Sunday, 9 May 2021

Humanitarian Affairs


The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established in 1950. The agency is mandated to lead and coordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. According to the UN New York Declaration of 19 September 2016, UNHCR is mandated to initiate and develop a Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework which is based on the principles of international cooperation and of burden and responsibility sharing.

Greece is one of the oldest members of the Agency and an active player in the field of dealing with the flow of migrants due to its geographical position, being one of the main entry point countries of irregular migrants in the Mediterranean area. The office of UNHCR was established in Greece in 1952 and its inauguration took place just 15 months after the establishment of the Office of the agency in New York by the General Assembly. Greece also ranks in one of the highest positions concerning financing of the Agency, per capita, worldwide.

Cooperation between Greece and UNHCR has been strengthened, especially after the refugee crisis of September 2015, in the context of which, Greece received extremely large flows of refugees and migrants and shouldered a disproportionate share of responsibility regarding the hospitality of the afore mentioned fellow human beings. Greece has eversince tirelessly advocated for the key humanitarian priority of saving lives. The Hellenic Coast Guard has saved hundreds of thousands of lives in the Aegean Sea and the whole of the Greek society is trying to respond to the refugee influx with humanity and solidarity, despite the economic and social strains that it is facing in the context of the ongoing economic crisis of the last decade in Greece.

According to the most recent data of EUROSTAT, in the third quarter of 2016, Greece had the largest number of asylum seekers per million of population after Germany. As of 1 January 2017, the Hellenic Asylum Service tripled its human resources. The Greek Government is committed to ensuring the quality of all procedures, especially as regards the asylum procedure within the framework of the EU-Turkey Agreement, the realization of a legal aid program for asylum seekers, ensuring the continued training of the staff, and ensuring the speedier examination of the international protection claims. In this context, Greece will continue to advocate together with the UNHCR for the need to alleviate burdens on refugee hosting countries in a truly equitable and proportionate manner.

Greece is an Executive Committee Member and a Standing Committee Member of the UNHCR and supports the recent actions of the High Commissioner Mr. Filippo Grandi aiming at restructuring the Organization to make it more effective.

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Last Updated Wednesday, 29 March 2017