determine or affect the status of the holder, particularly as regards nationality.

Paragraph 16(18)

The issue of the document does not in any way entitle the holder to the protection of the diplomatic or consular authorities of the country of issue, and does not confer on these authorities a right of protection.

‘The document will be in booklet form (approximately 15 x 10 centimetres).

It is recommended that it be so printed that any erasure or alteration by chemical or other means can be readily detected, and that the words ‘Convention of be printed in continuous repetition on each page, in the language of the issuing country.

(Cover of booklet)
TRAVEL DOCUMENT
(Convention of)
No ………………………
(1)
TRAVEL DOCUMENT
(Convention of)
This document expires on ……………………………………..
unless its validity is extended or renewed.
Name …………………………………………………………..
Forename(s) …………………………………………………
Accompanied by……. child, (children)
1. This document is issued solely with a view to providing the holder with a travel document which can serve in lieu
of a national passport. It is without prejudice to and in no way affects the holder’s nationality.
2. The holder is authorized to return to ……
[state here the country whose authorities are issuing the document] on or before unless some later date is hereafter
specified. [The period during which the holder is allowed to return must not be less than three months.]
3. Should the holder take up residence in a country other than that which issued the present document, he must, if
he wishes to travel again, apply to the competent authorities of his country of residence for a new document. This
document contains …. pages, exclusive of cover.)
(2)
Place and date of birth ………………………………………….
Occupation ………………………………………………………….
Present residence ………………………………………………….
*Maiden name and forename(s) of wife ………………………………
*Name and forename(s) of husband ……………………………………
Description
Height ……………………………………….
Hair …………………………………………..
Colour of eyes ……………………………
Nose ………………………………………….
Shape of face ……………………………..
Complexion ……………………………….
Special peculiarities ……………………
Children accompanying holder
Name Forename(s) Place and date of birth Sex
………………………….. ……………………..…….. ……………………..…….. ……………………..……..
……………………..…….. ……………………..…….. ……………………..…….. ……………………..……..
……………………..……… ……………………..…….. ……………………..…….. ……………………..……..
……………………..…….. ……………………..…….. ……………………..…….. ……………………..……..
*Strike out whichever does not apply
(This document contains pages, exclusive of cover).
(3)
Photograph of holder and stamp of issuing authority
Finger-prints of holder (if required)
Signature of holder …………………………………………..
(This document contains pages, exclusive of cover)
(4)
1. This document is valid for the following countries:
2. Document or documents on the basis of which the present document is issued:
Issued at
Date
Signature and stamp of authority

issuing the document
Fee paid:

(This document contains pages, exclusive of cover).

(5)
Extension of renewal of validity
Fee paid: From …………………….

To
Done at Date
Signature and stamp of authority
extending or renewing the
validity of the document:
Extension or renewal of validity
Fee paid: From …………………….

To
Done at Date
Signature and stamp of authority
extending or renewing the
validity of the document:
(This document contains pages, exclusive of cover.)

(6)
Extension of renewal of validity
Fee paid: From …………………….
To
Done at Date
Signature and stamp of authority
extending or renewing the

validity of the document:

Extension or renewal of validity

Fee paid: From …………………….

To

Done at Date

Signature and stamp of authority
extending or renewing the
validity of the document:
(This document contains pages, exclusive of cover.)
(7-32)

Visas

The name of the holder of the document must be repeated in each visa.

(This document contains 32 pages, exclusive of cover.)’

At the proposal of the Chairman it was decided to take the UK draft as a basis of discussion.

The UK representative noted that the three drafts all had the same end in view, namely to enable a refugee who had no passport to return within a given period to the country that issued the travel document. Without that provision, the refugee would probably not be allowed to enter other countries, for they would hesitate to admit him for fear that they might be obliged to keep him permanently on their territory.

In sub-paragraph 2 of paragraph 13 of the Schedule the words ‘in cases where the refugee’s stay is authorized for a specific period only’ had been added. That case required special mention among those in which the period during which the refugee was allowed to return might be less than the period of validity of the document, which paragraph 5 set at one or two years; the return period could not, in any case be less than three months.

Paragraph 2 of the UK draft of Article 22 was based on a principle which was directly opposed to the principle of the corresponding provision of the Secretariat draft. The latter provided that the earlier agreements and Conventions should remain in force, but the UK draft substituted the provisions of the Convention for the provisions of earlier instruments, with the stipulation that the contracting parties would recognize the validity of earlier documents and treat them in the same way as if they had been issued under paragraph 1.

It was to be hoped that all parties to earlier agreements and conventions would sign the new instrument; if that should not be the case, however, the new Convention would not replace earlier conventions for those countries which had not signed it. Hence the need for the final clause of paragraph 2.

The French representative wished to confine his statement to three remarks of a general nature. In the first place, it appeared to him highly desirable that the new Convention should replace all previous instruments. He did not consider, however, that it was necessary to include in a general document the detailed provisions contained in the schedule to the UK draft.

There was another reason why the French delegation had not tried to solve the problem by referring to the 1946 Agreement. France itself had not thought it possible to implement that Agreement in view of the fact that the US was not implementing it. The position taken by the US had given rise to serious difficulties of a practical nature. If the insertion of the provisions of the 1946 Agreement in the new Convention were to prove sufficient reason for a change in the attitude of the US, the French delegation would have no objection to their being included in the Convention.

The US representative admitted that, in the past, the US had not adhered to any convention or agreement relating to travel documents for refugees, nor had it issued documents of that type. Nevertheless, the Government of the US had, on the one hand, admitted aliens bearing Nansen passports or documents issued under the provisions of the 1946 Agreement and, on the other hand, had allowed aliens residing in the US to leave that country, guaranteeing their right of return by a special document, which corresponded to the return clause in the 1946 Agreement.

He reserved his Government’s attitude with regard to the issue of travel documents such as those proposed for refugees. He was, however, in a position to assure the Committee that refugees resident in the US would ordinarily be able to leave the country and to return to it.

The UK representative reminded the Committee that the 1946 Agreement related to refugees who were the concern of the Inter-Governmental Committee for Refugees, which was no longer in existence. The Agreement itself could therefore be considered as null and void and there was no point in refer Ting to it. It was for that reason that the UK was proposing the provisions of the Agreement be included in the Convention.

There was no need to stress the practical advantages which would result from the standardization of travel documents for refugees. The work of passport, customs and immigration officials would be considerably simplified if all such documents were based on a single model. In that case, he felt that the text proposed by the Secretariat was too general to be acceptable.

In reply to the question of the US representative the representative of the Secretariat replied that the Secretariat had thought it desirable that diplomatic instruments subscribed by a relatively large number of States should remain in effect. The Chairman, speaking as representative of Canada, was inclined to share the point of view of the UK delegation.

Canada was not a party to the London Agreement, but it had officially recognized it and it admitted the validity of documents issued under that Agreement. It did not, however, issue documents of that kind itself.

The French representative supported the UK representative’s remarks on the advisability of adopting a single model for
travel documents, which would prevent the bearers being asked to produce special credentials during the journey.

Paragraph 1 of Article 22 of the UK text was approved with the substitution of a full stop instead of the word ‘and’. The Israeli representative thought that paragraph 2 was a temporary provision which would be better placed in chapter XV. The Committee would see when it examined Article 31 of that chapter whether the advantages granted to certain refugees by former conventions should be retained or not.

The Belgian representative emphasized that paragraph 2 had a double scope. On the one hand, it provided for the recognition of the validity of travel documents which would continue to be issued by countries signatory to previous conventions which were not parties to the new Convention; that was a provision of a lasting nature. On the other hand, the provision rendered valid, up to their date of expiry, documents already delivered under previous conventions by future signatories of the new Convention; that provision, taken by itself, was of a temporary nature.

The Brazilian representative said that, whether it was so stipulated in Article 22 or not, the new system should automatically apply to all documents issued after the entry into force of the Convention.

The Israeli representative pointed out that the maximum validity of documents issued under the former conventions had never exceeded one year.

The Belgian representative said the fact remained that the States Parties to the former conventions which had not adhered to the new Convention would be able to continue issuing such documents indefinitely. The provision was not, therefore, a transitory one and should appear in Article 22.

The French representative agreed. The French delegation thought that the new Convention should replace the 1933 and 1938 Conventions. The real question, therefore, was whether the validity of the documents issued under the former treaties by States would be recognized by the signatories of the new Convention. The answer was to be found in paragraph 2.

The UK representative emphasized that the States signatory to the 1946 Agreement which did not adhere to the new Convention would in fact issue, in future, documents identical with those under the new Convention which, according to the UK proposal, would be modelled on the 1946 Agreement.

The problem arose only in connection with documents issued under the 1933 and 1938 Conventions, which were of a different type. It was to be hoped, however, that the majority of the signatories to those Conventions would adhere to the new one. Issuance of the documents of the former type, by the remainder, would not cause much inconvenience, since the provisions of those Conventions had many points in common with those in the UK proposal.

The US representative thought that, in the interests of greater clarity, it would be better to insert the words ‘so far as the High Contracting Parties to this Convention are concerned’ before the semicolon in paragraph 2.

Paragraph 2, as so amended, was adopted.

The Danish representative pointed out that the Committee had not examined the question of travel documents for refugees not regularly resident in the territory of one of the Contracting Parties, for instance, those who had just arrived in the initial reception country. He took as an example the hypothetical case of a German refugee arriving clandestinely in Denmark, without identity papers, and anxious to travel to the US for family or other reasons.

He therefore proposed that Article 22 be so amended that the High Contracting Parties would be able to grant travel documents to all refugees in their territory, whatever their status in the eyes of the law, with the sole stipulation that they be not regularly resident in another country.

The US representative referred to Article 2 of the 1946 Agreement which provided that the travel document might be issued to refugees who were not staying lawfully in the territory of the Government concerned.

