Human rights protection


UNHCR works to ensure the rights of displaced people, refugees and stateless persons are respected. Wherever they are. 

Every human being has the right to live without fear of persecution and discrimination. 

Every day, hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children are forced to flee their homes, young and old, sick and healthy, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters alike.  

International law on the status of refugees determines who needs international protection, and what minimum rights must be upheld for refugees. At UNHCR, our role is to protect and safeguard the rights of refugees, internally displaced and stateless people wherever they are.  

UNHCR seeks to ensure that the human rights of uprooted or stateless people are respected in their countries of asylum, and makes sure that refugees are not returned against their will to a country where they may face persecution.   

UNHCR also works to provide legal and physical protection to the many refugees who are at risk of violence, even in countries of asylum, with a particular focus on protecting vulnerable groups such as women, teenagers, children, and members of the LGBTQI+ communities.

Ending statelessness 

Currently, millions of people around the world have been deprived of their nationality. They are told that they have no nationality, no citizenship. They are denied access to education, health care and legal employment. They cannot open a bank account, buy a house, or even get married. UNHCR has a mandate to identify stateless people, protect their rights, and is committed to ending statelessness by 2024. 

Indeed, UNHCR launched the #IBelong campaign in November 2014 to support governments around the world, in partnership with civil society and stateless people, in order to end statelessness by 2024. To do so, UNHCR works with international organizations, NGOs, governments and civil society to, among other things, analyse gaps in legislation, assess possible solutions, protect the rights of stateless people, and ensure that they are recognized.