United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

UNHCR was established on December 14, 1951 and succeeded the earlier United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.

The agency is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country.

UNHCR's mandate has gradually been expanded to include protecting and providing humanitarian assistance to what it describes as other persons "of concern," including internally displaced persons (IDPs) who would fit the legal definition of a refugee under the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and 1967 Protocol, the 1969 Organization for African Unity Convention, or some other treaty if they left their country, but who presently remain in their country of origin. UNHCR presently has major missions in Lebanon, South Sudan, Chad/Darfur, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Afghanistan as well as Kenya to assist and provide services to IDPs and refugees.

Never have so many millions of people been driven from their native lands as the case is today. The great majority of these are to be found in other continents than the one to which our own country belongs.

They are people from countries situated far away, countries of which we know very little. If we wanted to, we could so easily close the portals of our senses and the road to our hearts. One particular group of refugees on which the attention of the world was focused some years ago, as a result of newspaper reportage, pictures, and TV programmes, comprises the so-called Boat People' escaping across the sea in the waters off South-East Asia.