The UK representative explained that Article 2 of the 1946 Agreement had not been embodied in the UK proposal for the sole reason that it had applied exclusively to refugees not regularly resident in the countries concerned at the time when the Agreement had come into force.

He had no objection to the proposal that States should be authorized to issue travel documents to all refugees, even those not regularly resident in the State concerned. It would, however, be going too far to make such a thing obligatory, since to do so would involve States in the further obligation of readmitting refugees who might have spent only a few weeks in their territory, if they were unable to remain in the country to which they went.

The Danish proposal read as follows:

‘The High Contracting Parties reserve the right to issue the documents referred to in paragraph 1 to refugees not residing in their territory.’

The Israeli representative did not think that the text conveyed what its author had intended. The point at issue was not whether the High Contracting Parties were empowered to issue travel documents but whether such documents would be recognized by the countries of destination.

The Danish representative said that the travel documents, whether issued under paragraph 1 or under the paragraph proposed by Denmark, would be subject to the provisions of paragraph 13 of the Schedule which entitled the holder to return without a visa to the country which had issued the travel document. That provided the country in which the refugee wished to travel with a safeguard which would apply in all cases.

The IRO representative supported warmly the Danish proposal.

The UK representative proposed that the phrase ‘reserve the right to’ should be replaced by the word ‘may’.

The text proposed by the Danish representative, as amended by the UK representative, was adopted provisionally. It became paragraph 2 of Article 22, the former paragraph 2 becoming paragraph 3.

Schedule paragraph 1 sub-paragraph 2

The Chairman inquired why the use of English as well as French was not provided for. Such a provision would be in keeping with the practice of the United Nations.

The Turkish representative pointed out that in the matter of passports, the French language was a custom which was still observed in many countries.

Sub-paragraph 2 was adopted without change.

Paragraphs 2, 3, 4 and 5 were adopted.

Paragraph 6 sub-paragraph 1

The Danish representative pointed out that sub-paragraph 1 should be amended to take into account the adoption of the Danish proposal in connection with Article 22. The phrase ‘so long as the holder resides lawfully in the territory of the said authority’ should be replaced by the phrase ‘so long as the holder has not established his lawful residence there’.

Sub-paragraph 1 of paragraph 6 was adopted without change.

Sub-paragraph 2 of paragraph 6 was adopted.

Paragraph 7 was adopted with the amendment that the words ‘Article 22(1)’ were replaced by the words ‘Article 22’.

Paragraph 8 was adopted with the addition of the words ‘if a visa is necessary’.

Paragraphs 9 to 12 were adopted.

As regards paragraph 13, the French representative reserved his position with regard to the final wording of subparagraph 1 of paragraph 13 since in some countries a re-entry visa was necessary even for nationals.

Sub-paragraph 1 of paragraph 13 was adopted.

As to sub-paragraph 2 the representative of the IRO agreed with the UK text in as much as refugees who were permitted to stay for a limited period only should be obliged to return before that period expired. It was feared, however, that some countries might make a general rule of that exception and immediately limit the time during which the refugees were permitted to return, to three months, on the pretext that their permits were issued for a limited period. It might be necessary to define exactly what were the exceptional cases, so as to avoid that limitation becoming a general rule.

Sub-paragraph 2 of paragraph 13 was adopted with the omission of the word ‘only’ after the words ‘for a specific period’.

Paragraphs 14 and 15 were adopted.

On paragraph 16 there was some discussion whether it should be deleted or to make a full stop after ‘country of issue’.

At the suggestion of the Israeli representative, the paragraph was provisionally adopted pending information by the Secretariat on the real reasons for its adoption at the London inter-governmental conference.

Annex

The specimen travel document was adopted.

Discussion was reopened on paragraph 13 sub-paragraph 1 on the ground that in some countries even nationals required a re-entry visa; in those countries refugees should, in view of the Turkish representative, also require a re-entry visa as a formality. Other representatives pointed out that the right of the refugee to return to the issuing country must not be affected, not only in the interests of the refugees but also in order to give the countries the refugees wished to visit, some guarantee.

It was decided to leave the provision unchanged, subject to the second reading.

The representative of the Secretariat gave the reasons for paragraph 18 of the London Agreement. Some Governments had expressed doubts whether their consular services would be able to give protection – even if only implicitly – to refugees to whom they had issued travel documents. The third general conference on communications and transit in 1927 had stated in its report that the consuls who had the right to issue and renew travel documents did not ipso facto have the right to protect the persons concerned. The refugees, for their part, had no right to claim such protection. The specimen travel document drawn up in 1946 had stated that it in no way prejudged or affected the nationality of the holder. The countries which in 1927 had insisted most strongly on the above-mentioned provision had been the Netherlands and the UK.

The Israeli representative said that paragraph 16 contained two important ideas: (1) it indicated that the Contracting Parties wished to avoid disputes over protection; (2) it gave certain guarantees to holders of travel documents. That was why it would be better to reproduce that paragraph in the travel document itself rather than insert it in the Annex to Article 22 of the Convention.

It was decided to refer that proposal regarding paragraph 16 of the Annex to Article 22 to the Working Group, for study.493 The Working Group proposed the following text:

‘1. The Contracting States shall issue, on request, to a refugee lawfully resident in their territory, a travel document and the provisions of the Schedule to this Convention shall apply with regard to such documents. The Contracting States may issue such a document to a refugee not lawfully resident in their territory.

2. Travel documents issued to refugees under previous international agreements by parties thereto shall be recognized and treated by the Contracting States as if they had been issued pursuant to this Article.’

The US representative pointed out that the term ‘lawfully resident’ not used in the draft convention elsewhere, appeared in Article 23 because it was used in the corresponding section of the London Agreement, on which that Article was based. The Working Group had decided to delete part of paragraph 2, referring to previous arrangements and agreements, and to include it in Article 32.

Article 23 was adopted.

Schedule

The Chairman said the only change in the text as adopted at the first reading had been the insertion of sub-paragraph 2 of paragraph 13.

The US representative suggested that paragraphs 1 and 2 of paragraph 13 should be merged into one paragraph, since sub-paragraph 2 was merely a reservation on the general principle set out in paragraph 1.

The Schedule, as amended, was adopted.

The texts adopted at the first session read:

Article 23, the Schedule and the Annex as adopted by the Committee at its first session read:

Article 23

Travel Documents

‘1. The Contracting States shall issue, on request, to a refugee lawfully resident in their territory, a travel document for the purpose of travel outside their territory; and the provisions of the Schedule to this Convention shall apply with respect to such document. The Contracting States may issue such a travel document to a refugee not lawfully resident in their territory.

2. Travel documents issued to refugees under previous international agreements by parties thereto shall be recognized and treated by the Contracting States in the same way as if they had been issued pursuant to this Article.’

Schedule
(see Article 23)

Paragraph 1(3)

‘1. The travel document referred to in Article 23 of this Convention shall be similar to the specimen annexed hereto.

2. The document shall be made out in at least two languages – French and the national language or languages of the authority which issues it.

Paragraph 2(4)

Subject to the regulations obtaining in the country of issue, children may be included in the document of an adult refugee.

Paragraph 3(5)

The fees charged for issue of the document shall not exceed the lowest scale of charges for national passports.

Paragraph 4(6)

Save in special or exceptional cases, the document shall be made valid for the largest possible number of countries.

Paragraph 5(7)

The document shall have a validity of either one or two years, at the discretion of the issuing authority.

Paragraph 6(8)

1. The renewal or extension of the validity of the document is a matter for the authority which issued it so long as the holder has not established lawfully residence in another territory and resides lawfully in the territory of the said authority. The issue of a new document is, under the same conditions, a matter for the authority which issued the former document.

2. Diplomatic or consular authorities specially authorized for the purpose, shall be empowered to extend, for a period not exceeding six months, the validity of travel documents issued by their Governments.

Paragraph 7(9)

The High Contracting Parties shall recognize the validity of the documents issued in accordance with the provisions of Article 23 of this Convention.

Paragraph 8(10)

The competent authorities of the country to which the refugee desires to proceed shall, if they are prepared to admit him and if a visa is required, affix a visa on the document of which he is the holder.

Paragraph 9(11)

The High Contracting Parties undertake to issue transit visas to refugees who have obtained visas for the territory of final destination.

Paragraph 10(12)

The fees for the issue of exit, entry or transit visas shall not exceed the lowest scale of charges for visas on foreign passports.

Paragraph 11(13)

When a refugee has lawfully taken up residence in the territory of another High Contracting Party, the power to issue a new document will be transferred to the competent authority of that territory, to which the refugee shall be entitled to apply.

Paragraph 12(14)

The authority issuing a new document shall withdraw the old document.

Paragraph 13(15)

1. The document shall entitle the holder to leave the country where it has been issued and, during the period of validity of the document, to return thereto without a visa from the authorities of that country, subject to those laws and regulations which apply to the bearers of duly visaed passports. Where a visa is required of a returning national a visa may be required of a returning refugee but shall be issued to him on request and without a delay.

2. The High Contracting Parties reserve the right, in exceptional cases, where the refugee’s stay is authorized for a specific period, when issuing the document, to limit the period during which the refugee may return to a period of not less than three months.

Paragraph 14(16)

Subject only to the terms of paragraph 13, the provisions of this Schedule in no way affect the laws and regulations governing the conditions of admission to, transit through, residence and establishment in, and departure from, the territories of the Contracting States.

Paragraph 15(17)

Neither the issue of the document nor the entries made thereon determine or affect the status of the holder, particularly as regards nationality.

Paragraph 16(18)

The issue of the document does not in any way entitle the holder to the protection of the diplomatic or consular authorities of the country of issue, and does not confer on these authorities a right of protection.

ANNEX TO THE SCHEDULE

Specimen Travel Document
‘The document will be in booklet form (approximately 15 x 10 centimetres).
It is recommended that it be so printed that any erasure or alteration by chemical or other means can be readily detected, and that the words ‘Convention of be printed in continuous repetition on each page, in the language of the issuing country.

