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Who is a refugee?

A refugee is someone who has a well founded fear of persecution because of his/her:

  • race or religion

  • nationality 

  • membership in a particular social group or 

  • political opinion

  • and is unable or unwilling to avail him/herself of the protection of that country , or to return there, for fear of persecution.

    UNHCR mandate

    The UNHCR's mandate under it's statute is to pursue protection, assistance and solutions for refugees. UNHCR has an additional mandate concerning issues of statelessness and to help prevent statelessness by providing to states technical and advisory services on nationality legislation and practice. 

    NGO (non-governmental organization)

    An organized entity that is functionally independent of a government or state. This term is normally applied to organizations devoted to humanitarian and human right causes, many of which implement their refugee-related programs in partnership with UNHCR and other agencies.

    (source: Protecting refugees - a field guide for NGO's by UNHCR 1999)