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Privacy policy

UNHCR’s privacy policy

UNHCR is committed to protecting individual privacy and securing the personal information made available by users of UNHCR websites (that is, all sites within the “” domain and UNHCR country sites , “UNHCR website”) as well as UNHCR web pages on other sites (such as official UNHCR profiles on social networks). By visiting UNHCR’s website you are accepting the provisions set out in this policy.

This privacy policy describes what information is made available to UNHCR and third parties when you visit or official UNHCR web pages on other sites, and how UNHCR uses and stores that information. Any information voluntarily disclosed to UNHCR by users of UNHCR website is held with the utmost care and security and will not be used in ways other than as set forth in this privacy policy. Through this website you may reach or be directed to other sites that relate to UNHCR, such as the sites of our national partners which are fundraising on behalf of UNHCR. All these sites have their own privacy statements which are similar to this one but may vary slightly.

How we use your personal information

Providing information is your choice. When you undertake certain actions on our website, such as donating, signing up for our email newsletter, or filling in a form to register your interest in our activities or to apply for a job, you knowingly provide us with personal information about you, such as your name, email address, postal address and other information.

You will only be contacted by UNHCR for purposes related to the work of UNHCR and you can request to have your name removed from our mailing list at any time (see below how to opt out).

Through the use of personal data such as your email address, we can target messages for you on social media platforms and identify other people on the Internet who are most likely to support UNHCR work and help refugees. This may require uploading an encrypted list of email addresses to social media platforms of service providers such as Facebook. This data is not stored or reused by such service providers and is only held for the duration of the matching process. If you would not like your data to be used in this way, please fill out our contact form.

Additionally, if you upload content to a UNHCR website or an official UNHCR social media account, we will be able to see certain information, for example in the EXIF data supplied when you submit photographs, we can see which type of camera you used, the time/date stamp, and location if that is available. This information might be used to perform verification checks, but will not be shared beyond the UNHCR social media team based in Geneva.

Sharing your personal information

We may share your personal information (i) with our agents or service providers including digital advertising agencies or social media companies that perform services on our behalf for the purpose of sending you communications on UNHCR’s activities, performing direct marketing or completing a donation transaction that you initiate; (ii) with our national partners who help us raising money for refugees and other forcibly displaced. With these fundraising partners we also share anonymized data gathered through cookies when you visit our website for them to offer customized contents to their audience. In no case will any sensitive financial information be shared. We will always keep your information safe and we will never sell or swap your information with any other third party.

Opting out

Users who provide an email address and/or donate via UNHCR website and opt in to receive email communication from UNHCR may receive UNHCR e-newsletter and other email updates. We occasionally also communicate via direct mail, phone and SMS. Each email sent by UNHCR includes an option to remove your address from the mailing list, and you may also opt out by filling out our contact form.


Aside from the personal information that you disclose to us for a specific purpose, UNHCR also collects anonymous information about your browsing behaviour when you visit our website, through the use of cookies. By using UNHCR website, you agree that we can place the types of cookies set out below on your computer, mobile phone or handheld device.

What are cookies?

Cookies are small data files made up of letters and numbers placed onto your computer or other mobile devices when you access UNHCR website. UNHCR uses cookies to collect information about you to the extent necessary to ensure its website functionality and performance as well as for the purpose of targeting its audience and tailoring the content offered to the public both on its website and elsewhere. We send cookies when you visit, respond to online surveys or polls, or request information. Accepting the cookies used on UNHCR website does not give us access to your personally identifiable information, but we can use the cookies to identify your computer. Encrypted information gathered from cookies is used to understand the performance of our website as well as our fundraising partners’ websites , improve your experience while using it, and to remind you of UNHCR work and how you can support us after you have left UNHCR website in a relevant manner. However, this information is anonymous and based on behaviour rather than on personally distinguishable features.

Disabling cookies

If you do not wish to have cookies installed on your computer or mobile device, you can set your browser to notify you before you receive a cookie, giving you the chance to decide whether to accept it. You can also set your browser to turn off cookies. If you do so, however, some areas of UNHCR website may not function properly.

How cookies are used on UNHCR website

UNHCR wishes to be transparent with users about how cookies are used, so that you are clear on how your privacy is protected when using UNHCR website.

We use cookies for the following reasons:

  1. To improve your experience on our website – Cookies enable us to ensure that we are providing you content that is relevant to your interests while deprioritising content that is not relevant to you. For example, cookies can tell us if you have shown interest in learning about a specific emergency or campaign, so we could ensure that the next time you visit UNHCR website, information about this emergency or campaign is prioritised over other content. In the same way, cookies can tell us if, for instance, you have filled in a UNHCR form or signed a petition, so that we don’t present this to you the next time you visit our website. Cookies can also provide us with an understanding about other factors relating to your visit that can help us to enhance your website experience, such as: which part of the world you are visiting from, if you came to the site because of an email or social media post we sent you, or whether your website browser supports the different technologies used on UNHCR website.
  2. To understand how UNHCR website and other communication efforts are performing – Cookies help to provide us with anonymous statistics that tell us about how many users visit our website, where they came from and how they interact with it. This information is very useful for us to be able to see which pages and content on UNHCR website is most popular so that we can modify it accordingly. Data gathered through cookies can also help us understand how our other activities, such as social media content and emails affect the use of UNHCR website.
  3. To improve the relevance of UNHCR campaign and marketing messages displayed to you after you leave our website – Cookies can help us to ensure that you receive personalised advertising banners from advertising services when you browse other websites, based on the content you interacted with on UNHCR website. For example, cookies can tell us if you visit a web page about a particular humanitarian emergency, so that campaign messages about this particular emergency can be displayed to you when you visit another website. None of UNHCR commercial partners providing such services collect or use any personally identifiable information.
  4. Advertising performance - We want to monitor our advertising spend carefully to make sure that we are being as cost-effective as possible. UNHCR uses cookies provided by online measurement platforms such as Google Analytics and DoubleClick in order to identify how many people come to our website from different websites that host our media campaigns, which campaign messages have been most effective at driving people to UNHCR website, and what actions people undertake after clicking on one of our ads. This information enables us to cost-effectively plan future campaigns, so that we are not wasting resources advocating for refugee protection on websites with content that does not interest our potential supporters.
  5. Reach you on social channels and identify more supporters who want to help refugees - Through cookies, we can target messages for you on our social media platforms and identify other people on the Internet who are most likely to support UNHCR work and help refugees. This data is not used by service providers for any purpose other than those described above.