(Cover of booklet)
TRAVEL DOCUMENT
(Convention of)
No ………………………
(1)
TRAVEL DOCUMENT
(Convention of)
This document expires on ……………………………………..
unless its validity is extended or renewed.
Name …………………………………………………………..
Forename(s) …………………………………………………
Accompanied by……. child, (children)
1. This document is issued solely with a view to providing the holder with a travel document which can serve in lieu of a national passport. It is without prejudice to and in no way affects the holder’s nationality.

2. The holder is authorized to return to [state here the country whose authorities are issuing the document] on or before unless some later date is hereafter specified. [The period during which the holder is allowed to return must not be less than three months.]

3. Should the holder take up residence in a country other than that which issued the present document, he must, if he wishes to travel again, apply to the competent authorities of his country of residence for a new document. This document contains …. pages, exclusive of cover.)

(2)
Place and date of birth ………………………………………….
Occupation ………………………………………………………….
Present residence ………………………………………………….
*Maiden name and forename(s) of wife ………………………………
*Name and forename(s) of husband ……………………………………
Description
Height ……………………………………….
Hair …………………………………………..
Colour of eyes ……………………………
Nose ………………………………………….
Shape of face ……………………………..
Complexion ……………………………….
Special peculiarities ……………………
Children accompanying holder
Name Forename(s) Place and date of birth Sex
………………………….. ……………………..…….. ……………………..…….. ……………………..……..
……………………..…….. ……………………..…….. ……………………..…….. ……………………..……..
……………………..……… ……………………..…….. ……………………..…….. ……………………..……..
……………………..…….. ……………………..…….. ……………………..…….. ……………………..……..
*Strike out whichever does not apply
(This document contains pages, exclusive of cover).
(3)
Photograph of holder and stamp of issuing authority
Finger-prints of holder (if required)
Signature of holder …………………………………………..
(This document contains pages, exclusive of cover)
(4)
1. This document is valid for the following countries:
2. Document or documents on the basis of which the present document is issued:
Issued at
Date
Signature and stamp of authority
issuing the document
Fee paid:
(This document contains pages, exclusive of cover).
(5)
Extension of renewal of validity
Fee paid: From …………………….
To
Done at Date
Signature and stamp of authority
extending or renewing the
validity of the document:
Extension or renewal of validity
Fee paid: From …………………….
To
Done at Date
Signature and stamp of authority
extending or renewing the
validity of the document:
(This document contains pages, exclusive of cover.)
(6)
Extension of renewal of validity
Fee paid: From …………………….
To
Done at Date
Signature and stamp of authority
extending or renewing the
validity of the document:
Extension or renewal of validity
Fee paid: From …………………….
To
Done at Date
Signature and stamp of authority extending or renewing the validity of the document:

(This document contains pages, exclusive of cover.)
(7-32)

Visas

The name of the holder of the document must be repeated in each visa.

(This document contains 32 pages, exclusive of cover.)’

The Committee made the following comment:

Article 23 paragraph 1

‘Under present conditions any persons wishing to travel abroad is generally required to be in possession of a national passport and in most cases must request the country to which he wishes to travel to issue an entry visa.

The travel document mentioned will take the place for refugees of a national passport for travel purposes.

The Schedule annexed to this report states the conditions under which the travel document shall be delivered and used. It also states what the document must contain. This schedule and model travel document follow closely the provisions of the London Agreement of 15 October 1946.

The Committee agreed that in general the travel document would be accepted by other Governments only if the refugee was assured of the right to return to the issuing country. Upon his return, however, the refugee need be accorded no better status in the country than he had before he left. That is, a refugee authorized to remain in a country for a limited period who leaves that country with a travel document could, on his return, claim to remain only for the unexpired period granted in the original permission, unless the Government concerned decided to extend the period.’

The term ‘lawfully resident’ in this Article is taken from the London Agreement of 1946 on the Issue of a Travel Document for Refugees and is used in the sense intended there.

Article 2 of the 1933 Convention and Article 3 of the 1938 Convention were quoted and the lists of ratifications of the earlier agreements given.

Italy commented as follows:

‘III. The Italian Government begs to remark that the majority of the provisions in the proposed Convention verges on the definition and scope of the term ‘lawful’.

Apart from those in possession of a regular identity card delivered by IRO, the Convention can hardly be made to apply to those refugees who are ‘lawfully’ in the country since the great majority of them has notoriously entered it clandestinely and resides therein without a regular authority to do so or only with a temporary permit’.

From a strictly Italian legal point of view, refugees found in the country without any document of any kind are to be considered as clandestine immigrants and, as such, are to be denied the benefits of the provisions under consideration; the same situation will be found in all first asylum countries’.

Austria and Chile made the same comments as on Article 22.

Austria commented:

‘The Austrian Government may be obliged to enter a reservation on this Article. It could not undertake to issue travel documents in the form contemplated therein, but would be prepared to recognize as valid travel documents issued by other states’.

At the second session of the ad hoc Committee the Chairman observed with regard to the Chilean comment that the Government was not the only one having instituted a special passport for refugees, but that even if all Governments had accepted such a practice, it would be an advantage to adopt the unified system provided for in Article 23. Furthermore there was no reason why the majority of countries should not adopt the system even if one preferred to retain its national legislation.

The US representative hoped that countries like Chile would accept the provisions of Article 23 both for the reason given by the Chairman and because he doubted whether the kind of document provided by such countries contained any provision permitting the holder to re-enter the country.

Article 23 was adopted.

The US representative thought he was not alone in wondering why the French language had been singled out for use in addition to that of the authority issuing the travel document. He felt that English should also be required since the two languages were equally working languages of the UN.

The UK representative agreed. He thought the reasons why French alone had been mentioned were historical.

The Belgian representative agreed but considered that it would be preferable to retain provisionally the French language only, in order to use up the stocks of travel documents already printed in French. The new documents could include an English translation.

The Chairman recalled that during the previous discussions he had been unable to see why it should be obligatory to make out future travel documents in the national language of the issuing authority; French and English would cover international requirements. He therefore proposed, as the representative of Denmark, that the words ‘at least two languages – French and the national language of the authority which issued it’ should be replaced by the words ‘at least two languages, English and French’.

The representative of the IRO recalled that the form of travel document adopted at the first session was that in use under the London Agreement, with some minor changes. If a further language was to be required it would be necessary to print new documents, which would involve waste of time and expenditure.

The US representative favoured the formulation proposed by the Chairman, modified slightly so as to read ‘at least two languages, which shall include French and English’. In the hope of reaching a compromise, he proposed that in paragraph 1 of the Schedule the words ‘at least two languages – French and the national language or languages of the authority which had issued it’ be replaced by the words ‘at least two languages, one of which shall be English or French’.

Paragraph 1 of the Schedule, as thus amended, was adopted unanimously.

Paragraph 2 of the Schedule was adopted unanimously without discussion.

The Belgian representative wondered whether, at least at first sight, paragraph 3 did not contradict Article 24. The special duty provided for in Article 24 might make the charge for issuing travel documents higher than the lowest scale of charge for national passports.

The French representative said the two provisions were not incompatible; paragraph 3 supplemented Article 24 paragraph 3.

The Israeli representative suggested that the Belgian objection might be met by amending paragraph 3 of the Schedule to read ‘Subject to the provisions of Article 24 paragraph 3, the fees charged…’

The UK representative observed that paragraph 3 of the Schedule and paragraph 3 of Article 24 referred to entirely separate matters.

After further discussion, it was agreed that paragraph 3 of the Schedule be amended to read ‘subject to the provisions of paragraph 3 of Article 24, the fees charged…’

Paragraph 3 of the Schedule was adopted as amended.

Paragraphs 4 and 5 of the Schedule were adopted without discussion.

The US representative wondered why six months was specified in paragraph 6 as the period for which diplomatic or consular representatives were to be empowered to extend the validity of travel documents. There was no reason why discretion should not extend to a period of a year.

He was also afraid that situations might arise in which one country was not willing to extend any longer the validity of a travel document of a refugee while the country of his new residence was not yet prepared to issue him one for the first time. To prevent the refugee from falling between two stools, he proposed to add to paragraph 6(1) the words ‘No travel document shall be cancelled or its prolongation refused so long as a refugee shall not have received a new one from the country of his new residence.’

The UK representative feared that the US proposal went too far. One object of a travel document was to allow a refugee to go out and find his feet in another country. If the country of his first residence was forced to wait until a document had been issued by the country of new residence before cancelling its own document, it would probably never be relieved from its obligations. He felt that it was for the second country to take over the responsibility of the first as soon as it had accepted the refugee as a resident.

The Chairman concurred.

The US representative also generally agreed.

The representative of the IRO agreed that the difficult situation depicted by the US representative might arise. A further difficulty might result from the fact that the diplomatic and consular authorities were not obliged to make an extension. The problem was also clearly connected with the validity of the provision in paragraph 13 for return without a visa. It would be remembered that the period during which a refugee might be returned could be reduced in exceptional cases to three months.

The French representative considered that it would be possible to insert the US proposal in the form of a recommendation.

The Belgian and Canadian representatives supported the objections of the UK representative to the US proposal.

The US proposal was rejected by 5 votes to 4, with 2 abstentions.

Subject to this decision, paragraph 6 of the Schedule was unanimously adopted.

In reply to a remark by the Israeli representative the UK representative said that the provisions of paragraph 1 of Article 23 and paragraph 7 of the Schedule were complementary. Paragraph 1 of the Article referred to the issue of Documents in the future; paragraph 7 of the Schedule provided for the recognition of such documents by the States.

The Israeli representative felt that the provisions of paragraph 7 of the Schedule should be incorporated in paragraph 1 of Article 23 which ought to read ‘The Contracting States shall issue and mutually recognize….’

The representative of the IRO thought that, though from a purely legal point of view paragraph 7 was perhaps unnecessary, it might have psychological value in stimulating recognition of travel documents under the present and previous agreements.

