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Statement by Mr. TIAN Lixiao of the Chinese Delegation at the Third Committee of the 56th Session of the GA on the Issue of Refugees (Item 114) (19/11/01)
2001/11/19
Mr. Chairman:

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. The past five decades have witnessed profound changes in the world refugee situation that have raised new questions on and challenges to international refugee protections. Responding to demands of the new situation, UNHCR has launched the Global Consultations on international protection and the High Commissioner for Refugees has put forward measures to improve the work of UNHCR such as focusing on the core activities, strengthening the management and enhancing the fundraising mechanism.

We are of the view that the Global Consultations should, on the basis of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, aim at establishing a more effective international protection regime and focus on exploring ways how the principle of "responsibility/burden sharing" can be genuinely practiced, how UNHCR and the countries of asylum can obtain sufficient resources for refugee protection and how the social and economic burdens on the developing host countries can be alleviated and their capacity-building strengthened. When formulating the "Agenda for Protection" on the basis of the Global Consultations, UNHCR should pay special attention to incorporating the outcomes of the third track of Global Consultations and reflecting in a balanced way the demands and concerns of all parties.

The Chinese Government supports the joint initiative of the Swiss Government and UNHCR for convening the Ministerial Meeting of the State Parties to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.  We are ready to join the other state parties in making a collective commitment to the full and effective implementation of the obligations contained in the 1951 Convention as well as exploring methods and mechanisms to make the 1951 Convention more adaptable to the new situation.

We support the High Commissioner's efforts for improving the work of UNHCR. We hold that with its current financial situation, it is realistic for UNHCR to differentiate its core and none-core activities. In defining core activities and setting priorities, UNHCR should take into full account the actual difficulties of the developing host countries and give expression to the guiding principle of giving equal importance to protection and development. It is our hope that the "UNHCR 2004" Process proposed and launched by the High Commissioner can really address the problems existing in the work of UNHCR so as to make it possible for UNHCR to function better as a humanitarian institution.

Mr. Chairman,

China always holds that the refugee issue should be addressed from its root cause. To eliminate the scourges of war, poverty and injustice, countries should strictly abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and related norms of international law and mutually respect each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity. The international community should adopt effective measures in helping the developing countries eliminate poverty. The developed countries should help the developing host countries achieve development in line with the principle of "responsibility/burden sharing". Governments of all countries have the duty to implement the "Durban Declaration and Program of Actions" adopted by the World Conference against Racism and to eliminate the root causes of the refugee issue as well as racial discrimination against refugees and asylum seekers.

Mr. Chairman,

The September 11 terror attacks pose a challenge to the world people who cherish sincere aspiration for peace. The Chinese Government strongly condemns terrorism and firmly supports the international community in its cooperative efforts against terrorism. At the same time, we believe that measures to combat terrorism should not harm innocent civilians. In order to avoid creating a new humanitarian crisis, peace and stability should be restored as soon as possible in Afghanistan. We support the efforts made by UNHCR, other UN agencies and humanitarian organizations for alleviating the humanitarian crises in Afghanistan. We think highly of the contributions made by Pakistan and Iran in receiving and protecting large numbers of Afghan refugees. We call on the international community to provide, in the spirit of the principle of "international solidarity" and "responsibility/burden sharing", more assistance to Afghan refugees and their major host countries Pakistan and Iran. The Chinese Government will continue to provide to the best of its ability assistance to Afghan refugees in the light of the developing situation.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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