The High Commissioner is responsible for the direction and control of UNHCR. He or she directs our work with the assistance of a Deputy High Commissioner and Assistant High Commissioners for Protection and Operations.
The Inspector General’s Office provides the High Commissioner with independent assurance and oversight of UNHCR's activities and operations. It protects the integrity and improves the efficiency of our programmes and operations. It also deters fraud and abuse through internal audits, investigations and other oversight advisory services.
We have 16,765 personnel working in 138 countries, with most operations based in the field. The worldwide operation has become highly complex, ranging from recruitment of new colleagues and ensuring their security in dangerous situations to the procurement of everything from medical supplies to aircraft charters. Specific departments, mostly based in the Geneva headquarters, oversee key areas, such as operations, protection, external relations, human resources and finances. A number of regional bureaux liaise between overseas offices and headquarters.
Our primary purpose at UNHCR is to safeguard the rights and well-being of people who have been forced to flee. Together with partners and communities, we work to ensure that everybody has the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another country. We also strive to secure lasting solutions.
For over half a century, UNHCR has helped millions of people to restart their lives. They include refugees, returnees, stateless people, the internally displaced and asylum-seekers. Our protection, shelter, health and education has been crucial, healing broken pasts and building brighter futures.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people.