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World Must Seek Lasting Social For Refugees - UN

World Must Seek Lasting Social, Economic Solutions For Refugees - UN

The global community must look beyond the immediate humanitarian dimension of refugee problems to the economic, social and political aspects in order to prevent protracted crises where too many displaced persons become child soldiers or victims of human traffickers, according to the top United Nations refugee official.

"The international community has a shared interest in finding durable solutions for refugees," UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Ruud Lubbers told the 60th session of the UN <"">Commission on Human Rights in Geneva yesterday.

"The search for durable solutions must become more systematic and must begin at the outset of each new refugee crisis. The security dimension must not be ignored; neither should the broader migration dimension be overlooked," Mr. Lubbers added.

But he noted that over the past 50 years international cooperation had not always been as effective as it could have been. "The result is that we have seen too many protracted refugee situations; too many young refugees becoming child soldiers; too many refugees becoming victims of human traffickers," he said.

He called for refugees to be included in development assistance as well as in national HIV/AIDS programmes.

Mr. Lubbers said his "Convention Plus" initiative, designed to strengthen the 1951 Refugee treaty - the foundation of UNHCR's work - would enhance burden sharing among countries and sharpen the international focus on finding long-term answers.

Within this context, UNHCR and other partners, including the UN Development Programme ( UNDP) and the World Bank, have developed a "Framework for Durable Solutions" which is already being implemented through specific projects in Afghanistan, Eritrea, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka and Zambia.

The Framework consists of three elements: better targeting development assistance to countries and areas hosting large numbers of refugees; establishing the "4Rs" programmes, aimed at ensuring an integrated approach to repatriation, reintegration, rehabilitation and reconstruction; and promoting development strategies in those cases where local integration of refugees is a viable option.

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