Refugee Status Determination

Refugee Status Determination (RSD) consists of the process of collecting information and examining applications for refugee status with a view to determining whether the concerned individual can be recognized as a “refugee”. For UNHCR a person may be recognized as a “refugee” if his/her situation meets the criteria specified in the applicable refugee definition under the 1950 UNHCR Statute and Article 1 (A) of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. In Turkey, Republic of Turkey Ministry of Interior Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM) is primarily responsible for both the registration and assessment of international protection applications in Turkey. UNHCR is intensively cooperating with DGMM to build a strong and quality national asylum system and RSD procedures.

Turkey has acceded to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, but maintained the optional geographical limitation, meaning that only refugees fearing harm due to events occurring in Europe may enjoy Convention refugee status while non-European asylum-seekers fall outside the Convention framework as ratified by Turkey, and, under the relevant Turkish law, they may be eventually be recognized as “conditional refugees” and benefit as such from the same rights as “refugee status” holders till the time of their resettlement in third countries, which is facilitated by UNHCR. In Turkey, in this context, UNHCR continues to assess refugee status claims of non-European asylum-seekers.

Refugee status is determined through an individual RSD interview. This interview with UNHCR is the way through which an asylum-seeker is given the opportunity to explain in detail his/her background and experience and to personally illustrate what caused his/her flight from the home country, as well as what he/she fears upon return. UNHCR takes a decision on his/her claim by assessing all the information provided by the asylum-seeker during the interview and after consulting the available information regarding the situation in his/her country of origin. In 2016, UNHCR Turkey issued RSD decisions for 20,011 persons.