Most "Palestinian refugees – those in the "West Bank, "Gaza Strip, "Lebanon, "Syria, and "Jordan – do not come within the responsibility of the UNHCR, but instead come under an older body, the "United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The UNRWA has a much broader definition of "refugee" than the UNHCR, including not only refugees themselves but their descendants in perpetuity; however, it only covers refugees stemming from the 1948 and 1967 Arab-Israeli wars. Other Palestinian refugees outside of UNRWA's area of operations do fall under UNHCR's mandate, if they meet the UNHCR's more limited definition of refugee.
Several new programs have recently been introduced to support and to heighten awareness of the issues faced by refugees around the world. These two new programs are a product of the benchmarks set out by the "United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
The UNHCR works in different regions of the world to raise awareness about the refugee crisis and the needs of these refugees.
Since 2009, the UNHCR acknowledged a large presence of migration and refugees in the "Caribbean, where the refugee crisis remained largely unreported. Many refugees in search for asylum in the United States are unable to reach their destination and end up in the Caribbean. However, migrant laws in most of these nations lacked any protections for "asylum-seekers, even the ability to be recognized as a refugee or asylum seeker itself. The UNHCR organized talks with these nations in "Costa Rica in 2009, in an effort to bring forward the lack of protections for refugees, who are often labeled as "illegal"  and prosecuted as unauthorized migrants.
In 2007, UNHCR offices in Canada launched an aggressive media campaign to shed light on the plight of refugees. This campaign was meant to humanize the refugee crisis by showing refugees living in the midst of disturbing conditions. Using emotional appeals to raise public awareness, the campaign hoped to increase the interest of particularly "30 to 45-year-old professionals who are generally well educated, well read, but have not had direct experience or knowledge of refugee issues,” according to fund-raising officer Jonathan Wade.
In Ireland, the UNHCR works to inform the public through different channels. The UNHCR in Ireland actively pursues media relations and "[they] supply the media with accurate and reliable information coupled with our unique insight based on our refugee protection mandate and role as one of the world’s leading humanitarian agencies". It also engages its community by holding public events in aims of informing people of current refugee crises. One of these is the annual UNHCR/SARI Fair play Football Cup.
Cooperation within the United Nations
As UNHCR is a program governed by the "UN General Assembly, and the "UN Economic and Social Council, it cooperates with many other programs and agencies under the United Nations in order to effectively protect the rights of refugees.
On 19 September 2016, "UN General Assembly hosted the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants, a high-level summit to address large movements of refugees and migrants, with the aim of bringing countries together behind a more humane and coordinated approach. Leaders of the "UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, "UN Office on Drugs and Crime, and The "World Bank were present. The summit addressed the root causes and drive for migration and the necessity of global cooperation. As a result of this summit, the United Nations unveiled a draft set of principles that urge the international community to build on the momentum set by the adoption of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants. Specifically, the 20 draft principles focus on human rights; non-discrimination; rescue and assistance; access to justice; border governance; returns; violence; detention; family unity; child migrants; women migrants; right to health; adequate standard of living; decent work; right to education; right to information; monitoring and accountability; migrants’ human rights defenders; data; and international cooperation.
On 28 September 2016, the UNHCR partnered with the UN "Food and Agricultural Organization in Tehran for the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees. FAO highighted the contributions to be made by FAO towards SSAR obejctives on livelihood related activities including livestock and fishery initiatives as well as nutritional projects in Iranian schools.
FAO and UNHCR are committed towards increasing refugees’ access to livelihood opportunities and reducing dependency on humanitarian aid. Of late, a joint livelihood strategy for South Sudan was launched looking to address this issue with a clearly defined action plan. The strategy targets both refugees (70 percent) and local communities (30 percent) in refugee-hosting areas across the country.
Since 1954, the "UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award has been annually awarded to a person or an organization in recognition of outstanding service to the cause of refugees, displaced or stateless people.
The UNHCR itself was awarded the "Nobel Peace Prize in 1954 and 1981.The UNHCR has been chosen for the prestigious Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development 2015.
A helicopter arrives at a refugee facility in "Macedonia with an underslung load of Aid
Trucks loaded with supplies drive across the border from Turkey into Iraq to take part in "Operation Provide Comfort, a multinational effort to aid Kurdish refugees
Heavily fortified UNHCR offices in "Somaliland
Persons of concern to UNHCR
The UNHCR's Mid-Year Trends report of June 2015 (based on information for mid-2015 or latest available information up to that date) reported an "unprecedented" 57,959,702 individuals falling under its mandate (for reference, on January the 1st, 2007, 21,018,589 people - or less than half of the number in 2015 - fell under the mandate of the UNHCR). The sharp increase was mainly attributed to the "Syrian Civil War, "with the outbreak of armed crises or the deterioration of ongoing ones in countries like "Afghanistan, "Burundi, "Democratic Republic of the Congo, "Mali, "Somalia, "South Sudan and the "Ukraine contributing to prevailing trends."