Paragraph 7 of the Schedule was adopted.

Paragraph 8 of the Schedule was adopted without discussion.

The United States representative suggested that the words ‘the territory’ in paragraph 9 be replaced by the words ‘a territory’.

Paragraph 9 of the Schedule was adopted as amended.

Paragraph 10 of the Schedule was adopted without discussion.

Following a suggestion by the US representative the Chairman suggested amending the words ‘will be transferred to the competent authority’ in paragraph 11 to read ‘shall be in the competence of that authority’.

Paragraph 11 of the Schedule was adopted as amended.

Paragraph 12 of the Schedule was adopted without discussion.

The Chairman, speaking as representative of Denmark, feared that paragraph 13 in its present form might lead to something in the nature of a mental reservation on the part of authorities issuing travel documents. Any country which admitted an alien who was in possession of a national passport knew that as long as the passport remained valid, it was in its power to return him to the country from which he came, even if he was not in possession of the re-entry visa which some countries required of their own nationals for fiscal and security reasons. When a refugee, on the other hand, travelled out of his country of residence, the first question which arose in the minds of the authorities of any country which admitted him was whether it would be possible to get rid of him. As long as his travel document was valid he would be admitted on the understanding that at least one country would accept him again. If that last protection for countries admitting refugees was removed, entry visas would be supplied only after careful study of the probability of a refugee being permitted to return to his country of residence.

If the countries in which refugees travelled were deprived of this only safeguard, his travel document would become worthless. The Danish delegation wished therefore to delete from paragraph 13 the words ‘subject to those laws and regulations which apply to the bearers of duly visaed passports’. If those words were deleted, a country which permitted a refugee to travel abroad but did not wish to allow him to re-enter would be obliged to furnish him with a special paper making the position clear and duly warning any countries which might visa that paper.

The Belgian representative said if, indeed, the travel document contained nothing to the contrary, it gave the holder the right to re-enter the issuing country during the period of its validity. Moreover, if a country wished to reduce that period it could do so by appending a restrictive visa to the travel document. That was done by certain countries, even in the case of their own nationals.

The Chairman, speaking as representative of Denmark, felt that the words which he proposed to delete could not support the interpretation the Belgian representative wished to give them.

According to Danish law, an alien not able to support himself would not be admitted even if his passport was valid and duly visaed. Paragraph 13 would have placed the holder in the same position, whereas in his opinion the holders of travel documents, even if they were penniless or suffering from infectious diseases, ought to be received back by the country which had issued the document on trust of which other countries had admitted them.

He also wished to delete the second sentence of paragraph 13(1). A refugee would not take out a travel document unless he intended to travel abroad and there was no reason why the return visa should not be supplied when the document was issued. If the refugee was obliged to apply for the visa after leaving the country, his passport might have expired before the visa was issued, and again the responsibility would pass to another country.

The representative of the IRO said that the second sentence of paragraph 13(1) had been added to take account of the special situation in Turkey, where a visa had been required for the return of nationals. As Turkey had now abolished that requirement in respect of its nationals, and as the provision was not to be found in the London Agreement he thought that the second sentence might be deleted.

The UK representative favoured the deletion of the second sentence.

His Government might also be prepared to accept the deletion of the last clause of the first sentence. The restriction had been considered as important by many countries in the London Agreement. If it were omitted, the omission might lead to reservations on the part of such countries. It had to be remembered that States, in order to safeguard their position, preferred to have the powers in reserve even though they did not use them. For that reason, therefore, he considered it desirable to retain this clause.

The Venezuelan representative said that nationals returning to his country required visas from consulates abroad. If the second sentence were deleted his Government would probably enter a reservation in respect of that provision. The Chairman, speaking as representative of Denmark, pointed out that the question whether a person entering a country required a visa or not was a purely internal one for States. If a national entered his own country, that country was obliged to admit him, whether or not he had a visa for entry or even a passport. In the case of refugees, however, no country was in the same way obliged to admit him. He was anxious to avoid such a situation arising and had therefore proposed that the last clause of the first sentence be deleted.

The Belgian representative observed that under the second sentence of paragraph 13(1), a visa requested by a returning refugee was to be issued without delay.

The UK representative considered that, as it was clear that at least one country regarded the second sentence as important, and as the sentence was merely procedural and mandatory in intention, as the Belgian representative had said, it was better in the interests of the refugees, to retain it.

The second sentence of paragraph 13(1) was adopted by 17 votes to 1, with 3 abstentions.

The last clause of the first sentence of paragraph 13(1) was adopted by 4 votes to 2, with 5 abstentions.

Paragraph 13(1) of the Schedule was adopted.

The representative of the IRO said that in the experience of his organization the right reserved to a State for exceptional cases in paragraph 13(2) had, in some cases, in fact been exercised as a rule. He appealed to States to exercise it only as laid down in paragraph 13(2), in exceptional cases, or in cases where the refugee’s stay was authorized for a specific period.

His appeal was supported by the UK and US representatives.

Paragraph 13(2) of the Schedule was adopted.

Paragraphs 14, 15 and 16 of the Schedule were adopted without discussion.

The representative of the IRO said that Article 23 was of the utmost importance; not only did it provide for rights for refugees of the greatest value, but it also created relations between States. He had been struck by the fact that some of the Governments concerned had said they would not be in a position to accept Article 23 and the Schedule without reservations and had not always given reasons for making such reservations. He appealed to Governments to accept Article 23 and the Schedule. If accepted, they would create uniformity, and introduce the so-called return clause that was not always to be found in national documents.

The Chairman pointed out that in paragraph 2 of the introduction to the specimen travel document,502 no mention had been made of the possible need for a visa. It seemed to him essential, at least in the case of countries which did not authorize the unconditional return of refugees, that the provision should be changed to enable the inclusion of a reference to special visa regulations.

After further discussion it was decided to leave the question to the Drafting Committee.

The Drafting Committee proposed the following text:

‘1. The Contracting States shall issue, on request, to a refugee lawfully resident in their territory, a travel document for the purpose of travel outside their territory; and the provisions of the Schedule to this Convention shall apply with respect to such a document. The Contracting States may issue such a travel document to a refugee not lawfully resident in their territory.

2. Travel documents issued to refugees under previous international agreements by parties thereto shall be recognized and treated by the Contracting States in the same way as if they had been issued pursuant to this Article.’

Schedule

(see Article 23)

Paragraph 1(3)504

‘1. The travel document referred to in Article 23 of this Convention shall be similar to the specimen annexed hereto.

2. The document shall be made out in at least two languages – one of which should be English or French, and the national language or languages of the authority which issue it.’

Paragraph 2(4)

‘Subject to the regulations obtaining in the country of issue, children may be included in the document of an adult refugee.’

Paragraph 3(5)

‘Without prejudice to the provisions of Article 24, paragraph 3 of this Convention the fees charged for issue of the document shall not exceed the lowest scale of charges for national passports.’

Paragraph 4(6)

‘Save in special or exceptional cases, the document shall be made valid for the largest possible number of countries.’

Paragraph 5(7)

‘The document shall have a validity of either one or two years, at the discretion of the issuing authority.’

Paragraph 6(8)

‘1. The renewal or extension of the validity of the documents is a matter for the authority which issued it, so long as the holder has not established lawful residence in another territory and resides lawfully in the territory of the said authority. The issue of a new document is, under the same conditions, a matter for the authority which issued the former document.

‘2. Diplomatic or consular authorities, specially authorized for the purpose, shall be empowered to extend, for a period not exceeding six months, the validity of travel documents issued by their Governments.

‘3. Renewal or extension of the validity of a travel document or the issue of a new document should not be refused unless the Contracting State which issued the original document is reasonably satisfied that the holder has acquired a new lawful residence.’

Paragraph 7(9)

‘The Contracting States shall recognize the validity of the documents issued in accordance with the provisions of Article 23 of this Convention.’

Paragraph 8(10)

‘The competent authorities of the country to which the refugee desires to proceed shall, if they are prepared to admit him and if a visa is required, affix a visa on the document of which he is the holder.’

Paragraph 9(11)

‘The Contracting States undertake to issue transit visas to refugees who have obtained visas for the territory of final destination.’

Paragraph 10(12)

‘The fees for the issue of exit, entry or transit visas shall not exceed the lowest scale of charges for visas on foreign passports.’

Paragraph 11(13)

‘When a refugee has lawfully taken up residence in the territory of another Contracting State, the power to issue a new document will be in the competent authority of that territory, to which the refugee shall be entitled to apply.’

Paragraph 12(14)

‘The authority issuing a new document shall withdraw the old document.’

Paragraph 13(15)

‘1. The document shall entitle the holder to leave the country where it has been issued and, during the period of validity of the document, to return thereto without a visa from the authorities of that country, subject to those laws and regulations which apply to the bearers of duly visaed passports. Where a visa is required of a returning national a visa may be required of a returning refugee but shall be issued to him on request and without delay.

‘2. The Contracting States reserve the right, in exceptional cases, or in cases where the refugee’s stay is authorized for a specific period, when issuing the document, to limit the period during which the refugee may return to a period of not less than three months.’

Paragraph 14(16)

‘Subject only to the terms of paragraph 13, the provisions of this Schedule in no way affect the laws and regulations governing the conditions of admission to, transit through, residence and establishment in, and departure from, the territories of the Contracting States.’

Paragraph 15(17)

‘Neither the issue of the document nor the entries made thereon determine or affect the status of the holder, particularly as regards nationality.’

Paragraph 16(18)

‘The issue of the document does not in any way entitle the holder to the protection of the diplomatic or consular authorities of the country of issue, and does not confer on these authorities a right of protection.’

The US representative proposed, on a suggestion by the representative of the IRO, to add at the end of the first paragraph of Article 23 ‘and should give sympathetic consideration in particular to applications for travel documents for refugees unable to obtain such documents in the country of their residence’. Such an amendment would cover the cases where the inability was due to the countries not being Contracting States as well as to other cases.

