2009 (Executive Committee—60th Session) No. 109 (LX) - CONCLUSION ON PROTRACTED REFUGEE SITUATIONS (2009) The Executive Committee, Recalling the principles, guidance and approaches elaborated in previous Conclusions of the Executive Committee which are pertinent to protracted situations, Welcoming the initiatives taken by the High Commissioner to maximize all opportunities to unlock and find comprehensive solutions to the existing protracted refugee situations, including the convening in 2008 of a High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Protection Challenges on the specific topic of protracted refugee situations, Noting with deep concern the plight of millions of refugees worldwide who continue to be trapped in “protracted refugee situations” for 5 years or more after their initial displacement, without immediate prospects for implementation of durable solutions, Noting with concern the detrimental effects of long-lasting and intractable exile on the physical, mental, social, cultural and economic well-being of refugees, Recognizing that priorities for responding to protracted refugee situations are different from those for responding to emergency situations, Further recalling the need for the countries of origin to undertake all possible measures to prevent refugee situations, particularly those that can become protracted, to address their root causes, and to promote and facilitate with the full cooperation of host countries, the international community, UNHCR, and all other relevant actors, refugees' voluntary return home from exile and their sustainable reintegration in safety, dignity and social and economic security, Recognizing that, in principle, all refugees should have the right to have restored to them or be compensated for any housing, land or property of which they were deprived in an illegal, discriminatory or arbitrary manner before or during exile; noting, therefore, the potential need for fair and effective restitution mechanisms, Acknowledging that protracted refugee situations also impose considerable burdens and generate significant problems and challenges in different sectors for host States and communities which are often developing, in transition, or with limited resources and facing other constraints, Affirming that support should be provided for addressing the problems and needs of the host States, especially the local host communities, which face additional social and economic difficulties and suffer negative consequences to their local environment and natural resources, Expressing deep appreciation for the generosity, commitment and determination which these States nevertheless continue to demonstrate in hosting refugees and asylum-seekers, providing protection and facilitating essential humanitarian interventions on their behalf, in keeping with international refugee law, international human rights law and international humanitarian law as applicable, Thanking those States which have taken measures to bring to an end some of the most enduring refugee situations including through concrete support to the voluntary return to the country of origin, local integration, the provision of resettlement places; and the acquisition of citizenship through naturalization where this has taken place, Acknowledging that, while awaiting the implementation of a durable solution, refugees may make positive contributions to their host societies drawing on opportunities to become self-reliant and noting the importance of participatory approaches in this regard, Noting the importance of refugee access to basic services, including education and health, in order to enhance their opportunities, Further acknowledging that in times of global financial and economic crises, the impacts are severe for the most vulnerable, not least refugees in protracted situations and their host countries, and the need to give special attention to those who are most affected by the crises is therefore all the greater, Underlining that the status quo is not an acceptable option and, while every situation is unique, all feasible and practical efforts should be taken to unlock all continuing protracted situations especially through the implementation of durable solutions in the spirit of international solidarity and burden sharing, 198

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