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Legal Protection

What We Do
© UNHCR / G. Amarasinghe

Legal Protection

Using the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention as its major tool, UNHCR's core mandate is to ensure the international protection of 31.7 million uprooted people worldwide. It promotes the basic human rights of refugees and that they will not be returned involuntarily to a country where they face persecution. It helps them to repatriate to their homeland when conditions permit, integrate into states of asylum or resettle in third countries. UNHCR promotes international refugee agreements, helps states establish asylum structures and acts as an international watchdog over refugee issues.




Legal and Protection Policy Research

A series of legal research and protection policy papers issued by the UNHCR Division of International Protection.

The 1951 Refugee Convention

The Geneva Refugee Convention has been instrumental in helping an estimated 50 million people restart their lives.

Expert Meetings

Follow-up expert meetings to take stock of developments in refugee law and to examine a number of emerging issues.

Global Consultations

The international community reaffirms its commitment to the 1951 Refugee Convention.


The leading source of information needed for taking quality decisions on refugee status.

States Parties to the Convention and the Protocol

Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees

Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees

External links

Signing on Could Make all the Difference

A brochure on the benefits to governments of accession to the Refugee Convention.