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Transitioning From UNHCR to Government RSD: An Overdue Assessment

March 28, 2014

UNHCR’s in-house think tank has published a critical new report about how – and to some extent, if and when – UNHCR should help states build their own refugee status determination systems.

Transitioning from UNHCR RSD to government RSD has long been a UNHCR goal, and has occasionally been offered as an excuse for not doing more to improve the agency’s own RSD operations. But how and under what conditions this should happen has been under studied.

Just one example: I have just recently returned from teaching in Israel, which a decade and a half ago was hailed as budding success in beginning to set up its own asylum system, and executing the transition away from UNHCR RSD. Today, the results are, to be most charitable, mixed at best.

The report is 78 pages long. It will take me some time to digest it and write a reaction that does it justice. But I do not want to delay encouraging everyone else who is concerned about refugee rights, especially in the global south, to read the report for themselves.

The report, by UNHCR’s Policy Development and Evaluation Service, is here.

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