History of UNHCR

UNHCR is the recipient of the 1954 Nobel Peace Prize for its work in helping the refugees of Europe.


The Republic of Malta is an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, 80 km south of Sicily and 284 km east of Tunisia. It is a member of the European Union and the Eurozone.

Malta is a signatory to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol since 1971. It officially lifted its geographical reservation on 13 December 2001.

Malta is a signatory to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, since December 2019. Malta is not yet a signatory to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.


The UNHCR Malta office opened in 2005. The office’s first challenge in Malta was to address the increasing sea arrivals from the Libyan coast heading for the European mainland.

UNHCR works closely with the Maltese government, stakeholders and a number of local organisations and NGOs not only to find durable solutions for refugees and beneficiaries of international protection in Malta, but also to advocate and work towards improved access to protection and conditions of asylum in Malta; an increased protection-sensitive asylum system and related policies; to strengthen the capacities of government and partner agencies; and to increase general awareness about asylum issues in the country.

UNHCR staff in Malta

The UNHCR office in Malta is headed by the UNHCR Representative to Malta. The UNHCR team is divided into four different units; the Protection Unit, the Durable Solutions Unit, the Public Information/Communications Unit and the Admin/Finance Unit.

UNHCR representative to Malta

The UNHCR Representative to Malta is Samar Mazloum (from January 2020).

Previously the UNHCR representatives to Malta were Kahin Ismail (2017 – 2020), Beat Schuler (2016 – 2017 ) and Jon Hoisaeter (2009 – 2016).