Handbook emergencies


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Handbook emergencies

  1. 1. Handbook forEmergencıesUnited Nations High Commissioner for RefugeesSecond Edition
  2. 2. Using the HandbookII
  3. 3. Chapters may be located quickly by using the key on the contents page. Particular subjects maybe located by using the index. The handbook is structured as follows:Section Onesummarizes UNHCR’s mandate of international protection and the aim and principles ofemergency response;Section Twodeals with emergency management;Section Threecovers the vital sectors and problem areas in refugee emergencies, including health, food,sanitation and water, as well as key field activities underpinning the operations such as lo-gistics, community services and registration. The chapters in this section start with a sum-mary so that readers, who might not need the full level of detail in each of these chap-ters, can understand the basic principles of the subject quickly;Section Fourgives guidance on the support to field operations, primarily administration and staffing;The Appendicesinclude UNHCR’s Catalogue of Emergency Response Resources, which set out what re-sources can be immediately deployed, and how and when. The appendices also include a“Toolbox” which gathers, in one location, the standards, indicators and useful referencesused throughout the handbook.In addition to the Catalogue of Emergency Response Resources, another key companion refer-ence is the Checklist for the Emergency Administrator to which is annexed many of the essentialUNHCR forms, policy documents, and guidelines referred to in this handbook, which are neces-sary for the administrator setting up a new office. Another key companion reference is theUNHCR Manual – this is valid at time of going to press; however, chapter 4 of the Manual dealingwith programme and project management is due to be updated and replaced by the OperationsManagement System Field Manual.Any part of this handbook may be copied or adapted,provided that the source is acknowledged.III
  4. 4. IV
  5. 5. VTable of ContentsSection Chapter Page NumberI Using the handbook IIIII Table of contents VIII Introduction VIIV Abbreviations IXV UNHCR mission statement XI. UNHCR principles 1 Aim and principles of response 22 Protection 10II. Emergency management 3 Emergency Management 264 Contingency Planning 345 Initial Assessment, immediate response 426 Operations Planning 487 Coordination and site level organization 568 Implementing arrangements 669 External relations 82III. Operations 10 Community services and education 9411 Population estimation and registration 11812 Site selection, planning and shelter 13213 Commodity distribution 14814 Health 15415 Food and nutrition 18416 Water 21017 Environmental sanitation 22818 Supplies and transport 24819 Voluntary repatriation 272IV. Support to operations 20 Administration staffing and finance 29021 Communications 31022 Coping with stress 31823 Staff safety 32424 Working with the military 334V. Appendices 1 Catalogue of emergency response resources 3402 Toolbox 3683 Memoranda of understanding 3784 Glossary 4005 Index 402Handbook forEmergencıes
  6. 6. VIIntroduction
  7. 7. Effective emergency preparedness and response has been a major priority of UNHCRthroughout the decade. In 1991, during my first field mission as High Commissioner,I witnessed the sudden and dramatic exodus of hundreds of thousands of Kurdishrefugees from their homes in Iraq to Turkey and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Sincethen, the Office has responded to a long list of massive outflows.These crises have caused widespread human suffering and put great demands on ourOffice, prompting us to develop an effective and speedy response mechanism. Wehave established a revolving internal roster that ensures the deployment of UNHCRstaff within 72 hours. Standby arrangements with external agencies for rapid de-ployment of their staff have also been created. We have devised and implementedstaff training, as well as specific management tools to maintain our readiness torespond quickly and effectively to emergency situations. To address humanitarianneeds urgently, a centralized stockpile of goods has been assembled, which includesgovernmental packages of humanitarian assistance.Having dispatched over 300 missions throughout the world since 1992, the officenow has in place a solid emergency response model, an achievement for which wecan all be proud. Undoubtedly, this model will face further challenges as gravehuman displacements continue to occur. However, this pattern is changing from thehumanitarian emergencies of the early nineties. Arising more frequently now arescattered crises, often of a relatively smaller scale and with limited internationalvisibility. Conflicts are mostly internal and more localized, although external involve-ment continues to play an important role. Those forced to flee their homes, as well asthe humanitarian workers assisting them, are increasingly targeted by the warringfactions. On the positive side, improved communications, even in some remote loca-tions, have enhanced our ability to operate. In addition, UNHCR has worked undernew cooperative arrangements with other humanitarian agencies or even govern-mental institutions, including military forces.This revised and updated Handbook provides useful guidance as our Office continuesto cope with the swift and increasingly dangerous nature of fresh displacement. Itstresses the importance of pre-emergency planning, as well as planning throughoutevery stage of a crisis. It focuses on setting coordination priorities, as well as contin-gency and operational planning. Important information has also been includedregarding staff safety and working with military personnel, as well as a sectionaddressing the issue of how to cope with personal stress.Reflected in this edition is the dedication and experience of field staff and specialistsboth within the office and from partner organizations, which spans the last 17 yearssince the original UNHCR Handbook was first published. I would like to gratefullyacknowledge what is an exemplary group effort.This Handbook will assist colleagues to meet the challenges ahead as we cope withthe changing nature of emergencies. It should serve as a reminder that displacementcrises require carefully prepared and well managed responses that optimize theunique strength and capacities of various groups and organizations. As we face thesenew challenges, let us look forward to fine tuning this response model that ourOffice has worked so hard to establish.VII
  8. 8. VIII
  9. 9. IXABBREVIATIONSOrganizationsDPKO Department of Peace-keeping OperationsFAO Food and Agriculture Organization of the United NationsIASC United Nations Inter-Agency Standing CommitteeICRC International Committee of the Red CrossIFRCS International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent SocietiesILO International Labour OrganizationMCDU Military and Civil Defence Unit of OCHAOAU Organization of African UnityOCHA Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian AffairsUNDP United Nations Development ProgrammeUNICEF United Nations Children’s FundUNSECOORD United Nations Security CoordinatorWFP World Food ProgrammeWHO World Health OrganizationOther AbbreviationsDO Designated OfficialABOD Administrative Budget and Obligation DocumentDSA Daily Subsistence AllowanceERC Emergency Relief CoordinatorGIS Geographical Information SystemsIDP Internally Displaced PersonsIOM/FOM Inter-Office Memorandum/Field Office MemorandumNGO Non-governmental OrganizationMT Metric tonneSITREP Situation Report
  10. 10. XUNHCR’s Mission Statement
  11. 11. XIUNHCR, the United Nations refugee organization, is mandated by the UnitedNations to lead and coordinate international action for the world-wide protectionof refugees and the resolution of refugee problems.UNHCRs primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees.UNHCR strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum andfind safe refuge in another state, and to return home voluntarily. By assistingrefugees to return to their own country or to settle in another country, UNHCRalso seeks lasting solutions to their plight.UNHCRs efforts are mandated by the organizations Statute, and guided by the1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967Protocol. International refugee law provides an essential framework of principlesfor UNHCRs humanitarian activities.UNHCRs Executive Committee and the UN General Assembly have also author-ized the organizations involvement with other groups. These include peoplewho are stateless or whose nationality is disputed and, in certain circumstances,internally displaced persons.UNHCR seeks to reduce situations of forced displacement by encouraging statesand other institutions to create conditions which are conducive to the protectionof human rights and the peaceful resolution of disputes. In pursuit of the sameobjective, UNHCR actively seeks to consolidate the reintegration of returningrefugees in their country of origin, thereby averting the recurrence of refugee-producing situations.UNHCR offers protection and assistance to refugees and others in an impartialmanner, on the basis of their need and irrespective of their race, religion, politicalopinion or gender. In all of its activities, UNHCR pays particular attention to theneeds of children and seeks to promote the equal rights of women and girls.In its efforts to protect refugees and to promote solutions to their problems,UNHCR works in partnership with governments, regional organizations, interna-tional and non-governmental organizations. UNHCR is committed to the princi-ple of participation by consulting refugees on decisions that affect their lives.By virtue of its activities on behalf of refugees and displaced people, UNHCR alsopromotes the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter: maintaininginternational peace and security; developing friendly relations among nations,and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
  12. 12. 1Aim and Principles of Response2
  13. 13. CONTENTS Paragraph PageDefinition and Aim 1-5 4Definition of EmergencyAimResponsibilities 6-16 4-5Governments and UNHCRUN OrganizationsNon-Governmental OrganizationsOther OrganizationsThe RefugeesDefining ResponsibilitiesPrinciples of Response 17-38 5-8IntroductionGet the Right People, to the Right Place, at the Right TimeEnsure the Measures are AppropriateInvolve the Refugees and Promote Self-RelianceDo Not Treat Issues in IsolationWork for Durable SolutionsMonitor and Evaluate the Effectiveness of ResponseAimandPrinciplesofResponse13
  14. 14. Definition and Aim1. The majority of UNHCRs operations be-gin as a result of an emergency caused by asudden influx of refugees1. The organizationand procedures of UNHCR reflect this; much ofUNHCRs normal work is in effect an emer-gency response. There are, however, situationsthat are clearly exceptional. This handbookaddresses the needs of such situations.Definition of2. The distinction is one of degree: a defini-tion of a refugee emergency for the purposesof UNHCR and this handbook might be:any situation in which the life or well-being of refugees will be threatened un-less immediate and appropriate action istaken, and which demands an extraordi-nary response and exceptional measures.3. What is important is less a definitionthan the ability to recognize in time the devel-opment of situations in which an extraordi-nary response will be required of UNHCR inorder to safeguard the life and well-being ofrefugees.4. Much of the handbook is concerned withguidelines on the protection and material as-sistance likely to be needed when large num-bers of refugees cross frontiers to seek asylumi.e. an emergency caused by a sudden influx ofrefugees.5. Such emergencies are, of course, not theonly situations which demand an extraordi-nary response of UNHCR. Equally swift actionwill be required in other types of emergency.For example, an emergency can develop inan existing operation, such as when eventssuddenly place in danger refugees who hadpreviously enjoyed asylum in safety (discussedin chapter 2 on protection). It can also eruptduring the final phase of an operation as inthe case of a large-scale repatriation (discus-sed in chapter 19 on voluntary repatriation). Inaddition there are complex emergencies,which are humanitarian crises involving thecompetence of more than one UN agency (seechapter 7 on coordination for a full defini-tion). The general guidance provided in thishandbook will be useful to these types ofemergencies as well.AimResponsibilitiesGovernments and UNHCR6. Host governments are responsible for thesecurity and safety of, assistance to, and lawand order among refugees on their territory.Governments often rely on the internationalcommunity to help share the burden, andUNHCR provides assistance to refugees at therequest of governments.7. The role of UNHCR in emergency opera-tions is primarily to protect refugees. UNHCRassists and complements the work of the gov-ernment by acting as a channel for assistancefrom the international community, and bycoordinating implementation of the assis-tance. Whatever the organizational mannerin which UNHCR provides emergency assis-tance in response to a government request,UNHCR is responsible for ensuring that theprotection and immediate material needs ofthe refugees are met in an effective andappropriate manner.UN Organizations8. The material needs of refugees are likelyto cover sectors for which other organizationsin the UN system have special competence. Inparticular, the World Food Program (WFP),with which UNHCR has established a closepartnership, provides the major part of theemergency food needs of refugees. In recog-nition of each organization’s comparative ad-vantages and skills, and with the aim of givingconsistency and predictability to the relation-ships between them, UNHCR has concludedMemoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with anumber of UN organizations. These MOUsalso cover issues related to emergency pre-paredness and response, such as joint contin-gency planning, joint assessments and devel-opment of standards and guidelines, as well asprogramme implementation. Notable amongthese are the MOUs with WFP, the UnitedThe statutory function of providing interna-tional protection to refugees and seekingpermanent solutions for their problems ishowever, always UNHCRs responsibility.The aim of UNHCRs emergency response isto provide protection to persons of concernto UNHCR and ensure that the necessaryassistance reaches them in time.41For convenience, “refugee” is used in this handbook torefer to all persons of concern to UNHCR. The different cat-egories of persons of concern, including refugees, are de-fined in chapter 2 on protection.
