UNHCR Global Report 2018

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The High Commissioner for Refugees is mandated by the United Nations to lead and coordinate international action for the worldwide protection of refugees and the resolution of refugee problems. As of December 2018, 149 States are parties to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and/or to its 1967 Protocol.

UNHCR’s primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. In its efforts to achieve this objective, the Office strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, and to return home voluntarily. By assisting refugees to return to their own country or to settle permanently in another country, UNHCR also seeks lasting solutions to their plight.

UNHCR’s Executive Committee (102 Member States as of October 2018) and the UN General Assembly have authorized involvement with other groups. These include former refugees who have returned to their homeland, internally displaced people, and persons who are stateless or whose nationality is disputed. As of December 2018, 91 States are parties to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and 73 to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.

The Office seeks to reduce situations of forced displacement by encouraging States and other institutions to create conditions which are conducive to the protection of human rights and the peaceful resolution of disputes. In all of its activities, it pays particular attention to the needs of children and seeks to promote the equal rights of women and girls.

The Office carries out its work in collaboration with many partners, including governments, regional organizations, and international and nongovernmental organizations. It is committed to the principle of participation, believing that refugees and others who benefit from the Office's activities should be consulted over decisions which affect their lives.