UNHCR Canberra's Legal Protection Unit liaises with governments in the region on refugee and asylum policy. It provides training for officials working with refugees and advises authorities on international standards and best practices in respect to legislation, policy and procedures. UNHCR also monitors the application of the 1951 Convention in the region and intervenes in individual cases when they raise important issues of principle, which set standards for the wider protection of refugees.
A number of countries in this region are signatories to the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol relating to the status of refugees, and have their own systems for assessing asylum applications. For further information on these asylum systems, see the pages listed below.
Australia: is a Contracting State to the 1951 Convention and tis 1967 Protocol. It has long-established systems for determining refugee status which are administered by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).
New Zealand: is a Contracting State to the 1951 Convention and its 1967 Protocol. Refugee status and protected person status determination is carried out by the Refugee Protection Branch of Immigration New Zealand (INZ).
Papua New Guinea: is a Contracting State to the 1951 Convention and its 1967 Protocol. PNG law permits the Minister to “determine a non-citizen to be a refugee”; however, there is no specific refugee legislation or administrative provisions relating to the determination of refugee status.
Pacific: UNHCR Canberra has responsibility for 13 Pacific Islands Countries, of which four are Contracting State to the 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol.
Worldwide: UNHCR has operations in 116 countries around the world, working in a variety of legal and protection environments. Key documents relating to UNHCR's protection mandate are available in the Protection Starter Kit.
Refworld: Refworld is UNHCR's database containing a vast collection of reports relating to situations in countries of origin, policy documents and positions, and documents relating to international and national legal frameworks. The information has been carefully selected and compiled from UNHCR's global network of field offices, Governments, international, regional and non-governmental organizations, academic institutions and judicial bodies.
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: The information presented in this website is general in nature and may not be applicable in particular circumstances. We advise you to contact UNHCR’s Regional Office in Canberra for further advice and/or assistance regarding specific issues or needs you may have.