  15. 15. Nations Development Programme (UNDP) andthe United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF),which are contained in Appendix 3. UNHCRhas also signed MOUs with the United NationsPopulation Fund (UNFPA), the United NationsDevelopment Fund for Women (UNIFEM) andthe World Health Organization (WHO).9. Responsibility for coordinating the res-ponse of the UN system to a refugee emer-gency normally rests with UNHCR.10. The UN body charged with strengtheningthe coordination of humanitarian assistance ofthe UN to complex emergencies is the Officefor the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs(OCHA)2, through coordination, policy devel-opment and advocacy. Complex emergenciesare defined and discussed in more detail inchapter 7 on coordination.Non-Governmental Organizations11. Large numbers of non-governmentalorganizations (NGOs) provide assistance to re-fugees in emergencies. These organizationsoften act as UNHCRs operational partners.The division of responsibilities is determinedby the implementing arrangements agreedbetween them, the government and UNHCRregardless of whether funding is from UNHCRor elsewhere. This is discussed in more detailin chapters 7 and 8 on coordination and im-plementing arrangements.Other Organizations12. A number of other organizations also actas operational partners in the provision of as-sistance to refugees in emergencies. In partic-ular, the International Committee of the RedCross (ICRC), the International Federation ofRed Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRCS)with the National Red Cross and Red CrescentSocieties, have long provided such assistance.The ICRC mandate requires a high degree ofoperational neutrality and independence,which sometimes limits their participation incoordination mechanisms and the exchangeof information between them and otherorganizations.13. Other operational partners could in-clude inter-governmental organizations, forexample the International Organization forMigration (IOM). The objective of IOM is toensure the orderly migration of persons whoare in need of international migration assis-tance. IOM works subject to the agreementof both (or all) the states concerned with themigration. IOM has worked closely withUNHCR, notably by assisting with voluntaryrepatriation.The Refugees14. Beyond the right to international protec-tion under the Statute of UNHCR and underthe 1951 Refugee Convention and 1967 Pro-tocol, all refugees, as indeed all persons, havecertain basic human rights. These are enshrinedin the Charter of the United Nations and in theUniversal Declaration of Human Rights: thefundamental right to life, liberty and security ofperson; protection of the law; freedom ofthought, conscience and religion; and the rightto own property. Refugees have the right tofreedom of movement. However, it is recog-nized that, particularly in cases of mass influx,security considerations and the rights of thelocal population may dictate restrictions.15. Refugees and displaced persons alsohave, of course, responsibilities towards thecountry where they have sought refuge. Theseare set out in Article 2 of the 1951 Conven-tion: "Every refugee has duties to the countryin which he finds himself, which require inparticular that he conform to its laws andregulations as well as to measures taken forthe maintenance of public order." The civiliannature of refugee status must be respected.Defining Responsibilities16. All those involved, both inside and out-side the UN system, should have clearly de-fined responsibilities within a single overalloperation. This can be achieved through theestablishment of an appropriate coordinatingstructure at various levels to ensure that dup-lication of effort and gaps are avoided. Incertain situations, the coordinating role ofUNHCR may need to be more direct and oper-ational, both in planning and executing theemergency response, and in providing exper-tise in specific sectors.Principles of ResponseIntroduction17. Whatever the framework of responsibil-ity for a particular refugee emergency, certainprinciples of response are likely to be valid.Many of these are common themes in thechapters that follow.AimandPrinciplesofResponse152This was formerly known as the Department of Huma-nitarian Affairs (DHA).
  16. 16. 18. By definition, the needs of a refugeeemergency must be given priority over otherwork of UNHCR. This is essential if the aim ofensuring protection and timely assistance torefugees is to be met. Leadership and flexibil-ity are required of UNHCR in an emergency.Get the Right People to the Right Placeat the Right Time19. The single most important factor in de-termining whether or not sufficient emer-gency assistance reaches the refugees in timewill probably be the people involved in organ-izing and implementing the operation.No amount of expertise and experience cansubstitute for organizing ability, flexibility, areadiness to improvise, ability to get on withothers, ability to work under pressure nomatter how difficult the conditions, tact, sensi-tivity to other cultures and particularly to theplight of refugees, a readiness to listen, and,not least, a sense of humour.Ensure the Measures are AppropriateIdentify Needs20. An appropriate response in the provisionof protection and material assistance requiresan assessment of the needs of refugees thattakes into account not only their materialstate and the resources available, but alsotheir culture, age, gender and backgroundand the culture and background of thenationals in whose country they are grantedasylum. The provision of protection and ofessential goods and services must be providedto refugees in ways which actually meet theirneeds.Be Flexible and Respond to Changing Needs21. What is appropriate will vary with time.In the early stages of a major emergency spe-cial measures that rely heavily on outside assis-tance may be necessary. However, as a generalprinciple, the response should draw to the ex-tent possible on local resources, materials andmethods, and should, for example, avoid regi-mented refugee camps. Solutions that can bereadily implemented with existing resourcesand simple technologies should be sought.Identify Standards22. It is an important responsibility of UNHCRto determine with the government and opera-tional partners the standards of assistancethat are appropriate. This requires expertise ina number of disciplines. The guidelines inSection III of this handbook suggest generalconsiderations, to be modified in light of thecircumstances of each emergency. Appendix 2(Toolbox) also contains standards. What is tobe decided for each sector is the correct levelof total assistance from all sources.23. As a general principle, the standards ofassistance must reflect the special needs of therefugees based on their condition, physicalsituation and experiences. At the same timeaccount must be taken of the standardsplanned for and actually enjoyed by the localpopulation.24. If the standards have been correctly deter-mined, they cannot later be lowered withoutharm to the refugees. The refugees must, forexample, receive a minimum basic food ration.Outside contributions required to reach thestandards will, however, naturally be reducedas the refugees become more self-reliant.Always Remember the Longer TermObjectives25. A final general principle in consideringthe appropriateness of measures is that, fromthe start, resources must be divided betweenimmediate needs and action aimed at longer-term improvements and the prevention ofproblems. For example, resources must bedevoted to general public health measures aswell as to the treatment of individual diseases,which will include many that could be pre-vented by better water and sanitation. Emer-gency assistance is to be allocated to the maxi-mum extent possible to activities which will beof lasting benefit, thus keeping any reliefphase as short as possible.26. From the beginning of an emergency,and even during preparations for an emer-gency, planning must take into account thepost emergency phase as well as the envis-aged durable solutions.Involve the Refugees and PromoteSelf-reliance27. In order to ensure that the assistance pro-vided to refugees is appropriate, the refugeesmust be involved from the outset in the meas-ures taken to meet their needs. In addition, allEnough UNHCR and implementing partnerstaff of the right calibre and experiencemust be deployed to the right places, andequipped with the authority, funds, mate-rial and logistical support needed.6
  17. 17. components of the operation must be plannedin such a way as to promote their self-reliance.Obvious as this principle is, the pressures of anemergency often make it easier to organize anoperation from the outside for, rather thanwith, those whom it is to benefit.28. If the emergency operation involves therefugees in this way from the start, its effec-tiveness will be greatly enhanced. Further-more, such an approach will allow therefugees to maintain their sense of dignityand purpose, encourage self-reliance and helpavoid dependency. In emergencies, refugeesare often regarded as helpless and passiverecipients of external assistance. In the longterm this sets a pattern of dependency. Re-fugees must be encouraged to help them-selves by using their own skills and resourcesfrom the beginning of an emergency.29. Refugees are often most able to helpthemselves, and thus be least reliant on out-side assistance, if they are not grouped to-gether in highly organized camps, but ratherreside in small, less formal groups.30. The interests and needs of specificgroups of refugees, particularly vulnerableones, are better cared for and such effortsare more sustainable if community supportand involvement is harnessed right from thestart. In addition, refugee involvement helpsensure that the emergency response addressessocial, human and emotional needs, and goesbeyond the provision of material relief.Be Aware of Social and Economic Roles31. It is essential to understand socio-economic factors when planning and imple-menting the emergency response to avoidunintentionally depriving some refugees ofthe benefits of assistance. This is often true forwomen, children, the elderly and the disabled.UNHCR pays particular attention to the needsof these groups, especially in emergencies. It isimportant that the basic needs of vulnerablegroups (physically, mentally, or socially disad-vantaged) are met. Thus in the ning and im-plementation of an emergency response, vul-nerable groups must be identified andmonitored systematically to ensure that theyare not further disadvantaged. If necessary,special measures should be taken to meettheir particular needs.32. Even in an emergency, refugees are likelyto have some form of representation, througha community or group organization.It is also through an effective use of their re-presentation that refugees’ rights can be betterpromoted. However, be aware that leadersmay sometimes not be representational, ormay have an agenda or objectives which couldhave adverse consequences on other refugees.Do Not Treat Issues in Isolation33. In all stages of an emergency, the prob-lems and needs of refugees must be seencomprehensively, and sector-specific tasks beset within a multi-sectoral framework, sinceaction in one area is likely to affect others. Forexample the real solution to a health problemmight be found in improving the water sup-ply. Ensure the correct balance in resourceallocation between the different sectors.Ensure Environment is Considered at anEarly Stage34. Similarly, issues which are cross-cutting innature should not be neglected. This is oftenthe case with issues concerning vulnerablegroups, children, women, and the environ-ment. Environment concerns must be takeninto account from the earliest stage. In anemergency involving large-scale populationdisplacements, some environmental damageis unavoidable. Such damage can have anadverse effect on the health and well-being ofthe refugees and their host community. Theemergency phase is therefore, a critical timeto institute measures which limit environmen-A multi-sectoral approach must be a funda-mental feature of an emergency response.It is important to find out exactly what kindof leadership structure exists.To plan and manage an emergency res-ponse effectively, the social and economicroles of refugee women, men and childrenmust be properly analyzed and understoodto see how these roles will affect and beaffected by, planned activities 3.It is important to encourage refugee partici-pation at all stages of planning and imple-mentation.AimandPrinciplesofResponse173In UNHCR this method for assessment and planning isknown as “People Oriented Planning”, and discussed indetail in A Framework for People-Oriented Planning inRefugee Situations Taking Account of Women, Men andChildren, UNHCR, Geneva 1992