Persons of concern include "refugees and asylum-seekers, people in refugee-like conditions, "internally-displaced people (IDPs), "stateless persons and "others of concern to the UNHCR".
Sorted by the UNHCR bureau in which asylum is sought, the number for June 2015 included:
- 16,796,426 in the "Middle East and "North Africa, of which
- 2,941,121 are refugees
- 64,166 are in refugee-like situations
- 109,847 have pending asylum cases
- 374,309 are stateless ("persons not considered as nationals by any State")
- 13,297,101 are IDPs or people in IDP-like situations assisted by the UNHCR
- 9,694,535 in the "Asia and Pacific bureau, of which
- 3,506,644 are refugees
- 278,350 are in refugee-like situations
- 133,894 have pending asylum cases
- 1,801,802 are stateless ("persons not considered as nationals by any State")
- 2,965,211 are IDPs or people in IDP-like situations assisted by the UNHCR
- 8,451,275 in "East and "Horn of Africa, of which
- 2,713,748 are refugees
- 33,553 are in refugee-like situations
- 108,016 are have pending asylum cases
- 233,726 are stateless ("persons not considered as nationals by any State"
- 5,119,463 are IDPs or people in IDP-like situations assisted by the UNHCR
- 7,726,594 in the "Americas, of which
- 501,049 are refugees
- 251,888 are in refugee-like situations
- 276,394 are have pending asylum cases
- 136,413 are stateless ("persons not considered as nationals by any State")
- 6,520,270 are IDPs or people in IDP-like situations assisted by the UNHCR
- 7,585,581 in "Europe, of which
- 3,506,644 are refugees
- 14,261 are in refugee-like situations
- 827,374 are asylum-seekers
- 610,532 are stateless ("persons not considered as nationals by any State"
- 2,574,886 are IDPs or people in IDP-like situations assisted by the UNHCR
- 3,580,181 in "Central Africa-"Great Lakes, of which
- 865,112 are refugees
- 13,741 are in refugee-like situations
- 18,623 are have pending asylum cases
- 1,302 are stateless ("persons not considered as nationals by any State"
- 2,021,269 are IDPs or people in IDP-like situations assisted by the UNHCR
- 2,754,893 in "Western Africa of which
- 258,893 are refugees
- (Information not applicable/unavailable) on number in refugee-like situations
- 9,298 have pending asylum cases
- 700,116 are stateless ("persons not considered as nationals by any State")
- 1,549,516 are IDPs or people in IDP-like situations assisted by the UNHCR
- 1,370,217 in "Southern Africa, of which
- 179,837 are refugees
- (Information not applicable/unavailable) on number in refugee-like situations
- 860,500 are have pending asylum cases
- 300,000 are stateless ("persons not considered as nationals by any State")
- (Information not applicable/unavailable) on number of IDPs or people in IDP-like situations assisted by the UNHCR
As of April 2008[update], the UNHCR employed a staff of 6,351 people in 117 countries.["needs update]
The UN General Assembly elects High Commissioners every five years. High Commissioners are supported by the 'Executive Committee to the High Commissioner’s Programm' and he or she has to make annual reports to the UN General Assembly and needs to follow their directives. The current High Commissioner is "Filippo Grandi, who has held the post since 1 January 2016. Prior to the establishment of the UNHCR, "Fridtjof Nansen was the "League of Nations High Commissioner of the "Nansen International Office for Refugees, from 1922. The post of High Commissioner has been held by:
|x||""||Nansen, Fridtjof"Fridtjof Nansen||"Norway||1922–1927
"League of Nations High Commissioner
|1||""||Goedhart, Gerrit Jan van Heuven"Gerrit Jan van Heuven Goedhart||"Netherlands||1951–1956|
|2||Lindt, Auguste R."Auguste R. Lindt||"Switzerland||1956–1960|
|3||Schnyder, Félix"Félix Schnyder||"Switzerland||1960–1965|
|4||""||Aga Khan, Sadruddin"Sadruddin Aga Khan||"Iran||1965–1977|
|5||Hartling, Poul"Poul Hartling||"Denmark||1978–1985|
|6||Hocké, Jean-PierreJean-Pierre Hocké||"Switzerland||1986–1989|
|7||""||Stoltenberg, Thorvald"Thorvald Stoltenberg||"Norway||1990|
|8||""||Ogata, Sadako"Sadako Ogata||"Japan||1990–2000|
|9||""||Lubbers, Ruud"Ruud Lubbers||"Netherlands||2001–2005
(Resign due to internal investigation)
|-||""||Chamberlin, Wendy"Wendy Chamberlin||"United States||February–June 2005 (ad interim)|
|10||""||Guterres, António"António Guterres||"Portugal||2005–2015|
|11||""||Grandi, Filippo"Filippo Grandi||"Italy||2016–present|
Special Envoy of High Commissioner Filippo Grandi
After 10 years serving as a Goodwill Ambassador, Angelina Jolie was promoted in 2012 to Special Envoy to the High Commissioner. In this role she represents the UNHCR and High Commissioner Filipo Grandi at the diplomatic level and works to facilitate long-term solutions for people displaced by large-scale crises, such as Afghanistan and Somalia. "This is an exceptional position reflecting an exceptional role she has played for us," said a UNHCR spokesman.
