Procedures for Determining Refugee Status

Handbook and Guidelines on Procedures for Determining Refugee Status under the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees.

The  “Handbook and Guidelines on Procedures for Determining Refugee Status under the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees”, has been reissued in December 2011. The Handbook was first issued in September 1979 at the request of Member States of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner’s Programme. A second edition was released in January 1992, which updated information concerning accessions to the international refugee instruments. To preserve its integrity, the Handbook remains unchanged also in the present edition, although the annexes have again been updated. In addition to the Handbook, and in response to the varying legal interpretations of Article 1 of the 1951 Convention in national jurisdictions, UNHCR has continued to issue legal positions on specific questions of international refugee law. In this connection, UNHCR has gazetted “Guidelines on International Protection”, as envisaged under the Agenda for Protection following the 50th anniversary events in 2001-2002. These Guidelines complement and update the Handbook and should be read in combination with it. Included in this edition are the first eight Guidelines in the series. The explanations provided in this publication of key components of refugee status determination are based on the accumulated views of UNHCR, State practice, Executive Committee Conclusions, academic literature and judicial decisions at national, regional and international levels, over a sixty-year period. The Handbook and Guidelines are issued pursuant to UNHCR’s supervisory responsibility contained in paragraph 8 of the 1950 Statute of UNHCR in conjunction with Articles 35 and 36 of the 1951 Convention and Article II of the 1967 Protocol. The Handbook and the Guidelines are intended to guide government officials, judges, practitioners, as well as UNHCR staff applying the refugee definition. It is hoped that they will continue to provide an important reference for refugee status determination around the world and help resolve variations in interpretation.