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United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

  • By: Martin Nthakomwa
  • In: Encyclopedia of Disaster Relief
  • Edited by: K. Bradley Penuel & Matt Statler
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Policy (general)

Established on December 14, 1950, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was mandated to lead and coordinate humanitarian assistance and protection for refugees. When UNHCR was founded, it had a limited mandate that was meant to last three years. The organization that started from these humble beginnings has transformed itself to one of the largest agencies of the United Nations, playing an increasingly important role on the international stage. Although states are ultimately responsible for the determination of refugee status, which involves the protection and assistance of refugees, UNHCR also assists them with this process.

On July 28, 1951, the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which gave the mandate to UNHCR, was adopted. Within five years of UNHCR being founded, it ...

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