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International Refugee Organisation

Volume 480: debated on Monday 6 November 1950

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has now reconsidered the question of closing down the International Refugee Organisation; and what organisation he proposes to set up to carry on the resettlement work after 31st March, 1951.

Owing to delays in the resettlement programme, the International Refugee Organisation's operations will be extended until the 30th September, 1951. It is estimated that by that date every refugee registered with the Organisaion will have been satisfactorily resettled. Those who do not qualify for admission into any other country will be treated as citizens of the country where they now reside. The second part of the Question does not, therefore, arise.

Does the hon. Gentleman mean by those who are "registered" the refugees in Europe? What provision has been made for the millions of refugees in Asia? Are they to be left to their own sweet devices?

For the most part refugees in Asia, certainly those in Korea and certainly China, do not come under the I.R.O., but the United Nations are now discussing the question of the resettlement or the care of refugees in Korea.

Cannot the hon. Gentleman, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, make a sympathetic statement saying that His Majesty's Government are interested in the welfare of these people?

The record of His Majesty's Government on the question of the refugees shows that we are very much interested.

If I recollect correctly, it is somewhere in the neighbourhood of 200,000 who have not yet been resettled, but the important thing is that, on the present basis of resettlement, it is expected that, when I.R.O. comes to an end, there will be only 60,000, who might be called the hard core, who will not be resettled.