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UNHCR

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established on December 14, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. 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.

Using the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention as its major tool, UNHCR's core mandate is to ensure the international protection of 32.9 million uprooted people worldwide. It promotes the basic human rights of refugees and that they will not be returned involuntarily to a country where they face persecution.

UNHCR promotes international refugee agreements, helps States establish asylum structures and acts as an international watchdog over refugee issues.

In more than five decades, the agency has helped an estimated 50 million people restart their lives. Today, a staff of around 6,289 people in 111 countries continues to help 32.9 million persons.

Learn more about the work of UNHCR around the world

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