The Geneva Convention relating to the status of refugee

Pursuant to a decision of the General Assembly(1), a United Nations Conference of Plenipotentiaries met at Geneva in 1951 to draft a Convention regulating the legal status of refugees. As a result of their deliberations, the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees was adopted on 28 July 1951. Following the deposit of the sixth instrument of ratification it entered into force on 22 April 1954. The Convention consolidates previous international instruments relating to refugees and provides the most comprehensive codification of the rights of refugees yet attempted on the international level. It lays down basic minimum standards for the treatment of refugees, without prejudice to the granting by States of more favorable treatment. The Convention is to be applied without discrimination as to race, religion or country of origin, and contains various safeguards against the expulsion of refugees. It also makes provision for their documentation, including a refugee travel document in passport form. Most States parties to the Convention issue this document. It has become as widely accepted as was the former 'Nansen passport'. Certain provisions of the Convention are considered so fundamental that no reservations may be made to them. These include the definition of the term 'refugee'.