The Chairman had pointed out that the expression ‘lawfully resident in’ had been translated into French in the same way as the expression ‘lawfully in’. Whatever the solution to the question to terminology raised under Article 14(1), it should be borne in mind that two different concepts in English had been rendered into French by the same phrase.

The US proposal was referred to the Drafting Committee.

Paragraphs 1 to 5 of the Schedule were adopted without comment.

The US representative proposed the deletion of paragraph 6(3).

The question was deferred until a final draft of Article 23 had been prepared.

Paragraphs 7 to 12 were adopted without comment.

The Chairman proposed the deletion of the final clause from the first sentence of paragraph 13(1).

The US representative said that the existence of that clause weakened, if it did not destroy, a refugee’s right to return to a country which had issued a travel document to him. In some countries a visa did not constitute a right to enter, but merely the right to apply for entry. If the Committee decided not to delete the clause, he considered that it should be re-drafted to explain exactly what was intended, namely that the refugee should have a right to reenter, and would propose, therefore, that the words ‘returning national’ be substituted for the words ‘the bearers of duly visaed passports’. If the words referred to foreign passports, no protection would be given to refugees if the clause was adopted as it stood. In his country and, so far as he understood, in Canada the possession of a visa on a foreign passport did not confer an absolute right of entry into those countries.

The Chairman claimed that States issuing travel documents should be obliged to act on them as if they were passports presented by their own nationals.

The Belgian representative explained that he himself had taken part in the negotiations which had resulted in the 1946 Agreement. He had therefore always interpreted paragraph 13 as necessarily granting the right to return. In addition, he thought that a travel document which did not, at least in principle, accord the right of return would be meaningless.

After further discussion it was decided to refer the question to the Drafting Committee.

Paragraphs 14 to 16 were adopted.

The Drafting Committee proposed the following new texts:

The Drafting Committee subsequently prepared a new text for Article 23, and paragraphs 6 and 13 of the Schedule.

‘1. The Contracting States shall issue, on request, to a refugee lawfully resident in their territory, a travel document for the purpose of travel outside their territory; and the provisions of the Schedule to this Convention shall apply with respect to such document. The Contracting States may issue such a travel document to any other refugee (in their territory) who is not in possession of such a document, and shall give particular consideration to refugees in their territory who are unable to obtain any travel document in the country of their lawful residence.

‘2. Travel documents issued to refugees under previous international agreements by parties thereto shall be recognized and treated by the Contracting States in the same way as if they had been issued pursuant to this Article.’

Paragraph 6(3)

‘The Contracting States shall give sympathetic consideration to renewing or extending the validity of travel documents or issuing new documents to refugees no longer lawfully resident in their territory who are unable to obtain a travel document from the country of their lawful residence.’

Paragraph 13(15)

‘1. The document shall entitle the holder to leave the country where it has been issued and, during the period of validity of the document, to return thereto without a visa from the authorities of that country, subject only to those regulations which apply to returning resident aliens bearing duly visaed passports or other re-entry permit. Where a visa is required of a returning national a visa may be required of a returning refugee but shall be issued to him on request and without delay.’

‘2. The Contracting States reserve the right, in exceptional cases, or in cases where the refugee’s stay is authorized for a specific period, when issuing the document, to limit the period during which the refugee may return to a period of not less than three months.’

At the 42nd session the Chairman said that a division of opinion had been discovered in the Drafting Committee regarding the interpretation of the text adopted at the previous session of the Committee. The first sentence of the first paragraph of that text referred to ‘a refugee lawfully resident’ in the territory. Some delegations had understood the second sentence to cover unlawful residence; but not to cover non-residence. The question before the Committee, therefore, was whether travel documents could also be issued to non-residents.

His own Government considered that non-residents might in certain circumstances be granted travel documents; in the case, that is, of a refugee fleeing to a third country who was perhaps married to a Danish national or had perhaps formerly had Danish nationality. The question was not extremely difficult to solve, as, on the one hand, no State could prevent another State from granting travel documents to any one person, and, on the other hand, it was in their own interests for States not to issue such documents freely, as they contained a return clause.

The Committee was required to decide whether the new version of Article 23 should be adopted with or without the addition of the bracketed words ‘in their territory’.

The US representative spoke in favour of the deletion of words in brackets.

The UK representative thought that the Article would be weakened if it were framed so as to permit Contracting States to issue travel documents to refugees who were in no way connected with them. Deletion of the words would involve the risk of having a considerable number of States making a reservation and he favoured their retention.

The Committee decided to retain the words ‘in their territory’ in Article 23 by 5 votes to 4, with 2 abstentions. Article 23 was adopted.

Schedule Paragraph 6(3)

The Chairman said that because of the decision taken by the Committee on Article 23, a State could no longer issue a travel document to a non-resident refugee. The new draft of paragraph 6(3) of the Schedule, however, permitted Contracting States to give sympathetic consideration to issue new documents to refugees no longer lawfully resident in their territory. There was thus a discrepancy between the two provisions which he thought should be remedied.

The UK representative understood ‘new documents’ in paragraph 6(3) to mean new documents replacing old documents.

The representative of the IRO thought that if the new draft of paragraph 6(3) was adopted it would be to some extent in conflict with paragraph 6(2) inasmuch as a Government might well extend a travel document beyond six months, so that action would in all cases have to be taken by the central authorities. Thus, paragraph 6(2) would lose much of its meaning.

The Belgian representative felt chat there was no possible doubt: paragraph 6(3) referred to refugees who, after residing lawfully in a territory, continued to reside in that territory unlawfully. It did not, in his view, refer to a refugee who was no longer in the territory in question.

Paragraph 6(3) of the Schedule was adopted.

The representative of the IRO pointed out that paragraph 6(2) of the Schedule contained mandatory provisions, which had not always been observed in the past.

The Belgian representative said, in reply, that in his view the provisions of paragraph 6(3) could not be considered as mandatory.

The representative of the IRO thought that the point raised by the Belgian representative was extremely important. It was understood that the authorization could be restricted to certain diplomatic or consular authorities, but was individual authorization sufficient or must it be an authorization of a general character?

The Chairman said the provision mentioned nothing about the number of diplomatic or consular authorities which might be specially authorized, but it was clear that a number must be so authorized.

The representative of the IRO thought that the Chairman’s interpretation differed from that originally adopted. There had been great difficulties in the past, and there would continue to be considerable delay, if diplomatic or consular authorities had, in each case, to approach the central Government for an extension of the validity of a refugee’s travel document. The UK representative pointed out that the use of the words ‘specially authorized’ indicated that not all diplomatic or consular authorities would be authorized. In effect, the words ‘shall be’ must be read in the sense of ‘may be’.

The US representative thought that the UK representative’s interpretation went a trifle too far. According to the subparagraph it was obligatory for States to empower some diplomatic or consular authorities.

The Chairman said that the commentaries on the London Agreement made it clear that in the similar provision in the Agreement, States had the sole right to determine the number of diplomatic or consular authorities to be authorized. Paragraph 13 of the Schedule was adopted.

The Schedule and Annexe as adopted by the Committee read:

‘1. The Contracting States shall issue, on request, to a refugee lawfully resident in their territory, a travel document for the purpose of travel outside their territory; and the provisions of the Schedule to this Convention shall apply with respect to such document. The Contracting States may issue such a travel document to any other refugee in the territory who is not in possession of such document, and shall give sympathetic consideration to refugees in their territory who are unable to obtain a travel document from the country of their lawful residence.

‘2. Travel documents issued to refugees under previous international agreements by parties thereto shall be recognized and treated by the Contracting States in the same way as if they had been issued pursuant to this Article.’

Schedule

(See Article 23)

Paragraph 1(3)

‘1. The travel document referred to in Article 23 of this Convention shall be similar to the specimen annexed hereto.

‘2. The document shall be made out in at least two languages – one of which shall be English or French.’

Paragraph 2(4)

‘Subject to the regulations obtaining in the country of issue, children may be included in the document of an adult refugee.’

Paragraph 3(5)

‘Without prejudice to the provisions of Article 24, paragraph 3, of this Convention the fees charged for issue of the document shall not exceed the lowest scale of charges for national passports.’

Paragraph 4(6)

‘Save in special or exceptional cases, the document shall be made valid for the largest possible number of countries.’

Paragraph 5(7)

‘The document shall have a validity of either one or two years, at the discretion of the issuing authority.’

Paragraph 6(8)

‘1. The renewal or extension of the validity of the documents is a matter for the authority which issued it, so long as the holder has not established lawful residence in another territory and resides lawfully in the territory of the said authority.

The issue of a new document is, under the same conditions, a matter for the authority which issued the former document.

‘2. Diplomatic or consular authorities, specially authorized for the purpose, shall be empowered to extend, for a period not exceeding six months, the validity of travel documents issued by their Governments.

‘3. The Contracting States shall give sympathetic consideration to renewing or extending the validity of travel documents or issuing new documents to refugees no longer lawfully resident in their territory who are unable to obtain a travel document from the country of their lawful residence.’

Paragraph 7(9)

‘The Contracting States shall recognize the validity of the documents issued in accordance with the provisions of Article 23 of this Convention.’

Paragraph 8(10)

‘The competent authorities of the country to which the refugee desires to proceed shall, if they are prepared to admit him and if a visa is required, affix a visa on the document of which he is the holder.’

Paragraph 9(11)

‘The Contracting States undertake to issue transit visas to refugees who have obtained visas for the territory of final destination.’

Paragraph 10(12)

‘The fees for the issue of exit, entry or transit visas shall not exceed the lowest scale of charges for visas on foreign passports.’

Paragraph 11(13)

‘When a refugee has lawfully taken up residence in the territory of another Contracting State, the power to issue a new document will be transferred to the competent authority of that territory, to which the refugee shall be entitled to apply.’

Paragraph 12(14)

‘The authority issuing a new document shall withdraw the old document.’

