United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

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The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR; established December 14, 1950), also known as The UN Refugee Agency 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. The UNHCR has won two Nobel Peace Prizes in 1954 and 1981.[1]



Following the demise of the League of Nations and the formation of the United Nations, the international community were acutely aware of the refugee crisis following the end of World War II. In 1947, the International Refugee Organisation(IRO) was founded by the United Nations.[2] The IRO was the first international agency to deal comprehensively with all aspects pertaining to refugees' lives. Preceding this was the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, which was established in 1944 to address the millions of people displaced through Europe as a result of World War II.[2]

In the late 1940s, the IRO fell out of favour, but the United Nations agreed that a body was required to oversee global refugee issues. Despite many heated debates in the General Assembly, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was founded as a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly by resolution Resolution 319 (IV) of the United Nations General Assembly of December 1949. However, the organisation was only intended to operate for 3 years, from January 1951, due to the disagreement of many UN member states over the implications of a permanent body.[2]

UNHCR's mandate was originally set out in its Statute, annexed to Resolution 428 (V) of the United Nations General Assembly of 1950. This mandate has been subsequently broadened by numerous resolutions of the General Assembly and its Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).[2] According the UNHCR,

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