More than 70 government ministers expected for upcoming UN forum on refugees

4 December 2001

As the debate on migration-related issues is heating up around the world, over 70 government ministers are expected to attend next week's landmark meeting in Geneva on refugee issues, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said today.

Opening on 12 December at the UN agency's Geneva headquarters, the two-day Ministerial Meeting will be the first ever gathering of all 142 countries that have acceded to the 1951 Refugee Convention.

Among the 70 government ministers who have confirmed their presence so far are 29 Ministers of the Interior and 17 Foreign Ministers, UNHCR said. Other attendees include three Deputy Prime Ministers and the President of Latvia, Vaira Vike-Freiberga, who will deliver one of the opening addresses in her personal capacity as a former refugee, rather than as head of delegation.

The meeting has so far attracted 11 ministers from the European Union and 27 from Africa, UNCHR said. The African delegates will also participate in a 14 December follow-up meeting in Geneva devoted to refugee problems on their continent.

Also attending the meeting will be a number of the States that have not yet acceded to either the 1951 Refugee Convention or its 1967 Protocol.


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