05 November 2011

Anniversaries of Refugee/Statelessness Conventions

UNHCR is organizing a Ministerial-level meeting to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 50th anniversary of the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. The gathering will be held in Geneva from 7-8 December 2011. More details are provided in the draft programme and information note.

The intent of the event is to:

[E]nable states...to make concrete pledges to address specific forced displacement and/or statelessness issues, as well as broader, forward-looking recommendations. This will allow states and others to identify challenges of particular relevance in their respective national and regional contexts, as well as realistic ways to resolve them.
The meeting will also be a treaty event, giving states the opportunity to formalize their accession to the refugee and statelessness conventions and/or remove any reservations to these instruments. In addition, it is envisaged that ministers will agree on a communiqué, which will reflect the key themes and thrust of the discussions.

More information about the States Pledges process is available on this web page. See also an example of priority pledges drafted by UNHCR's Washington office.

Other resources relating to the anniversaries include:


CEDAW Statement on the Anniversaries of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, 50th session (Geneva, 3-21 October 2011) [text via Refworld]

European Union Declaration on the 60th Anniversary of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, 3121st Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting, Luxembourg, 27-28 October 2011 [text]

Events after the fact

Commemorating 60 Years of the Refugee Convention: Commitments for Protection and Solutions in the OSCE Region, UNHCR Contribution to the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, Working Session 11: "Humanitarian Issues and Other Commitments," Warsaw, 26 September-7 October 2011 [text]

EMN National Conference Belgium: 60 Years Geneva Convention, Brussels, 14 Oct. 2011 [access]
- Follow link for various conference materials.

Protecting the Persecuted: The Successes and Challenges of Safeguarding Refugees, Internally Displaced Persons, and Stateless Persons, Hearing before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, U.S. Congress, Washington, DC, 26 October 2011 [testimonies]

Reaffirming Protection: Strengthening Asylum in the United States - Commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the 1951 Refugee Convention, Washington, DC, 25 October 2011 [info]
- A webcast of the meeting is available here; see also a brief summary of the event was posted on the Physicians for Human Rights blog.

The UN Refugees Convention at 60: Recognizing a Changing World (World Bridge, Nov. 2011) [text]
- Summary of discussions at EXCOM side event on "The Gathering Storm: Natural Disasters and Protection Challenges."

Upcoming events

La Convention de Genève: Hier, Aujourd'hui et Demain, Brussels [info]
- 18 November 2011: L'avenir de la Convention de Genève: les défis [more info]
- 16 December 2011: La Convention de Genève aujourd'hui: les enjeux [more info]

Beyond Asylum: Refugee Policy in Practice and How Refugees Experience It, East Asia Symposium, Hong Kong, 12 November 2011 [info]

Japan’s 30 Years Engagement on Behalf of Refugees – Achievements and a Path towards the Future, Tokyo, 17 November 2011 [info]

Safe and Secure: How Do Refugees Experience Europe's Borders? Modern Challenges to Protection and the 1951 Refugee Convention, Brussels, 8 December 2011 [info]

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