D. Refugees, asylum-seekers and displaced persons

Basis for action

10.21. In less than 10 years, from 1985 to 1993, the number of refugees has more than doubled, from 8.5 million to 19 million. This has been caused by multiple and complex factors, including massive violations of human rights. Most of those refugees find asylum in developing countries, often imposing great burdens on those States. The institution of asylum is under severe strain in industrialized countries for a variety of reasons, including the growing numbers of refugees and asylum-seekers and the misuse of asylum procedures by migrants attempting to circumvent immigration restrictions. While two thirds of all countries in the world have ratified the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees or the 1967 Protocol, which establish standards for the protection of refugees, there is a need to strengthen the support for international protection of and assistance to refugees, especially refugee women and refugee children who are particularly vulnerable. Displaced persons, who do not qualify for refugee status and are in some cases outside their country, are also vulnerable and need international assistance. Regional agreements to provide protection to persons fleeing war should be considered.