United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) the UN Refugee Agency, is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people.
UNHCR stands for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and was created in 1950, during the aftermath of World War II. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland and it is a member of the United Nations Development Group.
In 1954, UNHCR won the Nobel Peace Prize for its groundbreaking work in Europe. But it was not long before it faced it’s next major emergency.
In 1956, during the Hungarian Revolution, 200,000 fled to neighbouring Austria. Recognising the Hungarians as ‘prima facie’ refugees, UNHCR led efforts to resettle them. This uprising and its aftermath shaped the way humanitarian organizations would deal with refugee crises in the future.
During the 1960s, the decolonisation of Africa produced the first of that continent’s numerous refugee crises. It also helped uprooted people in Asia and Latin America over the following two decades. In 1981, UNHCR received a second Nobel Peace Prize for what had become worldwide assistance to refugees.
The start of the 21st century has seen UNHCR help with major refugee crises in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. It have also been asked to use its expertise to help many internally displaced by conflict and expanded its role in helping stateless people. In some parts of the world, such as Africa and Latin America, the 1951 Refugee Convention has been strengthened by additional regional legal instruments.
UNHCR now has more than 11,517 members of staff and work in a total of 128 countries and its budget, which in its first year was USD $300,000, grew to USD $6.54 billion in 2016.