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. Since 1950, UNHCR has led international action to protect people forced to flee their homes because of conflict and prosecution. The organization provides them with life-saving assistance including shelter, food, as well as water and also helps safeguard their fundamental human rights.
In Belarus, UNHCR has been working since 1995 executing the mandate of the organization and continuously providing assistance to its people of concern and supporting the country in developing long-term sustainable solutions to protect their rights and safeguard their well-being.
The Republic of Belarus, alongside 142 State Parties to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, has international obligations related to protection of refugees. Specifically, the Government of Belarus is to safeguard:
- everybody’s right to apply for asylum;
- protection against forced return (refoulment) for all in need of international protection;
- respect for refugees’ rights enshrined in the 1951 Refugee Convention as well as national legislation.
The role of UNHCR in the country is to advise and support the efforts of the Government to fulfill these obligations. At the same time, UNHCR works to improve asylum space in the region, promote tolerance to facilitate integration, and develop durable solutions for forcibly displaced persons, with the focus on education and employment. Building the capacity of the local partners to deal with refugee and the other relevant and associated issues generally remains the main means of advancing these goals.
UNHCR together with partners works towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals in Belarus.
UNHCR supports Belarus towards the implementation of the global campaign to End Statelessness by 2024 – #IBelong through assisting individuals with legal, social and financial aid on their way to naturalization, as well as by advocating for the changes in Belarusian legislation and accession of the Republic of Belarus to the UN Statelessness. Belarus announced its pledge to accede to both conventions after completion of all internal procedures during the High-Level Segment on Statelessness of the 70th session of UNHCR Executive Committee.