United Nations High Commission for Refugees - IDIA
PhilMUN 2010 7 involved in the conflict to determine the final settlement of all the outstanding questions. The commission was instructed to “facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees and the payment of compensation.” It is important to note that the resolution assumed that the principle of right of return was not in issue and the central point was achieving practical repatriation.” 18 Historically, because of the emphasis on the refugees’ right of return and their compensation, there has been hesitation with regard to initiating large-scale projects that encouraged resettlement or established a sense of permanency in camps because this was seen as a violation of Resolution 194. Eventually, due to the wretched conditions of the camps, there were improvements in housing and the public health sector. 19 1979 - Médecins Sans Frontières Publishes Manual on ‘Emergency care in catastrophic situations’ Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) provided a guide for relief workers in the context of a humanitarian emergency such as a refugee situation. This piece of work was a response to the public health consequences of armed conflict and displacement. It provided a guide to front line relief workers who needed to acquire extensive and practical knowledge about water, sanitation, food and nutrition, water and sanitation, immunization, disease control, maternal and child healthcare, and public health surveillance. In an emergency situation, these workers needed to quickly make assessments, to establish public health priorities, and to be able to coordinate with health facilities and personnel and relief organizations. 20 “More than 75 percent of the contents were devoted to surgical and resuscitative procedures; the remainder covered epidemiology, nutrition, water & sanitation, and immunization.” 21 The guide outlined 18 Mallison, T., & Mallison, S. V. (1980). “The Right of Return”. Journal of Palestine Studies, vol.9, no.3, pp. 125- 136. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2536553. Accessed: 09/23/2009 19 Farah, Randa.”A Report on the Psychological Effects of Overcrowding in Refugee Camps in the West Bank and Gaza Strip”. International Development Research Centre (IDRC). 2000. http://prrn.mcgill.ca/research/papers/farah_0004_4.htm 20 “Refugee Health: An Approach to Emergency Situations”. Médecins Sans Frontières. http://www.refbooks.msf.org/msf_docs/en/Refugee_Health/RH1.pdf (Accessed 11/21/2009) 21 Ibid.
PhilMUN 2010 8 operational priorities in emergency situations and following its publication, more technical manuals were written to expand on diagnostic and treatment guidelines, nutrition, and environmental health. 22 1989 - Convention on the Rights of the Child In 1989, world leaders recognized the need for an international agreement that would pay special attention to the rights of children due to their increased vulnerability and developmental needs. The Convention on the Rights of a Child (CRC) outlined the special cultural, civil, political, economic, and social rights of children (people under 18 years of age). The four core principles of the Convention are non-discrimination; devotion to the best interests of the child; the right to life, survival and development; and respect for the views of the child. Special protection is granted to a refugee child, who is entitled to “receive appropriate protection and humanitarian assistance”, 23 thus any state that receives a refugee or is host to a refugee camp, is responsible for the safety and protection of that child and must provide them with the same level of protection, care and resources as their native counterparts of that state. In addition, Article 24 of the Convention pertains specifically to the child’s right to the highest standard of health and medical care. Therefore, host states must take appropriate measures regarding providing necessary medical assistance, “disease and malnutrition including within the framework of primary health care, through inter alia the application of readily available technology and through the provision of adequate nutritious foods and clean drinking water, and taking into consideration the dangers and risks of environmental pollution.” 24 The convention also emphasizes the need for health education regarding “child health and nutrition, the advantages of breast-feeding, hygiene and environmental sanitation and the prevention of accident.” 25 Children make up over half of the world’s refugee population (approximately 40 per cent of Palestinian refugees are children) and 22 Ibid. 23 “Convention on the Rights of the Child”. UNICEF. http://www.unicef.org/crc/ (Accessed 11/21/2009). 24 Ibid. 25 Ibid.