United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)


UNHCR logoWhat is UNHCR?

Since 1951, UNHCR has helped over 50 million refugees to restart their lives.

UNHCR is the UN agency mandated to ensure respect for the rights of people fleeing war and persecution and to find lasting solutions to their plight.

  • Twice-awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, UNHCR cares for more than 20 million of the world’s most vulnerable people in 116 countries, ensuring that they are protected and have access to food, shelter, clean water, medical care and education.
  • In the European Union, UNHCR promotes respect for international refugee protection norms and cooperates with governments and European Institutions to make sure that the needs of refugees are met.

UNHCR in Belgium

Newly arrived IDP children play at The IDP centre in Los Altos de Cazuca, outside Bogota.

Newly arrived IDP children play at The IDP centre in Los Altos de Cazuca, outside Bogota. © UNHCR/B.Heger

UNHCR has been present in Brussels since 1951. Brussels is now the base for UNHCR’s Bureau for Europe. The UNHCR Representation in Brussels is responsible for UNHCR’s relations with the European Union Institutions and the follwoing European countries: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom:

  • The Representation works to ensure that international refugee protection norms are respected at national and EU levels;
  • It contributes actively to the development of EU and national laws and policies on asylum;
  • It mobilizes public, political and financial support for refugees and for the work of UNHCR from 11 above-mentioned countries and the EU.

Main Achievements

UNHCR is the designated guardian of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, which is the cornerstone of international refugee law. Some provisions such as the definition of the term ‘refugee’ and the principle of non- return of people to countries where they could face persecution (non-refoulement) have become fundamental principles of international law. With the treaty’s help, UNHCR has assisted millions of people to rebuild their shattered lives, and regional international legal instruments have been created which have their foundations in the 1951 Convention.


You may view and download UNHCR publications on the website:


UNHCR Global: www.unhcr.org

Contacts Details

For further information, please contact:

UNHCR in Brussels
Avenue Louise 283
1050 Brussels
Tel: +32 2 627 59 99
Fax: +32 2 627 59 98
Email: [email protected]