Paragraph 13(15)

‘1. The document shall entitle the holder to leave the country where it has been issued and, during the period of validity of the document, to return thereto without a visa from the authorities of that country, subject only to those regulations which apply to returning resident aliens bearing duly visaed passports or re-entry permits. Where a visa is required of a returning national a visa may be required of a returning refugee but shall be issued to him on request and without delay.

‘2. The Contracting States reserve the right, in exceptional cases, or in cases where the refugee’s stay is authorized for a specific period, when issuing the document, to limit the period during which the refugee may return to a period of not less than three months.’

Paragraph 14(16)

‘Subject only to the terms of paragraph 13, the provisions of this Schedule in no way affect the laws and regulations governing the conditions of admission to, transit through, residence and establishment in, and departure from, the territories of the Contracting States.’

Paragraph 15(17)

‘Neither the issue of the document nor the entries made thereon determine or affect the status of the holder, particularly as regards nationality.’

Paragraph 16(18)

‘The issue of the document does not in any way entitle the holder to the protection of the diplomatic or consular authorities of the country of issue, and does not confer on these authorities a right of protection.’

At the Conference of Plenipotentiaries Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Yugoslavia proposed amendments.

The Belgian amendment read:

‘Subject to the requirements of national security and public order, the Contracting States shall issue to refugees lawfully resident in their territory travel documents for the purpose of travel outside their territory; and the provisions of the Schedule to this Convention shall apply with respect to such documents. The Contracting States may issue such a travel document to any other refugee in their territory and shall give sympathetic consideration to refugees in their territory who are unable to obtain a travel document from the country of their lawful residence.’

France proposed: Paragraph 13 sub-paragraph 1. Delete the words ‘without a visa from the authorities of that country’.511 Italy proposed: Insert a new paragraph 2 worded as follows: ‘As a purely exceptional measure, the Contracting States may reserve the right to withhold the issue of the travel document to refugees suspected on reasonable grounds of engaging in illicit traffic’.

It proposed further: Specimen travel document page 24. The fifth line of the travel document to be amended to read: ‘Accompanied by…. child (children) under 16 years of age.’

Pages 24/25. Add the following sentence to paragraph 3: ‘The old travel document shall be withdrawn by the authority issuing the new document and returned to the authority which issued it.’

The Netherlands proposed: Redraft the first paragraph as follows:

‘The Contracting States shall issue, on request to a refugee lawfully resident in their territory a travel document for the purpose of travel outside their territory, subject to the conditions which apply to their nationals, and the provisions…’

Yugoslavia proposed: Paragraph 1. Substitute the word ‘may’ for ‘shall’ in line 1.

Paragraph 2. Substitute the following text:

‘Travel documents issued to refugees under previous international agreements by parties thereto shall be replaced within one year, by travel documents issued in accordance with this Convention.’

Paragraph 3. Replace the present text by the following:

‘The fees charged for the issue of the document shall not exceed the lowest scale of charges for national passports.’

Schedule paragraph 5. Replace the words ‘of either one or two years’ by ‘of between six months and two years’. The text will thus read:

‘The travel document shall have a validity of between six months and two years, at the discretion of the issuing authority.’

Paragraph 9. Insert a new paragraph to read as follows:

‘The issue of such visas may be refused on grounds which would justify refusal of a visa to any alien. A visa may also be refused to any person regarded by the State for which the visa is requested as its own national.’Paragraph 12. Delete the full stop at the end of the text and add: ‘… and return to the country of issue.’.

The representative of the ILO said that he wished to refer, in connection with Article 23, to the position of seamen, whose labour conditions were the concern of the ILO for the last 30 years. Refugees who were continuing in that calling or had adopted it after leaving their country of origin, might not be very numerous; in fact, the ILO did not possess any accurate statistics on the matter. However, even though only few might be involved, that should not prevent them from being accorded equitable treatment; yet it was true that refugees did not always enjoy the same working conditions as other members of a ship’s crew who benefited by the proper protection of their government.

The question had been brought to the notice of the ILO by IRO at the end of 1950, and had been placed on the agenda of the Joint Maritime Commission of the ILO. That Commission had decided that the question deserved consideration, and had adopted a resolution for transmission of the Governing Body of the ILO, which had approved it at a recent meeting. Under that resolution the Director General of the ILO had been instructed to bring this matter to the notice of the High Commissioner for Refugees and of Governments, urging them to take measures to alleviate the situation of such refugee seamen. It was also suggested that the time spent by seamen serving on a ship belonging to a given country should count towards the period of residence necessary to secure the right to travel documents. He realized that it might be difficult for many governments represented at the Conference to enter into a specific commitment of that kind; if so, perhaps the suggestion might be incorporated in a separate recommendation. He would, however, tentatively put forward the following text:

‘For the purpose of paragraph 1 of this article, Contracting States shall give sympathetic consideration, in the cases of a refugee who is a bona fide seafarer, to the possibility of allowing such a refugee to reckon any period spent as a crew member on board a ship flying the flag of a Contracting State as residence in the territory of that State.’

There was no need to emphasize that that provision was, of course, intended to benefit only genuine seamen and not refugees who were escaping by sea from their country.

The President suggested that the phrase ‘in their territory’ which occurred several times in paragraph 1 of Article 23, was unnecessarily restrictive. He failed to understand why Contracting States should be prevented from issuing a travel document to a refugee outside its borders, that is, the Danish Government might issue a travel document to enable a refugee to emigrate overseas. There was no valid reason why it should not, if it wished, issue a similar document to that refugee’s wife, even though she happened to be in another country at the particular time. Any difficulty arising from the deletion of that phrase was, in his opinion, met by the word ‘may’ in the second sentence of paragraph 1.

The Netherlands representative said that, in the Netherlands, the issue of a passport was a favour, not a right. The object of his amendment had been to apply the same treatment to refugees as to Netherlands nationals but, after mature consideration, he thought that the amendment was unnecessary and would therefore withdraw it. The Netherlands delegation would enter a reservation when it signed the Convention.

Referring to the Italian amendment, he felt certain that Governments of Contracting States would refuse to issue a travel document to refugees engaging in illicit traffic and that therefore there was no need to mention the point specifically in the draft Convention.

The French representative wished to make a reservation of substance on paragraph 1 of Article 23. Under paragraph 13 of the Schedule annexed to the draft Convention, refugees would not require entry and exit visas from the country issuing the travel document. France already granted facilities to refugees covered by the 1933 Convention and could enter into no formal undertaking for the future, since circumstances might make it necessary for her to keep a check on the movement of refugees and aliens. She could therefore accept Article 23 only subject to reservations on paragraph 13 of the schedule.

The Swedish representative stated that the Swedish Government had acceded to the London Agreement. However, it had found that there were certain disadvantages in allowing freedom of movement to refugees in and out of Sweden without control of any sort. In the interests of national security, the Swedish Government wished to reserve its right to exercise some supervision on the movement of such persons; and he might, at a later stage, have to enter a reservation to that effect.

The Italian representative said that the position of the Italian Government was similar to that of the French and Swedish Governments.

The Australian representative said that the Netherlands representative had raised an extremely pertinent point. It would be anomalous to the extreme if a refugee were entitled to be issued with a travel document while a passport might, for good reason, be refused to a national. He believed that some change in the sense of the Netherlands amendment was necessary.

The Belgian representative fully understood that there must be certain limitations on the issue of travel documents to refugees and aliens, but such persons could not be required to conform to the same conditions as nationals, who were subject, for example, to certain restrictions by reason of their military status. Some other wording must therefore be found for paragraph 13 of the Schedule. The Belgian delegation was unable to accept the Yugoslav amendment for Article 23.

The Canadian representative stated that the position of his Government was similar to that of the Australian Government.

The issue of a passport could be refused in certain circumstances. It was obvious that refugees could not be given preferential treatment, and he might be obliged to enter some kind of reservation on the point unless Article 23 was appropriately amended.

Article 23

The Belgian representative proposed that the words ‘in their territory’ be deleted, for Contracting States should clearly be in a position to issue travel documents to refugees outside their territory.

The UK representative contended that this would weaken Article 23 by making it no longer the primary obligation of the Contracting State of residence to issue travel documents.

The French representative agreed.

The President said he would not press his suggestion.

The Belgian representative suggested that the words ‘and subject to the requirements of national security’ should be inserted after the words ‘lawfully resident in their territory’ in the second line of paragraph 1 of Article 23. That proviso should allay the fears expressed by certain representatives.

The President suggested that the difficulty was met by the provisions of paragraph 14 of the Schedule.

The High Commissioner for Refugees emphasized the vital importance of Article 23. The issue of travel documents was one of the most important aspects of the treatments of refugees. Any proposals for changes in Article 23 should be approached with the greatest caution. However, he realized the cogency of the objections raised by certain representatives concerning the mandatory obligation imposed by the first sentence of Article 23. They might be disposed of by substituting the words ‘undertake to issue to refugees’ for the words ‘shall issue, on request to a refugee’. The acquisition of a travel document would thus not be defined as a right belonging to the individual. In conclusion, he earnestly appealed to representatives to refrain from weakening the Article as a whole.

The Australian representative agreed.

The representative of the German Federal Republic also agreed and supported the High Commissioner’s amendment.

The objections raised to the wording of Article 23 should be met by the provisions of paragraph 14 of the Schedule.

The Swedish representative doubted whether the mandatory terms of paragraph 13 of the Schedule were consistent with paragraph 14.

The President, too, saw no objections to the High Commissioner’s amendment. A suitable proviso, recognizing the right of Contracting States to refuse or to withdraw travel documents, could be inserted in the Schedule.

The Canadian representative supported the High Commissioner’s amendment.

The Australian representative suggested that the High Commissioner’s amendment would not substantially alter the implications of Article 23. The refugees might thus be in a position to claim something which was denied to nationals. His principal objection to the original text of Article 23 still remained valid.

The Swiss representative agreed.