  18. 18. tal degradation. Environmental problems cre-ated at this stage become increasingly difficultand costly to redress. Every effort should bemade to prevent, or at least minimize, irre-versible environmental impacts caused by theemergency response activities and the pres-ence of refugees.Work for Durable Solutions35. When an emergency occurs, actionstaken at the very outset can have importantlonger-term consequences. Clear and consis-tent policies from the beginning will havean important long-term effect. Similarly, theimmediate response of the international com-munity to a major influx of refugees musttake into account the ultimate aim of promot-ing a durable solution to the problem. Thisrequires that the response both encouragesthe self-reliance of the refugees and reducesprolonged dependency on outside relief, andthat it does nothing to prevent the promotionof a long-term solution as soon as possible.36. As a general principle, the best solutionis voluntary repatriation. Where this is notpossible, assimilation within the country ofasylum (local settlement) is in most circum-stances preferable to assimilation within an-other country (resettlement), particularly forlarge groups and in cases where resettlementwould take place in a cultural environmentalien to the refugees. There may, however, besituations in which resettlement is the onlyway to ensure protection.Monitor and Evaluate the Effectivenessof Response37. Whatever the nature of the emergency,the action required of UNHCR is likely to varywith time and as circumstances change.This will require sound monitoring, reportingand evaluation systems, including indicators,to detect deterioration or change, and also acontinuous review of the aims of UNHCRsassistance, both in terms of bringing the emer-gency to an early end and for the promotionof a durable solution.38. Such monitoring must also ensure thatthe funds provided voluntarily to UNHCR bygovernments and others are being used to thebest advantage. This is inherent in the princi-ple of appropriate response. It should beborne in mind that whatever funds may beavailable in the early stages of an acutehumanitarian emergency, the passage of timewill produce financial constraints. Thus it isimportant that actual and potential donorssee that the action proposed is indeed essen-tial, and that its impact is effective.It is essential that the effectiveness of theresponse be kept constantly under reviewand action adjusted as necessary and intime.8
  19. 19. AimandPrinciplesofResponse19
  20. 20. 2Protection10
  21. 21. Protection211CONTENTS Paragraph PageIntroduction 1- 8 12UNHCR MandateLegal InstrumentsRefugee DefinitionProtection in Emergencies 9-27 12-15Admission and Non-RefoulementStatus DeterminationPersons Excluded from Refugee StatusUNHCR’s and States’ ResponsibilitiesBasic Refugee StandardsTemporary ProtectionInitial Actions 28-59 15-18IntroductionRapid Deployment, Continuing Presence and Free AccessAssessmentEnsuring Respect for Non-RefoulementEnsuring an Understanding of UNHCR’s MandateBorder PresenceLocation of RefugeesMaintaining Contact with Local AuthoritiesProtection and AssistanceRegistrationWomen and ChildrenMonitoring and ReportingFormalizing Arrangements and Written DemarchesPublic RelationsPhysical Safety of Refugees 60-77 18-20IntroductionCamp SecurityReducing Tension between Refugees and the Local CommunityPhysical Safety in Areas of ConflictOperations in Areas Controlled by Non-State EntitiesForced RecruitmentCombatantsEmergencies as a Result of Changes in Government Policy 78-84 20-21Other Persons of Concern To UNHCR 85-89 21-22ReturneesStateless PeopleInternally Displaced People (IDP’s)Durable Solutions 90-99 22-23Voluntary RepatriationLocal SettlementResettlementEmergency Resettlement ProceduresKey References 23Annex:Annex 1: Summary of key International Instruments 24-25
  22. 22. IntroductionUNHCR’s Mandate1.2. The need for international protectionarises from the fact that refugees, unlike ordi-nary aliens, no longer have the protection oftheir home country. International protection isa temporary substitute for the protection nor-mally provided by States to their nationalsabroad until the refugee can again benefitfrom national protection.3. The legal basis for securing this protec-tion, the aim of protection, and the means toprovide it, must be clearly understood. Thischapter addresses these questions.Legal Instruments4. All UNHCR staff must be familiar withthe key international instruments coveringthe protection of refugees. Of fundamentalimportance are the following:i. Statute of the Office of the United NationsHigh Commissioner for Refugees;ii. 1951 Convention Relating to the Status ofRefugees and its 1967 Protocol;iii. 1969 Convention Governing the SpecificAspects of Refugee Problems in Africa ofthe Organization of African Unity (OAU);iv. 1984 Cartagena Declaration on Refugees,and 1994 San Jose Declaration.5. Annex 1 lists these and other relevantinternational instruments and their main pur-pose(s).6. Refugees enjoy basic human rights setout in instruments such as the Universal Decla-ration of Human Rights, and other instrumentslisted in Annex 1, as well as the rights theyhave as refugees which are described in thevarious refugee instruments.Refugee Definition7. A refugee is defined as:any person who is outside his/her country oforigin and who is unwilling or unable toreturn there or to avail him/herself of its pro-tection because of:i. a well-founded fear of being persecutedfor reasons of race, religion, nationality,membership of a particular social groupor political opinion;orii. a threat to life or security as a result ofarmed conflict and other forms of wide-spread violence which seriously disturbthe public order.Whether a person is a refugee is not depen-dent on formal recognition, but on the fact ofmeeting the definition of refugee.Protection in Emergencies8. On the spot presence and quick actionare generally crucial to the attainment ofUNHCR’s objectives, particularly where there isdanger of refoulement or abuses such as arbi-trary detention or mistreatment.Admission and Non-refoulement9. The first and most urgent priority is toensure refugees’ right to asylum is respected,and to ensure they are not forcibly returned(refouled).Non-refoulement10. Of cardinal importance is the principle ofnon-refoulement. This principle is set out inParagraph 1 of Article 33 of the 1951 Conven-tion which states that:“No Contracting State shall expel or return(“refouler”) a refugee in any manner what-soever to the frontiers of territories wherehis life or freedom would be threatened onaccount of his race, religion, nationality,membership of a particular social group orpolitical opinion”.The aim of international protection in emer-gencies is to:i. Ensure admission and at least temporaryasylum;ii. Prevent forcible return (“refoulement”);iii. Ensure refugees are treated according tobasic human rights standards.In an emergency it must first be establishedthat the persons endangered are ofconcern to UNHCR and thus entitled toprotection.UNHCR’s fundamental responsibilities are to:i. Provide international protection to refu-gees;andii. Seek permanent solutions for their prob-lems.12
  23. 23. 11. The 1951 Convention provides for verylimited exceptions to the principle of non-refoulement of refugees, namely, for thosereasonably regarded as a danger to the secu-rity of the country where they are, or for thosewho, having been convicted by a final judge-ment of a particularly serious crime, constitutea danger to the community of that country.12. The principle of non-refoulement hasfound specific expression in a number of inter-national instruments adopted at the universaland regional levels.13. Because of its fundamental and univer-sally accepted character, the principle of non-refoulement has been recognized as a prin-ciple of customary international law, and hencebinding on all states.Admission14. Asylum seekers must be admitted to thestate in which they seek refuge, without dis-crimination as to race, religion, nationality, po-litical opinion or physical incapacity. The Uni-versal Declaration of Human Rights states that:“Everyone has the right to seek and toenjoy in other countries asylum frompersecution”.15. The General Assembly, on adopting theUNHCR Statute, called on governments tocooperate with the High Commissioner in theperformance of his/her functions by, admittingrefugees to their territories.16. Refugees may not be able to meetnormal immigration requirements because oftheir flight. The 1951 Convention obligesstates not to penalize refugees for havingentered their host country without the legallyrequired formalities.Status Determination17. Refugees may be recognized either onthe basis of “prima facie” group determination,or following individual status determination.18. At the outset of an emergency whenasylum-seekers arrive in large numbers overa short period of time, it is often impracticalto resort to an individual determination ofrefugee status for each member of the group.In most emergencies those seeking refugemay be of concern to UNHCR, and the Statutecalls for action on their behalf. When protec-tion is clearly an urgent humanitarian need,the benefit of the doubt has to be accorded atleast until a considered opinion is available.19. In such circumstances, UNHCR and statesusually resort to refugee status determinationfor the entire group based on their knowl-edge of objective conditions in the country oforigin. Every member of the group is thus con-sidered a refugee prima facie, i.e. a refugee inthe absence of evidence to the contrary.Persons Excluded From Refugee Status20. Certain persons do not fall under the HighCommissioner’s competence and are excludedfrom protection. These are persons with respectto whom there are serious reasons for consider-ing that they have committed a crime againstpeace, war crimes (e.g. torture or execution ofprisoners), crimes against humanity (e.g. geno-cide), serious non-political crimes (e.g. murderor rape) outside the country of refuge, or actscontrary to the purposesof refuge, or that theyhave been guilty of acts contrary to the pur-poses and principles of the United Nations.21. Headquarters must be informed immedi-ately of such situations and as a rule, criteriafor decisions on exclusion should be taken inconsultation with Headquarters. Note thatasylum seekers can be given prima facie recog-nition as refugees on a group basis, but canonly be excluded from refugee recognition onan individual basis.UNHCR and States’ Responsibilities22. The High Commissioner’s universal pro-tection responsibilities have been placed onhim/her by the General Assembly (Statute ofUNHCR). The exercise of the international pro-tection function by UNHCR is not dependentupon a request by the government concerned.In the case of mass influx, the aim is tosecure treatment in accordance with univer-sally recognized humanitarian principlesnot necessarily directly linked to the legalstatus of those in need. Speed of interven-tion to secure protection is thus the firstpriority.Non refoulement is a principle of interna-tional law and binding on all States irre-spective of whether or not they are party tothe 1951 Convention or other internationalrefugee instrument.Non-refoulement includes not rejecting orturning away a refugee at the border, aswell as not returning him/her subsequentto admission to a country where he/shecould face persecution.Protection213
