UNHCR lauds Philippines for landmark mechanism to protect refugees and the stateless

The Philippines has acceded to the 1954 Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons and is in the process of developing a national statelessness framework.

Philippines / Super Typhoon Haiyan / UN refugee agency workers interacts with Necente Nuevas (right), 59, after she files her new civil documents in Opong village in the town of Tolosa, Leyte, central Philippines. The UN refugee agency supports 20 local civil registrar offices in the provinces of Leyte and Samar along with a local non-government organization, Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services, Inc. (IDEALS Inc.) in implementing this legal service to the affected population as well as those who have no proper documents before the typhoon. UNHCR / J.Maitem / May 2014

UNHCR has been operating in the Philippines for over 30 years. For many years, its presence was limited in Manila with its focus on asylum-seekers, refugees, broader asylum-migration issues, and statelessness.

UNHCR supports the process whereby refugees can acquire citizenship and helps refugees to become self-reliant. The Philippine Government is being assisted in order to increase its capacity to implement its obligations as a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention. The emergency transit mechanism for accelerated resettlement processing will be maintained in Manila.

UNHCR assumed leadership of the protection cluster under the joint UN response to the situation of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Mindanao in mid-2010. It assists the authorities to ensure that the protection needs of vulnerable populations are met through effective coordination. In the context of a renewed dialogue between the Government and armed groups in Southern Philippines, UNHCR established its presence in Mindanao by opening a field office in Cotabato City. In early 2012, UNHCR expanded its presence in the islands with two field units: one in Iligan (Northern Mindanao), and another in Davao City (Eastern Mindanao). The establishment of these offices addresses the issues related to internal displacement to operationalize the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.

The Philippines has acceded to the 1954 Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons and is in the process of developing a national statelessness framework, including status determination procedures, with the support of UNHCR. The mapping of stateless populations is also being undertaken.