International refugee law (IRL)

It is only in 1951 (and then through a broadening of the refugee definition in 1967) that the international community established a regime for the international protection of refugees. The Geneva Convention Related to the Status of Refugees is the main source of legal protections for refugees. IRL provides a specific definition of refugee, safeguards the right to seek asylum, and protects against being forcibly returned to a country where one would face persecution (non-refoulement). The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) is mandated by the UN General Assembly to provide international protection to refugees and seek permanent solutions to their plight.
Aerial view of Za’atri refugee camp
Photo: UN Photo

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