  24. 24. 23. In countries that are parties to the rele-vant legal instruments, UNHCR’s protectionfunction is facilitated. The 1951 Conventionobliges States which are parties to the Conven-tion to cooperate with UNHCR in the exerciseof its functions and in particular to facilitateUNHCR’s duty of monitoring the applicationof the Convention’s provisions. The 1969 OAUConvention contains a similar clause.24. Even when an emergency occurs in acountry not party to the relevant internationalinstruments, some of the principles embodiedin the Convention are considered customaryinternational law and hence are binding on allstates. Foremost amongst them is the principleof non-refoulement. In addition, the moralstrength and standard setting value of theconclusions of UNHCR’s Executive Committee(EXCOM) is not limited to states which aremembers of the Executive Committee (seechapter 9 on external relations for more de-tails on EXCOM members).Basic Refugee Standards25. A set of internationally recognized basicstandards of treatment applicable in refugeeemergencies has been agreed1.a) Refugees and asylum seekers should notbe penalized or exposed to any unfavou-rable treatment solely on the ground thattheir presence in the country is consideredunlawful; they should not be subjected torestrictions on their movements otherthan those which are necessary in the in-terest of public health and public order;b) They should enjoy the fundamental civilrights internationally recognized, in parti-cular those set out in the Universal Decla-ration of Human Rights;c) They should receive all necessary assis-tance and be provided with the basic ne-cessities of life including food, shelter andbasic sanitary and health facilities; in thisrespect the international communityshould conform with the principles of in-ternational solidarity and burden-sharing;d) They should be treated as persons whosetragic plight requires special understand-ing and sympathy. They shoud not besubjected to cruel, inhuman or degradingtreatment;e) There should be no discrimination on thegrounds of race, religion, political opin-ion, nationality, country of origin or physi-cal incapacity;f) They are to be considered as persons be-fore the law, enjoying free access to courtsof law and other competent administra-tive authorities;g) The location of asylum seekers should bedetermined by their safety and well-beingas well as by the security needs of thereceiving State. Asylum seekers should, asfar as possible, be located at a reasonabledistance from the frontier of their countryof origin. They should not become in-volved in subversive activities against theircountry of origin or any other State;h) Family unity should be respected;i) All possible assistance should be given forthe tracing of relatives;j) Adequate provision should be made forthe protection of minors and unaccompa-nied children;k) The sending and receiving of mail shouldbe allowed;l) Material assistance from friends or rela-tives should be permitted;m) Appropriate arrangements should bemade, where possible, for the registrationof births, deaths and marriages;n) They should be granted all the necessaryfacilities to enable them to obtain a satis-factory durable situation;o) They should be permitted to transfer as-sets which they have brought into a terri-tory to the country where the durablesolution is obtained; andp) All steps should be taken to facilitatevoluntary repatriation.Temporary Protection26. Some countries adopt a narrow defini-tion of the term “refugee” which does not en-compass those persons who are fleeing fromarmed conflict (such persons are consideredrefugees within the definition contained in, forexample, the OAU Convention). In countrieswith a narrow definition, the term “temporaryprotection” has been used to describe protec-tion extended to categories of persons clearlyin need of international protection, but in re-spect of whom recognition as refugees would141These were adopted by UNHCR’s Executive Committeein 1981, Conclusion No 22.
  25. 25. present difficulties, either because they wouldnot fall under the narrow definition, or be-cause individual status determination wouldnot be practical in view of the numbers of per-sons involved.27. The basic elements of temporary protec-tion include:i. Admission to the country of refuge;ii. Respect for basic human rights, with treat-ment in accordance with internationallyrecognized humanitarian standards (e.g.those basic refugee standards listed above);iii. Protection against refoulement;iv. Voluntary repatriation when conditions inthe country of origin allow. Persons admit-ted to a country under a temporary pro-tection scheme generally are not providedaccess to the full range of benefits ac-corded to individuals who are recognizedas refugees.Initial ActionsIntroduction28. The legal basis on which UNHCR inter-venes to secure the protection of refugees iscontained in the instruments mentionedabove. Frequently the practical course of ac-tion to be adopted is, however, of more con-cern than the legal instruments themselves.29. In order for UNHCR to effectively dis-charge its protection mandate, the staff of theorganization must have free and unhinderedaccess to all refugees and asylum seekers irre-spective of their location.30. It should be borne in mind that actiontaken at the outset of an emergency may havesignificant long-term consequences, both forcontinued protection, including perhaps forother groups of refugees within the country,and for the promotion of durable solutions.Rapid Deployment, Continuing Presence andFree Access31. The first priority is rapid deployment ofstaff.Free access and continuing presence are thevital practical support to ensuring UNHCR’smandate. Sufficient female staff must bepresent as this will help ensure that womenrefugees can express protection problems, andthat these problems are recognized and dealtwith appropriately.Assessment32. Good protection requires good informa-tion. UNHCR staff, often together with localofficials, should visit all points of influx andrefugee locations to gather information fromrefugees regarding the issues and questionsset out in Annex 1 to chapter 5 on initialassessment (in particular those relating to whothe refugees are, where they are from, whythey have fled and identification of vulnerablegroups). In addition, the refugees should beasked about the situation along the flightroute and any problems encountered uponentering the country of refuge.33. Sources of information must be devel-oped and direct communication with contactsestablished in the field to ensure that UNHCR isquickly informed of any new influx or protec-tion problem. Such open lines of commu-nication are especially important for border re-gions which are remote from the capital, whereUNHCR may not yet have a local presence.34. Potential sources of information include:❏ Asylum seekers themselves;❏ Local or central government authorities;❏ Community and religious leaders;❏ National and international NGOs;❏ ICRC, if present;❏ Other UN and international organizations;❏ National (particularly local language) andinternational news media.35. If possible the central authorities shouldparticipate in fact finding missions, as thisreduces the risk of misunderstanding betweenUNHCR and the central authorities and bet-ween the central and local authorities.Ensuring Respect for Non-refoulement36. The best way to ensure respect for theprinciple of non-refoulement and basic humanrights is to create awareness among nationalauthorities at all levels. In a crisis situation, itmay not be possible to provide formal train-ing, but in daily contacts with camp autho-A continuing UNHCR presence with directand unhindered access to refugees shouldbe established in the area concerned for aslong as required.Often protection depends less on the fineprint of a statute and more on swift appro-priate action by UNHCR field staff.Protection215
  26. 26. rities, local authorities, army personnel andborder officials, the principle of non-refoule-ment must be made clear. Give concrete exam-ples to the authorities of what can happen toa refugee who is returned: it can mean loss oflife. Awareness may also need to be raised inthe local population – the media may providea forum – and public opinion can be an impor-tant influence.Ensuring an Understanding of UNHCR’sMandate37. The basis for UNHCRs concern and in-volvement should be explained in as practicalterms as possible. Local officials may not knowof UNHCRs mandate, nor of the assistancewhich UNHCR may already be giving else-where in the country.Border Presence38. Develop good contact with border au-thorities and monitor cross border move-ments: this also helps provide contact with therefugees, and gives information about what ishappening in the country of origin as well aspotential problems in border crossings onboth sides of the border. If it is not possible forstaff to be present at all border crossing pointson a permanent basis, each crossing pointshould be checked frequently.39. Any protection problems relating to theadmission or treatment of refugees at theborder should be brought immediately to theattention of the competent authorities in thehost country and any other country involved,for urgent remedial action.Location of Refugees40. Refugees should be accommodated suffi-ciently far away from the borders of the coun-try of origin to avoid security problems.Maintaining Contact with Local Authorities41. At both the local and central level, theremust be assured access at all times to thoseofficials whose decisions will affect therefugees situation. Establish who they are,contact them and if possible request hometelephone numbers and other means of com-munication so that if a protection problemarises it can be brought to the right officialsattention at once. Refoulements often takeplace very rapidly.42. The most senior local official directlyresponsible should be approached and re-quested to allow (at least temporary) asylum.In some