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Race, Racism and the Law 
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Refugees- Asylum Seekers- Stateless and Internally Displaced Persons

NGO Forum, World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination
Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, Durban, South Africa, August 27-Sept 1, 2001

This page is part of much larger document. Please be sure to read the Overview, the Declaration-Guiding Principles, Programme of Action-Guiding Principles, and Programme of Action - Legal Measures which provide the context for understanding this page. Click here to Download Word Document.




166. There is an inextricable link between racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and the creation of situation which generate refugees, asylum seekers, stateless and displaced persons.

167. In situations of flight and displacement, in refugee camps and in the process of resettlement, refugees, asylum seekers, stateless and displaced persons are especially vulnerable to all forms of violence and abuse, especially during their integration

168. We are particularly concerned about the situation of the Bhutanese people forcibly displaced from their country under the racist 'One Nation One People' policy, which has reallocated the land of these legitimate Bhutanese citizens to other ethnic groups and deliberately delayed their peaceful repatriation.

169. Women constitute 80% of the world's refugees. Women refugees, asylum seekers, stateless and displaced persons are victimised due to the intersectionality of gender and disability and other forms of discrimination and face many difficulties in every stage of their flight and displacement.

170. We call for the recognition of racial discrimination against refugees on grounds of ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation and gender identity which negatively affects their legal status and conditions of integration and resettlement.

171. The physical and psychological conditions of asylum seekers, recognized and unrecognized refugees, stateless persons should be recognised especially to ensure that those of them who are victims of torture and detention in their countries of origin are not detained in receiving countries. The permanent, statutory presence of humanitarian organizations to help and assist refugees, should be provided by law, funded by the State and programmed in a pluralistic manner.

Programme of Action

395. Effectively keep and use disaggregated statistics to assess the complexities of modern migration patterns.

396. Eliminate discriminatory treatment by public authorities, in particular police, other law enforcement officers, immigration officers as well as de facto immigration officials such as airport and airline employees, of persons from countries of immigration, asylum seekers and undocumented persons and to ensure that these groups are provided with necessary information and legal assistance in the event of torture, ill treatment or any kind of violence perpetrated on the basis of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

397. Provide gender-sensitive human rights education and anti-racism training programmes for key professionals frequently in contact with immigrants and asylum seekers, including customs and immigration officials.

398. Provide education and capacity building for refugees, asylum seekers, documented and undocumented migrant workers and migrants on their rights, responsibilities, and avenues for redress.

399. Recognize the professions, qualifications, titles, and degrees of refugees, asylum seekers, and migrant workers, during the period in which they are waiting for legalisation of their status.

400. Recognize and give value to foreign-trained and foreign-educated migrants, migrant workers, refugees, and asylum seekers, stateless and internally displaced persons thereby enabling them to use and improve their skills.

408. Develop programmes and measures for refugees and asylum seekers, with particular attention to women, children, persons with disability and the elderly, that adhere to and are guided by the right of everyone to seek and enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution' as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and ensure the implementation of national legislation and policies in relation to refugees and asylum seekers be based on a full and inclusive application of the 1951 Convention and its 1967 Optional Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees in light of its object and purpose, in particular the Convention's Article 3 on non-discrimination and the full respect of the principle of 'non-refoulement', as well as all relevant regional Conventions on the protection of human rights.

409. Implement the United Nations Guidelines for Internal Displacement and ensure that national governments, in collaboration with international governmental and non-governmental agencies provide adequate statistics on internally displaced persons.

410. Review current national legislation and measures and refrain from introducing any further measures which may be contrary to the spirit of the 1951 Convention and its 1967 Protocol and can prevent refugees from accessing protection such as visa regimes, restrictive interpretation of the Convention, posting of screening officers in countries of origins and airports, detention of asylum seekers, carriers' sanctions, readmission and involuntary repatriation practices, and 'safe third country' practices.

411. Ensure that legislation and policies take due account of and abide by the legal interpretations, policy directives, guidelines and recommendations of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and recognize the role of this body as guarantor of the correct application of the 1951 Convention.

412. Acknowledge that persecution motivated by racism, racial discrimination and ethnicity can include the specific targeting of women and recognize this as a basis for granting asylum and eliminate limitations on the right of women to transmit their nationality to their children, on an equal basis with men.

413. Respect and implement the economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights of refugees,

asylum seekers and internally displaced persons.

414. Ensure that children of refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons are immediately registered at birth, to suppress instances of statelessness and ulterior related discrimination.

415. Take immediate measures to correct the systemic and structural imbalances in burden sharing, resource allocation and sharing of responsibilities in hosting and giving assistance to refugees in all parts of the world.

416. Terminate the covert and overt discriminatory practices undergirding the imbalanced response to humanitarian assistance in the various world regions, and between refugee groups, with due respect to the specific needs of refugees in refugee camps, shelters or other housing facilities while providing for their integration or volunteer resettlement to the country of origin and also enabling them to reach their families in other countries of arrival while they are waiting for recognition of their refugee status.

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Always Under Construction!

Always Under Construction!
Copyright @ 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001. Vernellia R. Randall
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