University of Minnesota



Organization: UN High Commissioner for Refugees


Website and contact information:

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Case Postale 2500
CH-1211 Genève 2 Dépôt


Electronic contact inquiry


Location of headquarters:

Geneva, Switzerland


Year founded:



Mandate and/or mission statement:

UNHCR, the United Nations refugee organization, is mandated by the United Nations to lead and coordinate international action for the world-wide protection of refugees and the resolution of refugee problems.

UNHCR’s primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. UNHCR strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another state, and to return home voluntarily.

By assisting refugees to return to their own country or to settle in another country, UNHCR also seeks lasting solutions to their plight.

UNHCR’s efforts are mandated by the organization’s Statute, and guided by the 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol.

International refugee law provides an essential framework of principles for UNHCR’s humanitarian activities.

UNHCR’s Executive Committee and the UN General Assembly have also authorized the organization’s involvement with other groups. These include people who are stateless or whose nationality is disputed and, in certain circumstances, internally displaced persons.

“To ensure the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge... To protect refugees and to promote solutions”

UNHCR seeks to reduce situations of forced displacement by encouraging states and other institutions to create conditions which are conducive to the protection of human rights and the peaceful resolution of disputes. In pursuit of the same objective, UNHCR actively seeks to consolidate the reintegration of returning refugees in their country of origin, thereby averting the recurrence of refugee-producing situations.

UNHCR offers protection and assistance to refugees and others in an impartial manner, on the basis of their need and irrespective of their race, religion, political opinion or gender. In all of its activities, UNHCR pays particular attention to the needs of children and seeks to promote the equal rights of women and girls.

In its efforts to protect refugees and to promote solutions to their problems, UNHCR works in partnership with governments, regional organizations, international and non-governmental organizations.

UNHCR is committed to the principle of participation by consulting refugees on decisions that affect their lives.

By virtue of its activities on behalf of refugees and displaced people, UNHCR also promotes the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter: maintaining international peace and security; developing friendly relations among nations; and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.


Relevant programs and projects:


Current head/director (and nationality):

Mr. António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Portugal


Number of Member States and/or Observer States:

144 States Parties to the 1951 Convention; 144 States Parties to the Protocol


Operating budget:

$1,095,614,990 (2005 total contributions)


Number and location of missions or field offices (if applicable):

116 countries


Number of employees:

6,689 personnel


Grades descriptions: (e.g. P-2, L-5, etc.)

P–2:  University degree plus 4 years of relevant professional work experience; or Advanced University degree plus 2 years of relevant professional work experience.

P–3:  University degree plus 8 years of relevant professional work experience; or Advanced University degree plus 6 years of relevant professional work experience.

P–4:  University degree plus 12 years of relevant professional work experience; or Advanced University degree plus 10 years of relevant professional work experience.

Also available: Recruitment Profiles


Where does this organization advertise when there are job openings?

International Professional Roster

External recruitment

Junior Professional Officer Programme


What is the job application process?

Junior Professional Officer Programme depends on sponsoring government. For U.S. nationals, visit the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, U.S. Department of State

External vacancies process may require CV, nationality and references, P-11 form. Check specific external vacancy announcements for instructions. Candidates for finance posts must take an exam

International Professional Roster- No invitation for applications from external candidates this year.


Does this organization take volunteers? 



What are the expectations, minimum requirements and application procedures for volunteers in this organization?



Does this organization take interns?  



What are the expectations, minimum requirements and application procedures for interns in this organization?

Information not currently available, check back here


What are the basic requirements for prospective applicants? 

Junior Professional Officer Programme

Degree equivalent to a Bachelor's Degree or a Master's Degree a in a field equivalent and/or relevant to the functions requested in the job description. At least two to three years of relevant work experience. Proficiency in English (spoken and written). nowledge of a second language of the United Nations a strong asset. Computer literacy in standard software applications.  Keen and demonstrated interest in the United Nations and humanitarian issues, in particular, and ability to live and/or serve in hardship locations.  Ability to establish and maintain good working relations with people of different national and cultural backgrounds.


International Professional Roster

Applicants to the Roster must be prepared to serve on posts in field locations, especially in category D and E (hardship and/or non-family) duty stations. Preferably, the first appointment should be outside the continent of the candidate's nationality. All UNHCR international professional staff members are required to rotate.  Candidates for the Roster must possess a university degree (i.e. BA/BSc, LLB etc.) or an advanced university degree (i.e., LLM, MA, MBA, MSc, PhD) preferably in International Relations, International Public or Private Law, Finance, Accounting, Public Administration, Social Work, Communications, Journalism, Political Science or Social Sciences, Economics, Engineering, Management, Supply Chain, Transport and Logistics.  Candidates must have a minimum number of years of relevant professional work experience, preferably in the international context, in their area of qualification. Relevant professional work experience will be based on the period the applicant has worked in the area of his or her preferred functional profile. Have a demonstrated working knowledge of English and are encouraged to have knowledge of a second UN language. Applicants to the Roster, if selected for a post, must be prepared to take up their assignments within 3 months.



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