cases this may be the local militarycommander for a region.43. NGOs may be able to advise on the localinfrastructure and decision-making process,and influential local personalities, such as com-munity or religious leaders, may be helpful.44. Local authorities should be kept infor-med of demarches UNHCR has made or intendsto make in the capital – these should not onlybe the demarches of a political or formalnature, but also those covering practical andassistance aspects of the programme.Protection and Assistance45. Protection and material assistance shouldbe planned as complementary parts of a singleUNHCR operation. Assistance cannot be pro-vided without assured asylum and withoutlife-sustaining material assistance, protectionalone will not preserve the lives and well-beingof the refugees. There should be an early indi-cation that UNHCRs intervention may result inmaterial assistance – in other words, that thegranting of asylum and meeting of immediateneeds will not be a burden on local authorities’budgets. Field Officers must receive early guid-ance contained in section III on the extent towhich commitments on material assistancemay be given, in order to communicate thisinformation with local authorities. If the influxconsists of additional asylum seekers clearlybelonging to a group already assisted byUNHCR, a firm assurance of material assistancewithin the means available is usually given.Although the link between such assistance andprotection responsibilities is self-evident toUNHCR, it should be borne in mind that theconnection is not necessarily so clear to local orcentral authorities.Registration46. A registration exercise should be con-ducted at the earliest possible stage of anemergency operation (for more details seechapter 11 on population estimation and reg-istration).Women and Children47. Refugees, and in particular women andchildren, travelling alone or in small groups inThe approach should stress that the workof the High Commissioner is of an entirelynon-political character and is strictly hu-manitarian and social.16
  27. 27. remote border areas, are very vulnerable toextortion, abuse and sexual violence. A pro-active approach is needed to ensure thatprotection needs are met.UNHCR considers a child to be:a person below the age of 18 years,unless, under the law applicable to thechild, majority is attained earlier,as defined in the Convention on the Rights ofthe Child.Note that gender-related persecution can beconsidered a ground for recognition underthe definition of refugee.UNHCR’s Guidelines on the Protection ofRefugee Women, and Refugee Children:Guidelines on Protection and Care (see keyreferences) are essential reading for those de-signing a protection programme. More infor-mation on the procedures noted below iscontained in section III of the Handbook, inparticular chapter 10 on community services.48. Prevent protection problems for refugeewomen and children through good pro-gramme design in all sectors, including:❏ Obtaining a good knowledge of the popu-lation profile, especially the breakdown bysex and age;❏ Preserving the original family and commu-nity structures;❏ Consulting women on the design of the as-sistance programme, in particular on thedesign of the refugee camp and on thecommodity distribution system;❏ Locating services so as not to exposerefugee women to additional risk whenusing them;❏ Providing lighting in the camp especiallyalong paths to latrines;❏ Ensuring an adequate number of womenstaff, particularly protection, communityservices and health staff;❏ Forming security patrols among the refu-gees themselves having the protection ofwomen as a priority;❏ Providing training for police and militarypersonnel on the rights of women and chil-dren, especially in circumstances wherethere is a heavy military or police presence;❏ Initiating tracing as soon as possible. Ap-propriate measures must be taken for iden-tification, documentation, tracing, interimsupport and family reunion of separatedchildren (see chapter 10 on communityservices for more information on unaccom-panied children);❏ Providing structured activities and primaryschools for children (this can be importantas a protection tool as it can help reducerecruitment into armed forces);❏ Targeting assistance to remove the needfor child labour;❏ Issuing birth certificates. Birth registrationmay be a prerequisite for obtaining natio-nality, enrolling in school and may be a vitaltool for tracing. It can also be important inpreventing military recruitment and otherforms of exploitation.Help Children by Helping the Family; SupportWomen to Preserve Family Unity.Actively work to preserve family unity. Mea-sures to promote the health and physicalsecurity of refugee women can help preventseparation of mother and child. A family,whose members have become separated orwho are under serious stress, puts children atparticular risk. Give priority to helping parentsand other child care-givers meet the needs oftheir children. Also, recognize the parentsown needs. Families may need assistance in us-ing their own coping techniques and rebuild-ing their support networks. Make every effortto preserve or reconstitute family help net-works. Family groups wishing to live togethershould be helped to do so.Monitoring and Reporting49. Once immediate protection is secured,arrangements must be made to monitor thesituation and ensure continuing respect of therights of the refugees.50. Immediate, clear and regular reports ofdevelopments, action taken and intended tobe taken are important, whether from theField Officer to the Head of Office or from thelatter to Headquarters. Guidance must be re-quested as necessary and Headquarters levelinterventions recommended as appropriate.See Annex 3 to chapter 8 on implementingarrangements, for a standard situation report.51. A prerequisite for intervention with agovernment, or for mobilization of interna-tional support, is accurate situation reporting.The single best way to promote the protec-tion, well-being and safety of children is tosupport their families.Protection217
  28. 28. Formalizing Arrangements and WrittenDemarches52. Any temporary or ad hoc agreementswith the authorities should be formalized, asfor example that covering the local UNHCRpresence. Reference should be made to pro-tection and durable solutions in any formalexchanges governing the provision of materialassistance.53. As a general rule, a written demarcheshould be made as soon as possible to thecentral authorities at the highest appropriatelevel. This level, and the form of the demarche,will be determined by the nature of UNHCRspresence in the country. A demarche by a newlyarrived mission would normally be addressed tothe Minister of Foreign Affairs (or perhaps Inte-rior; the advice of UNDP and/or embassiesshould be sought). The communication might:i. Refer to the information available toUNHCR on the influx or problem (qualify-ing it as necessary: the government willoften know more than UNHCR);ii. State UNHCRs view that persons involvedare or may (as applicable) be of concern tothe High Commissioner;iii. Refer to the governments protection re-sponsibilities;iv. Request (confirm understanding, expressgratitude for, etc.) assurances that personswill be granted (at least temporary) asylum(if appropriate: pending determination ofstatus and longer-term arrangements);v. Offer, where persons are found to be ofconcern to UNHCR, commitment in prin-ciple to provide material assistance (forexample, "every effort" formula).54. The text of representative level de-marches should be communicated to Head-quarters at once both for information and inorder that they may be shared with thepermanent mission and/or referred to in anysubsequent Headquarters level demarches.Likewise, the texts of the latter should ofcourse be shared at once with the field.55. Representatives should immediately rec-ommend action at the Headquarters level ifthey are in doubt that their interventionsalone will secure protection.56. New oral and written demarches must bemade if there are any grounds for concern thatprotection is still not adequately assured (re-foulement, abduction, arbitrary detention,mistreatment, abuse of women and childrenetc.). Complementary action at the local levelshould both closely monitor developments af-fecting protection, and concentrate to the ex-tent possible on assisting the authorities tomeet the practical problems of the influx.Public Relations57. In certain circumstances tensions in rela-tions between neighbouring countries maymake it necessary to stress even at the locallevel that the granting of asylum is a purelyhumanitarian act.58. Particular attention should be paid tobriefing other UN organizations and thediplomatic community, especially those inter-ested governments whose influence may beable to facilitate protection (for example, byan early indication of support for UNHCRand/or of intent to contribute financially tothe UNHCR operation).59. Visits by national and international me-dia and the diplomatic corps may help achievea broader appreciation of UNHCRs protectionfunction. The position to be taken with regardto the media will depend very much on thecircumstances and whether or not publicitywould help protect persons of concern toUNHCR. Close coordination within the variouslevels of UNHCR is necessary. Where UNHCR isalready represented, previously establishedgood contacts with the locally based (and es-pecially local language) media may prove avaluable source of information and is useful inadvancing an understanding of UNHCRs role.General guidance regarding media relations isprovided in chapter 9 external relations.Physical Safety of RefugeesIntroduction60. Even after they have been admitted to acountry of refuge, refugees may still face seri-ous threats to their safety. In emergencies,some basic human rights are particularlyEmphasize that the granting of asylum ispurely humanitarian and therefore not ahostile act, and that UNHCRs presence andinvolvement may help reduce tension.Field staff at the site, anxious to provide im-mediate help, must remember that unlessinformation gathered locally is shared, itsusefulness is limited.18
