Cablegate: Unhcr Excom #6: Bilaterals Cover Resettlement And

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A


B. GENEVA 2465

1. (U) Summary: In bilateral meetings with delegations from
Romania, Canada, Sweden and Australia on the margins of the
October 3-7 meeting of the Executive Committee (ExCom) of the
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the US
Delegation discussed modalities for increasing capacity of
UNHCR's resettlement office and the number of cases it
refers. They also explored perspectives on the developing
"cluster approach" to Internally Displaced Person (IDP)
populations. Head of Delegation (HOD) Rich Greene, Acting
Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Population,
Refugees and Migration, also took the opportunity to
personally press his counterparts for support on the Red
Cross Emblem and other sensitive issues, including
resettlement of Uighurs and development of a Comprehensive
Plan of Action (CPA) for Bhutanese refugees. Interlocutors
showed ample common ground on most issues. End summary.

- - - -
- - - -

2. (U) Head of Delegation Florin Sandu, Secretary of State
for the Ministry of Interior, thanked the U.S. for
supporting Romania's efforts to combat organized crime and
human trafficking. A/AS Greene said that the USG also wished
to express thanks to Romania for its humanitarian response in
providing an evacuation point for some 450 Uzbek refugees who
had been evacuated from Kyrgyzstan in July. Greene
emphasized the U.S. commitment to process the cases under the
U.S. refugee resettlement program as soon as they were
referred to us by UNHCR. He noted that current projections
by UNHCR suggest that about half the total caseload will be
referred to the U.S., and that departures for the U.S. could
begin by late November. He added that other resettlement
states, such as Canada and Australia, were also committed to
resettling the Uzbeks. Sandu noted that Romania had
endeavored to establish security and services which created
the "necessary conditions" for resettlement processing. A/AS
Greene reiterated the U.S. Administration's appreciation for
all that Romania had done thus far.

- - - -
- - - -

3. (U) Malcolm Brown, Assistant Deputy Minister for
Strategic Policy, Citizenship and Immigration, led a Canadian
Delegation which included representatives of Canada's Global
Affairs and development agencies. Brown reiterated his
Government's support for UNHCR restructuring its senior
management to include an Assistant High Commissioner for
Protection, and for raising the stature of the resettlement
office as well. However, he expressed concern that there
remained some very real organizational and management issues
on which he did not/not detect "great energy in UNHCR" to
address. He noted that the Intergovernmental Consultations
on Asylum, Refugee and Migration (IGC) offered the best forum
for discussion of traditional migration issues as well as new
developments and global trends, and added that by contrast,
he had found the report of the Global Commission on
International Migration (GCIM) "underwhelming." He also
suggested that Canada and the USG look at economies which
might come from harmonizing some resettlement activities,
such as screening referrals.

4. (U) A/AS Greene noted that the evolving concept of
"clusters" to act on IDP issues left many funding issues
unanswered and seemed to be moving too quickly. Brown
replied that Canada has serious reservations about the
proposed Central Emergency Revolving Fund (CERF). Greene
then reviewed the U.S. assessment of preliminary steps which
could lead to a comprehensive plan of action for Bhutanese
refugees (Ref A) and asked for Canada's support of the
initiative. Greene also asked Canada to help move the Red
Cross emblem issue forward, noting that the parties need to
understand that "there is no alternative to going forward."
Canada was supportive on both positions.

- - -
- - -

5. (U) The Swedish Delegation, led by Secretary for
Migration Charlotte Svensson, said that the CERF and IDP
cluster lead were very different issues which appeared to be
confused in the minds of some delegations. A/AS Greene
agreed, noting that agencies such as UNHCR needed to be
mindful that accepting IDP responsibility would not
automatically bring with it additional resources. Svensson
said that Sweden had pledged USD 40 million to the CERF for
CY 2006; however, she questioned the rapidity with which the
cluster lead concept is being put together, saying Sweden
would prefer to "do it right rather than do it fast." A/AS
Greene contrasted this with the UK's "start tomorrow"
approach and said that the U.S., though supportive of the
cluster approach, would prefer a more deliberate pace in
rolling it out.

6. (U) Turning to northern Uganda, Svensson said that Sweden
is developing an approach which would "separate the political
from the humanitarian" issues and permit increased attention
to the needs of refugees and IDPs. Svensson offered Swedish
support in response to Greene's discussion of developments
which could lead to a CPA for Bhutanese refugees, and
acknowledged the importance of the Red Cross Emblem issue.
However, she could not offer any prospect for Swedish
assistance in resettling Uighurs.

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7. (U) Peter Hughes, First Assistant Secretary of the
Refugee, Humanitarian and International Division of the
Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous
Affairs led the Australian Delegation. Hughes anticipates a
shift in Australia's resettlement program to focus on Asia,
particularly Burmese and Bhutanese refugees. He expressed
interest in the USG's developing program for resettling
Tibetans, noting that Australia had been accepting small
numbers in a very low-keyed manner for several years. Greene
summarized his talks with UNHCR and several governments on
the possibility of a solution evolving for Bhutanese refugees
in Nepal. Hughes said that Australia also sees a window of
opportunity for resolving the long-standing impasse.

8. (U) On UNHCR management, Hughes noted that UNHCR lacks
organizational discipline in staffing hardship posts and
needs to adapt more flexible Human Resource rules, including
provisions to hire contract staff when needed. He said that
Australia believed UNHCR needed to raise the profile of the
resettlement program as it still cannot process enough cases
to fill all available slots. Greene noted that resettlement
states are increasingly pressed to provide direct funding to
UNHCR in order to develop referrals of a specific population
in need. Australian and U.S. NGO representatives offered
their potential to reinforce UNHCR in preparing cases for
referral to resettlement states.

9. (U) Turning to IDPs, Greene said that resources are at
the heart of the issue and that UNHCR would not be able to
respond to a lead role in any cluster with its current
staffing and funding. A member of the Australian delegation
noted that two-three years back, the subject of IDPs had not
been raised, but that it currently was at the heart of
discussions. He seconded concerns that responsibilities were
being parceled out before funding issues were addressed.

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