Country Information and Guidance
Reports covering the general conditions, state of human rights, and major events of countries.
Overview of UNHCR Country-Specific Guidance
UNHCR oversees the implementation of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees. One of the ways that UNHCR exercises its supervisory responsibility of assisting States in their interpretation and application of international refugee law is by producing country-specific guidance. This work is informed by UNHCR’s wide field presence and extensive experience in refugee protection, including the adjudication of refugee status, and advances a consistent application of the refugee criteria across operations and jurisdictions.
UNHCR country guidance is widely used in both UNHCR mandate refugee status determination (RSD) and State asylum procedures. It typically contains a combination of objective country of origin information—covering economic, social, security, human rights, and humanitarian conditions in the country—and conclusions, or guidance, drawn from those facts. UNHCR understands that asylum seekers in the United States might need to submit documentation of general conditions, the state of human rights, and significant events in their countries of origin to advance their claims, and its materials address these topics and can help evaluate, for instance, whether they suffered past persecution or have a well-founded fear of persecution.
UNHCR produces three main types of country guidance and position papers:
- Eligibility Guidelines and International Protection Considerations offer guidance on the eligibility for international protection of specific at-risk groups or profiles of individuals.
- Positions on Returns contain country-specific policy guidance regarding the reasonableness and feasibility of return based on conditions there.
- Guidance Notes contain country-specific policy guidance on issues other than eligibility or return, such as temporary protection for individuals from a certain country of origin or a suspension of decision making on their claims.
Guidance generally is considered to remain valid as long as the factual situation in the particular country has not changed significantly, and therefore the validity of each guidance paper should be regarded on its own terms.
The country publications listed below are available on Refworld, UNHCR's online database. Refworld is searchable by keyword and/or country and features reports from a variety of sources, including UN agencies, governments, and non-governmental organizations.
UNHCR Eligibility Guidelines & International Protection Considerations
- Afghanistan (2018)
- Colombia (2015)
- Czech Roma (1999)
- El Salvador (2016)
- Eritrea (2011)
- Guatemala (2018)
- Honduras (2016)
- Iraq (2019)
- Kosovo (2009)
- Nicaragua (2023)
- Nigeria (2016)
- Pakistan: Members of Religious Minorities (2017)
- Slovak Roma (1998)
- Somalia (2022)
- Sri Lanka (2012)
- Syria (2021)
- Ukraine (2015)
- Venezuela (2018)
UNHCR Positions on Return
- Afghanistan (2021)
- Burkina Faso (2021)
- Democratic Republic of the Congo (2022)
- Ethiopia (2022)
- Gaza (2022)
- Libya (2018) and Designations of Libya as a Safe Third Country and as a Place of Safety for the Purpose of Disembarkation Following Rescue at Sea (2020)
- Mali (2022)
- South Sudan (2021)
- Ukraine (2022)
- Yemen (2021)
UNHCR Guidance Notes
Other Select UNHCR Reports
- Children on the Run: Unaccompanied Children Leaving Central America and Mexico and the Need for International Protection (2014)
- Women on the Run: First-Hand Accounts of Refugees Fleeing El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico (2015)
- Guatemala Background Paper (2013)
UNHCR Materials on Ivorian Refugees and Cessation Clauses
- Webinar: Ceased Circumstance Clauses of the 1951 Refugee Convention: Application in the Ivorian Context (2022)
- Comprehensive Solutions Strategy for the Situation of Ivorian Refugees (2021)
- Guidelines on Exemption Procedures in Respect of Cessation Declarations (2011)
- Guidelines on International Protection: Cessation of Refugee Status Under Article 1C(5) and (6) of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (2003)
Additional Country of Origin Information Resources
Asylum seekers might provide additional information on their countries of origin to support their protection claims. UNHCR is aware of the following reports and databases that may contain relevant and useful information:
General Country Reports
- Amnesty International: Country Profiles
- Freedom House: Freedom in the World Report
- Human Rights Watch: World Report
- U.S. Department of State: Human Rights Reports
- Center for Gender & Refugee Studies: Manual for Finding Country Conditions Evidence for Asylum Cases
- European Country of Origin Information Network: Database of Country Conditions Research
- Executive Office for Immigration Review, U.S. Department of Justice: Database of Country Conditions Research
- International Refugee Rights Initiative: Country of Origin Information Experts