United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)


The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) analyzed a recent assessment report released by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) that examines the agency’s 2015 performance and shows the agency’s 2017 strategic goals. According to CIS this report shows how badly the resettlement program is broken and needs to be reformed.

Nayla Rush, a senior researcher at CIS and author of the CIS report, commented, "Contrary to UNCHR and U.S. official claims, it is not necessarily the most vulnerable and urgent cases that are being submitted for resettlement. Examination of this recent report makes clear the need for a thorough re-evaluation of the refugee system."

Some of the main conclusions from the UNHCR report include:

• 62% of all refugees referred for resettlement ("submitted" is the UN term) by the UNHCR in 2015 were for the United States.

• Virtually all refugees referred by UNHCR (92%) are accepted by resettlement countries.

• About 40%of refugees referred for resettlement were in the Middle East and North Africa region; sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 29%. The top countries were Syria and Congo.

• Contrary to official UNHCR and U.S. claims, it is not necessarily the most vulnerable and urgent cases that are submitted for resettlement. The UNHCR itself acknowledges that almost all refugees submitted for resettlement are in circumstances "where there are no immediate medical, social, or security concerns which would merit expedited processing."

• Going beyond conventional resettlement, the UNHCR is promoting "any mechanism which allows for legal entry to and stay within a third country."

• The UN report estimates that 1,190,519 refugees will need resettlement in 2017, though it will submit only a fraction of cases.

• It is increasingly evident that the refugee system run by one single agency, UNHCR, is archaic, an anachronism from the Cold War, and is due for a thorough reevaluation.

Read the full CIS report at CIS.org.


Updated: Thu, Jan 19th 2017 @ 11:30am EST