United Nations

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Logo: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) began work in 1951 on the basis of the Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. Today, the UNHCR is responsible for more than 34 million refugees and individuals in similar situations worldwide.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees performs the following central tasks: providing international legal protection for refugees, integrating refugees in their initial host country, supporting refugees who return to their home country, securing basic supplies for refugees. In 2009 the UNHCR budget totalled two billion US dollars.

The UNHCR has the role of coordinator of international refugee work. It cooperates closely with its UN sister organisations - the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Within the German government, refugee aid spans both humanitarian aid, which comes under the remit of the Federal Foreign Office, and development-oriented emergency and transition aid, which is the responsibility of the BMZ.

The BMZ primarily supports projects which strengthen self-help forces and help refugees become self-sufficient as well as those promoting the return and integration of refugees in their home countries. In 2007, the BMZ provided UNHCR with a total of 11.5 million euros. In 2009 Germany contributed 54 million US dollars to the UNHCR.

More information


United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

P.O. Box 2500
1211 Geneva 2
Phone: +41 / 22 / 7 39 81 11

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