Third party cookies

Some of the cookies you may receive when visiting UNHCR website are not related to UNHCR. For example, if you visit sections of UNHCR website that contain embedded content such as YouTube video or a Twitter feed, or contain a plugin such as a Facebook like button, you may receive cookies delivered from these websites. As detailed above, we also use third-party cookies for targeted advertising services and for tracking our website awareness-raising and communications performance.

UNHCR does not govern the settings or use of these third-party cookies, so we suggest that you visit these websites for more information about their cookies and applicable privacy policies.

UNHCR cannot be held responsible for the privacy of data collected by websites that it does not own or manage, even if these websites link to UNHCR website. Modern web browsers provide the ability to disable all cookies or only third-party cookies.

Responsibilities of users

UNHCR may ask its stakeholders and community to share their photos and videos with the public on its websites. This type of material is generally defined as User Generated Content (UGC).

Users of UNHCR website acknowledge that such content is treated as being non-proprietary and non-confidential. If you send this material to us, either via email, by tagging content on a social network, or via a specifically designed upload site, you are granting UNHCR the irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, royalty-free, worldwide right to use, reproduce, modify and publish such material elsewhere in its websites and publications. Furthermore, you grant UNHCR the right to use the name that you submit in connection with such material. However you still own and can continue to use your content as you like including the ability to also allow others to use it.

If you upload or share your material with a UNHCR website or social media account, it might be used by any UNHCR websites or social media accounts across the globe.

When we ask our community to share content with us, we explain how we intend to use the content. Mostly, we will re-share content on our social media channels or on our websites. If it is particularly strong, we may use content shared with us on UNHCR promotional materials. In those cases, we will attempt to contact you to discuss whether you agree for it to be used, and to ask whether and how you would like to be credited.

UNHCR does not pay for nor does it generate any revenue from selling or licensing individual pieces of UGC.

Conditions to upload content

When you submit content to or share material with UNHCR, you must only submit/share your own original content. If your content contains the work(s) of others (e.g. music, images and/or video) you must have obtained the necessary rights or permissions to use that material.

If your content clearly identifies anyone else you will need to ensure that the persons concerned have consented to the content being used by UNHCR. Where your content clearly identifies children under the age of 16 you must ensure that their parent or guardian has provided their consent as set out above.

UNHCR also requires that you do not submit or share any material or information:

  1. That is knowingly false or misleading, defamatory, infringing, obscene, indecent, threatening or invasive of a person’s privacy or unlawful in any way;
  2. Which you do not own or for which you have not obtained all necessary licenses and/or approvals as may be required by law;
  3. Which is technically harmful (including, without limitation, files that contain viruses, corrupted files or any other similar software or programs that may damage the operation of another’s computer); or
  4. Impersonating any person or entity, or falsely stating or otherwise misrepresenting your affiliation with anyone or any entity.
  5. Deleting any author attributions, legal notices or proprietary designations or labels in any file that is uploaded;
  6. Falsifying the origin or source of software or other material contained in a file that is uploaded;
  7. Advertising or offering to sell any goods or services, or conducting or forwarding surveys, contests or chain letters, or downloading any file posted by another user of UNHCR websites that you know, or reasonably should know, cannot be legally distributed in such a manner.

Any inappropriate content will be rejected or removed from UNHCR websites and social media accounts. If in doubt, please do not share your content with UNHCR. If you post on, or transmit to, any of our websites any material of the type prohibited under the above paragraphs or any applicable laws and regulations, and UNHCR incurs any costs, expenses, liability or losses as a result then you agree to indemnify UNHCR for all such costs, expenses, liability or losses.

You should be aware that UNHCR is entitled to reveal your identity (or any information which it has about you) to any third party who is claiming that any of that material violates any of their rights or to any government or regulatory authority that may request UNHCR to do so.

Uploading content to social networks

If you upload content to a social network and then tag UNHCR, your submission will be subject to that website’s terms of use and privacy policy. Please be aware of a website’s terms and privacy policy, which may differ from UNHCR’s, when submitting your content to it. Some large UGC websites are also based in the US so your personal information may be stored outside your country where different laws apply.

Notification of changes

We will revise or update this policy if our practices change, or as we develop better ways to keep you informed about them. We thus encourage you to visit this section of UNHCR website regularly in order to keep up to date with any changes. Changes to the policy will apply from the date they are posted on our site and shall not apply retroactively.