Migration and refugee policy

Flüchtlinge im Südsudan

Flüchtlinge im Südsudan, © picture alliance/dpa


The number of refugees and displaced persons is at its highest since the Second World War. Among the people fleeing, there are many children and minors, who are especially vulnerable and therefore in need of major protection. Causes of flight and displacement are violent conflicts, eroding state structures, the lack of perspectives in countries of origin and transit countries, as well as increasingly frequent natural disasters.

The German foreign policy provides support in various forms in cooperation with UN-agencies dealing with flight and migration.

The headquarters of two of the most important organizations addressing issues related to refugees and migration are located in Geneva:

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

According to the Geneva Refugee Convention and the London Additional Protocol, UNHCR is in charge of refugee protection, worldwide. Additionally, UNHCR tackles issues regarding the support of internally displaced persons (IDPs). Germany is among the most important supporters of UNHCR. Being the first signatory of the Geneva Refugee Convention 70 years ago, Germany has been a partner from the very beginning. Since 1958, it assumes responsibilities as a member of the UNHCR Executive Board. The Executive Board decides upon the budget and issues regarding the mandate and the organization of the UNHCR.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Since its establishment in 1951, IOM conducts a variety of projects in cooperation with member states and partners to address a wide spectrum of issues linked to migration, ranging from humanitarian aid and development support to the fight against human trafficking. The work of the agency shapes migration actively in the interest of migrants themselves, as well as countries of origin, transit and destination, in order to ensure safe and orderly management of migration. In September 2016, IOM became part of the UN-system. Germany is a committed member of the organization and contributes through great financial support to a large number of projects such as programs offering psychological consultation, supporting family reunification or repatriation of returnees.

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