UNHCR is also represented by a number of "UNHCR Goodwill Ambassadors, who at present are:
- "" "Barbara Hendricks (Honorary Lifetime Goodwill Ambassador)
- " "Yao Chen
- " "Julien Clerc
- " "George Dalaras
- " "Muazzez Ersoy
- "" "Khaled Hosseini
- " "Adel Emam
- " "Osvaldo Laport
- " Aidos Sagat
- " "Jesús Vázquez
- "" "Alek Wek
- ""Jung Woo-sung
- ""Praya Lundberg
Previous ambassadors include:
- "Nansen International Office for Refugees
- "United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Representation in Cyprus
- "UNHCR Representation in India
- "Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative Fund, a scholarship program for refugees administered by UNHCR
- "United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East
- UNDG Members Archived 11 May 2011 at the "Wayback Machine.. Undg.org. Retrieved on 2013-07-12.
- "Nobel Laureates Facts – Organizations". "Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 2009-10-13.
- Refworld | Self-Study Module 1: An Introduction to International Protection. Protecting Persons of Concern to UNHCR. Unhcr.org (1 August 2005). Retrieved on 2013-07-12.
- "Convention relating to the Status of Refugees". www.ohchr.org. Retrieved 2016-09-29.
- "History of UNHCR: A global humanitarian organization of humble origins". UNHCR. Retrieved 2009-11-01.
- "Phones are now indispensable for refugees". The Economist. Retrieved 2017-02-20.
- Refugees, United Nations High Commissioner for. "UNHCR and Caribbean partners work to raise awareness of "invisible" refugees". UNHCR. Retrieved 2016-11-16.
- "UNHCR discuss plight of refugees in Caribbean". ftp.jamaicagleaner.com. Retrieved 2016-11-16.
- Refugees, United Nations High Commissioner for. "Canadian-made refugee awareness campaign aims to shock". UNHCR. Retrieved 2016-11-16.
- Refugees, United Nations High Commissioner for. "Building Awareness". www.unhcr.ie. Retrieved 2016-11-16.
- "Summit for Refugees and Migrants - 19 September 2016". 2014-12-12. Retrieved 2016-09-29.
- Section, United Nations News Service (2016-09-20). "UN News - UN official unveils draft principles on protecting human rights of refugees and migrants". UN News Service Section. Retrieved 2016-09-29.
- "UNHCR and FAO help vulnerable refugees and South Sudanese families strengthen their food security". www.fao.org. Retrieved 2016-09-29.
- Refugees, United Nations High Commissioner for. "Mid-Year Trends, June 2015". UNHCR. Retrieved 2016-02-27.
- "Basic facts". UNHCR. Retrieved 3 October 2010.
- http://www.unhcr.org/46f7c0ee2.pdf |page12
- "UN appoints Filippo Grandi as next high commissioner for refugees". "The Guardian. London. 12 November 2015. Retrieved 27 November 2015.
- "UNHCR Ehemalige FlüchtlingshochkommissarInnen". Retrieved 15 May 2015.
- Gil Loescher, Alexander Betts and James Milner. UNHCR: The Politics and Practice of Refugee Protection into the Twenty-First Century, Routledge. 2008.
- Alexander Betts. Protection by Persuasion: International Cooperation in the Refugee Regime, Cornell University Press. 2009.
- Gil Loescher. The UNHCR and World Politics: A Perilous Path. Oxford University Press. 2002
- Fiona Terry. Condemned to Repeat? The Paradox of Humanitarian Action. Cornell University Press. 2002.
- Nicholas Steiner. Problems of Protection. Routledge. 2003.
|""||Wikimedia Commons has media related to UNHCR.|
- Official website
- UNHCR's "Refworld" refugee document and news web site: from UNHCR's Status Determination and Protection Information Section (SDPIS) in the Division of International Protection Services (DIPS).
- Bottled Water Program in Support of the UNHCR
- News from UNHCR official website
- "Basic facts" from official website
- Measuring Protection by Numbers, Report from official website
- United Nations Rule of Law: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, on the "rule of law work conducted by the High Commissioner for Refugees.
- History of the United Nations – UK Government site
- "Who is a Refugee and who is not – the Crisis of Identity as a Challenge to Protection" Online video of an address by Ms. Erika Feller, director, Department of International Protection, UNHCR, in 2005
- USCRI's Campaign to End Refugee Warehousing
- USCRI's joint Statement Calling for Solutions to End the Warehousing of Refugees
- "Prisons of the Stateless: The Derelictions of UNHCR" by Jacob Stevens
- Nine Million