United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR; established December 14, 1950) is a United Nations agency mandated to protect and support refugees at the request of a government or the UN itself and assists in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to a third country. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland.
UNHCR was established on December 14, 1950 and succeeded the earlier United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. The agency is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country.
UNHCR's mandate has gradually been expanded to include protecting and providing humanitarian assistance to what it describes as other persons "of concern," including internally displaced persons (IDPs) who would fit the legal definition of a refugee under the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and 1967 Protocol, the 1969 Organization for African Unity Convention, or some other treaty if they left their country, but who presently remain in their country of origin. UNHCR presently has major missions in Lebanon, South Sudan, Chad/Darfur, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Afghanistan as well as Kenya to assist and provide services to IDPs and refugees.
It is quite remarkable that the definition of a refugee, formulated in 1950 in an essentially European context and marked by the traumatic experience of the Second World War and the period of the cold war, should still apply today to situations which … could not have been foreseen 30 years ago." Thus spoke Poul Hartling, in his Nobel Lecture of 11...