  29. 29. threatened and will need to be specially pro-tected by law as well as by action. Thesethreats may originate from the country oforigin or of asylum or from groups among therefugees themselves.Camp Security61. Threats of military attacks originatingfrom the country of origin may be reduced bylocating or relocating camps or settlements areasonable distance from the border (seechapter 14 on site planning). In addition theauthorities of the country of asylum may haveto increase their military presence in theborder area and around refugee settlements.However, military presence inside refugeecamps or settlements should be avoided.62. In the country of refuge, threats to physi-cal safety of refugees (refoulement, unlawfuldetention, sexual violence, etc.) may emanatefrom officials dealing with the refugees.63. Corrective action is in the hands of theauthorities and must be taken resolutely.UNHCR must maintain contact with the refu-gees and the authorities to ensure that thereis adequate response.64. Criminal attacks and banditry againstrefugees should be addressed by civil authori-ties and security forces of the host country inclose cooperation with UNHCR and therefugee community.65. In situations where armed individuals arepart of the refugee population, UNHCRshould encourage the screening of the wholepopulation and the separation of refugeesfrom armed individuals, as well as their disar-mament.66. In all cases of military and police pres-ence, general measures as described in para-graph 48 such as awareness campaigns andtraining for protection of the rights of refugeewomen and children are important in order toprevent sexual violence against them.67. In cases of internal conflicts among therefugee population UNHCR should initiallyencourage a mediation by the refugee com-munity. If this fails, UNHCR should request theauthorities of the host country to resolve theconflict.Reducing Tension Between the Refugee andthe Local Community68. In situations which may give rise to ten-sion and conflict between the refugee com-munity and the local population, the follow-ing measures may be considered in addition toaction to address the specific causes of theproblem:i. Arranging regular meetings between therepresentatives of the refugees and theleaders of the local community;ii. Sensitizing the local population to theplight of the refugees through local media(programmes on radio and TV, articles innewspapers) and community leaders;iii. Sensitizing refugees to local customs andtraditions;iv. Ensuring that sufficient assistance is mo-bilized so that the presence of refugeesdoes not impact negatively on scarce localresources;v. Benefiting the local community throughimprovements in infrastructure in the areasof water, health, roads, etc.69. As a measure of protection, UNHCR staffshould encourage and support the organiza-tion of the refugee community and ensure itsinvolvement alongside local authorities andcommunities, in all aspects of the administra-tion of the refugee settlement. Women andadolescents should be included in such organi-zations, particularly those dealing with issuesaffecting their security. Other actions shouldinclude UNHCR presence in refugee camps andspecial training in international refugee stan-dards and norms for all officials dealing withrefugees.Physical Safety in Areas of Conflict70. International humanitarian law2providesprotection to civilians including refugees insituations of armed conflict. In non-interna-tional conflicts (i.e. internal armed conflict butnot police operation), all parties to the conflictare bound by the 1949 Geneva Conventions torespect all persons not taking an active part inthe hostilities, and in particular:i. To treat them humanely and without dis-tinction as to race, religion, sex, birth,wealth or any other similar criteria;The authorities of the country of asylummust be made aware of the fact that theyretain primary responsibility for securityand must ensure the safety and well-beingof refugees.Protection2192The four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their twoAdditional Protocol of 1977 deal with protection of civil-ians in armed conflicts.
  30. 30. ii. To refrain from violence to life and person;iii. Not to take hostages;iv. To respect personal dignity;v. Not to pass sentences or carry out execu-tions without due process of law;vi. To collect and care for the wounded andsick.71. The International Committee of the RedCross (ICRC) is the agency charged with super-vising the implementation of internationalhumanitarian law in situations of armedconflict. In most situations of armed conflict orcivil strife, the ICRC offers its services to allparties to assist victims and ensure the protec-tion of civilian populations – including, whereapplicable, refugees and other displaced pop-ulations – as well as detained combatants.72. UNHCR staff should seek the coopera-tion of the ICRC, wherever it is present, andbenefit from its expertise in dealing with stateand non-state parties alike in situations ofarmed conflict.Operations in Areas Controlled by Non-stateEntities73. In situations of civil strife or internalarmed conflict, particular difficulties may arisefrom the fact that UNHCR’s interlocutors arenot states or regular armed forces answerableto states, but insurgent groups and other non-state entities. UNHCR may have no choice butto deal with these groups as they exercise defacto control over a refugee population. It willbe important to highlight the impartial, non-political and humanitarian role of UNHCR andto exercise public pressure in order to convincethese groups of the importance of adhering tohumanitarian and refugee law. However,when dealing with these groups, UNHCRshould not imply, through any of its actions orcorrespondence, a formal recognition of thesenon-state entities by the United Nations.Forced Recruitment74. Another protection issue likely to arisewhere refugees find themselves in or near aconflict zone is that of forcible recruitment ofrefugees by one or more parties to the con-flict. In confronting this issue, UNHCR staffmust remember – and remind the authorities– that:i. The civilian character of refugee camps andsettlements must be preserved and respec-ted in all circumstances. Therefore recruit-ment of any age group for military andparamilitary purposes is unacceptable;ii. Recruitment by force may amount to cruel,inhuman or degrading treatment, which isprohibited in all circumstances;iii. Recruitment and direct participation inhostilities of minors under 15 years of ageis prohibited, and UNHCR advocates thenon-involvement of all children under 18,whether they are required to participatedirectly in hostilities or to perform supporttasks;iv. Where refugees are forced or coerced toreturn to their country of origin to fight,this is tantamount to refoulement, which isprohibited in all circumstances.Combatants75. UNHCR is not competent to intervene onbehalf of combatants. Combatants placedhors de combat (sick, wounded, shipwreckedand prisoners of war) are primarily protectedby international humanitarian law, and fallunder the competence of the ICRC.76. An ex-combatant may qualify as a refu-gee if a well-founded fear of persecution canbe established, and if there are no serious rea-sons for considering that the person should beexcluded3.77. Finally, note that simply because a per-son is carrying a weapon does not mean thathe/she is a combatant – in some societies,carrying weapons e.g. knives, is traditional.Emergencies as a Result of Changes inGovernment Policy78. A special type of protection emergencycan occur as the result of a sudden change,for whatever reason, in government policytowards persons of concern to UNHCR alreadyon its territory. Those affected may includeboth persons known to UNHCR and recog-nized as refugees, and others who havehitherto neither formally requested asylumnor made themselves known to UNHCR, butwho may nevertheless fall within the HighCommissioners competence.79. The action to take in protection emer-gencies of this type will vary greatly in eachcase and only very general guidance can begiven. Accurate information, a UNHCR pres-203See Note on the Application of Exclusion clauses, IOM/83/96 FOM/93/96, UNHCR, 1996.
  31. 31. ence where needed, and a clear and consis-tent policy in defence of the rights of therefugees will always be required. The guide-lines that follow must be modified as neces-sary in light of the actual situation. Some ofthe considerations discussed in the previoussections may also be relevant.80. UNHCR should immediately try to iden-tify and if possible establish a list of personswho are, or may be at risk but were not previ-ously known to UNHCR staff. This list must beconstantly updated. Sources of informationinclude the diplomatic community (some per-sons may approach or even seek asylum inembassies), the ICRC, the national Red Cross orRed Crescent society, churches and NGOs. Careshould be taken to ensure the confidentialityof individual cases when establishing contactswith Embassies. Early identification, and, ifpossible registration of, these new cases byUNHCR can often be a very important sourceof protection.81. UNHCR must maintain (or in the case ofa new régime establish) close and continuingcooperation with the authorities. If the coun-try has acceded to the relevant internationalinstruments, these obligations remain bind-ing, whatever new policies may be adopted. Ifthe country is not a party to any of therefugee instruments, the Statute and universalinstruments must be invoked.82. The government is, of course, responsi-ble for the physical security of the refugees.Every effort must be made to encourage thegovernment to protect refugees, particularlyduring any periods of civil tension. The imme-diate aim is that refugees should be able toremain in safety in their present country ofasylum. Respect of the principle of non-refoulement is of paramount importance.83. There may be circumstances in whichmovement of the refugees to another countryis necessary as a last resort. Such moves arequite different from large-scale resettlementas a durable solution. They may be necessaryeither as a result of a direct request from thegovernment or where no other way of pro-tecting the refugees exists. Immediate ap-proaches to potential countries of asylummust be made at both local, embassy, andHeadquarters levels. Receipt of resettlementoffers may have an important influence onthe governments attitude towards therefugees. Operational partners must be identi-fied. In addition to locally-based NGOs, the as-sistance of the ICRC (for example, with traveldocuments) and the International Organiza-tion for Migration (IOM) may be sought.84. In extreme and tense situations whererefugees lives were threatened, there werecases where some form of “safe Haven” forrefugees have been established. However,UNHCR’s experience with “safe havens” de-monstrated that refugees often could not beprovided with adequate protection and con-tinued to be exposed to high risks. It is there-fore not recommended to formally establish“safe havens”.Other Persons of Concern to UNHCR85. In addition to refugees as defined by therelevant international instruments (see para-graph 7 above), UNHCR has also been empow-ered to extend protection to the followingcategories. Refugees, as well as the categoriesof persons described below, are often referredto as “persons of concern to UNHCR”.Returnees86. Returnees are refugees who returnvoluntarily to their country of origin and whoformally cease to be refugees as soon as theycross the border. UNHCR has been entrusted bythe UN General Assembly to protect and assistreturnees, both during the journey and onceback in the country of origin and to facilitatefinding durable solutions to their problems.Stateless Persons87. A stateless person is a person who is notconsidered as a national by any country. TheUniversal Declaration of Human Rights statesthat everyone has a right to a nationality andno one should be arbitrarily deprived ofhis/her nationality or of the right to changehis/her nationality. The main international in-struments dealing with statelessness are listedin Annex 1. UNHCR has been designated asthe body which can assist stateless persons inpresenting their claims to appropriate authori-ties, and in providing technical and advisoryservices to states on the preparation and im-plementation of nationality legislation.Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).88. IDPs can be broadly defined as personswho have been forced to flee their homessuddenly or unexpectedly in large numbersProtection2214See: UNHCR’s Role with Internally Displaced Persons,IOM87/97, FOM 91/97, UNHCR, 1997.
