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Refugee treaty obligations served through humanitarian aid: UN official

[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Public Health Officer Heiko Hering said Wednesday that the large-scale anti-malaria effort recently launched by the United Nations Foundation [official websites] is part of fulfilling the service obligations of the Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees [text, PDF]. Hering made the comment during a conference call promoting the mission of Nothing But Nets [charity website], a grassroots campaign providing mosquito nets to African refugees. Article 23 of the Convention mandates public relief, stating:

The Contracting States shall accord to refugees lawfully staying in their territory the same treatment with respect to public relief and assistance as is accorded to their nationals.
Nothing But Nets and the UNHCR work with national governments to promote refugees' access to healthcare. The mosquito nets are part of an ongoing effort to eliminate malaria, the leading killer of refugees in Africa.

Just prior to World Refugee Day in June, the 60 main refugee host countries were graded [JURIST report] based on their adherence to the Convention. European nations were found to be among the worst violators of refugee rights [country list] due to their treatment of asylum seekers. The US earned low scores for its policies on physical protection of refugees. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (CIRF) [official website] criticized [JURIST report] US practice in this area in early 2007.

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