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Governments as Partners

Present in more than 136 countries, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees works closely with host governments to protect and assist refugees and to find long-term solutions to their problems. The agency also contributes funds for the refugee work of official institutions in many states.

We also work closely with governments to support safe and respectful asylum policies, to negotiate refugee camp locations and security, and to guarantee safety for refugees upon their return home.

In most countries, governments – assisted by UNHCR – coordinate the activities of partners working to protect and assist refugees, and are responsible for the physical security of both.

A number of these states are members of UNHCR's 76 member Executive Committee and participate in its annual meetings and in Standing Committee consultations. Other countries are represented through their permanent missions at the UN in Geneva, allowing them to maintain close contact with UNHCR headquarters as well as ties at the country level.

Many countries who shelter refugees contribute financially to UNHCR and also provide land, natural resources, facilities, staff or expertise to refugee protection and assistance programmes.

Signatories to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol established procedures to determine who can be considered a refugee and to provide means of subsistence, protection, and durable solutions for asylum seekers and refugees. In such cases, UNHCR assists governments and civil groups, often in an advisory capacity, to strengthen and implement these measures.

In cases where a country is not a signatory to the Convention, or where implementing legislation has not been established, UNHCR, at the invitation of the government, tries to ensure that appropriate international standards are met.