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In response to recent queries over UNHCR’s work

The UN refugee agency is a humanitarian and non-political organization that helps and protects people fleeing conflict and persecution.

 

In response to recent queries over UNHCR’s work, the office has issued the following clarifications

UNHCR Mandate

The UN refugee agency is a humanitarian and non-political organization that helps and protects people fleeing conflict and persecution.

Refugee Status Determination

When someone flees persecution and seeks refuge in another country, it is usually the host government that assesses the asylum claim and decides whether that person should be recognized as a refugee. Many countries have their own asylum procedures; UNHCR only steps in when there is no national system to handle asylum claims.

The asylum process involves hearing the asylum-seeker’s claims and checking the facts behind the situation he or she described. There are also safeguards to ensure that people with criminal backgrounds are not recognized as refugees.

Granting asylum is a humanitarian act, not a political one.

Support to the Royal Thai Government since 1977

UNHCR greatly appreciates the longstanding generosity and hospitality shown to refugees by the government and people of Thailand. Since 1977, we have been working to support the authorities in caring for over 1 million refugees, including some 130,000 people currently protected by the Royal Thai Government across the country.

Position on Smuggling and Trafficking

UNHCR takes a strong stance against smuggling and trafficking. Unfortunately, refugees and asylum-seekers sometimes have to resort to desperate measures when fleeing for their lives. In the process they are often subjected to further abuse and exploitation.

UNHCR supports efforts to improve conditions in countries of asylum so that these vulnerable people don’t feel compelled to move on in search of safety and stability. We also advocate for governments like Thailand’s to keep their borders open to people arriving irregularly by boat for safety reasons and to offer them protection and assistance while longer-term solutions are sought.