Resolution adopted without a vote by the 103rd Inter-Parliamentary Conference
(Amman, 5 May 2000)

The 103rd Inter-Parliamentary Conference,

A. Refugees

Deeply concerned at the increasing numbers of refugees and persons displaced by occupation, wars and disputes in different parts of the world,

Reaffirming the fundamental importance of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its Protocol of 1967,

Recalling the principle of non-refoulement, enshrined in international law, which requires that no State shall return a refugee in any manner to a country where his or her life or freedom may be endangered and includes non-rejection at the frontier,

Expressing grave concern at the poor conditions afflicting refugees and displaced persons, and at their severe suffering,

Aware that the majority of refugees are women, children and elderly people who need special care and assistance,

Recalling that the problem of refugees and displaced persons is not only a human problem but is closely linked to regional stability and international security,

Noting that large refugee populations can adversely affect the countries and communities where they are granted refuge by placing a strain on resources, the socio-economic and natural environment, and on social and political stability,

Recognising the need to take all necessary measures to guarantee protection for all refugees and displaced persons who are in urgent need of it,

Confirming the need for coordination of national, regional and international efforts to devise policies and laws which guarantee the provision of international aid to any person or group of persons urgently in need of it,

Affirming that the primary obligation of governments is to prevent the creation of refugee flows by addressing their root causes, in particular endemic poverty, conflict, political persecution and repression, and ethnic and racial discrimination,

Recalling that the right of all persons, including refugees and persons displaced by war and occupation, to return to their country is a fundamental right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

Noting that the displacement of civilian populations in time of war, occupation or conflict is immoral and unlawful, and constitutes a serious violation of international law and human rights,

Considering that acknowledgement of moral and legal responsibility for the displacement of refugees is an important step towards remedial action and reconciliation,

Recognising that repatriation does not impair the right of refugees to claim compensation for physical, material and psychological injury,

Concerned at the growing dangers and physical risks to the staff of UNHCR and other humanitarian agencies carrying out protection work in the field,

  1. Urges those countries which have not already done so to accede to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its Protocol of 1967, and to other universal instruments of international humanitarian and human rights law and calls on all States to fulfil their consequent obligations;

  2. Calls on all countries to uphold the right of asylum of all those in need of it and to respect fully the principle of non-refoulement;

  3. Urges States to address all the root causes of armed conflict in order to ensure the long-term protection of civilians inter alia through the promotion of economic growth, poverty eradication, sustainable development, national reconciliation, good governance, democracy, the rule of law, and respect for and protection of human rights;

  4. Calls on States, on all parties to armed conflicts and on UN bodies and other organisations to give urgent attention to protection and assistance for the most vulnerable among refugee and internally displaced populations, particularly women and children who may be subjected to sexual violence, abuse or exploitation and exposed to risks arising from armed conflict, including the forcible recruitment of children;

  5. Underlines the importance of the safe and unrestricted access of humanitarian personnel to civilians affected by armed conflict, including refugees and internally displaced persons, and the protection of humanitarian assistance to them, and calls on all States and concerned parties to take all possible measures to guarantee the safety, security and freedom of movement of UN and associated humanitarian personnel;

  6. Stresses the importance of international solidarity and burden-sharing in reinforcing international protection for refugees; urges States and relevant non-governmental and other organisations, in conjunction with the UNHCR, to cooperate in mobilising resources with a view to reducing the burden borne by States, in particular developing countries, that have received large numbers of asylum-seekers and refugees, and calls on the UNHCR to continue to play a catalytic role in mobilising assistance to address the economic, environmental and social impact of large refugee populations;

  7. Without losing sight of refugee problems in other parts of the world - expresses its strong support for all efforts to achieve a just, durable and comprehensive peace in the Middle East, including the Palestinian refugees' right of return, in accordance with UN resolution 194, the Madrid Conference principle of Land for Peace, and the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions 242, 338, 425 and the Oslo Accords;

  8. Calls on the UN and its specialised agencies and on all governments to give priority to the issue of refugees and displaced persons, speed up the search for solutions to the disputes which led to their expulsion and migration, and provide the necessary aid to meet their essential needs.
B. People-smuggling

Recognising the challenge that has emerged worldwide through the rapid growth of organised people-smuggling and its links with organised crime,

Recalling that people-smuggling can lead, in the country of asylum, to sexual exploitation, forced labour, forced marriage, forced adoption, begging or criminal activities being imposed by the traffickers on vulnerable illegal migrants, especially women and children,

Acknowledging that the root causes of irregular migration and people-smuggling are discrepancies in living standards and opportunities, and the frequent failure of the international community and of States to prevent conflict, political persecution and communal strife,

Further acknowledging the refugee and irregular migrant burden carried by countries of first asylum as well as other countries which are used as transit, the need for greater international burden sharing, and the link between the inadequacy of international efforts to find lasting refugee solutions and the misuse of domestic asylum systems through people-smuggling,

Concerned that the illegal smuggling of people is undermining the proper exercise of national sovereignty, leading to the misuse of migration and asylum procedures and imposing huge costs on all countries concerned,

Further concerned that the community consensus on the compassionate treatment of refugees and the belief in the benefits of legal and orderly movements of people are being harmed by irregular movements and people-smuggling,

Deeming it morally abhorrent that people smugglers are making large amounts of money by exploiting vulnerable groups of people, and underscoring the concern of the world's nations to stamp out trafficking in human beings,

Realising that no country can solve the problem on its own, and that international partnerships and cooperation are the only means of countering the global networks of organised criminal groups involved in people-smuggling activities,

  1. Calls on parliaments to urge their respective governments to enact and strictly enforce sanctions against people smugglers, and to join forces with other countries and international agencies to suppress and prevent people-smuggling;

  2. Invites parliaments and governments to ensure the social reintegration of their returnees;

  3. Appeals to parliaments to pursue cooperative and innovative action with the UNHCR to find expeditious and durable solutions for refugees and to strengthen the framework for international protection, thus reducing and, hopefully, stopping the flow of persons who may be exploited by people smugglers;

  4. Calls on parliaments to urge their governments to cooperate in addressing the root causes of forced movements of people, by preventing conflict, reducing poverty and complying with international human rights agreements and international humanitarian law;

  5. Calls on States to take an active part in the completion of the draft UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols concerning trafficking in persons, including immigrants and particularly women and children, and to ensure that they quickly come into force.

* The delegation of Israel expressed its rejection of the operative paragraph 7 of Section A of the resolution as amended by a vote. After the adoption of the text of the resolution as a whole, the delegations of Australia, Islamic Republic of Iran and Iraq stated their reservations on certain parts of the resolution.
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