The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has said that there will be a drastic reduction in the number of refugees being resettled this year.

  • According to the UN agency, in the first nine months of 2020, rehabilitation has been possible for only 15 thousand 425 people, whereas in 2019 this number was more than 50 thousand.
  • The number of resettled refugees in the year 2016 was more than one lakh 26 thousand.
  • The current rate represents the lowest level of rehabilitation in the last two decades. This is a setback to efforts for refugee protection and to save lives and protect people facing risks.
  • The largest number of Syrian citizens (41%) have been rehabilitated this year, followed by the Congo Democratic Republic (16%). Other refugees were resettled from Iraq, Myanmar and Afghanistan.
  • Between January and September, about 30% of the 15,000 resettled people have been victims of violence or torture.
  • The Covid-19 epidemic has made it difficult for refugees to be sent to other countries.
  • In addition, the epidemic has hindered aid efforts for refugees from Libya and the resettlement process has only begun on 15 October.
  • According to the agency, about 280 refugees who were earlier sent to emergency centers in Nijer and Rwanda, are waiting to move countries for resettlement while 354 others are awaiting a decision in this regard.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

  • UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is an international organisation working to saving lives, safeguarding the rights and providing a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people.
  • The organisation’s target audience includes refugees, people who are forcibly displaced from their homes, asylum seekers, internally displaced persons and stateless people.
  • The UNHCR was established in 1950 in the wake of the mass displacements caused due to the Second World War in Europe.
  • Since then, it has provided relief to thousands of refugees and displaced persons in many parts of the world.
  • The UNHCR has also won the Nobel Prize for Peace twice (1954 and 1981).
  • The chief legal document that governs the work of the UNHCR is the 1951 Refugee Convention.
  • The organisation works in 135 countries and in India, has offices in New Delhi and Chennai. It first established its presence in India in 1981.
  • The UNHCR is headed by the High Commissioner for Refugees.
  • Its parent organisation is the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
  • The UNHCR gives the Nansen Refugee Award annually to people who work in the field of refugee rights and protection.
  • According to the Statute of the UN Refugee Agency and the mandate issued by the UN General Assembly, the organization has the responsibility to rehabilitate.
  • In 2019, the UN agency was trying to help more than two crore refugees worldwide, but it is possible to ensure resettlement for refugees less than one percent every year.
  • Of the 1.4 million refugees who need resettlement, Africa has the largest number (6,67,000), followed by Europe (4,20,000), the Middle East and North Africa region (2.09 million) and the US region (approximately Five thousand).

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