  32. 32. as a result of armed conflict, internal strife,systematic violations of human rights or natu-ral or man-made disasters and who are withinthe territory of their country.Considerations Regarding UNHCRInvolvement with IDP’s.89. The main requirements for UNHCR’s in-volvement with the internally displaced4are :i. A specific request from the UN GeneralAssembly, the Secretary General or othercompetent principle organ of the UN;ii. The consent of the concerned state orother relevant entity;iii. The relevance of UNHCR’s expertise toassist, protect and seek solutions for inter-nally displaced persons in the particularsituation;iv. The availability of resources for the activi-ties in question.Criteria for InvolvementCertain situations may demonstrate the use-fulness of UNHCR’s involvement. These are sit-uations which present a clear link with activi-ties UNHCR undertakes in fulfillment of itsmandate, for example where internally dis-placed populations are, or are likely to be,mixed with returnee populations, or wherethe same causes have produced both internaldisplacement and a refugee flow, or wherethere is a risk of cross-border expansion of theinternal displacement. Where the link withmandated activities is not present, UNHCRmay consider involvement with IDPs to atten-uate the causes of internal displacement andcontribute to conflict resolution through hu-manitarian action.Measures to Assist IDPsMeasures to assist IDPs are broadly similar tothose used for refugees. However, by defini-tion, IDPs remain within their own country,and it is the national laws of that state whichprovide the framework for their protectionand rights, rather than specific internationallegal instruments. Universal human rights in-struments, of course, also apply to IDPs.The presence of UNHCR staff and the staff ofother international organizations in the areaswhere IDPs have sought safety has provenhelpful in encouraging authorities and partiesto the conflict to respect national laws anduniversal human rights.Durable SolutionsFrom the outset of an emergency, UNHCR mustbear in mind the ultimate objective of refugeeprotection: to help refugees to overcome dis-placement and achieve a solution wherebynational protection is re-established and theywill no longer be refugees.Voluntary Repatriation90. Most large scale refugee emergenciesare eventually resolved through the voluntaryrepatriation of refugees once the danger theyhave fled from has been removed or signifi-cantly reduced. See chapter 19 on voluntaryrepatriation.Local Settlement91. Local settlement means assimilationwithin the country of asylum. In the case ofprolonged conflicts, refugees often at leastde facto integrate into the host society. It isimportant in such situations that they shouldhave official status in the country of asylum,a starting point for which should be recogni-tion as refugees under the 1951 Convention.Resettlement92. Resettlement (meaning assimilationwithin another country) should be consideredwhen refugees cannot repatriate or cannotsettle in the country of first asylum, or are atrisk in their country of refuge. The decision toresettle is taken when there is no other way toeliminate the danger to the legal or physicalsecurity of the persons concerned. Resettle-ment under the auspices of UNHCR is strictlylimited to mandate refugees who have a con-tinued need for international protection.Emergency Resettlement93. Emergency resettlement can be consid-ered where there is:i. An immediate threat of refoulement tothe country of origin;ii. An immediate threat of expulsion to an-other country from where the refugee maybe refouled;iii. A threat of arbitrary arrest, detention orimprisonment;iv. A threat to physical safety or human rightsin the country of refuge analogous to thatunder the refugee definition and render-ing asylum untenable.22
  33. 33. Protection22394. Categories of refugees who can be con-sidered for emergency resettlement include:survivors of violence and torture, refugeeswith serious medical conditions which cannotbe treated in the country of asylum, women-at-risk, children and adolescents. Priorityattention should be given to those refugeeswith acute legal and physical protectionneeds such as women-at-risk, and unaccom-panied children for whom a determinationhas been made that resettlement is in theirbest interests.Emergency Resettlement Procedures95. Emergency resettlement must be usedselectively and on the basis of a thorough andobjective assessment of both refugee statusand urgency of removal. Emergency resettle-ment is undertaken when the immediacy ofsecurity and/or medical threat faced by therefugee necessitates the person’s removalfrom the threatening conditions within a fewdays, or even within hours. For the sake ofsimplicity a notional limit of a maximum offive days is understood.96. The following information should besent to Headquarters immediately:i. Full name, date of birth, place of birth, sex,nationality and ethnic origin;ii. Detailed status determination analysis;iii. Whether accompanied by family (if so,size);iv. Details, as per (i), of each family member toaccompany the candidate;v. Explanation of the need(s) for resettle-ment;vi. Justification for emergency categorization,and required time-frame for departure;vii. Whether valid travel documents are heldby all the refugees concerned;viii.In case of medical emergency: diagnosis,prognosis, current condition of refugee(and family members if relevant), andwhether an escort is needed;ix. Recommendation on countries of resettle-ment and reasons, including third countrylinks.97. Detailed data in a duly completed Reset-tlement Registration Form (RRF) with support-ing documentation must follow as soon aspossible.98. The RRF can be obtained from the Reset-tlement and Special Cases Section at Head-quarters. This is the section of the Division ofInternational Protection that is responsible forprocessing emergency submissions. In addition,the Section helps coordinate and supportthe resettlement of difficult protection andspecial needs cases. It should be contacted foradvice.99. Additional information may be found inthe UNHCR Resettlement Handbook.Key ReferencesCollection of Conclusions on the InternationalProtection of Refugees adopted by the ExecutiveCommittee of the UNHCR Programme, UNHCRGeneva, 1995.Collection of International Instruments Concern-ing Refugees, UNHCR, Geneva, 1995.Guidelines on the Protection of Refugee Women,UNHCR Geneva, 1991.Guidelines on Policies and Procedures in dealingwith Unaccompanied Children Seeking Asylum,WHO, Geneva, 1997.Handbook for Determining Refugee Status,UNHCR, Geneva 1979.International Legal Standards Applicable to theProtection of Internally Displaced Persons, UNHCR,Geneva, 1996.Refugee Children: Guidelines on Protection andCare, UNHCR, Geneva 1994.Refworld CD-ROM, UNHCR, Geneva, (updatedregularly).Sexual Violence Against Refugees: Guidelines onPrevention and Response, UNHCR, Geneva, 1995.UNHCR Resettlement Handbook, UNHCR, Geneva,1997.UNHCR’s Role with Internally Displaced Persons,IOM 87/97, FOM91/97, UNHCR, Geneva, 1997.
  34. 34. 241951 Statute1951 Convention1967 ProtocolOAU Conventioni. CartagenaDeclarationii. St. JoseConventionExcom ConclusionsThe UN CharterUniversal Declarationof Human RightsConvention Relatingto the Status ofStateless PersonsConvention on theReduction of State-lessnessStatute of the Office of the United Na-tions High Commissioner for Refugees.1951 Convention Relating to the Sta-tus of Refugees, and 1967 Protocol Re-lating to the Status of Refugees.OAU Convention governing the spe-cific aspects of refugee problems inAfrica (Organization of African Unity,Addis Ababa, 1969).i. Cartagena Declaration on Refugees,1984.ii. American Convention on HumanRights, “Pact of San Jose, Costa Rica”,1969.Various conclusions on internationalprotection adopted by UNHCR’s Execu-tive Committee.The Charter of the United Nations,1945.Universal Declaration of Human Rights,1948.Convention Relating to the Status ofStateless Persons, 1954.Convention on the Reduction of State-lessness, 1961.The Statute of the High Commissio-ner’s office, adopted by General As-sembly Resolution 428 (V) of 14 De-cember 1950. This sets out UNHCR’sfunction and responsibility to provideinternational protection and to seekpermanent solutions to the problem ofrefugees. It serves as UNHCR’s constitu-tion and includes a definition of per-sons who are of concern to the H.C.The mandate has been modified overtime through subsequent General As-sembly and ECOSOC resolutions.An international treaty which is bind-ing upon the signatory states. It setsout the responsibilities of states whichare parties to the Convention vis-à-visrefugees on their territories, and setsout the obligations of the refugees.A regional complement to the 1951Convention and 1967 Protocol. It con-tains an expanded refugee definitionas well as provisions on safe andpeaceful asylum, burden-sharing andvoluntary repatriation.Non binding declarations which havegreatly influenced regional policies onrefugees and asylum seekers, and con-tain an expanded refugee definition.Contain important guidance to Statesand UNHCR.Places certain general obligations onmember states of the United Nationsof particular relevance to UNHCR’s in-ternational protection function.Universal instrument setting out thebasic human rights of all persons, in-cluding refugees.Grants a recognized status to statelesspersons who are lawful and habitualresidents. Similar to the 1951 Conven-tion Relating to the Status of Refu-gees.Contains measures to ensure that per-sons do not become stateless.Annex 1 – International Instruments Concerning Refugees and Related InstrumentsInternational Instruments Concerning RefugeesShort Name Full Name DescriptionRelated Instruments
  35. 35. Protection225Covenant on Civiland Political RightsConvention AgainstTortureConvention Relatingto the Rights of theChildGeneva Conventionsand additionalprotocolsDeclaration onTerritorial AsylumFinal Act of theUnited Nations Con-ference on the Statusof Stateless Persons,1954International Covenant on Civil andPolitical Rights 1966.Convention Against Torture and OtherCruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treat-ment or Punishment 1984.Convention Relating to the Rights ofthe Child, 1989.Geneva Convention Relating to theProtection of Civilian Persons in Timeof War (Geneva, 1949).United Nations Declaration on Territo-rial Asylum, 1967.United Nations Conference on the Sta-tus of Stateless Persons.Obliges states which are parties to theCovenant to respect and ensure therights set out in the Covenant to all in-dividuals (within the state’s territoryand jurisdiction), without distinctionsuch as race, colour, sex, language, reli-gion, political or other opinion, natio-nal or social origin, property, birth orother status.Includes the principle of non-refoule-ment.A comprehensive code of rights for allchildren (defined as 18 years or under).Covers the treatment of civilians intime of war, including refugees.Includes the principle of non-refoule-ment.Includes the principle of non-refoule-ment.