The Belgian representative thought that the words ‘s’engagent’ should be used in the French text of the High Commissioner’s amendment and not ‘s’engagegeront’.

He drew the attention of the Conference to the fact that the London Agreement had been signed by 19 States and no difficulties had arisen in its applications.

The Israeli representative reminded representatives that the Schedule had been drafted by experts in 1946. Its provisions had stood the test of six years application. It was true that the situation had changed somewhat since the 1946 Agreement had been signed, and that at present many governments were more keenly aware of the requirements of national security. However, he believed that such pre-occupations would be fully met by the addition of a provision such as that proposed by the Italian amendment.

The UK representative believed that it would be regrettable to attempt substantial amendments of an Article which embodied a principle accepted by the signatories of the 1946 Agreement. The arguments put forward in the discussion probably reflected the fact that the situation had deteriorated since that time. If Governments, while accepting in principle Article 23, had to enter certain reservations to it, those reservations might be wider in scope than any amendment the Conference might devise. If modifications were to be introduced, he believed that their proper place was in Article 23, and not in the Schedule. It should be made clear that the purpose of any modification was to cover purely exceptional cases in which refugees would be treated on the same footing as nationals. He would suggest a provision based on the Italian proposal and reading as follows: ‘As a purely exceptional measure a Contracting State may withhold the issue of a travel document to a refugee if its issue is for a purpose for which the issue of a passport to a national of that State would be refused.’

An amendment was introduced by Australia and Canada:

‘Add the following: ‘as an exceptional measure a Contracting State may withhold the issue of a travel document to a refugee if the circumstances are such that the issue of a passport would be withheld from a national of that State’.

The Yugoslav representative withdrew his amendment in favour of the Belgian amendment. The Canadian representative declared the willingness of his and the Australian delegation to withdraw their amendment in favour of the Belgian amendment although the Belgian amendment introduced the somewhat troublesome aspect of public order.

The Belgian representative explained that the limiting clause in the Belgian amendment did not mean that the issue of a travel document would categorically by refused. It was merely intended to allow for the temporary discontinuance of the issue of such documents. That action would no longer be necessary once the considerations of national security or public order which had led States to suspend the issue of travel documents, had ceased to hold.

The Danish, Norwegian and UK representatives were more in favour of the joint Australian-Canadian amendment.

The French and Swedish representatives spoke in favour of the Belgian amendment.

On his own amendment the French representative said that, in practice, the French Government granted the right referred to in sub-paragraph 1 of paragraph 13 of the Schedule to aliens covered by the 1933 Convention, since they were persons who since long had been settled in France and were well known to the French Government. On the other hand, it reserved the right to impose controls on the movement of other refugees, although it would have recourse to such controls only if it considered it absolutely necessary to do so.

The Belgian representative said that his delegation was convinced that the Belgian amendment was more in the interests of the refugees than the joint amendment. A national passport could be refused if the person had not paid their taxes or had not done their military service. Hence it was clear that the text of the joint amendment allowed a very wide interpretation. The Belgian delegation therefore preferred its own text.

The French representative said travel documents were valueless unless accompanied by an entry visa for another country. The refugee to whom the French Government would feel obliged to refuse a travel document were precisely those to whom none of the countries represented at the Conference would grant an entry visa. What counted, therefore, was not the travel document but the visa.

The Swiss representative thought that the Belgian proposal could be made acceptable to all delegations by deleting the words ‘or public order’.

The Belgian representative could not accept the Swiss suggestion. The Belgian intention had been to cover the case of a refugee who was being persecuted for an offence under civil law; he would be refused a travel document for reasons of public order.

He was supported by the French representative.

The Australian representative said that the joint amendment was to reduce exceptions to a minimum. In Australia, the withholding of a passport was a very exceptional measure.

The UK representative was somewhat alarmed by the extent to which the amendments implied a departure from the standing arrangements whereby refugees were provided with travel documents enabling them to travel. The widely supported London Agreement contained no such limitations, and although conditions had since changed, the deviation from the existing arrangements should be as slight as possible. He could not understand why the French representative laid greater emphasis on the travel document; there would be little point in his seeking an entry visa into another country.

The Danish representative said that it might well be that a refugee suspected of having committed a crime in a particular country would be able to obtain a visa from the Consul of another country without the Consul being aware of the facts of the case. It would consequently be undesirable to issue a travel document to such a person before the alleged offence had been fully investigated. Such cases were admittedly covered by the Belgian amendment, but the latter appeared to go much further than was necessary in actual practice.

The French representative explained that the fact that a French citizen expressed extremist views did not prevent him from holding a passport. It might, however, be necessary in certain cases to treat refugees differently. The UK representative felt that to refuse a travel document to a refugee on the grounds mentioned by the French representative would be tantamount to discrimination on the grounds of political opinion.

The French representative said refugees holding extremist political opinions would certainly not be able to obtain an entry visa into any of the countries represented at the Conference. It was obvious, therefore, that the travel document would only be of service to them if they were proceeding to a country other than those represented at the Conference and it was precisely that situation which the French Government was anxious to avoid.

The UK representative was mainly concerned with the question of principle. If the holding of extremist views was accepted as valid ground for not issuing travel documents, certain States might take advantage of that facility in order to put obstacles in the way of legitimate travel on the part of the refugees.

The President observed that for the past twenty years arrangements had existed for the issue of travel documents to refugees. He was sure that all States had delivered such documents, and also that, when the exceptional case had turned up, the competent authorities had known what action to take. He was reluctant to see the Conference give world public opinion the impression that it was seeking to deprive refugees of facilities that had been accorded by all previous agreements, and consequently wondered whether any amendment of paragraph 1 of Article 23 was necessary.

The UK representative suggested, to avoid any abuse of the formula finally adopted, that the phrase in the Belgian amendment should be replaced by the words ‘Except when imperative reason of national security of public order otherwise require’.

The Belgian representative accepted the suggestion.

The Australian and Canadian representatives withdrew their amendment in favour of the Belgian amendment as thus modified.

The French representative also accepted the UK amendment.

Article 23 paragraph 1 as amended by the UK was adopted by 22 votes to none, with 3 abstentions. Article 23 paragraph 2

The Yugoslav representative asked whether a State which was not a party to previous international agreements would be obliged to recognize travel documents issued under those agreements. His delegation had submitted its amendment in the belief that once the Convention had come into force, all travel documents should be delivered in accordance with it, and not under previous international agreements.

The President drew attention to paragraph 1 and 2 of Article 32 in which provision was made for the situation which would arise once the Convention had come into force. In the case of Contracting States who were also parties to previous international agreements, the latter would be replaced by the Convention. As between two States parties to the previous international agreements, once of which was not a party to the present Convention the previous agreements would remain in force. Thus, the old travel documents would become null and void for parties to the Convention once their validity had expired.

The Yugoslav Government, which was not a party to the previous international agreements, had no obligation vis-à-vis other States with regard to travel documents. If and when it signed and ratified the present Convention, it would assume the obligation laid down in Article 23. That meant in effect that the Yugoslav government would have to recognize the validity of travel documents issued by, say, the Danish Government under the previous international agreements.

The Belgian representative thought that the point raised by the Yugoslav representative might be met by inserting in Article 23 paragraph 2 the word ‘previously’ after the word ‘travel documents’. That would make it clear that a Contracting State could not continue to supply refugees with travel documents based on previous agreements. It should, nevertheless, be noted that it ought, in any case, to be possible for refugees to continue to use such travel documents, in order to avoid practical difficulties. A refugee might, that is, apply for a travel document in order to enter various States, only some of which were parties to the Convention. In such a case, the refugee would either have to have two different travel documents, or continue to use travel documents issued under agreements prior to the present Convention.

The President agreed that it was essential to take into account the possibility that travel documents might have to continue to be issued under the previous agreements.

The Egyptian representative considered that paragraph 2 of Article 23 raised a series of legal problems, such as that of the relative value of previous travel documents. Members of the Convention were, in fact, asked to sign a blank cheque, and his delegation, for its part, could not vote for paragraph 2.

The UK representative did not share the Egyptian representative’s misgivings, and maintained that the travel documents issued under previous agreements were well-known and easily identifiable.

The US representative drew the attention of the Yugoslav representative to paragraph 5 of the Schedule in which it was laid down that a travel document should have validity for a limited period of time. It was reasonable to assume that a State party to the Convention would issue a new travel document of the type proscribed in the Schedule, once the validity of an old one had expired. Thus, the Yugoslav representative’s point would undoubtedly be met in practice.

The Yugoslav representative said that he was now prepared to withdraw his amendment and to vote for paragraph 2, provided the Belgian amendment was adopted.

The President said what mattered from the point of view of Governments was, that at least for some time to come, certain States party to the previous international agreements would not be party to the present Convention, and it was always preferable for an individual to hold only one travel document, and not several. Paragraph 2 was adopted by 23 votes to none.

The representative of the ILO drew attention to the recommendation on refugee seamen which had been proposed by his Organisation.

The President said that the Conference could take no decision on the suggestion unless it was sponsored by a delegation. In his view, the issue was wider than that dealt with in Article 23, and should perhaps form the subject of a separate general Article.

The French representative thought that the question was much too general to fit happily into Article 23. In his opinion, the text suggested by the ILO should be inserted in Article 6, dealing with continuity of residence, or drafted as a new Article to be inserted immediately after Article 6.

The representative of the ILO said that would be perfectly satisfactory.

Article 23 as a whole and as amended was adopted by 22 votes to none, with 3 abstentions.

Paragraph 1 of the Schedule was adopted without change by 23 votes to none, with 1 abstention.

Paragraph 2

The Belgian representative thought that the Italian amendment to the text of the travel document shown in the annex should be reproduced in paragraph 2 of the annex as the two provisions were related.

The Italian representative agreed. The age limit laid down in that connection was 16 years in Italy, but the words ‘subject to the regulations obtaining in the country of issue’ in paragraph 2 would leave Contracting States a certain amount of latitude in the matter.

