The United Nation General Assembly established the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on December 14, 1950. 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.
Governance and Organisation of UNHCR
• The UN refugee agency is governed by the UN General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
• The UNHCR Executive Committee approves the agency's biennial programmes and the corresponding budget. These are presented by the High Commissioner who is appointed by the UN General Assembly.
• As head of the organization, the High Commissioner is responsible for the direction and control of UNHCR. He/she directs the work of UNHCR with the assistance of a Deputy High Commissioner and Assistant High Commissioners for Protection and Operations.
Functions of UNHCR
UNHCR's primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. To this end, it strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another country, and to return home voluntarily. UNHCR activities in the field are grouped into four categories.
• Identification: Gather information on statelessness, its scope, causes and consequences
• Prevention: Address the causes of statelessness and promote accession to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness
• Reduction: Support legislative changes and improvements to procedures to allow stateless people to acquire a nationality and help individuals take advantage of these changes
• Protection: Intervene to help stateless people to exercise their rights and promote accession to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons.