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What we do

A UNHCR staff member directs a group of refugees from Iraq and Syria toward a bus, in Greece.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency

What we do

UNHCR protects people forced to flee their homes and stateless persons.

We deliver life-saving assistance in emergencies, safeguard fundamental human rights, and help displaced people find a safe place to call home.

Protecting people forced to flee 

Every year, millions of men, women and children are forced to flee their homes to escape conflict and persecution.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is there for them at every stage of the refugee journey, from the beginning of a crisis, through the months and often years that they are displaced from their homes.

We deliver life-saving aid and protection in emergencies, advocate for improved asylum laws and systems so displaced people can access their rights, and help them return home safely once safe to do so or build a future in a new country.

We also work to ensure that stateless people are granted a nationality so they can access basic rights, such as education and health care.

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Respond to emergencies

Within 72 hours UNHCR can send out supplies for 600,000 people and have expert staff on the ground to protect them.  

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Safeguard human rights

UNHCR has worked with more than 100 countries to interpret and apply legal standards to ensure refugees can exercise their rights. 

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Build better futures  

Over the last decade, UNHCR has helped close to one million refugees rebuild their lives in new countries. 

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Respond to emergencies

When people are forced to flee, speed is critical. Refugees often arrive across a border traumatized, hungry and exhausted, with little more than the clothes on their backs.

UNHCR works to ensure refugees and displaced people can settle in a safe place, far from conflict or those trying to harm them, and are not pushed back into areas where their lives are in danger.

We rapidly deliver life-saving supplies and mobilize expert staff to protect them. We ensure they have shelter, food, water, access to medical care and help to find missing family members.

Learn more about Responding to emergencies


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Safeguard human rights

UNHCR advocates for the rights of refugees and other displaced and stateless persons. We work with governments and partners to advise on and strengthen laws and national systems and help provide services. 

Through this we can help ensure refugees, asylum-seekers and other displaced people access documentation, education, work and health care. We also work to ensure stateless people achieve their right to a nationality. 

Bringing about positive changes on national, regional and global levels can take years, but we accomplish it with the help of lawyers, judges, civil society organizations, politicians and students.

Learn more about Safeguarding human rights



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Build better futures

Employment, education and a safe place to call home mean refugees can begin to rebuild.

UNHCR helps refugees find employment so they can support themselves and their families with dignity. We also ensure children and young people have access to education, giving them a sense of normalcy and safeguarding their future.

Once it is safe to do so, we help families and individuals return to their homeland. For those who cannot return because of continued conflict, war or persecution, UNHCR helps them to settle and make a positive contribution in a third country or integrate into a host country.

Learn more about Building better futures


Please consider donating today

Your gift can help protect someone forced to flee their home due to conflict or persecution.