The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established on December 14, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly.

The agency is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees.

It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country. It also has a mandate to help stateless people.

In more than five decades, the agency has helped tens of millions of people restart their lives. Today, a staff of some 6,600 people in more than 110 countries continues to help about 34 million persons.

UNHCR in Ghana

In 1994, the UNHCR – also known as the UN Refugee Agency – was invited by the Ghanaian government to help co-ordinate the protection and provision of humanitarian assistance to thousands of refugees, as Ghana experienced it’s first major influx of refugees since its return to democratic governance.

The Ghana Refugee Law 1992 was enacted as part of Ghana’s constitution and provides a legal framework for the implementation of the 1969 OAU Convention.

Under the Ghana Refugee Act, the Ghana Refugee Board was formed as the governmental arm responsible for ensuring the protection of refugees.

Since then, the UN Refugee Agency has worked with the Ghana Refugee Board to protect thousands of refugees from various countries across the African continent.