  36. 36. 3Emergency Management26
  37. 37. CONTENTS Paragraph PageIntroduction 1-10 28-30Organization of this SectionCapacity and ResourcesThe Key Emergency Management Functions 11-22 30-31IntroductionLeadingPlanningOrganizing and CoordinatingControllingStages in Refugee Emergency Operations 23-38 31-32Emergency PreparednessEmergency ResponseFigures and TablesFigure 1: Considerations in Emergency Management 29Table 1: Emergency Indicators 32EmergencyManagement327
  38. 38. Introduction1. There is no single blueprint for refugeeemergency management; each refugee emer-gency is unique. However, experience showsthat emergencies tend to evolve according tocertain recognizable and documented pat-terns.Emergency situations do not necessarily resultin tragedy. The chance of this occurring will begreatly reduced if the emergency is well man-aged from the stage of preparedness on-wards.2. While emergency management sharesmany of the characteristics of good manage-ment in general, there are a number of distin-guishing features:i. The lives and well-being of people are atstake;ii. Reaction time is short;iii. Risk factors are high and consequences ofmistakes or delays can be disastrous;iv. There is great uncertainty;v. Investment in contingency planning andother preparedness activities is crucial;vi. Staff and managers may be under particu-larly high stress because of, for example,security problems and harsh living condi-tions;vii. There is no single obvious right answer.Organization of this Section3. This section of the handbook (chapters 3to 9) is structured to reflect the phases ofemergency preparedness and response. Firstly,the preparedness activities of contingencyplanning and early warning are dealt with(chapter 4), followed by initial needs and re-sources assessment and immediate response(chapter 5). Operations planning, coordina-tion and site level organization are dealt within chapters 6 and 7. Next, implementing arran-gements are discussed, including proceduresfor operations implementation and control(chapter 8). Finally, chapter 9 on external rela-tions covers relations with the host govern-ment (including establishing a formal pres-ence in the country of operations), relationswith the donor and diplomatic communityGood emergency management relies onknowledge of these patterns and of the ef-fective measures to deal with them.and handling media interest. Note that certainactivities cut across the phases of emergencypreparedness and response. This is particularlythe case with external relations, coordination,and planning.4. Figure 1 shows some of the considera-tions discussed in this section in diagrammaticform, in particular in relation to emergency re-sponse. The response activities of problemsand needs assessments, operations planning,implementing arrangements and programmeformulation are all very closely related. Someaspects treated separately may be indivisiblein practice, and there is no single correct orderor way in which an emergency operationshould be formulated (but it must conform toestablished UNHCR procedures governingproject submission and control).28
  39. 39. EmergencyManagement329ContingenyplanningImmediateprotection actionImmediatematerialassistanceInitial problem andneeds assessmentsProtection and materialassistanceAuthority to incurexpenditure,deploy staff, (usingemergency procedures)Open main officeif required, establishon-the-spot presenceand ensurecommunicationsDetailed problemand needs assessmentPlan of action, allocationof responsibilities,establishment ofcoordination mechanisms,logistics, etc.Direct UNHCR action:Mobilization of personnel,material and organizationalresources, procurement,contractors, etc.Project agreementswith governement, UN,and non-govermentalorganizationsUNHCR implementing arrangementsOperational Partly operational Non-operationalEmergency assistance to refugeesFigure 1 – Considerations in Emergency ManagementOutside expertiseOutside expertiseOperationalpartners
  40. 40. Capacity and Resources5. Emergency management can be defined as:the organization of capacities and re-sources to meet threats to the lives andwell-being of refugees.6. Preparing for and responding to refugeeemergencies are tasks which require the avail-ability of the right resources at the right timeas well as the capacity to use these resourceseffectively.7. Capacity is the internal organizationalcapability which includes planning, staffing,structure, systems, procedures, guidelines, infor-mation flow, communication, decision-makingand administrative support. Resources are thefinancial and human resources, relief materials,support equipment, tools and facilities.8. If capacity is weak, then the emergencyresponse is likely to be weak, even if resourcesare adequate.9. Capacity is an aspect of emergency man-agement which is sometimes not given ade-quate priority. Resources are often given moreemphasis during both the planning and oper-ational stages since they are a more tangibleelement. But it is capacity that determines thequality of an emergency response. A well-capacitated organization is more likely to beable to mount a credible and effective opera-tion, attracting the necessary resources.10.While much of the required capacity must bepre-existing, capacity can also be developedduring an operation.The Key Emergency ManagementFunctionsIntroduction11. Certain management functions are essen-tial throughout a refugee emergency.These are:❏ Leading;❏ Planning;❏ Organizing and coordinating;❏ Controlling.12. These will be required of UNHCR as anorganization and also from individuals, at alllevels, within UNHCR.They always remain the responsibility of theperson in overall charge of the operation,though they may be delegated to other staff.Leading13. This can be defined as:the process of creating and communicat-ing a vision for the emergency opera-tion, and providing a clear strategicdirection for actions even in situations ofgreat uncertainty and risk.14. Successful management requires leader-ship; subject to the role of the government,leadership may be the most important singlecontribution of UNHCR to the emergency situ-ation. Leadership requires that once decisionsare reached, they are properly implemented.This discipline is essential in emergencieswhen there is often no time to explain theconsiderations involved. As far as possible,those directly concerned should contribute todecisions that affect them, but final responsi-bility rests with the UNHCR officer in charge.Planning15. This can be defined as:setting in place the process of assessingthe situation, defining immediate objec-tives and longer term goals and theactivities to accomplish them.16. Planning is vital both before and duringan emergency, and operations planning mustbe based on detailed needs and resourcesassessments.Organizing and Coordinating17. This can be defined as:establishing systems and mechanisms toachieve a given objective, and coordinat-ing people and organizations so thatthey work together, in a logical way,towards the common objective.18. It involves selecting, training and super-vising staff, assigning and clarifying roles andresponsibilities of all those involved, and struc-turing communication and information flow.In an emergency, coordinating is a crucial as-pect of organizing.If these functions are not being performedthen it is likely that there will be serious de-ficiencies in the management of the emer-gency operation.Effective emergency management requiresthat the development and use of capacity beaccorded correct priority throughout the dif-ferent phases of an operation.Strong capacity can sometimes alleviate re-source shortfalls by making more effectiveuse of limited resources.30
  41. 41. Delegation of Authority and Responsibility19. Emergency management should be or-ganized so that responsibility and authorityare delegated to the lowest appropriate level,and should be exercised as close to the opera-tion or beneficiaries as is practical. Clear andunambiguous lines of authority and reportingshould be established and communicated toall staff.20. The management structure should beorganized so that accountability for actions,including management decisions, is clear.Those who make a decision should be thosewith the appropriate level of knowledge toenable them to make that decision andshould be responsible for ensuring its imple-mentation and follow up (including monitor-ing). The involvement of unnecessary layersof management, and unnecessary numbers ofpeople, in decisions as well as in responsibilityfor implementation, confuses and diffusesaccountability. Ambiguity and lack of simplic-ity in the definition of responsibilities alsoslows action.Controlling21. This can be defined as:monitoring and evaluating performancein comparison with plans and initiatingchanges where necessary.22. Note that the key management func-tions are important not only during emer-gency response, but also in the preparednessphase, although their relative importance ineach phase may vary. Organization and coor-dination mechanisms, for example, should bedeveloped during contingency planning.Stages in Refugee EmergencyOperations23. The table below depicts one model ofactivities as they may occur in refugee emer-gencies. It is important to understand that thestages and activities of a refugee emergencyoperation could overlap, or occur simultane-ously.24. A final phase of an emergency operationis the transition from emergency response tolonger-term support (care and maintenance)and durable solutions (voluntary repatriation,local integration and resettlement). The timespent providing emergency relief should bekept to a minimum, and planning and imple-mentation should always take account of thelonger term. The importance of the balancebetween short term and long term is seen in anumber of the vital sectors.25. Assisting governments in seekingdurable solutions for the problem of refugeesis a mandated function of UNHCR. Durablesolutions must always be kept in mind, startingat the contingency planning stage. It is in thisperiod that choices are made concerning how,how much, and for how long, aid will be deliv-ered. These choices often have repercussionson the prospects for durable solutions that lastlong after the emergency has ended.Emergency Preparedness26. The best way to ensure an effectiveemergency response is by being prepared.Emergency preparedness can be defined as:planning and taking action to ensurethat the necessary resources will beavailable, in time, to meet the foreseenemergency needs and that the capacityto use the resources will be in place.27. The scope of emergency preparedness isbroad and the activities at that stage can beundertaken at the global, regional and coun-try levels.The preparedness measures should enablean organization to respond rapidly andeffectively to an emergency.EmergencyManagement331Stage Typical Activities• Prevention;• Early warning;• Contingency planning;• Development of emergencyresponse systems;• Generation of support amongpotential host and donorgovernments;• Provision of stand-by resources;• Pre-positioning of supplies;• Training.• Problem, needs and resourcesassessments;• Resource mobilization;• Handling donor relations andmedia interest;• Operations planning;• Implementationand coordination;• Monitoring and evaluation;• Transition to the postemergency operation.EmergencypreparednessEmergencyresponse