The Venezuelan representative felt that it would be better to lay down a definite age limit.

The Belgian representative proposed that paragraph 2 be worded as follows: ‘Subject to the regulations obtaining in the country of issue, the children of a refugee may be included in the document of an adult refugee provided they are under 16 years of age’.

The Danish representative considered that it would be wiser to take a liberal attitude in the matter. As to age, the Danish authorities issued individual travel documents to children over 15.

The Australian representative supported the Danish representative.

The Canadian representative suggested the following wording:

‘Subject to the regulations of the country of issue, children may be included in the document of a parent, or, in exceptional circumstances, of another adult refugee.’

The Italian representative supported the Canadian amendment.

The Canadian amendment was adopted unanimously.

Paragraph 2 was adopted unanimously, as amended.

Paragraph 3 was adopted unanimously, subject to a drafting change consequential to the deletion of paragraph 3 of Article 24.

Paragraph 4 was adopted unanimously without comment.

Paragraph 5

The Belgian representative proposed a minor amendment to the Yugoslav amendment, namely the replacement of the word ‘for six months to two years’ by the words ‘from three months to two years’.

The Yugoslav representative accepted the Belgian amendment.

The Swiss representative spoke in favour of the original wording.

The representative of the German Federal Republic pointed out that the Belgian amendment might also work to the disadvantage of the refugees. For, if it were adopted, issuing authorities might supply a travel document which was valid for three months only, even thought the applicant would have preferred one valid for a longer period.

The Yugoslav amendment, as amended by the Belgian representative, was rejected by 15 votes to 4 with 6 abstentions.

Paragraph 5 was adopted unanimously.

Paragraphs 6, 7 and 8 were adopted unanimously, without comment.

Paragraph 9

The Yugoslav representative withdrew the second sentence of his amendment.

The Egyptian representative proposed that the words ‘subject to the exigencies of national security and public order’ be added at the end of the paragraph.

The Yugoslav amendment,519 minus the second sentence, was adopted by 11 votes to 6, with 7 abstentions.

The Egyptian representative withdrew his oral amendment.

Paragraph 9, as amended, was adopted by 22 votes to none, with 3 abstentions.

Paragraphs 10 and 11 were adopted unanimously, without comment.

Paragraph 12

The Belgian representative considered that the Yugoslav amendment to paragraph 12 should be taken together with the Italian amendment to paragraph 3 of the specimen travel document.

The Italian representative said, in reply to the UK representative, that experience had shown that refugees very frequently claimed that they had lost their documents in order to get possession of new documents. No country wished a document it had issued to be in circulation after its validity had expired.

The Yugoslav amendment was adopted by 3 votes to 1, with 20 abstentions.

Paragraph 12, as amended, was adopted unanimously.

Paragraph 13

The French representative, explaining his amendment to paragraph 13521 said that the regulation in force in France was that, in application of Article 2 of the 1933 Convention and by virtue of a decree promulgated by the French Government, Nansen refugees, refugees from Germany and Austria and Spanish refugees under the mandate of the IRO did not need a visa. As to other refugees, France was free to insist upon their having a visa, if it wished.

If the existing text of paragraph 13 was retained, the French Government would be obliged to enter reservations, or to deal with the matter under the procedure for the issue of travel documents; that might have the effect of placing those concerned in a less favourable position than they enjoyed at the present time. The final outcome would be that, instead of a visa being refused, a travel document would be refused. France wished to exercise supervision over the comings and goings of refugees in their territory, whom it was sometimes unwise to trust blindly.

The Lebanese and Venezuelan representatives agreed.

The President, speaking as representative of Denmark, said that the point which was causing him concern was that a country might admit a refugee on the understanding that his travel document which gave him the right of return, had been issued in good faith by the country from which he had come. What was the position of the former country if the refugee had failed to comply with the regulations of the country that had issued the document? The document should clearly state the rights to which the holder was entitled.

So far as Denmark was concerned, a travel document was implicitly understood to confer the right of re-entry. He was not sure whether that condition held for countries which required entry and exit visas.

The French representative said paragraph 13 would raise no difficulty, in as much as its wording referred to the exit and re-entry of the holder of a travel document. The French amendment aimed solely at making possible supervision of the comings and goings of the numerous refugees who had entered France illegally.

The Canadian representative suggested that the points raised during the discussion might be met by the insertion of the words ‘with/without a re-entry permit’ after the words ‘The holder is authorized to return to…’ in paragraph 2 of the specimen travel document.

The US representative thought the objection raised was based on the fact that under the provisions of paragraph 13 subparagraph 1 the French Government would have to permit the holder of a document issued by it to re-enter France, even if he had no visa, throughout the period of validity of that document. If the French Government was anxious to stipulate that refugees should return within a three-month period, it might be possible to meet its desire by inserting the words ‘and of authorized return’ after the words ‘during the period of validity of the document’. Without such a provision the issuing country would be obliged to admit a refugee without a visa after the three-month period had elapsed. He feared, however, that the adoption of the French amendment proposing that the words ‘without a visa from the authorities of that country’ be deleted from sub-paragraph 1 would raise doubts as to whether a holder of a travel document could, in fact, return within the three-month period.

The French representative said, so far as France was concerned, it was not so much a question of controlling the re-entry of a refugee into French territory as of controlling his exit. Obviously, exit implied subsequent return. As things were at present, a travel document which had no return clause would be completely meaningless. A visa accorded to a refugee would obviously imply his right of return.

The President believed that the points raised would be fully met by the Canadian representative’s amendment to paragraph 2 of the specimen travel document. It would then be perfectly clear what the possession of a travel document entailed.

The French representative said that the existing wording of the specimen travel document, as amended by the Canadian proposal, was acceptable.

The UK representative thought the Conference should consider further the implications of the French amendment. He was anxious that the basic principle that States issuing travel documents would bind themselves to allow such refugees reentry should not be tampered with. It must be recognized that Governments might wish to exercise supervision over the movement of refugees. They could do so by making exit and entry visas obligatory. There was, however, the case of refugees who failed to comply with such formalities but would have to apply from the country in which they were situated,

for a return visa, during which time the validity of their travel document might expire. What, in such cases, would be the position of the government of the country in which the refugee was temporarily situated?

The High Commissioner for Refugees emphasized the great importance of travel documents containing a return clause for both the refugees and the State. He would suggest that the French representative’s anxiety that governments should be in a position to supervise the movement of certain refugees would be satisfied by the insertion in sub-paragraph 2 of paragraph 13, after the words ‘in exceptional cases’ of some such wording as ‘to subject the return of the refugee to the issue of a return visa’; sub-paragraph 1 would be left unchanged.

The French representative said the High Commissioner’s proposal failed to meet the points which were causing concern to the French Government, and was more limitative in character, since it made the re-entry of the refugee dependent on a return visa. The French amendment related solely to a visa establishing the refugee’s exit.

The Colombian representative considered the French amendment was preferable to the High Commissioner’s suggestion.

The visa formalities which existed in certain States were an additional guarantee of re-admission to that provided by the travel document.

The Turkish representative suggested that if the French amendment was adopted, it would be advisable to delete the second sentence of sub-paragraph 1.

The Venezuelan representative pointed out that refugees temporarily situated in a country might engage in activities which would necessitate the withdrawal of their travel documents. Were such persons to be assured re-admittance by the issuing country?

The President said that issuing countries could impose any regulations they wished covering the exit and entry of refugees, but what he was concerned to ensure was that they would assure an unconditional commitment to re-admit holders of their own travel documents. He did not think that such a principle was incompatible with a certain amount of supervision, but care should be taken to ensure that countries admitting refugees for short periods were not penalized or placed in difficulties by the regulations of the States issuing the travel documents.

The UK representative pointed out that sub-paragraph 1 of paragraph 13 as at present drafted assimilated refugees without a visa to foreigners who held a visa. However, if the French amendment was accepted, it might be necessary to make it clear that such refugees are not being assimilated to resident aliens who required a visa as condition of admission.

It was decided to entrust a Working Group consisting of the representatives of Canada, France, Italy, the UK, the US and Venezuela with the task of re-drafting paragraph 13.

Paragraphs 14, 15 and 16 were adopted on the understanding that any consequential changes necessitated by amendments to other parts of the Convention could be made in the course of the second reading.

Annex to the Schedule-Specimen Travel Document

The UK representative suggested that the Italian amendment in A/Conf.2/64 was superfluous. Holders of old travel documents would not fail to be aware of the necessity of retaining them, and producing them to the authorities should they have taken up residence in another country and applied for a new travel document, since when the old document was given up they might have difficulty in obtaining a new one.

The Italian representative said that occasions had been known when refugees had sold their old travel documents on acquiring a new one. The insertion of the instruction in the travel document itself was essential to prevent refugees from holding two travel documents issued by different countries.

The UK representative expressed doubt whether the insertion in the travel document itself of a statement about what the authorities had to do with the travel document, would in fact prevent refugees from disposing of their travel documents illicitly. A provision as to what the authorities had to do was already incorporated in paragraph 12 of the Schedule.

The Italian amendment was adopted on the understanding that the Working Group would be instructed to examine the specimen travel document, as well as paragraph 13 of the Schedule, by 12 votes to none, with 13 abstentions.

The report of the Working Group read:

1. At its 18th meeting, the Conference appointed a Working Group consisting of the representatives of Canada, France, Italy, UK, US and Venezuela, together with the High Commissioner for Refugees, to reformulate paragraph 13 of the Schedule to the Convention and to examine the Annex (Specimen Travel Document) to the Schedule.

2. The Committee held two meetings, on 18 and 19 July 1951, under the chairmanship of the President of the Conference.

3. The Working Group agreed to propose that paragraph 13 sub-paragraph 1 of the Schedule be replaced by the following text:

OFFICE TIMINGS
Monday to Saturday 10:00 am to 06:00 pm.
Sundays and Holidays Reserved for urgent & prior appointments.

Related Bare Acts